New Delhi: Italian Ambassador to India Alessandro Quaroni surprised Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's supporters by saying that there was no point in doing a reseach on the Indian leader's death in a crash.
Speaking at Kolkata's Netaji Research Bureau on the occasion of Netaji's 112th birth anniversary, Quaroni struck what seemed like right notes on the great leader's life. On death, however, he struck a wrong one: "News of his (Bose's) accidental death reached my father in Moscow...I don't see any point in continuing with the research on whether he died in a crash or not."
The researchers were quite naturally not too pleased, with one of them -- VP Saini of Ropar -- actually dispatching a letter to the Prime Minister of Italy.
Quaroni, son of diplomat Pietro Quaroni who helped Bose escape to Moscow in 1941, would have done better to think a little more about his statement whose import conveyed the impression that it backed the biggest cover-up in Indian history.
Preserved in the Mudd Library in the Princeton University is a note that tells what His Excellency's father actually made of the news of Bose's accidental death. Pietro Quaroni did not belive the news that Netaji died in a plane carsh.
Mission Netaji's Chandrachur Ghose accessed the note penned by Mahatma Gandhi's biographer and Pulitzer winning American journalist Louis Fischer after meeting Quaroni in Moscow in November 1946 more than a year after Bose's reported death.
The latter was then serving as Italy's Ambassador to the USSR. And from that responsible position he thought that it was "possible that Bose is still alive".
Quorni told Fischer that Bose "did not want the British to look for him so the false rumor of his death was circulated." He said "Bose may be biding his time for a return to India."
After seeing this note would Quorani, who conceded to Kolkata reporters that his "parents did not have any evidence to confirm that Netaji had died", still say that there is no point in researching in Bose's fate?
Fisher's papers in the Mudd library also have a letter written on behalf of Mahatma Gandhi in July 1946.
"If Bose comes with the help of Russia neither Gandhiji nor the Congress will be able to reason with the country...," was the stern message. Now, how in the world could the USSR bring a dead man to life?
Declassified Intelligence Bureau reports state Bose could have escaped to the USSR under the cover of news of a fake air crash. And, Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru knew him to be there.
The only instances of research into Bose's fate represented attempts by a handfuls of individuals in their personal capacities. For the establishment, and those who gained from it, the matter was closed in the 1950s itself even as secret official reports keep coming in doubting the air crash theory.
The government was forced by handful of Bose admirers to enact facades of inquiries that arrived at predetermined conclusions.
It was only recently that the truth finally triumphed as a commission of inquiry appointed on court orders shot down the air crash theory and gave solid reasons to believe in the Russian angle.
But then, the establishment went against it and rejected the commission's inquiry citing reasons that would not stand in any court of law, provided there are good lawyers are around and cynicism isn't.