“Sisters and brothers,
Today is a very special day… We are celebrating the 125th birth anniversary year of the great son of this land-–Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The Government of India has decided to celebrate his birthday as “PARAKRAM DIWAS” to inspire people of the country, especially the youth. This is a befitting tribute as ‘Parakram’ or courage was the most defining feature of Netaji’s persona. Right from his school days, he was sensitive, sharp and fearless. He opposed injustice in every form. No adversity could ever shake his determination to serve the motherland.
Netaji was a charismatic leader and one of the most towering personalities of the freedom movement. Driven by patriotic zeal and unbridled love for the motherland, he resigned from the coveted Indian Civil Service and returned to India from England where he was sent to appear for the ICS Exam.
What is important is to remember Netaji’s vision and legacy for building a strong India. His dynamic and courageous leadership during the freedom movement will continue to be a major source of inspiration to the people of this great nation, particularly the youth.
Netaji firmly believed that for India’s progress, we need to rise above the caste, creed, religion and region and consider ourselves as Indians first. His unwavering commitment to patriotism and nationalism not only brought people together but also inspired them to join the Azad Hind Fauj. As far back as in the 1940s, soldiers of all castes, creeds and religions lived together, ate together in common kitchens and fought as Indians first and last. This was possible because of the charismatic leadership of the great Subash Chandra Bose. No wonder people used to affectionately call him Netaji, which means ‘the Respected leader’.
In his public speeches, Netaji emphatically advocated the need for abolition of caste system in India. Time and again, he used to stress that the progress of India would be possible only with the uplift of the down-trodden and the marginalized sections.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had a fierce sense of self-respect. There are innumerable examples right from his school days when he stood against injustice in every form. He had said:“Forget not that the grossest crime is to compromise with injustice and wrong.”
Coming from a religious family, Netaji was deeply spiritual and was greatly influenced by the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. His spirituality did not distance him from the problems faced by the countrymen, but instead became a source of inner strength. He developed an ethical approach to life that was based on sacrifice and renunciation, which formed the core of his democratic ideals. Netaji believed that for democracy to thrive in free India, our citizens must imbibe the values of discipline, responsibility, service and patriotism.
Ours is a glorious civilization which embodies the values of ‘share and care’ and ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’. Netaji was proud of these civilizational values and our rich cultural heritage, which he felt formed the bedrock of our national pride and collective self-confidence. His self-confidence and determination are clearly reflected in the words when he said- “Freedom is not given, it is taken.”
By freedom, Netaji did not merely mean “emancipation from political bondage but also equal distribution of wealth, the abolition of caste barriers and social inequalities and destruction of communalism and religious intolerance”. He had said: "The problem of giving bread to our starving millions - the problem of clothing and educating them - the problem of improving the health and physique of the nation - all these problems cannot be solved so long as India remains in bondage."
He had given a clarion call to youth with his famous words – “It is blood alone that can pay the price of freedom. Give me blood and I will give you freedom.”
When Netaji gave the famous war cry 'ChaloDilli', he told his soldiers in clear terms- “I can offer you nothing except hunger, thirst, privation, forced marches and death. But if you follow me in life and in death—as I am confident you will—I shall lead you to victory and freedom.” He also promised his troops that he would be with them “in darkness and in sunshine, in sorrow and in joy, in suffering and in victory.”
With his magical presence, he could enthuse and turn the soldiers who were ‘Prisoners of War’ into ‘Freedom Fighters’. They became ready to fight till last breath for their dear leader and for their motherland.
How Netaji and Azad Hind Fauj captured people’s imagination was evident during the trial of INA prisoners by British authorities. This trial stirred the emotions of all Indians across the length and breadth of the country. Realizing this, the Britishers had to take a lenient view of INA soldiers. It is said that the increasing loyalty of the Indian Armed Forces’ towards their motherland hastened the process of the British departure from India.
The progressiveness of Netaji’s ideas can be gauged from his decision to form a women’s corps in INA named Rani of Jhansi Regiment. Bose believed in giving equal pedestal to women in every sphere of life-- be it social, economic, or political. The same vision continues to be our guiding force even today and I am happy that the Government has taken a number of initiatives to bring gender equality including the provision of Permanent Commission for the women in Armed Forces.
Netaji was of the firm belief that education was essential for character building and all-round development of human life. For meaningful education, he emphasized the need for a comprehensive system of teachers' training. This is relevant even today. For India to emerge as an education hub and knowledge-based economy, we need to revamp our methods of teaching and pedagogy.
One question always bothered me… How did a handful of British officers rule millions of Indians for so long? The answer, perhaps, lies in the fact that we were not united and lacked the cementing spirit of nationalism; we lacked the feeling of togetherness. And this was the root cause of our subjugation by the foreigners.
Dear sisters and brothers,
We are a young nation today. About 65 percent of the population is below 35 years of age and about 50 percent is below 25 years. This is the time for youth to be in the forefront in the movement for eradication of poverty, illiteracy, social and gender discrimination, casteism and communalism.
I urge the youth of our young nation to take inspiration from the life of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and lead from the front in building a New India – a happy and prosperous India where every citizen gets equal opportunities and where there is no discrimination of any kind. I repeat the words of Netaji Bose to Indian youth -“India is calling... Get up, we have no time to lose.”
Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President to the Officer Trainees attending the Foundation Course at MCR HRD Institute, Hyderabad on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, on 23 January 2021.
“Sisters and brothers,