I wrote Mahanayak, a fiction based on the life of Netaji, in Marathi, which was published in 2005 and subsequently in 13 other languages. Though it was fictional, I did immense research on Bose for the novel, retracing his footsteps across continents.
Wherever I went, there was something mysterious and shadowy in connection with the research. While in Japan in 1996, an officer of the Indian embassy repeatedly interrogated me about my real purpose of visiting Japan and my interest in Bose. Then, when I was researching at the government archives in R.K. Puram in Delhi, I got my hands on the index book of Nehru files, and the librarian snatched it from me, saying contents of the index were not for public consumption.
I have just one question—why was so much money spent on spying on his family if Bose died in 1945? Netaji's legacy always worried Nehru. In the second series of Nehru's collected works, which are available to the general public, you can see 25 letters he wrote to state governors, telling them not to employ erstwhile members of the INA. Are we worried that the Netaji papers will show that he went over to the Axis powers? But in doing so, did he compromise the destiny of India? I don't believe he would have ever done that.
I believe the most important papers regarding Netaji are in Delhi, not in Kolkata. Although I wrote in my novel that he died in the plane crash, subsequent revelations point towards an untold story. He may have lived up to the mid-1960s, but not in India.
The mystery will continue to thicken as long as the Delhi papers are not made public. The government should make them public. I believe Modi can do that.
Patil is a recipient of Sahitya Akademi award.