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Did Sardar Patel pay Rs 18,000 to Netaji’s wife?

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As he had promised in his correspondence with Emilie, wife of Netaji Subhash Bose, Sarat Bose resolved to go to Europe with wife Bivabati as soon as possible to meet Emilie and daughter Anita. Later, that year in the autumn of 1948, Sarat and Biva with three of their children (Sisir, Roma and Chitra) met with Emilie and Anita in Vienna in an emotional meeting.The bonding was spontaneous and immediate, and Emilie was finally able to hand over to Sarat Bose the original handwritten letter in Bengali of 8 February 1943 to him from his beloved brother Subhash.

Dear Madame Schenkl,

Your kind letter of the 17th May last was delivered here on the 27th May and was most welcome. In 1946 up to the month of October, I was mostly away from Calcutta and was also moving from place to place. My wife and daughters were with me.

I had no secretary then in Calcutta and I would not be surprised if the letters you wrote to me in 1946 fell into the hands of people who opened them and pocketed them. I need hardly say that anything that concerned and concerns my brother always had and has the greatest significance for me. Possibly you heard from him several times of the relations between him and me.

I heard from Colonel Habib-ur-Rehman in August 1946 all about the air-crash story; but, though I have not had any facts to the contrary, I ought to tell you that the air-crash story left me unconvinced about its truth.I have always had and am still having the feeling in me -- it is no more than a feeling -- that my brother is alive.

I did not reply to your letter of 17th May earlier as I had intended to go to Bombay and find out for myself the nature of the propaganda that was being carried on there against my brother and to communicate to you something about it. By the time your letter came, I had heard from friends in Bombay who had come to Calcutta something about that propaganda. My wife and I went to Bombay last month and returned to Calcutta on the 4th of this month. The propaganda that is being carried on in Bombay is subtle.

The suggestion is that my brother had committed a sin and had left you stranded. It is also being circulated in Bombay that Sardar Patel came to your rescue and that he has paid you rupees 18,000. I know that it is altogether false propaganda; still I felt that I owed it to you to give you some information about it. Ofcourse I did not expect anything better from eminent Congress leaders who were political enemies of my brother, or from Nathalal Parikh who joined them in September,1945. Dr Akmat’s conduct was strange. He may have meant well; but he certainly ought to have written to me before writing to Nehru and Sardar.

I fully appreciate all that you have written about yourself and also the reasons for your unwillingness to receive any support or help at the moment. I was very much relieved and assured to learn that you were earning enough to manage your living .My nephew Aurabindo has not yet handed over to me copies of the snaps he took when he was there, though I was told in Bombay last month that he had shown them to some people there. Will you kindly send me photos of yourself and the child at your convenience?

There is one information I would like to have. In 1938, I sent my brother some of the letters he wrote to me from Cambridge in the year 1920, which I had preserved. He used some of the letters in his Autobiography but, subsequently, the original letters could not be traced. He left them in Europe. Will it be possible for you to trace them? If you are able to do so, please keep them with you until I come to Europe.

My wife and I intend to come in September or October this year. If our intention materialises, we shall certainly come to Vienna and see you and the child. There will be plenty of opportunities then to talk about matters that concern you and me. In the meantime, we shall correspond with each other. Is Professor Demel in Vienna? If you meet him, please convey to him my kind regards.

I trust this will find you all in good health and spirits. With all good wishes,

Yours sincerely

(Sarat Chandra Bose)

(Extract taken from Madhuri Bose’s book, The Bose Brothers and Indian Independence, An Insider’s Account)