Mamata Banerjee unveils extensive plans for Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary

From setting up a national university and a monument to forming a state planning commission and publishing books, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced her extensive plans to celebrate the 125th birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose right from January 23 till the end of 2021.

Banerjee announced that January 23 will be celebrated with a grand parade in Kolkata and the Independence Day parade in the city will be dedicated to Netaji.

The monument, to be named after Azah Hind Fauj, the army Bose led against the British, will come up at Rajarhat in the eastern outskirts of Kolkata and the university, to be funded entirely by the state, will have tie-ups with foreign universities, said the chief minister.

Coming months before the crucial assembly polls, Banerjee’s announcements on outreach programmes and her plans to translate Netaji’s writings into all Indian languages and languages spoken by Dalit and tribal communities appeared significant in view of the competition over nationalism that the state’s Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders often engaged in.

Addressing a virtual meeting attended by members of the celebration committee who include US-based Nobel Laureate economist Abhijit Binayak Banerjee, vice-chancellors of several universities and acclaimed writers, poets and educationists, Banerjee said, “A vast majority of Indians have forgotten the great message Netaji’s life had been to his people. The young generation needs to learn from his life.”

“Netaji was the first to set up a national planning commission. We don’t have a planning commission anymore. It has been replaced by Niti Ayog. Let us set up a state planning commission named after Netaji. It will have a vision for the nation and the world. Let us not bother about whether others follow it,” said Banerjee.

“I request people from all sections of the society and Indian who live abroad to blow a conch shell or do something similar at 12.15 pm, the time of Netaji’s birth, on January 23. I request Indian missions across the globe to do it as well,” said Banerjee

“The real evaluation of Netaji has not been done in India after Independence. This is unfortunate. Also, although we know on which day he was born, the nation does not know what happened to him at the end. I demand that his birthday be declared a national holiday and all records relating to his disappearance be made public,” said Banerjee

“We assumed that the Government of India would form a committee to celebrate Netaji’s 125th birthday. We have done it. I hope the Centre will do it too,” said Banerjee.

The chief minister announced that every school and college will have an Azad Hind Bahini which will be similar to the National Cadet Corps but will be run by the state government.

Award-winning Dalit writer Manoranjan Byapari, who is president of the newly-formed Dalit Academy, has been entrusted with the task of translating Netaji’s writings.

Banerjee also announced that January 23 will be celebrated as Desh Nayak Diwas. She demanded that the Centre should do the same.

Most of the senior state BJP leaders were attending rallies and did not react till Monday evening.

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