If dinosaur remains can be tested for DNA, why not ashes, asks Netaji’s kin

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New Delhi–As Subhas Chandra Boses death anniversary on August 18 nears, the cry for getting the ashes — believed to be those of the renowned freedom fighter — kept at a temple in Japan to be put to DNA test and brought back to India, is getting louder.

The latest to join the bandwagon is Netaji’s grand-nephew Chandra Kumar Bose, who argues that if dinosaur skeletons can be tested, whats stopping the Indian government to get the DNA from the ashes matched with Boses kin.

In this interview to IANS, he sends out an emotional appeal:

Q: There was a demand by Bose’s daughter to get the ashes tested and brought home. Do you endorse this?

A: Of course. Netaji’s only daughter Anita Bose Pfaff wrote a letter which was also signed by two others — Dr Dwarakanath Bose, who died just days ago, and Ardhendu Bose. They are senior most in the Bose family. But we haven’t received any reply to that letter. I followed up with the Prime Minister’s Office on multiple occasions. They acknowledged that they had received it. But so far, they haven’t replied.

Q: What are your expectations?

A: We are hopeful that the Prime Minister will issue an order so that the ashes kept at Renko-ji temple can be DNA-tested. Blood sample analysis of the Bose family is available with the Justice Mukherjee Commission when it was probing the matter. Blood samples of Subrata Bose, who is no more, Nipuram Some, and Dwarakanath Bose have already been provided. There’s no need to collect fresh blood samples. Even we are ready to give samples, if need be. Today, there have been huge scientific developments. I can’t say whether it would have been possible 10-15 years ago. But today, even a skeleton of a dinosaur is being tested for DNA. If there is any DNA available in those ashes, we should get it checked and matched with the blood samples from the Bose family, so that we know what happened.

Q: The ashes are in Japan…

A: In Japan, there were 5 files that were classified. In 2016, Union Minister Sushma Swaraj wrote to her counterpart in Japan, requesting to publish the files pertaining to Netaji. They published two files which are now on a website. I have checked them but they are not important. But when they announced that they had five files, what happened to the remaining three? If we can obtain those three files, we may get a lead through possible information or photos.

Q: It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who got declassified loads of Netaji files. What do you want to tell him?

A: As far as the PM is concerned, they started a good work. But if you don’t complete the work after starting it, there is not much worth. I hope he will complete the cycle by ordering DNA test on the ashes and obtaining these files. Then, the Indians would be grateful.

Q: You have met PM Modi on multiple occasions. Have you ever raised the issue of the ashes with him, personally?

A: During the ten declassifications, we have spoken many times. He said that he doesn’t know whether it is a possibility. Look, neither we or the PM work on the DNA. It is for the experts in DNA field who can say that. I want to also add that my brother Surjo Bose, who lives in Germany, went to Japan one-and-a-half years ago to talk to the priest of the Renko-ji temple. There was some misinformation doing the rounds that the priest had objected to the DNA test. But the priest clarified that neither he nor his father ever had any objection to that.

Q: What’s your suggestion?

A: The Indian government should make efforts. And if it is proved that the ashes are those of Subhas Chandra Bose, it should bring them back to India. However, a discussion should also be done in that case with Nita Bose Pfaff. But look, Netaji is the liberator of India who fought the battle for Independence with his Azad Hind Fauj. So, the ashes, if they are his, should be brought back to India with all due respect. (IANS)


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