Orissa Review * August - 2004
A Saga of Netaji
Prof. Jagannath Mohanty
"I have said that today is the proudest day of my life. For enslaved people, there can be no greater pride, no higher honour, than to be the first soldier in the army of liberation. But this honour carries with it a corresponding responsibility and I am deeply conscious of it. I assure you that I shall be with you in darkness and in sunshine, in sorrows and in joy, in suffering and in victory. For the present,
I can offer you nothing except hunger, thirst, privation, forced marches and deaths. But if you follow me in life and in death - as I am confident you will - I shall lead you to victory and freedom. It does not matter who among us will live to see
India free. It is enough that India shall be free and that we shall give our
all to make her free. May God now bless our army and grant us victory in the coming fight.
Inquilab Zindabad ! Azad Hind Zindabad !"1 This was the concluding remarks of
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on the 5th July, 1943 at Singapore after taking over the charge of President of Indian Independence League from Rash Behari Bose on July 4, the previous day. The speech he delivered that day was in fact one of his greatest speeches which overwhelmed the entire contingents of Indian National Army (INA) gathered there under the scorching tropical sun of Singapore. There was a rally of 13,000 men drawn from the people of South-East Asian countries. Then Netaji toured in Thailand, Malay, Burma, Indo-China and some other countries and inspired the civilians to join the army and mobilised public opinion for recruitment of soldiers, augmenting resources and establishing new branches of Indian National Army. He promised the people that he would open the second war of Independence and set up a provisional Government of Free India under whose banner three million Indians of South-East Asia would fight the enemy. He made a clarion call to all Indians - Karo sab nichhabar bano sab fakir - sacrifice all and be penniless mendicants for the sake of the Mother land. Under blazing sun and heavy rains Netajee used to deliver his fiery speeches and to appeal the masses to make donations, join the INA and to give arms whatever they had. After the speech, his garlands were put to auction.......
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