“We never complained about the snooping to the government. Why would we? Who listens to the Bose family? We have almost been persona non grata for our government,” said Ardhendu Bose, nephew of Subhash Chandra Bose, a day after he made the sensational claim that his Mumbai-based family, too, was spied on for decades.
Ardhendu’s claims come in the wake of recently declassified files, which reveal the Intelligence Bureau allegedly kept Netaji’s relatives under surveillance between 1948 and 1968.
Ardhendu, the son of Bose’s younger brother Sailesh Chandra, claimed his Worli-based family was snooped on for decades. “My father often told us our phones were being tapped and we were being watched,” said Ardhendu, who shifted to Colaba in 2010, where he lives with his wife. Their son is settled overseas. He owns a leather business and was a model for Bombay Dyeing in the 1970s.
“There was no proof, and there cannot be any proof [of the snooping]. But what we suspected for years has been proved by the declassification of files now,” he said.
No member of the family, however, ever lived in fear, said Ardhendu. “We are a non-political family. My father was a textile merchant. We never changed anything in our lives because of the shadow of surveillance,” he said.
Sailesh Chandra, who trained in textile technology and moved from Calcutta to Ahmedabad for business, shifted to Mumbai in the 1930s.
What irks Ardhendu is that the Congress government spied on them even after propagating the theory of Bose’s death in a plane crash on August 18, 1945.
“Why the snooping when Bose supposedly died? There must have been some chance he was alive,” he said, adding the Bose clan never believed that theory.
“Though we can never be certain, I think Bose must have reached Russia and lived for another decade,” he said.
Rejecting the theory that Bose reappear and lived as Gumnamibaba sadhu in Uttar Pradesh, Ardhendu said, “I often asked my father if Gumnamibaba was indeed Bose, but he never reacted. He would just look away and go silent. In my opinion, my father, who was very close to Netaji, must have certainly gone and met him if he suspected the sadhu to be his brother.”
Alleging the Nehru-Gandhi family always tried to obliterate the memory of Bose, Ardhendu said all he wanted from the Modi government is to let the truth out in the open, and clear the doubts of the country, and the family.