Was cigar-loving 'Gumnami Baba' Netaji in disguise? Judge's report may solve mystery

Yogi Adityanath cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to the proposal to table the report of the commission headed by Justice (retired) Vishnu Sahai in the legislature.
Subhas Chandra Bose with German soldiers
Subhas Chandra Bose with German soldiers

LUCKNOW: Was Gumnami Baba alias Bhagwanji, who lived in Faizabad until his death in 1985, actually Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose? This mystery will be unravelled in the next session of the state legislature when the report of a judicial commission which probed the identity of Gumnami Baba is tabled.

The UP cabinet led by Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday gave its nod to the proposal to table the report of the commission headed by Justice (retired) Vishnu Sahai in the legislature.

As per a senior government official, the report would be tabled in the next session of legislature as the ongoing monsoon session was a brief one comprising just seven sittings. However, he refrained from giving a categorical reply when asked if the report would unravel the mystery, saying that it would be clear once the report of Justice Sahai was made public.

However, sources aware of the contents of the probe report claimed that the report apparently did not support the popular belief that Gumnami Baba was indeed Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

The findings reportedly only compared the Baba with Netaji. According to the sources, the report says that like Netaji, Gumnami Baba was also fluent in three languages including English, Hindi and Bangla. Literature in the three languages and the books of Netaji’s favourite authors were found from the place where Gumnami Baba used to stay. Baba also used to be a revered and influential person and was thronged by a large number of people.

Gumnami Baba had died on September 16, 1985. His last rites were performed on September 18, 1985.

The Justice Sahai Commission was set up on July 4, 2016 and it had submitted a 347-page report to Governor Ram Naik on September 19, 2017. The commission was set up following the directives of the Allahabad High Court on January 31, 2013.

During the probe to ascertain the identity of Gumnami Baba, the commission heard 35 witnesses in all and 10 affidavits were filed by those who could not appear before the commission in person.

While drawing a parallel between Baba and Netaji, the report also claims that Gumnami Baba was fond of music and cigars just like Netaji. A majority of those who deposed before the commission observed that Gumnami Baba could have been Bose. Many witnesses reportedly based their testimony on personal observations and also the articles pertaining to Bose recovered from Ram Bhawan in Faizabad where Gumnami Baba had stayed.

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The New Indian Express