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Committee Headed by PM Modi to Commemorate Bose’s 125th Birth Anniversary

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This committee will decide on year-long activities to remember Netaji and his contributions towards India's freedom struggle.

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Payal Mehta

Ministry of Culture has issued notification for a high-level committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in a befitting manner.

This committee will decide on year-long activities to remember Netaji and his contributions towards India's freedom struggle.

Activities will be planned in Delhi, Kolkata and other places associated with Netaji and Azad Hind Fauj, both in India as well as overseas starting January 23, which marks Netaji's birth anniversary this year.

The list is a comprehensive one with PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and a host of other central ministers. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also features in the committee even as the Bengal government has drawn up its own committee and a list of things to do for the celebrations.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, former Prime Ministers HD Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh, NCP veteran Sharad Pawar, Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, former Lok Sabha Speakers Shivraj Patil and Meira Kumar are some of the other names on the list.

From the Netaji’s family, his grandnephew Chandra Bose and daughter Anita, who is a German citizen, will also be part of it.

Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, former CoAS Shankar Choudhary and head of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Foundation Major (R) GD Bakshi, actress Kajol, music director AR Rahman and BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly are also included the committee.

Banerjee plans to hold a big parade on the day. The Centre, meanwhile, will conduct a light and sound show and, if sources are to be believed, PM Modi is likely to attend the programme at the iconic Victoria Memorial and deliver an address.

The Centre will hold three mega programmes, including one at Netaji’s birthplace Cuttack, as well as in Morang in Manipur where the INA's first office existed.

Banerjee has already announced setting up of a national university funded entirely by the state government, which will have tie-ups with foreign universities in the late freedom fighters’ name and also build a monument in Rajarhat.

She has also announced that a number of Bose’s writings would be translated in various languages and the state’s planning commission would be named after Bengal’s one of the tallest freedom fighters.

Meanwhile, the BJP-rule Union government will set up a museum in Netaji's memory in Bengal. A digital museum is and a further enhancement of the museum set up at Red Fort in Delhi are also in the offing.

While the Bengal government has announced January 23 as 'Desh Nayak Divas', Banerjee has yet again urged the Centre to declare the day as a national holiday.

This is not the first time that the Centre has taken on the Bengal government over Bose’s legacy. On October 14, 2015, Modi met Bose's family at his residence in Delhi and announced that his government would declassify Netaji's files. Right from PMO to HMO to MEA, the first lot of 100 files related to Netaji were put out digitally in the public domain on January 23 in 2016.

The National Archives of India subsequently released digital copies of 75 declassified files relating to Netaji in the public domain in two batches on March 29 and April 27 in 2016. The fourth batch of 25 files consists of 5 files of the PMO, 4 files of MHA and 16 files of MEA pertaining to the years 1968-2008 were made public on May 27, 2016.

Banerjee, too, declassified 64 secret files relating to Netaji on September 18 in 2015 at the Kolkata Police museum, asking the Centre to also do the same.

In 2018, on October 21, during the celebrations of 75th anniversary of the proclamation of the Azad Hind government by Bose, PM Modi hit out hard at opposition parties obsessed with one family or the other. His speech about ignoring the contributions made by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Netaji by the previous governments was met with heavy criticism from the Congress, Left and TMC.

On January 23, 2019, Modi inaugurated the Subhas Chandra Bose museum at the Red Fort in Delhi.


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