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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 23.01.2015

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has said thatthe life and sacrifices of Netaji serve as a beacon light for future generations.

The President conveyed the above in a message to the Netaji Research Bureau, Kolkata on the occasion of celebrations held today in Kolkata to mark the 118thbirth anniversary of Netaji. The President’s message was read out to the audience by Prof. Mrs. Krishna Bose, Chairperson, Netaji Research Bureau. An International Conference on‘Asia in Bengal and Bengal in Asia’was also organized by the Netaji Research Bureau as part of the birthday celebrations.

In his message, the President said it is appropriate to dwell on the contemporary relevance of Netaji and his message on the occasion of Netaji’s birthday. Our true homage to Netaji would be to work with dedication to make our country for whose sake Netaji sacrificed his everything, strong, prosperous and progressive so that it may one day become a great power in the world. He called upon the youth of the country to once again adopt the slogan ofIttefaq Itmad Kurbanior Unity, Faith, Sacrifice as the clarion call of our nation.

The President said the place of Subhas Chandra Bose is unique in the history of India’s freedom struggle. Netaji was unanimously electedRashtrapatiof the 51st session of the Indian National Congress held in Haripura on the banks of the river Tapti in February 1938. His Presidential address at the session was a masterpiece of vision and action. He talked not only of freedom but also of reconstruction and the need for planning by setting up a Planning Committee. He called for the gradual socialization of the entire agricultural and industrial system. He reminded delegates that "our chief national problems are eradication of poverty, illiteracy and disease”. Netaji as Congress President wrote a letter to all Congress Premiers advising them on how they should administer their provinces. The ideas contained in this letter were the precursors of the principles enshrined in the chapter on Directive Principles of our Constitution.

The President said Netaji believed that free India would become, by example, an alternative model for a post-colonial world through economic equity and a social revolution inspired by harmony between communities that had been misled into hostility. Propelled by freedom of faith, gender equality and economic justice for all, India will become a modern nation.

The President said it is amazing how much Subhas Chandra Bose was able to achieve and accomplish in a short span of time. Netaji’s entire life is a story of service and sacrifice. He was a doer as well as a thinker. He was a fighter and a natural leader of men. His writing, exceptional oratory and persuasive reasoning won him an impassioned and loyal following. He set an example through his actions and ideals and inspired the younger generation to dedicate themselves to the service of the nation. His proud and independent spirit mocked at ill-health and ill-fortune. He took exile and imprisonment in his stride. He appealed to the people of our country "Give me blood, I will give you freedom”.

This release issued at 1540 hrs.