Kolkata celebrates Netaji’s birth anniversary

January 23rd, 2009 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 23 (IANS) Cultural functions were organised in various parts of Kolkata to pay tribute to freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 112th birth anniversary Friday. Hundreds of people crowded at Netaji’s residence - Netaji Bhawan - at Elgin Road in south Kolkata since early morning to pay their homage to the great leader.

“The Netaji museum will remain open till 8 p.m. instead of the usual 4 p.m. today,” said Kartik Chakraborty, secretary of the Netaji Research Bureau (NRB) housed in Netaji Bhawan.

NRB, a society formed by Netaji’s nephew Sisir Kumar Bose in 1957, organised a cultural programme in the morning, which was inaugurated by West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi.

Garlanding Netaji’s marble statue and portrait at Netaji Bhawan, Gandhi said: “He (Netaji) is the icon of icons. He is the powerhouse of courage and we owe our independence to him.”

Later, Gandhi released a new paperback edition of Netaji’s collected works titled “In Burma Prisons”.

The chief guest at the function was Italian ambassador Alessandro Quaroni, whose father Pietro Quaroni helped issue a fake passport to Netaji in 1941.

“My father, the then-Italian ambassador, was a friend of Netaji. He even issued a fake passport in the name of Orlano Mazzotta to Netaji during his great escape to Kabul in 1941,” Quaroni said in his speech.

“There are gripping accounts of Netaji’s adventures in Afghanistan in my father’s writings, which left me wondering how can a mortal be so intelligent, so brave and so passionate about one’s country,” he said.

The programme was concluded with a song and dance performance by city-based artistes.

Cultural programmes, including patriotic songs, dances, poetry recitation and plays, were organised in many parts of Kolkata to celebrate Netaji’s birthday.

Activists of the All India Forward Bloc party, which was founded by Netaji in 1939, took out a march in south Kolkata with huge cutouts of Netaji and Forward Bloc flags.

About 50 students of a city school also took out a march with Netaji’s garlanded photos and Indian flags from their south Kolkata school to the leader’s residence.

Netaji’s full-length marble statues across the city, especially at Esplanade and Shyambazar in north Kolkata, were garlanded and decorated with flowers.

A website on Netaji was also launched jointly by a Delhi-based non-profit trust Mission Netaji and Kolkata-based Jayasree Publications - one of the oldest publication houses here.

“This is the first website where people can get access to Netaji’s original speeches, articles, lectures and rare photos free of cost. There will be articles by his friends, relatives and associates. The site will also contain a few documentaries on his disappearance mystery,” Chandrachur Ghose, one of the founder-members, told IANS over phone from Delhi.

However, amid all celebrations members of the Netaji Chetna Mancha were upset.

“We had requested the United Nations as well as the prime minister last year to declare Jan 23 as International Patriotism Day. But we have not heard from them so far. It’s unfortunate that Netaji is still not getting his due respect,” said Jayanta Chowdhury, secretary of the Netaji Chetna Mancha.

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