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HVK Archives: We were wrong on Netaji admits Basu

We were wrong on Netaji admits Basu - The Pioneer

Pioneer News Service ()
24 January 1997

Title : We were wrong on Netaji admits Basu
Author : Pioneer News Service
Publication : The Pioneer
Date : January 24, 1997

Chief Minister Jyoti Basu on Thursday publicly admitted that the
Communists had made a "wrong assessment" of Netaji Subhas Chandra
Bose and called him a "traitor."

Addressing a huge rally at the Netaji statue near the Brigade
Parade grounds on the occasion of the freedom fighter's birth
centenary, Mr Basu, however, said: "We have corrected ourselves and
given him the recognition he deserves. "

Mr Basu stammered twice before saying "Netaji" and added that there
was an urgent need to "re-evaluate" the leader's role "given the
political morality of the day. "

Significantly, Mr Nandagopal Bhattacharya, a CPI Minister, who was
on the dais, did not speak, giving rise to speculation that the CPI
and the CPI(M) were not agreed on their respective evaluation of
Netaji.

The CPI has still not gone on record retracting its condemnation of
Netaji for joining hands with Fascist Germany to free the nation.

Mr Basu's 20-minute speech was almost an echo of what he had
written in Thursday's edition of party organ Ganashakti's
supplement on Netaji and again in the special issue of the
widely-circulated Bengali daily, Anandabazar Patrika.

In both the papers, Mr Basu had said the Communists were wrong in
assessing Netaji's role and that the leader had "joined hands with
the Fascists as there was no other alternative at that moment."

The publication of the articles in two diametrically opposed
policy-line dailies by Mr Basu speaks volumes of the Chief
Minister's recent resilience. The CPI(M)'s sanction for him to
write for the Anandabazar Patrika, generally regarded as being
anti-Government, can be seen to have many overtones, the
implications of which are being discussed in town widely today.

In fact, for the first time in print has Mr Basu used the epithet
"Netaji" in both the articles, putting to rest all speculation
about the CPI(M)'s allergy to the epithet.

Mr Basu went hammer and tongs against corruption in public life
during his speech and said it was time that "some leaders drew some
lessons from what Netaji stood for."

In fact, at one time, he even lapsed into Hindi saying: "There are
some politicians who even question the very existence of
value-based politics..." The dig at one particular cow belt leader
could not be missed.

Sheikh Rehana, sister of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
and daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, was felicitated at the
Programme. She said her father had drawn "great inspiration" from
Netaji during his student years.

The Bangabandhu's famous "We will give blood" speech was directly
inspired by Netaji's famous "Give me blood and I will give you
freedom" remark.

There was, however, one flaw in the immaculately planned show.
Sheikh Rehana's speech, which was circulated to the Press, was blue
pencilled where she had paid homage to the "departed soul" of
Netaji.

Obviously, the Netaji Centenary Celebrations Committee was not
taking risks in Calcutta about their icon's mortality.



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