75 years ago

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Oct 2018 12:55:19

SEVENTY-FIVE years ago, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose stood taller than the world to launch India’s Government in exile, the Azad Hind Government. And as he took oath, and gave a pledged to the rank and file of the Azad Hind Sena (Indian National Army), he said, “Tum muzhe khoon do, mein tumhe azadi doonga” (You give me your blood, and I will give you freedom). The price he asked was straight in blood, for Independence, totally unlike what today’s political leaders do -- promise handouts without work, and seek votes. Straight blood -- for the Motherland’s freedom. 

As Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi stood to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Netaji’s Government, all the memories of the formation of the Azad Hind Government in exile came flooding up in the mind. Mr. Modi did well to announce a national award for policemen who do commendable work in relief and rescue missions in times of calamities etc. That announcement, too, went well in tune with the event.

Despite this, a grief often sticks its neck out whenever the thought of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s contribution to freedom struggle comes up in the mind. Most unfortunately, the nation’s younger generations do not know his story, the story of his heroism, his leadership, his fight with his own party’s political establishment led by many stalwarts including Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The Indian youngsters in great numbers do not know the details of Netaji’s life and work, his method and manner, his ability to motivate an army of crestfallen Prisoners of War (POWs) whom the Japanese had released to join the Azad Hind Sena. It was obvious that some leaders in power did not want that story to be told to younger generations in full detail.

May the bygone be bygone, but time has come now to start telling the story of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his fantastic capabilities that came very close to changing India’s contemporary history, but failed to achieve the impact as the Americans dropped the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, forcing the Japanese to surrender. If we tell this story in full detail, the impact would be positive and would help change the young mindset in the country.

That is why the Subhas story must be told repeatedly!
What a story it has been! Multiple virtues had congregated the personality of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Not only was he just any political leader, but also visionary of rare virtue, a missionary of rare value. To keep his Father’s mind, he passed the Indian Civil Services (ICS) Examination and resigned -- to serve the national cause of freedom. He led the Indian National Congress with aplomb, despite opposition from Mahatma Gandhi faction. He became a self-appointed Ambassador of India and travelled all over Europe to spread the message of India’s freedom. During his stay in Germany, he married a German woman. ...

But these are only some of the broad details of Netaji’s life. There are countless finer ones about which the Indian society does not know much. And that story -- unknown to us -- must be told so that our youngsters become aware of the spark he ignited in India’s freedom struggle. Now that India is celebrating the 75th anniversary of foundation of the Azad Hind Government, time is ripe and right to start weaving Netaji’s story into Indian psyche. That will serve a great purpose. That will make our youngsters aware of what kind of a hero Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had been. The story would inspire youngsters tremendously. For, that will be a story of a great patriot, a great warrior, a great leader, a strategist, an orator of rare merit, an administrator of great understanding of public mentality.
That is the reason Netaji’s story must be told now again.