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Comrade inks Commander's Death Certificate

It was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's comrade who inked his death certificate.

This man was Shah Nawaz Khan, a major general in the Indian National Army. He headed the Committee which was set up over a decade after the alleged death of Subhas Bose by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to probe the mystery.

The Committee began its work in early April 1956 and came out with its report within four months. The report concluded that Netaji "met his death in an air-crash, and that the ashes now at Renkoji temple, Tokyo, are his ashes."
It recommended that government take the ashes to India and build a memorial

 Highlights of Shah Nawaz Committee report

Khaki to khadi
Changing colours of Shah Nawaz Khan


The day Major-General Shah Nawaz Khan folded up his fatigue and retired from battlefield, he ceased to be a soldier of the Indian National Army (INA). His loyalty was gone, his allegiance had shifted and his sympathies were lost to the men who had "wrought and fought with him".

This is the observation of Capt S S Yadav, an old colleague of Shah Nawaz Khan and currently general secretary of All India INA Committee.

Shah Nawaz Khan was the man whom Nehru chose from among 60,000 men of the INA, to give a name, a title, a ministerial berth, and after 10 years, a place at the head of an inquiry committee to probe Subhas Bose's disappearance.

The committee worked for four months, during which it travelled under government mandate to various countries "gathering evidence", before declaring Subhas Bose's death on August 18, 1945, in the air-crash in Formosa (now Taiwan).

At that time, many people, including Capt Yadav, a former gunner officer of the INA Ancillary Unit, were least surprised that the committee's itinerary did not include a visit to Formosa.

Capt Yadav remembers Shah Nawaz Khan as a meritorious soldier who surrendered to the lure of Jawaharlal Nehru's largesse and, thereby, let down the INA and its Netaji.

Shah Nawaz was a Muslim, and it suited Nehru to foist the former for political gains. So, when independence came in 1947, Shah Nawaz was given a berth in the Nehru Cabinet and all the luxuries that came with it.

 
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