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Sat. Jan 28th, 2023
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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday lamented that the contributions of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose were sought to be ignored in the official narratives in the past and said that countries which ensured the sacrifices of their brave and the eminent were remembered have progressed well and have been successful in nation-building.
The PM was speaking at a function to mark Netaji’s birth anniversary after naming 21 largest unnamed islands of Andaman & Nicobar after the 21 recipients of Param Vir Chakra, the country’s highest military honour, through video conferencing. The PM unveiled a model of the National Memorial dedicated to Netaji to be built on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep – where the founder of the Indian National Army had unfurled the tricolour and which was known as Ross island before being renamed by the Modi government.

The grand commemoration of Netaji’s birth anniversary comes after the installation of his statue near India Gate and is in keeping with the effort of the Modi government to correct the imbalance in official historiography where contributions of Nehru, as it claims, were glorified at the cost of those of others. The government has also said that lack of attention or exclusion of sacrifices of many who were part of the armed resistance to the colonial rule was part of the official endeavour to keep the spotlight trained on one family.
The PM said all 21 Paramvirs had one resolve — ‘Nation First! India First!’ This resolution has now become immortal forever in the names of these islands. “A hill in Andaman is also being named after Captain Vikram Batra from the Kargil war,” he said.
“Today, in front of our democratic institutions, the grand statue of Netaji Bose at ‘Kartavya Path’ is reminding us of our duties. I think these works should have been done long ago in the interest of the country. Countries, which connected their heroes with the public in time and created shared and capable ideals, went far ahead in the race of development and nation-building. India is doing it in its golden age of Independence with all its heart,” Modi said. “The 21st century has witnessed that Netaji Subhas, whose contributions to the nation were forgotten for years, are being remembered every moment now.”
He also lamented that the identity of Andaman was associated with the symbols of slavery instead of the memories of the freedom struggle and said “even the names of our islands had the imprint of slavery”, in a reference to the Cellular Jail where many of the freedom fighters were pushed into the dungeon by the British.

Modi recalled his visit to the Andaman. “Today Ross Island has become Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island, Havelock and Neil Islands have become Swaraj and Shaheed Islands.” He noted that the names — Swaraj and Shaheed — were given by Netaji himself but no importance was given even after Independence. The PM said, “When the Azad Hind Fauj government completed 75 years, our government reinstated these names.”
He further said, “There were demands to make public secret files on Netaji, and we have done that. The entire country, right from Delhi and Bengal to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is paying tribute to Netaji now and preserving heritage associated with him.”
Speaking on the history of Andaman and Nicobar islands, the PM stressed that Veer Savarkar and many other heroes like him went through penance for the country on this very land.
The PM regretted the failure of the previous governments in recognising the country’s potential due to lack of self-confidence and distorted ideological politics. “Whether it is our Himalayan states, especially the northeast, or the regions like Andaman and Nicobar, development in such areas was neglected for decades as these were deemed remote, inaccessible and irrelevant,” he remarked.
Giving examples of developed island nations like Singapore, Maldives and Seychelles, he noted that the geographical area of these nations is less than that of Andaman and Nicobar, but they have reached new heights with the right use of resources.

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