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February 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.    Wishing You All a Happy New Year.       February 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:January' 2018

NETAJI IN INDIA’S FREEDOM

Honouring INA veterans

Four veterans of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army Exactly a week after he was featured along with three other veterans, all of them in their late 90s, of the fabled Indian National Army at the spectacular parade at Rajpath, New Delhi, marking the 70th Republic Day celebrations Bhagmal, 97, breathed his last. The end came peacefully at his Kukrola Pachgoal village home in Gurgaon district of Haryana. It was as though the man had been waiting for one last satisfying moment of public acknowledgment of his role in India’s liberation from British colonial rule.
The three other old fellow-INA soldiers, all of them from Haryana, seated in open jeeps for all the world to see were Laltiram, 98, Hira Singh, 97, and Parmanand, 99.

It was a gesture thoughtfully arranged to convey to the masses that there were also people and movements other than the one led by the father of the nation and apostle of non-violence Mahatma Gandhi that led to the end of Birtish rule. What better stage than Rajpath on R-Day to stress the point.

The role played by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army, formed in 1943 in Singapore after a risky journey by submarine journey from Germany is a golden chapter in the history of the Indian freedom movement. His INA brigades may not have won the war on the Indo-Burma front during the World War II years. But when the Red Fort trial of the INA officers Shah Nawaz, Sehgal and Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon took place in 1945, the freedom movement got a fresh lease of life.

A new wave of energetic patriotism swept across the nation.as the celebrated lawyer Bhulabhai Desai led the defence of these former officers of the British Indian Army who had joined the INA, also known as the Azad Hind Fauj. The British now finally came to realize that their days were coming to an end.

Back to the 70th R-Day on January 26, 2019. The four nonagenarian INA soldiers on show at Rajpath made the latest edition of the celebrations all the more significant. A few months earlier one of them, Laltiram, had presented Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his INA cap when the Tricolour was raised by Modi at a special function at the Red Fort to mark the formation 75years ago of the Azad Hind Government at Singapore’s Cathay Theatre . Modi, seen at functions like R-Days and I-Days in colourful turbans, made it a point to keep wearing the cap throughout the function to show his respect and appreciation.

The Azad Hind government was formed on October 21, 1943 with Netaji Bose as its head. Its provisional capital was at Port Blaire Andaman Islands. If only efforts had been made to somehow get a former member or two of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment to be present at Rajpath it would have done justice to role the Ranis, as they were called, commanded by the late Capt. Lakshmi Sehgal, a medical doctor set up practice in Kanpur. She was offered a seat in the Rajya Sabha.