Nehru spied on Netaji’s family members for twenty years – Sandeep Unnithan

Netaji & Nehru

Sandeep Unnithan“In a written reply on December 17, 2014, Union Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parthibai Chaudhary told the Rajya Sabha that the declassification of ‘Netaji Files’ would impact India’s relations with friendly foreign countries. The incensed Bose family now wants speedy declassification of a clutch of top secret ‘Netaji Files’. These sensational documentary revelations, it believes, could well be the tip of the iceberg.” – Sandeep Unnithan

Intelligence Bureau (India)Two recently declassified Intelligence Bureau (IB) files have revealed that the Jawaharlal Nehru government spied on the kin of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose for nearly two decades.

The files, which have since been moved to the National Archives, show unprecedented surveillance on Bose’s family members between 1948 and 1968. Nehru was the prime minister for 16 of the 20 years and the IB reported directly to him. The files show the IB resumed British-era surveillance on the two Bose family homes in Calcutta: 1 Woodburn Park and 38/2 Elgin Road. Apart from intercepting and copying letters written by Bose’s family members, agency sleuths shadowed them on their domestic and foreign travels. The agency seemed especially keen to know who all the Bose kin met and what they discussed. A series of hand-written messages shows the agents phoned in ‘Security Control’, as the IB headquarters was called, to report on the family’s movements.

For reasons still not entirely clear, the agency focused on Netaji’s nephew siblings Sisir Kumar Bose and Amiya Nath Bose. These sons of Sarat Chandra Bose were the closest to Netaji in his two decades as a Congress activist. They also wrote several letters to their aunt Emilie Schenkl, Netaji’s wife, in Austria. The revelations have shocked the Bose family. “Surveillance is conducted on those who have committed a crime or have terror links. Subhas babu and his family fought for India’s freedom; why should be they placed under surveillance?” asks his grand-nephew Chandra Kumar Bose, a Kolkata-based businessman.

Netaji’s only child Anita Bose-Pfaff, a Germany-based economist, says she is startled. “My uncle (Sarat Chandra) was politically active until the 1950s and disagreed with the Congress leadership. But what surprises me is that my cousins could have been under surveillance… they had no security implications at all,” she says.

“The documents show the intensity of the bias against Netaji and his family,” says former Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly, adding: “More shockingly, the bias is by a government of independent India against a man who sacrificed everything for the country.”

Netaji & NehruCongress was scared of Bose’s return

Author and BJP national spokesperson M. J. Akbar believes there is only one reasonable explanation for this long surveillance.

“The government was not sure whether Bose was dead, and thought that if he were alive he would be in some form of communication with his family in Calcutta. But why would the Congress be apprehensive? The nation, after all, would have welcomed Bose’s return. But that exactly was the reason for its apprehension. Bose was the only charismatic leader who could have mobilised Opposition unity against Congress, and offered it a serious challenge in the 1957 elections. It is safe to say that if Bose were alive, the coalition that defeated the Congress in 1977 would have trounced it in the 1962 general elections, ie 15 years sooner,” he says.

IB files are rarely declassified. The original copies of these files are still classified by the West Bengal government.

Anuj Dhar, the author of India’s Biggest Cover-Up who first spotted the files at National Archives in January this year, believes these were accidentally declassified. “There have been such cases in the US where documents classified by the CIA, like the mole in Mrs Gandhi’s cabinet in 1971, were declassified by the state department,” he adds.

Bose was the Indian National Congress president in 1939 but quit following political differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru. He escaped from India, first to Hitler’s Germany, and later to Japan, where he revived the 40,000-strong Indian National Army in 1943, the first military resistance to the British since the 1857 War of Independence.

Bose, then 48, is thought to have died in a mysterious air crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945, three days after Japan’s surrender to the Allied forces.

The mystery around his disappearance has only been enhanced by over 150 files kept with the PMO, IB, Home Ministry and External Affairs Ministry, which the government has refused to declassify for decades.

In a written reply on December 17, 2014, Union Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parthibai Chaudhary told the Rajya Sabha that the declassification of ‘Netaji Files’ would impact India’s relations with friendly foreign countries.

The incensed Bose family now wants speedy declassification of a clutch of top secret ‘Netaji Files’. These sensational documentary revelations, it believes, could well be the tip of the iceberg. – India Today, 10 April 2015

Anita Bose-Pfaff

Revelations shock Netaji’s daughter – Sandeep Unnithan

I am not too surprised to hear that my father’s family was under surveillance. My uncle Sarat Chandra Bose was politically active until just after India’s Independence and he was not in agreement with the Congress.But he passed away in 1950. The fact that my cousins Amiya Nath Bose and Sisir Bose were under surveillance is a bit startling.

What is the point in that? They had no security implications at all. They were politically interested but not politically active until later in their lives. The government possibly believed that if my father was alive and wanted to come back to India, my cousins would be the most logical people for him to contact.

I remember a group of British intelligence officers accompanied by an Indian official who visited our flat in Vienna to ask my mother some questions. I cannot remember what they asked her, I was just three years old, but I do remember what my mother told the Indian officer. She told him about “people who were traitors to their country’s interests”. The man turned red in the face. – India Today, 10 April 2015. Anita Bose-Pfaff, 73, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s daughter spoke to Sandeep Unnithan from her home in Augsburg, Germany.

» Sandeep Unnithan is the Deputy Editor of India Today and author “Black Tornado: The three sieges of Mumbai 26/11” (HarperCollins 2014). He lives in New Delhi and tweets @sandeepunnithan.

See also

Amiya Nath Bose

Nehru snooped on Netaji's family

 

9 Responses

  1. Old and excellent article by Yatish Yadav

    Yes, it is published on this site as Did Netaji die in a Russian prison camp? – Admin

  2. Bose Family Rally, Kolkata
     
    Prime Minister Modi to consider declassifying Netaji files, Bose family holds rally in Kolkata – HT Correspondent & Agencies – Hindustan Times – Berlin/Kolkata – April 14, 2015

    Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will consider a demand to declassify files on the iconic freedom fighter even as Netaji’s family organised a rally in Kolkata on Tuesday to pressure authorities to make public all secret papers.

    Surya Kumar Bose raised the demand for declassifying all secret files with Modi against the backdrop of a controversy over successive Congress governments spying on Netaji’s family for two decades.

    He also told the media that most members of the Bose family did not believe the freedom fighter had died in a plane crash in Taipei in 1945, days after Japan surrendered in World War II.

    Surya Bose met Modi, currently on an official visit to Germany, after attending a reception hosted in the Prime Minister’s honour on Monday.

    “He (Modi) said he will look into it seriously, and then will make a decision. He said he will try his best to open them up because he himself hasn’t yet seen any of those files. So he said he cannot judge what the contents are like, or what they could be. It was a very honest answer I must say,” he said.

    The prime minister gave an assurance that that he would look into the matter right away as he too felt the “truth should come out”, Surya Bose said.

    “I think as far as declassification (of the files) is concerned, to the best of my knowledge, at the moment I think the whole family is united,” said Surya Bose, a businessman who is now president of the Indo-German Association in Hamburg.

    “But there are differences of opinion as far as the plane crash theory is concerned. But the majority of the family as of now do not believe in it,” he said.

    In Kolkata, several of Netaji’s relatives, including nephew Dwarka Nath Bose and grandnephews Chandra Bose and Avijit Roy, joined dozens of people for a rally demanding the full disclosure of more than 150 files on Netaji that are with the central and West Bengal governments.

    As the rally made its way through a three-kilometre stretch in central Kolkata, the people distributed leaflets demanding declassification of the files.

    Differences within the family too came to the fore as grandnephew Sugata Bose (a Trinamool Congress MP) and Krishna Bose (the wife of Bose’s nephew Sisir Bose) did not join the rally.

    The demand for declassifying the files got a boost after the meeting between Surya Bose and Prime Minister Modi. Chandra Bose told Hindustan Times that Modi had invited members of the family to Delhi to meet him and discuss the issue.

    The sensitive subject has come to the front burner after a recent media exposure that between 1948 and 1968, the centre snooped on Sisir Bose and Amiya Nath Bose, two nephews who were extremely close to Subhas Bose.

    The demand for declassifying the files on Bose came amid a controversy that successive Congress government mounted surveillance on Netaji’s kin between 1948 and 1968. Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister for a majority of this period and the Intelligence Bureau reported to him.

    The details of the surveillance were included in two files from the West Bengal intelligence department that were declassified and sent to the National Archives.

    Surya Bose earlier said it was the duty of all people of India to raise the issue of declassifying the Netaji files.

    “Subhas Bose did not belong just to his direct family. He had himself said that the whole country is his family. I do not think it’s just the duty of the family to raise this issue (of declassifying the Netaji files). It is the duty of the people of India to raise the issue,” he said.

    Chandra Bose said, “The time has now come to declassify the Netaji files. Saying it would affect India’s relations with other nations is simply a lame excuse. The Modi government has been talking of transparency and now it is the time to provide transparency by releasing those files which will tell us what happened to Netaji during his last years.”

    In reply to a query under the Right To Information Act, the Prime Minister’s Office refused to declassify secret files on Netaji on the ground that the “disclosure would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries”.

    Surya Bose pointed out that Netaji had played a key role to play in the Indian freedom struggle.

    “Diplomatic missions and the government should no longer propagate untruth about the freedom struggle. It is not just (Mahatma) Gandhi’s non-violence, non-cooperation that brought India its freedom,” he said.

    “It was Subhash Bose and his INA that gave the final blow which sent the British packing and this has been admitted by Prime Minister Attlee, by Lord Mountbatten,” he added.

    Surya Bose attacked Nehru’s administration, saying it was “shocking” that a government of independent India had spied on Netaji’s family. Asked about the commissions of inquiry that probed Netaji’s reported death, he said the “first two were totally bogus”.

    The Mukherjee Commission, he said, had done more but it did not have investigative powers.

  3. Netaji’s family holds rally demanding declassification of files – TNN – April 14, 2015

    NEW DELHI: The family of Subhas Chandra Bose held a rally in Kolkata on Tuesday, demanding declassification of all secret files related to the freedom fighter.

    Netaji’s family led a protest march to INA Bhavan in Kolkata in the afternoon.

    “We demand that more than 100 files classified with the central government should immediately be declassified,” Abhijit Roy, SC Bose’s great grandson said.

    On Monday night, Netaji’s grand nephew Surya Kumar Bose met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin and raised the issue of declassification of all secret files related to the freedom fighter.

    Surya Kumar Bose met the Prime Minister after attending a reception hosted in Modi’s honour by India’s ambassador to Germany Vijay Gokhale.

    Speaking about the meeting, Netaji’s nephew Ardhendu Bose said, “PM has assured him that he will study the issue very carefully and take whatever steps are necessary to declassify the files.”

    “Our request is to speed up the process, its already been 60-70 years,” Ardhendu Bose said.

  4. Two books written by Nehru’s private secretary on his activities (including sexual) have disappeared.

    Why?

    Nehru supposed to be descendent of a Mogul, Ghiasuddin Ghazi ruled India with dictatorial power, now her descendents keeping the Congress party alive.

  5. All are friends and foes in politics, always changing. The TRUTH must be revealed, if not straight away, at least at the end of the time limit.

  6. Nehru-Gandhi family tried to erase Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s name, says nephew – DNA – PTI – Mumbai – Monday, 13 April 2015

    Amid a row over snooping on close relatives of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, his nephew, Ardhendu Bose, on Monday alleged that the Nehru-Gandhi family has tried to erase the nationalist leader’s legacy. “From 1947 onwards, they (Nehru-Gandhi family) have done their best to obliterate the name and memory of Netaji Bose,” Ardhendu said.

    “As far as Bose and Sardar Patel are concerned, if you see today, in none of the history books in India is there a mention of Bose, the Indian National Army (INA) and very little about Patel,” the 60-year-old leather technologist, who stays in Mumbai, said. Ardhendu, a former Bombay Dyeing model, who owns a leather business, was born in Mumbai. His father Sailesh Chandra, who died in 1984, was Netaji’s younger brother.

    Asked if his late father, who stayed in Worli here, was aware that he was being snooped upon, Ardhendu said, “Yes. He told me so.”

    “The suspicion was there. When the snooping and phone tapping was going on, they (my family members) knew they were being snooped, watched at,” he said. “He (my father) told me that someone told him the phone was tapped,” Ardhendu said.

    “Someone from an intelligence agency had also told him the phone was tapped,” a source close to Ardhendu said.

    “After the INA trials in Delhi, no soldier who served in INA was taken into the Indian Army. The government didn’t care for the 20,000-30,000 former INA soldiers,” Ardhendu said.

  7. Subhas Chandra Bose’s Grand Nephew To Meet Modi In Germany And Demand Declassification Of Netaji’s Files – Press Trust Of India – 13/04/2015

    BERLIN — Amid a row over snooping on close relatives of Subhas Chandra Bose, his grand nephew has said he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Germany today to demand declassification of all secret files related to the freedom fighter.

    “Subhas Bose did not belong just to his direct family. He had himself said that the whole country is his family. I do not think it’s just the duty of the family to raise this issue (of declassification of Netaji files),” Surya Kumar Bose, grand nephew of Bose, said.

    Wading into the row, Ardhendu Bose, Netaji’s nephew, said, “I think it was a bit harsh that they were personally monitoring (family members).”

    With the documents revealing that intelligence services and diplomats overseas were told to keep an eye on what they were doing, “probably goes to prove that they knew that Netaji was not dead. They knew that he did not die in an air crash,” he said.

    “The family feels betrayed. Truth should prevail. All hope that the Indian government will bring out the truth,” Ardhendu said.

    Surya said, “It is the duty of the people of India to raise the issue. If I do get an opportunity to meet the Prime Minister, talk to him for a few minutes, then I would certainly raise the issue.”

    Surya, also the president of the Indo-German Association in Hamburg, has been invited by the Indian embassy to attend a reception for Modi here tomorrow.

    Another grand nephew of the charismatic leader, Chandra Bose said, “The time has now come to declassify Netaji files. Saying it would affect India’s relations with other nations is simply a lame excuse. The Modi government has been talking of transparency and now it is the time to provide transparency by releasing those files which will tell us what happened to Netaji during his last years.”

    Chandra expressed surprise over the Modi government giving the “same excuse” as the Prime Minister’s Office under Manmohan Singh to block declassification of Netaji files.

    “The Prime Minister’s office under the Manmohan Singh government made a statement saying if they de-classify these files, they would have problems with friendly neighbours. That’s a damaging statement,” he said.

    In an RTI reply, the Prime Minister’s Office has refused to declassify secret files relating to Netaji arguing that the “disclosure would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries.”

  8. A new movement in memory of Subhas Chandra Bose – P. Sudhakaran – TNN – Apr 13, 2015

    KANNUR: Almost 72 years after Subhas Chandra Bose revived the Indian National Army (INA), a nationalist movement with military discipline to fight the British, an avid fan and researcher of the revolutionary leader is all set to revive it, with the aim of protecting the secular fabric of the world and also to promote communal harmony.

    While the original INA was a force which had a political mission, the revived one, which has the support of the family members of the great revolutionary, is more of a social service force, said Rajeev Joseph, a social worker from Payyavoor here, who spent almost 35 years to study the life of Subhas Chandra Bose.

    “Though Subhas Chandra Bose revamped the INA at a function in Singapore on July 4, 1943 with the aim of securing Indian independence, he also had in mind the element of communal harmony, which attracted me a lot thus igniting in me the idea of revamping it,” he said addressing a press conference here the other day.

    Before finalising the plan, he contacted the family members of the revolutionary nationalist in Kolkatta and got their permission to launch it, said Rajeev, who has designated himself as the chief commander of the army.

    “When I contacted the family members, niece Krishna Bose and grandnephew Sugata Bose, they were extremely happy about it and they only released the logo of the INA-3 on January 23 in Kolkata,” he said.

    The INA-3 volunteers will follow the dress code of the original INA and the plan is to have a battalion of 60 people in every city, he said. The first battalion will be trained soon and they will have a march past at the launching in Singapore on July 4, 2015, to commemorate the launch of INA 2, which was held in Singapore.

    “Since INA-2 was launched in Singapore, we have decided this launch also should be in the same place and same venue,” he said. It will be followed by two conventions in Delhi and Kerala, and then inter-religion fellowship conventions would be held in different places with the aim of instilling the spirit of service and also to promote exchange of thoughts and culture.

    The battalions would be functional in many countries and in some places including Kerala, it would also have female battalion. The movement has relevance in the current socio-political context, said Ravi Varma Raja, vice chairman of the organising committee of the INA-3 and also the general secretary of Pazhassi Raja Charitable Trust.

    “Instead of upholding the legacy of Subhas Chandra Bose, the Congress party tried to create the impression that he was dead,” said Ravi Varma Raja.

    “So when the idea of reviving the INA, with the aim of promoting communal harmony and social service, was mooted, we felt it is a relevant movement. The country needs a social organisation with a military discipline to take up various causes,” he said.

    Though the movement will be formally launched in Singapore, its main operations would be in India, said the people behind the INA-3.

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