Why Jaitley's tweet on Netaji's 'death anniversary' irked Mamata, Bose family

For many, the freedom struggle icon is more useful undead.

 |  4-minute read |   18-08-2016
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As one of the most abiding mysteries of our time and the fodder for numerous conspiracy theories, the "death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose" remains a favourite topic among India's Twitterati.

Because the Bose family has never accepted the (Congress-led) government (Nehruvian) version of the story - that Netaji died in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945 - with the exception of Bose's daughter, Anita Bose, there's no definitive answer to the question "when did Netaji die?"

In this context, a tweet, now deleted, by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley mourning and paying tribute Netaji's "death anniversary" on August 18 naturally sparked a controversy, with many a Bengali proclaiming "hurt sentiments".

jaitley-netaji-tweet_081816045632.jpg 

"Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was an icon of exemplary valour and sacrifice. We remember and pay him our respectful tribute on his death anniversary," Jaitley tweeted but was compelled to delete it once a number of Bengalis of the "Mission Netaji" fame, as well as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, called him out on his "error".

netaji-jaitley-tweet_081816051051.jpg Mamata Banerjee says she's 'hurt' by Arun Jaitley's (now deleted) tweet on Netaji's 'death anniversary'.

In fact, Netaji's grand nephew Chandra Kumar Bose, who joined the BJP amid great fanfare just before the last Assembly polls in West Bengal in May this year, has demanded an apology from Jaitley, according to news reports.

In addition, Netaji crusaders including Anuj Dhar, who strongly believe that Netaji survived the plane crash and migrated to Soviet Union only to come back to India and live on for several years in disguise (as "Gumanami Baba"), took Jaitley to task over the latter's tweet since that would corroborate the highly-contested official version of Netaji's death.

Also read: The mystery continues: Did Netaji end up in Soviet Russia?

While two governemnt inquiries have concluded that Netaji indeed died in the crash, another, Justice Mukherjee Commission, contradicted the claims.

Anuj Dhar and others have been at the forefront of pushing the Modi government to declassify the Netaji files in 2015, which have revealed that the Congress regime had snooped on the Bose family until 1964, the year the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru died.

Twitterati was quick to draw daggers at Jaitley's faux pas.

 

The one-upmanship over Netaji's death continues unabated.

Documents related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose are available on netajipapers.gov.in, though no fresh perspective on the Azad Hind Fauj leader's death has come forward from them.

In September 2015, Mamata Banerjee herself declassified 65 files on Netaji, while the Modi government at the Centre too has been making public several of these files.

Also read: Netaji files: How Subhas Bose's daughter flip-flopped on his DNA test

Even PM Narendra Modi has personally met several of Bose's family members, which was supposed to be a major fillip to BJP's chances in West Bengal in the recently concluded Assembly polls. But despite Netaji being an emotive subject, and despite roping in Chandra Bose, it didn't cut much ice among the Bengalis.

netaji-jaitley-tweet_081816051106.jpg Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's death remains an emotive and inconclusive topic for Indians.

It seems Bongs prefer the memories of Netaji in Didi's hands.

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