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“Beloved National Hero”: India Remembers Netaji On 125th Birth Anniversary

To honour and remember Netaji’s indomitable spirit and selfless service to the nation. The government of India  decided to dedicate his birthday (January 23) every year as ‘Parakram Diwas’, to inspire people of this country, especially the youth, to act with fortitude in the face of adversity as Netaji did, and to infuse in them a spirit of patriotic fervour.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ’s life is a story of struggle. It is the story of a young dreamer that tells the saga of consciousness, struggle and success in every eye; one who has the power to rip the ground with his arms; one who talks about making a hole in the sky; one who is anxious to achieve his goals; one who does not accept anything for free; and if he wants freedom, he is ready to spill his blood. Thousands of people sacrificed their lives on Netaji’s call. He created an army against the British in no time.

Netaji was born in Cuttack in Odisha in 1897, graduated from Kolkata, and proved his mettle by becoming an Indian Civil Services (ICS) officer. But he was not accustomed to a life of comfort and amenities that came with his job. He was a warrior, who had to wage the freedom struggle. Not only did he embrace the freedom movement wholeheartedly, but also became an inspiration for freedom. With the slogan “Give me blood and I will give you freedom”, he started preparing to awaken the country. Such was the charisma of his philosophy and personality that whoever listened to him was attracted to him. His popularity skyrocketed and he became “Netaji” to the general public.

He was so fond of Bharat Mata that his country tied to the chains of slavery did not let him live peacefully. People beyond India’s borders also developed a fascination for him. Heads of states of important countries stood by him and Netaji lit the fire of the freedom struggle beyond India’s shores. He built a force and presented that force before the enemies of the country as the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army). He gave the slogan of “Dilli Chalo” with a new spirit. Thousands of soldiers of his 60,000-strong army sacrificed their lives for the country.

“Success always stands on the pillar of failure.” Bose lived with this philosophy and also inspired others. Netaji encountered failures several times, but he converted those failures to triumph with his struggle. Whether it is municipal politics, the journey from a common Congressman to the Congress president’s position, the formation of the Forward Bloc or the struggle of the Indian National Army, he passed every test with distinction.

Bose accepted the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, but ironically, Gandhiji himself became the cause of him leaving the Congress. But the two leaders always had respect for each other.

At the time of India’s independence, Clement Attlee was the British Prime Minister. He came to Kolkata in 1956. At that time, his host, governor and former Calcutta high court chief justice PB Chakravartti, tried to find out from him the reason behind the British decision to grant freedom to India. In response, Attlee said that the loyalty of the Indian army and navy to the British state was declining due to the increasing military activities of Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj. This was one of the major reasons. This acknowledgement proves the great contribution of Bose to India’s independence. It finds a mention in a letter written to the publisher by Justice Chakravartti in the book “A History of Bengal” by RC Majumdar.

Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh had a major contribution in the life of Netaji. The banks of the Narmada transformed his life. The Tripuri Congress session was held from March 4-11, 1939 in Jabalpur. Despite poor health, Netaji had arrived on a stretcher to participate in it. Thereafter, he came again to Jabalpur on July 4, 1939 to form the Forward Bloc. The people of Madhya Pradesh have a deep relationship with Netaji. In every town of the state, there’s a ward in his name. Subhas Chandra Bose’s message to his colleagues was: “Success may be distant, but it is imperative”. Bose used to say, “If a person is not obsessed, he can never become great. But he should also have something else inside him.” Bose is credited with giving global identity to the Indian leadership. Earlier, Swami Vivekananda had enlightened the world about India’s spiritual and cultural superiority and identity.

Netaji was also fluent in many Indian languages. Bose’s struggle for freedom proved to be an inspiration not just for India, but also for all Third World countries. The Indian freedom struggle and the war of independence led by Bose had a profound impact on those countries. Netaji’s status establishes him as the “hero of freedom” globally.

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