Even as the recently declassified documents relating to the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose do not take us any closer to finding out whether he indeed survived the August 18, 1945 air crash, they throw up many unverified documents that claim he outlived the crash.
These often being either anecdotes or representations without a name and date — all they may do is to keep alive, by a slender thread, the belief that Netaji survived the crash.
There is one five-page note in a 1992 file that suggests Bose may have survived the crash.
The note has no name or date attached to it and reads like a representation made to the government.
“PC Kar, an official in the governor’s house in Bengal when RG Casey was the governor, claimed that the monitoring service at the governor’s house picked up three broadcasts of Netaji ... in December 1945, and January and February, 1946. A note on this item was put up before Mr. Casey,” says page-11 of File No 870/11/p/16/92/Pol from the Prime Minister’s Office. The “broadcasts” referred to show Bose saying his heart was “burning” for India and that freedom must come within two years though it would not be possible through non-violence.
The “broadcasts” also show him being respectful to Mahatma Gandhi.
In a February 1946 “broadcast,” he also refers to himself as a “humble son ... of Bharat Mata”.
The same note also claims there was no documentary evidence of a plane crash; the cremation certificate said to be Bose’s is that of a non-staff member of the Japanese armed forces; the birth date of the deceased on it is not the same as that of Netaji, etc.
Reacting to a query from The Hindu whether this file adds to our knowledge on Netaji's death — in the context of media reports saying so — Harvard historian and Netaji's biographer and grandnephew Sugata Bose replied to a text message with a single word: “None”. He did not respond to a mail sent regarding this.
An account of Netaji’s travel in Europe — before his ‘death’ after a plane crash — in Interpress (International Biographic Press Service), 1949, says he “ate a lot of beef” while travelling by train in Europe and admired both Mussolini and Stalin.
About his travel from Germany to Moscow, it says: “He ... had spent a week in a comfortable room of a train taking tea, milk, vodka and a large amount of beef. This was a matter of immense mental strength for a caste Hindu ... But nothing such was improper to the superstition-less revolutionist Sri Basu.”