Iterating that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his contributions to the country’s freedom movement has long been "neglected", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said attempts were being made to change history by painting people who were against the independence struggle in "political colours". Even after 75 years of his "disappearance", people have no clue about what happened to Netaji, she said.
"I can see that there is this growing trend of manipulating history according to one's whims… Those who were part of the country's freedom struggle are being ignored. "These days, priority is being given to people who at that time protested the fight for independence. It is being done to make people forget the truth," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.
Allegations have been made on several occasions in the past that the history of the country was being "rewritten" in some states in favour of right-wingers. "Even after so many years, we have no clue what happened to Netaji. We do not know how he died. We know nothing about the final day of his life. He (Netaji) is still being neglected," she stated.
The TMC supremo asserted that in West Bengal, students are taught to identify the country's "true leaders" and the teachers play an important role in that. "I believe that history and literature taught in every school of Bengal help (students) identify the country's as well as the state's true leaders. Teachers play a vital role in that," she said.
She maintained that her government had declassified all the files it had related to Netaji, but the BJP-led Centre failed to fulfil its promise in this regard. "We have made public all files related to Netaji. The Centre had promised before coming to power that it would declassify documents on Netaji. But they have not done so, as a result of which the mystery hasnt been solved. We believe it will done this year… (it might be revealed)," she said.
Banerjee had in September 2015 declassified 64 files related to Bose. In the subsequent year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had put in the public domain 100 secret files on the freedom fighter. None of the document, however, threw sufficient light on Netaji's "mysterious disappearance".
Incidentally, Banerjee had on November 18 written to Modi seeking his "personal intervention" for declaring Bose's birthday on January 23 as a national holiday. She also urged the PM to personally see that the central government was taking appropriate measures to give a conclusive picture on the national leader's "disappearance".
The chief minister on Thursday also announced that a committee would be set up to plan year-long celebrations for the great fighter's 125th birth anniversary next January 23. With the CM as the chairperson, the panel has enlisted as members Nobel laureates Amartya Sen, Abhijt BInayak Banerjee, Netaji-kin Prof Sugata Bose and state finance minister Dr Amit Mitra along with other eminent personalities, including state ministers Firhad Hakim and Partha Chatterjee.
The state is also mulling the inclusion of a member of the Indian National Army (INA) into the panel. "Celebrations will start on January 23 and continue till next January. Efforts would be made to propagate the national freedom fighter's vision in every block of the state," she said.
Banerjee also claimed that celebrations for the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi had begun with enthusiasm, but the central government could not stick to its plans. She said schools and the colleges in West Bengal will mark the leader's birth anniversary and proper guidelines will be issued in the matter after the committee holds its first meeting in December.
She hoped that other states, too, would follow her government's decision and roll out year-long celebration plans for Netaji 125th birth anniversary.