Kendrapara (Odisha): Inspired by Subhas Chandra Bose, a lawyer has been collecting rare photographs of the freedom fighter since three decades, and has turned his home in a dusty lane of this town into a private museum.
The leader's broadcast to the nation, Rash Behari Bose handing over the baton of the Indian National Congress presidentship to him, his visit to the infamous Cellular Jail in Andamans and sharing private moments with his family figure in the collection of 56-year-old Mohammad Mustaque at Badahaat area.
"It was quite a task to collect the photographs. I had to part with my hard-earned money. A glimpse at the frozen frames in black and white stirs patriotic fervour in me. I feel my labour was worth it.
"Since childhood, I was an ardent fan of Netaji. His magnetic personality drew me to know more and more about him. I began to collect everything on him that I could lay my hands on," Mustaque said.
Besides the photographs, the collection includes letters, manuscripts, magazines, journals and coins related to the great leader. A 1913 gazette notification of Bihar and Orissa on Bos passing the high school entrance examination in 1913, a handwritten letter of Captain Laxmi Saigal of the Indian National Army (INA), an original copy of 'Forward', a magazine published by the freedom fighter, are part of the collection.
"It was three decades of perseverance and hard work that is now paying dividends. I take pride that my personal collection on the great leader is drawing people from various parts of the country," the lawyer said.
Two rare coins, which the government minted to observe the centenary of Netaji in 1997, can also be found at Mustaques house. Though the centenary of Netaji was observed in 1997, inadvertently in some coins the centenary year was wrongly mentioned as 1996. Mustaque also possesses three of these coins in his museum.
"Right from the street corner book shops at College streets in Kolkata to various individuals in the state, my search for Netaji memorabilia still continues. "I am now planning to turn the private museum into a trust as organizations are showing interest to conserve the collected articles," he said.