Govt must not delay in bringing back Netaji’s ashes: Chandra Bose (IANS Interview)

As the county is all to celebrate the 126th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, his grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose feels that it is high time that the Union government initiated action to bring back the ashes of India’s great freedom fighter from the Renkoji Temple in Tokyo.

Speaking to Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri, he said that this is also the wish of Netaji’s daughter and economist Anita Bose Pfaff, who wants a proper ceremony for the last rites as per Hindu rituals to be conducted in India following the return of the ashes.

A well known face of the Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal, Bose says that all political parties in the country should embrace Netaji’s secular views and end the hypocrisy in the name of paying tribute to the great soul of the nation.

Excerpts:

IANS: Although there have been demands for bringing back Netaji’s ashes from Tokyo’s Renkoji Buddhist temple, no government so far has taken any initiative on this count. Will you start a dialogue with the current government on the matter?

Bose: My efforts on this count are already on. Although the current Indian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken several initiatives to pay homage to Netaji, the initiative for bringing back his holy remains is yet to start. Successive Indian governments have hesitated in taking a decision on this count, probably because many including members of Netaji’s family like me once refused to accept that Netaji died in the Saigon air mishap in August 1945. But later, on behalf of Open Platform for Netaji, we went through the findings of different reports in the matter, there is no reason not to believe that the unfortunate air mishap was the reason for Netaji’s death.

IANS: What exactly made your thoughts on the matter change?

Bose: So far there have been a total of 11 enquiries in that matter. Now ten out of that 11 enquiry reports conclusively reported that Netaji died in the plane crash in August 1945. These ten reports are the Japanese Preliminary Report in September 1945, the British-India Government Report in October 1945, Figgess’ Report in July 1946, Harin Shah’s (private) Report in September 1946, Turner’s Report in October 1946, Indian Independence League’s (private) Report in June 1954, Japanese Detailed Report in January 1956, Taiwanese Government Report in June 1956, Shah Nawaz Khan Committee Report in August 1956 and finally Justice Khosla Commission report 1974. So, after so many reports no doubt remains on the issue and hence the process of bringing Netaji’s holy remains back to the country should start immediately.

IANS: What does Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff feel about this matter?

Bose: She is also quite keen about her father’s holy remains being brought back to India. In fact, she also wishes that a proper ceremony of the last rites of her father following traditional Hindu rituals be performed after the holy remains are brought back to India. She is already 80 years old and I think her wish on this count should be fulfilled.

IANS: Recently you have also been vocal about renaming the Indian Army as “Indian National Army”. Have you taken up the matter with the Union government?

Bose: Yes, I have already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In my opinion that would be the greatest homage to Netaji. If the Indian Army is renamed as Indian National Army, it will reflect the nationalistic feelings with which Netaji constituted his army meant for freeing India from British rule. The current Union government also believes in nationalism and hence I feel that it would respond positively to my plea.

IANS: What according to you is the best way to imbibe Netaji’s ideology in current Indian politics?

Bose: The principal spirit of Netaji’s ideology was secularism and inclusivity. I am not speaking only of the party that I represent. My appeal to all political parties is they should adopt this principle of secularism and inclusivity. Else do not just use Netaji as a political medium. Either you oppose Netaji’s views or accept his ideology true to its spirit. But let there be an end to the hypocrisy in the name of paying tribute to this great soul of India.

IANS: Do you see a ray of hope on this count anywhere?

Bose: Yes, I was in Kochi in Kerala. There I witnessed a successful portrayal of the concept of Bharat – unity in diversity in Kerala, where communal harmony is of utmost importance. There I met a cross-section of the society from all religious communities and each one of them felt strongly about national integration. This Kerala model should be implemented throughout the country. Otherwise, disintegration is inevitable.

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