Friday, May 19, 2006


Netaji died a natural death in UP: Driver
Friday, 19 May , 2006, 16:47
Azamgarh, (UP): A 102-year-old man claiming to be Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's driver-cum-bodyguard has claimed that the freedom fighter was not killed in an air-crash in 1945, but died a natural death in oblivion, decades later, in Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

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''Netaji was not on the plane that crashed in Taipei in 1945, as he changed his plans to board aircraft at the last minute. He was not killed in the crash, but died a few years ago as 'Gumnami Baba' in Faizabad,'' claimed Nizamuddin, the driver-cum-bodyguard of Netaji in the Azad Hind Fauj (AHF). He was talking to UNI at his house in Shahabuddinpur village in Billariaganj on Thursday.

''I ran away from my house in Dhakwa village in Mubarakpur area of Azamgarh district in 1924, when I was barely 20. I reached Singapore by ship paying a fare of Rs 24 and was later blooded into the AHF,'' said the centenarian who can now walk only with the aid of a staff.

''Netaji, who was addressed by everyone in the AHF as 'Babu', asked me to become the driver of his 12 cylinder car, donated by a king in Malaya (now Malaysia). I was later appointed his bodyguard too, carrying a Tommy gun,'' said the man who was re-christened Nizamuddin from Saifuddin to hide his original identity in the AHF.

Endorsing the Mukerjee Commission findings on Netaji's death, Nizamuddin said Justice Mukherjee had finally managed to arrive at the truth behind Netaji's story.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was reported to have died in an air-crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945. His body was never found.

''He did not die in the air-crash. The plane did not carry him, but instead had on board Captain Ekram, Lal Singh, a Bengali soldier and a woman, all AHF members, besides two to three Japanese,'' Nizamuddin recounted.

He reminisced that he met Netaji and brother Sharat Chandra Bose in 1946 over a bridge on a river in Thailand, a year after the alleged death in air-crash.

He said the leader had told him that Indian leaders, in collusion with the British and US governments, were playing a political game using his alleged death.

''Jo jaisa karega woh waisa bharega,'' Netaji had told me when I asked him what he thought of the Indian leaders trying to pronounce him dead.

That was the last meeting I had with 'Babu', who disliked being called 'Sahib' by his AHF mates, Nizamuddin said with tears in eyes.

''I wanted to accompany Netaji, but he asked me to go to Rangoon, the capital of Burma, and promised to meet me in an independent India.''


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