Netaji shall always stay one of the most important and respected figure in Indian National movement, looking through the annals of Indian National movement, he seems to be the only one among the major leaders, who seems to have no seemingly obvious flaws. Nehru is criticized in all circles in India, Gandhi might have been the Numero Uno pre-independence, yet you shall find Gandhi bashers in every corner of India (I am not talking about pro-Gandhi people, as they were and would always be present in large masses everywhere). Netaji, who was at a particular time (perhaps?) more influential than Gandhi (1938-39). But 70 years from that time, and many decades after his supposed death Netaji although popular among Indians by the virtue of his name and his war cries like “Delhi Chalo”, “Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi dunga”. He shall always be considered a national hero, but leitmotif of the pages of history have been the question of his death(about which nothing can be done) and the supposed ignorance or negelect meted out to him.
The first part of this riddle, the question of life and death, which in itself is a very interesting question and a question of (perhaps?) national importance. Yet by all senses, the question might have lived out its time. But, the more important question could be the supposed neglect of Netaji, the way he has remained only a name in the history books unlike Gandhis and Nehrus who can be seen as landmarks all over the nation. The question of his death, at best can be termed as a bit of trivia, as the question whether a man died or not on a particular date can only be of certain level of importance to a nation of a billion. The question, whether a certain leader has been amply respected or not, has he been given his proper due or not, is one which can be perceived as one national importance and thats what I shall try to pursue in the next paragraph or two (which is the max such a platform can allow me).
The powers at the centre is censured time and again for neglecting his contribution and name (and perhaps rightfully so). This might seem an act of disrespect to the ‘bharat mata ka veer putra’. There certainly could have been more recognition for the man. But, looking at it all from a broader (and different) perspective might/should not arise such issues in the mind of people. Even if we emulate the views/doctrines of the Great man himself, which if it has to be described in one word, can be called Realpolitik, which in lay man terms can be defined as bit of ‘opportunism’. One of the comment he made was, if he had to shake hands with the devil for India’s independence he would do that. Hence if we look at him taking his own ideas as the backdrop, it can be seen (to an extent) to be consistent with his doctrines. It’s the opportunism/realpolitik which has kept him away from the well deserved honour. The Gandhi/Nehru ideology has been the winner in the struggle among the Freedom Fighters, and hence Subhas has more or less remained in silent pages of history.
Although this might seem wrong to some people, but then History has never gone by right or wrong, it has always been written by the winners, and with valid reasons. This can even be related to Survival of Fittest, ones who win have the right to do things their way, because its been their method which was more successful hence giving them more of an option of surviving. Hence, Netaji great as he might have been, lost somewhere in the race and since politics is always about masses and voices, and dead men dont posses any voices, so by any kind of rule/system, they are bound to receive less attention and importance than the ones who survive.
Thats why, I think its time, we leave the past and its legacy and start living with the system which has been in place, because it is there only after passing some tests. Even if, we ignore the dying part, saying Gandhi also died, yet his legacy remains strong as ever. Thats where we can find the fault in Netaji for not being able to set up a legacy or a support cast (read : Nehru) which could have carried his name ahead. After all it was the game of politics they were all playing and like any other thing in the world, some win, some lose!