Kolkata, Jan 23 (PTI) Eminent scholars here paid rich tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on Monday, on the occasion of his 126th birth anniversary, noting that it was necessary to uphold the freedom fighter’s ideals of unity and secularism to honour his legacy.
Literary theorist and Padma Bhushan recipient Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak told PTI, on the sidelines of a programme at Netaji Research Bureau, that "a strong tradition of unity" still prevails, despite the existence of a "divisive culture", and that is the most “comforting thought”.
People of different communities have been "living side by side for centuries". There can be conflicts at times but they tide over those differences for peaceful co-existence, the academic said.
Asked if the values and ideals cherished by Netaji are currently under threat, Spivak said an academic like her should look forward to the day when his dreams are realised.
"The ideals of Netaji will be realised when we listen to electorate living at the bottom rung of societies, understand their words, the people who cast votes," she said.
Ismat Mehdi, the niece of Netaji's close aide and INA warrior Abid Hasan, said a significant part of the present generation has little idea about INA fighters who sacrificed everything for the country.
People currently are reaping the benefits of their sacrifices, she said.
Medhi called for inclusion of INA's contributions in school curriculum.
"Netaji had united all sections of society, from north to south and east to west. His INA had endorsed all colours... His Constitution (for Independent India) included everyone," Mehdi said.
Harvard University academic Sugata Bose, who is also the grand nephew of Netaji, said that the revolutionary leader had worked to build a secular India, free of hatred.
"He had taken up the task of unifying different communities - Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Ishais - in his INA. He had dreamt of a united, secular India. We hope his dream are realised one day," added the director of Netaji Research Bureau, which is housed in the freedom fighter’s ancestral residence on Elgin Road.
Schoolchildren and a stream of visitors made a beeline to the ancestral home, during the day, to pay homage to Netaji and take a tour of the museum that preserves some of the items associated with the freedom fighter. PTI SUS RMS RMS