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Netaji- Subhash Chandra Bose
www.missionnetaji.org for loads of info.
Subhash Chandra Bose

Subhash Chandra Bose (Bangla: সুভাষ চন্দ্র বসু) (January 23, 1897–August 18, 1945note) also known as Netaji, was a prominent leader of the Indian independence movement against the authoritarian British Raj. Bose helped to organize and later led the Indian National Army, put together with Indian prisoners-of-war and plantation workers from Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, against British and Raj forces during the Second World War.

Early life

Subhash Chandra Bose was born to an affluent Bengali family in Cuttack, Orissa. His father, Janakinath Bose, was a public prosecutor who believed in orthodox nationalism and later became a member of the Bengal Legislative Council. With eight brothers and six sisters, Bose's family was large, but disciplined. He loved to read and was fascinated with religion, discipline, and self-control. As a youth, he did volunteer work for the community and after reading Vivekananda's writings, "selfless service" became the motto guiding his life.

Recognizing his son's intellect, Bose's father was determined that Bose should become a high-ranking civil servant. He attended the Protestant European School and the Ravenshaw Collegiate School in Cuttack and later graduated with honours from the Scottish Church College, Calcutta. He was placed second in his university examinations and participated as a member of the India Defence Corps, then a newly-formed military training unit at the University of Calcutta. Afterwards he travelled to England and attended Fitzwilliam Hall at the University of Cambridge.

In 1920, Bose took the Indian Civil Service entrance examination and was ranked second. However, he resigned from the prestigious Indian Civil Service in April 1921 despite his high ranking in the merit list, and went ahead to join the freedom movement. After returning to India, he joined the Congress party and was particularly active in its youth wing. Bose's ideas did not match with that of Gandhi's belief in non-violence. So he returned to Calcutta to work under Chittaranjan Das, the Bengali freedom fighter and co-founder (with Motilal Nehru) of the Swaraj Party. In 1921, Bose organised a boycott of the celebrations to mark the Prince of Wales' visit to India. This led to his being imprisoned. In April 1924, Bose was elected the Chief Executive Officer of the newly constituted Calcutta Corporation. Later, in October that year, Bose was arrested as a suspected terrorist. First, he was in Alipore jail and later he was exiled to Mandalay in Burma.

In June 1925, Bose was deeply struck by the sudden loss of his mentor Chittaranjan Das. At the end of 1926 he was nominated in absentia as a candidate for the Bengal Legislative Assembly. On May 16 1927 he was released from jail due to ill-health. The two years in Mandalay increased his confidence and strength. By December 1927, Bose with Jawaharlal Nehru became the General Secretary of the Congress. On January 23 1930, Bose was once again arrested for leading an "Independence" procession, protesting against British rule in India. After being released from jail on September 25, he was elected as the Mayor of the City of Calcutta. He was incarcerated eleven times by the British over a span of twenty years, either in India or in Rangoon. He spent many years in various capacities as the Chief Executive Officer of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (where Chittaranjan Das had previously been Mayor), and later as Mayor himself. With Jawaharlal Nehru he was one of the radical Left wing leaders of the Congress Party. He was exiled from India, during the mid 1930s to Europe, where he stated India's cause for self-rule before gatherings and conferences (like the Second Communist International). After his father's death the British authorities allowed him to land at Calcutta's airport only for the religious rites, which would be followed by his swift departure. During this time he traveled extensively in India and in Europe before stating his political opposition to Gandhi. He became the president of the Haripura Indian National Congress in 1938, against Gandhi's wishes. He was elected for a second term in 1939 in Tripura Congress Session; Gandhi had supported Pattabhi Sitaramayya and commented "Pattavi's defeat is my defeat" after learning the election results. Although Bose won the election, Gandhi's continued opposition led to the resignation of the Working Committee. In the face of this gesture of no-confidence Bose himself resigned. Bose then formed an independent party, the All India Forward Bloc.

Actions during the Second World War

Bose advocated the approach that the political instability of war-time Britain should be taken advantage of—rather than simply wait for the British to grant independence after the end of the war (which was the view of Gandhi, Nehru and a section of the Congress leadership) at the time. In this he was influenced by the examples of Italian statesmen Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini. During his stay in Europe from 1933 to 1936, he met several European leaders and thinkers, including Benito Mussolini, Edvard Beneš, Karl Seitz, Eamon De Valera, Romain Rolland, and Alfred Rosenberg. He came to believe that India could achieve political freedom only if it had political, military and diplomatic support from outside and that an independent nation necessitated the creation of a national army to secure its sovereignty. His correspondence reveals that despite his sheer dislike for British subjugation, he was deeply impressed by their methodical and systematic approach and their steadfastedly disciplinarian outlook towards life. In England, he exchanged ideas with British Labour Party leaders and political thinkers like Lord Halifax, George Lansbury, Clement Attlee, Arthur Greenwood, Harold Laski, J.B.S. Haldane, Ivor Jennings, G.D.H. Cole, Gilbert Murray and Sir Stafford Cripps on the future of India. He came to accept the view that a free India needed Socialist authoritarianism, on the lines of Turkey's Kemal Atatürk for at least two decades.

"The Great Escape"

At the beginning of the Second World War Bose was released from jail following a hunger strike, but was kept under a watchful eye by the British. With two court cases pending, he felt sure the British would not let him out before the end of the War. This inevitably set the scene for Bose's "Great Escape", immortalized in the recent film about Bose's life. Bose had never been through Afghanistan, and could not speak Pashto, the language spoken in the tribal territories. For this reason he enlisted the help of Mian Akbar Shah, then a Forwad Bloc leader in the North West Frontier Province. Shah had been out of India before en route to the Soviet Union, and suggested a novel disguise for Bose to assume. In particular, Bose didn't speak Pashto, the language of the Pathan tribesmen, which would cause him to be easily identitified by Pashto speakers working for the British. For this reason, Shah suggested that Bose act deaf and dumb, and let his beard grow to mimic those of the tribesmen.

On January 19th, 1941, Bose journeyed to Peshawar where he was met at Peshawar Cantonment station by Shah, Mohammed Shah and Bhagat Ram. Bose was taken to the house of Abad Khan, a trusted friend of Akbar Shah's. On the 26th January, 1941 Bose began his journey to reach Europe.

In Germany

Having escaped his incarceration at home by taking the guise of a Pathan insurance agent ("Ziaudddin") to Afghanistan, Bose travelled to Moscow with the passport of an Italian nobleman "Count Orlando Mazzotta". From Moscow he reached Rome and from there he traveled to Germany where he instituted the Special Bureau for India under Adam von Trott zu Solz, broadcasting on the German-sponsored Azad Hind Radio. He founded the Free India Centre in Berlin and created the Indian Legion (consisting of some 4500 soldiers) out of Indian prisoners of war who had previously fought for the British in North Africa, but had been captured by Axis forces. The Azad Hind legion was attached to the Waffen SS, and they swore their allegiance to Hitler and Bose to secure India's independence.

Bose became disillusioned with Hitler after the German invasion of the Soviet Union and decided to leave Nazi Germany. The lack of interest Hitler had shown for the cause of Indian independence had frustrated Bose. He travelled by German submarine U-180 around the Cape of Good Hope to Imperial Japan (via Japanese submarine I-29), which helped him raise his army in Singapore. This was the only civilian-transfer across two different submarines of two different navies in World War II.

In Japan

The Indian National Army (INA) consisted of some 85,000 regular troops, including a separate women's army unit named after Rani Lakshmi Bai (in a regular army, the women's combat army unit was the first of its kind in Asia), who gave her life in the First War of Indian Independence of 1857, fighting colonial British forces. These were under the aegis of a provisional government, with its own currency, court and civil code, named the "Provisional Government of Free India" (or the Arzi Hukumate Azad Hind) and recognised by nine Axis states: Germany, Japan, Italy, the Independent State of Croatia, Reformed Government of the Republic of China, Thailand, a provisional government of Burma, Manchukuo and a Japanese-controlled Philippines. Of those countries, excluding Japan, 5 of them were states established by Axis occupation. This government participated as a delegate or observer in the so-called Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. En route to India, some of Bose's troops assisted in the Japanese victory over the British in the battles of Arakan and Meiktila, along with the Burmese National Army led by Ba Maw and Aung San. The Provisional Government and the INA were established in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, part of the British Indian Empire under Japanese occupation. On the Indian mainland, an Indian Tricolour, modeled after that of the Indian National Congress, was raised for the first time in the town in Moirang, in Manipur, in northeastern India. The other towns of Kohima and Imphal, were placed under siege by divisions of the Japanese, the Burmese and the Gandhi and Nehru Brigades of I.N.A.. At the time of the Great Bengal Famine of 1943, during which millions died of starvation, Bose had offered (through radio) Burmese rice to the victims of the famine. The British authorities in India (and in the UK) refused the offer.

When the Japanese were defeated at the battles of Kohima and Imphal, the Provisional Government's aim of establishing a base in mainland India was lost forever and the INA was forced to pull-back along with the defeated Japanese Imperial Army. Japan's surrender after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also led to the eventual surrender of the Indian National Army.

Political views

Even though Bose and Gandhi had differing ideologies, the latter called Bose the "Patriot of Patriots" (Bose had called Gandhi "Father of the Nation"). He has been given belated recognition in India, and especially in West Bengal; Kolkata's civil airport and a university have been named after him. Many of the symbols of Bose's provisional government, which were also associated with the Congress, have been adopted in independent India: Rabindranath Tagore's "Jana Gana Mana", which was the national song of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind is independent India's National Anthem, and the tricolour as India's national flag.

His alliance with the Axis continues to be controversial; the generally accepted view in India is that he was a hero for his forceful stance against British rule in India and for Indian independence. In working with the Japanese he was however fighting his own countrymen, who defended India within the unpoliticised British Indian Army against the Japanese invasion.

At the time of the start of the Second World War, great divisions existed in the Indian independence movement about whether to exploit the weakness of the British to achieve independence. Some felt that any distinctions between the political allegiances and ideologies of the warring factions of Europe were inconsequential in the face of the possibility of Indian independence, and that it was hypocritical of the British to condemn pro-democracy Indians for allying themselves with anti-democratic Axis forces when the British themselves showed so little respect for democracy or democratic reforms in India. Others felt that it was inappropriate to seek concessions when Britain itself was in peril, and found their distaste for Nazi Germany outweighed their concerns about Independence.

Bose, in particular, was accused of 'collaborating' with the Axis; he criticized the British during World War-II, saying that while Britain was fighting for the freedom of the European nations under Nazi control, it did not grant its own colonies, including India their independence. It may be observed that along with Nehru, Bose had organized and led protest marches against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, and of China itself in 1938, when he was Congress president. During that period, Chinese leader Chiang Kai Shek was feted in India and medical aid and food supplies were sent to Chinese areas which suffered the worst brunt of Japanese imperialism. That he eventually abandoned his political stance (which initially was that of Gandhi and Nehru) reflects his deep discontent with the nature of the British rule, and a growing belief that the formation of an Indian free state was nowhere on the British political roadmap. At the Tripuri [1] Congress session, he made his views quite explicit: Britain had forced a war on India, without bothering to consult Indians and in the (then largely Conservative Party dominated) British world view, the opinions and aspirations of people of non white "subject races" did not count.

It is interesting to note that Bose's earlier correspondences (prior to 1939) reflect his deep disapproval of the racist practices of and annulment of democratic institutions in Nazi Germany. Though Bose did ally himself with the Axis powers, there is little to suggest he shared any of their doctrines of racial superiority; instead it appears he was motivated to join them largely out of political pragmatism. It may be noted that his tenure as Congress Party president (1938-39) hardly reflected any anti-democratic or authoritarian attributes. Rather his role then was more that of a negotiator, and a consensus-builder within the ranks of the senior Congress leadership (led by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and others) on the one hand, and the Muslim League (led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah) on the other. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Anton Pelinka and Leonard Gordon have remarked that Bose's skills and were best illustrated at the negotiating table than at the battlefield.

Though he had expressed his belief that India would require a period after independence under a benevolent dictatorship similar to that imposed in Turkey, he also expressed his belief that democracy for India was the best option for her people to live, and his authoritarian tendencies were based, similarly, out of political pragmatism and post-colonial recovery doctrine rather than any anti-democratic belief.

Assassination Attempts
In 1941, when the British learnt that Bose had sought the support of the Axis Powers, they ordered their agents to assassinate Bose. This remarkable claim comes from Irish historian Dr. Eunan O'Halpin, who is the author of several books on British intelligence and teaches at Trinity College, Dublin.

British agents were instructed to intercept and kill Bose before he reached Germany via the Middle East, according to Professor O'Halpin. According to him, a recently declassified intelligence document refers to a top-secret instruction to the Special Operations Executive (SOE) of British intelligence to murder Bose.

Initially thought to be in the Far East, Bose's whereabouts were discovered from an Italian diplomatic communication, and the British came to know Bose was in Kabul, planning to reach Germany through the Middle East. Two SOE operatives in Turkey were instructed by their headquarters in London to intercept Bose and kill him before he reached Germany. They failed because Bose reached Germany through Central Asia and the Soviet Union. Every time the operatives checked back, headquarters told them the orders were intact and Bose must be killed if found.

According to Mr O'Halpin, the decision was extraordinary, unusual and rare, and it seemed that the British took Bose much more seriously than many thought. In fact the plan to liquidate Bose has few parallels, and appears to be a last desperate measure against someone who had thrown the British Empire in complete panic.</b>
(so much for gandhi - the man who broke the back of an ampire with his dandi marches and beggary)
Reading List

* Brothers Against the Raj --- A biography of Indian Nationalists Sarat and Subhas Chandra Bose / Leonard A. Gordon, Princeton University Press, 1990

* Lost hero : a biography of Subhas Bose / Mihir Bose, Quartet Books, London ; 1982

* Democracy Indian style : Subhas Chandra Bose and the creation of India's political culture / Anton Pelinka ; translated by Renée Schell, New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction Publishers (Rutgers University Press), 2003

* Subhas Chandra Bose : a biography / Marshall J. Getz, Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., USA, 2002

* The Springing Tiger : Subhash Chandra Bose / Hugh Toye : Cassell, London, 1959

* Netaji and India's freedom : proceedings of the International Netaji Seminar, 1973 / edited by Sisir K. Bose. International Netaji Seminar (1973 : Calcutta, India), Netaji Research Bureau, Calcutta, India, 1973

* Indian Pilgrim : an unfinished autobiography / Subhas Chandra Bose ; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Oxford University Press, Calcutta, 1997

* Indian Struggle, 1920-1942 / Subhas Chandra Bose ; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Oxford University Press, Calcutta, 1997

* Correspondence and Selected Documents, 1930-1942 / Subhas Chandra Bose ; edited by Ravindra Kumar, Inter-India, New Delhi, 1992.

* Letters to Emilie Schenkl, 1934-1942 / Subhash Chandra Bose; edited by Sisir Kumar Bose and Sugata Bose, Permanent Black : New Delhi, 2004

* Japanese-trained armies in Southeast Asia : independence and volunteer forces in World War II / Joyce C. Lebra, New York : Columbia University Press, 1977

* Jungle alliance, Japan and the Indian National Army / Joyce C. Lebra, Singapore, Donald Moore for Asia Pacific Press,1971

* The Forgotten Army : India's Armed Struggle for Independence / Peter Ward Fay, Calcutta: Rupa & Co., 1994
from http://www.missionnetaji.org/node/60

How PMO hushed up Top Secret Bose files -- 1

Anuj Dhar

If it were to explode now, the bombshell of Subhas Bose mystery could shake the office of the head of the Indian Government. No, it is not the usual diatribe against a dead Prime Minister. Something came to light recently, raising serious concerns about the handling of this volatile case by the Prime Minister's Office.

A little background is necessary here. Chances are that you would not have heard about this momentous event of 1978 that paved the way for the formation of the Mukherjee Commission. During the Emergency years, an incarcerated Professor Samar Guha, the lawmaker who had forced the Indira Gandhi Government to form the Khosla Commission in 1970, thrashed out with fellow prisoners, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani, the counter-attack. He had with him the inside details of Khosla's sham inquiry. From the ringside Guha saw through it all -- contradictions in evidence, the Government's misdeeds and Khosla's complicity.

Soon Vajpayee was the External Affairs Minister and Advani the Information and Broadcasting Minister in the Morarji Desai Cabinet. Resolutely staying with the Bose case, Guha, on his own, moved the battle to Parliament in the form of a motion. Lawmakers demanded that the matter be inquired into by three sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India. Restless Guha built up his case with heavy doses of facts. He cited how different witnesses to the Taipei crash relied upon by Khosla had made remarks so discrepant from each other that it appeared they were telling lies. Home Minister Charan Singh was no match for Guha, who was joined by others leveling serious charges on the Government and late Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. Sensing that situation was going out of hand, the Prime Minister stood up to douse the fire.

This was August 28, 1978. Morarji shuffled through papers and appealed Guha to take back his motion. He did not want further problem, so he, in return, gave away the actual stand of the Government of India on the death of Subhas Bose.

"The Shah Nawaz Committee and the Khosla Commission held the report of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's death following a plane crash as true. Since then, reasonable doubts have been cast on the correctness in the two reports and various important contradictions in the testimony of the (mostly Japanese) witnesses have been noticed.

"Some further contemporary official documentary records have also become available. In the light of those doubts and contradictions and those records, Government (of India) finds it difficult to accept that the earlier conclusions are decisive."

Read it again. The Prime Minister unequivocally stated that there were "contemporary official documentary records" to set aside the crash theory built up mostly on the accounts rendered by unreliable witnesses. There was no ambiguity. The Prime Minister was looking through papers handed over by his office. Then, in years to come, the same statement was repeated, lastly by former Home Minister LK Advani. The catalyst for Advani's admission was scathing 1998 verdict of the Calcutta High Court, which took a special note of the Prime Minister's statement.

" ... there has been no positive attempt it seems after the statement by the Prime Minister in the year 1978 ... no serious effort in this behalf (resolving the Bose mystery) has been made (by the Government of India). It seems lapses have occurred from time to time .... It is therefore, necessary that respondents (Government) are told their silence may not be appreciated in the matter and they for obvious reasons ... should proceed in some effective manner to enquire into the circumstances of the death (of Bose) .... "

It looked so simple when the Mukherjee Commission directed the Government to make available to him these "contemporary official documentary records" on the basis of which Desai had been constrained to reject the eyewash reports of Shah Nawaz and GD Khosla. But do you know what Atal Bihari Vajpayee's PMO answered? In December 2001 the PMO stated that these records had vanished into thin air and, therefore, the PMO was unable to speculate what had made Desai make that statement.

That was nonsense. No Prime Minister would ever make a statement on the floor of the Lok Sabha at the end of a motion without checking up facts. Cornering the Government, the Commission cited a "Top Secret" PMO file ( 2/64/78-PM) containing clear references to the "official documents, notes and orders which led ... Desai to make the said statement on the floor of the Parliament".

And when the Government clammed up, Justice MK Mukherjee, a former Supreme Court judge, himself pursued the case with the PMO, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs. He met Home Minister LK Advani, who was at least affable, and his discourteous successor Shivraj Patil. Nothing came out. Some highly sensitive papers concerning the fate of one of the greatest Indians ever had been removed as part of what appeared to be a conspiracy in the Prime Minister's Office.

Taiwan rejects Bose crash theory

The Taiwanes authorities have said Indian independence fighter Subhash Chandra Bose could not have died in a plane crash in the country.

Many believe the nationalist leader was killed in a plane crash in the capital, Taipei on 18 August, 1945.

Taiwan has now told a Indian investigation that there were no plane crashes at Taipei between 14 August and 20 September 1945.

Bose, or Netaji, fought against British colonial rule.

He believed that only an armed rebellion could oust the British from India.

Bose set up the Indian National Army in exile to fight against British rule during the second war.

'Escape rumours'

Some of his old followers in the Indian National Army insist that he died in a plane crash in Taipei on 18 August 1945.

An aide of the leader even claimed that he survived the plane crash and found Bose dead in the wreckage.

His body was never recovered, fuelling rumour and speculation among other supporters who continue to believe that Bose survived the crash.

There were rumours that Bose escaped to the Soviet Union and was then imprisoned there.

Now the Taiwanese authorities have told a long-running Indian investigation into Bose's fate that there was no such crash in Taipei in August 1945.

"This is a shot in the arm for those who believe that Bose did not die in the crash," said Kalyan Kumar Ghosh, who has written a book on the Bose's army in exile.

What happened to Bose has been always shrouded in mystery.

The Japanese government says his bones are preserved at a temple in the country.

A major motion picture on Bose, directed by leading Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal, will be released this year.

British 'attempted to kill Bose'

The British told their agents to assassinate India's independence war leader Subhash Chandra Bose in 1941, an Irish historian has claimed.

Eunan O'Halpin, who has written several books on British intelligence, says the order came after Bose sought support of the Axis powers in World War II.

British agents were told to intercept and kill Bose before he reached Germany via the Middle East, Mr O'Halpin says.

Bose is believed to have died in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945.


Mr O'Halpin says that once they found Bose was planning to oust the British with active support of the Axis powers, British intelligence was given "clear orders" to assassinate him in 1941.

In a lecture in Calcutta, Mr O'Halpin cited a recently declassified intelligence document referring to a top-secret instruction to the Special Operations Executive (SOE) of British intelligence to murder Bose.

Mr O'Halpin says the British were initially puzzled about the whereabouts of Bose after his escape from Calcutta in January 1941.

"They thought he had gone to the Far East, but they soon intercepted Italian diplomatic communication and came to know Bose was in Kabul, planning to reach Germany through the Middle East," said Mr O'Halpin.

"Two SOE operatives in Turkey were instructed by their headquarters in London to intercept Bose and kill him before he reached Germany," the Irish professor, who teaches at Trinity College, Dublin, said.

Mr O'Halpin said the SOE operatives in Turkey failed to because Bose reached Germany through Central Asia and the Soviet Union. "Every time [the operatives] checked back, headquarters told them the orders were intact and Bose must be killed if found."


Describing the decision as "extraordinary, unusual and rare", Mr O'Halpin said the British took Bose "much more seriously than many thought".

<b>He added: "Historians working on the subject tell me the plan to liquidate Bose has few parallels. It appears to be a last desperate measure against someone who had thrown the Empire in complete panic."</b>

Other historians who have worked on Bose say this will add to the mystique of India's most charismatic independence war figure.

<b>"Bose would have reasons to compliment himself if he knew that the British were desperate enough to plan his assassination. That's a measure of how seriously they took him," says Calcutta historian, Lipi Ghosh.

In retrospect, she says, the British had correctly assessed the potential of Bose.

Sugata Bose, Gardiner professor of history at Harvard University and a grand-nephew of Bose. said: "Since he ultimately managed to swing the loyalty of the Indian soldiers to the national cause from the King Emperor, they had all the reasons to contemplate the worst."</b>

After 20 years in the Indian National Congress, Bose was elected its president but quit in disgust at Gandhi's plans for non-violent struggle.

After reaching Germany he travelled to East Asia in a 90-day submarine journey to set up the Indian National Army from soldiers who had surrendered to Japan.

Bose's army fought with the Japanese in the Imphal-Kohima campaign in 1944-1945.

The document said to be calling on British agents to kill Bose
<img src='http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40690000/jpg/_40690694_dox.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
In this page we provide a brief historial note on the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) and on the events leading to the momentous occassion of the formation of Netaji's Provisional Government of Free India on 21 October, 1943 and its subsequent recognition by Japan, the Phillipines, Nanking, Burma, Thailand etc.

Utterly convinced that passive protestations and civil disobedience to the English rulers of India alone cannot guarantee freedom, his overwhelming passion for India's independence drove Netaji out of India - in search of, and to secure, international diplomatic support and military co-operation.

Bose firmly believed that India needed allies in its struggle for freedom even if that meant forging a tie with an 'intolarable' regime as the Nazis of Germany. He said to Kitty Kurti:

It is dreadful, but it must be done. It is our only way out. India must gain her independence, cost what it may.

With the help of a selected few confidants of his revolutionary organisation Bose left Calcutta on 17th January 1941 for Kabul - where previously arrangements were made with German and Italian embassies - for his eventual transfer to Europe. He took grave security risks and braved the rugged mountainous route from Peshawar to Kabul on bare foot in the companionship of only one other person Vagatram.

Equipped with an assumed identity and passport from the Italian Legation in Kabul in the name of Signor Orlando Mazzitto, with diplomatic immunity as an official wireless operator, Alexander Werth p.12 and in the company of Dr. Voelger Bose left Kabul on 18th March for Samarkhand. On 20th March they boarded a train from Tarmeez bound for Moscow.

Disappointed with Russian response to his proposal for help, Bose eventually leaned towards Germany. He despised Nazism - but he was ready to make friends with the devil himself - if that was any assistance to his cause.

His earlier stay in Germany and close contact with Hitler and his top deputies in the mid-thirties and credentials from the Italian and German diplomatic offices in Kabul were supposed to have helped him a great deal when he flew from Moscow to Berlin. Alas! it was not easy!

German foeign Office was very well informed about Bose through ite pre-war Consul General in Calcutta and from its representative in Kabul. The Foreign Office had all the information about his great past and knew from their reports that as an active fighter against British imperialism Bose could be trusted with any help that the Government thought to extend to him. N. G. Ganpuley p.12

[But] at the time the leading lights of German politics must have been so busy that they had no time to consider in deatil the case of a man, even of Bose's political status, who had appeared suddenly on the scene, with his uncommon demands.ibid p.29

Another reason has also been advanced for some of Hitler's reticence to welcome Bose's proposal. The supiriority of Nordic races was a mania with Hitler and accordingly, he had a soft corner in his heart for England. His order on victorious German forces to allow British troops to retreat unharmed from the battlefields of Dunkirk has been cited as evidence to support this hypothesis.

It was therefore not very easy to change this pro-British attitude of Hitler into a friendly gesture towards India which was in direct opposition to England.ibid p.34

Bose's burning desire to forge a tie with all enimies of the British imperialists, his endless patience and his untiring perseverence eventually won the day. After his fruitful contact and negotiations with Adam von Trott Zu Solz (head of the German Eastern Affairs, later made head of Special India Division) and his deputy Alexandaer Werth:

... it was ultimately decided that Netaji should be given every help to choose his men out of POW (Prisoner of War) camps and the German Wehrmacht should give him all the help necessary on the lines suggested.ibid p.39

In this regard Werth observedAlexander Werth, Netaji in Germany

Very soon we felt the strength of his will power, the honesty of his intentions and the inexorability of his personal dedication to India's cause, ... we could not help being influenced by his ideas and wishes.

One of the demands, Bose was able to extract from the German authorities, was the release of all Indian prisoners from War camps and jails in countries under German occupation. Also, with great difficulty and considerable research, Bose was able to make a reasonable list of Indians living at the time in Europe. Soon he (in the name of his assumed identity of Orlando Mazzitto) invited them all to a tea pary - to be held at none other than the former British diplomatic mission. It is here that everyone eventually worked out who this host Signor Orlando Mazzitto really was. Here they started the Free India Centre, Azad Hind Radio centre in October 1941 and finally here was born the Indian Legion (Azad Hind Fauz) later known as the Indian National Army (INA) comprising enthusiastic Indian students, political activists and Indian POW's imprisoned by General Rommel, primarily from the battle grounds of Africa.

Converting the POW's, who fought under the British generals and throughly indoctrinated by their masters, was a rather difficult task for Bose and others. All of a sudden, this largely uneducated band of soldiers, had to come to grips with the idea as soldiers of free India. Dr. Girija Mukherjee, who himself was a patriot journalist, wrote about this subject:

I saw how the whole audience was coming under his spell [as] they were litening. ... when he finished they had acquired new life, new animation, new excitement... Dr. Girija Mukherjee, This Europe

Bose kept working with furious pace and determination to strengthen the Azad Hind Fauz, Azad Hind Radio - his only medium of contact with India his beloved yet bedeviled motherland, and ever so relentlessly in the diplomatic front to secure a tripartite declaration of support from Germany, Japan and Italy.

He saw Mussolini. He frequented between the German foreign office and Japanese mission. He saw Hitler on 26th May 1942 to plead the urgency of his case. At the time Hitler was a little hesitant as his forces were advancing towards Leningrad and did not, understandably, want to take on additional burden right then. The German Chancellor suggested that the time was not right then and wanted to know exactly what kind of 'political concept' Bose had in mind. Netaji was extremely annoyed at this last comment and replied through the interpreter, Von Trott - chief of the Special India Office:

Tell his excellency that I have been in politics all my life and that I don't need advice from any side. Werth, op.cit. p.36.

A remark about Hitler very few would be brave enough to make in the Spring of 1942 - when he was at the Zennith of his success and glory! But we are describing here a man of steel - he had no fear!

Meanwhile, following the attack of Pearl Harbour on 7th of December 1941 Japanese forces made significant naval and army inroads in the East and South East. They virtually controlled everything from Sea of Japan to Bay of Bengal. Cities after cities fell under the Japanese forces by May 1942. Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, Penang and Rangoon. The Japanese Government, persuaded by another fearless Bengali revolutionary, Rash Behari Bose, who was in exile in Tokyo for a considerable length of time and married a Japanese girl, Tosshiko Soma, declared its whole-hearted support for Indian revolutionaries in their fight against the British Raj. Prime Minister General Tojo announced:

It is a golden opportunity for India having, as it does, several thousand years of history and splendid cultural tradition, to rid herself of of the ruthless despotism of Britain and participate in the construction of the Great East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere.

Japan expects that India will attain her proper status as India for the Indians... S.A. Das and K.B. Subbaiah, Chalo Delhi.

Mussolini, who sent separate communication to Hitler on the subject, advised Bose to form a government in exile. But Germany considered the proposition a little premature. The above announcement from Japan, however, gave Netaji immense encouragement. Now convinced that he could play a much more active role on the soil of Asia - rather than agonising for ever staying in Berlin. Time was running out. He must be where the centre of action was. So, he decided to transfer to the East and asked for Axis help. The security risk of Bose's transfer was phenomenal. He needed special assistance to safely come to the East. In this matter Rash Behari, who was the Chairman of the Bangkok Conference (of Indians in East Asia), having chaired the Tokyo Conference a few months earlier, was a catalyst. Under his guidance the Bangkok Conference resolved that:

This Conference reequests Sj. Subhas Chandra Bose to be kind enough to come to East Asia and appeals to the Imperial Government of Japan to use its good offices to obtain the necessary permission and conveniences from the Government of Germany to enable Sj. Subhas Chandra Bose to reach East Asia safely.

After fall of Malay, Japanese Major Fujiara transferred 30,000 Indian POW's under the control of the fallen British Army Captain Mohan Singh of the Punjab Regiment in Malay under a deal cut by Preetam Singh and Debnath Das both close revolutionary collegues of the fiery Rash Behari Bose. The Indian Independence League (under the leadership of Rash Behari Bose) took control of this military wing - the INA counterpart in the East - under the command of Captain Singh - to fight side by side with the Japanese forces to forge their way through Burma and march to India, on to Delhi.
Meanwhile the Cripps mission failed, Congress became increasingly more impatient with Britain and was not prepared to wait until the end of the War for India's independence. Even Gandhiji started to look a little moved by Bose's activities in Europe. Joyprakash Narain openly supported Bose's armed revolution saying:

My own interpretation of the Congress position (not Gandhiji's) is quite clear and definite. Congress is prepared to fight aggression violently if the country become independent. Well, we have declared ourselves independent, and also named Britain as an aggresive power; we are, therefore, justified within the terms of Bombay resolution itself to fight Britain with arms. If this does not accord with Gandhiji's principles that is not my fault.R. C. Mazumdar, History of Freedom Movement vol III, p. 669.

Quit India became the slogan. Do or die became the motto. The August movement crytalised. All political leaders of India were despatched to jail by the British Raj. The authorities disbanded the provincial Congress committee of Bengal - the most militant in India on 10th of August 1942. Even Gandhiji himself conceded, at C.R. Das's residence that 'had India sword, I would have asked her to draw it'. This was the kind of electric energy Bose radiated from a long distance. Thousands of Indians in the British Army started defecting and wanted to scrifice their lives for the cause of India. Because it was the wish of their leader. That's what Bose wanted. Fight till your last breath, fight for India! The English author Coupland writes:

"The Revolutionaries of extreme left, specially in Bengal, were still ready to take their orders from Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose, even if they came by Radio from Berlin".R. Coupland, Indian Politics p. 268.

The desparate killing machine of the so-called civilised English rulers of Chuchill started indiscriminate firing on the aroused mob on the streets of Calcutta and other parts of the country. On 11th August, 13 died in Bombay, casualties in Calcutta rose to 6 at the end of 12th with 3 in Bombay, 7 in Bangalore on 13th, 14 in Bombay and 4 in Madras on 14th, 6 in Ramnad, 5 in Godabari and 1 in Niligiri districts, 40 in Delhi in 7 days, 218 in Vagalpore, 38 in Dwarbhanga, 5 at Katihar, 67 in Sultanganj, 8 in Bidpur, 8 in Sahabad, 9 in Laheria, 6 in Dhaka, 4 in Munsiganj, 3 in Taltala ... the list goes on for ever. Churchill wasn't going to be the first minister of the monarch to dismember the British Empire. If Bose was alive in free India, he surely would have demanded a trial of Prime Minister Churcill and all the King's men in India for brutal genocide and crime against humanity perpetrated by them.

The Japanese Government was a little unsure as to whether it was a good idea to bring Subhas Bose to the East in view of the impending perilous risks. Further, they already had another Bose (Rash Behari) who was already doing a commendable job of uniting the East Asian Indians against Briain. As to Rash Behari's request for speedy transfer of Subhas Chandra Bose to the East Lieutenant General Seizo Arisu of Japanese Ground Self Defence is quoted as saying:

Myself and my collegues had no objection to comply with it, but we we were much worried as to the seniority positions between the two Boses after arrival of Mr. Chandra bose. So asked his frank opinion in the matter. In reply he assured me that we should have no worry on this this point and that he would subordinate himself to Mr. Chandra Bose... This impressed me very much and I felt great respect towards him since I saw very plainly that he felt no hesitation to work under the other Bose for the success of the Indian freedom movement. Further, I could clearly understand how much he was devoted to the independence of India.Bipllabi Mahanayak Rash Behari Bose Smarak Samity, Rash Behari Bose - His Struggle for India's Independence p. 50-51.

On the other hand, Subhas facing the same question from Mr. Higuti - Japanese Military Attache at Berlin embassy replied that he did not know Rash Behari personally. But as he was fighting for India from Tokyo, he would be quite happy to fight as a soldier under Rash Behari Bose. This clearly shows the depth of devotion to their motherland of these two revolutionary Bengali greats. It's a pitty that in half a century since India's independence, she had done very little to uphold their ideals to the new generation of Indians.

Mussolini rejected Netaji's request to fly in an Italian long-distance plane as too risky, even though a trial flight was successful from Rome to Singapore without any incidents. Alexander Werth wrote:

After long and complicated discussions with the Italian and the Japanese Embassies in Berlin and Rome, the following was agreed upon between the Special India Division and the German military authorities: Netaji accompanied by only one friend should be taken by a German submarine by way of the British Channel, Bay of Biscay, West Africa, South Africa to the south of Madagaskar where he should be transferred to a Japanese submarine which would take him to the nearest Japanese base in East Asia.

All these arrangements were successfully carried out through joint efforts of Netaji and the Special India Division and thanks to the initiative of General Oshima, Ambassador of Japan in Berlin, his military attache Mr. Yamamoto and other members of the the Japanese Embassies in Berlin and Rome, as well as competent German military authorities. Werth op. cit. p. 38.

Eventually, on the night of 7th Feb 1943 Boses deputy Nambiar, German State Secretary Keppler and Alexander Werth from the Special India Division took Bose and his companion Abid Hassan to Kiel port where a submarine was awaitng the arrival of the INA's Supreme Commander.

subhas.gif At dead of night on the 26th April, 1943 the two submarines could see each other at the pre-appointed location off Madagaskar coast. They did not make initial contact with each other until the following day. But as the weather was pretty rough it was decided to travel futher north-east in search of calmer sea. On 28th, despite inclement weather, Bose and Hassan were transferred from the German sub to the Japanese sub with the help of a rubber boat. On 6th May they landed at Saban, not Penang as originally intended. Yamamoto, the Japanese Military Attache at Berlin subhas.gif Embassy who arrived here earlier to receive the INA Chief, welcomed Bose. Because of the unplanned delay in arrival of the plane which was supposed to fly him to Tokyo, he was stranded at Saban for 5 days and reached Tokyo on the 16th. Ready

Thus the stage was for Bose to emerge as the leader of of the independence movement in East Asia. Tatsuo Hayasida, Netaji Subhas Bose p. 27.

Initially, Prime Minister Tojo refused to even see Bose claiming pressure of work. It was not unknown to him that Mr. Bose came all the way from Germany responding to offer of his government's help. Why then this sudden change of heart! Whilst nobody will ever discover the real truth, it is often speculated that the misgivings created by INA General Mohan Singh's unilateral decision to liquidate INA unit in Malay, thus trying to disfranchise Rash Behari from continuing Japanese Imperial assistance, may have annoyed Tojo no end. On the other hand, he could well have been genuinely under a tremendous pressure of work. Yamamoto was disillusioned with Tojo's behaviour and resigned in disgust. Other leaders convinced General Tojo to eventually see Subhas on 10th of June.

Hugh Toye wrote about Bose:

For most, the personality of the man was over-whelming, there was great genius of enthusiasm, of inspiration. Men found that when they were with him only the cause mattered, they saw only through his eyes, through the thoughts he gave them, could deny him nothing. Hugh Toye The Springing Tiger p. 177-178.

General Tojo was not an exception. The Japanese Prime Minister was charmed as Bose stood before him and spoke of his iron will and determination to snare India's independence off the British hands. He saw fire in this man's belly, hunger for freedom in his eyes and nothing in his words but great devotion to his motherland. The rest is history. The history that the English rulers never wanted to tell the world, the history which even the Congress party wanted to hide, and it was a history which Gandhiji tried to forget. Subhas met General Tojo on 14th June again. The latter agreed to each and every proposal that Bose made to him one by one. He announced in the Diet forthwith:

We are determined to extend every possible assistance for the cause of India's independence. It is our belief that the day is not far off when India will enjoy freedom and prosperity after winning independence.

At a press conference on 19th June, Bose declared that 'we would, however, get freedom only by shedding our own blood. We will be able to preserve our freedom only if we get it through our own sacrifice and toil.' On 20th June Nisi Nippon Shimbun openly published his arrival in Tokyo. Before he left Japan, Bose proposed his plan to establish a Provisional Government of Free India to the Japanese authorities who had little time to consider it properly before his departure for Singapore. When he arrived at Singapore on 2nd July he received a tumultous welcome there from soldiers and civillians alike.

His personal enthusiasm, his vitality, his authority and his world view won him the real allegiance of Indians in East Asia Toye op. cit.

At a reception held on 4th July in his honour Rash Behari transferred the mantel of the Indian Independence League to Subhas. On 25th of August he was formally appointed the Commander in Chief of the INA.

When Bose took command of the INA the army was in a bad shape with low morale and lacked discipline. This he changed in a very short period of time. On 21 October 1943 Bose announced his Provisional Government of Free India.

On 23rd October Japan announced its official recognition of the Bose Provisional Government:

The Provisional Government of India, having been established with Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose as its head, the Nippon Government in its firm belief that it is a great step toward the realisation of an independent India for which the Indian people have long aspired, has reconised it as the Provisional Government of Free India and hereby declares its intention to extend every possible co-operation and support in the Provisional Government's efforts to attain its object.

Soon came General Tojo's personal message congratualting His Excellency President and Prime Minister of Azad Hind Government. Recognition came from Dr. Ba Maw's Provisional Government of Burma on 24th, from the German Government on 29th, from Italy on 9th November. Recognition was extended by Thailand, Nanking, the Phillipines and a number of other nations.

The preparation for assault on the British Raj went along at a lightning pace. The head quarters of the INA was moved from Singapore to Rangoon on 7th January 1944. On the same day, in accordance with previous understanding with Bose, Japanese General Sugiyama, the Chief of General Staff, issued an Army Instruction paving the way for his forces, when conditons are favourable, to attack, occupy and consolidate the Imphal Area in NE India in order to secure GOC in Burma. The INA Chief Bose agreed with Japanese generals in regards to the following code of coduct by respective armies:

# The two armies would work on a common strategy.
# Officers and men of the INA would be under their own military law and not under that of Japan.
# Liberated territories were to be handed over to the INA.
# A definite independent sector would be allotted to the INA.
# The only flag to fly over the Indian soil would be National Tri-color.
# No indiscriminate bombing was to be carried out in Calcutta.
# Any Japanese or Indian soldiers found looting and raping was to be shot at once.

The first success of INA was recorded in Arakan's Mayu Valley when Major L.S. Misra's unit quickly cut off the 7th Indian Division on 4th of February 1944. The foreign minister of Japan Sigimitsu congratulated Bose and his INA:

Your Excellency! Allow me to tender to your Excellency my heart-felt congrtulations upon the spendid achievements of your gallant troops who have demonstrated their prowess in fighting shoulder to shoulder with Nippon forces.

The success stories continued in the Arakan and Kaladan sectors. Seatabin, Taung Bazar, Lanacot and Fort White were occupied in early March. The INA Gandhi Brigade, Subhas Brigade and Azad Brigade marched ahead towards the promised land - Free India.

Kohima fell to INA's Subhas Brigade on 8th April under the command of Col. Thakur Singh (2IC). Moirang fell to INA on 14th April, Col. S. Malik raised the Tri-color flag. The wonderful work done by Major Gen. Kiani's troops, and by Subhas Brigade under Shahnawaz Khan's command allowed INA to surround the British troops in Imphal for around three months.

The battle of Imphal turned out to be a protracted battle - for which INA's timing was too late in summer. Soon monsoon, not the British army, was to become their biggest advarsary.

'With continuous pounding of the only connecting link between the INA Headquarters and the Advance forces' by British B29 bombers and nothing to combat them with it was getting tougher by the day. Wrose still, INA did not have any aereal cover of their own - as most Japanese planes left the area to fight the Americans elsewhere. This inevitably meant that it was almost impossible to ensure continuity of supplies. Further, with the onset of monsoon, extensive rainfalls caused widespread flooding.

INA morale, however, was dampened neither by flood, nor for lack of supplies. They 'lived on grass and leaves for long', they could have gone on longer. Their leaders call was 'We must keep marching on.' Even the defection of Gandhi Brigade's Commandant B.J.S. Garewal and Major Prabhudayal to British army with maps and papers pinpointing exact locations of INA positions could not destroy the fighting spirit of the INA troops. Outbreak of malaria and descentry in the face of a total lack medical facilities and supplies dealt, however, a severe blow and took a heavy toll.

On Bose's instruction the troops eventually retreated. The extent of loss during retreat was significant.

Bose and his INA troops did not give up there. The task of rebuilding and strengthening INA continued in Burma. They fought many other battles in Burma against the advacing Allied forces. On 7th May 1945 Germany formally surrendered to the Allied forces. Fuehrer Adolf Hitler had fallen, The Fuehrer was dead.

Following the fall of Okinawa, despite Japan's proposal of surrender, nuclear attack on 6th of August in Hiroshima, followed by a similar explosion in Nagasaky on 9th, left a terrible mark on the history of an unprecedented account of loss of life and destruction. On 10th August USSR declared war on Japan. And the inevitable followed - Japan surrendered. Bose in his ever-calm voice said to his people:

Japan's surrender [is] not India's surrender ... The INA would not admit defeat.

Netaji wanted to stay in Singapore. But impending arrival of the Allied forces was only a matter of time. On advice and under extreme pressure from his Cabinet members, he decided to leave Singapore. On 17th of August 1945, Bose met up with Field Marshal Terauchi in Saigon. With him were a number of top INA officials and Japanese General Isoda and Hachaiya. Netaji, Habibur Rahman who was to accompany Netaji, General Isoda, Hachaiya and Field Marshal Terauchi had a meeting which took place behind closed doors. The rest of the INA officials were not privy to the content or subject matter of that meeting. Whatever was decided was secret and remained so to this day. Netaji and Habibur flew with General Isado and Hachaiya. They reached Taihoku airport the following afternoon, after an overnight stopover at Turan.

After a short break at the airport and following maintencne checkup of the aircraft and a light refreshment the plane took off from the runway. Mechanical troubles caused the aircraft, hardly elevated 300 ft, to collapse and it crashed down to the ground. Bose was badly injured and was taken to the Nanmoon Hospital where he died later that night.

At least that was the official announcement.

The British never believed that story, neither did the 400 million Indians. To this day and as long as India exists, to hundreds of millions of Indians and oppressed people of the world, the leader of Free India - the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose shall live for ever!

Indian Volunteers in the German Wehrmacht

Agitation for the end of British rule in India had existed for decades prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. Therefore it was logical for the Axis powers during WWII to attempt to capitalize on anti-British sentiments by attempting to recruit a military force from disaffected Indian prisoners-of-war captured while serving with the British Commonwealth forces in the North African campaign.

Italy was not the first in this field, but their efforts were comparatively short-lived and therefore will be considered first. On 10th May 1942 the Italian Army established a Ragruppamento Centri Militari, a special unit composed of foreign military personnel, ex-prisoners-of-war, foreign nationals living in Italy and Italians who had been resident abroad, with the intention of using them for intelligence gathering and sabotage operations behind enemy lines.[1]

According to the order of Battle of the Italian Ragruppamento Centri Militari, May 1942[2], the unit had the following under its control: a Comando (Headquarters) with CO Tenente Colonello di Stato (Staff Lieutenant Colonel) Massimo Invrea, Centro T consisting of Italians from Tunisia, Centro A consisting of Italians from Egypt, Palastine, Syria and Arabia; plus Arabs and Sudanese ex-prisoners-of-war and lastly, Centro I consisting of Italians from India and Persia (Iran) and Indian ex-prisoners-of-war. In all, the Ragruppamento Centri Militari collected together approximately 1,200 Italians, 400 Indians and 200 Arabs. In August 1942 the Ragruppamento was renamed as Ragruppamento Frecce Rosse (Red Arrows Group) a name chosen by the commanding officer in memory of his service with the Italian Divisione Frecce Nere (Black Arrows Division) of the Italian Corpo Truppo Volontarie in the Spanish Civil War. The three Centri Militari received new designations at the same time.[3]

According to the order of battle of the Italian Ragruppamento Frecce Rosse in August 1942[4], the following units were unders in command: A Comando (Headquarters), Battaglione d'Assalto Tunisia (Tunisia Assault Battalion) which was Ex-Centro T, Gruppo Italo-Arabo (Italo-Arab Group) from ex-Centro A, and Battaglione Azad Hindoustan (Free Indian Battalion) from Ex-Centro I.

The Battaglione Azad Hindoustan was created out of Centro I using both the ex-Indian Army personnel (The Indian Army was under British operational command) and Italians previously resident in India and Persia (Iran). The units of the Ragruppamento Frecce Rosse were intended to be delivered behind enemy lines by various means including infiltration on the ground, via submarine and by parachute; this last means of transport leading to the establishment of a Platone Paracadutisti (Parachute Platoon) within the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan, its members receiving their parachute training at the Parachute School at Tarquinia.[5] The soldiers of the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan were attired in standard Italian military uniform with the addition of a turban. Their Italian sahariana tunics were worn with collar patches with three vertical stripes in the saffron (orange), white and green colors of the Indian National Congress (the main focus of Indian opposition to British rule) the saffron stripe being closest to the wearers neck. Italians serving in the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan were distinguished by stars on their collar patches while Indian troops had none. Those members of the battalion sent to Tarquinia for parachute training wore their own collar patches above paratroop pattern patches (again with and without stars for Italians and Indians respectively), as well as the paratroop badge depicting an open yellow parachute embroidered in rayon thread on the left upper arm.[6]

The order of battle of the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan in August 1942[7] was as follows: Compagnie Fucilieri (a motorized rifle company consisting of Indians), Compagnie Mitraglieri (a motorized machinegun company consisting of Indians), Platone Paracadutisti (a parachute platoon consisting of Indians), and an Overseas Italian Platoon

However, despite their investment in the Indian's training the Italians considered the Indian troops of Battaglione Azad Hindoustan to be of doubtful loyalty and this view was confirmed when the Indians mutinied on learning of the Axis defeat at El Alamein in November 1942. Following this the battalion was disbanded and the Indians returned to their prisoner-of-war camps.[8]

Thus, ended the disappointing Italian efforts to recruit Indians for service in the Axis armed forces. But their German partners, who began to recruit Indians earlier, were not put off by the negative Italian experience as they possessed a trump card not available to their Mediterranean allies.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was a lawyer from Calcutta and an ex-president of the Indian National Congress who was a major rival to Mahatma Gandhi for the popular leadership of the movement to end British rule in India. Unlike Gandhi, however, Bose was a not averse to the use of violence in the achievement of Indian independence. Using the old adage that "my enemy's enemy is my friend", Bose saw war between Britain and Germany as an opportunity to advance the cause of India's independence from the British Empire.

Thus, on 17th January 1941, Bose escaped from under British surveillance at his house in Calcutta and with the assistance of the Abwehr (Wehrmacht Military Intelligence) he made his way to Peshawar on India's North West frontier with Afghanistan. Their, supporters of the Aga Khan helped him across the border into Afghanistan where he was met by an Abwehr unit posing as a party of road construction engineers from the Organization Todt who then aided his passage across Afghanistan via Kabul to the border with Soviet Russia. Once in Russia the NKVD transported Bose to Moscow where he hoped that Russia's traditional enmity to British rule in India would result in support for his plans for a popular rising in India. However, Bose found the Soviets' response disappointing and was rapidly passed over to the German Ambassador in Moscow, Count von der Schulenberg. He had Bose flown on to Berlin in a special courier aircraft at the beginning of April where he was to receive a more favorable hearing from von Rippentrop and the Foreign Ministry officials at the Wilhelmstrasse.[9]

Almost immediately Bose commenced broadcasting for the Germans from the Azad Hind transmitter at Nauen and later used the good favor he had established with Hitler to have himself named as leader of the Indian "Government-in-exile" or "Indian National Congress".[10] But Bose was intent on more direct opposition to the British than merely radio propaganda and was handed an opportunity almost immediately when in April 1941 most of the members of the British 3rd (Indian) Motorised Brigade were taken prisoner by Generalleutnant Rommel's Deutsche Afrika Korps at El Mekili in Cyreniaca (Libya). On 15th May a Luftwaffe Major was sent to interview English speaking members of the prisoners with a view to recruiting men for a proposed German Army (Heer) unit of Indian troops.[11]

This initial approach led to 27 officers being flown to Berlin four days later, together with the establishment of a special camp for about 10,000 Indian POW's at Annaburg.[12] There, the Indian prisoners were visited by Bose and exposed to intensive propaganda with a view to their enlistment into the proposed unit, variously referred to as the Indian Legion, Azad Hind Legion or the more exotically sounding, Tiger Legion.[13] The first group of volunteers, recruited from ex-prisoners-of-war and Indian civilians resident in Germany left Berlin's Anhalter railway station on Christmas Day 1941 for a camp at Frankenburg near Chemnitz in order to receive future groups of released Indian POWs.[14] Despite the recruitment of only eight resolute volunteers at this stage, in January 1942 the German Propaganda Ministry felt able to announce the establishment of the, in the circumstances, rather grandly titled "Indian National Army" or "Jai Hind".[15]

Subsequently 6,000 of the Indian prisoners who were considered most receptive to Bose's ideas were transferred to the camp at Frankenburg[16] where military training was initiated by German officers and NCO's.[17] Officially a cover story was maintained that the Indians were merely to be used as a labor unit and to lend credence to this, the camp was designated Arbeitskommando Frankenburg. Of the 6,000 men at Frankenburg, 300 volunteers were transferred yet again to Künigsbrück near Dresden in Saxony[18] where German Army uniforms were issued with the addition of a specially designed national arm badge in the shape of the shield (worn in German Army style on the right upper arm) with three horizontal stripes in the saffron, white and green Indian national colors (as used previously by the Italians for the collar patches of the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan) and featuring a leaping tiger superimposed over the white band of the tricolor and with the legend "Freies Indien" in black characters on an integral white background above the tricolor. A saffron, white and green transfer may also have been used on the left side of their German steel helmets Uniforms were of the usual army feldgrau (field gray) in winter and German or Italian tropical khaki in the summer.[19] Those Sikhs in the Legion were permitted to wear a turban (of a color appropriate to their uniform) as dictated by their religion instead of the usual peaked field cap (einheitsfeldmütze).[20]

These men now constituted the Legion Freies Indien of the German Army and took their oath of allegiance in a ceremony on 26th August 1942. The ranks of the new Legion were swelled by hundreds of new members some of whose participation was far from voluntary until by mid-1943 it boasted approximately 2,000 members and was also referred to as Indisches Infanterie Regiment 950.[21]
Order of Battle

I.R. 950 (ind) / Freies Indien Legion 1943-44[22]

Legionskommandeur: Oberstleutnant Kurt Krappe (until 25/6/43)

Ausbildungs und Betreutungsstab (Training & Maintenance Staff) formed 27/4/43 then renamed on 7/7/43 as: Regiments-Stab (ind.) Infanterie Regiment 950
I. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 1 - 4)
II. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 5 - 8)
III. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 9 - 12)
13th Infanteriegeschütz Kompanie (Infantry-Gun Company w/ 6x 7.5cm leichtes Infanteriegeschütz 18)
14th Panzerjäger Kompanie (Anti-tank Company w/ 6x Panzerabwehrkanone)
15th Pionier Kompanie (Engineer Company)
Ehrenwachkompanie (Honour Guard Company)
Hospital / Convalescent Home

The Legion Freies Indien / Indisches Infanterie Regiment 950 was organized as a standard German army infantry regiment of three battalions each of four companies.[23] Initially all the commissioned officers of I.R. 950 (ind) were German, but after a brief course some senior NCO's were commissioned in October 1943.[24] The unit was partially Motorised, being equipped with 81 motor vehicles and 700 horses[25] and was later referred to as Panzergrenadier Regiment 950 (indische) presumably to reflect its semi-Motorised status.[26]

Unlike British practice in the Indian Army, the constituent units of the Legion were all of mixed religion and regional nationality so that Moslems, Hindus, Sikhs, Jats, Rajputs, Marathas and Garhwalis all served side-by-side.[27] Approximately two-thirds of the Legion's members were Moslem and one-third Hindu.[28]

In late 1943 Indians of the Moslem faith were also considered for recruitment into the 13. SS-Freiwilligen-b.h. Gebirgs-Division (Kroatiien) (13th SS Volunteer Bosnian-Herzegovinian Mountain Division (Croatia) - later known as the "Handschar" Division) which was then in the process of formation from Bosnians of overwhelmingly Moslem origin. Himmler was very enthusiastic about the formation of a Moslem SS division, however Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger Chef der SS Hauptamt (Head of the SS Head Office) pointed out to Himmler in November 1943 that the Indian Moslems "perceive themselves primarily as Indians, the Bosnians as Europeans" and the idea was dropped.[29]

Officially the language of command was Hindi, but since many of the members of the Legion came from regions of India were Hindi was not widely spoken this was not always practical. In addition the German's almost total inability to provide personnel who could speak any of the languages of the Indian subcontinent bedeviled their relationship with the Indian troops throughout it's existence and resulted in the Germans using English for most of their communications with the Indians. English (together with some broken German learnt over the years) was also often used between Indians of different linguistic backgrounds within the Legion.[30] In this connection it is interesting to note that one of the interpreters employed by the Germans was Sonderführer Frank Chetwynd Becker, an Englishman born in England to an English mother and an British-naturalized but German-born father who was posted to the Indian Legion in July 1942.[31] Difficulty with communication and German insensitivity in dealing with people of whose culture and customs they were largely ignorant led to the Legion suffering from poor discipline throughout its existence, and indeed led to the shooting by his own men of one of the Indian Legion's most enthusiastic members, Unteroffizier Mohammed Ibrahim.[32]

The Indian Legion was presented with a regimental color, most probably in the autumn of 1942 at the completion of the Legion's military training at Königsbrück during the oath taking ceremony. However, it may have been presented prior to the Legion's departure for the Netherlands in the spring of 1943 (see below). Certainly there is photographic evidence of its use in 1943. The flag was roughly rectangular in shape being slightly taller than it was long and with the same design on obverse and reverse. In a similar manner to the arm badges worn on the Legion's uniforms it featured a tricolor in the Indian national colors of saffron, white and green arranged in horizontal bands with the colors in the stated order from top to bottom but on the flag the white middle band was approximately three times the width of the two colored bands. The words "AZAD" and "HIND" were superimposed in white over the saffron and green bands respectively and a full color leaping tiger was superimposed diagonally over the white band. The ultimate fate of the legionary color is not known.[33]

Azad Hind flag

An "Azad Hind" (Free India) decoration was also instituted by Bose in 1942 in four grades each of which could be awarded with or without swords in the German fashion. Both Indian and German members of the Legion were eligible to receive the decoration. Almost half of the Indian Legion's members received one or more of these awards.[34]
Order of "Azad Hind"[35]
Grand Star: "Sher-e-Hind" (Tiger of India)
1st Class Star: "Sardar-e-Jang" (Leader of Battle)
2nd Class Star: "Vir-e-Hind" (Hero of India)
Medal: "Shahid-e-Bharat" (Martyr of the Fatherland)

The Abwehr had envisaged this new military force as accompanying an Axis campaign via the Caucasus through Iran into India to end British rule there. As early as the end of August 1941 they had formulated a scheme to fly the Indian Legion to India and using parachute landings start an anti-British revolt and this plan was shown to Bose. To this end some Indians appear to have been recruited by Rittmeister Habicht of the Abwehr and incorporated as a part of 4.Regiment, 800.Bau Lehrdivision zur besonderen Verwendung Brandenburg (Special Purpose Construction Training Division Brandenburg), which despite its innocuous sounding title constituted the special forces of the Wehrmacht. They were quartered at a training camp near Meseritz.[36] In January 1942 Operation "Bajadere" was launched and one hundred Indians were parachuted into eastern Persia in order to infiltrate into India through Baluchistan and commence sabotage operations against the British in preparation for the anticipated national revolt. Oberleutnant Witzel in Afghanistan reported to the Abwehr station in Kabul that the Indians had been effective and this information was passed on to Abwehr headquarters in Berlin.[37]

Axis reverses at Stalingrad and El Alamein at the end of 1942 made an attack into India by the European Axis powers appear an increasingly unlikely scenario. however, in the Far East the Japanese Army in Burma stood at the gates of India. Through their ambassador in Berlin, General Oshima, Bose was named as leader of a Japanese sponsored Indian Government-in-exile and on 9th February 1943 Bose, his adjutant Dr. Habib Hassan and two officers of the Indian Legion left Kiel on the long-range (Type IX D1) submarine U-180 under the command of Fregattenkapitän Musenberg[38] (which also contained blueprints of jet engines and various other German secret projects to help the Japanese war effort). They transferred in rough seas to the Japanese submarine I-29 at a rendezvous near Madagascar[39] and arrived at Sabang harbor on We Island off the northernmost tip of Japanese occupied Sumatra on 6th May 1943.[40] Subsequently Bose traveled via Singapore to Tokyo for talks with the Japanese Government. In the wake of these successful negotiations he returned to his Japanese provided residence in Singapore where his aides had assembled other like-minded Indians to form the "Provisional Government of Free India".[41] Ultimately Bose came to lead a much larger Japanese sponsored "Indian National Army" (eventually of three divisions) which fought alongside the Japanese against the British 14th Army in Burma and in the extreme north-east of India.

Following Bose's departure for Singapore, discussions between the German Foreign Ministry and the Abwehr resulted in a plan to transfer the leadership of the Legion Fries Indien to the Far East. Department II of the Abwehr organized the operation in conjunction with the operations staff of the Division Brandenburg and the Oberkommando der Marine (German Naval High Command). The plan called for the use of four blockade runners to take the officer corps and best men of the Indian Legion to Singapore.[42]

Given the war situation and Allied domination of the Atlantic and Indian oceans the proposed operation was extremely audacious and called for careful planning. One blockade runner was converted to resemble a iron ore carrier from neutral Sweden. Named the Brand III, it was crewed by Brandenburgers with a knowledge of Swedish and some Indians with experience as seamen. The majority of the Indians were, however, concealed in specially constructed space at the bottom of the hold which was covered over with Iron ore so that inspection from above would give the impression of a normal hold full of ore. the Brand III then proceeded from Germany to Malmö in Sweden where it refueled, in the knowledge that British agents there would report its departure to London. The "neutral" vessel was allowed to make passage through the English channel but was stopped in Gibraltar where its cargo manifest was examined but its cover story held good. A German agent in Capetown, South Africa had sent the order for the iron ore which was ostensibly for a real iron foundry in South Africa to Sweden so that verification checks by the British authorities showed everything to be in order. the Brand III carried on through the Suez Canal into the Indian ocean and survived another inspection, this time by U.S. warships in the Bay of Bengal. Finally just west of the Sunda Strait the Brand III rendezvoused with a Japanese cruiser which escorted it to Singapore.[43]

A second blockade runner was less lucky; It elected to take the long sea route around the Cape of Good Hope but was intercepted at dusk by British warships just west of the Cape. In the fading light the captain decided to make a run for it and while making smoke headed off at top speed into the gathering darkness. In order to avoid the inevitable search the blockade runner was forced to aim into the far southern latitudes and was not heard of again.[44]

Back in Europe, the Legion Freies Indien was transferred to the Zeeland area of the Netherlands in April/May 1943, remaining there as part of the Atlantic Wall garrison until September of the same year.[45]

Legionskommandeur Oberstleutnant Kurt Krappe arrived in the Netherlands on 13th April 1943 in order to prepare for the transfer of the Indian Legion from Königsbrück. I./I.R. 950 (ind.) arrived at Truppenübungsplatz (Military Training Ground) Beverloo in Belgium on 30th April and was followed by II./I.R. 950 (ind.) on 1st-3rd May, III./I.R. 950 (ind.) left Germany somewhat later and arrived at Truppenübungsplatz Oldebroek on the night of 13th-14th July. together with the regimental support companies Nos. 13, 14 and 15; but without its 12th Infantry Co. which was left behind in Germany as a replacement unit. On 5th May the 1st and 2nd Battalions were inspected at Beverloo by General der Infanterie Hans Reinhard, Kommandierender General LXXXVIII. Armeekorps und Befehlshaber der Truppen des Heeres in den Niederlanden (General Officer Commanding 88th Army Corps and Commander of the Army Troops in the Netherlands) who later observed to the Wehrmachtsbefehlshaber in den Niederlanden (Higher Military Commander in the Netherlands) that the Indian troops should not be stationed in the Netherlands beyond the end of October as he thought that the cold climate on the North Sea coast would be detrimental to their health. Indeed on 17th September 1943 Regiment-Stab (ind.) I.R. 950 left Haarlem and redeployed to St. André de Cubzac in south-west France.[46]

The I./I.R. 950 (ind.) was assigned to the Zandvoort region with an advance party arriving on 6th May and the main body on 17th, 19th and 21st May. 2 companies were stationed on the seaward front, 2 companies on the landward front and one in Zandvoort as Unterabschnittreserve (subsector reserve) [presumably one of these companies was one of the regimental support companies]. Gen.d.Inf. Reinhard, Reichsminister Dr. Artur Seyss-Inquart (Reichskommissar in the Netherlands), envoy Otto Bene and Oberst Otto von Lachemair (CO 16. Luftwaffen Feld-Division) inspected I./I.R. 950 (ind.) on 15th June. On 24th August I./I.R. 950 (ind.) was ordered relieved by Georgian Infanterie Bataillon 822 and their last troop transport left on 31st August for their new base on the Atlantic coast of France south of Bordeaux on the Bay of Biscay.[47]

Advance parties from II./I.R. 950 (ind.) arrived in Den Helder from Beverloo on 21st May and where ordered to the northern part of the Frisian Island of Texel (6. Komp. at De koog, 7. Komp. at De Cocksdorp and 8. Komp. at Slufter). Following movement orders on 9th September, II./I.R. 950 (ind.) was relieved by Nordkaukasien Infanterie Bataillon 803 on 16th September. On 17th September 1943 II./I.R. 950 (ind.) passed through Den Helder en route to Les Salles d'Ollonne in France.[48]

III./I.R. 950 (ind.) remained at Tr.Üb.Platz Oldebroek as Corps Reserve. Its officers were visited by Gen.d.Inf. Reinhard and Generalfeldmarschall von Rundstedt on 14th July, with Gen.d.Inf. Reinhard and his Chief-of-Staff, Generalleutnant Erich Höcker (CO 719. I.D.) and Obstlt. Kurt Krappe returning on 19th July to inspect the troops themselves. III./I.R. 950 (ind.) left Tr.Üb.Platz Oldebroek for France on 9th September 1943.[49]

The Legion Freies Indien was deployed in France on coastal defense duties in the area of Lacanau near Bordeaux where they were inspected by Generalfeldmarschall Rommel (who was, of course, responsible for their original capture!) in April 1944.[50] On 8th August 1944 the Free Indian Legion (now comprising about 2,300 men), like all the national legions of the German Army, was transferred to the control of the Waffen-SS now being known as the Indische Freiwilligen Legion der Waffen SS and receiving a new commanding officer: SS Oberführer Heinz Bertling.[51] Despite the change in authority from Army to Waffen SS, the Indian Legion continued to use Army ranks and uniforms. The notorious SS map of February 1945 does show an SS collar patch featuring a tiger's head for the Free Indian Legion but it is unlikely that it was even manufactured and almost certainly it was never actually worn.[52]

The Legion remained at Lacenau until over two months after the Allied Invasion of Normandy. However, following the Allied breakout from the Normandy bridgehead and with the growing threat of Allied landings on the Mediterranean coast of France, the Indian Legion was at risk of being cut off and so on 15th August 1944 (the same day that the feared Allied landings actually took place on the French Riviera) the Legion left Lacanau to move back to Germany. The first part of their journey was by rail to Poitiers where they were attacked by French FFI (Forces Françaises de l'Interieur) "Maquis" forces and a number of men were wounded. The French Resistance continued to harass the Legion when at the end of August it moved again to Allier via Chatrou, this time moving by road. The town of Dun on the Berry Canal was reached by the beginning of September and here the Indian Legion was opposed by French regular forces. In the resulting street fighting the Indische Freiwilligen Legion der Waffen SS suffered its first death in combat: Leutnant Ali Khan, later to be interred with full military honors at Sancoin cemetery. The Legion continued its withdrawal through Luzy marching at night but took more casualties in ambushes including Unteroffizier Kalu Ram and Gefreiter Mela Ram. The Loire was crossed and the Indians headed for Dijon. A short engagement was fought against Allied armor at Nuits St. Georges.[53]

After several days halt for rest the Indians continued on to Remisemont, then, marching via Colmar in Alsace, they arrived at Oberhofen near the garrison town of Hagenau in Germany. During Christmas 1944 the Legion was billeted in the private houses of German civilians then moved in bitterly cold weather to the vacant Truppenübungsplatz at Heuberg.[54] One company is said to have been transferred to Italy, if this is so, its fate is unknown.[55]

The Germans always had a very low opinion of the fighting qualities of the Indian Legion (not that they had been given much opportunity to prove themselves in combat). Hitler is reputed to have commented: "The Indian Legion is a joke." and is said to have given a personal order that its arms be handed over to the 18.SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division "Horst Wessel".[56]

The Indische Freiwilligen Legion der Waffen SS remained at Tr.Üb.Platz Heuberg until the end of March 1945, then, with the defeat of the Third Reich imminent the Indians sought sanctuary in neutral Switzerland and undertook a desperate march along the shores of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) in an attempt to enter Switzerland via one of the alpine passes. However, this was unsuccessful and eventually the Legion was captured by United States and French forces. Before their delivery into the custody of British and Indian forces it is alleged that a number of Indian soldiers were shot by French troops.[57]

Ultimately the members of the Free Indian Legion were transported back to India by sea. There, a number of senior personnel were imprisoned in the Red Fort in Delhi.[58] In view of the pressures used to recruit Indian prisoners-of-war during their captivity (and political expediency in an India in turmoil as independence approached) the members of the Free Indian Legion were dealt with leniently. But by then, the political leader of the Legion was already dead. Subhas Chandra Bose died from severe burns sustained when the Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-21 Army Type 97 "Sally" bomber he was flying in crashed on take-off from Taipei in Formosa (Taiwan) on 18th August 1945 while attempting to make his way to Manchuria in the wake of the Japanese surrender.[59] However, rumors that he was still alive and working for the Chinese communists persisted for several years.[60]

The German Brandenburgers and agents of Abwehr II who had remained with the "Indian National Army" in the Far East were rumored to have joined the French Foreign Legion in Saigon, French Indo-China.[61]

References and Notes:

1. Lundari, I Paracadutisti Italiani 1937/45, p.90.
2. ibid. p.90.
3. ibid. p.90.
4. ibid. p.90.
5. ibid. p.90.
6. ibid. p.99.
7. ibid. p.90.
8. ibid. p.91.
9. Kurowski, The Brandenburgers - Global Mission, p.136.
10. ibid. p.137.
11. Weale, Renegades, p.213.
12. ibid., p.213.
13. Littlejohn, Foreign Legions of the Third Reich, Vol.4, p.127.
14. Davis, Flags of the Third Reich 2: Waffen SS, pp.21-22.
15. Weale, op. cit. p.213.
16. ibid. p.213.
17. Davis, op. cit., p.22.
18. Weale, op. cit. p.213 and Davis, op. cit., p.22.
19. Littlejohn, op. cit., p.128.
20. ibid., p.128.
21. Weale, op. cit. p.213 (other sources quote figures of up to 3,000).
22. Caballero Jurado, Foreign Volunteers of the Wehrmacht 1941-45, p.31.
23. Littlejohn, op. cit., p.126.
24. ibid., p.127.
25. Caballero Jurado, op. cit., p.31.
26. Davis, op. cit., p.22.
27. Littlejohn, op. cit., p.126.
28. Caballero Jurado, op. cit., p.31 and Houterman, Eastern Troops in Zeeland, The Netherlands, 1943-1945, p.63.
29. Lepre, Himmler's Bosnian Division, p.117.
30. Littlejohn, op. cit., p.126.
31. Weale, op. cit. p.213 (Becker's mother died shortly after his birth in 1915 and when his father died in 1924 the nine year old orphan was taken to live in Germany by an uncle. He returned to Britain in 1935 to work for a German company but was travelling in Germany when war broke out in September 1939. He presented himself to the German authorities and was given a choice between incarceration in a civilian internment camp or working as non-combatant attached to the German Army with the specialist rank of Sonderführer. Weale, op. cit. pp.213-214)
32. ibid. p.214.
33. Davis, op. cit., pp.42-43.
34. Littlejohn, op. cit., pp.130-132.
35. ibid pp.130-131.
36. ibid., p.135.
37. ibid., pp.137-138.
38. Kurowski, op. cit., p.137.
39. Boyd, The Japanese Submarine Force and World War II, p.117.
40. Fay, The Forgotten Army, p.200.
41. Kurowski, op. cit., p.137.
42. ibid., p.138.
43. ibid., p.138.
44. ibid., p.138.
45. Houterman, op. cit., p.63.
46. ibid., p.63.
47. ibid., p.63.
48. ibid., p.63.
49. ibid., p.63.
50. Davis, op. cit., p.22.
51. Littlejohn, op. cit., p.127.
52. ibid., p.129.
53. Davis, op. cit., p.22.
54. ibid., p.22.
55. Houterman, op. cit., p.63.
56. Littlejohn, op. cit., p.127.
57. Davis, op. cit., p.22.
58. ibid. p.22.
59. Fay, op. cit. pp.384-385.
60. Kurowski, op. cit., p.139.
61. ibid., p.139.

<b>Netaji missing from crash death register</b>
Mukherjee Judge cites evidence to back claim he didn’t die in Formosa

Add one more to the swirl of conspiracy theories around Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s disappearance.

It’s now with the Home Ministry as Exhibit Number 304. Written in Japanese, it’s a 60-year-old “death register” issued by the local municipality in Taihoku 10 days after the August 17, 1945 aircrash in which Netaji is said to have been killed. The death register does not have Netaji’s name. Neither does it mention the name of the pilot or the co-pilot.

This forms the key evidence behind the conclusion of the Justice Manoj Kumar Mukherjee commission—as first reported in The Indian Express on November 13—that Netaji did not die in the plane crash.

“The Commission’s report indeed cites this evidence. I cannot comment on whether there is any further scope of inquiry”, Mukherjee told The Indian Express.

The evidence he is referring to—he submitted his report last month—contradicts the official Indian line and the finding of the previous two commissions, Shah Nawaz Committee (1956) and the Khosla Commission (1972), which concluded that Netaji had died in the plane crash.

The death register is a 25-page list of 273 persons—Japanese, Chinese and British—cremated and buried under the Taihoku municipality from August 17, 1945 to August 27, 1945.

The Mukherjee Commission had asked for death records of that period from the Taipei City Government in January, 2005.

The death register reached the commission after its visit to Taipei and Bangkok on January 26 and 27 this year. Translator Sandeep Kumar Sett’s letter to the commission (Exhibit 305) reads: “There is no entry in the name of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose/Chandra Bose, Pilot Takizawa, Co-Pilot Aoyagi and General Shidei in the above documents of cremation”.

Another letter which Justice Mukherjee has cited in his report as evidence against the crash theory is one from the CIA, archived at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Maryland.

The letter, which reached the Mukherjee Commission via the MEA on Jan 27, 2005, is on the letterhead of the Department of State and is dated June 28, 1946. It says: “A search of the files in the Intelligence Division reveals that there is no direct evidence that Subhas Chandra Bose was killed in an airplane crash at Taihoko, Formosa, despite the public statement of the Japanese to that effect”. This document was informally sent by the Friends of India Society in the US after it was declassified in 1986 but a certified copy reached the Commission only in January 2005.
this is a re-post of Acharya's contribution in another (colonil history of india) thread. i thougt it was very relevant here too -

Neglect of Netaji irksome: Biswas

Satarupa Bhattacharjya/ New Delhi

AS All-India Forward Bloc general secretary Debrabata Biwas settled down for a glance of the day's newspapers in his office last Thursday, he was "disturbed" to find Congress Party members greeting president Sonia Gandhi on her birthday through full-page advertorials.

Although Mr Biswas said, that he was "not surprised by the practices of the parties in power," he later told "The Pioneer" that such events only heightened his frustrations, rendering him restless.

For his party, the issue at hand was the birth anniversary of once Congress president and later Forward Bloc founder Netaji Subash Chandra Bose to be celebrated on January 23 next year.

While it would be Netaji's 108th birth anniversary next month, Mr Biwas would also have completed two decades of struggle against the "indifference of the Congress Party" towards Netaji.

"For twenty years I have been fighting to get a plot of land for the Netaji Foundation in Delhi. Land here has been allotted to all and sundry, but in this case, successive Congress governments did nothing," he said.

"Where is the nation headed for, if one of its tallest leaders can't get the respect he deserves?" asked Mr Biswas. This question continued to haunt several generations of Indians who have been uneasy over Netaji's mysterious disappearance and failure of many fact-finding commissions, assembled and then dismantled.

And, the Forward Bloc's fight is not just about a plot of land. With Netaji's birth anniversary fast approaching, the party would make a fresh attempt to get Netaji his rightful place in history books.

Mr Biswas said, "While Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh had begun changing school curriculum (history text books), he could have introduced a detailed account on Netaji and the history of the Indian National Army (INA) to say the least. How many children or even adults know that Netaji was the first national leader to have initiated the concept of the Planning Commission as early as 1938"

The Left leader's anger was not just directed at the Congress, he was unsparing of his CPM comrade, fellow Bengali and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

"At a gathering, Mr Bhattacharjee had fleetingly referred to Netaji as a patriot. We have arrived at a time when Netaji is being just called a patriot," he added.

Irrespective of how the Centre reacts to the Forward Bloc's demands, Mr Biswas and his cadre were determined to "rebuild India in Netaji's way."

The party would organise rallies for the youth and women from January 23 to January 27, 2005, during which participants would be urged to shed a drop of blood each to demonstrate their movement towards a "new India."

As president of the Congress Party, Netaji had addressed the Haripura Congress session in 1938 where he had said, "I have no doubt that our principal national problems relating to poverty eradication, illiteracy, disease and scientific production and distribution, can be effectively tackled only along socialist lines."

This would form the platform for the Forward Bloc's "rebuild India" movement.

<img src='http://www.missionnetaji.org/newsite/images/nhr.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

<img src='http://www.missionnetaji.org/newsite/images/su01.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

<img src='http://www.missionnetaji.org/newsite/images/netaji01.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<img src='http://www.missionnetaji.org/newsite/images/netaji.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />


By Anuj Dhar

It's amazing how Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose continues to be in news 60 years after his disputed death. In a way, this has been in defiance of successive Indian governments who would rather want the people to sideline him as they have. A recent BBC online poll put named Bose the third most popular leader in South Asia after Jinnha and Gandhi. Strikingly, as per the same poll, the stalwarts like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and the inimitable Atal Bihari Vajpayee don't even blip on the radar anymore.

The coming months will see Subhas making a comeback of a sort. India's longest running political controversy is heading towards its grand finale. For five years the media and the lawmakers in India have adopted a touch and go sort of approach towards the inquiry of Justice MK Mukherjee into the "death" of Subhas Bose. Not any longer. The Commission, formed in 1999 following a Court order, is gearing up to present its report by November. The Government will have to present it in Parliament along with an action taken report. All those of you who have interest in either politics, or history, or intrigue, or mystery better watch out: It doesn't get any bigger than this.

Psst ...Top Secret!

Let this impression be trashed at the outset that the Netaji mystery belongs to a different era. No doubt it started in 1945; but it has been simmering till date. The controversy is a bombshell and that's what the official records hint at. Netaji is supposed to have died at the end of Second World War, and yet the Indian Government continues to sit on files about him. And they are wary of approaching the British and Russian Governments to release the papers they are keeping to themselves.

But why so much of precaution over some details about man who ceased to be a problem to his adversaries in and outside India decades back? This is for you Gen-X dudes: Some of the classified Netaji files maintained by the Government of India are of mid-1990s vintage! That is, post-Rajiv Gandhi period. Perish the idea ... "Oh, such an old story, what is the fuss now!" The Government of India wouldn't agree. They think there is something about Netaji that can spell big time trouble even now. That's why they refused to hand over several Top Secret files to the Mukherjee Commission. Why would they be doing so? Well, in the case of two Narasimha Rao period files, they reasoned that the "disclosure of the nature and contents of these documents would ... hurt the sentiments of the people at large and may evoke wide-spread reactions .... Diplomatic relations with friendly countries may also be adversely affected if the said documents are disclosed."

Should not we demand to know what these documents have to say? How on earth some bits about a dead man affect India's relations with other countries? Should not we ask our Government to state facts? Don't we have a right to know what happened to the man who liberated us?

Pre-conceived notions

It's cynicism exemplified when people say, "How long we can go on inquiring?" If Americans, for instance, were to be besotted with same defeatist thinking, they would not have become the great power they are. Indeed they don't give up. How can one leave out in cold those who fight for one's country? Last year only the US Government asked the Indian Government to help them trace out their missing WWII airmen. Netaji went missing while waging war for freedom for us and we don't want to know what happened to him. What is it if not brazen ungratefulness?

Those who dismissively say that "there have been commissions after commissions" have no idea whatsoever what sort of frauds were played on the nation by the previous "commissions". In 1956, Shah Nawaz Khan, a Congress MP and a secretary to then Railway Minister, headed a committee -- a puppet on a string, actually. There are reasons to believe that he did what he was told by Nehru government. After his "command performance" Shah Nawaz was made a minister. GD Khosla, who headed a commission in early 1970s, was a friend of Nehru's to start with. He wrote the biography of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi even as he inquired into Netaji's disappearance. Can you imagine such things happening now? Both these panels declared that Netaji had died in a plane crash in Taiwan. Never mind that they did not bother to know what the Taiwan Government thought much as people wanted them to.

"But the issue is dead!" Ok, for argument's sake, if that be the case, it is going to COME ALIVE. A Commission of Inquiry headed by a former judge of the Supreme Court of India is going to hand over a report to Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who, at the moment, doesn't seem to be at ease with the direction the Commission is heading to. The report will have to be discussed by the Cabinet before being presented in Parliament for a free for all debate. It is inevitable that Netaji mystery will become a hot topic.

Perplexing past

Funny how people jump to conclusions. "My grandfather was in the INA and he said Netaji died and therefore I believe so." This is how some give their verdict on the issue the nation is debating for 6 decades. If only it were that easy. There were over 50,000 people aligned with the Provisional Government of Free India and only a handful knew what happened to Netaji in his last known days. The rest were in as much dark as the Indians back home. They all heard stories ... Netaji died or Netaji escaped. The truth, or inkling of it, came out after interrogations and inquiries, whose reports are not in public domain.

On August 25, 1945 the Indian newspapers broke the news that Netaji had died in a freak plane crash in Taipei (then Taihoku) on August 18th. He had been flying to Tokyo to work out the INA's surrender when this happened. The British would believe none of it. Viceroy Wavell noted in his diary on 23 August that "I wonder if the Japanese announcement of Subhas Chandra Bose's death in a air-crash is true. I suspect it very much, it is just what should be given out if he meant to go underground..." They dispatched their crack intelligence teams to South East Asia. The findings were bewildering. Netaji was not heading to Tokyo. Months before the world war staggered to a halt, he'd begun planning a new chapter of his war on colonialism. He saw the Cold War coming and reached out to the USSR. The British intelligence got clear information that Subhas was going to Russia at the time of his death. The Japanese had given out a false story about his destination. The survivors of the crash were rounded up and records were captured. The pictured that emerged was of deceit. Eyewitnesses were found to be lying and records appeared as if they had been planted.

Americans chipped in with help. In fact it were they who had the best knowledge. They reached Taiwan in September 1945 and guess what they found. " ... there is no direct evidence that Subhas Chandra Bose was killed in a airplane crash … despite the public statements of the Japanese to that effect." This, stated the State Department, ten months after Netaji's "death". What really happened? "The D.I.B. during his recent visit to London mentioned the receipt ... of information to the effect that Subhas Bose was alive in Russia." This is from a May 1946 report and D.I.B. means, the Director of Intelligence Bureau Sir Norman Smith.

The Government of free India knew about the Soviet connection to the Netaji mystery. But all they did was to dilly-dally and state that no inquiry was required. It took ten years of pressure before Prime Minister Nehru agreed to inquire into the matter. This must be hammered: the Government never wanted to probe Netaji's fate. From Shah Nawaz to Monoj Mukherjee, each time they were forced to. Isn't it revolting?

Present perfect

Thank God for Mukherjee Commission! Or shall we thank Mikhail Gorbahev? The fall of the USSR brought the Netaji issue out. In mid-1990s the Russians themselves began saying that Subhas was with them after his death. The matter reached India and the press did rake it up. But Narasimha Rao, with Pranab Mukherjee in tow, would not say a thing. A patriotic fellow moved to Calcutta High Court and the court found the matter to be wide open for inquiry. The Government was chided and told to form a commission of inquiry to find out where and how Netaji had died. Mercifully, at the time the verdict came, the NDA was in power.

The inquiry of the Mukherjee Commission in past five years has been path breaking. They have found out, among others, that the Government of India, at the PMO level, indulged in systematic, unlawful destruction of evidence concerning the Netaji death case. The Government did not want any inquiry in Taiwan, which is precisely what Justice Mukherjee did. The result: the ROC Government ruled out the very occurrence of the crash that we had been told over decades had killed Netaji.

Indian Government also did not want any inquiry in Russia; but that is happening now. After much pulls and pressures, the Mukherjee Commission will visit Russia from September 20 onwards. However, that's not a good enough development. The Government's communication to the Commission suggests that they won't do anything to help the Commission access security and intelligence related classified papers in Russia, said to be containing definite information about Netaji's "post-death" life. Time has come for us, the people of India, to demand from our Government something that they should have done decades back: For God's sake, request the Head of the Russian Government to state facts. The people of India must know what happened to their liberator.

Anuj Dhar, a Delhi-based journalist, is the author of Back from Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery. He can be reached at anuj@missionnetaji.org. This piece was written prior to the Mukherjee Commission's visit to Russia.
now i will post some pics showing Bose, inspecting the indian army (hitler's indian army) in germany, with Field Marshall Rommel, for company. Aslo a few INA stamps and posters. watch this space.
<img src='http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f380/nontravel/ww2__02.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
inspecting the army
<img src='http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f380/nontravel/ww2__03.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
with other top german army officials.
<img src='http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f380/nontravel/ww2__06.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

returning after the inspection
german top brass (Netaji is not in the pic)

-- removed (Netaji-less pic of Germans not needed here) --
<img src='http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f380/nontravel/ww2__09.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

German Officer explaining something to Netaji.
<img src='http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f380/nontravel/ww2__10.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
watching a march past.
<img src='http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f380/nontravel/Recieving2520Rani2520of2520Jhansi25.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

Rani of Jhansi Regiment, somewhere in asia (singapore/burma maybe)

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