Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s selfless and colossal contributions to a sovereign India will remain an eternal inspiration for generations of Indians.
Today, we celebrate our nation’s 73rd Republic Day. January 26 1950, has always reminded us of a special awakening, for the contributions that our national leaders made with the enactment of the Constitution of India. It also reminds us of the sacrifices for the cause of abolishing the monarchy from our country and declaring a Sovereign Democratic Republic, and assuring the citizens of India Justice, Equality and Liberty. But what remained a travesty for decades is the blatant ignorance of one of our nation’s greatest heroes and his ultimate sacrifices for an Independent Bharat. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s selfless and colossal contributions for a sovereign India will remain an eternal inspiration for generations of Indians.
Netaji- the man, the myth, the legend
The aura of Netaji transcended borders in his heydays. During the early days of WWII, the Japanese Intelligence services noted from speaking to captured Indian soldiers that Bose was held in extremely high regard as a nationalist and was considered by Indian soldiers as the only person who could lead an army fighting for India’s independence. Bose’s objection to Gandhi’s pacifism is well documented. This objection perhaps stemmed from the fact that Netaji, as long as there was blood flowing in his veins, could not tolerate Indians being perceived as being weak by anyone.
Ignominy to the idea of Netaji
With its all-inclusive agenda on paper, the Congress was the perfect umbrella organisation to lead the freedom struggle, but its flaws were many. The constant disagreements between radicals, moderates, various other interest groups within the INC in the lead up to independence is well known. The Muslim League and the Congress’s love-hate relationship ultimately concluded with partition. Gandhi and Ambedkar’s constant and intense disagreements over various issues regarding minorities is another example. In this context, the British authorities saw Indians as a disunited bunch who were indecisive at crucial moments. The irony is that this indecisiveness glows brightly in the INC even today.
The Congress party has stayed in power for almost six decades since independence. What is a disgrace to Netaji’s indomitable legacy is that it has been tampered with; to hide the flaws/blunders of the INC and its leaders in both pre and post-independence years. Incidents like the debacle of 1962 could have been averted if realistic rather than idealistic policies were guiding Nehru and his commanders.
Love and oblation for the nation
The INA was not just an army of rebels, but it was much more than we were led to believe. It was an idea, a movement; that, the love for the nation came above everything else. For the brave hearts of the INA, spilling their own blood for India was a small sacrifice, about which they didn’t have the slightest of second thoughts.
The fact that the Congress downplayed the heroics of the INA and its Bravehearts for six decades is an insult to Netaji’s vision of a strong, resolute India. These are ideas today’s youth ought to live by. The ignorance or failure to recognise the contributions of the INA and its colossal leader by past governments has been a constant source of frustration for those who idolise Netaji.
Recognising our true heroes
The central government’s decision to set up a high-level committee to commemorate Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary in Delhi, Kolkata and other places associated with Netaji and Indian National Army, both in India as well as overseas, is a much welcome step in the direction of giving the INA and Netaji their due recognition. The committee comprises of our own PM, Netaji’s family members, eminent people associated with INA and other well-respected people from various fields.
Ever since the BJP came into power in 2014, long ignored/suppressed contributions and sacrifices of our nation’s true heroes have been brought to light. A collective mission of the BJP, more such stories of Bharat’s brave sons and daughters will come to light.
I was brought up with heroic tales of the great man; deeply engrossed in the stories and legends surrounding his aura of greatness and of course his vision for a strong and independent India. My admiration went to the extent that I used to argue with my fellow peers in school about how Netaji was perhaps the greatest military commander independent India could have had but like his “disappearance”, this too shall remain a mystery forever. When the MTF (Manipur Thinkers Forum); a platform where young, innovative minds can come together to shape opinions for a better Manipur, a lifelong dream of mine, was ready to be launched, the only place I had in mind to start its journey was the INA hall in Moirang. On August 18, 2019, the MTF commenced its journey from the INA hall in Moirang. This was a simple but heartfelt tribute to Netaji and his ideas.
Netaji’s ideas will live on, continue to inspire us and will only grow stronger with time.
(The writer is State Spokesperson of BJP Manipur Pradesh and also Founder Secy of Manipur Thinkers Forum)