Ajit Doval Assures Bringing Surviving INA Veterans to RD Parade: GD Bakshi
It has been 72 years now since we attained freedom from British rule. How did we gain freedom? At the cost of the martyrdom and sacrifices of lakhs of our freedom fighters! And the final big struggle was led by Netaji Bose and the INA (Azad Hind Fauz). Revolt by Indian soldiers in Army and Navy as a result of INA Trials led the British ultimately leave India. British officials who signed and transferred power have revealed the truth not to mention documentary British archival proofs that credit Netaji Bose and the INA for India’s freedom.
Have we done justice to the INA veterans after Independence? Absolutely not! Those INA veterans who undertook all the troubles to free us from the shackles of the British? They had not expected that after India would be free they would be deprived of recognition, of even the basic benefits, of being inducted to the Indian Army of Independent India, of pension, and to top these all – disappearance from public memory of their sacrifices!
As per the INA’s official history, the INA force had a total strength of 60,000. Of these, 26,000 were killed in action. They fought for the freedom of the country and sacrificed their lives in battle. What happened to the surviving INA veterans after Independence? On this Maj Gen GD Bakshi said, “…The Nehruvian dispensation treated these men as traitors. The INA veterans were not taken back into the Army (on Mountbatten’s advice) and denied their war time pensions. There is no memorial for the 26,000 martyrs. Any nation that seeks to gloss over the martyrdom of 26,000 of its soldiers erodes the very basis of its nationhood.”
Many INA veterans died in utter poverty. They were not even recognised as freedom fighters! INA veteran Laxmi Indira Panda, worked as Housemaid, cleaning utensils for a living in Odisha. She had joined INA in Burma. She was denied pension for freedom fighter by the Central Government. Why? Because Nehru govt had declared INA soldiers as traitors after Independence! In 2008, she died in utter poverty. This was the fate of many INA veterans, after Independence. Though in later years very counted few INA Veterans were given pensions, that was too late. No media or the intelligentsia highlighted about their sacrifices and role. And our history textbooks do not glorify them at all.
Maj Gen GD Bakshi along with few patriots and organizations have been working towards reviving the spirit of Netaji Bose and spreading awareness about Bose and the INA role in India’s Independence. It was due to their collective and constant efforts that the Prime Minister of India unfurled the National flag at Red Fort in presence of INA veteran Shri Lalti Ram in honor of Netaji Bose on Oct. 21, 2018. It was the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Azad Hind Govt. Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose was also present in the flag hoisting ceremony.
The 75th anniversary celebrations of the Azad Hind Govt. took place at three locations: 1) Red Fort, 2) Rally on Rajpath from Vijay Chowk to Vigyan Bhawan Grounds near India Gate and 3) Function and Celebrations at Vigyan Bhawan grounds near India Gate. The event was organized and spearheaded by Major Gen GD Bakshi with support of Veterans India, Warrappa Foundation and other associations including Netaji fans. The event kick-started days ahead in several cities and the final ‘Chalo Dilli’ march for Netaji took place on 21 Oct in New Delhi. Statue of Netaji and INA veterans Shri Lalti Ram, Shri Hira Singh, and Shri Bhagmal were brought on Polaris all Terrain Vehicles through Raj Path to Vigyan Bhawan grounds near India Gate.
And then on 30th December 2018 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the hoisting of the Tricolour by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at Andamans, PM Modi announced the renaming of three islands of Andaman and Nicobar. Ross Island was renamed as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep, Havelock Island as Swaraj Dweep, and Neil Island as Shaheed Dweep. It was on December 30, 1943 that Netaji Bose first suggested that Andaman and Nicobar Islands be renamed as Shahid and Swaraj Dweep respectively.
Till date surviving INA veterans have not yet been honored on Republic Day or Independence Day. Recently Maj Gen GD Bakshi met Ajit Kumar Doval, IPS (Retd), PM, PPM, KC, former Indian intelligence and law enforcement officer and currently National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India. He appealed Doval to get the INA veterans on Republic Day Parade this year. Doval agreed and moved fast to get this organised on this Republic Day.
There is no statue of Netaji Bose on Rajpath and no memorial of the 26,000 INA martyrs. Maj Gen GD Bakshi after his meeting with Ajit Doval hopes that a statue of Netaji might be installed at the Army War Museum near India Gate where a plaque would be commemorating the 26,000 INA martyrs.
Here is what Maj Gen GD Bakshi posted on his Facebook timeline about this meeting and the great news: “Great news for the New Year. Had the honour of meeting the NSA Mr AK Doval KC. I appealed to him to kindly get the INA veterans on parade in the Republic Day Parade this year. One of them is as old as 110 years, most are 99 -98-97. We pray for their long life but they may not be around the next year. He has kindly agreed and moved fast to get this organised on this Republic day. Our most grateful thanks to him for supporting the cause of the INA. We may also get a Netaji statue in the Army War Museum coming up near India gate along with a plaque commemorating hose 26,000 soldiers of the INA who laid down their Lives for India,s freedom struggle. Really grateful and overwhelmed.”
The ardent nationalism of Netaji Bose is being revived. The nation now, though in a small scale, is acknowledging Netaji’s and the INA’s role in India’s Independence. When history textbooks get rewritten, glorifying Netaji and INA and given due recognition, true justice will be delivered. Jai Hind!
Here (below YouTube video) is what Hind Fauz Living Legend Shri Jagram (aged 96 years) says about Netaji Bose, Gandhi, and Nathuram Godse. The INA Veteran was Netaji Bose’s BODYGUARD for 13 months. Shri Jagram survived a bomb explosion injury (part of flesh on his right leg shattered away from his body) and bullet injury in stomach during his INA service.
Featured image courtesy: Google.