Friday, May 27, 2022

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Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose : The unravelling of the history

India is celebrating 75 years of Indian Independence. Along with that, the entire nation is marking the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the first Prime Minister of Independent India.“At a time when the entire nation is marking the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, I am glad to share that his grand statue, made of granite, will be installed at India Gate. This would be a symbol of India’s indebtedness to him” – Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.
This is one of the most appropriate times for the nation to set the records straight, in true testimony to Indian history with true patriotic spirit and commitment.
The decision of installing a statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the India Gate is a fitting tribute to Netaji, one of the biggest freedom icons the country has ever witnessed in its years of freedom struggle against the notorious British.
As per the announcement of the Prime Minister a hologram of the great leader will be put at the spot until the statue is ready. Previously, the central government also announced that Netaji’s Birthday will be named ‘Parakram Divas’ and this year, Netaji’s Birthday on 23rd January will mark the beginning of Republic Day celebrations instead of the customary 26th January. Let’s look at the legacy of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Understanding the legacy of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is at par with breaking free of some of the colonial narratives. The major one is the way we got our freedom. Many points of it are under intense scrutiny and discussion, some of the already established points are as such:
21st October 1943 is one of the most special days in Indian history. On this day Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose formed the Provisional Government of Azad Hind, in Singapore. This government was recognized by 11 countries, and had diplomatic relations and embassies with nine countries including Germany, Japan, Italy, Croatia, Thailand, Burma, Manchukuo and the Second Philippine Republic. Ireland sent a note of congratulations to Bose.
Netaji himself assumed the responsibilities of the Head of the State, The Prime Minister and the Minister for War and Foreign Affairs. Dr. Lakshmi Swaminathan (Sahgal) was the commander of the Jhansi regiment. Subiar A. Iyer was the broadcasting minister and Lt Col Chatterjee was given the charge of the finance ministry. Apart from these, there were also full-time secretaries and advisors in this government.
Azad Hind Bank, currency, postage stamps were all made by this independent government. The tricolour flag was also hoisted in some states of eastern India and Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar state.
On 14 August 1944, the Bahadur Brigade of the Indian National Army (INA) under the leadership of Colonel Shaukat Ali Malik captured the Moirang area of Manipur by defeating the British. The currencies, stamps etc. of independent India were also used there, as long as the area remained under the control of INA.
Apart from this, INA fought many battles with the British army, some lost, some won, according to some estimates, 25 to 30 thousand INA soldiers sacrificed their lives in these battles.
According to historians, during the terrible famine in Bengal in 1943, the INA helped the people, and ran the clandestine food items supply lines for the people of Bengal.
The British forces arrested thousands of INA soldiers and also conducted the infamous trial at the Red Fort, in which top INA officers Shahnawaz Khan, Prem Sehgal and Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon were tried for treason. Because of this, protests against Britain also started across the country, and in Mumbai, the soldiers of the Indian Royal Navy openly revolted against Britain, also known as the 1946 naval mutiny: It is estimated that over 220 people died in police firing, while roughly 1,000 were injured. This revolt is deemed as the main reason behind the British decision to leave India.
Britain’s Prime Minister Atlee during his 1956 visit to India, then Governor of Bengal, Justice P.B. Chakraborty that Netaji Bose’s armed rebellion was more helpful in getting freedom than any other movement.
But the INA soldiers could get the status of freedom fighters in 1979-80 only, INA soldiers started getting pension from 1980, 33 years after independence.
The unravelling of the history has begun, and the proposed statue will keep reminding us of the same.

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