After long wait Netaji’s driver to get freedom fighter status

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A file photo of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Photo: The Hindu Photo Archives
A file photo of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Photo: The Hindu Photo Archives

The wait of 107-year-old Nizamuddin, who claims to be a close aide, guard and driver of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, could well be over as district administration has now initiated the process of giving him the status of freedom fighter.

Born in Dhakwa village of Mubarkpur area in 1901, ’Colonel’ Nizamuddin was honoured today by the District Magistrate Azamgarh on the occasion of Netaji’s Jayanti.

The DM Pranjal Yadav said the documents available with Col Nizamuddin are enough to help him get the status of freedom fighter and with the completion of some formalities “it would be done at the earliest.”

According to Nizamuddin, his father Imam Ali used to run a canteen in Singapore and at the age of around 24-25 he fled from his native village here to the country.

At that time, Netaji was recruiting youngsters for his Azad Hind Fauj in Singapore and he also joined it, said Nizamuddin.

Netaji was impressed with my dedication and later appointed me as his personal guard and driver and for the next 10 years I remained with him, Nizamuddin claimed.

Wherever he went, be it Tokyo, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia or Singapore or planned his moves against the British rulers Nizamuddin remained by his side.

The close aide of Netaji claimed that as the British had launched a manhunt to nab Bose he undertook most of his trips via sea route travelling in submarines.

“If required, he also travelled by a 12-cylinder vehicle, a gift, driven by me,” Nizamuddin claimed.

“I reached Dum Dum airport from Rangoon in 1950 and also visited his Kolkata residence and tried to look for Netaji but to no avail after which I returned to Burma,” he claimed.

Nizamuddin said that he returned to his native village in Azamgarh along with his family on June 5, 1969 and started living there.

Later in 2001, Nizamuddin disclosed his identity but had to wait for another 12 years for the administration and government to acknowledge it.

(This article was published on January 23, 2013)
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