Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff has said time has come to bring back his remains to India and suggested that DNA testing can provide answers to those still having doubts about his death on 18 August 1945.
The Austrian-born economist living in Germany said DNA testing offers a chance to obtain scientific proof that the remains kept at Renkoji temple in Tokyo are of Netaji’s and the Japanese government has agreed to such a procedure.
In a statement, Pfaff, the only child of Netaji, said since her father did not live to experience the joy of freedom, it is time that at least his remains can return to Indian soil.
“Modern technology now offers the means for sophisticated DNA testing, provided DNA can be extracted from the remains. To those who still doubt that Netaji died on 18 August 1945, it offers a chance to obtain scientific proof that the remains kept at Renkoji temple in Tokyo are his,” she said.
“The priest of Renkoji temple and the Japanese government agreed to such a test, as the documents in the annexures of the last governmental Indian investigation into Netaji’s death (the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry) show,” she said.
“So let us finally prepare to bring him home! Nothing in his life was more important to Netaji than his country’s independence. There was nothing that he longed for more than living in an India free of foreign rule! Since he did not live to experience the joy of freedom, it is time that at least his remains can return to Indian soil,” she added.
Netaji’s death remains shrouded in mystery though it is widely believed that he died in a plane crash on 18 August 1945 in Taiwan.
While two commissions of inquiry had concluded that Netaji had died in a plane crash in Taipei on 18 August 1945, a third probe panel, headed by Justice M K Mukherjee, had contested it and suggested that Bose was alive after that.
“As Netaji’s only child I feel obliged to ensure that his dearest wish, to return to his country in freedom, will at last be fulfilled in this form and that the appropriate ceremonies to honour him will be performed,” Pfaff said.
In her statement, she said 75 years after India was able to throw off the shackles of colonial rule, one of the most prominent “heroes” of the independence struggle, Bose, however, has not returned to his motherland as yet.
“His countrymen and countrywomen thanked him for his dedication and his sacrifice. They erected numerous physical and spiritual monuments for him, thus keeping his memory alive to this day, in admiration, in gratitude and even in love,” she said.
“Another imposing monument has been erected and is being unveiled in a very prominent location in New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August,” she said.
Pfaff said some men and women in India, motivated by their admiration and love for Netaji, not only remember him but have continued to hope that he had not died on 18 August 1945.
“But today we have access to the originally classified inquiries of 1945 and 1946. They show that Netaji died in a foreign country on that day. Japan has provided a ‘temporary’ home to his remains at Renkoji Temple in Tokyo, cared for in devotion by three generations of priests, and honoured by the Japanese people,” she said.
Pfaff also said that “all Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, who can now live in freedom, constitute Netaji’s family! I salute you all as my brothers and my sisters! And I invite you to support my efforts to bring Netaji home!”