Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rare Netaji memorabilia housed in fan’s museum

Rare Netaji memorabilia housed in fan’s museum

Legal practitioner Mohammad Mustaque (47), a resident of Fakirabad (Badahat) village in Kendrapada township area, has converted his house to a veritable mini museum by housing several rare collections related to the life of the great revolutionary freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Mustaque houses some of the rare and unique photos, letters, magazines, cassettes, journals and coins related to Netaji which are yet to be possessed at the State museum or at the National Museum at Odia Bazar in Cuttack.

Among the items on display in his museum are the last and rare photos of Netaji in India before he left to Afghanistan and Netaji’s elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose and his mother Pravabati Bose sitting near him while he was sick after coming from jail. The photo was taken on December 5, 1940, said Mustaque.

He also possessed a photo of Netaji coming out of the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicober Islands with the Japanese Rear Admiral and Azad Hind Government officials. Also photographs of Netaji broadcasting to India from Tokyo and also Raj Bihari Bose handing over INA presidentship to Netaji have taken pride place in his museum.

Mustaque has obtained an old photograph of Netaji with the family members of Ashok Banerjee of Cuttack. Banerjee sits on the lap of Netaji, when he was only four years old in 1935. The gazette notification of Bihar and Odisha of 1913 where it was mentioned that Netaji passed entrance examination in 1913, has also been possessed by Mustaque.

Mustaque owned two rare coins that the Government minted to observe the centenary of Subash Bose. The centenary of Bose was observed in 1997 and the Government minted coins in 1997 displaying the photos of Bose. But due to an inadvertent error, in some coins, the centenary year was wrongly mentioned as 1996 and Mustaque has taken the pride of displaying three mint error coins in his museum.

Similarly, Mustaque managed to grab a handwritten letter of Captain Laxmi Saigal of the Indian National Army (INA). The original copies of the magazine Forward published by Bose from 1925 to 1927 are also preserved at his house. The special issue of INA Basumati, a Bengali magazine and the only postal stamp issued by the INA under the leadership of Netaji in 1942 after liberating Manipur, besides The meaning of Leftism, an article written by Netaji in Socialist Republican magazine in 1941 when Netaji was in Kabul, are some of the precious collections by Mustaque from different sources.

The museum also displayed many photographs of INA soldiers. A rare photograph of Laxmi of Odisha, an INA solider was also displayed.

About 200 ancient books on Netaji were the main attraction for many people. Even, a Muguni (granite) glass and some rare photos were also donated by Abdul Hamid Hazzari of Fazalpur village in Korei block, about a decade back, to his museum. The grandfather of Hazzari in 1910 accompanied Netaji while treating patients afflicted with cholera.

“Netaji stayed in Hazzari’s house almost for a week to treat cholera patients in the 1910s. Subash also stayed at their place again for a couple of days,” said Mustque. “Hazzari donated a Muguni stone glass which Netaji used to drink water and a lantern owned by Netaji to my museum,” said Mustaque.

“Since childhood, I was an ardent fan of Netaji. His magnetic personality attracts me. Since my childhood, Netaji has been my ideal. Later, I started collecting the things either related to Netaji,” Mustaque said. “For collecting Netaji’s related items, I have spent a lot of money from my own purse. I have collected it starting from book shops in Kolkata to various individuals. Still my search is on,” the legal practitioner said.

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