“It is criminal defamation to say Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose became Gumnami Baba,” charged Ashis Ray, the London-based author of Laid To Rest: The Controversy Over Subhas Chandra Bose’s Death, a critically acclaimed book published by Roli Books.
“The so-called Gumnami Baba was a suspected murderer. To even remotely suggest he was Subhas Bose is the greatest insult to one of the leading lights of the Indian freedom movement, who sacrificed his life for the independence of his country. This slander must stop. Indian authorities need to take action against peddlers of such character assassination, who make money from spreading calumny and misleading innocent people,” Ray elaborated.
In a chapter entitled Cock-and-bull Stories in the book, Ray writes, Krishna Dutt Upadhyay (Baba’s real name) “allegedly murdered a colleague called Brahmadev Shastri in 1958 and then vanished from the scene.”
Ray’s book provides the most detailed and definitive account of Bose’s death as a result of a plane crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945. It has been described as the “white paper” on the subject which the Government of India never produced.
It has a Foreword by Prof Anita Bose Pfaff, the Germany-based only child of Netaji and it is based on 11 different official and unofficial investigations – four Indian, three British, three Japanese and one Taiwanese – most of them unknown to the general public and each and every one reaching the same conclusion.
In her foreword to the book, Prof Anita Bose Pfaff wrote the documents contained in the book “agree on the major facts regarding the plane crash and the consequent death of Netaji”. She went on to record that “the only consistent story about Netaji’s demise remains his death in a plane crash on August 18, 1945”. She has been pleading with the Indian government to bring her father’s mortal remains to India from Tokyo, where they have been preserved at a Buddhist temple for 74 years, for a final disposal as per Hindu rites.
Ray pointed out an offer to transfer the ashes to India was made by a British military officer Lt Col John Figgess as far back as July 25, 1946. “Figgess, who was stationed in Tokyo, was asked to investigate Bose’s death, reported by Reuters, by Lord Louis Mountbatten at the then Viceroy of India Lord Archibald Wavell’s request. The final sentence in Figgess’ inquiry report said; ‘If it is considered desirable, the ashes can be returned to the relatives in India’. But the British administration in India took no action on the offer,” he said.