What Ashis Ray isn't telling you: Netaji's 'death certificate' was issued in 1988
His tilt towards Congress is evident from his narrative of Bose's death.
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The doctor's certificate that supposedly proved the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was actually issued 43 years after the alleged death of the freedom fighter in Taipei city.
The misinformation campaign started by Ashis Ray, a London-based grandnephew of Subhas Chandra Bose who supports the Congress party, has been devised with a view to muddy the waters as the process of the declassification of Bose-related files kicks off tomorrow.
Ray, a former senior journalist with plenty of good contacts, has gone all over the town with his story that Dr Taneyoshi Yoshimi told him 1995 that he had around midnight on 18 August 1945 pronounced Netaji dead in a Taiwanese hospital and issued a death certificate for "Chandra Bose".
But the fact is that Yoshimi had "manufactured" a death certificate bearing the name "Chandra Bose" only in 1988. This fake certificate had back then reached a researcher out to prove Netaji’s death with the support of Congress leaders. Ray appears to be on the job now.The 'Death certificate' was issued in 1988. Ray is hyping only obsolete information.
All the same, Yoshimi's testimony is riddled with far too many contradictions to make it credible. On the other hand, records available with the Japanese, Taiwanese, British and Indian governments show that a Japanese solider by the name of Ichiro Okura died in August 1945, not Bose.
There is no proof that any record bearing Bose's name, or that of a Japanese general who reportedly died in the same alleged plane crash, ever existed or was destroyed at some point in time.
Incidentally, when asked by Ray in 1995, Dr Yoshimi denied that he had ever issued a death certificate for Okura, insisting that he issued one bearing the name "Chandra Bose" - as Japanese called Netaji.
Yoshimi said he did not know any Ichiro Okura and, in fact, heard his name for the first time in 1995.
But seen below is the English translation of an entry in a 1945 vintage Japanese cremation register kept in Taipei where one K Yoshime has applied for the disposal of the body of Ichiro Okura on August 19, just after the reported death of Bose.[The Nation Archives, London]
While the 1988 certificate was exhibited by the Mukhrejee Commission of Inquiry (1999-2005), which rejected the air crash theory of Netaji's death, the cremation entry seen above comes from a declassified 1956 Foreign and Commonwealth Office file kept at the National Archives in Kew, London.
The British had carried out an inquiry at the behest of the Indian government. After India was told that there was no precise proof of Bose's death in Taiwan, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru hushed up the report.
The other records in the British file, declassified in the 1990s, show that this Yoshime was Dr Yoshimi himself. It is clear that to cover-up the facts, Yoshimi released, or was persuaded to release, a fake certificate in 1988.
Justice Mukherjee personally examined Yoshimi in Japan in 2001 and found him untrustworthy on the issue of Bose's reported death. When asked under what circumstances he had produced a certificate in 1988, the former Japanese army officer and a man of razor-sharp memory - quite evident even in his advanced age - said "he did not have any clear memory about that".
Justice Mukherjee was constrained to write in the report that "Dr Yoshimi's failure to give any reason, much less a satisfactory one, for belated preparation of the copy [of the death certificate]...clearly indicate that the above document cannot but be a manufactured one".
In other words, the "Chandra Bose" death certificate was as much real as Bose's death.
As it happened, the Commission's report was rejected by previous Congress government without assigning any reason in the so-called Action Taken Report tabled in Parliament in 2006.
Ashis Ray has not questioned this arbitrary and undemocratic act of the previous government. He is happy to be quoting from the report of Shah Nawaz Khan, a Gandhi family loyalist.
Ashis's rants on Twitter indicate that he hates Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Interestingly, the only people in the Bose family who are not mighty pleased with Modi's decision to declassify the Netaji files are Lok Sabha MP Sugata Bose, whose parents were in Congress party, Congress party supporter Ashis Ray and Netaji's daughter Anita Pfaff, whose own mother died thinking that Netaji was in Soviet Russia after his reported death in 1945. Anita has been acting strangely after the then external affairs minsiter Pranab Mukherjee met her in Germany in 1995.
Like his first cousin Sugata, Ashis holds Pranab in highest esteem, which is in contrast to what most Bose family members think. Official records do not reflect positively on Pranab's past activities with regard to the Netaji mystery.
All that Ray is hyping up from London is obsolete information. His tilt towards Congress is evident from his narrative of the story of the reported death of Bose.
The Netaji mystery was politicised by Congress party decades ago. The timing of Ray's sudden surfacing is most suspect as Ray had made himself scarce when the Mukherjee Commission was functioning.
If he knew so much, why didn't Ashis Ray depose before the commission?