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The Most Plausible Theory of Death of Subhas Chandra Bose.

Updated on October 21, 2015

The Death of Bose: Official Theory

Subhas Bose is one of the titans of the freedom struggle. His dare devilry and courage are an example to all Indians. Bose threw his lot with the Axis powers during world War II. He had a one point agenda to free India from British rule as he felt the nonsensical policies of Gandhi and Nehru of fast and satyagraha was not going to bring freedom to India.

In a way Bose was right as the British left India not because of the non cooperation and peaceful marches by Gandhi, but when they lost their hold on the army, the instrument with which they had ruled India for 200 years. This was entirely due to the Indian national army created by Bose, that shook the very foundation of the Raj and forced the British to leave India as they faced a fait accompli, with the army and navy in revolt.

After the dropping of the Atomic bombs on Japan and it's surrender, Bose had very few options left. He was supposed to be in Formosa at that time. As per official records made available by the Government of India , Bose mounted a Mitsubhisi Ki 25 heavy bomber with his colleage Colonel Habibur Rehman at Taipeh. The plane is reported to have crashed and Bose died due to severe burn injuries. Colonel Habibur Rehman escaped and vouchsafed that he saw Bose aflame. Nehru and the Congress party appointed two commissions of enquiry and conluded that Bos died in the air crash and his ashes are kept in the temple in Tokyo.

This is the official theory but sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction and there is every possibility that the aircrash was a piece of fiction floated by Bose to escape the dragnet of the Allies and subsequent trial as a war criminal.

Mitsubishi Ki21, heavy bomber that ferried Bose
Mitsubishi Ki21, heavy bomber that ferried Bose
Bose with Hitler
Bose with Hitler

Testimony of Colonel Habibur Rehmman

Colonel Habibur Rehman was supposed to be on the plane along with Bose. After the crash, he informed all concerned that he had seen Subhas Bose aflame and he died subsequently. Surprisingly Habibur Rehman escaped without any burns. His testimony has however to be taken with a pinch of salt. Firstly he was a close confident of Bose and secondly he was perhaps privy of a plan to let Bose escape the Allies dragnet.

Also it is proved now as found out by the Mukherjee commission that on the purported day of the crash, no Japanese plane crashed. Thus there is every chance that Habibur Rehman cooked up this story to give a smokescreen to cover the escape of Bose.

Another point to be noted is that the earlier 2 commissions of inquiry which were appointed by the Congress party failed to interrogate Habibur Rehman , who was then in Pakistan. This lapse has never been explained. Probably a detailed interrogation would have revealed disturbing facts and the commissions of inquiry concluded as the government wanted, that Bose died in the aircrash( which never took place)

Do you feel Bose aircrash theory and subsequent death was a smokescreen to escape the Allies?

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The Mukherjee Commission

In 1998, bowing to popular demand a third commission of inquiry was appointed to unravel the death mystery of Subhas Bose. The commission made a detailed investigation, but could not interview Habibur Rehman who had died by then. The commission chairman Justice Mukherjee also visited Moscow and interacted with Russian officials. This was because of circumstantial evidence that perhaps Bose escaped to Russia and was imprisoned by Stalin in Siberia.

Russian officials told Justice Mukherjee that they would be willing to share information on Bose, in case a request was made by the Prime Minister of India to the Russian governmnet. The fact that Russians were willing to cooperate is a pointer and there is every chance that Bose escaped to Russia. This was in 2004.

Justice Mukherjee apprised the then Prime minister ManMohan Singh, but he never acted on it and followed up by rejecting the findings of the commission, which had concluded that Bose did not die in the aircrash. The action of ManMohan Singh was a blatent attempt at a cover up. As a loyalist of the Gandhi- Nehru family ManMohan Singh had a vested interest in the truth regarding Bose being revealed. Hence his negative approach, as informaton about Bose would have severely damaged the credibilty of Nehru and the Congress party.

Further developments

To a persistent demand by the people of India, the West Bengal government made public some 64 classified files regarding Subhas Bose in September 2015. The files brought out that Nehru and the Congress party kept survellience on the family of Bose for 20 years after the supposed death of Bose in 1945. This shows that perhaps Nehru himself did not believe that Bose was dead. Even Mahatma Gandhi when he was told of the death of Bose in 1945, commented that it was untrue and Subhas was very much alive.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a step of great importance on 20 October 2015 when he announced that a request would be made to Russia to declassify the KGB files. In addition he promised to open all classified files regarding Bose to the general public. This was after his meeting with the family of Bose in New Delhi. One fact that has emerged is that Nehru was aware that Bose was in Russia and he was mortally scared that Bose would come back

Last Word

The clock has turned full circe. From all available evidence it is almost clear that Bose survived the crash and then was flown by a Japanese bomber to Manchuria where he contacted the Russian leadership. Things are hazy after that and it is not clear what happened after that. There are some unconfirmed reports that Bose was kept in a prison in Siberia by Stalin. Stalin died in1953 and one is not clear as to what happened to Bose after that. Probably Nehru knew of Bose being in a Russian prison, but took no steps to get Bose freed.

Nehru had his own axe to grind and it is possible he just shut his eyes when Bose was in Russian prison. Nehru will have a lot to answer to the Indian people. He committed a cowardly act and I am sure that retribution of the Indian people will show him for what he was: a small time man intent on hanging on to power. The Indian people now await the de-classification of the KGB files, which have been promised by the Russian government on a request from the Indian foreign minister.

Bose with INA troops
Bose with INA troops


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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you Lawrence. Stalin was against Gandhi and Nehru and kept Bose alive in Siberia for his own plans.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Interesting article and what you say about Bose is very possible.

      The only condition of India sending troops to fight alongside the British was independence for India which Churchill had no choice but to agree to! Ghandi knew Churchill had agreed to independence after the war.

      Japan did try to advance into India and both British and Indian troops fought bravely to defend India but the politicians knew Britain would never hold on to India afterwards.

      It's entirely likely that Bose ended up in Siberia as a favor to both India and Britain (also as a bargaining chip because the Soviets could always use him if they needed to!)

      Informative hub


    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Yes lions 44, what you say is correct, but the mystery of Bose must be unravelled

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Interesting article, as always. If he had been taken into custody, would he have been tried at the war crimes trials that the Allies set up for the Japanese Army? Or would he have been tried in India? There's no way he could have gotten a pardon? It is very plausible that he ended up in Russia and was never heard of again. Happened to many others. Look at Raoul Wallenberg? Taken into custody by the Soviets and seemingly disappeared.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Thank you grand old lady for commenting

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      3 years ago from Philippines

      Very interesting and intriguing article. This is the first time I heard of Bose and you describe him quite eloquently. Hopefully over time the truth will come out about what really happened to him.


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