archival documents show that during the dying months of World
War II, Viceroy Wavell and senior British officials did not
want Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose brought to India even as a prisoner.
The surviving documents reflect British preference for dealing
with the leader 'on the spot' - whatever that meant.
On the other hand, Bose was focussed on stimulating a post-war
internal Indian upsurge against the British Raj. Subhas was
convinced that India's partition was inevitable if the British
Parliament were allowed to "transfer power" under
an act of the British Parliament.
(Gandhiji in 1946-47 had the same fear. He wanted the British
to leave India and allow Indians themselves to find a solution
to the Muslim League's demand for partition along religious
Bose's aim in 1945 was not just to escape the British pursuit.
He had foreknowledge of Japan's decision to capitulate.
In the spring of 1945, he had wanted personally to lead a
military challenge against the superior forces of the Allies.
He wanted to court death in this battle. Suicide was not the
aim of this move. He thought that, after Aung San of Burma
switched over to the victorious British side at the last moment,
the INA needed to set an example of patriotic bravery in battle.
He felt his own death in battlefield would stimulate a new
phase in India's internal freedom struggle.
He was dissuaded from this course because two divisions of
the INA were still intact and he thought of a new role for
this patriotic Indian military force in the postwar situation.
Unlike other leaders of the Japan-occupied Southeast Asian
countries, he, at one stage, thought of staying with INA troops
in Singapore to await the arrival of the Mountbatten-led British
Indian occupation force.
This course was abandoned on August 14, 1945, on the advice
of the members of the Azad Hind government and other important
officers of the INA.
On August 14, 1945, some information was brought to him from
Thailand. This information led him to abandon the plan that
the INA troops with Netaji as their head, should await the
capture of Singapore by the British occupation force. There
is no record of the information that caused the Azad Hind
government to ask Netaji to fly to Tokyo for final consultations
with the Japanese government. Is it likely that Netaji had
been forewarned of the British preference for dealing with
him "on the spot"?
Netaji had not rejected the idea of his being taken to India
as a prisoner. Did he fear that he would not be taken to India
as a British prisoner?
He knew of the existence of the Allies' spies and operatives
in the INA and the Anglo-American forces and agents operating
behind the Japanese lines. As the war drew to a close, important
but vulnerable people changed sides. They acted on the Allies'
The INA, too, had been penetrated by persons who were Allies'
operatives. Even in Japan there were important people who
wanted to please the victors. They were ready to pay the price
the new masters demanded of them.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose knew that he was in a veritable
snake pit. It is necessary to bear this fact in mind when
the story of his death in an air crash on August 18, 1945