The black German Wanderer sedan that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose rode for his great escape in January 16, 1941 rolled out again after 58 years in a museum.
Great grand nephew and Trinamool MP Sugato Bose drove the vehicle for a few yards on Wednesday evening with President Pranab Mukherjee sitting by his side.
Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi sat in the right rear seat.
Every Sunday, the car will be taken out of the garage in Netaji Bhavan and driven a few yards just to give a feel to visitors.
“The 80-year old engine is still strong enough to move on the roads,” said Sugato Bose at a brief function at Netaji’s ancestral house on Elgin Road in south Kolkata.
The President refused to sit on the left rear seat which Bose occupied during his escape and climbed to the seat beside the driver.
At 1:30 am on the fateful night January 16, 1941 Bose’s nephew Sisir Kumar Bose drove Netaji out of the house and went straight to Gomoh station in Bihar from where Netaji boarded Kalka Mail on his journey. Bose was in home internned by the British when he escaped.
Recounting the history of that night, Sugato Bose said this car was chosen for the escape as it was relatively smaller than another car owned by the family. Initially Netaji was in favour of escaping in the bigger car, but changed his mind as it would have been more conspicuous.
Sisir Bose sat on the driver’s seat, and Netaji, disguised as Mohammad Ziauddin, a fictitious North Indian insurance agent, took the left rear seat. But he didn’t close the door of the car before going some distance just to ensure that the noise doesn’t alert anybody. Only Sisir Bose slammed his driver’s door, the idea being if police later come to investigate, they will be told by others that they heard only one door closing.
On December 25, 1940, Sisir Bose made a reconnaissance trip to Burdwan by the same car to find out how dependable it was on along journey, and how tired Sisir Bose would have been driving it.
Sisir Kumar Bose left recorded memories that he was frequently served coffee by Netaji who was carrying it in a flask.
This car (BLA 7169) was registered in the name of Sisir Kumar Bose in 1937.