Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Bose I Knew

                                          Photo: Rajesh Singh.
By Manuwant Choudhary

He may not be as famous as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose or the other one in America Amar G. Bose, the maker of world class audio systems, yet to me Debashish is the only Bose I knew.

Living in non-descript Madhepura in Bihar he was a UNI correspondent.

Slowly but surely through his regular Hindi reports he brought this remote place and its people to the notice of those living in the state and national capital.

Those who knew him closely said he was  a `fighter'.

He fought over issues like floods that affected so many people, he fought the politicians, the bureaucrats and the goons...

He was also a lawyer so he fought the cases as well.

And then his last fight - lung cancer.

Even this he fought..travelling all the way to Mumbai's Tata Cancer Hospital alone with no support whatsoever.

He passed away a few days ago at Madhepura.

I met him last a month ago in Patna.

He would till the last always stay at the Youth Hostel.

Many years ago he had come to our NDTV office and requested us all to become members of the Indian Youth Association.

When I last met him he could not walk..he was feeble..his eyes had the sunken-look..yet when he saw us, it lit up perhaps for the last time.

With folded hands he got emotional, "Forgive me if I may have unwittingly said anything to hurt you."

But Dada as we called him would never hurt his friends.

At least from what I recall whenever he met me he would say it was his good fortune to meet a person like me.

But now that he is gone, actually it was my good fortune to have met Dada.

The first time I met him was when I visited Madhepura as a reporter with NDTV..he was always there to assist us with the stories.

He took us around town and even showed us the Netaji Subhash Chandra statue that he had installed at an important cross-section in town.

But I was aware that local journalists were politically linked.

And Debashish supported Sharad Yadav against Laloo.

Yet, when the election results were announced I was there in Madhepura, Sharad Yadav's victory procession passed us.

Debashish would have been beside Sharad Yadav on the Rath to enjoy the spotlight and derive whatever benefits thereafter.

But he did not budge.

He stayed with us in our car and spent the rest of the day with us doing story after story without lunch.

Thats when I realised that Dada was different.

On another visit he mentioned Barah shetra and how a dam was to come up but never did....without permissions from NDTV and beyond the call of duty we went up right upto Barah in Nepal, the origin of  the river Kosi.(River of Sorrow)

What we found we reported, a ghost bungalow whose chowkidaar had retired 20 years ago but no one had come to replace him and an abandoned flood warning station.

But governments don't heed warnings.

 Ten years after our story was telecast, the Bihar chief minister Nitsh Kumar announced on television, "This is Mahapralaya.(Catastrophy)...the Kosi has broken its embankments.."

I blogged about the Kosi water entering Madhepura and the home of Debashish Bose.

There were many other stories that I could never have done without his help.

Yet, he was more.

Even after I quit NDTV he kept in touch, travelling all the way from Madhepura whenever we invited him...

Even when he had cancer he took no help from politicians like Sharadji, Lalooji or Nitishji.

And neither from Pappu Yadavji,  his friend.

Any decent government officer posted in Madhepura became his friend.

It would not be wrong to say Dada had more friends in the Bihar government than even Nitish Kumar.

And as if to prove my point, the Madhepura District Magistrate came to pay his last his  daughter Mehul Bose lit the pyre.

Dada  could make friends out of strangers.

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