Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Government of India and Spying

Did successive congress party governments lead by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri really spied on the members of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s family for nearly two decades? 

The news was explosive and politically damaging for congress party. Because it is a general perception that Netaji did not get recognition that was due to him under successive congress governments which were mostly lead by Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and later by Rajiv Gandhi. This news of spying further re-inforces the perception.

The news was repugnant and repulsive because, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was an illustrious son of India. 

  • He gave up career in Indian civil service, equivalent to IAS of this day. Clearing Indian Civil Service examination was considered a very difficult and remarkable feat for Indians those days. Subhash Chandra Bose gave up his potentially distinguished career, like many young men of the day, and dedicated his life to the Indian independence movement.

  • He defeated, Pattavi Sitaramaiah, candidate backed by Mahatma Gandhi, to become president of Indian National Congress. This shows his leadership and his influence over members of the party. 

  • When Gandhiji disapproved his electoral victory on ideological ground, Subhas Chandra Bose quit congress party and formed Forward Block.  Point to be noted that despite Gandhiji backing Pattavi Sitaramaiah’s candidature, Subhash Bose won the election. 

  • Subhash Bose dared to defy the might of British Empire. An empire where sun never used to set. Subhash Bose eluded British spies, went to Germany, then to Japan and created Indian National Army.

  • Indian National Army marched into Imphal, in Manipur, and hoisted Indian flag. Though victory was short lasting, this was the first for any Indian.

  • Subhash Bose dreamt of India’s freedom from British occupation. He put his life to achieve his goal. It is not easy for an army to take on the might of British Imperialism with all its man power and inexhaustible resources. But Subhash Bose tried and succeeded. If he had proper backup, he would probably have reached upto Delhi.

Yet Subhas Bose’s family was spied upon for twenty years!! Unbelievable, may be true, the following are my take:

  • Given Pandit Nehru along with others defended INA commanders against treason charges, it is difficult to believe under his leadership CID would spy on Netaji’s family willingly. 

  • I think given the victorious allied powers were hunting down and trying all people that shook hands with the likes of Nazi Hitler, Fascist Mussolini and Imperialist Japan, for treason. India may have been asked to keep an eye on Netaji who took help of Germany and Japan in his fight to liberate India. 

  • Young Indian nation was not powerful enough to defy Great Britain, US and the West, specially when India had to feed her population with foreign aid. Remember, India had also lost a war to China in 1962.

  • There have been many stories about Netaji. One of them is about a Gumnami baba. Who had lived in Faizabad from 1955 till 1985. He never took any visitors. Only people came to him in the middle of the night. If Gumnami baba was netaji, government must be aware of his identity. Yet they chose not to reveal because they did not want an indian icon being tried for charges of treason.

  • There was also story about Netaji being executed in USSR of Joseph Stalin. If it is true, then the story of spying on Netaji’s family does not carry any weight. On the other hand, the fact that spying was done by government of India, may indicate that the rumoured death of Netaji may not be true after all. 

Anyway, Netaji’s after life remains shrouded in mystery. All we have his dedication for the cause of Indian independence. His zeal to be successful in his endeavour to create an army and march against the British. He did not succeed. But in those day and age, British were ruling most of the world. Netaji was not daunted by his enemy. He gave everything he had to his cause. In our small lives, when we feel sad of failures, remember the song “Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja“, the marching song of Indian National Army. This song represents is the spirit and sense of sacrifice  of Netaji Subhas Bose for independence of India.

Tags: British Empire, Fascist Mussolini, Forward Block, Great Britain, Gumnami Baba, Imperial Japan, Imphal, Indian National Army, Indian National Congress, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Mahatma Gandhi, Nazi Germany, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Pattavi Sitaramaiah, US, West,

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