India celebrates Netaji"s 125 birth anniversary

  • | Sunday | 23rd January, 2022

New Delhi, Jan 23 (PTI) The nation on Sunday paid homage to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary, with leaders hailing his "monumental" contribution to India"s freedom struggle and Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiling a hologram statue at the India Gate here. The day was observed as "Parakram Diwas", announced by the government to mark the Azad Hind Fauj founder"s birthday, and a number of events were organised across the states and abroad where floral tributes were offered at the statues and portraits of the iconic freedom fighter. "India gratefully pays homage to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary. The daring steps that he took to fulfil his fierce commitment to the idea of a free India — Azad Hind — make him a national icon. His ideals and sacrifice will forever inspire every Indian," President Ram Nath Kovind said. After the unveiling of Bose"s hologram statue, which will be replaced by a granite one, the prime minister said that an attempt had been made to erase the contribution of many who made sacrifices for India"s freedom. "But today, decades after independence, the country is correcting those mistakes," he said. The government had also announced that the Republic Day celebrations will begin from Bose"s birth anniversary, a decision that intensified the debate over the BJP"s persistent charge that Bose was not given due credit by the Congress governments after independence for his contribution to India"s freedom struggle. "The people of the country will finally feel the satisfaction that the contribution of Netaji is being given the recognition it deserves under this government," Union Home Amit Shah said at the unveiling of the hologram statue. The opposition parties, however, have accused the BJP of trying to hijack Bose"s legacy and take political benefit from it. The day also saw renewed calls to lift the veil surrounding Bose"s demise. While it is believed that Bose died more than 70 years ago, questions regarding the circumstances of his demise -- the time and location of his passing away -- persist. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the BJP-led central government failed to live up to its promise of unearthing the mystery behind the disappearance of Netaji. "You cannot proclaim love for Netaji by setting up a statue, what have you done to unveil the mystery behind his disappearance? This government at the Centre had promised to unearth all mysteries after coming to power, but it failed," she stated. Several members of Bose"s family and those researching his life and work said the way to truly honour him is by following his ideology of inclusivity and secularism, and revealing the truth about his death. "My father dreamt of an India where all religions coexist peacefully. The statue shouldn"t be the only tribute to Netaji, we must also honour his values," Bose"s daughter Anita Bose-Pfaff said. Anuj Dhar, who has closely researched Bose"s life and the mystery of his death and co-authored Conundrum: Subhas Bose"s Life After Death, said that while the installation of the statue in the heart of the national capital was a magnificent tribute to the iconic leader, it was time to unravel the truth behind his death. "The cumulative findings of all that has been released so far on him is that he was the reason that India became free. We expect that in the time to come the issues surrounding his death will be addressed," he said. The prime minister also conferred the "Subhas Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar" for the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 in the investiture ceremony in the national capital. In Kolkata, former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe was conferred with the Netaji Award 2022 by the Netaji Research Bureau. The Consul General of Japan in Kolkata, Nakamura Yutaka, received the honour on behalf of Abe at a function organised by the bureau at the Elgin Road residence of the national icon. In Germany, Indian Ambassador Harish Parvathaneni and Bose"s daughter Anita Bose-Pfaff inaugurated a special exhibition on Netaji. In Odisha, several programmes were organised at Netaji birthplace museum, Janakinath Bhavan in Odia Bazaar in Cuttack, with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. Bose was born in Cuttack on January 23, 1897. People from different walks of life thronged the museum, garlanding his statue and raising the slogan of "Netaji Amar Rahe". Odisha Lalit Kala Academy organised a special exhibition, displaying various clay and wooden statues of Netaji. Eminent sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik created a seven-foot-high sculpture of India Gate and Netaji statue at Puri beach. Governors, chief ministers and other leaders also paid tributes to Bose at events organised by various states, describing him as an inspiration and a guiding light. In Chandigarh, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar unveiled a statue of Bose installed at a park named after Netaji. "Paying homage to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who is the symbol of patriotism for millions in India. His fame is omnipresent like the rays of sun across the nation and let"s march ahead with patriotism in the light shone by him," Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin tweeted. PTI TEAM RT RT

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