DEATH of Netaji

Posted By Author on October 6, 2011

DEATH

Shri Baba expired on 2nd Jan.1977. I received his last dictated letter of 25th Dec.1976 posted on 28th Dec.1977 and to hand on 4th Jan.1977, i.e., two days after his demise. Since there was no further news I wrote a letter to Shri Ramani Ranjan Das enquiring about Baba. He sent a reply on 27th January 1977. The letter was posted from Deharadun but sender’s address on the envelope is G.L.Saha (Gobind), 30, Narkeldanga, North Road. Calcutta-11. This letter is a proof that the Secretary maintained his faith that Baba was alive and in Samadhi after twenty-five days of his demise. The JMCI stamped this letter and carried its copy during my deposition. The letter runs as below:

Om

27.1.77

Dear Suresh,

Received your letter dated 19.1.77 and the telegram dated 23rd January 77. (Netaji’s 80th birthday)

I am anxious to know about your mother’s present state of health.

Shri Baba is in Samadhi since Jan. 2nd. I shall inform you when he comes out. Chinu, Anu and Tanu are well.

I am better than before except weakness.

Ramenbabu has gone to Calcutta. If possible he will try to return here early.

With loving regards

Affectionately yours

Dada

*****

Note that the diary between 6/2/77 to 17/2/77 is written in slip book with red plastic cover of Jeevan Radio-Delhi, 6.

The correspondence between Ramanidada and me continued.  He informed that Baba was in Samadhi since 2/1/77.  I was getting restless, as Baba never remained closed for more that three to four days and that his food and water used to be kept near the door.  Sometimes he would not touch food for a couple of days. So every day fresh food was replaced. In emergency he would clap then anyone of us was to rush and call upon him.  That was obligatory. I was restless and too anxious and worried throughout January 1977.

Chandrashekhar and I reached 194, Rajpura Road Dehradun on the night of 6th Feb. 1977.  All were staying in the main building. Baba’s quarter was separate..  Gobind Shah was there.  I took him out and asked for details of many things during my absence.

Gobind has strong memory. He gave the following important dates and events, which I jotted. His narration brought my heart into mouth. His chronicle is as below:

Chinu’s birth was on ‘Mahasaptami’ of ‘Durga Pooja’, 20th Oct.1966.

Anu’s birth was after ‘Durga Pooja’ and before ‘Pitru Paksha Amavasya’ on Ashtami, 1970.

Tanu’s birth was before ‘Diwali’ on ‘Nawami’ of 1972.

Gita’s death occurred on Dwitiya after Diwali in 1973.

Gobind narrated major landmarks of Baba’s travel after he left me from Melghat (Dist. Amravati)

Melghat-via Burhanpur, Khandwa, Zansi, Etawah (U.P.)- Tanakpur-Champawat-Deoghar-Ranchi – Deoghar – Almora – Jogeshwar – Deoghar-Banaras-Dehradun at Teg Bahaddur road, Dallanwalla and lastly 194, Rajpura road, Dehradun.

He narrated the incident of 2nd January 1977 as below:


“Since morning Baba was unwell and sitting on the Bedi in the sunlight.  He had cramps and purged uncontrollably so much so that his ‘dhoti’ wrapped around was soiled. Gobind washed it and Baba put on another ‘dhoti’. The soiled one was washed and left for drying.  He was again sitting on the Bedi basking in the Sun.  Another bout came and the second dhoti was soiled due to uncontrolled purging. He took a wash. The first dhoti was not dry.  Another was sent for washing.  He had only two ‘dhotis’.  Therefore he wrapped a blanket around his waist and continued sitting in the Sun on the Bedi.  He did not take food or anything.  At 2.35 P.M. he shivered heavily and probably had cardiac pain.  He rushed to his room and fell on the concrete floor.  Legs spread and hands above shoulders near head.  The wrapped blanket got disheveled and one leg and phallus were exposed.  He had a shirt and sweater on.  Hearing his moaning Ramanidada and Ramen rushed to the room.  Gobind was already attending Baba and he prepared ‘Anguthi’ (burning charcoal in a mobile furnace called sigri) for Baba’s warmth.  Gobind was near the entrance when he heard Baba’s last word ‘Mago’. (Oh Mother).  Baba became still. Ramanidada saw the pulse. Ramani dada was a physician himself. He wept loudly and uncontrollably.  There is no parallel to his sacrifice in modern history.  Purushottam Arya came with Gupta. Purushottam saw Baba’s still frame and told Ramanidada and Ramen that Baba was in Samadhi in ‘Trikon Mudra’.  The idea appealed to both Dada and Ramen, as it was a great solace.  They believed in miracles.  Actually Trikon Mudra is when both palms are one upon another facing upward in the lap.  Lord Buddha. Swami Vivekananda, Ramkrishna Parmahansa and mother Sarada are always shown in photos in Trikon Mudra. The blanket was not covered properly lest Samadhi would be disturbed.  Since 2.35 P.M. the saga of Samadhi began. From my experience of my father’s cardiac trouble I knew hands go above shoulders to ease pain. The stupidity of Purushottam that Baba was alive and in Trikon Mudra Samadhi led secretary and inmates to putrefy body for hundred and seven days. It seemed Purushottam was an idiot of the first water who could not differentiate between chalk and cheese or life and death. Like a flock of sheep others followed him and jumped in the ditch.

Immediately after death no attempt was made to resuscitate or give mouth-to-mouth respiration. It was probably because touching his body was strictly prohibited when alive.

Except Ramanidada, Ramen, Gobind and children all the rest were denied entry to the room where Baba was lying on bare concrete floor lest the Samadhi would be disturbed. Round the clock vigil was maintained near Baba. After three four days Baba’s stomach swelled due to gases formed by fermentation of food in the stomach.  The devotees proclaimed that the physical change was proof of Samadhi and that he was alive. After some days the body got punctured due to decay of flesh and gases escaped.  The stomach came down to flat position.  Again news of the miracle of Samadhi spread.  All were firm about Samadhi.  Baba’s eyes sank and became mere slits.  Little Tanu, five year old, told me ‘Jadi Baba ashbe, uni chukhe dekhte parbena’ (Even if Baba comes he would not be able to see by eyes).

(The following writing of diary was misplaced and found on the backside of small monthly calendar pages of a big calendar.  They were used for want of paper or my notebook.)

6/2/1977:

We started from Amravati on 5th and reached on the night of 6th.  I had a general talk with the inmates.  Then came a bolt from blue.  Shri Hiralalji Dixit, Shri Vidyaratanji, his son Shashiratan of electronic shop of old Lajapatrai Market of Delhi, Shri Gupta, Shri Purushottamji Arya, Shri Sharma, Ramanidada, children and servants were there.  Chandrashekhar Dandge and I were addition.  Cold weather was biting.  On hearing the story of 2nd Jan 1977 I had a sleepless night upto 5 A.M.  I was convinced that Baba expired. It was horrible and sudden end. He won.

After my departure on 20 Nov. 1976 Gobind Shah came there and since then he was stationed.  Adv. Ramen Roy was there from 28th Dec.76 to 22nd Jan. 77.

Another version Ramen gave. On 2nd Jan. ‘77, Sunday, at 10.30 A.M. Shri Baba called Gobind and Ramen. Ramanidada was bed-ridden due to pneumonia and hence could not go in.  Baba vomited and then passed motion thrice.  Last time his loin’s cloth (a round dhoti) was spoiled.  Ramen removed the dhoti for washing. Baba was exhausted and lay on the bare floor of his room.  According to Gobind Baba came out and sat in the Sun later on. Then he rushed to his room. Earlier he told Gobind to make hot water and lit fire as he was shivering.  Then he made a sign to them to get aside but not leave the place. His exhaustion gradually increased.  He wanted to speak but could not.  His both hands were near head above the shoulders and in this posture he continued to lie for 107 days.  Next day Ramanidada went inside but did not touch the body.  Although he was a physician he was in a nervous shock. All his sacrifice and dreams were shattered. He came out and started weeping.  Others consoled him. All presumed that Baba was dead.  By morning of 3rd Jan, there was no change in the body.  They started thinking that Baba had taken Samadhi with his ‘Atma’ (soul) gone out but the ‘Sukshma Deh’ (astral body) still connected to the body. Since thirty days everybody was under the notion that Baba would come out of Samadhi.  They said there was no decaying of the body.  Gobind Shah was observing the body every day.  He told me that in the first week Baba’s stomach swelled and sank and the body was reduced but later on came to normalcy.  His eyes were half open. See photograph. There were no ants or any decaying process.  I was very much stunned to hear all that.  I could not sleep up to 5 A.M. On night sentry duty first came our servant Algu who was followed by Shri Gupta of the Survey of India and lastly at 3 A.M. Purushottamji Arya arrived.  I went out and talked with him.  At night Ramanidada came out and we touched his feet.  He got a terrific bout of asthmatic cough due to cold wind.  I sent him in his room and made him lie down and covered him with blanket.  I was very restless and to my scientific mind, reason, and logic Baba was dead on the 2nd Jan.1977 at 2.35 P.M. itself.

Gobinda Shah’s verbatim seems more correct.

I was thinking and thinking.  Everything was mind-boggling.  I thought of two alternatives: (a) either to arrange funeral with due consent of all at the earliest (b) or go to Delhi and inform the nation.  Again I chalked out two ways (a) To see Mrs. Gandhi, the Prime Minister, or Yeshwantrao Chavan (I knew him well) and relate the facts. (b) Or to contact through my cousin Dr.Ghatate the opposition leader Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee.  I decided not to allow them to spin political gain out of this.  Mrs. Gandhi might not take any step.  Mr. Vajpayee might make a political mileage.  Then I felt that I should call a press conference and leave the problem to the nation. Mind was wavering I did not take any decision.

7/2/1977:

Got up early as I heard Tanu’s laughter.  Took wash and made ablutions.  I contacted Shri Ramanidada along with Gobind.  I had a straight realistic talk. He was dazed.  I asked him whether to arrange unknown funeral or national funeral. He insisted that Baba was not dead.  He confessed that initially he too thought that Baba died but by observing the body for two days he was convinced that Baba was in Samadhi.  I was helpless to see Ramanidada irrevocable. In the mean time Ramesh Saxena and people from Banaras had been to the place. The atmosphere all around was absolutely normal.  They were taking food, sweets, laughing and chatting as if nothing happened.  Sohanlalji Kapoor, brother in law of Uttamchandji Malhotra, visited daily.  So also Col. Pritam Singh used to attend daily. He hails from Doiwalla, a village twelve miles away from Dehradun on the Rishikesh road. Former I.N.A personnel too attended daily.  I felt I should see Pritam Singhji to solve the stalemate.

Last night Shashiratan read out forecast of Mr. Dwivedi from ‘Talpatra’ (dry leaves of palm plant) of ‘Bhrugu Sanhita’ that Baba would come out of Samadhi.  Mr. Dwivedi read out Baba’s posture and also read name of Tanmayee the youngest daughter.  He explained that there were three types of Samadhi and gave ‘muhurta’ (auspicious time) of Baba’s coming out.  Out of the three dates given two dates already proved flop. Mr. Dwivedi also told that Baba took Samadhi on ‘Krittika Nakshatra’ of the Sun at 3.3 P.M. and by 24th Feb.1977 Baba would come out of Samadhi. Surprising part of the story was finding of posture and Tanmayee’s name and that she was part of ‘Ma’ (Mother Goddess) etc.  Mr. Shashiratan contacted that Bhrugu man thrice.  It was 8.30 P.M. of the 7th Feb.77, Sunday and I had work ahead.

I wondered why ants were not going to body, an unusual phenomenon.  I kept a cup with sugar and slight water.  I left it near the back wall of Baba’s room.  I thought there were no ants but next morning I found the cup full of ants.

The stench of death and decay was increasing day by day.  It was becoming difficult for Prof. Kaul to teach children in the connecting passage.  The skull broke due to pressure of gases formed by decay of brain.  The devotees wrapped it with chequered cloth. (See photos).  There was no remorse, no anxiety.  All were waiting for that day when miracle would happen and Baba would come.  Purushottam told that a new body would emerge from the old frame of Baba.  Some said he would come dressed as a prince on white horse as avatar of Kalki.  All were enjoying good food and sweets.  I refused to accept.  Seeing this ‘tamasha’ (fuss) my brain was on the point of blowing apart.  No one paid heed to my reality of death.

Some names and addresses jotted on the first and last page of red notebook are:

All were visitors and devotees.

1.             Servants Algu, Sanjeevan and Ramharan.

2.             Pran Nath Goyal, Rohatak Nagar. Delhi-32

3.             Hiralalji Dikshit. 1350,  East Shahadara.

4.             Rambabu Gupta

5.             Purushottam Arya, Ghosi Galli, Dehradun.

6.             Sohanlalji Kapoor, 20. Faltan Bazaar, Dehradun.

7.              ol. Pritam Singhji, Doiwalla, Dist. Dehradun.

7/2/1977 (From pages of red plastic cover)

Took breakfast after 8.30 A.M. Children wanted to go for picnic to Durga Mandir on the top of hill that is in front of our place.  They insisted that I should accompany them with Gobind. Shri Shashiratan, son of Vidyaratanji, from Delhi told me that Baba gave a dictated note to him and Uttamchandji Malhotra.  He read it out.  Baba mentioned that these people had no patience and that he did not want to work with such humans.  If they wanted they would be given back their money with interest.  They were rebuked heavily.  As a result Uttamchandji became nervous and expressed that he did not want to come again.  One year’s rent of the house was to be paid, i.e., Rs. Twelve Thousand.  Salaries of servants and teachers were yet to be paid.  These people were forcing Baba to start work.  Inflow of money decreased. Stay in income tax case at Calcutta was not granted.  The case was not admitted by the High Court.  On 1st January Baba told all to pack their baggage. Utensils and other assortments were to be sold and money was to be handed over for return tickets. Ramanidada expressed that to save his life Baba took trouble on his (Baba) body.

Sohanlalji came.  Then Col. Pritam Singhji arrived.  Point blank I told them that arrangements were to be made for national Funeral.  Pritam Singhji was half hearted.  Partly he agreed but expressed that we should wait as Baba might come back.  He believed in Samadhi and Miracle.  He narrated the process of taking ‘Atma’ to brain, etc.  Only Gobind seemed to be practical person and he was hopeless about Baba’s revival. It was already too late.  I would be required to take decision.  I could not rely on these Samadhi and miracle-believing people.  I could no more tolerate Baba’s body lying since long like an orphan or a stray cur.  I categorically instructed Hiralalji Dixit and Col. Pritam Singhji, not to move body without intimating me.  I disclosed inner story to Pritam Singhji and apprised him of responsibility of Ramanidada and children’s future.

Chandrashekhar and I climbed the hill cross-country to follow and meet children who made a start with Gobind already.  We were utterly exhausted.  We missed the children.  Saw the temple and came by long route via Rajpura.  We arrived at our bungalow at 3 P.M. I was surprised to see that Gobind was yet to arrive.  All were sitting on the carpet spread on the front lawn.  We took lunch.  My head was terribly aching.  Gobind came.  I decided not to waste time though my health demanded rest.  I wanted to race after time. Mental stress was too much.  I packed my clothes and called upon Ramanidada in a room adjoining Baba’s room.  I requested him to allow me to take ‘Darshan’ of Baba. He refused telling that Samadhi would be disturbed.  I did not insist because all blemish of his death would have been put on me. I would have been a scapegoat.

We came to bus stop.  Children accompanied to see us off.  Gobind too was there.  He made a clean breast and told that he was hopeless about Baba’s revival. He expressed that within a week the economic problem would be acute.  Nobody was willing to spend or offer money said he.  I assured him that I would set right things.  Then we moved in a bus to railway station.  There were two trains available within an hour. There was one for Bombay via Delhi and other for Calcutta.  Suddenly we decided to move to Calcutta instead of Delhi because that train came first. I intended not to indulge in politics or meet certain politicians at Delhi.  At 8.30 P.M. caught Calcutta Express and secured berths with bribe, of course.

8/2/1977.:

Got up in the train and ordered breakfast on berths.  My headache disappeared.  I was feeling better. Journey continued.  A Bengali fellow passenger was from Allahabad Bank. From him I got address of Amrita Bazar Patrika on Bagh Bayar Street. Took dinner. Chandrashekhar propounded a new theory, which was quite appealing considering Baba’s dodging nature.  It created a doubt in my mind.  He said that Baba might have had quietly sneaked out warning Gobind and Ramanidada to play a drama that Baba was in Samadhi and that they should watch his place and none should enter.  This would confirm amongst the people of Dehradun that Baba was in Samadhi.  Then after a month he would sneak back and reveal as if he came out from Samadhi.

I ultimately decided to interrogate Ramen Roy and find out discrepancies between his and Gobind’s versions of last moments of Baba.  Reading Ninety Minutes at Entebbe by William Stevenson, a masterpiece narration of facts.  Wonder of Israeli commandos.  Slept.

Note: I planned to call upon Tarun Ghosh who was in the Ministry.  I also wanted to see Shri Tusharkanti Ghosh and apprise both son and father about the complete story and precarious situation.  Baba related many stories about Tusharkanti Ghosh.  He and his uncle were founders of Amrita Bazar Patrika.  His uncle Motibabu Ghosh was co-worker of my great grandfather and Lokmanya Tilak.  My plans went haywire.  It is easy to meet a minister when contesting election but there was remote chance to get darshan when in Ministry.  My efforts next day proved futile and in vain.

Tusharkanti Ghosh had to see his paper Amrit Bazaar Patrika closed due financial crunch. He died on 30/8/94 at the age of ninety-six.

9/2/1977:

Chandrashekhar awoke me as Howrah station was approaching.  I hurriedly packed my luggage.  Finished ablutions.  Got down at the station.  Put our luggage in the cloakroom.  Caught a bus and got down at Baliganj.  Went to Salil Mittra at B.B. Chatterjee Road.  Met him and in brief hurriedly told the facts.  He was dazed and shocked.  He told that the Ashram ostracized him. We then went to Ramen Roy at South Kumar Para lane.  Ramen, Baudi and children received us warmly. Any way he offered us nice break fast.  Then discussion followed.

Ramenbabu was banking upon miracles and Divine Powers. He pointed that we had extraordinary glow and shine on our countenance because we came from the Samadhi. Rubbish. He requested us to see his saint who was lying on back for last so many years in a nearby temple.  The saint advised him to wait and watch and told him that such things happened in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.  I refused to go.  Then Ramenbabu enquired whether I saw the body of Baba.  I told him that I was not allowed and moreover I wanted to carry the last impression of living Baba that I had. I blankly told him that Baba was dead and I did not want Baba’s body to lie like an unclaimed beggar.  I cautioned him that I would not allow all this any longer.  I insisted to take decision quickly.  He refused my proposal and said, “ Let Goddess Mother do it.”  He was against publicity.  I posed a question to him as to what was the fault of the children.  Why should they suffer to be illegitimate all through their lives? He answered that children would live with him.  I did not agree.  I told him I was restless.  He said he would move to court for work and we should meet him there.  He promised that he was making provision for a month at home and would start for Dehradun on 14th Feb. 1977. He told me that he would contact Ma Anandmoi and a saint of Uttarkashi and would take their opinion.  Ramen left.  I had a very frank discussion with Baudi.  Told her pros and cons.  She agreed a little.  We took hurried but very good lunch served by Baudi.  Babu, her son, took us to bus-stand.  Ratna, her daughter, had to miss her school because of us.

By taxi we went to Elgin Road and reached Netaji Research Bureau at 1 P.M. The Museum was to open at 1.30 P.M. I met one Mr. R.M. Das a staff member at 1.15 P.M. I requested him in brief that it was very urgent and important to see Dr. Sisir Bose, Netaji’s nephew.  He told us flatly that he would not be available.  I left an oral message and my address to be conveyed to Dr. Sisir Bose.  We then saw Museum and confirmed squint in right eye and a clear scar on the left brow from photos.

We caught a taxi and went to Bankshall court, street 3, Dalhousie.  We met Ramenbabu and talked.  Finally he agreed that if it came to funeral, we would have our own way to conduct and publicize.  He gave a word of honour that he would drop a letter on his departure to Deharadun.  It was decided that I would join him at Dehradun.  We then left him.

We arrived at the Howrah station.  Booked our tickets.  Bribed a coolie and got two berths in unreserved compartment. The rush was horrible.  After thirty years’ of independence I felt like Jews being huddled in goods train to the concentration camp.  We could not step down or go to ease.  The Bombay bound passengers were standing closely. Everything was horrible. I did reading and slept.

(In the diary there is one days’ error in dates during travel)

10/2/1977:

(In diary it is 9/2/77) A chap having name Jayant Shirke from the Central Research Fuel Institute was sitting next to us.  He was in service at Nagpur. I reached Badnera at 7 P.M. By autorickshaw went to home at Amravati.  Shaved and took bath.  At 10 P.M. Chandrashekhar Dandge and Prabhakar Wadodkar came.  We discussed till 12.30 A.M. in the night as to what was to be done next. Resolved to see Mr. Bonde and Rusi Karanjia, Editor of Blitz.

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