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Remembering Netaji: Not only for his mysterious death, but also for his marvelous deeds

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Siddhant Dhagamwar
Siddhant Dhagamwar
Observer. Learner. Freethinker.

India’s struggle for Independence is a saga in itself filled with numerous incidents and stories of sheer determination, bravery and selfless sacrifices. Among the true heroes of our past is one such individual who goes by the name Subhas Chandra Bose, fondly referred to as ‘Netaji’. Every year on 23rd of January, India remembers this great personality for his contribution in helping India gain independence from the British. Speeches are delivered, praises are sung, banners are put up and articles are printed ‘remembering Netaji’. Although these efforts are praiseworthy, its time we ask ourselves this very significant question- Is this enough? For all that he did for the country, does he not deserve a much more relentless and much justified appreciation?

The history textbooks all over the country generally suffer from an inherent bias in favor of some national leaders, often at the cost of overshadowing other luminaries like Netaji. Even after 75 years of independence, our educational curriculum has failed to underline the importance of Subhas Chandra Bose’s and Azad Hind Fauj’s contribution in earning us our independence. While leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru never fail to capture our imagination as the mighty stalwarts of the freedom struggle, likes of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose often take the backseat as ‘Lesser Greats’. In all fairness, the date 23rd January never seems as familiar as 2nd October or 14th November.

It would, however, be grossly incorrect to blame the curriculum alone for this biased perception towards our dear freedom fighters. We live in the ‘Age of Information’ and no information is more than a click away. Yet we choose to remain highly misinformed yet content in whatsoever half baked truth we have been believing in, over the past seven decades.

The great acts of determination and utmost patriotism once exhibited by our dear Netaji are today nearly concealed behind the never ending discussions and conspiracy theories relating to his mysterious death in the infamous plane crash. While we may all agree that the declassification of the official documents relating to disappearance and death of Netaji is long overdue, it’s high time we shift our focus on the other equally mesmerizing aspects of his life as well. For instance, Azad Hind Government, founded by Netaji is India’s first ever independent provisional government and the only government in the world which never surrendered to the Allied Powers during the Second World War.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is a part of our heritage. While we have every right to demand justice and a free flow of information relating to him to the government, we must not entirely depend on the system. With the help of civil society and various pressure groups, Ministry of Education must be persuaded to include the contribution of Netaji in our freedom struggle in a much more comprehensive manner.

We citizens must take a step forward to make Netaji an integral part of our civilizational consciousness. Fact checking, debunking the myths, educating the masses to look beyond the conventional sources of history, organizing public forum discussions are perhaps some of the ways to achieve this. We must ensure that his legacy lives on in our minds and hearts forever. The succeeding generations must be in awe of Netaji’s achievements and this would not be possible if we ourselves remain unaware of his accomplishments. Let’s remember him not only for his mysterious death, but also for his marvelous deeds.

  • By Siddhant S. Dhagamwar

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Siddhant Dhagamwar
Siddhant Dhagamwar
Observer. Learner. Freethinker.
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