Mother, CR Das's wife had deep influence on Netaji’s life and struggle: Historian Sugata Bose

NewsDrum Desk
25 Jan 2023

Kolkata, Jan 25 (PTI) Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's grandnephew, historian Sugata Bose, said the freedom fighter's mother Prabhabati, and his ‘adopted mother’ Basanti Devi played a key role in shaping and influencing the revolutionary's life and struggle.

Basanti Devi was the wife of freedom fighter Chittaranjan Das, popularly known as ‘Deshbandhu’ (friend of the country).

The role of two other women, including his wife, was also important in Netaji’s life, Bose said.

“Women in Netaji's life, be it his mother, wife and sister-in-law (elder brother Sarat Bose's wife) had a deep influence on him,” Bose said while addressing a session at Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet held at the sprawling lawns of Victoria Memorial Hall here.

He was speaking on the new translation of his mother Krishna Bose’s book on Netaji.

"My mother wrote an article several years back on four women who deeply influenced Netaji's life,” Bose said.

The four are Prabhabati Bose, Basanti Devi, wife Emilie Schenkl and sister-in-law Bibhabati Bose, the wife of Sarat Chandra Bose.

“Subhas Bose wrote some beautiful letters to his mother once he discovered the mission of his life. But the most moving part of the book is on Basanti Devi, the wife of Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das,” the historian, who teaches at Harvard University, said.

Prabhabati used to term Basanti Devi as the adopted mother of Subhas, Bose said.

Netaji wanted Basanti Devi to join active politics after the death of Chittaranjan Das, and he said she remained an inspiration for the freedom fighter.

"The wife of Netaji Emilie Schenkl was also an important woman in his life. These women played a crucial role in shaping his life and struggle," Bose said.

Speaking at the programme, former CPI(M) MP and women rights activist Subhasini Ali said Netaji truly believed in women's equality.

"He (Subhas Bose) also felt that women needed to play a bigger role in the struggle for independence," Ali, who is the daughter of Colonel Prem Sehgal and Captain Lakshmi Sehgal of the Indian National Army (INA), said.

Netaji’s attitude towards the women who joined the Rani of Jhansi regiment of the INA reflected how he believed in the equality of women and upliftment of women from poor strata of the society, she said.

According to several accounts, Bose boarded a plane on August 18, 1945, from Taihoku Airport in Taiwan, which crashed soon after take-off, leading to his death. However, many believe he survived the crash and lived in hiding in India.

After Independence, the Centre had formed three inquiry commissions to unravel the mystery of Netaji's disappearance.

Two of them -- the Shah Nawaz Commission and Khosla Commission -- were formed by the Congress governments and concluded that Bose died in the air crash. The third one - the Mukherjee Commission formed by the BJP-led NDA government - said he did not. PTI PNT NN NN

Read The Next Article