Union Home Minister Amit Shah Friday, while speaking at an event in Kolkata, said efforts were being made to ensure Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is forgotten but his legacy will continue to inspire future generations.
Shah was inaugurating the ‘Shauryanjali Programme’, which is being held to pay tribute to the Bengali revolutionaries, at the National Library in Kolkata.
Urging the youth of the nation to draw inspiration from the life and struggles of the freedom fighters, the Union Home Minister said, “Efforts are being made to ensure Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is forgotten but they have failed. His legacy of courage, patriotism, sacrifice and selfless service to the nation will continue to inspire generations to come.”
Asking the youth of the country to read more about the life of Bose, he added, “Netaji is still loved and respected by people like he was many, many years ago. His indomitable spirit still inspires people. Only a young generation that knows history can build a strong nation.”
He also said Bose was a brilliant student who had cracked the Indian Civil Services but left his job and plunged into the freedom struggle just to drive home the message that the nation was more important to him than a comfortable life under the British yoke.
Shah also inaugurated the ‘Biplabi Bangla’ exhibition on the life of freedom fighters from Bengal like Khudiram Bose and Rash Behari Bose, and flagged off a cycle rally. Divided into three teams named after Netaji, Khudiram Bose and Rash Behari Bose, the cyclists will collectively traverse 900 km to spread the message of the illustrious freedom fighters.
Shah’s comments come at a time when an intense political battle has been raging in West Bengal over the legacy of the state’s cultural icons. A ceremony to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the Victoria Memorial, during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present at the dais, had got embroiled in controversy recently when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to speak after slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ were raised by a section in the crowd.
“This is a government programme and not a political programme. There has to be dignity. It doesn’t behove anybody to invite people and insult. I won’t speak. Jai Bangla, Jai Hind,” Banerjee had said on the occasion.
The fight over the legacy of Bengal’s political and cultural icons is playing out against the “insider-outsider” theme, which has become one of the central planks of the Bengal Assembly polls. Banerjee has repeatedly accused the BJP of being a “party of outsiders” and said Bengal “cannot be ruled from Gujarat”.
[With inputs from PTI]
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