The Modi government has decided to construct a memorial dedicated to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in the heart of New Delhi. Once completed, it will be the first such structure dedicated to the valiant freedom fighter whose death remains one of India’s biggest mysteries to this day.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, said on Friday that it is a long pending demand of the people to have a memorial constructed in the name of the INA founder.
Sharma was speaking on the occasion of the release of the third batch of 25 declassified files relating to Bose.
Seventy-one years have passed since Bose’s now controversial Taihoku air crash that is believed to have killed India’s greatest son, yet there is no memorial to his name anywhere in India.
Well, there is one but it is not worthy to be called a memorial. It is located at Tikri Kalan in outer Delhi, so far from the main centre that hardly is anyone aware of its existence.
The memorial at Tikri Kalan, officially known as Azad Hind Gram, was inaugurated in 2000 by then Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit.
The only building where visitors actually get to see and learn something about Netaji is the Netaji Bhawan (or Netaji Museum) in Kolkata. The museum was once his own home, built in 1909 by his father Jankinath Bose. It is run by Netaji Research Bureau, whose executive director is Sugata Bose, a Trinamool Congress MP who believes in the plane crash theory.
If the government does what it has announced then one can expect the Netaji memorial to come up on a portion of the 24-acre plot of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) on Mansingh Road.
In 2015, the urban development ministry had sought the culture ministry’s opinion to build a memorial there. One can only hope that at least this government will do as it has promised. It will indeed be some consolation for the great soul whose photographs were removed from all military barracks on the orders of the first Nehru government.