By A Vinogradov
Extracted from the paper "The life and death of Netaji Bose" originally published in Russian in "Echo Planeti" May/June 1992 and reproduced in The Scottish Church Commemorative volume in 1997.
Before Diwali, the largest and traditional festival of India, stalls with bright clay figures of deities appear right along the streets in markets. There are in abundance - the elephant Ganesh, for the Bengalis - their beloved Durga and in the same place there are Krishna and Hanuman, the King of monkeys. It is a must that each Indian should buy these figures as they are sacred to them. But among these gods and goddesses there are busts and statues of human being who is little known to us but well known to any one in India. In terms of number of sculptural images, perhaps even Mahatma Gandhi would not match him. Slightly Mongoloid features, spectacles, Congress cap but more often in full uniform and field cap. This is Subhas Chandra Bose-the national hero, a leader, love and pain of India and a personality surrounded by legends.
It is not just respect that makes the shopkeepers exhibit the images of Bose side by side with the deities whereas there is no busts of Nehru or any other leaders! For lots and lots of Indians (the calculation is in tens of millions) he is a holy martyr and a holy seer. He is a person with whom the personal deeds and even behavior of the leaders of the country are critically compared. It is absolutely similar to the people lamented in our country just a few years back, that there would be no misfortunes "had Lenin lived longer".
And yet this is not all. To millions of Indians Subhas does not just belong to the past. "He is alive". They are awaiting his return, and firmly believe in it. They are awaiting his return not just as a judge but as a saviour, who knows the answers to all questions, who will shoe them the way to a happy life, to the same blissful kingdom which for the Indian people - is just a part of the national soul as it is for the Indian people-is just a part of the national soul as it is for the people of Russia like them.
But this Messiah, this Buddha-Maytreya must appear neither form the heaven, nor form the mysterious country of sages and magicians. He has a definite address-that is Russia. He will just have to return.
And those realists, who think it is hardly possible that this ninety five year old national hero is still alive, also hope that someday they will come to know exactly where in the Siberian snow lies his grave.
Last year the Indian government made an effort to transfer back (to India) the urn with ashes of Subhas Chandra Bose for Tokyo temple. But it had to be postponed. His relatives and millions of people holding the same view think it is blasphemy to "bring the fake" and demand the truths. The Indian Govt. is still under pressure to elucidate and to tell the truth till the end, which is suspected, that Moscow and Delhi have been hiding for four and a half decades.
But after all who is he? "Soviet Encyclopedic Dictionary" concised : " Bose Subhas Chandra (1897 - 1945), during 1928-1939 on of the leaders of the leftist with in the Indian National Congress. During the Second World War he founded the \\'Indian National Army\\' in the Japanese occupied Burma, which fought in favour of Japan and against Great Britain (as colonial oppressor of India)". In general like "Indian Vlasov", for which in fact he was distinguished for years in our country. The analogy is quite primitive and frankly speaking rather far fetched but nothing less is highly convenient: apparent clarity save it form the need to go into details. Well for somebody these details may turn out fatal : a great number of conflicts of pre-war and war period got interwoven in Bose\\'s life and getting to the bottom of its mysteries may throw light upon the most delicate moments of relations among the great powers and influential intelligence services.
In the Indian freedom movement serious fighting was going on among the adherents of different means to achieve independence. Many of them are now inclined to see only one side - Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. The Non-violent movement of Tolstoyan type, compromise with Britain, and later on-excellent relations with the former parent -state, development by bourgeois-democratic means with numerous features of state socialism. Hence the attitude towards Gandhi like that of an icon, uncritical view of him, reluctance to see that prophecy of this man calling upon to the archaic past, proved to be illusions.
His successor Nehru was also a moderate politician. He did not simply like European costume, but also learned the Indian culture rather at a quite mature age, till he had received excellent European education. In Britain, among the politicians, social workers with Leftist and the Labour trend and amidst the Socialists and Fabians he was absolutely in his element and felt completely at home there. He came to the demand for full sovereignty of India far from being at once.
Though Bose was indeed uncompromising enemy of Britannia, at the same time he saw in the English those useful traits, which helped them to build the Empire. The aim of his life was historic revenge for enslavement and humiliation of India, for his own Bengal, the first one not to get into such an idyllic Britain\\'s heels, as some thimes is considered now a days. Every where he sought for allies among the enemies of Great Britain and at times this search led him to a blind alley.
Subhas Chandra Bose was an adherent of the most decisive fight for freedom of India, and what is more, of violent struggle. In violence he saw the means of purification, absolutely in the sprit of clear perception of mind: "the cause is firm, when blood flows under it." He perceived the future of this world in the means of socialism and the most strict planning. He liked Marx for preciseness of ideas. At the same time he criticised him for disregarding spiritual life and for his view on the British domination in India as an instrument of historical transformations. His most respected political figures and practical persons were - Lenin, Mussolini, Atatyurk (there was no good feelings for Hitler : who in the "Mein Kampf" talked about the peoples of the East very disrespectfully ).
Bose was born on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack just during those days, when the British empire was celebrating the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria\\'s ascent to the throne. His father Janakinath by birth was from a noble family of Bengali Hindus, who before the arrival of the Britishers used to hold posts in the government of local Nawab. His mother Prabhavati belonged to a family which fast made out that it was quite lucrative to cooperate with the colonial government. Though mentions are found, that quite rare caste of hers, that is Kayastha, highly prospered even much earlier, under the Muslim rulers.
His father was not actively involved in social activities, he was the chairman of the Theosophical lodge in Cuttack. But on the other hand his son felt the taste for fight, activities at an early age though at once did not make out exactly for what. He took great interest in Indian and Bengali culture, he applied himself to Sanskrit and as early as at the school in Cuttack he was indignant at the scorn with which the English teachers treated the Bengali language.
The first serious influence on the outlook of the still quite young Bose was Vivekananda, who thundered the entire world with his idealization of ancient India, with his teaching on paradise, that was destroyed because of+.,~ irruption and moral degradation. The appeal of Vivekananda is simple : "Help the poor because he is God". Bose heard it and with his school friends he founded the "League of voluntary services". "The volunteers" nursed the pox and cholera patients, and distributed rice.