Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose -- in the lore that does the rounds of a majority of Bengali homes -- has always been the renegade nationalist who slipped out of the iron fist of the British. Adding to the romance of the story, narrated and consumed with deep nostalgia and enthusiasm, is his relationship with his German wife Emily. One part of Bose’s charm lay in the idea that he was willing to put his life, and love, on the line for his country’s freedom.
However, thanks to an alleged revelation of the recently declassified files on him, this story is ready to be rewritten. This version, however, may not go down well as a bed-time story in conservative Indian homes. According to a report in The Telegraph, one of the various documents declassified by the West Bengal government, suggests that Netaji may have married again. The woman in question is said to be of Czech origin and they had a daughter together called ‘Nima’.
The Telegraph reports: “A page in the Netaji files declassified last week contains unverified claims that a manuscript of Subhas Chandra Bose's autobiography conclusively proved that he did not die in a plane crash and that he married a Czech lady with whom he had a daughter named 'Nima'."
The article further adds that this information was sourced from Aurobindo Bose, Netaji’s nephew who had flown to Prague in 1947 for a student’s conference. He was known to have stayed with this lady while in the city.
The document states: "It is further learnt that Subhas Bose married this Czeck lady during his European visit during the last war and he had got a daughter by name 'Nima' by this lady. It is also said that thirty pounds of food-stuff are sent to this lady every month from Bombay."
However, Sugata Bose, Netaji’s grandnephew rubbished the reports as a ‘cock and bull story’.
Netaji was said to be married to Emilie Schenkl from 1937 to 1945, with whom she had a daughter called Anita.
The Indian Embassy in Prague mentions that Netaji had visited Czechoslovakia ‘most times’ between 1933 and 1938, and he married Emilie in 1937. Netaji also founded the Indo-Czech association in Prague in 1934.
Meanwhile, though his grandnephew Sugata mentions in his biography that Netaji married Emilie secretly in 1937, the new files have questioned not only the claim, but also the date of the said wedding.
Jayanta Chowdhury, a deponent in the Justice Mukherjee commission which was set up to investigate the disappearance of Netaji in 1945, says: “In a book written by Sugata Bose, Trinamool Congress MP and the great grand nephew of Netaji, reveals that Netaji secretly married Emilie in 1937. But, an intelligence report that was a part of the declassified file says that Netaji married her in the year 1942. On the other hand, while applying for a visa to China, Netaji had mentioned his marital status as 'single'.”
Chowdhury tells DNA that in 1944 Netaji had denied being married. In fact, he had denied being married to Emilie several times.
Emilie and Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff was born in 1942 and currently resides in Germany.