Discussions with Uttam Chand Malhotra & others

Posted By Author on October 11, 2011

20/4/77:

The Government had decided today to be the funeral day but had speeded up a day earlier. (?).  Mr. Sablok came.  We had discussion and breakfast.  It was decided to release a Press Statement.  Sohanlalji drafted a few questions and read out.  Again we had breakfast at Mr. Sablok’s house. Sohanlalji’s daughter was married to his son. He showed his house and introduced his wife. She was a sober and cordial lady.  Repairs of the house were going on.  Then we went to Mr. Sablok’s Everlite Bulb Factory.  About sixty labourers were busy working. Formerly Mr. Sablok was a petty clerk in the excise department on a meager salary of Rs.110/-per month.  Then he took a job in the ‘Comet’ bulb factory.  Learnt the tricks of the trade and then established his own bulb manufacturing factory with members of his family working there.  The establishment expanded and he was now well off.  The initial small factory was then sizable.  The workers were on labour contract and hence they were working like robot and machines.  I talked about business and he agreed to give agency at Amravati.  I found him a fine man indeed. He proposed to take me to his apple garden at Chakrata but due to time factor I politely denied.

We arrived at Sohanlalji’s shop.  We drafted a questionnaire.  Sandip Mukherjee too came and joined us.  He made a draft but we did not approve it. The finalized copy was sent for typing.

Krishnakantji Pandey arrived at the shop.  He gave information of the other end.  He told that Gobind Shah was ready to apologize to Sohanlalji provided he accepted his mistake.  Sohanlalji outright rejected the offer.  Mr. Krishnakantji Pandey was entrusted by all of us to inform the secretary and Col. Pritam Singh that although they gave a false statement to the Press to avoid postmortem and threat of arrest, they should reveal the truth and we would forget the differences.  He agreed. Mr. and Mrs. Thakur of Kanpur came to see me. Mr.Thakur apprised us that he had a personal meeting with the Prime Minister Morarji Desai who confessed that although he knew that Netaji was alive and later died at Dehradun, he could not disclose the truth because his position would have been false as he was in the previous Ministries of the Congress Party and approved his death in air-crash in the Parliament. How far it was true, the future would decide.

Mr. Sandip swallowed too many equinol tablets and got intoxicated.  He then faltered in speech and lost bodily balance. He was unable to walk. His Italian wife left him with his son named Subhash. He was a sham and showy and told me that mother of Pondicherry sent that Italian lady to him.  He talked of super power in him.  I found him a frustrated and addicted soul.  Sohanlalji helped him financially so far on advice of late Baba.  I was shocked to know that Miss Gloria (referred earlier) died of smallpox at his house in Jaipur.  His mother was there in Jaipur.  He was younger brother of Hiren Mukherjee, Member of the Parliament of Communist Party of India (CPI).  He gave his wife’s address

Silvana Mukherjee

49 via Vela

Tarino

I T A L Y

His own address was: S.Mukherjee, Bagchi Niwas, 69 Chander Nagar, Dehradun.

Sandip showed me his wife’s letters and photographs.  He requested me to write to his wife that Sandip was serious so that she would come.  She was a Principal of a school.  I told Sandip to settle down in Italy.  He informed that he was involved in litigations and once arrested.  Dr. Reeze (Ritz?) gave him Rs. 40,000/- to purchase land for setting up an Ashram.  Sandip said he was a post-graduate of Oxford. (?)  I promised him that I would try my best to settle his problems.

I went to Jogi photo studio.  The photographer promised to provide prints next day.  From there went to Sohanlalji’s house.  Younger brother ‘Om’ received me.  He offered whisky, which I badly needed to relive enormous stress and tension.  Watched T.V. Om distressfully told that he lost his ten-year old son in an accident.  I found him to be free and practical man.

Had dinner with Uttamchandji and Sohanlalji.  Discussion.  Slept.

21/4/77:

Up early. Wash. Decided to leave tonight. Had breakfast. Sohanlalji, Uttamchandji and myself went to Purushottam’s shop.  We moved to a coffee house.  I sent Ananta to Rishikesh for sight seeing.

Purushottamji, the inventor of ‘Samadhi’, had been to 194, bungalow.  The secretary, Ramani Ranjan Das informed him that they were purchasing the bungalow along with Baba’s quarter.  Servants were promised and told to continue.  Formerly they rebelled for want of salary.  Ramanidada intimated him that some bigwigs were arriving there. Ramanidada promised police that if they had any difficulty he would make a statement before the parliament that Baba was not Netaji. Seemed hysteric.  Vidyaratanji put Ramanidada in dilemma.  He told him that he had second jail sentence of seven months.  (He was there since seven months.)  Vidyaratanji frankly told Ramanidada that if he stated that Baba was a Mahatama then he would demand refund of amount loaned but if he admitted that Baba was Netaji then he would sacrifice the loan amount.  Purushottam himself had paid Rs. 11000 to Baba and took loan of Rs.13000/- to pay additional amount to Baba.  He was a petty shop-owner of buttons and was worried about repayment of loan.  Even Sohanlalji took loan of about Rs.45000/- against his insurance policy and paid the amount to Baba.  His family was worried as his daughter’s marriage was scheduled on 5th May 1977.  He lost his business and closed the readymade garment factory. Largesse to Ashram milked him dry.

We went to Sohanlalji’s shop.  Got photographs of the funeral and paid Rs.42 for the same.  He arranged to procure the photo prints of funeral from the Jogi studio. We planned to get Col. Pritam Singh for a talk.  We arranged to tape-record his talk and prove as to how he gave a false statement to the Press. As Mr. Pritam Singh’s feet were swollen we were informed that for another three days he would not be able to come.

Krishnakantji Pandey came.  He brought the message from the secretary that we were free to do whatever we liked.  Mission failed. Krishnakantji remorsefully lamented that if had he been given sufficient time, he would have met Rajnarayan (Central Minister) and got the sanction of National Funeral. He rued that the secretary spoiled the whole game by keeping him dark that Baba was closed. Krishnakantji and I went out for privacy. We had a free and fair talk.  He assured me that he would remain silent till ‘Shradh’ ceremony and after that he would publish a book or whatever was possible. Col. Pritam Singh confessed to Krishnakantji that he had to give a false statement to the Press because if he would have revealed the truth, the body of Baba would have been further detained and the body was already spoiled too much. He was repenting. He was in two minds. Krishnakantdada agreed to tape record Pritam Singh’s talk but wanted a miniature instrument for that. It could not be arranged.  He was nervous.  He expressed that the game was lost. He grumbled that all Bengali inmates united and formed a cliché and tabooed him. He was treated like jinx. He grieved that he could not get even the last ‘Darshan’ of Baba after his demise.  In fact he was the oldest associate of Baba since 1949.

I came back to Sohanlalji’s shop.  Prof. Kaul came there.  He narrated stories that he was told by Ramanidada and Ramen that from skeleton life would emerge. Baba was engaged in ‘Kayakalpa’ process. It is a process of transforming old body into young one. Baba was coming on a horse eighty miles from Amritsar and all sort of nonsense.  He was convinced that Baba died of heart attack on 2nd Jan.1977 at about 2.35 P.M. and that the secretary wept for two days.  Even on 9thApril, 1977, the secretary intimated Pritam Singhji and Sohanlalji to be ready to see Baba coming out, etc.

Sohanlalji related as to how people from the Intelligence Department were enquiring with him about the proposed camp of about five hundred people to be trained by Baba. Reports were sent accordingly. He informed me that Uday Singh (Dangi) paid Rs. 15000/-from the I.N.A. funds. He was general secretary of ex- I.N.A. soldiers association of India. He did not take proper permission or resolution to withdraw the funds.  Moreover he incurred a personal loan of Rs 15000/- and that too sent to Baba.  After Baba’s demise poor fellow would die of heart attack with huge burden of loan.  He was Netaji’s driver in South East Asia and corresponded with me.

Mrs. Saroja Das revealed to me that one day Baba recognized a visiting lady soldier of INA. Then he enquired about other ladies of Rani Zansi Regiment by taking individual name.

Gauri Shankar came to shop. A Banarasi fellow was accompanying him. They came for purchase of ration for inmates of our destination 194.  He demanded money also.  Uttamchandji hated their despicable behaviour and almost drove them out of the shop. Sarcastically he called them as useless suckers.

With Sandip Mukherjee I went to court to see the Superintendent of Police to procure photographs of Baba’s body in natural pose where he fell.  Under the influence of drugs, Sandip was behaving like a dead drunk person.  Krishnakantji Pandey met there.  One lawyer who was a stammerer came to see Krishnakantji.  He often went for Baba’s ‘Darshan’ and told many stories about his greatness.

I entered the office of Mr. A.K. Joshi, the Superintendent of Police.  I found him to be a man of good manners.  He received me and talked nicely.  When requested he expressed his inability to furnish the negatives of the photographs of dead body of Baba. I requested him to preserve the negatives well as they were of historic importance.  He promised to do so.  I told him that I would move through proper channel to acquire those negatives.  He was very curious to know details of Baba.  I courteously curtailed talk and shot off.

Sandip Mukherjee was faltering.  His loin’s cloth opened.  He came under a horse driven Tonga.  All hell broke.  I collected him in an autorickshaw and brought to Om’s shop.  Om too detested his behaviour.  I told Ananta to take him and leave outside.  He made an ugly show.

I gave a ring to S.P. and talked with him.  I told him that I would cancel my departure tonight if he was prepared to discuss and see the original evidence.  He politely said that I should not cancel my train but he would meet me in my next trip.  It was a mannerly pretext for a decent and sober denial.

The Dun express to Bombay was going via Baroda. So it was of no use to me. Sohanlalji was going to Jullunder for court work. I decided to go with Uttamchandji the next day.

I collected the local newspapers and read statements of Col. Pritam Singh, Ramesh Saxena and secretary Ramani Ranjan Das.  The secretary gave a false statement that Baba was D.Sc. in Chemistry from University of Oxford, U.K. and that Baba’s age was ninety years. The statement could have been easily verified from the British Embassy and thereby proved to be false.

In the evening I was back to Sohanlalji who had already left.  With Om and Uttamchandji we had a session of drinks.  Watched T.V.  We witnessed an interesting feature on Crater Lake of Lonar. I published a research paper on the origin of the Lake Lonar. A geologist explained as to how the southward turn of the river Sindh and the Brahmputra was caused by tectonic activity.  It was quite interesting for me.

We were having Patiala pegs. When teaser followed stabilizer, Uttamchandji entered in good nostalgic mood.  He narrated many of his adventures in Kabul.  He played double in the German and Russian Embassies. He leaked the secret plan of Germany to blow off a train carrying three thousand British soldiers in Iran and thus saved their lives.  Through the Russian Embassy he managed travel of Netaji from Afghanistan to Moscow.  While leaving, Netaji warned him not to do anything on the advice of the Germans, which would harm India.  That was why he buried five dynamites given by the Germans for sabotage in India.  It was all a risky game and he could have been shot at any moment.  He had a powerful transmitter and in coded language kept constant contact with Netaji in Berlin. Three months later, he received the first message from Netaji from Germany.    “ Namaste! I am very grateful to you for what you have done. I shall never forget it all my life. – Ziauddin.”   Mr. Rusi Karnjia, the editor of Blitz, offered him Rs. one lakh for that note. However due to fear of being arrested he returned the letter to the German Embassy of Kabul.  A man from Delhi along with his wife was caught at the railway station and the Germans seized pounds from him in France .On torture he revealed the clue.  Uttamchandji with Bhagatram were to escape to Moscow.  The plan was ready.  However it made only four hours’ difference and he was caught.  The Afghan Government was in two minds knowing not who would win the war.

After his arrest the British gave him an offer to play double.  They offered him Rs.9000/- pension for life and a house in London.  It was too late and he refused the offer.

He astounded me by revealing that it was the Communist Party of India that managed Netaji’s escape from Calcutta.

In the October-November meeting with Baba, he talked with him alone in absolutely well guarded privacy for one hour.  He revealed to Baba as to how he acted a double after his departure to Moscow. Baba remonstrated him that he should not have taken so much risk. Baba then warned everybody that no money should be taken from Uttamchand as he had already sacrificed enough.

Uttamchandji further related as to how courier Mazzotta’s passport photo was changed for Netaji. He confessed that he was only matriculate but gave many speeches in English even in the South India.

Uttamchandji’s discoveries were astounding. He recalled as to how Baba lived under the name of Hanuman Giri near Bareilly in 1956. Ramlal Pahelwan used to give massage to him. Baba in his own hand wrote a note on Garibaldi and handed it to Ramlal instructing him that if Netaji came he would not be able to reach to him but the letter on Garibaldi would enable him to see Netaji. Uttamchandji told me that he was in possession of that letter and handwriting even then. Radhakant Pandey sent Ramlal Pahelwan to Shaulmari Ashram but he was not allowed to see Baba as he gave false statements on behalf of Subhashwadi Janata at the instance of Uttamchand. Ramlal created disturbance and on Baba’s order he was beaten with shoes and driven out of Falakata  It may also be remembered that Garibaldi was one of Netaji’s ideals so much so that he named his daughter Anita after Garibaldi’s daughter.

He also recalled as to how he addressed a public meeting in Howrah along with Suresh Bose who told the audience in Bengali that Shaulmari Baba was his younger brother. There was a loud clapping. After that Niharendu Dutt Mazumdar arranged his meeting with Shaulmari Baba at the Ashram.  Baba told Niharendu that the only wise thing he did in his lifetime was to send Uttamchand to him.

In his first meeting with Baba he further related as to how Baba castigated him for his public statement that Netaji was seen in torned pant sitting under the Howrah Bridge.  Baba pointed out that Ramlal’s statement could be over looked, as he was uneducated but not Uttamchand’s.

Uttamchandji told me that the ‘Subhashwadi Janata’ published everything he told me. He went on telling that he was General secretary of Bhagat Singh Party and that he was trapped in Kabul, etc. etc.

Uttamchandji further revealed that maternal uncle of Ramesh Saxena used to visit him and then how he made Ramesh Saxena the general secretary of Subhashwadi Janata of U.P. He was intensely anguished to see Saxena giving a false statement to the Press.  Sohanlalji pointed out that Saxena and Ramen Roy laundered money sent for Baba and how they used it for personal use. Even they took away clothes for themselves and Saxena stole rice and ghee sent for Baba.  He would swallow eggs sent for children.  Even servants and ladies complained about Saxena’s stealing traits and unethical behaviour.

Uttamchandji apprised me that there was no original photograph of Baba and admitted that they painted beard on Netaji’s photograph through an artist in Falakata and published it as Baba of Shaulmari.  He again pointed out that how he was permitted by Baba to bring Mr. Deoras, the Sarasangha Chalak of R.S.S. to meet him. Uttamchandji was in high spirit because of spirit. I had to give patient hearing though some stories were repeated probably under the influence of ‘kick’.  Baba wanted to orient R.S.S in a larger perspective.  Unfortunately Mr. Deoras was interned in emergency within a couple of days before meeting.

Sohanlalji showed me a letter written to him by the secretary Ramani Ranjan Das and pointed out that it was tricky in which there was no mention or admission that Baba was Netaji.  He said that the Government knew well that Shaulmari Baba was Netaji and that he was living in Dehradun but that it should not be made public.

While leaving Ashram of 194, Rajpura road, Gobind Shah showed magnanimity by returning Rs. 100 given to him for his ticket.  I paid Rs. twenty as tips to servants.

In my last visit in October Baba discussed about Nation Builders and socioeconomic units to be installed per one thousand people.  I readout a rough draft prepared by me on the basis of our discussion.  He listened and warned me that unless he Okayed it finally I should not write it in my daily diary.  I complied his advice. The work was left without final touch.  He gave me an example of a disciple of Swami Vivekananda (name? Forgotten).  The disciple was ordered by Swamiji to go to Rishikesh with only loincloth and erect an Ashram which is today either Swargashram or Life Divine Society. (I am not sure which one is that.) The disciple created the monument all alone as ordered by Swamiji.  Baba posed a question to me whether I could perform such a feat.  While emphasizing the need for Nation Builders and Man Making Organisation, Baba pointed that the current politicians would have to be isolated in the Himalayas so that budding young generation would not be contaminated and be spoiled.

In the last but one trip before the funeral, I brought the rough draft of ‘Nation Builders’ and as a tribute named it as ‘Netaji’s Nation Builders’.  I gave the idea to the inmates of the Ashram.  The secretary was mum. I explained that if the National Funeral were to be arranged, we would fulfill Baba’s wish and form a national body or a steering committee for execution.  Others appreciated the idea.  It would be a non-political organization so that even Government servants would participate.  It would be real service organization which would be a school through which would be politicians will have to pass.

In Baba’s words, “ First class students become officers; second class teachers and professors; third class clerks and businessmen; and the ones who do not fit in anyone of these three categories become politicians and occupy most responsible posts.  Suresh, always remember that a small man in a big post is a dangerous thing.  There is a gulf of difference between to be literate and to be educated.  A good worker may not necessarily be literate but he must be educated.  A burning compunction of heart is required.  How would you feel if your wife and children have no food and you are going for sleep?  The same you must feel for the poor people of the country etc”. As Baba warned me not to mention the ideas of service to nation in my diary unless he scrutinized and finalised it, I have forgotten many examples. (Obviously Baba was conscious that I maintain all details in diary for historic record.) However the rough draft is preserved well.  Baba wanted those units of Nation Builders to be checks on social workers and the Government.  He wanted them to be price-controllers, justice helpers, employment givers, corruption removers, educators, culture cultivators, non-political, etc.  Now Baba was dead and hence this late note from points taken on pieces of papers.

Uttamchandji disclosed one important thing.  In all my previous trips after second January 1977, whenever I came to Delhi or Dehradun I tried my best to convince all about Baba’s death.  Everybody gave deaf ear except Uttamchandji, Gobind Shah, Mr. Sablok, and Prof.Kaul.  It was the secretary R.R. Das who would advise Pritam Singh and Sohanlalji to intimate my arrival to all in Dun and Delhi on phone with instructions that no one should receive me or talk with me or take me to their home, etc. It was too late for Sohanlalji to realize that he was foolish enough to be swept away knowing not me in reality.  He simply fumed and fretted with the late realization of being duped and deceived and cheated by the secretary et al. He confessed that if he would have believed in me he could have avoided fait accompli.

It was late in the night in listening to their pangs and woes.  We dined and went to bed.

22/4/1977:

I got up early. Wash. Mr. Sablok came.  We had friendly business discussion.  He left.  I gave a present to Sohanlalji’s grandson.  Gave a tip of five rupees to the servant.  I bade Namaste to all and left Sohanlalji’s house.

We came to State Transport stand by a horse-drawn Tonga.  With Uttamchandji I waited till Ananta brought tickets.  We came across Krishnakantji Pandey who was going by Luxury Coach to Delhi for cancellation of his son’s transfer through his friend Rajnarayan. Col. Pritam Singh and Uday Singh Dangi happened to meet there.  Udaysingh was leaving for Hariyana. Later he corresponded with me.

I had a very frank talk with both of them.  Shri Dangi still believed in cock and bull stories that Baba had taken rebirth to work.  He had a faith that the secretary must be having some documents and instructions from Baba.  He was very sure that money would come.  Poor fellow was hoping against hope.

Then I bluntly confronted Pritam Singhji. I put a bold question to him as to why he told many people that Netaji was alive. Then why did he give false statement to the Press? He admitted that he told many that Netaji was alive but that he never said that Baba was Netaji. Obviously he was struggling to juggle for eyewash. His jargon was vain attempt to play diplomatically with words.  However he spoke cordially with me.  He even told that there were ‘Badaj’ (?) who were cut into two pieces and they came back to life.  I did not believe in all that hotchpotch nonsense.  We bade good-bye to all and began our journey via Saharanpur to Delhi.  On way Uttamchand took out fruits from his bag and offered.

I dropped the idea of staying at Delhi to see Hanuman Giri’s documents in possession of Uttamchandji and with him to see Mr. Charan Singh and Vajpayee.  The former document could be ratified in due course and to see high-ups was useless.  When they knew the facts about Baba they did nothing.  We decided to watch the proceedings of the Parliament and publish our views either through series of articles through the Blitz or in book form individually or jointly and see that high ups would come to us and not we to them.  The mountain must come to Mohammad.

So we reached Delhi at 4.30 P.M. Waited for some time for Krishnakantji Pandey’s arrival then left.  Uttamchandji went by a local bus and we left by an autorickshaw to Kharibaudi and purchased 20 Kg. basmati rice.  From there by an autorickshaw went to Nizamuddin station.  Got reservations.  Dined and slept in the train.

23/4/77:

We had breakfast in Brandon car.  Reading. Weather was very hot.  Reached Nagpur at 4.30 P.M. Got reservation in Super bus.  In the bus met Bapusaheb Kalbande, President Vidarbha Co-operative marketing; Yeshawant Jadhav, Chief Conservator of Forest; and Deole, B.D.O. I arrived at home at 9.30 P.M.

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