Declassification of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Life

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PM Modi’s decision to declassify the official documents of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on 23rd January, 2016 as a tribute to him on his 119th birth anniversary received abundant applause from his family, historians, researchers, curious journalists, intellectuals, and the common man interested in exploring the inspiring life of Netaji. PMO also requested various other countries like Russia, Japan, China, Malaysia, US, Singapore, and America to share any document related to his life, to resolve the mystery surrounding his inspirational yet controversial life. Once submitted, these files will also undergo scrutiny to resolve the unanswered queries surrounding the life of Netaji.

Well, we should also lend some credit to the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee for releasing the cabinet papers related to Netaji from the period 1938 to 1947.

The decision is considered as a welcome move from moving to a culture of secrecy to one that nurtures information sharing for the general public, to enhance their knowledge and understand the pre Independence era. It will not only provide insights to the important incidents that took place in the pre Independence era but will also help an individual understand the genesis of our nation. After more than 60 years of our independence, we have unfortunately taken our hard earned Independence, soaked with the blood and pride of our heroes, for granted. Hence, declassification of these files will play a catalyst in awakening our torpid conscious and regard the important role of our great heroes in building this nation. The government has further planned to release 25 files every month for public access.

Let’s try and understand what is there in the declassified files of Netaji for us. Currently, a total of 100 files have been declassified and released in three steps. At first, they were made available to his immediate family members, then released to journalists, and later to the general public. These files comprised of the details pertaining to his initial life, his political journey, speculations about his second marriage, and details about his life in his last years.

A small narrative from Netaji’s life may explain why initially our government was skeptical to release the files related to Netaji.  Though, due to controversial political reasons, Netaji was given the due credit of his contribution to the politics quite late, however, with the passage of time he attracted many followers such as the LTTE’s late chief Velupillai Prabhakaran for example. It was later said that he escaped China and then Soviet Union, later returning to India where he lived as a saint in Faizabad, a small town of UP until his death in 1985. There were rumors of him being disguised as Pathan and escaping to Afghanistan, an Italian businessman travelling to Russia would have initially discouraged the central government from declassifying the files containing the mysterious secrets of his life. Although, it is too early to judge that what these files will reveal however it has certainly given his family members a positive hope and support that their hero is not forgotten.

Netaji Modi
PTI Photo

PM Modi also tweeted on this matter saying that “there is no need to strangle history”, he said “Nations that forget their history lack the power to create it.”

We believe our government will slowly diminish the culture of secrecy in our system with the declassification of such files under their custody. Click Here to visit the archive containing the files related to Netaji.

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Manisha Bhatia

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