Saturday, January 25, 2014

Manipur's tribute to hero

A large number of people, including the grandchildren of Indian National Army (INA) war veterans, on Thursday observed the 117th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the historic INA memorial complex at Moirang in Manipur's Bishnupur district. A song competition on a single lyric titled "O Netaji, O Subhas" and floral tributes to Netaji's statue marked the day. The momentous song was penned by late Moirang legislator M Manindra Singh whose son, M Prithiviraj, MLA and parliamentary secretary for youth affairs, sports and tourism, presided over the function. Notably, Prithiviraj is the nephew of late M Koireng, the first elected chief minister of Manipur and a freedom fighter (INA). The All India Forward Bloc, Manipur state committee, also observed the day with its members and invitees paying floral tributes to the leader in Imphal. On April 14, 1944, the Tricolour was unfurled for the first time at Moirang by Colonel Saukat Hayat Malik, commander of Bahadur group of INA, and designated the place as its headquarters. It was from this place, commanders of Japanese troops and their allies chalked out World War II strategies and fought against the allied forces. Thousands of soldiers of the warring forces were killed and several others were maimed in various pitched battles fought across Manipur. Though Manipur was one of the key World War II theatres, Netaji did not reach the state owing to the war's strategic difficulties as he was reportedly camping in a South-East Asian country when the US bombed Heroshima and Nagasaki. Addressing a gathering at Moirang, Prithiviraj dwelt at length about Netaji's never-say-die spirit that energized his selfless struggle to achieve India's freedom. The young legislator also urged the people to emulate Netaji's true love of nation in bringing about a peaceful and developed Manipur. Works minister Kh Ratankumar Singh, chief guest of the occasion, also gave a brief history on Netaji's freedom struggle. Considering its historical significance, the INA complex is one of the key tourist spots of the state.

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