Monday, December 11, 2023
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An open letter to the Governor

Subj:- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the Naga Hills District. (WWII).
Honourable Sir,
The main issue of this letter is only about Netaji and his purported visits to the Naga Hills District of Assam, during the 64 days Battle of Kohima, and not about INA or the ideals and principles of Netaji.
Much have been written for and against since 2017, about the Netaji’s supposed visits to a few villages under the present Phek district during the Second World War.
The Convenor, India Freedom Fighter (INA) Children’s Welfare in Nagaland, (IFF(INA)CWN), the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Memorial Development Society, Nagaland (NSCBMDSN), (both are a Village based only) the Village Council, the Village Development Board, GBs, along with some individuals from the same village claimed that Netaji stayed for ‘9 days’, and had appointed DB’s and GB’s in their village.
Interestingly, CONHAT, an organisation on Netaji from another village, located in the same range also claimed that, Netaji stayed in their village for days together and ‘monitored’ the famous Battle of Kohima from a hilltop above the village, now known as ‘Netaji Peak’.
Few individuals from another village in the same area also claimed that Netaji stayed in their village for 4 days: ‘spent 2 nights at Village’s Inspection Bungalow, while advancing towards Kohima and 2 nights while retreating’.
If the claims from the above mentioned three incidents were to be true, then, Netaji seemed to have had spent considerable number of days in the Naga Hills District of Assam, during the 64 day Battle of Kohima.
Historians also claimed that, in the later part of April, 1944, Netaji somehow came very close to Manipur border with a hope that in the event of Imphal takeover, he would announce his presence in Indian soil over the Radio to the people of India; with the hope that, “that India might rise in rebellion”. {Arthur Swinson’s KOHIMA, page 28}. If one is to considered all these claims, Netaji seemed to be roaming in the Frontiers for months together, visiting different places, ‘monitoring’ both the Battles Imphal and Kohima.
However, history has recorded contrasting evidences as far as his whereabouts are concerned during the battle of Kohima which was from 4th April to 8th June, 1944. The recorded instances are:
1. Bose was in Rangoon, ‘On April 5, 1944, Bose announced the formation of National Bank of Azad Hind at Rangoon’. ‘On April 7, 1944, Bose moved a small advance Headquarters North, from Rangoon to Maymyo, a small hill town near Mandalay’, the Japanese Army Headquarters, 450 miles away from the Naga Hills District of Assam, and more than a month walk away from Kohima. Bose was in Maymyo till 16th April, “On April 16, 1944, ‘before crossing the Frontiers’ from Maymyo, he scribbled a few lines to Bhramachari Kailasam of the RK Mission in Singapore, saying that things were going ‘very well at the front and that spirit were high’, once he did so, he was not sure when he would be able to communicate with Kailasam again… ‘we shall be meeting them in free India’, Bose wrote optimistically”. ‘HIS MAJESTY’S OPPONENT’, by Sugata Bose, pages,272,273,275.
2. Bose was back at Maymyo by first part of May, ‘Sunday, May 7, 1944.(Maymyo). “Presentation ceremony of an airplane to the President of the Provisional Government of Free India, Mr. C.Bose, was held under the Chairmanship of Major Watari”. Lieutenant General Masakazu Kawabe’s Diary, authored by Prof. K.C.Yadav, 2019, translated in English by Mrs. Akiko Seki. (Lieutenant General Kawabe was the General Officer Commanding-in -Chief of the Burma Area, Japanese Army, from March 1943 to August 1944).
The duration of about 15 days between the two incidents mentioned above, were believed to be when Netaji was somewhere in the Frontiers. The term ‘frontiers’, back then, did not just only apply to the Naga Hills, but to the entire mountain ranges between Burma and India.
The Convenor, IFF(INA)CWN had also mentioned in his article ‘Our Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’ which appeared in Nagaland Post on 26 January, 2022, at the third column of last para, ‘when Imphal offensive started, there was information blackout for him (Netaji) for 15 days’.
Except the period mentioned above, from third week of April to first part of May, 1944, Netaji’s whereabouts are recorded in history.
‘On May 21, 1944, Bose shifted back to Rangoon from Maymyo where he was finding it increasingly difficult to get accurate news from the front, if Imphal fell he could just as quickly fly in Rangoon using his small aircraft, the Azad Hind’. Sugata’s His Majesty’s Opponent, page, 277. Since then, he did not return to the Frontiers again.
In view of the above historical evidences, as far as Netaji’s whereabouts is concerned, as most historians believed, the nearest possible place where he could reach during those 15 days, was only somewhere near the border of Manipur. Therefore, the very person referred and claimed to be ‘Our Netaji’ by the above-mentioned groups and individuals must be a case of mistaken identity, or else, it is a clear case of desperate attempt to distort history. Because, it was humanly impossible for Netaji to be in all those places during his 15 days ‘information blackout’ from Maymyo.
Meanwhile, the so-called ‘living eyewitnesses’ without knowing the identity of the person in the time of occurrences, and having come to recognised the same person (through a poster) after a gap of more than half a century is undoubtedly unbelievable. Because, human memory is not only short, but flexible and can be easily manipulated.
If a ‘living eyewitness, Dobashi, GB, then was 50 years, he will be 126 years; 35 years, he will be 106 years; 15 years, he will be 91 years, (i.e., as in 2022). The bigger question is, why they were silent and had neither uttered nor recorded any evidence about Netaji’s presence in their villages throughout the 20th century, and started speaking out about Netaji, only at the turn of the 21st century? This evidently, is a clear case of reinterpreting the past to suit a politics of the present. Therefore, the narratives of the ‘Eyewitnesses’ as historical evidences is simply too thin to be considered as a historical source.
Most importantly, Honourable Sir, it is the bounden duty of the constitutional Head of the State and as the Agent of the President of India, to advice and report the historical facts, as and when needed, to the state government and the President of India, respectively. Otherwise, if we allowed few individuals to twist our history for their personal benefits at the expense of the silent majority, one day it may come and shame us all.
Honourable Sir, please allow me to draw your attention here, that, the exponents of Netaji’s coming to Naga Hills District, are getting frustrated day by day, as seen from their write-up, by using untenable expressions against myself, like, ‘will not tolerate’, ‘keeping our cool’, as history gradually reveals the impossibility of Netaji coming to this part of the land during the WWII.
In conclusion, I would like to remind you about the visits of the Honourable Governors to the so-called ‘first INA administered Village’. Incidentally, in the recent past, out of the four visits, one from Tripura and two from Nagaland were prematurely removed from their respective state, including your predecessor, who happened to have received the news of his removal while he was in the ‘INA Administered Village’.
Thanking you.
Your’s Faithfully,
K. Puroh,
Associate Professor (Rtd), and Former Chairman, NPSC.
(The views are personal)