Kolkata: The circumstances of the “death” of Subhas Chandra Bose are being used for petty politics at a time when India badly needs Netaji’s vision of justice, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen said on Saturday.
On a day when the Narendra Modi government declassified secret files on Netaji, Sen said it was “peculiar” that some believed that the files would reveal the Congress leadership’s hand in Netaji’s “death”.
“The circumstances of the death are sometimes made the way for producing an element of petty minded politics. The sole idea that somehow it would come out that the leadership of the Congress had a special role in the end of Subhas Bose’s life would be a rather peculiar story,” said Sen.
Speaking on the occasion of Netaji’s birth anniversary celebrations here, Sen seemed to favour historian Leonard Gordon’s theory that Bose died in a plane crash in 1945.
“I don’t have the expertise which Gordon has. He may be right. I think he is. But some think he is not. But this is not an issue of history rather than that of antiquarian interest.”
Sen said importance of life was enormously greater than the importance of the circumstances of the death of a person.
“Whether he died in the plane crash or he died somewhere else, it would be hard to think that he is alive,” he said.
“All those who treat him like some sort of a Hindu sadhu (hermit), it seems that they have a profound misunderstanding of the person that Netaji was,” Sen said, referring to the claim that Bose lived incognito as “Gumnami Baba” in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad.
While he expressed his interest in knowing the contents of the declassified files, Sen asserted that Netaji’s vision of justice and equity was the need of the hour when the country was experiencing increased communal division.
“All are very keen on what these files will bring out, all are interested to know what actually happened to him. I am also interested.”
But that was nothing compared to the grandness of the vision that Netaji had, Sen said.
“People want to know what happened to him, but we know what his vision was.”
“His vision of justice and equity continue to be profound and we need it in every sphere of life, especially when in the country a sense of division is being cultivated on communal lines,” added Sen.