TODAY -

Netaji & Dattatreya Hosabale

Free Thinker *



As a part of his organizational meetings and duties, Dattatreya Hosabale is here in Manipur for four days (20 to 24 January) and he is also to deliver a lecture on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, INA, and India's freedom struggle. Dattatreya ji is the present Sarkaryavaha of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh . In common parlance, he is the general secretary of RSS and second in command in the organization.

It is a great coincidence forus also to have such a renowned sevak in our midst during the Parakram Diwas. It would be interesting to know something more about Dattatreya ji; he was in jail for about 15 months during the emergency (booked under MISA). His association with the Sangathan goes back to the late '60s and he was also associated with ABVP; he is a post-graduate in English literature from Mysore University, a voracious read., and also a great listener.

He believes in multiplicities of views and opinions and is also a great promoter of simple living and selfless service to society. Since we are remembering Netaji, I am tempted to reproduce a portion of my own column: "Was Netaji in Moreh? A few days back I stumbled upon an article "Netaji's last visit to India" written by Meghachandra Kongbam which appeared in the 'Sun' Magazine, in May 1989.

It is an interesting write-up, particularly for those who always look for amazing things to learn from the past. In his article, he talks about a gentleman called Seva Singh Undi, who supposedly spent a night with Subhas Chandra Bose at Moreh, a village (now a town) in the Indo-Myanmar border of Manipur, in April 1944.

As per his report Shri Sheel Bhadra Yajee, the then Chairman of the Freedom Fighters Association, came to Manipur and met the INA freedom fighters of Manipur. He even visited Moreh to ascertain the facts. General Dhillon was also aware of this claim. INA associates could not exactly identify the place or the incident but they certainly believed that Netaji was around the Indo-Burma area in the early part of 1944. INA with the Japanese army played havoc in the east.

The great British Empire was shaken. The spirit of INA and Netaji could infiltrate the great British-Indian army; Britishers left India as they realized that the British officers could no longer command the Indian-dominated British-India army. They could smell the trouble and they left. The common people were behind Gandhiji.

And the British-Indian army was gradually and steadily shifting loyalty due to the spirit of INA and Netaji. That spirit is now widely recognized by the people and the leadership. Netaji's spirit must be revered and recognized by all the generations to come. He was a born fighter with an indomitable spirit.

The invisible contribution of Netaji is now more visible rather deciphered by the new generation of writers and historians. The mutinies and Royal Navy revolt were just the beginning of a possible bigger explosion. The then British government could feel the tremor inside. The Labour Govt. was wise enough to leave the subcontinent fragmented and bloodied.

Nobody denies the importance of Moirang; the Tricolor flag was hoisted by Colonel Soukat Ali Mullick there. It is a part of indelible history. The entire country still salutes the INA-liberated zones of Andaman and parts of NE-India including Moirang. The fact that Netaji was around the Inds Burma border in the early put of 1944 is never questioned. INA historians never deny it too.

Perhaps Netaji was on a secret mission around the Indo-Burma border to see multiple entry points into India. The presence of INA and Japanese troops in Manipur and Nagaland (April-May 1944) was perhaps the result of such a secret strategy. The move could not be so successful because of the difficult terrain and the lackluster response of the local people.

INA documents were silent about Netaji's movements in those days just for the sake of his safety and security. Most of his movements were sudden, unplanned, and secret. His presence in Mandalay, Burma in the middle of 1943 is documented and endorsed by the INA. They believe that Netaji was planning to enter India through Andaman and Northeast towards Bengal.

Even though it is difficult to ascertain that Netaji actually landed at Moreh and spent a night there, it is amply sure that he was around the border areas. The then CM of Manipur M. Koireng, who was closely associated with INA also believed that he was somewhere near.

It is delighted to know that Dattatreya ji will be giving a lecture on Netaji in GP Women's college on the 22 Jan, on the eve of Netaji's birthday and it is also equally rejoicing to learn the fact that the next day he is to pay a floral tribute to Netaji at INA, Memorial, Moirang where the first Independent Government of India was set up on the mainland.

When everyone is under the freezing cold Sangathan wakes up! Hosabale's pilgrimage to INA Moirang on Parakram Diwas shall be remembered for a long time.

Wishing you all the best Sarkaryavaha ji.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on January 26 2023 .



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