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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Netaji living dangerously : Book Review

Netaji's life as well as his death has been an enigma. Kingshuk Nag's Netaji living dangerously tries to infer some of the possibilities through limited available material.

According to the author the Indian government made believe that Netaji died in the air crash. However latter communications revealed that this was totally false, for no any air crash had taken place on that given day. The government even spied upon the Bose family believing that Netaji would try to establish some kind of contact with his family members.

The book tells us how desperate Netaji was to make India free. He hoped that he would get some help from other countries including Russia and Germany to free his motherland from the shackles of British rule. The book speaks about the power struggle between Netaji and Nehru too. It also speaks as to how Netaji was forced to resign from the coveted post of Congress President by Gandhi Coterie. The book says Gandhi was a master politician.

The book reveals how now one from India lobbied for Netaji's freedom and why Netaji was forsaken by his own government. The book says that 'Official sources also aver that intelligence officials in their various reports have in the past have demonised Netaji. For instance, intelligence reports claim that Bose never married Emilie Schenkl and she was just his live-in partner. Moreover, Netaji has a passionate affair with a lady politician from Bengal and later with someone in Burma. Most of them are based on hearsay and have no bearing with reality. These reports were just to character assassinate Subhas Bose and to portray him poorly vis-a-vis Congress politicians like Nehru who came to rule the country after Independence.’

The author states how as per many accounts Netaji languished in Russian jails. Perhaps he died or was killed there. The book enumerates how despite Hitler's poor opinion of Indians, Netaji tried seeking his help in India's freedom. INA and Azad Hind Government form an important part of the book. It tells us about the success and even failure of these institutions. The book tells us how Lord Mountbatten would use his wife to convince Nehru.

The book mentions Justice Mukherjee caught on TV camera admitting that Gumnami Baba was indeed Netaji.

What if files relating to Netaji are declassified. The author says, 'Declassification of files may illustrate in detail the attitude of successive Indian regimes towards Netaji but may not throw lights on his whereabouts.'

After reading the book, I realized very little is known not only about Netaji's death but also his life. There is no denying that he was a great freedom fighter, who perhaps did not receive his due during his life and t even hereafter. Read this book if you want to know more about him. The journalistic streak in the author keeps the writing objective. But Netaji life and the questions shrouding his death is far more interesting. As a result this wonderfully crafted book is thrilling and entertaining. You will not repent buying this one.

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