Name: Anuj Dhar
Genre: Non-fiction, Politics, History
Famous Books: India’s Biggest Cover-up, Back from Dead: Inside the Subhas Bose Mystery
Indian non-fiction writing is in a booming phase. We have not seen this amount of enthusiasm on any previous occasion for serious non-fiction writings. Many writers have made their marks in the field of serious non-fiction writing in English (and otherwise) in India in the past two decades. Today, I am writing about Anuj Dhar who is one of them and has become so popular in recent years. Though his writings are serious and revolve around Indian political structure, in general also the readers like his books. He became famous after his publications on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Though the subject that he chose as the foundation of his non-fiction literature may seem redundant and over-rubbed genie-lamp to many experts and historians like Ramchandra Guha and Romila Thapar, readers have taken Anuj Dhar’s writing very enthusiastically and he has become a bestseller. I will discuss Anuj Dhar who has written so many books on Subash Chandra Bose and propagated many conspiracy theories regarding Netaji’s death. His latest book has shifted from this course customary to Mr Dhar and it discusses the mysterious death of Lal Bahadur Shastri – Your Prime Minister is Dead (2018).
Anuj Dhar was born and brought up in New Delhi. He has received his education from the University of Delhi. He worked as a journalist in the Hindustan Times, one of India’s leading (and also controversial on many occasions) newspapers. After his initial years invested as a journalist, he has devoted his life to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s death mystery and tried to settle many theories about his death. One such is the mystery of Gumnami Baba and his days in India. He is the person who has made the biggest newsbreak in 2015 regarding many classified papers about Netaji.
Anuj has written 5 books until now. All of them mention Netaji and the mystery of his death. These works have brought him immense fame as well as criticism, but not in that ratio. Fame overweighs criticism; appreciation outshines flak. Both, on occasions, are overdriven, though. Though the critics may claim that Anuj Dhar’s fame rests upon the dead shoulders of Netaji, they deliberately ignore the fact that Netaji’s mystery was open for anybody for many years but no one ventured into the field because of many reasons and politics succeeds to the top among all. So, those who criticise Anuj Dhar for ‘opportunism’ must shake their heads in bewilderment – what stopped us from taking this opportunity? At the same time, all those who do overly gaga about Anuj Dhar’s revelations should understand that the author’s claims are not final until proven so and, unfortunately, there is nothing or no one with the authority to do so!
There is no doubt that he has done tremendous research in this field to come out with such pieces of evidence and theories. An extensive part of Anuj Dhar’s literature is inked questing the policies of the government of that time which did nothing to probe the death mystery of Neta Ji. He has dedicated his life to discovering the hidden secrets and myths about Neta Ji’s death. He has made several claims that Subash Chandra Bose lived in Ayodha as a Gumnami baba after his supposed death. He claims that the Taiwan government has emailed him that they didn’t have any record regarding the plane crash between 14 august to 25 October 1945. Neta Ji died in this period and it leads to a multifold of mysteries.
Anuj’s success did not limit itself to the pages of the books only. His books (or book) have inspired a web series has made on his work named ‘Bose: Dead or Alive’ that gained enormous popularity and left the audiences in a dilemma. What actually happened with Subash Chandra Bose? Bose is claimed to have lived his touted death by Anuj Dhar (and many others) but the biographer of Netaji, L. A. Gordon, did not agree with much of Dhar’s claim and punched him with a charge that Anuj has been using the mysteries for political benefits (whose)? However, Gordon himself relies upon the commentary of others who suggested that his biography on Subhas Chandra Bose was ‘definitive’ (on whose behalf?.
Whatever be the case with critics or political affiliation, readers, in general, have always been loving the works by Anuj Dhar. Yes, it is true that the concurrent government of Narendra Modi has certainly helped Dhar’s book get fame by declassifying the files related to Netaji and arousing the curiosity of people in his life and death. However, are we so eager to connect these two things? Generally, we should not. That’s gross injustice against an author’s research and hard work.
- Back from dead: Inside the Subash Bose Mystery
- CIA’s Eye on South Asia
- India’s Biggest Cover Up
- No Secrets
- Your Prime Minister is Dead
So, we can judge from his bibliography that he has written only about the death mystery of Subash Bose.
Dhar has not yet received any major awards from any major organisation or board. However, he has received certain tokens of being the bestseller in certain categories and people’s choices.
Though is it tough, as of now, to claim whether Anuj Dhar’s ‘claims’ are positioned as true and established facts or otherwise, one can safely say that Anuj Dhar’s popularity as an author has reached a very respectable height. He has done great in the field of non-fiction writing in India and has an audience for his literature. With a regular digital presence, Anuj Dhar is also using Social Media to his benefit in making people aware of the facts that he wants them to know and then directing them to read his books. About his books, it can be said with conviction that Anuj Dhar has become a bestseller not only because of hyper around Netaji’s death mystery but also because of content, his quality of research and his style of narrating the stories he has to tell. Readers should read his books to know more. Especially, his books – India’s Biggest Coverup and Back from the Dead are amazingly written pieces on a suppressed topic of a dispute with well-articulated political conspiracies that could well be the truth at that time!
written by Amit Mishra for The Indian Authors