The plot thickens: Congress spied on Netaji’s family for two decades


netajiAdding to the intrigue surrounding the mysterious death and revolutionary life of leader Subas Chandra Bose, recently declassified files by the government show that Bose was subjected to unprecedented surveillance by the IB.
Bose, in the 1930s, posed as a rival to Jawaharlal Nehru in the Congress, but owing to differences with the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolence even in the last phase of the independence struggle during the Second World War, he moved out to form his Azad Hind Fauj (reviving the Indian National Army) with Japanese aid. He died, under questionable circumstances in 1945, reportedly due to third degree burns after his plane crashed in Taiwan. Conspiracy theories have been abundant about Bose’s mysterious death. While the official version says that Bose died of third degree burns suffered when his plane crashed in Taiwan, conspiracy theorists have talked of a politically motivated ‘murder’ or faked death, possibly with external aid.
Netaji’s descendants, historians and political organisations had been campaigning for the declassification of secret files on Netaji. RTI requests filed for making public the files on his death have been rejected on the grounds that it would not be in public interest and may be detrimental to foreign relations.
The recent reports have come to light after the Calcutta High court pushed the government for disclosing the reasons for holding back the secret files on Netaji. As per the reports, the Jawaharlal Nehru government spied on the Bose family in Kolkata for 20 years after his death. The surveillance was carried out by the IB spies who kept tabs on both the families of Bose- in 38/2 Elgin Road and the other in 1 Woodburn Park in Kolkata between 1948-1968. Letters written by the Bose’s family were copied and tracked within and beyond the borders of the country. Apparently, the IB generally tracked Netaji’s brother, Sarat Chandra Bose’s son, Shisir Kumar Bose who often wrote letters to his aunt, Netaji’s wife Emily Schenkl in Austria.
In the context of the revelations on spying on Netaji, Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said, “If you see the history of the Congress Party, then, you will see darkness everywhere. There are lots of hidden things about them. Lot of such things come out about them (Congress) and most of them are true”. Urban Development Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, said that Bose one of his favourite icons and the news on Netaji’s family being spied upon was shocking and called for disclosure of the complete truth. The Aam Admi Party member Ashutosh said he was “pained and shocked” by the fact that Netaji’s family was being spied by the Nehru government.
However, Congress leader PC Chacko, said that there was no enmity between Bose and Panditji. “I think this is wrong interpretation of history”.
Speculations about Bose-Nehru stand off in the Congress have continued, though both have been recognized as political stalwarts in their own right. Jawaharlal Nehru served as the prime Minister of the country between 1947 till 1964. It is unlikely that the surveillance program could have gone on without his knowledge. He died while holding the office in 1964. The Congress Party continued to remain in power till almost fifty years later, mostly ruled by Nehru’s descendants.

Adding to the intrigue surrounding the mysterious death and revolutionary life of leader Subas Chandra Bose, recently declassified files by the government show that Bose was subjected to unprecedented surveillance by the IB.
Bose, in the 1930s, posed as a rival to Jawaharlal Nehru in the Congress, but owing to differences with the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolence even in the last phase of the independence struggle during the Second World War, he moved out to form his Azad Hind Fauj (reviving the Indian National Army) with Japanese aid. He died, under questionable circumstances in 1945, reportedly due to third degree burns after his plane crashed in Taiwan. Conspiracy theories have been abundant about Bose’s mysterious death. While the official version says that Bose died of third degree burns suffered when his plane crashed in Taiwan, conspiracy theorists have talked of a politically motivated ‘murder’ or faked death, possibly with external aid.
Netaji’s descendants, historians and political organisations had been campaigning for the declassification of secret files on Netaji. RTI requests filed for making public the files on his death have been rejected on the grounds that it would not be in public interest and may be detrimental to foreign relations.
The recent reports have come to light after the Calcutta High court pushed the government for disclosing the reasons for holding back the secret files on Netaji. As per the reports, the Jawaharlal Nehru government spied on the Bose family in Kolkata for 20 years after his death. The surveillance was carried out by the IB spies who kept tabs on both the families of Bose- in 38/2 Elgin Road and the other in 1 Woodburn Park in Kolkata between 1948-1968. Letters written by the Bose’s family were copied and tracked within and beyond the borders of the country. Apparently, the IB generally tracked Netaji’s brother, Sarat Chandra Bose’s son, Shisir Kumar Bose who often wrote letters to his aunt, Netaji’s wife Emily Schenkl in Austria.
In the context of the revelations on spying on Netaji, Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said, “If you see the history of the Congress Party, then, you will see darkness everywhere. There are lots of hidden things about them. Lot of such things come out about them (Congress) and most of them are true”. Urban Development Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, said that Bose one of his favourite icons and the news on Netaji’s family being spied upon was shocking and called for disclosure of the complete truth. The Aam Admi Party member Ashutosh said he was “pained and shocked” by the fact that Netaji’s family was being spied by the Nehru government.
However, Congress leader PC Chacko, said that there was no enmity between Bose and Panditji. “I think this is wrong interpretation of history”.
Speculations about Bose-Nehru stand off in the Congress have continued, though both have been recognized as political stalwarts in their own right. Jawaharlal Nehru served as the prime Minister of the country between 1947 till 1964. It is unlikely that the surveillance program could have gone on without his knowledge. He died while holding the office in 1964. The Congress Party continued to remain in power till almost fifty years later, mostly ruled by Nehru’s descendants.