Sunday, January 20, 2013

Netaji in Russia

Netaji watchers report further circumstantial evidence that Bose was sent to the Gulag. In 2000, an Indian engineer, Ardhendu Sarkar, said he had worked in the Ukraine in the 1960s for a German engineer, Zerovin, who had known Bose in Berlin and had come across him again in 1948 after being sent to a camp in Siberia ‘for indoctrination’. Sarkar reported the meeting between Zerovin and Bose to the Indian Embassy in Moscow, after which he was suddenly recalled to India. Others reported to the Khosla Commission that the Indian ambassador to the USSR in the early 1950s, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, had seen Bose in Siberia.

The most persistent voice of the ‘Bose in Russia’ group belongs to a Professor of International Affairs at Kolkata’s Jadhavpur University, Dr Purabi Roy who specialises in Indo-Russian relations. She is convinced that Bose arrived in Russia and possibly died there because she dismisses any sadhu–in–Faizabad connection. She also related to me word-of-mouth ‘evidence’, the most plausible of which came from her colleague in the Russian Institute of Oriental Studies, former USSR General Alexander Kolesnikov. He told her that he had seen a file that noted the minutes of a Politburo meeting of August 1946 when Voroshilov, Mikoyan, Molotov and others discussed whether Bose should be allowed to stay in the Soviet Union. Dr Roy’s attempts to see this file ended in failure, however. At her urging, the Mukherjee Commission went to the Russian Federation, visited six archives and interviewed four witnesses though not Kolesnikov who was ordered abroad on the eve of his appearance. The archives drew a blank and the witnesses refuted what Dr Roy claimed they had told her. Not surprisingly, Justice Mukherjee concluded that ‘the assertion of Dr Roy regarding Netaji’s presence in Russia cannot be acted upon’. However, she claims a book to be published this winter, will vindicate her position.

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