Honouring Netaji and decorated soldiers

Nationalism and patriotism are the real characteristics of a nation. The sacrifices of freedom fighters and army men can never be forgotten and it is always a sense of honour to remember them and be thankful to them. They cannot return back but factually they are living in our hearts and minds, never to be forgotten. No efforts are big enough to honour their struggle and supreme sacrifices for the freedom or security of the country. The fruits of freedom we are enjoying had been planted by these great personalities only. Present GoI has always been devising novel way outs to glorify our past and some way or other pay tributes to the unsung heroes of our freedom struggle as well as our soldiers. One such effort had been to give Bharat Rattan to the most deserving freedom fighter, Netaji Subhash Chander Bose. Somehow sidelined by previous regimes but PM Modi led present Government has left no occasion to remember and celebrate Netaji’s commitment and historic work for the Indian freedom struggle. Keeping in sync with earlier efforts now one island of Andaman and Nicobar islands, Ross Island had been renamed as ‘Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep’ in 2018, a grand memorial will be built now in his memory to showcase his legacy, his resistance against the colonial rule. Memorial will have a museum, a cable car ropeway, a laser-and-sound show, a guided heritage trail through historical buildings and a theme-based children’s amusement park, besides a retro lounge. What a grand way to pay tributes to one of the greatest freedom fighters. Andaman and Nicobar islands have a special place in the history of our freedom fight, known as ‘Kaala Paani’, a jail to isolate and torture our freedom fighters, wrecking them physically as well as mentally. A simple visit to the present jail museum sends a chill down the spine of an ordinary person, so horrific were the methods applied. It is beyond one’s imagination how those great people survived, their perseverance and patience cannot be described in words and no tributes are enough to acknowledge and pay tributes to their sufferings and sacrifices. To pay homage, twenty-one islands of Andaman Nicobar have been renamed after the Param Vir Chakra awardees, a message of valour and unity. Who can forget the sacrifices of our famous soldiers Major Somnath Sharma, Major Shaitan Singh, Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon and others? Of the 21 people who have received the Param Vir Chakra, 20 served in the Indian Army and one in the Indian Air Force. We are free and our borders secure due to their supreme sacrifices only and renaming these islands after them will be a source of inspiration for generations to come, factually a peek into our forgotten history. With one stroke GoI has enlightened patriotism and nationalism in the entire nation, a motivation to be part of the armed forces and serve your nation. In letter and spirit, all these efforts go a long way to commemorate the 126 birth anniversary of Netaji. The largest island has been named after the first Param Vir Chakra awardee, Major Somnath Sharma, who lost his life while fighting against Pakistani infiltrators near Srinagar airport on November 3, 1947, the second largest unnamed island after the second Param Vir Chakra awardee, and so on. In the present generation’s context, the supreme sacrifice of Captain Vikram Batra during the Kargil war is still itched in our minds and heart and this small gesture of renaming islands is a transcendence moment and pedagogic step on how to honour our immortals. These gestures of our PM are being adopted in different states and even the LG Administration of UT of Jammu and Kashmir had renamed schools and colleges after soldiers and other great personalities. All these gestures will make future generations not just remember, assess and evaluate them, but also find constant inspiration from them.