Bengal celebrates Netaji's 121st birth anniversary
Kolkata: West Bengal on Tuesday celebrated legendary freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 121st birth anniversary with floral tributes, devotional songs, meetings and rallies.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid floral tributes at Bose's statue on Indira Gandhi Sarani (erstwhile Red Road).
State ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Indranil Sen and Chandrima Bhattacharya, poet Subodh Sarkar, writer Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, several other eminent persons, senior bureaucrats and police officers were present.
The function commenced with the blowing of a siren alarm sharp at 12.15 p.m to mark the exact time of Bose's birth in 1897.
Paying homage to Bose, Banerjee pledged to fulfil his dreams by working for all sections of people without discrimination.
Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government for not declaring Bose's birthday as a national holiday, she lamented that the iconic freedom fighter was yet to get his due.
"The birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose has not yet been declared a national holiday. Cannot we show this much respect to him? The state had announced public holiday on January 23 years ago," said Banerjee.
She also demanded that the Centre take steps to clear the mystery surrounding Bose's disappearance since 1945.
"The people of this country want to know what happened to Netaji. There is a version which only a section believes," she said.
Banerjee also vehemently criticised the central government for abolishing the Planning Commission. "The Planning Commission was Netaji's dream. But the BJP abolished the Planning Commission after it came to power (in 2014)."
In another function at Netaji Bhawan -- Bose's ancestral house -- state Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi described Netaji as one of the tallest leaders of the country's freedom movement.
"Netaji coined inspiring slogans like 'Jai Hind' , 'Dilli Chalo', 'Give me blood, I will give you freedom'. He firmly believed that India cannot win its independence only through non-violence," he said.
Netaji Research Bureau Director Sugata Bose and Chairperson Krishna Bose -- grand nephew and niece-in-law, respectively, of the revolutionary leader -- were present on the occasion.
The programme concluded with a cultural presentation.
The Left parties took out a rally in the city demanding Bose's birthday be declared as "Deshprem Divas (Patriotism Day)". CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra was in the forefront of the rally.
School children, local clubs and social organisations in the city and across the districts garlanded the freedom fighter's statues and sang patriotic songs. Colourful tableaux depicting various aspects of Bose's life were also brought out.
Exhibitions, sit-and-draw competitions, debates and quizzes on Netaji's life and work were organised throughout the state to mark the occasion.