By Anuj Dhar
There had been at least four known occasions when Bhagwanji said
he was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
People before whom he spoke are alive and include his Faizabad
landlord, Gurbasant Singh, and doctor, Priyabrat Banerjee. However,
a big proof of it is in a letter he wrote to a man called Prasad.
(The letter was not posted, and hence, was found among Bhagwanji's
belongings preserved in the Faizabad treasury since 1987.)
In the seven-page letter, Bhagwanji says he has no more links to
his past life, and he is dead to family and friends. In a reference
to the Shah Nawaz Khan Committee and the Khosla Commission of Inquiry,
he says there is "no point in constituting loaded dice commissions
to find out what happened to him
" He says, "
an impregnable mystery
Two inferences are also thrown up in his remarks on a Gujarati
businessman, Manu Bhai Bhimani's resume, which, evidently, Netaji's
nephew Sisir Bose had verified:
addresses Sarat Bose, Netaji's elder brother, as 'mejda'.
refutes Bhimani's claim on a plan that few people apart from Netaji
himself would have known.
Bhimani had supported Netaji as Congress president in 1939-40.
Dr Priyabrat Banerjee, who took over from his father as Bhagwanji's
physician, in an interview with HindustanTimes.com, recalls a family
get-together at Bhagwanji's house in 1975, when the latter said:
"Dekho to, kahi main Subhas Chandra Bose to nahi hoon?"
(Look, am I not Subhas Chandra Bose?) When the senior Dr T Banerjee
persisted, Bhagwanji said: "Hoon!" (Yes, I am he!)
Bhagwanji also said: "Despite having a nation I have none,
despite having a home I am homeless, despite having a people, I
have no one
Durga Prasad Pandey, who was Netaji's companion for many years,
also recalls a meeting in 1967 when Bhagwanji said: "Take me
to be Netaji if you will."
had earlier written to Bhagwanji asking him to reveal his true
identity. In his reply, the
latter had said: "I am a bonafide dashnamme sanyasi
(saint with 10 names), and, you well know, that, a man under the
Holy Orders incurs civil death according to the civil law. And a
sanyasi is dead to his former life
When Pandey persisted, he was allowed to see and talk to Bhagwanji.
Pandey had seen Netaji from close quarters in 1939, and so, he insists
he could not have mistaken the leader, despite the old age and long
Bhagwanji's landlord at Faizabad, Gurubasant Singh, also remembers
an interview during which the former said his mission was to see
India free, and since the task was achieved, he had taken sanyas
(renounced his worldly life). Many rumours were afloat then that
Bhagwanji was Netaji, and Gurubasant had sought an interview to
Srikant Sharma, who was among the few to have met Bhagwanji face-to-face,
says the latter told him many personal things about Netaji, Leela
Roy and also about the great escape from Kolkata to Berlin in 1941,
details of which are known to very few.
Sharma is a deponent before the Justice Mukherjee Commission of
Inquiry probing Netaji's disappearance.