‘Central files on Netaji may not unravel his disappearance’

Kolkata, Nov 18 (IANS) The Centre’s act of declassifying secret files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose may not help in unravelling the mystery surrounding his disappearance, noted journalist and author Kingshuk Nag has said.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just promised, he is yet to act on that. Even if all the central government files are declassified, I am not sure, if they will have all the answers that people are seeking to know about Netaji,” Nag told IANS during the launch of his book ‘Netaji: Living Dangerously’ on Tuesday.

“I doubt if the files will have all the information, because some of the important files may be missing, may be doctored long before Modi became the prime minister,” said the Prem Bhatia Memorial Award winner.

Following a meeting with a host of Netaji descendants and historians, Modi in October announced the Centre will declassify files related to Bose from January 23 – his birth anniversary.

The prime minister also assured he would request foreign governments, including Russia, to declassify files related to Netaji available with them.

Nag, who in his book has dealt about the various theories surrounding Netaji’s disappearance following an alleged air crash in Formosa (now Taiwan) on August 18, 1945, claims the answer to Bose’s disappearance lie hidden in secret files with the Russian, British and the Japanese governments.

“The Indian government files may mostly carry certain passing references about Netaji. The real mystery behind his disappearance may be revealed only if the files with the Russian, British and Japanese governments are declassified,” Nag said.

Eminent historian Hari Vasudevan opined the Modi government ought to have sought the services of experts for the process of declassification of over 120 files said to be with the various central departments, including the prime minister’s office.

“We don’t know what files will be classified so it is difficult to say whether they will be able to answer the questions that we all have been seeking.

“But, I don’t think it is adequate that files are just randomly declassified without allowing experts, or historians to ask questions,” Vasudevan told IANS.

“It’s essential that people who are interested in the matter, people who have expertise are involved, so that they may pose questions and seek answers to judge the relevance of a document being declassified,” added the specialist in Russian and European history at Calcutta University.

Netaji’s niece Chitra Ghosh, however, exuded confidence that the files would bring out much-needed answers to the one of the most intriguing mysteries in the country.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, who unveiled the book, compared it with Meghna Gulzar-directed movie “Talvar” which uses the ‘Rashomon effect’ to deal with the various theories surrounding the sensational Aarushi Talwar double murder case.

“Much like the movie “Talwar” which deals with multiple theories about an incident, Kingshuk’s book too deals with different theories with the author smartly pushing in his own theories which he thinks are probable.”

O’Brien also welcomed the Centre’s declassification move.

“Mamata Banerjee took a historic decision by declassifying the files and after that the Centre followed suit. It is a good step, we want the truth, the country must know what really happened to Netaji,” he said.

Giving a riveting account in his bid to answer the various questions surrounding the disappearance of Netaji, Nag in his book has rejected the Taiwan plane crash theory and pointed to the possibility that ‘Gumnami Baba’, an ascetic living in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad, was Bose in disguise.

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