I, BOSE presented by AGNI KOOTTHU (THEATRE OF FIRE)

This entry is part of 40 in the series 20071101_Issue

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I, BOSE

presented by AGNI KOOTTHU (THEATRE OF FIRE)

written & directed by ELANGOVAN

performed by Ahamed Ali Khan,Hemang Yadav, Shaiful Risan & Yazid Jalil

Lighting Design: Paw Sorensen

Sound Design & Technical Manager: Andre Danker

Stage Manager: Mohamed Khalid

Production Manager: S Thenmoli

Sat 8 & Sun 9 Dec 2007 8 pm $20 Guinness Theatre, The Substation

(Tickets @ Substation) With support from Arts Fund

‘We cannot beg FREEDOM. We have to buy FREEDOM with our blood.

Give me blood and I promise you FREEDOM.’ – Subash Chandra Bose

Chalo Delhi (On to Delhi) was the rallying call of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose (23 Jan 1897 to 18 Aug 1945 or 18 Sep 1985?), one of the most fascinating personalities in the history of India’s struggle for independence from the British imperial powers. Bose, has gone down in history as a dynamic and inspiring leader who did not agree with Gandhi’s call to join the Civil Disobedience Movement. Bose was forced to resign as President of the Indian Congress due to Gandhi’s pressure and was subsequently incarcerated by the British. But he escaped to Afhganistan and then to Germany to seek help from Hitler. He made his first broadcast on the Azad Hind (Free India) Radio in Berlin on 27 Feb 1942 and met Hitler on 5 May 1942. Hitler, fond of the Aryan supremacy and especially the British white race, found the Indians inferior and did not support Bose. The Japanese premier General Hideki Tojo agreed to support Bose. Bose left Germany by a German U-boat on 8 Feb 1943 and reached Singapore on 2 July 1943 to assume leadership of Indian Independence Movement in Southeast Asia. He unified the splintered Free India Provisional Government (FIPG), the legislative body and the Indian National Army (INA), the military wing and shaped them into a formidable fighting machine with the help of Japan. As the Supreme Commander of the INA, he declared the creation of the Azad Hind Government in Singapore. He also formed the Rani Jhansi Regiment, the first and only all-women regiment in modern Indian history. The Rani Jhansi Regiment, led by Captain (Dr) Lakshmi Sahgal was trained in warfare and weaponry and it participated actively in the INA’s struggle. Following the defeat at Imphal on the Indo-Burma frontier, the INA had to retreat with the Japanese military and was disbanded in 1946, only to be remembered as The Forgotten Army. Bose left to Manchuria to enter Soviet territory to seek assistance from Stalin. But after refueling at Taihokou (Taipei) airport in Formosa (Taiwan), the engine and the propeller fell from the left wing and the plane crashed and burst into flames. Bose became a flaming torch. His ashes were deposited at the Renkoji temple in Japan. There are many unanswered questions. Why is the Indian government still refusing to accept the ashes from Japan? Did Bose really die in the plane crash or was the crash faked to save him from the pursuing British and American forces? Emilie Schenkl-Bose, his German wife believed that her husband Bose was alive in the USSR. Dr Anita Bose, the German daughter who has never seen Bose is also doubtful about his death in the plane-crash. Was Bose at Stalin’s mercy and killed in Siberia? The recently opened KGB files reveal that Bose was in Russia in Irkutsk prison, near Lake Baikal, Siberia, 1946. What happened to INA’s gold? Did Bose escape from Siberia and enter India through Nepal in 1955 and live in hiding for the next 30 years? Is Bose really the ‘Bhagwanji of Faizabad’ the secretive hermit who was cremated without any rites at Guptar Ghat by 13 high profile people on the banks of River Sarayu in Uttar Pradesh, India on 18 Sep 1985? Bose was last seen alive in 1998 in India. Is he still alive as there are about 100,000 people over the age of 120 in the world today? Indian government documents reveal that Gandhi, Nehru, and the British were aware that Bose was not dead. Nehru used the British trials of the INA prisoners to his advantage by defending them and winning public support for his Congress party to become the first premier of India. Why did Nehru, and his dynasty create various Commissions of Inquiry to convince the public that Bose is dead? Though the Taiwanese know that there was no plane crash and the Japanese know that the ashes in Renkoji Temple belong to a Japanese soldier, why are they silent? Bose, the forgotten hero’s death is an impregnable mystery. I, BOSE, the play stages the alternative truth in the 110th year of his birth.


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