Seventy long years have rolled by. And much water has flowed down the bridge. It took 70 long years to finally recognised the one of the most forgotten true sons of India, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the true liberator of India and first Prime Minister of undivided India of 1943.
Chandra Kumar Bose
On December 29, 1943, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, first Prime Minister of undivided India, accompanied by Sarvashri Anand Mohan Sahay, Captain Rawat-ADC and Col. DS Raju, the personal physician of Netaji landed at the Port Blair aerodrome in the Andamans. The enthusiastic Indian residents accorded them a warm reception. Netaji appointed Indian National Army - General AD Loganathan as the Governor of the Islands.
It was a historic occasion when Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, flew arrived in Port Blair on December 29, 2018, exactly seventy five years after his predecessor – Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Shri Narendra Modi is the first Prime Minister, in independent India, to visit Port Blair to hoist the tri-colour from the same location where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had unfurled the flag.
The hoisting of the national flag by Netaji ushered in Azad Hind Government as a full-fledged one with its own land, currency, civil code and stamps. It was no more a Government in Exile. By hoisting the National flag, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as the Head of the Azad Hind Government also fulfilled his promise that the INA would stand on Indian soil by the end of 1943. People of our great nation appreciate the gesture of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi to honour Netaji and the soldiers of the Azad Hind Fauj, who fought the final battle for India’s freedom.
Netaji visited the Cellular Jail, where revolutionaries and freedom fighters were interned. Extreme torture was carried out on the heroes of our freedom struggle, due to which many perished. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was also kept here under inhuman conditions. Shri Narendra Modi visited the Cellular Jail seventy five years after Netaji had. It appears that our Prime Minister is following the path of our national icons and makers of modern India such as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
On December 30, 2018, India celebrated the 75th year of the flag hoisting by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It was very heartening to note that the Hon’ble Prime Minister- Shri Narendra Modi, wearing the Azad Hind Fauj cap not only hoisted the National flag at Gymkhana grounds, Port Blair, at the exact location as Netaji, but also addressed a historic gathering the same evening. While Shri Narendra Modi was speaking about the contribution of Netaji and the Azad Hind Fauj, the people gathered at the meeting chanted, “Netaji Zindabad!” along with the Prime Minister. It was electrifying and it seemed that the spirit of Netaji walked the streets of Port Blair and his gigantic personality along with Shri Narendra Modi’s speech sent the audience into a frenzy.
Special Commemorative postal stamps and Rs 75 coin released by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also inaugurated many development projects and laid the foundation stone of several others related to energy, connectivity, education, tourism, and health sectors. He also announced setting up of a Deemed University named after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
What Congress had failed to do for Netaji, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done for Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the true liberator of Modern India after 75 years. Netaji had named –Andaman and Nicobar Islands as –Shaheed and Swaraj Islands. In memory of the warriors of the Azad Hind Fauj, PM Modi gave a befitting tribute to the Azad Hind Government by renaming –Ross Island as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep and Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep. The announcement was made by Shri Narendra Modi ji at the Netaji Stadium, on December 30, 2018, amid thunderous applause.
Finally, I must emphasise that it took seventy-five long years for the Government to recognise the importance of the Azad Hind Fauj - the Liberation Army of India, the Azad Hind Government - the first Government of undivided free India and the charismatic leader of the Azad Hind Government who was known not only as the Liberator of India, but also the Hero of Asia.
(The writer is Vice President, BJP, West Bengal, and a social activist)