Wednesday, Nov 21, 2018 | Last Update : 10:11 PM IST

Did Netaji live in Laldhari Ashram

| K.N. REDDY
Published : Jun 13, 2016, 4:47 am IST
Updated : Jun 13, 2016, 4:47 am IST

Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose die in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945 as officially declared or did he survive the crash and live a mysterious life after that

Laldhari Ashram
 Laldhari Ashram

Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose die in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945 as officially declared or did he survive the crash and live a mysterious life after that

A definite answer to this question has remained elusive to this day. But the discovery of material such as a military uniform, cap and jackets besides a German-made wristwatch, released during the first World War, a 1932 model compass and binocular made in France in an ashram abutting the Kalaburagi-Bidar highway near Humnabad town, has once again sparked off speculation about the survival of Netaji after the plane crash and him leading a secret life hiding his true identity.

Based on these findings, which also include some foreign currency, military badges, etc. from Laldhari Ashram and the personal accounts of some of the disciples, it is now speculated that the aged person whom they fondly addressed as “Laldhari Mutya” (Laldhari is the name of the village where the ashram is situated and Mutya means an elderly person), was in fact Netaji.

The speculation has gained credence nearly 15 years after his death due to a kidney ailment in a hospital at Umarga town in neighbouring Maharashtra on May 13, 2001. Reason: The trunk, in which the material was kept safely in the ashram, had remained locked till recently. Mr Santharam, who hails from Umarga, was quite dismayed to find the material in the trunk when he visited the ashram in January. He is understood to have written a letter to the Osmanabad deputy commissioner requesting him to take measures to find out whether the material belonged to Netaji or not.

Subsequently, Osmana-bad MP Ravindra Gaik-wad is also said to have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to send experts for examining the material found in the ashram.

Santharam’s father, Athmul Muzani, is said to have chanced upon a Punjabi-looking man at Solapur bus stand in 1971. Impressed by the conversation he had with the person, he took him home and gave him shelter till his death in 1985.

After Muzani’s death, the “Punjabi” left for Bidar and after much wandering, set up an ashram at Laldhari — a hillock, resembling the Parliament building.

According to some of his disciples, Mutya, who was very fond of patriotic songs, used to celebrate Independence Day and Republic Day by hoisting the national flag at the ashram and distributing sweets.

He was also said to have confided to some of his devotees that he had served in the Azad Hind Sena and he was Netaji. But this comment of Mutya is said to have evoked sniggers among his disciples.

Mr Santharam, who has in his possession samples of the teeth and hair of Mutya, feels a DNA test would establish the true identity of Laldhari Mutya.