Prime Minister Narendra Modi today will unveil the digital statue of freedom fighter and leader of erstwhile Indian National Army (INA) Subhas Chandra Bose at the India Gate canopy, which once housed the statue of King George V, the imperial icon of the country that Netaji fought all his life. Home minister Amit Shah and culture minister G Kishan Reddy will also be present on the occasion as India celebrates the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji.
While both PM and HM are slated to speak on the occasion, the installation of the granite statue of Netaji under the canopy is in recognition of the leader of INA as one of the foremost freedom fighters of India. INA was the army that faced maximum attrition (26,000 out of total 90,000 died) but never surrendered to the British. Its officers and men were captured and put on trial but never signed any surrender document before the British.
From this evening, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s statue will be put at the place where the statue of George V used to reside till 1968. The imperial ruler for whom the 1911 Delhi Durbar was held with practically all the ruling prince and noblemen in India present to pay his obeisance to the newly crowned Emperor of India. It is also befitting that Netaji will be taking salute of the Republic Day parade every year hence.
The installation of Netaji’s statue is not merely all about nationalistic pride, it is also a message to the world as India stands up to pay respects to a revolutionary leader who was with the losing side in World War II. According to officials, the decision to install Netaji’s statue was not taken in the spur of the moment by Prime Minister Modi but through intensive deliberations with the culture ministry and those manning historical archives. According to a former foreign secretary, Netaji’s statue is also an assertion of India which will henceforth not be judged by yardsticks of western/chopsticks culture, or specifications.