Ashramites Betray Netaji, all attempts for National Funeral fail

Posted By Author on October 9, 2011

17/4/77:

Got up at Bina.  Breakfast. Reading. Nap. Lunch. Felt that the train would reach late.  So had a nap again.  Reached Nizamuddin in time at 2.30 P.M. Left by an autorickshaw to Kashmiri Gate.  Had snacks.  Got bus at 4 P.M. Off to Dehradun.  The bus took unusual breaks at Meerut. Roorkee and Muzzafarnagar.  The driver was very slow.  Reached Dehradun at 10.30 P.M. instead of 9 P.M.

Engaged an autorickshaw and reached 194, Rajpura Road, our bungalow.  Shri Vidyaratanji, Mr. Gupta and servant Algu were awake.  Hiralalji Dixit was asleep.  Vidyaratanji informed me that Uttamchandji Malhotra was staying with Sohanlalji Kapoor.  He further described that hundreds of people were coming for ‘Darshan’ of Baba.  Some leaders were giving lecturers to people.  The precinct of our bungalow was flooded with armed police guards. He further told that earlier Uttamchandji and Sohanlalji insisted upon Ramani Ranjan Das that His Holiness Balyogi be permitted to see Baba’s Samadhi. Ramanidada refused the plea for two days.  H.H. Balyogi was from Andhra or Bangalore.  His Ashram was a few bungalows away towards town.  Gobind Shah who was to go to Bengal and Assam to appraise the situation to Ashramites but he was prevented from his departure.  Gobind Shah insisted upon Ramani Ranjan Das that His Holiness Balyogi should be allowed to ascertain Samadhi of Baba.  Therefore on 13th April 77 Shri Balyogi was allowed to enter Baba’s room.  He was agog, dazed and shocked to see the state of affairs. He wanted to touch skull to let him know whether the ‘Atma’ was brought there and confirm whether Baba was in Samadhi.  Secretary, Ramani Ranjan Das denied Balyogiji permission to touch the body.  Shri Balyogi felt it very much insulting. He was indignant and left.  He immediately lodged a report to the police station that a Yogi was murdered and his body was laying at 194, Rajpur Road, Dehradun.

The police force arrived but Ramanidada obstructed their entry in Baba’s room.  The police abused Ramanidada and warned him that if he said that Baba was Netaji, they would send the body for postmortem and they would arrest him then and there. Ramanidada was panicky.  The Divisional Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police arrived to record Secretary’s statement. Ramani Ranjan Das gave a false statement that the body was not of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.  Col. Pritam Singh followed the suit of secretary and bluntly denied that the body was of Netaji. Ramesh Saxena joined the traitors. They were dishonest and ungrateful to the core. The tension between us mounted and divide widened. This kept my adrenaline pumping. Their volte – face was a matter of historic shame.

The police warned them to remove the body immediately but on request permission was granted to keep the body up to 20th April 77, as many members of the Shaulmari Ashram were to attend the funeral.  A huge wooden box was made and the body was shifted in it with great difficulty.  The lower portion of the body decayed so much so that the woolen sweater and blanket wrapped as loincloth were completely disintegrated.  The bones of the back were bare and open.  A piece of the skull came out which then was tied by a chequered cloth. (See photo) Horrible. It was simply gruesome. The buds of the Wills Navy Cut cigarettes were scattered all over the room, which the police should have collected for thumb prints.  However, neither police understood its importance nor any one from our side suggested so. Uttamchandji Malhotra told the police to take hand impressions of Baba and as per custom they gave bath and changed clothes of the body.  As the hand of the body was pressed on a paper the whole skin of fingers came out right up to bones.  The body was horribly rotten and putrefied.  Mission failed. However, it made no difference because fingerprints are distorted after twelve hours from demise and are of no use.

I told all inmates that we would see next day as to what could be done and without food slept between 12.30 to 1 A.M. on a carpet.

18/4/77.:

I got up in the morning.  I was the last to get up.  Throngs after throngs of people started pouring in to take Darshan of Baba’s body.  Hiralaji Dixit and Uttamchandji Malhotra lost temper and they harangued people.

I finished ablutions and bath and came out and put an exhibition of Baba’s handwriting, photographs, dictations and printed literature.  People were very curious and rushed at the site.  Everybody wanted to see and read the exhibits.  Mr. Gupta made titles and put them above letters and photos.  There was a big stir in the crowd.  A group of young students approached me and insisted to guide them.  They expressed that there would be a band of about four thousand youths right from Meerut and would not allow the police to touch the body unless proper recognition was given and National Funeral was arranged.  Their commotion due to my exhibits was turning into violence.  They threatened that rivers of blood would flow unless their demands were fulfilled.  They simply wanted a nod from me to go ahead.  I was against escalating the situation. I assuaged them and requested to be patient as condition of the body was worst.  They agreed.  Since three days local newspapers were flooded with for and against opinions whether Baba’s body was of Netaji.  I managed to collect them.  I sent Ananta to post a telegram to Prabhakar and Chandrashekhar to bring more evidence of Baba as Netaji.  The telegram was: “Send Bhaiyya Dandge and Wadodkar by evening plane with all diaries, Photographs, negatives, Newspapers, Shaulmari file of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Tell to stay at Krishak Bhavan.”  —- Suresh

My idea to retain original material at Punjabrao Deshumkh Krishak Bhavan, Mathura road, Delhi was that if the local authorities and the Government of India showed apathy or vengeance, the material should not get confiscated.  Otherwise I would lose about lakhs of rupees and 13 years labour that I invested on the project.

On persuasion I delivered a lecture to the crowd and assured them that I had least interest in politics. I reiterated that I was basically a scholar. My conclusion was Netaji was Babaji. It was based on reason, logic, proofs and facts.  Lot of people started taking my address from Ananta.

A tall sub-inspector of police came.  I earnestly requested him to extend the date of funeral by two days in order to contact proper authorities in Delhi.  He told that the D.M. and S.P. had gone to Chakrata hill station. The body was immensely rotten.  He posed a pertinent question as of what use it would be to spoil the body more.  I requested him that at least the marks on the body be noted.  He agreed to that immediately.  We went inside.  The secretary Ramani Ranjan Das and Advocate Ramen Roy objected and used harsh words.  They were belligerent as before.  I lost my temper and was off.  I roared on both,” Hell with you.  You have spoiled everything by telling lies to our people and the Press at large.” The secretary kept quiet and took away Ramen. S.I and I entered in Baba’s room.

The sight was spine chilling. My heart melted and liver turned to water.  It was small room.  The stink was unbearable.  Baba’s ‘Asan’ was lying at other place.  Where Baba fell on 2nd Jan77, the floor became black due to chemical action of putrefaction.  The black patch of human figure was bordered with flowers. Later blind devotees advertised this patch on floor as miracle.  Near the decorated patch on the cement floor was a huge wooden box without cover.  The body was kept in it and only face was visible.  The head was tied with cloth.  Rest of the body was covered with white cloth and ice. That radiant red face of Baba turned black as charcoal.  The nose was disfigured as it dried and shrank.  Eyes were gone.  Only slits remained. That radiant red face of Baba with not a single wrinkle was no comparison with the horrible black face. The putrid noxious odour of the decayed body was unbearable. It made me feel nauseous. The gruesome sight chilled my blood. I was shocked so much so that I was stunned and motionless for two minutes, tears rolled down.  Sub-Inspector (probably Garg?) realized my shock.  He put his hands on my shoulder and consoled me to assuage my emotions.  The secretary would not allow anyone to touch the body.  The S.I. drove him out.  I knew not exact place of mole below ear, which was recorded as passport body mark on Netaji’s passport.  The moment S.I. moved his fingers through beard, the hair would come out. (Later I read the mole was removed.)  The remaining constables were hesitant to touch the body as rotten skin came out with slight touch.  I then tried to locate the wound mark on the left eyebrow but the hair on the brow vanished and the scar was not visible.  It was awful.  I could no more stand the sight and smell. In that state of dazed mind I committed a blunder. I should have kept some hair with roots for DNA test. A tooth could have easily been pulled out. However, I was almost in delirium.

We came out.  The S.I. requested me to give written statement.  I complied and mentioned that the body was in so much rotten condition that it could not be examined for body marks. Signed it.

Seeing the whole episode and coming to know that the secretary and Col. Pritam Singh gave misleading and false statement to Samachar, I was in turmoil and traumatized. I came out.  I was afraid that the police might seize my original documents and photographs.  Then I would be robbed of my rigorous research work of thirteen years.  Therefore I immediately collected the material on display and put it in the suitcase and handed it to Ananta.  I warned him to guard it carefully.  People insisted to display the exhibits for more time but I politely refused.  Most of the constables were convinced that the body was that of Netaji. They were scattered all over the premise.

I told Ananta to send triple x telegram (lightning) to Amravati informing to stop my friends from proceeding by plane with further evidence.  The words of the telegram were briefest, ‘Do not send anybody. After reaching home matter would be explained.’

I had a mind to move an official application to the D.M. and S.P. denoting Baba’s identity as Netaji.  However both the officials were out of station.

All youngsters wanted me to lead them. In the meantime I received two phones from news editors of Himachal Times and Dun Darpan respectively.  I had a talk with the editor of Dun Darpan who rushed to see me.  It seemed they were purposely helpful to the central Government and the police authorities.  They flashed the negative aspects that Baba was not Netaji stated by Ramesh Saxena, Ramani Ranjan Das and Col. Pritam Singh.  The prominence was given to that.  I showed photographs etc to the editor of Dun Darpan.  He grudged that it was not proof enough.  However if I supplied photo blocks of the evidence, he would print it in his newspaper.  I frankly told him that I had no time for that.  He left.  An appointment with representative of ‘Samachar’ agency was fixed at 2 P.M. in the Himachal House.  So with a dozen students, Uttamchandji Malhotra and Sohanlalji Kapoor and myself we reached that office.  He came and met us.  He scrutinized my evidence.  He was convinced.  He promised to flash the Samachar news.  He did flash but the news was very short.  We gave our statements and I showed him a copy of my letter sent to Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the earlier Prime Minister.  He was sharp.  He pointed out a mistake in the month in my letter and postal stamps, which I readily admitted.

We left the office of Samachar.  On way had a cup of tea and arrived at 194, Rajpura road.  People were still flocking for ‘Darshan’.  About fifty people assembled and wanted to listen to us.  I spoke and explained in scholarly attitude.  Uttamchandji spoke before me.  Hiralalji Dixit, the old guy, was a typical housetop leader.  He was impatient.  He interrupted me and with great rhetoric started abusing the then existing Janata Government.  He blamed the Government as old wine in new bottle.  Being a Government servant, it was very awkward situation for me.  I calmed him down and resumed my speech.  I was systematically unfolding the evidence.  I noticed one chap clad in ‘khadi’ was recording my speech.

I finished my talk and the same boy took me aside.  He earnestly requested me to grant him a detailed interview.  He opened his cards and said that for the last three days he was searching a proper person to provide reasonable details.  I told him to come along.  He gave his name and address as ‘Shri Sudhir Windlass, 11 A, Rajpura road, Dehradun.  We sat in the servant Algu’s room, that was the only place secluded from hub-hub of the crowd.  We sat and bolted the door from inside.  With him were one chap and one girl.  They were taking notes in shorthand.  The tape recorder too was on.

The young man Mr. Sudhir Windlass was P.A. to Mr. Sharma, the elected member of the parliament from Dehradun.  In brief he went on putting questions and I answered them all. Everything was being taped.  I gave him a brief history of how Netaji moved in India since 1947.  Where he lived and how he moved.  How Pandey brothers of Kaithi spent their lives for him since about 1949.  How I secured all proofs, etc.  He requested to give my comments on Home Minister Mr. Charan Singh.  I narrated instance of Miss Gloria’s (U.K.) incident of Rishikesh and how he took prompt action and how Baba was pleased with his working.  I declined to comment on the Prime Minister Morarji Desai, as it was not proper on my part to reveal the truth at that juncture.  He switched off the tape recorder.  He then told me that the ruling lobby in the Parliament was having hot discussion in Delhi at that time.  He narrated that by giving recognition and National funeral for Baba, as Netaji would put old guards in quandary.  Mr. Moraji Desai and other senior ministers of the Congress, who rebelled and joined the Janata party like Jagjivan Ram, felt that their position before the nation would be awkward as they signed and passed the reports of the previous inquiry commissions that Netaji died in air crash in 1945.  They were not in a position to explain negligence to the people and the nation.  The young Turks were insisting to give National Funeral.  Sudhir then confessed that for political reasons the National Funeral was impossible.  However the question about Baba was coming in the parliament definitely.  I told him that I could visualize things and hence did not want to comment except my scholarly role. After an hour we parted.

It was then dark outside.  Sohanlalji and Uttamchandji wanted me to accompany them at Sohanlalji’s house.  I collected my suitcase of vital documents and in Mr. Khosla’s car left for Dun city.

On way Sohanlaji repented admitting that right from the beginning he believed in sincerity of the Secretary and not me.  He told that whenever I informed about reaching Dehradun, the Secretary would contact him immediately and told him to put a trunk call to Delhi to inform Uttamchandji and others about my due arrival.  The Secretary instructed them all that none should talk with me, entertain or take me to their home.  I was to be treated as an adversary. They wondered as to why the Secretary was so much afraid of me.  The Secretary even told them that when I published Baba’s handwriting in the Nagpur Times in 1970-71, due to Baba’s curse my brother and his wife died in an accident at Raipur.  I argued that in that case I should have died and not my brother.  I apprised him that even about Ratan Maheshwari’s accident, Ramanidada concocted a story of curse in the past.  I candidly told Sohanlalji that the Secretary was a diehard fool of the first water.  He was devoid of reason and logic and not knave at all.  I said the ignoramus knew Baba was dead on 2nd January at about 2.35 P.M., just twenty-one days short of his eightieth birthday, and being former practicing physician he was certain about the death of Baba and that was why he wept for two consecutive days without partaking morsel of food.  The temperature of Dehradun was low (about 2 degrees C.) and hence the body might have remained better for a few days.  It was Purushottam, later on Vidyaratanji and Bhrugu Sanhita readings of Dwiwedi, which brainwashed Ramani Ranjan Das so much so that he allowed the body to putrefy for hundred and seven days. It was all beyond imagination. Without Uttamchandji’s and my efforts we would have witnessed a bare skeleton. Ramani Ranjan Das believed that even through the remnant skeleton, life of Baba would emerge.  He permitted experts to give opinion but without allowing them to see the body.  Uttamchandji approached Ma Anandmayee at Haridwar.  She was a veteran Bengali lady born in East Bengal in 1896 and left for heavenly abode on 20/1995, probably she was sister of Sucheta Kriplani, and was also in high esteem of Jawaharlal Nehru who used to visit her Ashram.  On request she sent her disciple, a French Doctor to 194, Rajpura road.  The doctor, with great difficulty, was allowed to see the body from a distance.  From the stench and condition he proclaimed that according to him ninety-nine percent Baba was dead.  When queried as to why not hundred percent, the Doctor replied that one percent prerogative was reserved for Ma.

In a bout of anger I told Sohanlalji that a man like Secretary was a worthless guy.  Any man with an iota of self-respect would have left the Ashram.  His wife was practical and detested staying in the Ashram.  However Ramani Ranjan who left medical practice and became dependent on Baba swallowed all insult to become a great man when Baba would come out as Netaji.  I told Sohanlalji that I knew all the inner details which none knew.  Even Ramani Ranjan Das or Baba knew how thick I was with poor innocent Gita.  She was just my younger sister.  She used to reveal the pangs of her heart to me and me alone.  This aspect Baba and Dada knew well. Therefore Baba was cautious about me and Dada was afraid of me. I think it was intense love and respect, hope and blind faith in miracle, and ambition that robbed off reason and logic out of Dada. (I have news cuttings from all over the world indicating as to how near and dear ones’ kept the dead body of loved one for months together in refrigerator, cupboards or wrapped in bed. In some cases neighbours complained about stench and in some cases mere skeletons were found.) I further told that Ramen Roy being an advocate should have used brain and reality but he danced to the tune of Dada and believed in Samadhi and revival. Col. Pritam Singh and Sohanlalji and Delhi people followed the same suit.  Only Gobind Shah was sincere and telling the truth right from the beginning. He revealed inner situation to me alone and to none else because he did not want to invite bitterness from Ramani Ranjan Das who would have been exposed very badly. Even children could understand deterioration of body and relate it to me.

I stressed that had Ramani Ranjan Das not come in life of Baba, the history of India would have been different.

Sohanlalji confessed that he never trusted me formerly and that they then got the correct picture after my narration.  Sohanlalji was shocked to see the deterioration of the body. However most of them including Uttamchandji wanted to maintain the aura of Samadhi up to 9th April.  I frankly told them that the body could not disintegrate so much within eight days.  They agreed that Baba was not in Yogic process.  Even after death, Sohanlaji was fleeced, cheated and swindled for 103 days.  He supplied ration and clothes to Ramanidada.  He sardonically quipped that Ramen Roy should not have been a lawyer but a petition writer of Calcutta.  Every time he took money for his ticket and even got his clothes stitched from Sohanlalji.  He further lamented that Ramesh Saxena not only took clothes from him but also even carried away to his home ‘ghee’ and rice purchased for Ashram by Sohanlaji.  It was shocking to know from Sohanlalji that Saxena would swallow eight eggs in a day out of a dozen sent for children by him.  Sohanlalji narrated an incident that five  ‘Pakora’ were prepared inside and sent through Saxena.  Sohanlalji and other four persons were sitting before Baba.  Saxena swallowed one ‘Pakora’ on way and hence one was in deficit.  This Baba realized.  Baba was indignant about his inane behaviour. He did vent his spleen and lambasted Saxena like hell in presence of all. I was informed that this brute made his wife deliver many children and his wife had intestinal T.B. He was an out and out selfish person, a debased creature not worthy of trust or even worth mention and he gave false statement that Baba was not Netaji.    Later I came to know that he died in an accident.

Sohanlalji put a blunt question as to why I did not report to the police on 6th Feb. or 7th Feb. i.e., first visit after the death.  I told him that I wanted all to be with me otherwise none would have believed my statement that Baba was Netaji.  Moreover all would have blamed me for breaking Samadhi of Baba and being criminally responsible to kill him.  I knew I would be made a scapegoat.  They would have covered their folly and I would have invited wrath of all as murderer who killed him by disturbing his Samadhi. Even for that I was ready provided within twenty-four hours from death I would have got palm prints of Baba through police. Owing to delay the identity marks of the body were lost.  However I had all proofs which none else had to prove that Baba was Netaji.

We reached Sohanlalji’s house.  Sandip Mukherjee too joined us. Mr. Khosla came back for his bag, which was accidentally brought by Uttamchandji.  He then left.  We took food.  It was twelve in the night.  We were to go early to 194, Rajpura road.  Kapoor family was very free and good-natured.  Sohanlalji’s wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law were all good people laden with hospitality.  His brothers lived downstairs.  They too were very cordial. Uttamchandji’s sister was Sohanlalji’s wife.  He had stepbrothers also but he set them all well.  Pratap was the name of his servant.  All of us retired for the day.

Uttamchandji and Sohanlaji had sent telegrams to Prime Minister and many authorities stating that official funeral be given to Netaji. They spent about hundred and fifty rupees on telegrams with no response.

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