The Undying Controversy…
The years 1945 and 1946 are still considered as grey areas in regard to the Indian History. Millions of Indians do not have a clear idea about the activities of the Indian National Army (INA), an Armed Force initiated by Indian Revolutionary Leader Rash Behari Bose (May 25, 1886 – January 21, 1945) and Imperial Japan in 1942 in Southeast Asia during the Second World War. Its aim was to secure Indian Independence from the British Rule. Later, Rash Behari Bose handed over the charge of the INA to Subhas Chandra Bose (January 23, 1897 – August 18, 1945). It can be said that there is a strange episode behind this…
After Independence (in 1947), the Government of India became interested in writing the History of the Freedom Struggle. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (November 14, 1889 – May 27, 1964) – the first Prime Minister of India – reportedly told his Cabinet colleagues that a separate History of the INA should be written by experts. He assigned noted Historian Pratul Chandra Gupta (January 16, 1910 – March 11, 1990) to do the needful in this regard in 1949. Pandit Nehru asked Gupta to send the manuscript to him when the writing was over, as he could add some points from few INA files which were in his possession! At that time, Gupta felt honoured.
As per the PM’s advice, Gupta sent his 500-page manuscript to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) after completing his job. Later, he tried his best to follow up the matter with the PMO. Unfortunately, each and every time, the PMO officials told him: “The Prime Minister is busy, he has no time.”
Nehru passed away in 1964, and Gupta breathed last in 1990. Hence, the History of INA remained untraced. The Indian officials recently found Gupta’s manuscript in an archive in New Delhi. Surprisingly, it is labelled as Classified! So, it is not certain whether the Indians will get access to it. An Indian national, who wished to remain anonymous, has said that he tried to get access to the manuscript with the help of Right To Information (RTI) Act. However, he got no response from the Government of India!
Purabi Roy – a former Professor of Jadavpur University, Kolkata, a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research and also a relative of Historian Gupta – is well aware of the communication between Pandit Nehru and Historian Gupta over matters related to the INA and Subhas Chandra Bose. She revealed it while delivering a speech a couple of years ago; and the video of her speech is available on YouTube!
In December 2019, the Government of India de-classified all records, relating to Subhash Chandra Bose and the INA, and placed them in the National Archives of India. Later, Minister of State (MoS) of Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel told the Lower House of the Indian Parliament: “A total of 304 declassified records and files have been transferred to National Archives of India for permanent retention. Out of 304 files, 303 files are already uploaded on the Netaji web portal, i.e. http://www.netajipapers.gov.in.” Unfortunately, the Government did not declassify Gupta’s manuscript!
From being the Great Eastern Dependency of the British Empire, India, more than often, touted as a Nation that has emerged as one at the helm of the fast-growing major economies in the world. The South Asian Nation is expected to be one of the top three Economic Powers in the world over the next decade, backed by its robust Democracy and strong partnerships. Although the spread of the Coronavirus (that started relatively late in India compared with other countries) has been successful in bringing the Growth Rate almost to a standstill; the median forecast conducted between February 18-24 (2021) put year-on-year growth at 0.5% in the October-December quarter (2020), as the economy stabilised after contracting 23.9% and 7.5% in April-June and July-September quarters (2020), respectively.
Amidst these all, including the tensions brought about that disrupt the normal activities and thought processes, at times; it is felt that a little time spent by conscientious citizens of India in pondering about this, may unfold one part of History that has been kept aside, as from Classified Information, throwing some light, and prompting people to form and vociferate their ideas on the situation prevailing, backed by documented efforts earlier.
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