Sun, 29 May 2022

New Delhi [India], January 24 (ANI): A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a hologram statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor asserted that a man of 'profound secularism' like him must not be reduced to a mere symbol.

PM Modi, while unveiling the statue at India Gate on Sunday, had said the contribution of our heroes, whose memories were being erased post-Independence, is now being revived. However, Tharoor insists this is "simply not accurate".

"I grew up in an India where Netaji was honoured. There are 164 institutions around the country named after him, all before 2014. No attempt has been made to erase Netaji. Similar things were said about Sardar Patel... I think we've to understand there is a political exercise at work here to somehow show that it is this government that is restoring the glory of previous leaders. And, that is simply not accurate," he told ANI here.

He elaborated, "I'm glad that Netaji and Patel sahab are being honoured. We should be proud of all these people who fought for our independence and gave us the freedom we cherish today. But the important thing to remember is that Netaji should not be reduced to just a symbol or a hologram. He stood for certain admirable values and principles. He was a man of profound secularism, his Azad Hind Fauj had people of every faith - Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs - who served side by side with Netaji in positions of honour and trust. The officer with him when his plane crashed was a Muslim, his colleague was a Christian... This is the kind of ethos Netaji represents. In fact, he was one of the first leaders to value women's equality. This kind of leader should not be seen as just a hologram. It's not only valour and heroism he had; there are also certain solid principles which, sadly, the present government is abandoning."On Bose's 125th birth anniversary on Sunday, his nephew Ardhendu Bose claimed that late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru 'sidelined' the former's achievement. He also stated that it was not Mahatma Gandhi's peace movement but Bose's Azad Hind Fauj that brought independence to India. And this remark, Tharoor said, is rather surprising to him.

"We all admire the Azad Hind Fauj greatly, but we know they actually did not succeed in their attempt to move into India via Burma. In fact, what happened, as you probably know, is that they were defeated by the British Indian army. Therefore, they could not have won independence for India. But Mahatma Gandhi's decades of fighting for freedom in a non-violent, peaceful way changed the moral equation of British colonialism and made it difficult to sustain. There were also other factors. For example, if you look at the Indian naval mutiny, 1945 and the British also were exhausted at the end of World War II, and began to realise they'd need perhaps more troops, resources and more effort to hold India than before, because of the resistance. The naval mutiny, the earlier rebellion, all these factors would have come to the minds of the British and they must have said enough, we want out... So if you look back at that period, there are many, many factors. But, the largest and the most significant factors for the longest period of time that the world gives credit to was Gandhiji, the Congress and thefreedom struggle," he reasoned.

Another cause for concern, according to Tharoor, is the merging of the Amar Jawan Jyoti with the flame at Delhi's National War Memorial. "Amar Jawan Jyoti was lit for the first time after the Bangladesh War, where so many sacrifices were made by our soldiers, who redrew the map of the subcontinent. 50 years of honouring it, respecting it and praying before it on various occasions, even Kargil Vijay Diwas... And today, all that has been snuffed out as if it doesn't matter. You don't snuff out the flame of our Amar Jawan Jyoti because you've got another flame at the National War Memorial. The flame is meant to be amar, it's meant to be immortal. You don't destroy what is eternal merely because of the whims of the government of the day," he pointed out. (ANI)

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