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#NehruSnooped: Our historians have betrayed Subhas Chandra Bose

Kapil Kumar
Kapil KumarMay 05, 2015 | 11:31

#NehruSnooped: Our historians have betrayed Subhas Chandra Bose

History is not what one believes or perceives but what the facts and evidences state! History writing can not be based on assumptions and conjunctures, or left to interpretations by the political parties, their spokespersons and their proxies.

In the context of the ongoing #NehruSnooped controversy, which I understand to be part of larger issue of the disappearance of Subhas Chandra Bose, leading historians of ours are maintaining a deafening silence. Some have even gone to the extent of summarily rejecting these revelations and research findings that have emerged through the diligent hard work of others.

This silence speaks volumes about how history in India has been defaced and distorted as per the whims of the ruling ideologies. As a historian, I cannot fathom this silence on the vital issue of declassification of files and records, an essential source for writing history.

It's an irony that even files related to pre-independence period remain classified and many have been destroyed since 1947. Who decides on their continuing classification and destruction, and under what criteria? Obviously, bureaucrats and politicians. I strongly question their wisdom and decision making in this regard as no professional historian has any say in this. Nor our historians have demanded it and the colonial psyche persists.

Very often, when we request files at the National Archives, the slips come back with the noting "not transferred". And in all cases these are files of the pre-independence era. What is the logic/sense in keeping them classified? Who suffers? It's the truth, the history, the research and the scholar.

The Indian History Congress which never hesitates in passing resolutions and issuing statements even on contemporary issues has maintained silence on the entire Netaji matter. Why so? What is the fear? What stops them in demanding the declassification of files which are a vital historical source? Well, it's the ideology and the party lines that deter them from uncovering and analysing the hidden records.

Why do they forget that as professional historians we never take the official versions at face value but always attempt to decode them and analyse along with other sources. Compare this with the other democracies of the world where how so ever critical the records may be in relation to government policies, the declassification rules are adhered to.

#NehruSnooped has created a tremor across the political plane, much to the great unease of politicians, particularly the Congress spokespersons who are blatantly raising their voices in spite of their ignorance of the issues involved. This is not a political issue that will be subdued by the use of vocal cord and history will never excuse these suppressers of documents.

If they are so concerned about Jawaharlal Nehru's image, can they defend the treatment meted out to Subhas Bose after the Tripuri Congress? The Haripura and Tripuri Congress presidential victories of Bose were ample indicators of Bose's standing among the Congress cadres. The whole nation rooting for the INA soldiers being tried by the British during a period of communal strife, the entire Indian Diaspora standing behind Bose and the INA were testimony to Bose's popularity. Why weren't the soldiers of the INA not reinstated in the independent Indian Army by the Nehru led government of India? Were they not freedom fighters? How many of them were given Tamra Patra's by the Indira Gandhi government?

For me, the Independence Day is the day when Bose unfurled the tricolour on the Indian soil in Manipur and August 15, 1947 is a day of mourning when transfer of power took place for a fragmented India leading to a communal holocaust. It's high time that the mysteries related to Bose are resolved. Declassification of Bose-related files will go a long way in sorting out this issue. Our historians must break their silence for the cause of history.

Last updated: August 19, 2015 | 11:27
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