India had been gearing up for the 125th Birth Anniversary of India's Liberator, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. As the occasion fell amidst the winters of January this year, the West Bengal Legislative elections had made things spicier (definitely) and delicious (maybe). However, the question that wobbles in our minds is, how was this celebration significant as compared to those bygone…the declaration of 23rd January as Parakram Diwas by the PMO, the renaming of the Howrah-Kalka Mail after Bose or Prime Minister Modi's fluency in Bangla? Or was it significant at all?

If the Indian Freedom Struggle was placed within the framework of Ramayan, its Hanuman would definitely be Netaji Bose. When everyone failed, it was this one man’s determination and deeds that had turned the table a lot on our side. However, just like every other Ramayan, his story too ended with chants for “only” the Rams and Laxmans. The ball had started to roll long back from the 1939 Tripuri elections, where the Mahatma, the epitome of fairness and love, rooted for a minor and undeserving leader, against Bose, just due to a clash in ideologies. The one known to embrace even the disabled, calling them “Harijan”, surprisingly showed a national champion the way to the exit door. Who mattered eventually: the nation’s goodwill or the will of the nation’s father? The next episode came up after the second World War when the Allied Powers declared Bose to be a War Criminal. No one, then, would dare to go against the victors, especially a country, that had impoverishment lurking from each corner. Yet abstaining to comment could have been a good alternative. Nevertheless, our then PM openly supported the claims made by the US, UK and erstwhile USSR. We are again pushed to think hard: Does service to the nation matter at all or disappearance in oblivion is sure if you don’t sip a drink with some good gentlemen?

Bose was, perhaps, the only superhero to exist at the time of the Second World War apart from Captain America. Their ends too came via a plane crash but the latter was brought back 70 years later, thanks to Nick Fury's SHIELD, and Bose still remains in the darkness of uncertainty, thanks to the power mongers who had his files Sealed. Jokes apart, all in all, investigations by the Japanese government, Shahnawaz, Khosla and Mukherjee commissions and so much more, have been nothing more than a boomerang that have kept bringing us to the same point. The bigger problem is the fact that notions proven have been contradicted by the new notions that have floated in the later days. The age old Plane Crash theory has been falsified by the 2005 Mukherjee Commission. When the Government claimed after 1997 that there were no more Netaji files left as "Classified", the NDA-led Government declassified some 300+ files on and after 4th December, 2015. Some sources claim he was present at the Tashkent Summit with PM Shastri while others believe he returned disguised as a hermit, known as Bhagwanji aka Gumnaami Baba. The underlined statement is all these instances have only one thing in common: the malodour of vested interests. Some issues are not solved since they offer advantages manifold to some people, irrespective of the cost incurred by the rest.

At this juncture, we do not need laser shows at the Victoria memorial but the truth, losing which, injustice has been meted out both to Bose and India. Every roaring lion has "Satyamev Jayate" underlying beneath itself, then how can this lion be denied his share of truth? The wait persists as to when Netaji gets to hear Justice in the most Subhash way and India shines, yet again, in the light of the cosmic Chandra called Bose. The call for Blood has been responded to but real Freedom is yet to come: Freedom from vendetta, greed, opportunism and dual standardism.

Jai Hind

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