Indian government paid for the upkeep of mortal remains of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose in Renkoji temple in Japan and considered persuading the temple management to continue with the arrangement even after enhancing the charges, according to Netaji files recently declassified.
According to the files released by the government on Bose’s 119th anniversary, a high-level meeting had taken place on July 20, 1994 here, following a direction from the Prime Minister Office to the Ministry of Home Affairs to prepare a note for the Cabinet.
The meeting was conducted against the backdrop of the stand taken by the Bose Academy in Japan that Indian government should take possession of the mortal remains of Netaji, whose birth centenary was due in 1997.
“As regards the question of taking possession of the ashes was concerned, no particular advantage lay in taking a decision on this at this juncture since the birth centenary celebrations were due only in 1997. Therefore a view could be taken on the matter in 1996-97 and till such time a status quo should be maintained,” the meeting resolved.
“The temple management may be persuaded to continue with the upkeep of the ashes and, if necessary, the maintenance charges being paid to the temple may be suitably increased to meet the increased cost,” the file related to the meeting said about its conclusions.
The other issue that was discussed was a series of articles published in Moscow in the magazine ‘Asia and Africa Today’ alleging that Netaji was an agent of British spying agency MI6.
On this, the meeting concluded that “Since the articles had not attracted any media attention so far, it was unlikely that such a contingency would arise in future. Even in the unlikely event of these articles appearing in the local media, its ripple effects were likely to be minimal since the basic thrust of the articles did appear to project Netaji in patriotic light as an opponent of fascism.”
It was further further concluded that Indian government’s response to the issue “should be minimal and as low as possible” and if possible, “allowed to be forgotten”.
“Since it was best that as little publicity as possible was given to the entire issue, it was felt that it may not be necessary to place this matter before the Cabinet. Prime Minister may be apprised accordingly and his directions obtained,” the file said.