Indian freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s tales are filled with not just heroism, but mystery too. While still fighting for India’s freedom, Bose disappeared under mysterious circumstances in August 1945, precipitating rumours and conspiracy theories that refuse to recede even today. Recently, the leading media house Al Jazeera published a feature about the Bose mystery on its international edition. The feature is written by veteran journalist and author Subir Bhaumik, Senior Fellow, Centre for Studies in International Relations & Development. He was BBC’s Eastern India bureau chief for nearly two decades. Bhaumik’s feature presents a balanced view of the perspectives shared by historians, politicians, and activists about the mystery.
In the feature, Bhaumik juxtaposes the BJP’s pre-election declassification promise with the BJP government’s post-election admission to my RTI request that Narendra Modi does not have the power to declassify the sensitive files about Bose. The feature is big in scope that it even carries the views of historian Leonard A. Gordon, author of Brothers Against the Raj, considered by many as the most definitive biography of Bose. The shocking information I collected from the Prime Minister’s Office that even the Indian Prime Minister does not have the power to declassify the secret files about Bose’s death is given due weight in the article. Personally, it is a nice feeling to get mentioned alongside Gordon in the international edition of a leading media house feature. From a wider perspective, the Al Jazeera feature is proof that Bose’s death mystery is a multi-dimensional combination puzzle that remains unsolved for nearly seven decades. Mission Netaji is all determined to try to get to the bottom of this enigma.