Finding the lost hero
FOR THE CAUSE OF THE NATIONAL HERO: Mihir Bose in New Delhi . Photo: S. Subramanium
HE BRINGS forth humane virtues in deities, he unearths history without the glasses of provincial prejudices, Mihir Bose is one journalist who seems biased towards honesty.
Ready with the Indian edition of his biography of Subhas Chandra Bose, "The Lost Hero" published by Brijbasi Art Press, it seems rather intriguing that Mihir has taken more than two decades to bring his subject to India. "When the book was first released in 1982, the kind of reviews the book received in India put me off. Illustrated Weekly asked one foreign writer to review it. He criticised it to the hilt. I have no problem with criticism, but can you expect any other nation allowing a foreigner to review a book on their national hero? Over the years Governments became more forthcoming in releasing material on Bose, giving me an opportunity to add to the work. With Shyam Benegal film on Bose, where he has used the original for reference, ready for release I thought this is the right moment to release it in India."
Objectively looking into the life of a man whose personality has been given a divine aura over the years, Mihir says, "In India problem is most biographies are either texts or praiseworthy accounts. Bengal believes he is its personal property. Some think he is the incarnation of Krishna who can't die and others think he was celibate, when he has a daughter for all to see." New additions in the book include the letters between Bose and his Austrian love, Emile Schenkl.
"You have to accept, Bose faulted with his understanding of European politics. He would have been better off going to Japan instead of Germany where he found a cold response from Hitler. He judged the present from the experiences of the past, judging the Second World War from the results of the First World War. His contempt for democratic process can't be denied and has been quoted as saying `India needs an iron hand' to his friends in Germany. At the same time historians have failed to appreciate that Bose was the first to see the importance of outside support in fighting the colonial rule. Today this is a common practice for any movement."
Mihir, who is for the closure in the enquiry into Bose's death, gives the man the credit for pursuing a straight policy in an environment of ambivalence. "This trait made him lose out his place in the `family' led by the Father of the Nation. He was secular in the western sense of the term while here politicians have mixed religion with politics with ease. Even today media and politicians cry for enquiry into his death but nobody is interested in bringing his ashes from Japan."
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