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Sunday, 1 April 2012


Netaji Bhawan as seen from outside
We reached Netaji  Bhawan situated on Elgin Road in Kolkata at 10.30 am only to realise that it opens only at 11am. When the care-taker came late by 15minutes, I couldn't help giving him a lecture on the virtues of punctuality at least in this monument dedicated to one of the greatest freedom-fighters of India which to my surprise he heard quite humbly.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (1897-1945)
Born on 23 January 1897 in Cuttack (Odisha) and presumed to have died on 18th August 1945 in an air crash, many of his fans refuse to believe even today that he would have died by now even if he had not met with an accident during World War II. If he were alive, he would have been 115 years old today which is impossible. But can faith be questioned?

Subhash Chandra Bose gave the Indians fighting for freedom, some of the catchiest slogans like, “Do or Die!” and “Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azadi doonga  (You give me blood, I will give you freedom)

A plaque on one of the walls in the building displayed  a statement of this great man. “The future generations of Indians who will be born, not as slaves but as free men because of your colossal sacrifice, will bless your names and proudly proclaim to the world that you their forebears, fought  and suffered reverses in the battle in Manipur, Assam and Burma, but  through temporary failure you paved the way to ultimate success and glory.”

At another place, it “My allegiance and my loyalty has ever been and will ever be to India and to India alone, no matter in which part of the world I may live at any given time.”

An innocuous looking house, now called “Netaji Bhawan” had once housed one of the greatest revolutionary freedom fighters of India, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The building has since been converted into a museum called Netaji Research Bureau which displays the life and history of Netaji alongwith his uniform and other belongings. His bed-room and bed-post have been kept as they were then.  Netaji lived in this house under house-arrest and surveillance of the British before he managed to escape from there. The way that he took while escaping has been marked on the balcony as his foot –prints. However, photography inside the museum is prohibited.

The German “Wanderer” car  BLA 7169, in which his nephew Shishir Kumar Bose drove Netaji clad as a Pathan and sporting a beard from this house in Kolkata to Gomoh on the night of 16th-17th January 1941, is still parked in this house and is the biggest public attraction.

The experience left us paying heart-felt tributes to all those who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom for our country.

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