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Netaji ‘family photos’ deepen mystery about Gumnami Baba

Rare family photographs, supposedly of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, tumbled out of two boxes owned by Gumnami Baba which were reopened in compliance with an Allahabad high court order in Faizabad.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2016 15:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Netaji files,Gumnami baba,Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
A family photograph of Netaji(HT Photo)

Rare family photographs, supposedly of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, tumbled out of two boxes owned by Gumnami Baba which were reopened in compliance with an Allahabad high court order in Faizabad.

The finding on Tuesday deepened the mystery about the personality of Gumnami Baba, who many believe was Bose in disguise. These boxes were earlier examined by the Justice MK Mukherjee Commission during 2001-06.

Besides photos, the boxes had hundreds of letters and books related to the Indian freedom movement and war affairs. The items were kept locked at the Faizabad treasury.

Officials started listing them on February 26 this year in compliance with the high court order of January 31, 2013, in order to keep Gumnami Baba’s belongings in the Ram Katha Sangrahalaya (Museum), Ayodhya, for public display. An inventory of the last two boxes is being prepared by an administrative committee that the Faizabad district magistrate has constituted.

A book on Netaji from the stock of Gumnami Baba

The items in the two boxes include many important documents indicating Gumnami Baba’s association with important figures in Bose’s Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj, and political personalities after Independence.

There were several books related to the freedom movement of India and post-freedom topics such as ‘India: The Critical Years’ by Kuldeep Nayar, ‘India China War’ by Naville Maxwell, ‘India Wins Freedom’ by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, ‘Netaji and Bangabandhu’ by Samar Guha, ‘Netaji through German Lens’ by Nanda Mukerjee, an acknowledgement of a registered post sent to Abdul Ghani Khan Chaudhary on July 7, 1980, a paper cutting of ‘Sandesh’ Hindi News paper of June 11, 1947 describing the search operation of Indian and British army for Netaji’s treasure, a written note in Bangla to Devendra Sen .

A diagram of World War II fighter plane (HT Photo)

The note says, “Had the incidents between Haripura and Wellington not taken place, the direction of life would have been different.” There is also a paper cutting depicting the meeting of Netaji and Hitler with a photograph.

One of these photographs of Netaji’s childhood shows his parents Jankinath Bose and Prabhawati, says Shakti Singh, a BJP leader and member of the administrative committee.

A handmade map (HT Photo)

Other items include maps of India dated 1949 and 1972, including several handmade versions. There is also a map of Bangladesh and a labelled diagram of a World War II fighter plane. It is anticipated that other maps are related to the places where Baba used to stay for a long time. This assumption is supported by a map of Ayodhya showing the spots of Gurudwara Brahmkund and Lucknowa Hata. These are the places in Ayodhya where Baba spent a few months before shifting to Ram Bhawan near Faizabad bus station.

A paper cutting, displaying the snapshot of Netaji and Hitler (HT Photo)

Several letters from 1972 sent by the second RSS chief, Guru Golwalkar, to Baba shows his affinity with the Hindu right-wing organisation. In these letters, the RSS chief addressed the Baba as Vijayanand Maharaj. The box also has a handwritten document showing genealogy (family tree) of the INA’s secret service chief, Pavitra Mohan Rai, along with other letters, written by Rai. In addition, it consists of a copy of a dissenting report by Suresh Chandra Bose, one of Netaji’s brothers. This was the document submitted by Suresh Bose when he disagreed with the findings of the Shah Nawaz Commission that was constituted by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to reveal the facts about Netaji’s yet-to-established death in a plane crash.

Shakti Singh, the owner of Ram Bhawan where the Baba spent the last years of his life, has demanded that the government disclose the Baba’s identity.

First Published: Mar 16, 2016 20:23 IST