Declassification of Netaji files - Good work or a Mistake?

Declassification of Netaji files – Good work or a Mistake?


For years Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s kins have demanded the declassification of the files that contained the mysteries of his disappearance and death. For various political reasons the erstwhile governments had all kept the files classified until last year when PM Modi announced the disclosure of these files.

Congress and Netaji’s kin have together been wanting and waiting the disclosure of these files. Now when PM Modi declassified 100 files related to Netaji for the National Achieves, making available digital copies too, we have a altogether new allegations for him.

Some are now calling this move a political ploy while the others are joining the controversy surrounding the mysteries of the death of Netaji. His kins got emotional while the rest of the nation visited and revisited the site that kept crashing the whole day. Were Netaji files better kept sealed than disclosed?

Good work:

1. Because his kins have a right to know: One of the greatest leaders to contribute to the freedom fight movement of our country, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was known for his fearlessness and unbound gallantry. His contributions to the freedom of India should not be forgotten and neither should the rights of his kins. His family had every right to claim the disclosure of Netaji files to know what led to his mysterious disappearance and why the erstwhile government made it a point to keep the files confidential from public domain.

2. Because the nation has the right to know: The one to inspire thousands, not just the thousands that lived in his lifespan but thousands of generations to come, Netaji will always be the favorite leader of all time. As a child we remember growing up to reading his stories of courage and undaunted determination. Our children will grow up reading the same and so will their children. The mystery of his death that was not revealed in our history books shall now be filled in. The curiosity of what could have happened to a leader so great will be answered.

3. Transparency: The whole act of keeping files about personal lives of leaders or events of historical importance classified and confidential is against the transparency system that we want to prevail. Though the way of declassifying the files was not in accordance with the law, the move was welcome by activists who have been advocating for transparency within the system. Doubts and misunderstandings prevail when things are kept secret. There was huge imbroglio about the whereabouts of Netaji and the involvement of politics in his disappearance.

4. Curiosity killed the cat: The Khosla inquiry commission and other boards that had access to the files had always maintained that the declassification of the files would lead to law and order problem in West Bengal and weaken ties with other nations. However, the Central Information Commission (CIC) confirmed that this was a “facile hypothesis” with very little facts that could alter the state of law and order. Curiosity, in fact, generated more dangerous hypothesis from time to time, leading to downgrading of historical figures and government altogether.

5. The cash over ash issue: Japan nudged India again and again to take back the ashes of one of its most liked freedom fighters. Indian government in turn gave them huge donations to upkeep the ashes as well as classified documents. Right from Indira Gandhi’s rule to Manmohan Singh’s government, Japan made futile attempts at returning the ashes. They were given apt evidences that Netaji died in the crash of 1945 but they rejected the evidence and declined to believe that the ashes were of Netaji. Now that the evidences are public, the final decision could be made. No more cash for keeping ash.

6. No surprise came up: The hidden files were costing more than the declassification is going to cost the government. It was all about myths and evidences around the acceptance of Netaji’s death in the plane crash and the priests and Japanese government’s demands to upkeep or return the remains. So much ado about nothing is all that could be said after the files disclosed absolutely nothing that was to be kept secret.


1. Downgrading political figures: We have celebrated their birthdays and called off national holidays on their account. Now the clashing ideas that come down over the political interests of these historical figures are going to create more confusion than ever. It has been brought out from the files that Netaji was planning against the Nehru Government, looking for a chance to strike, though it is not confirmed that the messages were actually from Netaji or an imposter who kept him alive. There is going to be no evidences to prove anything in this regard and the image tainting will be the only thing to continue.

2. Political interests: The manners of declassifying these files by the Modi government smell of politics. They were deliberately released in bulk, over the internet where everyone could have access to them and judge the erstwhile government based on its content, not clear whether a myth or truth. It could be taken as a measure to cover the failures of the government and to divert the interests in the other direction. For political purposes such moves should not have been fabricated.

3. Question of authenticity: The documents are said to be “forged” and the authenticity not known. In such a case the government should have acted wiser and released only those files that had proper evidences to attest to the truth of Netaji’s whereabouts. Netaji’s only kin, his daughter had accepted the death of her father in the plane crash and her sentiments should have been given priority instead of his distant relatives’ demands.


The Netaji files had already gathered much needed attention of public and then to keep it closed would have created curiosity for generations. It is a good move by the government towards bringing transparency in the system.

With evidences more clear, the government could take apt decisions whether or not to bring the ashes back instead of paying Japanese priests to upkeep the ashes. There is nothing downgrading in the files if people could only keep in mind the fact that the authenticity is yet to be confirmed.
The government must also consider declassifying remaining Netaji files under intelligence bureau, law ministry and international agencies. The Modi government kept its promise of declassifying the files which is a much applauded move.
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  • RE: Declassification of Netaji files – Good work or a Mistake? -Shehnaz (01/26/16)
  • It is a good work that the files of Netaji has been declassified. He is a martyr... a real hero. Every Indian has the right to know about the cause of his death. He has done so much for the nation. We cannot let go of the reason of his death so easily. Dying for the country ,and when research about his death is done , we cannot call it fruitless because at least the world would finally get to know about his death. The history of his life would be complete.
  • RE: Declassification of Netaji files – Good work or a Mistake? -saurabh misra (01/26/16)
  • Our focus is lost, instead of dwelling on the life and ideals espoused by our great leaders, we are engaged in fruitless pursuits; we should emulate the great leader by being a person of action rather than gossip, thereby according appropriate respect to his martyrdom. Belated Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was an avid reader and writer and spent all his spare time corresponding with world leaders in Japan, Germany and Sicily.