Did Subhas Chandra Bose plan to join Mao’s liberation war?
In his forthcoming book 'What Happened to Netaji?' researcher Anuj Dhar has explored the possibility of Subhas Chandra Bose's presence in China around 1949. Dhar had hinted at the Chinese link in his earlier book 'India's Biggest Cover-up'.
The theory surfaced in 1949 when Subhas' elder brother Sarat Chandra ran a full-page story in his paper 'The Nation' with the banner headline 'Netaji in Red China'. Published on October 7, the story quoted him as claiming that 'the government of India was in possession of definite information that Netaji was in Red China of Mao Tse-tung'. When asked why Subhas was not coming to India, Sarat replied, 'I don't think the time is ripe'.
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Mumbai-based tabloid 'The Blitz' also carried a sensational news headlined, 'British report Bose alive in Red continent' on March 26, 1949. In 1956, close Bose associate Muthuramalingam Thevar told reporters that he had secretly visited China on Sarat Bose's instructions.
According to records declassified in 1997, with the end of the World War II in sight, Bose weighed his options. On March 21, 1946, INA's chief of staff General J K Bhonsle was interrogated at Red Fort on the last plans of Netaji. Bhonsle told his interrogator: "Bose had decided that in case the Japanese government did not agree to take up his case with Russia, he would try to get to Shanghai and from there, contact the Russians through Chinese Communists," Dhar writes in the book.
"Azad Hind Government minister Debnath Das told the Khosla Commission that one of the escape plans for Bose was to go to Yunan, the headquarters of Mao Tse-Tung, who would help him carry on his campaign against the British. He even had Ho Chi-Minh on his mind. Anand Mohan Sahay was actually sent to Hanoi and he forged a life-long friendship with the Vietnamese statesman," Dhar pointed out.
Priyadarsi Mukherji, professor in Chinese & Sinological Studies Centre at JNU, believes the Chinese are holding records about Bose. In January 2011, he met Professor Wang Bangwei, director of the Indian Studies Centre, Peking University, and asked him about the possibility of Bose's contacts with Mao after 1949. "Wang did not directly answer my query but said that both Bose and Mao had the same objective of achieving liberation of their countries by armed struggle, so it was natural for them to be close. On being asked about documents on Netaji in the research cell of the Chinese Communist Party, Wang said it is impossible for a foreigner to get access," he said.