Some of the far-sighted visions that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had for post-independent India were realised but those of literacy and prosperity evaded the country, his daughter Anita Pfaff said here on Sunday.
Professor Pfaff, who participated at an event on the eve of Netaji’s 116 birth anniversary celebrations, said Partition and the tragic consequences that followed, including the war between India and Pakistan, were major disappointments to his vision.
The money squandered by India and Pakistan on armaments could have been utilised for improving education and healthcare. “Had all the money that was put into all sorts of armament projects like procuring nuclear arms been put into education and healthcare, it certainly would have been more beneficial to the populations of India and Pakistan.”
Drawing a comparison between the two countries, she said while Pakistan was dealing with several problems, India has had fewer problems and was a “stable nation.”
“In the early 1950s and 1960s there was great concern that the country might drift apart due to the cultural differences that existed within. But India has managed remarkably well in containing the cultural odds,” she said.
Describing her father as “a far-sighted and visionary leader,” she said that apart from being moved by “fierce love and devotion to his country” he was also a very “pragmatic person.”
“Even though his life involved a lot of tragedy, the love and affection of the people of the country [for him] to this day, and even generations born long after attainment of India’s freedom, are indeed a repayment,” Professor Pfaff said, commenting on celebration of Netaji’s birthday every year, across the country.
On the speculation that the alleged ashes of her father preserved in the Renkoji temple in Tokyo could be reclaimed, she said she was not aware of any such development.
“I don’t have the ashes. After all, this will be a highly diplomatically difficult thing. It is not that I go over to the temple and say, ‘Please hand my father’s ashes to me.’ It is not a private matter. Instead, it involves two countries which involve multi-level relations.”
There are different opinions regarding Netaji’s death.
While some believe that he died in a plane crash in Taihoku, Taiwan, on August 18, 1945, and the ashes are preserved in the Renkoji temple, a section of the people do not consider this to be true.