Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose died in an alleged plane crash due to third-degree burn on 18th August 1945. The plane was overloaded with passengers and it crashed in Japanese occupied Formosa (now in Taiwan). But many of his supporters especially from Bengal and across India refused to believe the death of Netaji. As a result, many conspiracy theories and rumors spread among the people and his death is still a mystery even today.
After the Bose’s death, his lieutenants who accompanied him to Manchuria but were left behind stated that they had seen neither his body nor his injured or deceased photograph. His death certificate was also not issued. Moreover, Bose disappeared several times in his life. All these statements and assumptions led other conspiracies and rumors about what had happened to Bose. Some people claimed to have met or seen Bose. Stories appeared like he had become a Sadhu whereas some believed that he was still in the Soviet Union or the People’s Republic of China. Most prominent among these stories is the reveal of the Sanyasi named “Gumnami Baba”, also known as “Bhagwanji” by his followers who lived in the town of Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. Despite such rumors, Bose never reappeared again but the myth still lives on.
Some inquiries were made by some of the official committees to find out original cause of Bose’s death. Among them are,
- Shah Nawaz committee
With an aim to find out the actual reason behind Netaji’s death, the three-man committee was formed by the government of India in 1956. The committee was headed by Shah Nawaz Khan who was the member of Parliament as well as the former lieutenant colonel of the Indian National Army along with S.N Maitra and Suresh Chandra Bose.
The committee interviewed all the survivors of the plane crash from India, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. It also interviewed Dr. Yoshimi, Taihoku Military Hospital who treated Bose in his last hours and Habib ur Rahman, an Indian passenger from that plane.
After all the evidence, Khan and Maitra concluded that Netaji had died in a plane crash in Taihoku on 18 August 1945. But Bose’s brother, Suresh Chandra Bose after having signed off all the reports, declined to sign the final report. He wrote a note which stated that he was pressured to sign the final report. The other members of the Shah Nawaz Committee withheld some crucial evidence from him, that the committee had been directed by Jawaharlal Nehru to infer death by plane crash.
- Khosla Commission
The Government of India appointed a new commission in 1970 to find out the mystery behind Bose’s death. The single member of the committee, G.D Khosla, a retired judge, a retired chief justice of the Punjab High Court, submitted his report in 1974.
Justice Khosla suggests the motives of many of the story-purveyors are less than altruistic. Some, he says, has clearly been driven by political goals or simply wanted to call attention to themselves. His patience in listening to some tales is surely remarkable. What could he, or anyone, have thought as he listened to the testimony of P. M. Karapurkar, agent of the Central Bank of India at Sholapur, who ‘ claimed that he receives direct messages from Bose by turning his body like a radio receiving apparatus.
- Mukherjee Commission
The Government of India appointed this commission headed by retired Supreme Court judge M. K. Mukherjee in 1999. He concluded that Netaji did not die in the plane crash. The commission observed that the ashes kept at the Renkoji temple which was reported to be Bose’s were of Ichiro Okura, a Japanese soldier who died of cardiac arrest.
The Commission submitted its report on November 8, 2005. But the report was by the Indian Government.
Prime Narendra Modi took a decision to declassify all the files relating to bose on January 23, 2016. He promised to Bose’s family to take the investigations seriously to solve the mystery.
But to our disappointment, the Centre of RTI concluded
“After considering the reports of Shahnawaz Committee, Justice G.D Khosla Commission and Justice Mukherjee Commission of Enquiry, the Government has come to the conclusion that Netaji has died in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945,’’
Bose’s family expressed strong disagreement with the response. Netaji’s grand nephew, Chandra Kumar Bose asked,
“This is irresponsible move… How can the government conclude Netaji’s death without concrete evidence?’’
This response from the government though ended the mystery behind this great leader’s death but still many of them do not support the conclusion. We are still not sure about the actual cause of Netaji’s Death.