Netaji’s Birthday: “Parakram” or “Desh Prem”

Politics has generated a row over Netaji’s Birth Anniversary. It is one of the biggest political discussions of January 2021 between two ruling parties BJP and Trinamool Congress over the celebration of Netaji’s Birthday as “Parakram Diwas” or “Desh Prem Diwas”.

The Union Ministry of Culture has decided to celebrate January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, as ‘Parakram Diwas’. Hence, it brought sparks in the political row of West Bengal, with Trinamool Congress and therefore the All India Forward Bloc decided to celebrate that day as ‘Desh Prem Diwas’ instead.

The Ministry of Culture on Tuesday issued a notification stating that in “order to honor and remember Netaji’s indomitable spirit and selfless service to the state, Government of India has decided to celebrate his birthday on the 23rd day of January every year as Parakram Diwas”.

Senior Trinamool leader Saugata Roy said the announcement to celebrate the day as ‘Parakram Diwas’ (day of valor) isn't enough. It should be celebrated as ‘Desh Prem Diwas’ (patriotism day), he said.

“January 23 should be announced as a gazetted holiday. It's our long-standing demand. As he was a statesman and head of the Azad Hind Fauj, these two aspects aren't reflected through ‘Parakram Diwas’.”

“It appears to be a stunt keeping in mind the upcoming assembly poll in the State, and not as a mark of respect to Netaji,” he said.

Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Derek O’ Brien also said: “West Bengal government must conclude Subhas Utsav every year on 23rd January in honour of the proud son of the soil. The State-level celebrations are held at Darjeeling since 2014. Mamata Banerjee has been demanding that 23rd January be declared a gazetted holiday in the honor of Netaji.”

Naren Chatterjee, the secretary of All India Forward Bloc said the party has been demanding for years that Netaji’s Birth anniversary be announced as ‘Desh Prem Diwas’.

“The BJP leadership doesn't realize the contribution of Netaji towards the Indian independence that's why they can't understand the difference between Parakram Diwas and Desh Prem Diwas,” he said. The AIFB was founded by Netaji.

The relations of Netaji also put their weight behind ‘Desh Prem Diwas’. “Netaji was India’s liberator. We welcome the announcement but people are celebrating January 23 as ‘Desh Prem Diwas’. it would be more appropriate, had the govt. announced it as Desh Prem Diwas. But we’re happy with the announcement,” Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose said.

Another grandnephew and Harvard historian Sugata Bose said one shouldn't forget the ideals of Netaji. He believed in unity and equality, and both Hindus and Muslims were part of the Azad Hind Army.

Meanwhile, hectic preparations are on for the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji in Kolkata, both by the state government and the Centre.

The government has scheduled to carry a huge procession in Kolkata. The Union Ministry of Culture is making another preparation for a grand event at Victoria Memorial Hall. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to participate in the celebrations.

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