Laid to Rest by Ashis Ray

Laid to Rest: The Controversy over Subhas Chandra Bose’s Death is the most comprehensive compilation of hard evidence ever presented on the still hotly debated demise of one of the heroes of the Indian freedom movement. It pieces together a plethora of first-hand, eye-witness accounts of the plane crash at Taipei that resulted in Subhas Bose breathing his last in a Japanese military hospital, his cremation and the transfer of his ashes to Japan, where they remain till date. In a veritable tour de force, the book presents irrefutable, overwhelming testimonies from survivors of the crash, people who were at Bose’s bedside when he passed away, attendees at the cremation and couriers of the mortal remains to Tokyo and ultimately to its current resting place at Renkoji temple. Indian, Japanese and Taiwanese nationals unite to provide an unimpeachable and unanimous verdict. The publication decimates conspiracy theories; and questions successive Indian governments for ignoring the plaintive cry of Bose’s Austrian widow and economist daughter to apply closure to a needless and never-ending controversy.

Subhas Bose on the cover of TIME magazine in its 7th March 1938 edition.

Subhas Bose with his wife Emilie Schenkl at Badgasten, Austria in 1936.

The foreword has been written by Anita Pfaff, the only child of Subhas Bose and his Austrian wife Emilie Schenkl, was born in Vienna on 29 November 1942. She was only four weeks old when Subhas last saw her, prior to embarking on a voyage from Europe to South-East Asia,never to return. She only came to be granted recognition after her uncle Sarat Bose and his family visited Vienna in 1948 and were handed a letter by her mother left behind by her father. The communication addressed to Sarat confirmed the fact of his marriage to Schenkl and the birth of Pfaff – previously unknown. In 1960, Pfaff visited India for the first time to be given a rousing reception nationwide, especially in Calcutta. The then Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru – Subhas’s fellow campaigner in India’s freedom struggle – hosted her as a house guest at his official residence in Delhi. Coincidentally, she met her future husband Professor Martin Pfaff during this trip. They married in Vienna in 1965. Both are economists who worked in the United States, before taking up distinguished teaching posts at Germany’s Augsburg University. The Pfaffs have long been political activists with the German Social Democratic Party. Pfaff accepts her father died as a result of a plane crash at Taipei in 1945.

About the author –

A behind-the-scenes actor in Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s abortive attempt to bring Bose’s remains to India in the mid-1990s, London based author Ashis Ray is the longest serving Indian foreign correspondent, having uninterruptedly worked in this capacity for over 40 years, mainly for BBC and CNN, but also for India’s Ananda Bazar Group and the Times of India. The book is a culmination of 30 years of extensive research in Taiwan, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Britain and the United States.

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6 months ago

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