Thiruvananthapuram

Sharing a bond of freedom struggle

Fami Abdul Raheem, nephew of Vakkom Abdul Khader (second from right), presents a memento to Prof. Sugata Bose at the Kerala History Congress in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.  

The University of Kerala campus at Kariavattom, the venue of the Kerala History Congress, witnessed an extraordinary get-together on Friday the roots of which traced back to the troubled and exciting times of the freedom struggle.

When noted historian and MP Sugata Bose — grandnephew of Subhas Chandra Bose — concluded his Vakkom Abdul Khader memorial lecture in the morning session, several people jostled to meet him and pose for photographs and selfies.

Among them were the descendants of Abdul Khader himself and other members of the Indian National Army (INA). Fami Abdul Raheem, Abdul Khader’s nephew and an office-bearer of the INA International Foundation in Singapore, presented a memento to Prof. Bose, who is Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs, Harvard University. Prof. Bose’s lecture was also meant to mark the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Abdul Khader, an INA hero who was sentenced to death by the British on September 10, 1943.

Incidentally, much of Prof. Bose’s lecture also dwelt on Netaji’s activities in that year. Concluding his speech, he underscored the need to “honour the tradition of heroism and self-sacrifice, and, above all, unity transcending religious affiliations bequeathed to us by the martyrs of the freedom struggle.”

Call to scholars

He urged scholars in Kerala to research the life and times of Abdul Khader. “This relatively forgotten martyr needs to be remembered. Not just in Kerala, but throughout India and south Asia,” he said. According to Prof. Bose, one of the reasons for this relative obscurity is that men like Abdul Khader were tried in camera by the British.

Hush-up bid

For obvious reasons, the British tried to hush up the story of the INA and the fact that it was training people in Penang and sending them to India by submarine to help in the freedom struggle. “They did not want the Indians to know what was going on in southeast Asia. We have to make sure that his name is remembered,” he said.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 8:26:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/sharing-a-bond-of-freedom-struggle/article25802572.ece

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