Thursday, 27 February 2014

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's driver claims he can't have died in plane crash

While a number of books were published on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and committee and commissions set up to solve his mystery, a living witness and close companion of Netaji was never contacted by anyone. 
 Nizamuddin, a 107-year-old man who claims to be the driver of Netaji in Azad Hind Fauj (AHF), lives in Islampura, Bilariyaganj, in Azamgarh district. He claims to have spent four years with Netaji after joining the AHF in 1942. The TOI team also visited him sometime back. Recently the volunteers of a local organisation also went to his place to honour him. 
 Nizamuddin was also sure that Netaji was not killed in the plane crash in 1945. "How can it be possible when I had dropped him by the car on the banks ofSitangpur river near the boarder of Burma and Thailand about three-four months after the incident of plane crash?" he wondered. He has no idea what happened after he dropped Bose on the riverbank. He said that he insisted to accompany Netaji, but he was commanded to return with a promise of meeting again in Independent India. 
Ref: TOI

A 102-year-old man claiming to be Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's driver-cum-bodyguard has claimed that the freedom fighter was not killed in an air crash in 1945.
AZAMGARH (Uttar Pradesh): A 102-year-old man claiming to be Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's driver-cum-bodyguard has claimed that the freedom fighter was not killed in an air crash in 1945, but died a natural death in oblivion, decades later in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh.
''Netaji was not on the plane that crashed in Taipei in 1945, as he changed his plans to board aircraft at the last minute. He was not killed in the crash, but died a few years ago as Gumnami Baba in Faizabad,'' claimed Nizamuddin, the driver-cum-bodyguard of Netaji in the Azad Hind Fauj, he said said on Thursday at his house in Shahabuddinpur village in Billariaganj, 12 km from the district headquarters.
''I ran away from my house in Dhakwa village in Mubarakpur area of Azamgarh district in 1924, when I was barely 20. I reached Singapore by ship, paying a fare of Rs 24, and was later blooded into the AHF,'' said the centenarian who can now walk only with the aid of a staff.
''Netaji, who was addressed by everyone in the AHF as 'Babu', asked me to become the driver of his 12 cylinder car, donated by a king in Malaya (now Malaysia). I was later appointed his bodyguard too, carrying a Tommy gun,'' said the man who was rechristened Nizamuddin from Saifuddin, to hide his identity in the AHF.
Endorsing the Mukerjee Commission findings on Netaji's death, Nizamuddin said Justice Mukherjee had arrived at the truth behind Netaji's story.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was reported to have died in an air crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945. His body was never found.
“He did not die in the air crash. The plane did not carry him, but instead had on board Captain Ekram, Lal Singh, a Bengali soldier and a woman, all AHF members, besides two to three Japanese,'' Nizamuddin said.
He reminisced that he met Netaji and brother Sharat Chandra Bose in 1946 over a bridge on a river in Thailand, a year after the alleged death the in air-crash.
The leader, he said, told him that Indian leaders, in collusion with the British and United States governments, were playing a political game using his alleged death.
''Jo jaisa karega woh waisa bharega,'' Netaji had told me when I asked him what he thought of the Indian leaders trying to pronounce him dead.
That was the last meeting I had with 'Babu', who disliked being called 'Sahib' by AHF mates, Nizamuddin added with tears in eyes.
''I wanted to accompany Netaji, but he asked me to go to Rangoon, the capital of Burma, and promised to meet me in an independent India.''
In Rangoon, he married a Burmese girl of Indian origin, Habibunisha, with whom he had six children -- four sons and two daughters -- all married.
While in Burma, he worked in teak plantations and as a tourist guide, but was forced to leave with his family in 1969 due to hostility shown by locals towards Indians.
''I came back to my village Dhakwa and settled in my ancestral house, with a belief that Netaji would have died a natural death by then. But by sheer a quirk of fate in 1971, I met in Varanasi, Swami, the Madrasi right-hand man of Netaji, who confided in me that Babu was alive and residing in oblivion in Faizabad district under the disguised name of Gumnami Baba,'' said Nizamuddin.
The old man recalls that he never doubted Swami's startling revelation, as Netaji had mastered the art of 'disguise', using it many times to hoodwink the British.
''I was a poor man with no job, but somehow arranged Rs 150 to go to Faizabad to meet Babu, but failed as Babu had left for some other place, though temporarily, probably sensing some danger,'' claimed Nizamuddin.
The meeting in Thailand, he said, with turned out to be his last with Netaji.
''It was Swami who met me several times at the Mission Hospital in Azamgarh and gave me messages from Babu.''
According to Swami, Netaji, who was then living as Gumnami Baba, was happy that the country had gained independence, but thought the battle had been partially lost with the nation's partition.
''Netaji said the way the country was moving, many more partitions would take place,'' Nizamuddin said, adding that had Netaji been in the government of free India, the country would have stayed united.
''He was a real secular leader, who reposed faith in a Muslim as a driver, and along with AHF mates refurbished the grave of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in Rangoon,'' Nizamuddin said.
''Netaji died a few years back in Faizabad and the Bengali lady who had given him shelter also passed away later,'' said Nizamuddin.
He said the news of Netaji's death was the last he had heard from Swami.
Justice Mukherjee's findings were right, he said, adding that the ashes in the Renkoji temple were not that of Netaji. But he was sore that none of the three commissions set up to probe Netaji's death, including the Mukherjee panel, had bothered to meet Netaji's driver who accompanied him to several countries including Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Laos.
Ref: DNA

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