Netaji’s family condoles Sehgal’s demise

July 23rd, 2012 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) The Family of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Monday condoled the death of freedom fighter and the revolutionary leader’s close associate Lakshmi Sehgal, describing it as a “personal loss”.

“She (Sehgal) was very close to our family. We considered her as a family member. So her death is a personal loss for us,” Netaji’s niece-in-law Krishna Bose told IANS.

Krishna is the wife of Netaji’s late nephew Sisir Bose, who is said to have driven the car which took the leader out of his house Jan 19, 1941, on his “Great Escape” from the clutches of the British to Germany and then to Japan to realise his dream of an independent India.

Bose said Sehgal was also a member of the council of the Netaji Research Bureau (NRB), set up at Netaji Bose’s ancestral house here in 1957 to carry out research about the life, activities and teachings of the legendary freedom fighter.

“In the national scenario, she was a legend. Women in India had participated in the civil disobedience movements against the British raj in the country, but they did not take part in the battlefield. Sehgal did so under the guidance of Netaji,” Bose said.

Sehgal died at age 98 in Kanpur. She was introduced to Netaji Bose in 1943 and was invited by him to set up the Rani of Jhansi women’s brigade under his overall command.

She came to head this brigade and was inducted by him into the provisional cabinet of Azad Hind as the only woman member.

Krishna, also a former MP, recollected her personal interactions with Sehgal regarding the latter’s association with Netaji.

“Sehgal told me that there were about 3,000 women in Azar Hind. They looked up to Netaji as a great leader. But Netaji never asked them to cut their long hair, though short hair was the prerequisite for going to the battlefield,” she said, adding: “They cut it of their own will.”

Krishna’s son Sugato recalled the brave tales of the Rani Jhansi regiment which she had heard from Sehgal.

“She used to tell me that Netaji had said that to realise his slogan ‘Delhi chalo’, the Indian National Army would first enter Kolkata where the Rani Jhansi Regiment would lead the march past.”

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