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India celebrates Subhas Chandra Bose's 116 birth anniversary.

Kolkata: West Bengal and the country celebrated the 116th birth anniversary of iconic freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose on Wednesday. Celebrated as aACAyDesh Prem Diwas' (love thy country) Bengal yesterday tried to not only remember the sacrifice of this national hero, but also to install his principals amongst its youth.

Inaugurating his birth celebrations, President Pranab Mukherjee earlier in the week had said, "This great son of India's life was a story of sacrifice and service. The motto of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was aACAyseva' and aACAytyag' (service and sacrificed). In many centuries, we may not have someone like him."

Addressing the function by Netaji Research Bureau, Mukherjee hailed Bose as a "great son of India who fought for its liberation till the last moment of his life".

Speaking exclusively to Gulf News, Bose's daughter Anita Pfaff said, "Many had described my father as an anti-hero to Mahatma Gandhi's principals. But in truth there was a great belief and respect for each other, though they had political differences but the mutual respect for each other was there since both fought tirelessly for one singular goal - India's freedom."

However, Bengal's politician again failed to show harmony and was divided over political lines even in celebrating the life of this national icon. Forward Bloc the political outfit that was formed by Bose after he left the Indian National Congress wanted to celebrate his birthday in front of Netaji statue in Kolkata's Maidan. Last year there was serious bickering with the newly formed Trinamool Congress wanted to highjack the event.

This year Bloc leaders and CPM state general secretary had written to the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for joint celebrations. However, Banerjee refused to be there and attended a function at Bose's ancestral house in Kolkata making it the official government function, thereby breaking a 40 year old tradition.

"The politicians of Bengal must try to forget their partisan differences and try to come together on such days or else the very spirit of democracy and political freedom that Bose scarified his life for is lost sending a wrong message to the youth of the state," said sociologist Swastika Sengupta.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jan 24, 2013
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