It’s Bose versus Bose, on Subhas Chandra Bose, and it’s only got worse after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power. The running battle between two descending branches of the Subhas Chandra Bose bloodline led by his two grandnephews has now reached a point that one is now accusing the other of receiving regular grants from the previous Congress-led central government in exchange for supporting the theory that the freedom fighter died in an air crash in Taihuku on August 18, 1945.
The fight for the family legacy is between two grandsons of Sarat Chandra, Subhas Chandra Bose’s elder brother. On one side is Trinamool Congress MP and renowned historian Sugata and his mother Krishna Bose, who run the Netaji Research Bureau. Facing off with them is Chandra Kumar, a management professional and social activist.
Chandra Kumar, who has even sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has alleged that besides “grabbing control” of the bureau, Sugata and his mother have “captured” the ancestral property that the bureau is housed in. The bureau works out of Netaji Bhawan, built by Bose’s father Janakinath. Bose’s elder brother Sarat Chandra had later set up the bureau in this building.
Neither Sugata nor Krishna Bose agreed to comment on the allegations. Chitra Ghosh, Sarat Chandra’s youngest daughter, said, “I am a life member of the bureau, but I am not permitted to enter the building. The unfortunate thing is that they do not even invite us to attend any programme.”
According to Chandra Kumar, an RTI enquiry has revealed that the bureau received Rs 1 crore and Rs 18 lakh in two tranches during 2010-11 alone. He claimed that the bureau received Rs 20 crore over a 10-year period, but could not pinpoint the dates.
Chittabrata Palit, a historian who was once closely associated with the bureau, said Sugata and Krishna Bose “grabbed” the organisation after the death of Sugata’s father, Sisir Kumar, in 2000. “The then government wanted to establish the Taihuku plane crash theory by using the members of the Bose family. Mrs Bose and Sugata did everything to adhere to that.”
The response of the state Congress unit to the allegations is vague. Former state party president Manas Bhuiya said, “All these are false accusations. They are trying to give political colour to the family feud. Both Sugata and his mother Krishna Bose are highly acclaimed professors. The Netaji Research Bureau is doing a very good job. It is very unfortunate that the organisation is being maligned.”
In 1999, then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee formed the third commission under Justice Manoj Kumar Mukherjee of the Kolkata high court. It reported in 2006 that DNA tests found that the ashes being peddled as that of Bose were actually of a Japanese soldier.
This report came just one month after Sugata Bose claimed to have brought one portion of Bose’s ashes to Kolkata.
Sugata wrote in ‘His Majesty’s Opponents’ that he had brought the ashes from former INA member Ramamurthy’s residence in Tokyo. The bureau did not have much to say about the Mukherjee commission’s findings.