Sarat Chandra Bose, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s elder brother, planned an armed insurrection against the British in 1941 and was prepared to raise an army of 50,000 if the Japanese were ready to help, a batch of recently-declassified files have revealed.
Sarat, a prominent nationalist figure himself, wrote to a certain Mr Ohta, identified as the ‘chancellor’ of the Japanese consulate in Kolkata, saying he would be able to set up an organisation to provide secret information to the Japanese.
At the time, Japan was aligned with Germany and a part of the Axis powers that were fighting the British-led Allied forces in World War II.
“We have 10,000 men ready to immediately take up arms. We can raise the number of 50,000 within a few months of getting the money and the arms we want. Please let me know when we may expect the arms we want and if you can arrange for the money we want through any other channel. This is very important and very urgent,” Bose wrote.
Read: Bengal govt declassifies 64 Netaji files at Kolkata police academy
The letter, dated September 18, 1941, was intercepted by sleuths and is among a series of such correspondences between the Japanese consulate in Kolkata and members of the Bose family.
The letters are part of the 64 files that were thrown open for public viewing by the West Bengal government on Friday.
Bose also asked the Japanese officer to send a message to ‘S’ – very likely his brother Subhas -- stressing that it was an urgent necessity.
“Please let me know at once if it will be possible for you to send a message to Mr S. The message is very important and very urgent,” he wrote.
One of the tallest leaders of the freedom movement, Netaji left the Congress following differences with Mahatma Gandhi. Following his 1941 escape, he travelled to Germany and then Japan, where he led the Indian National Army and fought for India’s independence.
Read: Files hint Netaji may have survived 1945 crash but give no proof
“Have you received any further message from Mr S? Have you received any reliable information regarding the progress of events in Europe? Will Germany proceed towards Iran next winter? Please let me have all important news received by you.”
The letter was written eight months after Netaji’s dramatic escape on January 16, 1941 from his Kolkata house where the British had put him under house arrest.
“I can start an organisation for getting secret information of the nature you require as an experimental measure on trial for three months. If you want me to do so, please send me Rs 5,000 to meet preliminary expenses,” Bose wrote.
The snooping on Sarat Bose didn’t stop with Independence and continued till his death in 1950.
A September 10, 1949 letter by the deputy commissioner of police, special branch of the CID, revealed the West Bengal government issued fresh surveillance orders on Sarat on September 20, 1948.
The officer informed an officer of the rank of under-secretary that the snooping yielded ‘good results’ and sought permission for continuing it for one more year.