“Father of the Nation”, Netaji said of Gandhi ji amid the interference in our radio on that July day. He was just acknowledging what everybody felt. His immense respect for Gandhi ji and Nehru ji can be seen in his naming two of the three INA brigades after them. And it seemed appropriate as Nehru ji put on his black robe to defend these soldiers later. How can people from those days forget that while Nehru ji was in jail, Netaji escorted the ailing Kamala Nehru to the TB sanatorium in Switzerland and was later at Nehru ji’s side when she passed away? Nehru ji, being the gentleman that he was, reciprocated by arranging financial care for Netaji’s wife and daughter who had shifted to Vienna after his death. All this was not surprising to us though, however so it may seem to people today.
On 20th October, our Hon’ble Prime Minister hoisted our beloved flag on Red Fort on the 75th anniversary of Azad Hind Government, filling us with immense pride. It was inevitable that I be taken down the memory lane. I often used to go with my father to the meetings of Nehru ji, Sardar Ji, Maulana Azad ji, Govind Pant ji and others. There were differences, there were disagreements, but I distinctly remember that the unity and the mutual respect always shined through. But what I hear now from our Hon’ble Prime Minister is in great contrast to it. He paints a picture where there are grudges among these giants of our freedom movement and it hurts me to the very core. He talks of their differences as petty feuds like he did with Nehru and Patel in Gujarat, Nehru and Shastri in UP, Nehru and Bhagat Singh in Karnataka and now Nehru and Bose. There is only one history that I remember and it is not some version I came across. And I feel betrayed when people, least of all the Hon’ble Prime Minister, try to make me understand the “right” versions. This is not the legacy they left; to be remembered in unison despite their differences was what they wanted. We were a family, united for a great cause like brothers are, to give ourselves the gift that we most desired – freedom. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister is probably under the impression that people remember only Nehru today and he has to save other martyrs’ legacy by reminding people of them. In my humble opinion, he should rest assured that the Patels, the Boses, the Azads, the Shastris will never be forgotten by the people of this great country.
I now see my lost youth and vigour in my grandson who is penning this letter on behalf of my disappointment. It will truly sadden me to see him believe that his grandfather went along with bickering brothers, when in truth he marched alongside the biggest and proudest family he ever had, where everyone was ready to die for another, literally.
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