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The Chasm Between Dead And Missing

The British were implacably hostile to Bose. The Congress was amenable; Subhas Bose was not

4/30/2015 2:50:11 PM
written By : M J Akbar Print

Intelligence agencies keep their secrets well because they are intelligent as well as secretive. Governments keep files classified for three or five decades because they wait till both the principal personae and the issues are dead. On a very, very few occasions, documents boomerang. They wake up the dead. Subhas Chandra Bose has become the ghost at Macbeth’s banquet, a haunting reminder that power was once purchased at a price.

From the moment news filtered through the war haze that the plane carrying Bose, charismatic leader of the Indian National Army (INA), had crashed in Taipei on August 18, 1945, his fate has been wrapped in alternative narratives best described in two words: “dead” and “disappeared”. The first was the preferred conclusion of the establishment; the second was the view of the people of India. If we want to understand why there was such a dramatic conflict over interpretation of an event, we must appreciate what the establishment of 1945 represented.

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