On the first day of year 2019, I came across two articles, one in Daily Mail-UK by George Martin and the other in Telegraph-UK by Rahul Bedi. Am glad that unlike a few news publishing houses of India , both these internationally reputed news publishing houses carried the news of islands of Andaman Nicobar being renamed by PM Narendra Modi on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee (75 years) of the first hoisting of the Tricolour. It was on 30 Dec 1943 that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose along with the Azad Hind Fauj and with the support of the Japanese had taken over the islands from the British and had hoisted the Tricolour for the first time on Indian soil at Port Blair.
As on 30 Dec ‘2018 Ross Island has been renamed as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose island. The British back then had named the island on a Marine Surveyor- Ross. Neil island has been renamed as Shaheed (Martyr) island. Neil was an officer of the East India Company which was the front the British had used to come into India and then rule India for about 200 years. Havelock island has been renamed as Swaraj island. Havelock was a British army general who had crushed the famous 1857 mutiny lead by Shaheed Mangal Pandey.
I thank George Martin of Daily Mail-UK for accepting in his piece that it was Netaji who was responsible in bringing down the British rule in India. I understand that British media has begun using artificial intelligence for their news broadcast. I can understand George Martin not understanding the meaning of calling Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose a ‘Hindu Nationalist’ and ‘Indian Separatist’, it was Netaji who had disrupted the merry making and loot of his fore fathers / fore mothers in India and his use of these words can be discounted. However, use of these words for Netaji by Rahul Bedi ( an Indian, based out of New Delhi) is strongly deplored.
Should someone have really known a bit about Netaji, one would agree with me that in the Pre-independence era of India if there was a true secular leader, it was Netaji. Yes, he was a proud Hindu but as far as the nation goes he strongly disallowed religion to come in between. In the Azad Hind Fauj there were Hindus, Muslims, Sikh, members of other religions and each used to greet one another with Ram Ram, Satsriakal etc. but it was Netaji who had said that only ‘Jai Hind’ is to be used as a greeting, as no religious colour should mask India. Calling him a ‘Hindu Nationalist’ is an insult to him. He was not an Indian Separatist rather he was an Indian conceptualist. Should India had followed the concept Netaji had envisaged, arguably today we would have been living in a much better India.
The renaming of these islands by PM Modi is a befitting tribute to Netaji. Yes, I agree mere renaming isn’t enough but never the less it is a beginning of a New India. The truth about Netaji Files needs to come out and the traitors of the First PM of united India need to be called out. Should someone from India had not betrayed in 1944, possibly the Azad Hind Fauj would have marched to Delhi from Moirang, just as Netaji had planned and possibly India would have been freed from the British rule in 1945 instead of the so called freedom in 1947. More so I firmly believe that the ideology Netaji stood for needs to be followed by the youth of India, for it to resurge to its past glory.
As far as the journalist working for Telegraph of UK – Rahul Bedi, it shall be great if he learns more about Netaji, realises his mistake and renders an apology.
( Author Shri. Suparno Satpathy is the Chairman of SNSMT and a lead member of Netaji Movement. He can be found on facebook/ twitter @SuparnoSatpathy )