Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (January 23) evening unveiled a grand, digital statue of freedom fighter and leader of erstwhile Indian National Army (INA) Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to mark the latter’s 125th birth anniversary. The hologram statue has been installed at the India Gate canopy, which once housed the statue of King George V, the imperial icon of the country that Netaji fought all his life.
After unveiling Netaji’s statue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the fact that Subhas Chandra Bose had refused to bow down before the British in all his years of struggle. “Soon, the hologram statue will be replaced by a grand granite statue,” the Prime Minister said. “Netaji’s statue will inspire democratic values and future generations.”
Union home minister Amit Shah, who was also present at the event, said that the unveiling of the statue marks another step towards reviving Netaji’s forgotten legacy in the history of India’s freedom struggle. “Today marks a new beginning for the nation,” the home minister said, in his tribute to the life and works of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. “This is not just a granite statue but also a befitting tribute to the legendary Netaji, who gave everything for India’s freedom.” Earlier this day, Prime Minister Modi had expressed his happiness at the fact that there is “immense enthusiasm” in the country regarding the unveiling of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s hologram statue.
Seven awards in total were also presented during the ceremony. According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the central government has instituted the annual Subhas Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar to recognise and honour “the invaluable contribution and selfless service rendered by individuals and organisations in the field of disaster management.”
The event comes across as especially historic since the country is celebrating its ‘Amrut Mahotsav’ this year, marking 75 years of Independence from British colonial rule. At the same time, the Prime Minister kickstarted Republic Day celebrations in a mark of respect for the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect turned the nation into a newly-formed republic.
This is the first time that India is beginning Republic Day celebrations from January 23 instead of January 24, to include the birth anniversary of late freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It will end on January 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.
Born on January 23, 1897, ‘Netaji’ (the title meaning ‘respected leader’ that Bose later earned) played a crucial role in India’s freedom movement. Now, this grand statue of the freedom fighter seals his place in India’s historic landscape as the nationalist hero who defied colonial rule and resisted the British as the leader of the Azad Hind Fauj, the army that faced the maximum attrition from the imperialists but never surrendered.
The original statue, the digital version of which was unveiled today at the India Gate, was sculpted by Awaita Gadanayak, the director-general of the National Gallery of Modern Art.
According to officials, the decision to install Netaji’s statue was not taken in the spur of the moment by Prime Minister Modi but through intensive deliberations with the culture ministry and those manning historical archives. It is also befitting that Netaji, overlooking the Raisina Hills, will be taking salute of the Republic Day parade every year hence.