1965 – Serendipity

Posted By Author on August 22, 2009

This is the most crucial year of the beginning of the quest of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. It was not possible to write everything in my diary. It would have consumed time and many pages while a particular date had only one page. I have put a few notes on the first and last pages meant for addresses, etc. Therefore, under the title comment, I have reproduced some facts by memory. Moreover, it was unsafe to write my opinions in a diary. The letters and the telegrams from the Ashram are incorporated in a separate chapter. Wherever date could not be located, I have put question mark. It may be mentioned that during this year, I was awfully burdened with several government committees at work and was mostly staying in Bombay or Pune.

Once, during my visit to Bombay, I was having lunch with Principal C.B.Joshi of Parle College. Prof. Thirunarayana of Madras, a well-known geographer. Datto Waman Potdar also joined the lunch. Datto Waman Potdar was an old man and a bachelor. He was a reputed historian. After meals, I had discussions with him on Subhash Chandra Bose. In his opinion, the death story of Bose was doubtful.

24/8/1965:
I had a queer dream. I met the great revolutionary V.D. Sawarkar. I wept and told him that Netaji was in Shaulmari Ashram. A couple of days after, I read news that Sawarkar was ill. ESP?
My one sided correspondence with the Ashram was going on since 1962 with no reply whatsoever.

SERENDIPITY

Since 1962 in every vacation I was seeking permission of the Shaulmari Ashram for a visit. Again in the last week of August 1964, I wrote a reminder to the Shaulmari Ashram for permission to have an audience with His Holiness as my one month of Diwali vacation was to start from 10th Oct 1964. There was no response. In the summer vacation I had again sought permission from the Ashram. It was 21st May 1965. I was typing a letter to the Ashram in the rear room, the front room being the office of my lawyer brother. I half typed the letter on my Remington and as usual referred to earlier reminders. Then a vendor threw a newspaper. It crossed two doors and fell near my feet. It was folded with front half page in view. I was distracted and observed the headline. At the center there was a bold window about ten centimeters long in one column. The heading was “Shaulmari Ashram a hot bed of spies”. I was surprised it was the Hitavada dated 21/5/1965. I went through the news. We never subscribed the English newspaper daily Hitavada of Nagpur. The paper belonged to the servant of India Society formed by Gopalkrishna Gokhale, and A.D. Mani was its editor. He was a member of the Upper House of the Parliament. The paper that I accidentally got probably belonged to some neighbour and the vendor mistakenly threw it. What a rare and perfect throw it was! I had typed almost half the letter to the secretary Ramani Ranjan Das. Immediately I referred the news and implored that I had faith in Ashram and had no credence in shabby news of the Hitavada. In brief I quoted my lineage and biodeta. I enclosed cutting of the news. The letter ended with permission for ‘Darshan’. After five days I received a three pages telegram requesting me to collect thirty copies of the said Hitavada.

2/9/1965:
I received an express telegram mentioning that I was given 9th of September as the date for “Darshan” and that I should carry thirty copies of the Hitavada in which the news item had appeared. Another express telegram followed it. I had a very short time at my disposal. I took a loan for the journey and prepared notes to tally the personality of Subhash Chandra Bose with that of His Holiness. Since I had never seen Subhash Chandra Bose, I had to completely rely on armchair research work. With the help of my friend Dr Wadodkar, we jotted down points to be observed for confirmation.

The telegram I received was the longest I had ever seen in my life and that too addressed to me. I immediately sent a telegram confirming the appointment. See (CC) for Netaji’s telegraphic correspondence with Gandhiji, Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, and Vallabhbhai Patel. It is in full pages. Moreover, Netaji used to write degrees of a person on the address in telegram. The same was the case with the Ashram’s telegram to me.

5/9/1965:
I left Amravati by bus. Reached Nagpur. Caught a bus for Allahabad at 11 P.M. Bus failed in forest at 4 A.M. One tyre went flat. The driver refused to help the conductor to fit in the spare tyre as it was not his job. I was worried that I will miss the train at Allahabad. I stopped a truck and bribed its driver heavily to help us. I got injured while working. No passenger came forward. When the bus started, a typical leader in Gandhi cap, khadi clothes with a jacket gave lecture commending me and started collection to repay my money. I refused.

6/9/1965:
Reached Jabalpur (formerly Jubbulpore) in early morning. The bus came to the edge of the Vindhyan plateau. It was a memorable scene. The entire Gangetic valley could be seen. The history of Aryawarta flashed before mind’s eye. Reached Allahabad at 2 P.M. Got acquainted with one G.L. Saraf, a young electrical engineer. He guided me to the railway station. Put luggage in the cloakroom. One young chap Goswami got acquainted. He took me for refreshments. I was amused to see the cook pouring milk from four feet height in another vessel in ding dong way bringing froth to sweet milk. Accidentally met Saraf again. All three went to see Jawaharlal Nehru’s house, Anand Bhavan. Saraf took our photograph. He took us to his residence. Dined there. Went to railway station. I boarded in second class (of those days) of Assam Mail. Ticket was up to Mogul Sarai then got extended up to Baroni. News. Ichogil canal crossed and Indian army reached six miles from Lahore. Happy.

7/9/1965:
Got up at Baroni. Changed the train from broad to meter gauge. Military soldiers flooded the compartment. Chated with soldiers from Maharashtra, Mr. Kadam and others. The landscape was interesting and new to me. I reached Siliguri at 7 P.M. Just before Siliguri the East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) border is about eight miles away and so is the Nepal border at equal distance. It is a bottleneck of Assam. Saboteurs removed fish plates on the track. Some officer saved the mishap. At Siliguri while crossing the steel bridge of the platform saw a poor beggar boy about seven year old sleeping without shirt in the cold weather. I put my shawl on him. I was moved to see the Indian poverty. Felt like devoting my life for the improvement of the country. Took hot water shower and dinner and slept in the waiting room. News. Pakistan bombed an aerodrome near Calcutta probably Kharagpur.

8/9/1965:
Up in early morning. Had breakfast. I met Maharashtrian military men Mr. Pawar and Khade. Chated. Took first class ticket and came to New Jalpaiguri about six miles away. Changed train for Jalpaiguri, a district head quarter. Reached after two hours journey. New Jalpaiguri and Jalpaiguri are about thirty miles apart. Luckily, I got the bus for Falakata immediately. Reached after two and half hours a distance of forty-two miles. All bridges were two strips of wooden planks. Funny. Military was well equipped everywhere. At the motor stand Mr. Ratan Maheswhari recognized me from my photograph sent to the Ashram. He took me in a rickshaw to the Ashram about a mile away.

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