Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said Netaji’s popularity and Indians in the British armed forces joining the INA during World War II was the primary reason why India achieved Independence but the freedom fighter’s contribution has been “largely neglected” by Left historians.
Sarma was speaking at a programme here to mark the 126th birth anniversary of Netaji. History has not done proper justice to him and ''time has come to do a deep and insightful analysis of his contributions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking the initiative in this direction'', he said.
Indian soldiers of the British army did not support the Congress in the freedom struggle but as disciplined soldiers, they had supported the British, Sarma claimed. They had a “change of heart” when they came to know of Netaji's efforts to set up the INA and many of their former colleagues, particularly those in Singapore, joining it, the chief minister said.
Many of them revolted during the Red Fort trial of INA members when they realised ''what are we doing....when our colleagues have sacrificed so much, we have remained faithful to the British. “When the Indians in their armed forces revolted the British realised that they would have to grant independence. This has been mentioned by the then British prime minister Clement Atlee to the first Indian Chief Justice P V Chakravartti when the former visited Calcutta in 1956'', the chief minister pointed out.
When Chakravartti wanted to know what had influenced the British to grant independence to India, Clement had replied that it was Netaji’s ''popularity and the Indians' in the British army joining the INA'' which finds a mention in his book 'History of Bengal',” Sarma said.
Atlee had said that when the Indian army jawans did not support the British, they realised that they could not stay in India any more. ''This was possible only due to the efforts and sacrifices of Netaji but the historians, mostly those following the Left ideology, who wrote the history of Independence have not mentioned this and kept away his contribution from the people'', the chief minister said.
It was Netaji who had taken India's freedom struggle to the international level during the Second World War by letting the world know how the British had colonised the country, Sarma pointed out. ''His exemplary patriotism and immense sacrifices as reflected in his submarine journey from Germany to Japan must be an inspiration for the new generation'', he said.
The contribution of Netaji and his family towards Assam is also immense of which people are not aware and it must come to the fore, he said. However, Netaji is not Bengal or Assam's pride alone but of the entire country and his ideals must be followed by all, Sarma added.