Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The shining light in the dark tunnel towards India's freedom
(A humble tribute to India's greatest freedom fighter on his birth anniversary)
- Part 2 -

M Asnikumar Singh *

Women on the fore-front : The INA was a great liberating and inspirational force for the section of Indian youths who had become disillusioned with over reliance on ideals and lesser focus on actual action. This section was growing rapidly in the early 1940s.

The idea of women being given space within the Indian armed forces can also be traced back to the INA's Rani Of Jhansi regiment, which even today remains a source of inspiration for young girls aspiring to join the armed forces someday.

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.

It is no surprise that Britain's Special Operations Executive (its clandestine WWII organisation) made several plans to assassinate him but somehow he evaded those attempts. "Bose's objection to Gandhi's pacifism is also 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 : The Congress with its all inclusive agenda; on paper 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 stayed in power for almost 6 decades since independence. What is a disgrace to Netaji's indomitable legacy is the fact that it has been tampered with; to hide the flaws/blunders of the the INC and its leaders in both pre and post independence years.

"Talking about commanders, highly respected young INA commanders like Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon and his colleagues were convicted in the infamous Red Fort Trials but were later released on orders of the then Commander In Chief, Claude Auchinlek after considering the rousing public support for their release. Dhillon was given his due recognition after more than 4 decades in 1998, with the Padma Bhushan when the BJP was in power under Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ji's leadership.

"The fact that the Congress downplayed the heroics of the INA and its bravehearts for 6 decades is a travesty and an insult to Netaji's vision of a strong, resolute India. 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 bravehearts 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 INA and its ideals will remain an eternal inspiration for many of us, as it should be. It epitomises Nationalism and one's unconditional love for the motherland.

Commemorating INA 's heroic exploits in Manipur : The State of Manipur despite the trials and tribulations it faced in the 20th century, unequivocally made contributions in Indian Nationalism, with its association with INA. And more importantly, the celebrations of Manipur's contribution in the freedom struggle will be a source of inspiration and guidance to the youths of a State which is blessed with abundant potential but rarely fulfilled.

Reinvigorating the ideas of Netaji : 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 was 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 to 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.

Course Correction : On 8th September 2022, the Government of India unveiled a marvellous granite statue of India's greatest freedom fighter `Netaji' Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate to mark his 125th birth anniversary. Since the BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014, constant efforts have been made to reevaluate Netaji's role and vision. As our Hon'ble Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh rightly said, "Some people call it rewriting history. I call it course correction".

It is something which had been long overdue. Similarly, ever since the BJP came to power in our State in 2017, there has been genuine concern and efforts by the Government to bring to light/celebrate the stories of Manipur's unsung heroes of the freedom struggle.

In this day and age, where some sections have the audacity to think and feel it is acceptable to criticise the commemoration of the true heroes of our motherland like Patel, Bose, it becomes necessary that the heroic tales of INA and Netaji ought to be a part of school curriculum for children of all age groups. It is paramount that the young students of this Nation recognise and understand the values and ideals of men who sacrificed their lives so that their children could live in a proud, resolute and self reliant India.

For the youths of today, it is crucial that they recognise the distinction between true heroes and the need to instil Netaji's patriotic values and ideas amongst the hearts and minds of young Indians become greater than ever as they are the ones who will mould the destiny of this nation in the 21st century.

It is never too late or 'out of touch' to look upto our heroes of the past for inspiration, especially when those heroes are men like Subhas Chandra Bose.


* M Asnikumar Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an Environmentalist.
Presently he is Chairman of the Loktak Development Authority, Govt of Manipur.
He is also spokesperson of the BJP Manipur Pradesh
This article was webcasted on 29 January 2023.

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