Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is a great son and real icon of India, particularly to the younger generation, and his life is nothing but a story of service and sacrifice. Perhaps in many centuries to come, the country may not have anyone like him.

President Pranab Mukherjee made these observations on Sunday while inaugurating a week-long 116th birth anniversary celebration of Netaji at the Netaji Research Bureau here.

Tremendous influence

Mr. Mukherjee said Swami Vivekananda, whose 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated in the country, had a “tremendous influence” on Netaji, something that is “well researched and documented.”

“Netaji himself wrote that at the young age of 15, Swami Vivekananda entered into his life.

Even at the height of war activities in Singapore, whenever he had time, he used to visit the Ramakrishna Mission there and spend considerable time in meditation,” he said.

Netaji provided the concept of planning and the Directive Principles of State Policy about 10 years before the actual liberation of the country.

The addresses made by him as Congress president laid the “basis for the formation of responsibilities and duties of independent India,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

“He conceptualised and articulated the concept of planning and planned economic development. The fact that he appointed the Planning Commission under the chairmanship of Jawaharlal Nehru… clearly indicated what his ideals were of the government after Independence.”

Mr. Mukherjee said he took “inspiration” from the two speeches made by Netaji as Congress president while drafting his acceptance speech on being elected the President of India.

Stating that he had to put together the speech himself, as he had resigned from the Union Council of Ministers, he said, “The first idea that struck me was… let me go through the speech of Rashtrapati Subhas Chandra Bose. In those days, the Congress president was fondly called Rashtrapati.”