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>>

Netaji Inquiry Committee: Dissentient Report of Suresh Chandra Bose (1956)

Photostat copy of Dr Radha Binod Pal's letter

Mention has been made in an earlier part of this report of the name of Dr. Radha Binode Pal, the jurist of international fame. (App. b) is a photostatic copy of a letter written by him on 14.2.53 to Shri A. M. Nair of Tokyo and which was filed by Shri Arabindo Bose, in which he has written, "As a matter of fact, I could not accept as true the story of Netaji's death at Formosa. In any case, I feel that the whole thing demands a thorough investigation. Statements by individuals made here and there will not convince me as to the truth of the whole story given out. I have reasons to doubt its correctness." It is very well known that Dr. R. B. Pal was one of the Judges in the War Criminals' Tribunal at Tokyo and his dissentient judgment in it is historic. As such, I believe, he had ample opportunities of coming in contact with the top-ranking Allied Secret Service Officers. It is impossible for him to make any statement, until he could vouch for its correctness. I would therefore accept the same fully.

Shri M K Gandhi and Russian Diplomats believe Netaji alive

I have already quoted certain extracts from the Allied Secret Report, No. 10/Misc/I.N.A. and what is quoted below is considered to be very important and they appear at Pages 38 & 39. "Gandhi stated publicly at the beginning of January that he believed that Bose was alive and in hiding ascribing it to an inner voice...Congressmen believe that Gandhi's inner voice is secret information which he had received.....This is however, a secret report which says Nehru received a letter from Bose saying he was in Russia and that he wanted to escape to India...The information alleges that. Gandhi and Sarat Bose are among those who are aware of this...it is probable that the letter from Bose arrived about the time Gandhi made his public statement. In January also Sarat Bose is reported to have said that he was convinced his brother was alive. Another piece of intelligence which connects Bose with the N. W. Frontier is a letter written by the President of the Frontier Students Congress. In this letter the writer said that Bose was in T. T. and that he was going there himself...The information received from internal sources is puzzling and the same can be said about external information. On the 7th of January, the Russian paper "Pravda" denied in strong terms that Bose was in Russia. Before then, however, the Ghilzai Malang had been coupling a live Bose with Russia and in December a report said that the Governor of the Afghan Province of Khost had been informed by the Russian Ambassador in Kabul that there were many Congress refugees in Moscow and Bose was included in their number. There is little reason for such persons to bring Bose into fabricated stories. At the same time, the view that Russian officials are disclosing or alleging that Bose is in Moscow is supplied in a report received from Teheran. This states that Moradoff, the Russian Vice Consul General disclosed in March that Bose was in Russia where he was secretly organising a group of Russians to work on the same lines as the I.N.A. for the freedom of India. Taihoku, Congress and Russian representatives in Teheran and Kabul are the most important objectives in this case as it stands now."

The reliability and importance of this secret report have already been stressed. It is clear from the lines noted above that both internal sources, viz., Indian and external sources viz., abroad, have had sufficient materials to say that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was expected to be living somewhere.

Shri Harin Shah's enquiry in 1946

The evidence of Shri Harin Shah, the journalist, has been given much prominence by my colleagues, though, admittedly, he had very little personal knowledge of the facts stated by him. To analyse his deposition, it would appear, that far from supporting the alleged death of Netaji, it would disprove it. According to him, in the Japanese newspaper "Taiwan (Formosa) Nichi, Nichi Shinbun" published from Taihoku on 22-8-45, it was reported that Netaji died on 19-8-45 at midnight and that Lt. Gen. Suechengche, not Shidei, died immediately and 4 other Generals and Colonels were injured. Then again, when Shri Shah went to the Bureau of Health and Hygiene at Taihoku for consulting the Death Certificate Records and permission to cremate Netaji's body, he met Dr. Kan, the Officer-in-Charge and the 2 clerks, who were in service there at that time. They stated, that as the body was that of a distinguished person, they were not allowed to see it, but it was taken out of the coffin, placed on a wooden plank, wrapped in cloth and then transferred to bier, which is quite a new story.

He took photostat copies of the following documents:
(1)   Doctor's report on the death of Netaji,
(2)   The Police Officer's report and
(3)   The Certificate issued by the Bureau, permitting cremation. They were written in Japanese.

The doctor's report was translated into English by Mr. Chung and is as follows:

From the Army Hospital, To the Bureau of Health and Hygiene.
Date of the Report: 21st August, 1945.
Certificate of the Death.
Name of the person                            Okara Ochiro (meaning big warehouses of food and Ichiro means eldest son).
Sex                                                      Male
Birth                                                     Born in the Heiti 22nd year, April 9
Occupation                                         He was Taiwan (Formosa) Military Government Army's obedient officer.
Reason of death                                 By sickness.
Nature of sickness                              Heart failure.
Time of sickness                                17th August, 1945.
Time of death                                      19th August, 4 P.M.
Place of death                                     Army Hospital.
Date                                                    21st August.
Name of the doctor and                      Chuluta Toyeji Chentza, Siskwan (Japanese University).
the seal                      

On asking the clerks, Shri Shah was told that false details were noted, according to the instructions of the Japanese Officer, accompanying the body. This reason cannot be accepted, because if the person had actually died, no further action could be taken against him and the necessity for secrecy could not arise any longer. As against this, Netaji's death was given great publicity by all the different sources, soon after his alleged death. I fail to understand the utility of this ridiculous piece of evidence to prove Netaji's death.

The Police report, according to Shri Shah was more or less a confirmatory paper on the lines of the doctor's report, but the cremation permit from the Taipeh (Taihoku) Bureau of Health and Hygeine was, as follows:

 

Column 1

Official Permit of the Bureau to cremate the body.

Column 2

Native Place — Tokyo.

 

Present address — Taipeh (Taihoku, which is the other name of Taipeh)

Columns 3 & 4

Same as in Doctor's certificate with regard to Death, Name, Sex, Birth, Date and Occupation of the deceased.

Column 5

Where the body will be cremated — Taihoku City Government Crematorium.

Column 6

Time and date for cremation — 6 P.M. 22nd August, 1945.

Column 7

Relationship of applicant — His close friends.

Columns 8 & 9

The capital printed Japanese letters show that this is an application for the Government to cremate that body.

Column 10

Blank.

Column 11

Date of application — August 21st, 1945.

Column 12

Blank.

Column 13

Army and the number of deceased — Army in Formosa, No. 21123. In Japanese it was put down as Taiwan Dainichi nichi Bruhai.

Column 14

Name of the applying Japanese Officer of the Police station — Yoshimi Yani Yoshi.

 

The Officers' seal in red is also on the paper.

I cannot but make an observation that this is another ridiculous piece of evidence to prove Netaji's death.

The next point, considered by Shri Harin Shah, is cremation. It has already been stated that the 3 witnesses, viz., Major Nagatomo, who was the 2nd Adjutant to the Formosan Army Commander at Taihoku and who was deputed by the Army Command to arrange for the cremation, Col. Habibur Rahman and Mr. J. Nakamura, the Interpreter meant for Netaji, and whose services, appear to have been requisitioned even after Netaji's death, have given 3 different versions. It will presently be seen, whether the fourth version by Shri Harin Shah follows the rule, that has generally been maintained, regarding the evidence from the Aircraft Accident onwards, or whether it will be an exception. Shri Shah stated that Mr. Chu Tsuang, a Formosan, was in charge of the same crematorium also at that time and who narrated the following story: The coffin was a very big one and 7 or 8 Japanese Officers accompanied the body in plain clothes and they reached at 3 P.M. It took about 8 hours for the body to be consumed and the Officers paid the ordinary fee of 18 yens. The coffin was so big, that it could not be accommodated even in Class I Chamber and so the body was taken out and placed inside another coffin, evidently, a smaller one and which was put inside the chamber for cremation According to the usual practice, he collected the ashes the next morning in the usual wooden box, after which, an Indian, with a bandaged forearm, and a few Japanese who came in a truck and in a Sedan Car, took away the box. This, being the fourth different version regarding cremation, the general rule has been maintained. As such, the only conclusion, that can possibly be arrived at, is that the story regarding cremation is concocted and false, and it would naturally be so, as the Aircraft Accident Did Not Take Place and that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Did Not Die, as has been held already.

Another important point, referred to by Shri Shah, is that, on reaching Taihoku in August, 1946, the first idea that struck him was to get a confirmation regarding Netaji's alleged death from the War Graves' Commission, that: was in session there and he, accordingly, met Lt. Richards, Officer Commanding, Research Division, American Headquarters, Taihoku, who, however, said that he never came across any information or mention about Netaji's grave. It is my firm belief that if Netaji had actually died at Taihoku, all the people there, young or old, rich or poor, would certainly have known about it and his grave would have been in a very prominent and conspicuous place.

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