The Judicial Commission constituted in 2016 to probe the identity of ‘Gumnami Baba’, widely believed to be Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in disguise, has reportedly concluded that it could not arrive at a definitive conclusion. The Justice Vishnu Sahai Commission report which was submitted to the Governor in 2017 was tabled in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday.
The Commission was constituted by the Samajwadi Party government in 216 following orders from the Allahabad High Court. The HC order came in the wake of a PIL which claimed that Gumnami Baba was, in fact, Netaji Bose. Justice Vishnu Sahai had earlier told reporters that many he had interviewed had a preconceived notion that the mysterious Baba was Netaji Bose.
According to reports, those who are aware of the content of the Commission report believe that it largely eliminates the possibility that both these people were one and the same. The Hindustan Times was told, “The commission appears to have eliminated, to a large extent, the possibilities of Gumnami Baba being Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.”
The report, however, does mention several similarities between the two personalities. Both these personalities were fluent in English, Hindi and Bengali. In addition, books about Bose and authors he supposedly liked were recovered from the Baba as well. “As per the report, Gumnami Baba continued to stay in his Faizabad house till rumours of him being Subhas Chandra Bose surfaced, after which he left that place. The report also mentions Gumnami Baba’s love for music and cigars,” a source was quoted as saying.
The inquiry itself is the result of the efforts of Lalita Bose, a niece of Netaji. She had arrived in Faizabad years ago and conducted a personal inquiry into Gumnami Baba. She was convinced that he was indeed her famous uncle. She then tried to persuade Vir Bahadur Singh, the then Chief Minister of the state, to initiate a proper inquiry but was told that it was beyond his reach.
Lalita, with two other people, then filed a suit in the Allahabad High Court. The state government filed a counter-affidavit only 13 years later. Ultimately, in 2013, the order for an inquiry was finally delivered. Even after that, it took three years and some lobbying for the Akhilesh government to constitute a Commission for the inquiry.