Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

Ashes of Bose received by Nehru?

3 September 2006: Mr Anuj Dhar and Mr Chandrachur Ghosh approach the MEA and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) with a note signed by M O Mathai, Private Secretary of Jawaharlal Nehru. They ask

1. How these "ashes and other remains of late Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose" were disposed off after their receipt in India by then Minister of External Affairs, presumably Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru himself.
2. Why was this information about the receipt of the "ashes and other remains of late Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose" not conveyed to the people of India in general, and the Bose family in particular?
3. The present whereabouts of the "ashes and other remains of late Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose" with supporting documents, if they have been preserved. And in case they have been destroyed, or surreptitiously sent back to Tokyo, relevant documents thereof.

The PMO tells Chandrachur that "this Office has no records pertaining to the receipt of ashes of Netaji in India by the then Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs. Such records may be available with Ministry of Home Affairs, which is the nodal Ministry in respect of the subject under consideration". The MHA responded that "as the entire incident took place in the Ministry of External Affairs, you may take up the matter with that Ministry". The MHA responded that "as the entire incident took place in the Ministry of External Affairs, you may take up the matter with that Ministry".

3 November 2006: MEA tells Dhar that information about the alleged ashes and other remains of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was conveyed to the JMCI vide their letter dated 5 November 2005, which is available in the report of JMCI submitted to the Government of India in May 2006. MEA attaches the relevant page from the JMCI report. This extract stated that "the Indian Mission in Tokyo under instruction of New Delhi took over the possession of the alleged ashes of Netaji at the Renkoji temple" and that they "were not disturbed". That is, they were not brought to India

27 November 2006: Dhar files an appeal with the appellate authority at PMO. In his appeal, Dhar says, "I would like to submit that Shri Barwa's response does not fully answer my queries. In fact, it has landed me in confusion as the information furnished is diametrically opposite to the content of the aforementioned note, the genuineness of which is not in question. In view of the above, I am requesting you to kindly clear the air and provide categorical answers to the following 3 questions, which are more or less what I had put to Shri Barwa.

Whether certain "ashes and other remains of Netaji" were ever received in India by Pandit Nehru, who was also the External Affairs Minister? If yes, how were they disposed off, and why was the information about their receipt withheld from the people of India in general and Netaji's family in particular? If the alleged ashes of Netaji "were not disturbed" and allowed to remain at the Renkoji temple in Tokyo, what is the raison d'etre of UO No D/S 13170 dated 2.12.1954?" (see here)

2 March 2007: Ajai Choudhry, Additional Secretary & Apellate Authority MEA, tells Dhar that "as far as this Ministry is aware, the alleged ashes and remains are still at the Renkoji Temple in Tokyo". There was no explanation what the 1954 note stood for. (see here)

18 July 2007: The bench of Dr. O.P. Kejariwal, Information Commissioner, hears the matter.

26 July 2007: Dr Kejariwal passes his order, in which he says, "One look at the note emanating from the Prime Minister's Secretariat which the Appellant got from the documents placed before the Mukherjee Commission of inquiry in 1999-2004 into Netaji's disappearance would seem to open up an altogether new line of inquiry with the implication that Netaji's ashes and other remains were brought back to the country by the late Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. As is commonly said, 'The mystery deepens.'" He also says, "During the hearing, the representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs stated that they had no records with them on the matter and hence could not proceed any further with the RTI-application. The Commission, therefore, can only hope that some serious researcher will look into one of the greatest mysteries of modern India and arrive at a definite conclusion." Thus, the case ends without any solution. (see here)