Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Forgotten Hero...Subhas Chandra Bose !!!!!

Yesterday, I landed in Delhi & went across to Red Fort with a small National Flag in my hand, but felt so lonely, so desolate, so lost.
Yesterday was the birthday of one of the greatest sons of this Nation, Netaji Subhas Chandra Basu. It was on 23rd January 1897, that Subhas Chandra Bose was born in Cuttack to a rich & affluent family.

A brilliant student, Subhas topped almost all exams he sat for & ended up clearing the Indian Civil Services Exam ( equivalent of what is IAS today). Suprred by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, the revolutionary spirit in Subhas guided him throughout his life & he jumped into the freedom struggle of India with all that he had. Becoming the President of the Congress Party, even when pitted against Mahatma Gandhi’s candidate, showed how truly people were behind him & his ideologies. However, Subhas, who had the highest respect for the Mahatma, decided to step down & carve a separate path for himself. Though under house arrest in Kolkata, he managed to escape from under the nose of the British intelligence & managed to travel to Europe via Kabul. He got in touch with the Germans under Hitler & attempted to form an army out of the POW Indians. When, one fine morning, Subhas addressed the Indians through an independent radio channel, saying , “Ami Subhas bolchi”(I am Subhas speaking), thousands of patriotic Indians could not believe themselves. Their favorite Leader had appeared again, rekindling the hope of throwing out the Imperialist British. The British Empire apparently panicked, as they were well aware of his capabilities. Subhas had already humbled them by escaping their intelligence & now he was out in the open gathering support & ammunition to fight against them, a fight they knew would be very difficult to control or thwart.
Netaji, as he was popularly known, then embarked on another long & arduous journey, this time traveling all the way to Japan in a submarine. Here taking help of the Japanese High Command, Netaji founded the Azad Hind Fauj, also known as the Indian National Army (INA), & became Head of the Free India Provisional Government. The INA comprised of almost 50,000 POW around Singapore, who pledged their life to see a liberated India. The soldiers were a mix of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, South Indians,……there never was any soul who had any communal differences. Under Netaji they all dreamt of a sovereign India which would give equal merit to each individual. Netaji had a way with words, & it all came genuinely from his heart. He cared for his people & was always leading from the front. His famous words, "Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe aazadi doonga"(Give me blood & I shall give you freedom), ignited the souls of all the soldiers & they were ready to lay their life & take on any hardships on the way to freedom….all so very smilingly. Netaji had declared “Dilli Chalo” (lets go all the way to Delhi. His love & respect for Gandhi ji & Nehru is best illustrated from the fact that in INA, Netaji had created Gandhi regiment & Nehru regiment…….an honor that neither Gandhi ji nor Nehru could ever reciprocate. ‘Jai Hind’ was the slogan which reverberated the air, as the Azad Hind Fauz made their march for Delhi.
While Netaji & his INA did cross over to Indian soil through Kohima, forcing back the British armies, the forward march was stalled due to serious lack of food & medicines. The iron will of the soldiers took a heavy beating for want of reinforcements. Meanwhile, with America bombing Hiroshima & Nagasaki with Atom Bombs, Japan conceded defeat & ultimately withdrew support to INA. The story of retreat from Imphal, is one of the greatest tragedies of the world War II. A story of misery, hunger & death. Netaji’s dream of marching into Delhi with his INA remained unfulfilled.

However, Netaji’s contribution to the Indian freedom movement can never be overlooked. He probably created enough mayhem & fear in the British ranks, & they knew that their regime over India was nearing end. It was declared that Netaji died in an air crash over Taiwan, a fact that has been debated over many years, as there has been serious disputes to this claim.
But maybe, Nehru & Gandhiji did not find it appropriate to keep the legacy of Netaji after India achieved her independence ( a compromised independence in so many ways). In so many ways, he remains in our hearts as the Forgotten Hero…….

And yesterday, when I visited the Red Fort, (I flew down from Mumbai) to pay my humble tributes to one of the greatest Leaders of all times, our dear own Netaji, my eyes were filled with water. Not a soul seems to be aware of his Bday. All this after what he did for our country, so selflessly. I surfed through the TV channels, and watched again at the airport, for at least a mention of this brave soul,….but alas,…. not a word…… as an Indian, my head hung in shame. I blame the entire congress party at the centre for such blatant display of disrespect. I also lambast all the so called political bigwigs, who are only busy in combing political brownie points. We have interviews on Sanjay Dutt & Manyata Dutt entering politics, we have hours of news time consumed on our current PM being admitted in AIIMS for a heart surgery, we have Veerappan Moili advocating Azharuddin as a true Indian(someone who has been banned for life for bartering Indian cricket for money), we have hours of news time consumed in describing useless & mundane topics, but as a Nation we forget to even recognize the Birthday of our dear Netaji. Neither yesterday, nor the prominent news dailies of our country....not a word in respect for this great utterly shameless can we Indians be???????
When will we wake up???......when will we be able to drop the fa├žade of all this???? When ???? when??? When????

I just remember a song from Rabindra Nath Tagore, which was very inspirational to Netaji….."Jodi tor dak shune keu na aashe, tobe ekla cholo re……"(If no one listens to your call, start walking alone, on the path that you believe in)
And I take the que from our favorite Netaji, that we need to make a beginning, even if there is no one coming along.

Let the Centre declare 23rd January as a day of work, (no holidays please) irrespective of whether it is a weekday or a weekend. Let a billion plus Indian work on this day….sincerely & contribute to the growth of the country. For this one day let every single Indian be allowed to donate just this one day’s salary / wages to a Central fund that may be called, “Netaji Bharat Nirman Fund”. This fund would then be utilized for all kinds of developmental activities, which will make India, one of the globally strongest.
A Blue print of this plan is already in place & I would be happy to discuss this with able minded people.

Jai Hind!!!!


sharada said...

yes....we have all forgotten this man....but somehow yesterday we spoke about this man in the ashram(i m in the bangalore ashram)...his death is still a mystery....but i guess it ws a planned one by the congress people..who never wanted such people in the run......
yes...we talk all the rubbish in tvs n radios...who cares what sanjay n manyata are doing..or for that matter what any of these politicians are doing...anyways thy are doing nothing contstructive...yup tht bong song is nice which i guess u hv been humming for quite sometime.....