Col Nizamuddin, the oldest compatriot of Netaji passes away in Azamgarh

Hardnews Bureau

Azamgarh: Colonel Nizamuddin, who had served the ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ or Indian National Army and was driver-guard of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, died here today in Dhakwa, his native village, after a prolonged illness. He was above 107. He is survived by his wife Ajbul Nisha and three sons and two daughters. He youngest son Sheikh Akram was at his side when the end came.

His two other sons, Akhtar Ali and Anwar Ali, are employed in Saudi Arabia and Mumbai, respectively. His two daughters are married. His body would be buried this afternoon after the namaz at his village, family members said.

Nizamuddin had, on several occasions, rejected the theory that the Netaji had died in an air crash in 1945. On the contrary, he claimed, "How one can say that Netaji was killed in the air crash when I was with him even after that incident," He had even claimed that Netaji was alive at the time of country's Independence.

Nizamuddin ran away from Azamgarh in 1942 and joined the British Army in Singapore. For some reason, he left and later joined Azad Hind Fauj. He was a driver and also the bodyguard of Netaji. His expertise in handling heavy guns and driving brought him closer to Bose.

He changed his name to Nizamuddin from his original Saifuddin as he was working as secret service agent in INA.

In 1944, Nizamuddin suffered a bullet injury on his back while guarding Netaji in the jungles of Burma. It was Netaji who gave him the name Colonel Nizamuddin. Nizamuddin and his family returned to Azamgarh in 1969.

During an election rally in Varanasi in 2014, Narendra Modi, who was then the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, had met Nizamuddin and taken his blessings.

UNI