Bose’s kin demand renaming Kolkata’s Fort William after Netaji (IANS Special)

Kolkata, Aug 18 : After 75-years of Subhas Chandra Boses mysterious disappearance, the family members of Indias freedom struggle icon on Tuesday demanded for renaming of the Eastern Command headquarters Fort William in Kolkata after Netaji.

"On the official day of his disappearance, we demand for renaming Fort William after Netaji.

This will be the ultimate tribute to him where he had undergone four months of military arms training from February 1916 when he was just about 20-years-old," Netaji's grandnephew and activist Indraneel Mitra told IANS.

Mitra said that very few Indian's know that Netaji had undergone rigorous military training for four months at the Fort William.

"We family members would want the Government of India to consider the demand and take necessary steps towards renaming one of the six operational commands of the Indian Army after Netaji," he said, adding that the British has gone, now why should we still call it Fort William and remember their King.

The Eastern Command, an operational command of the Indian Army, is headquartered in Fort William in the city of Kolkata.

The Command's Area of Responsibility extends from Bengal to Sikkim and then across the entire Northeast India.

"Netaji has a strong association with the Fort William as a part of the 89-Bengal Regiment when he was a third-year student of philosophy honours in the Scottish Church College under Calcutta University.

He was a trainee member of the university cadet corps that time," said Rajashree Choudhury, great grand-niece of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

She said that Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) will demand for renaming Fort William as Netaji Subhas Fort on the very day of his mysterious disappearance (August 18, 1945).

"As great grand-niece and as national president of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) this will be the first honour we can show to our freedom fighters by removing a British name and honouring the hub from where our brave soldiers fought in the name of the first Supreme Commander of free India government," she told IANS.

Choudhury said that this would be an official recognition for Netaji who stands as a 'Symbol of Patriotism' for every Indian.

She said that she would also write a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a request to consider the proposal and rename Fort William after Netaji.

Built during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India, Fort William is a fort located near Hastings in Kolkata.

It sits on the eastern banks of the Hooghly River as one of Kolkata's most enduring Raj-era edifices. Named after King William-III, the fort extends over an area of 70.9 hectares and stands as a testimony of an internal guard room which eventually became the Black Hole of Kolkata.

"It is extremely relevant to rename Fort William after Netaji as he received training as a military trainee there and later he became the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA) which he had raised on October 21, 1943.

"The INA, under his leadership, had captured a large part of the Indian Territory and entered almost 1,500 miles inside the Indian mainland.

Even Japan had also handed over Andaman and Nicobar Islands to Subhas Chandra Bose which he had named as Swaraj and Shahid Islands on December 30, 1943," said Netaji researcher-author Dr Jayanta Chowdhury who was also been one of the deponents of the Justice Mukherjee Commission.

He said that Azad Hind Government had been recognised by the heads of 11 independent nations including the Soviet Union, Japan, Philippines, Germany and Italy.

"It will be a great honour shown to Netaji if the Centre can take a call on the issue of renaming Fort William after him.

This has been long overdue," Chowdhury said, adding that the British had left the Indian soil not because of anything but the military movement spearheaded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his INA.

Chowdhury further said that along with the proposal of renaming Kolkata's Fort William he would also want the Indian Army to be renamed as the Indian National Army.



Source: IANS