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Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
21-October-2018 20:42 IST
English rendering of PM’s address at the commemoration of 75th anniversary of 'Azad Hind Fauj' at the Red Fort

My Cabinet colleague Mahesh Sharma ji, member of the Azad Hind Fauj and the heroic son of the country present among us all, Mr. Lalti Ram Ji, nephew of Subhas Babu,  Chandrakumar Bose, Brigadier R.S. Chikara ji and all the officers of the defence forces, other dignitaries, brothers and sisters.

This day, 21 October, is a historic one. I consider myself fortunate to be present on this occasion of flag hoisting. This is the same Red Fort where 75 years ago Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had dreamt of a victory parade. Taking oath as the first Prime Minister of the Azad Hind Government, Netaji had announced that the Tricolor would be hoisted with full glory one day at the Red Fort. The Azad Hind Government was the government of undivided India. I congratulate the countrymen for 75 years of Azad Hind Government.

Friends,

Generation after generation gets inspired just by commemorating a person who had such a clear vision, who was ever-ready to put his everything at stake to achieve his goals and who was dedicated only to the nation. Today I salute the parents who gave this country a son like Netaji, who produced brave-hearts who sacrificed their lives for the nation. I bow down to those soldiers and their families who had sacrificed everything for the freedom struggle. I also commemorate all the Indians across the world, who had supported this mission of Netaji with all their efforts and dedication and had made valuable contribution to build an independent, rich and an empowered India.

Friends,

Azad Hind Government was not just a name. Several schemes related to every sector were formulated by the government under the leadership of Netaji. That government had its own bank, currency, postage stamp and intelligence network. I believe it was an extraordinary work to develop such a massive government staying outside the country with limited resources.

Netaji had united the people against a government that was still having a stronghold in a large expanse of the world. If we read the writings of Netaji, we will find that the foundation of showing that extent of valour was already laid during his childhood.

Around the year 1912 that is 106 years ago, a letter written by Subhas Babu to his mother was evidence to the fact that he had tremendous  pain and anguish due to the enslaved India. Mind it; he was barely 15-16 years of age at that time.

The pain that he felt due to the condition of the country owning to so many years of colonial rule was conveyed to his mother through the letter. He had asked his mother a question - 'Mother, will our country continue to have downfall over time? Is there not a single son of the poor Bharat Mata who shall dedicate his life to the service of the motherland by giving up his vested interests? Tell me mother, when will we wake up from the slumber?' The 15-16 year old Subhas Babu had asked this question to his mother.

Brothers and sisters,

He had also answered these questions asked to his mother in the same letter. He had clearly told his mother that it was no longer possible to wait. One could not remain dormant. It was time to wake up from the slumber; shake off laziness and start working. That was Subhas Babu all of 15-16 year old! That intense passion in his heart turned the teenage Subhas Babu to Netaji Subhas.

Netaji had only one purpose - only one mission - freedom of India and to free India from the shackles of slavery. That was his ideology and workplace.

Friends,

Subhas Babu got the mantra of deciding the aim of his life and dedicating the purpose of his existence from Swami Vivekananda and his teachings -

आत्मनोमोक्षार्दम जगत हिताय च– that is, one gets salvation only by serving the world. The main basis of his ideology was - service to the people. He had suffered every pain, had overcome every challenge and foiled every conspiracy due to this feeling of service to India.

Brothers and sisters,

Subhas Babu was among the soldiers who transformed themselves with time and took steps keeping their goal in mind. This is the reason why  initially he made efforts within the country along with Mahatma Gandhi by being a member of the Congress and later as per the circumstances he chose the path of armed revolution. This path played a vital role in carrying the freedom movement forward.

Friends,

The nectar of the ideas that were propagated by him across the world was savoured not only by India but also by the other countries. All those countries fighting for freedom used to get inspired from Subhas Chandra Bose. They had realized that nothing was impossible. They too could unite, challenge the British and get their freedom. The great freedom fighter and Bharat Ratna Nelson Mandela had said that during the student movement in South Africa, he considered Subhas Babu to be his leader and hero.

Brothers and sisters,

Today we are celebrating 75 years of Azad Hind Government and four years later we will be celebrating 75 years of Indian independence in 2022. Seventy-five years ago, while taking oath Netaji had promised to build an India where everyone will have equal rights and opportunities. He had promised to build a content and rich India by taking inspiration from the ancient traditions. He had promised for balanced development of the country and development of every region. He had promised to eradicate the 'divide and rule policy' from its roots due to which the country had been enslaved for so long.

Even after several years of independence, Netaji's dream has not been fulfilled. India has travelled a long way but it still has to touch new heights. In order to achieve this target, today India's 125 crore people are moving ahead with the resolution of a New India; a New India that was also envisaged by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Today, at a time when the destructive powers are attacking our independence, unity and the sovereignty from outside and within the country, it is the duty of every citizen of India to seek inspiration from Netaji to fight against those powers, defeat them and also to take the pledge of making unstinted contribution to the development of the country.

But friends, one more thing is equally important along with these resolutions - the feeling and expression of nationalism and Indian-ness. During the hearing of Red Fort trials, the soldier of Azad Hind Fauj, Shahnawaz Khan had said that Subhas Chandra Bose was the first person to have ignited the feeling of existence of India in his mind.

He was the first person to show India from the point of view of an Indian. What were those circumstances as a result of which Shahnawaz Khan had said those things? Why was it essential to see India from the point of view of an Indian? We understand these things better when we look at the present condition of the country.

Brothers and sisters,

Remembering his Cambridge days, Subhas Babu had written that we Indians were taught that Europe was a larger form of Great Britain. Therefore, we were habituated to look at Europe through the prism of England.

Our culture, the great languages, the education system, the structure of the syllabus and the entire system had to bear the brunt of this phenomenon. Today I can confidently assert that if we had the guidance of great personalities like Subhas Babu and Sardar Patel during the decades that followed independence to look after India, then that foreign influence would not have existed and the situation would have been different.

Friends,

It is unfortunate that just to promote one family, all-out attempt had been made to negate the contributions made by several sons of the country like Sardar Patel, Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Netaji. Now our government is trying to change the situation. You all must have got to know that before arriving here, I was attending the programme to dedicate the National Police Memorial. There, I have made an announcement of a National Award in the name of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

The brave-hearts and police personnel who engage in disaster management and rescue operations by putting their lives at stake during a natural calamity will be given this honour in the name of Netaji every year. The Police personnel and the soldiers of paramilitary forces will be eligible for this honour.

Friends,

Balanced development across the different categories of the society and the role of every person in nation building are important parts of Netaji's wider vision. The Azad Hind Government formed under the leadership of Netaji had made Eastern India a gateway to India's independence. In April 1944, the Azad Hind Fauj under the leadership of Col. Shaukat Malik had unfurled the Tricolour in Moirang of Manipur.

It is unfortunate for us that the contribution of such brave-hearts from the Northeast and Eastern India in the freedom movement was not highlighted enough. Even in terms of development, this significant part of the country remained behind. Today I am satisfied that the current government is giving the same importance to Eastern India that once Bose had given and is working in the direction of making this region the country's engine of growth and development.

Brothers and sisters,

I consider myself fortunate to be able to time and again get the opportunity to place Netaji's contributions in front of the country and to walk the path shown by him. Therefore, when I got the invitation to attend this programme, my memories of Subhas Chandra Bose's work during his Gujarat days also returned.

Friends,

In 2009 when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, we had revived the memories of the historic Haripura Congress Session. We had recreated a similar situation just like in the convention, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and the people of Gujarat had led a long procession with bullock carts; a similar scene was recreated in 2009 and the history was re-lived. Even though it was the convention of Congress, it was an important chapter in the history and we re-lived it.

Friends,

The people who had laid down their lives for freedom were fortunate to have got that opportunity. People like us who didn't get the opportunity still have an option of living for the nation and dedicating their lives for its development. We have gained Swaraj after a lot of sacrifices. Now we the 125 crore Indians have the responsibility of maintaining the Swaraj with good governance. Netaji had said - you have to gain independence from the strength of the weapons and at the cost of your blood. After independence, you have to make a standing army for the country to always safeguard this freedom.

Today I can assert that India is moving towards the formation of an army of Subhas Bose's dreams. Enthusiasm and zeal have always been a part of our military traditions. Now, modern technology and modern weapons are being added to it. Our military strength has always been for self-defence and will always remain so. We never had any greed for other's land. Even historically it was the same. However, if anyone challenges India's sovereignty, India will retaliate with double the power.

Friends,

Several initiatives have been taken in the last four years to strengthen the army. The best technology around the world is being made a part of the Indian army. Be it improvement of the capability of the army or making the lives of these valiant soldiers easier - this government has the courage to take robust decisions and it will remain the same in the future as well. It is our government that took the decisions ranging from undertaking the surgical strike to the decision of making the files related to Netaji public. Several ex-servicemen present here are witness to the fact that it was our government that fulfilled the several decades old demand for One Rank One Pension as per the promise.

Moreover, the arrear of about Rs.11000 crores was given to the retired army personnel that benefitted lakhs of army men. Besides, as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, there has been an increase in their pension amount after its implementation. That means my soldier brothers have received a double bonanza on their pensions.

Several such initiatives have been taken in the past for making the lives of the soldiers better. Besides, the work on the National War Museum is in the last phase. This is to ensure that the future generations get to know about the valour of the soldiers.

Friends,

Tomorrow i.e. on 22 October, the Jhansi regiment will complete 75 years. The foundation of including women in the Armed Forces for their equal participation was laid by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The country's first all-women military regiment was the result of Subhas Babu's unfaltering belief towards India's rich traditions. He had received the guard of honour from the women soldiers despite all the opposition.

I can assert with pride that this government has taken forward the work started 75 years ago by Netaji in true sense. On 15th August this year, I had made an announcement from the Red Fort - I had said that the women officers appointed through the Short Service Commission in the Armed Forces would be given permanent commission through a transparent selection process just like their male counterpart.

Friends,

This is an extension of government's efforts that are being taken for the past four years. In March 2016, a decision was taken to include women as pilots in the Navy. Just a few days ago, the Indian Navy's 6 brave women officers have conquered the sea and have showcased the women power to the world. Besides, the first female fighter pilot of the country emerged during the tenure of this government.

I am also glad that for the first time after independence, the responsibility of maintaining and strengthening India's armed forces is in the hands of a woman Raksha Mantri  - Sitharaman ji.

 

Friends,

Due to your cooperation and the dedication and skills of the armed forces today the country is completely secured and capable and is rapidly moving towards the path of development and achieving its targets.

Once again, I heartily congratulate you all, the 125 crore Indians on this important occasion. May our journey of unity, integrity and self-confidence steadily progresses with the blessings of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ji.

Say aloud with me -

Victory to Mother India!

Victory to Mother India!

Victory to Mother India!

Vande Mataram!

Vande Mataram!

Vande Mataram!

 

 

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AKT/SH/IG/MG/AK