Netaji Bhavan in Kolkata is hosting an exhibition of more than 60 black-and-white photographs to mark the 75th anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose announcing the Azad Hind government.
The iconic two-storied house is the place from which Netaji gave the slip to the British during his “great escape” in a vintage Wanderer car, which is also on display. The exhibition titled 1943: One Year, One Man and a World at War, has been curated by Sugata Bose, Netaji’s grand-nephew and a professor of history at Harvard University.
It highlights significant events such as the setting up of the Indian National Army and, later, the Azad Hind government. “1943 was the most glorious year of Netaji’s life. In January, he was stuck in Europe and by December he was standing on Indian soil in Andaman having proclaimed the Azad Hind government on October 21 in Singapore,” Prof. Bose told The Hindu . The exhibition draws heavily from Sugata Bose’s father Sisir Kumar Bose’s diary of 1943.
It was Sisir Kumar Bose, Netaji’s nephew, who drove him during his great escape from Kolkata to Gomoh railway station between January 16-18, 1941.
Prof. Bose said that the photographs in the exhibition were painstakingly collected by his father from Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Burma [now Myanmar] over 50 years. The photograph where Netaji announces the Provisional Government of Free India at Singapore’s Cathay Theatre on October 21, 1943, is among the iconic pictures at the exhibition.
Krishna Bose, mother of Sugata Bose, flagged off a cycle rally to mark the 75th anniversary on Sunday.
Photographs on display include those of the first Cabinet of the INA government; INA soldiers marching past Netaji and the leader reviewing troops including the Rani Lakshmi Bai regiment. The exhibition also has the last known photograph of Netaji at Saigon Airport, on August 17, 1945. Netaji’s visit to Japan in 1943 and his visit to the Cellular Jail in the Andamans are also recalled.
A building to remember
“It is good that we are celebrating 75 years of the Azad Hind government but it is important to note the significance of this house in Netaji’s life. Had the Mahaniskraman (great escape) not happened from this very house, there would have been no INA,” said Krishna Bose, chairperson of the Netaji Research Bureau that operates from the house.
She added that the Indian National Army may have suffered a military defeat but it was a political victory that paved the way to the end of the British empire.
Had the Mahaniskraman not happened from this very house, there would have been no INA
Chairperson of Netaji Research Bureau