Mom played second fiddle, suffered: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s daughter | India News


KOLKATA: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s love of his country spared little time for his wife Emilie Schenkl, said their daughter Anita Bose Pfaff, who too grew up like many children of war without the warmth and comfort of having a father near her.
“His first and foremost, and almost only interest, was his fight for his country’s freedom. My mother had to suffer because of this as she always had to play second fiddle,” Anita told TOI on Sunday, a day before Neta-ji’s 126th birth anniversary.
Netaji and an intensely private and publicity-shy Emilie got married in 1937 in Vienna, but they found little time together in their nineplus years of marriage. “Whatever time they got together”, according to their daughter, was taken away by “his first and, most important, love that is hiscountry”.
Anita, 80, and her mother survived WWII in Austria without their father. “At that time, it was not uncommon in my generation, and in Europe, where I lived, of children of my age growing up without a father, because I was born dur-ing WWII,” said the Austrianborneconomist.
“You had many single mothers, fending for themselves and their children. I wished I had a father, who was there, and who would care for me. I had my mother and maternal grandmother…I was taken care of well. But, of course, one misses a father too, particularly as a teenager as one grows up and sort of breaks away from the parents,” she said.
Anita lives in Germany and was a professor at University of Augsburg and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. “My father saw me when I was four weeks old and, evidently, I do not remember that,” she said.
Mother Emilie used to tell her stories about her father’s escapades, and how they worked together when she was his secretary.
“My father was in Vienna in the 1930s. The Prince of Wales, the later king, was visiting Vienna, and my father was considered a dangerous person. The police shadowed him, and he made it an opportunity to drag them through the woods in Vienna during a not-so-nice period of weather. He was fond of walking and so his shadows had to follow him through the woods. He eventually returned to the city and dashed for a tram, hopped onto it and my mother was with him. And his shadows could not follow them immediately,” Anitasaid.
Anita believes her father died in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945. Last year, she petitioned the Indian government for a DNA test of ashes, presumably of Netaji’s, preserved at the Renkoji Temple in Japan. She believes those are her father’s remains.


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