Lucknow, Dec 22, 2019-
The much-publicized and mysterious ‘Gumnami Baba’ was not Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, as his followers believed.
This is the conclusion of the Justice (retd) Vishnu Sahai Commission that was set up to probe the mystery.
For decades, people claimed that Gumnami Baba was actually Bose living in oblivion.
In its report, which was tabled in the state assembly last week, the commission observed that Gumnami Baba was Netaji’s follower and his voice resembled that of Bose.
Gumnami Baba, who died on September 16, 1985, was cremated at Guptar Ghat (Ayodhya) on September 18, 1985.
The report says, “From items recovered from the part of Ram Bhawan (Faizabad, now Ayodhya), where Gumnami Baba a.k.a. Bhagwanji lived till his death, it cannot be ascertained that Gumnami Baba was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.”
The 130-page report has given 11-point findings that portray Gumnami Baba as Netaji’s follower.
“He (Gumnami Baba) was a follower of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. But he changed his residence when people started saying he was Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose,” the report says.
The commission observed he was fond of music, cigar and food and his voice was like Netaji’s voice, giving a ‘feeling of command’.
The commission noted that he was a Bengali and well versed in Bengali, English and Hindi, had in-depth knowledge of war and contemporary politics but he appeared uninterested in the state of governance in India.
In concluding paragraphs of the commission’s report, Justice Sahai has noted that he came across evidence demolishing the claims of those affirming that Gumnami Baba was Netaji when he inspected documents in the district treasury in office of the district magistrate Faizabad (now Ayodhya) on June 22, 2017.
Sahai said there was a letter in Bengali written by Bulbul from Kolkata on October 16, 1980. Sahai said the letter from Bulbul said, “When will you come to my place? We will be very happy if you visit on the birthday of Netaji”. This makes it clear that Gumnami Baba was not Netaji.
Other interesting findings made by the Commission include the observation that Gumnami Baba had enormous willpower and self-discipline that gave him the strength to live in hiding.
The commission said he devoted appropriate time for worship and meditation and those who spoke to him behind the curtains were mesmerised after hearing him.
The commission observed he was a talented person and had the uncommon trait of being a person who would prefer death if the mystery about his anonymity was uncovered.
“Under provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, he had the choice and right of leading his life as per his wishes. In this right was enshrined his right of remaining anonymous.” the report says.
The commission has also quoted arguments given to prove that Gumnami Baba could be Netaji and the ones provided to say he was not.
The commission says: “But it is shameful that his last rites were performed in such a manner only 13 persons could take part in this. He deserved to be given farewell with much more respect.”
The Justice Sahai inquiry commission was set up under provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Act 1952 on June 28, 2016 and gave its report on September 19, 2017.
The Allahabad high court had ordered to set up the commission on January 31, 2013 on a writ petition. (Agency)