Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday virtually unveiled the model of a proposed memorial dedicated to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, to be set up in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and said it will infuse feelings of patriotism among people. Modi, on the occasion of Netaji's 126th birth anniversary, also named 21 islands of the Union Territory after Param Vir Chakra awardees.
"Today, it is a proud moment for me as I address the people of Andamans because this is the land, where Subhas Chandra Bose unfurled the national flag for the first time in 1943," the prime minister said.
He noted that the islands named after famous soldiers including Major Somnath Sharma, Lt. Colonel (then Major) Dhan Singh Thapa; Subedar Joginder Singh; Major Shaitan Singh; Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid, 2nd Lt. Arun Khetrapal and Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon will be a source of inspiration for generations to come.
"Islands named today after Param Vir Chakra awardees will be the land of inspiration for generations to come," Modi said. The PM also said that attempts were made to downplay Netaji's contribution to the freedom movement, but the entire country, right from Delhi and Bengal to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is paying tribute to the great hero today, preserving history and heritage associated with him.
"Attempt was made to suppress Netaji's contribution towards freedom struggle, but entire nation remembering him today," he said. He also pointed out that demands to make Netaji's files public were made by many for long, and it was his government which eventually declassified the files. Netaji will be remembered for his fierce resistance to colonial rule, he stated.
The proposed memorial whose model the prime minister inaugurated on Monday, will be set up on Ross Island, which had been renamed as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep in 2018. It will have a museum, a cable car ropeway, a laser-and-sound show, a guided heritage trail through historical buildings and a theme-based children's amusement park, besides a restro lounge, an official said.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah lauded the initiative to christen the 21 islands, and said this effort will be a source of encouragement for the country's armed forces. He also said that the cellular jail in the Union Territory, where many freedom fighters were incarcerated, is no less than a "pilgrimage site".