Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced that a statue of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose will be installed at Delhi’s India Gate to honour his contribution to the country’s independence movement.
“At a time when the entire nation is marking the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, I am glad to share that his grand statue, made of granite, will be installed at India Gate,” Modi said on Twitter.
Modi said the granite statue of Bose will symbolise “India’s indebtedness to him”.
Till the installation is completed, a hologram of the statue will be projected at the site, the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
“I will unveil the hologram statue on 23rd January, Netaji’s birth anniversary,” he tweeted.
The statue of Netaji, as Bose was referred to, will be 28 feet by 6 feet, reported NDTV.
The statue will be installed under the grand canopy near the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial at the India Gate in Delhi. The canopy was built in the 1930s by Sir Edwin Lutyens and once used to house a statue of the former king of England George V. The statue was shifted in 1968.
Meanwhile, the ceremonial flame at the Amar Jawan Jyoti war memorial will be extinguished on Friday for the first time since it was lit in 1972. The flame will be merged with the torch at the National War Memorial, inaugurated by Modi in 2019. The new memorial is situated less than a kilometre away on the same stretch as the Amar Jawan Jyoti.
Netaji’s daughter Anita Bose Pfaff said that she was happy about the decision and that the location of the statue was good, PTI reported. “What surprises me is it came all of a sudden now. One might have prepared a bit earlier, but better late than never, I must say,” she said.
She added that her father had a vision to strengthen India economically and even advocated strongly for gender equality.
Netaji’s grandnephew CK Bose said that if the Centre really wanted to honour Bose, it should implement his “inclusive ideology of uniting all communities; real homage to liberated India remains incomplete”, ANI reported.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including Cabinet ministers also welcomed the announcement.
Home Minister Amit Shah called Bose “an epitome of India’s true strength & resolve”. He also hit out at the Congress, and claimed that the party had made every effort “to forget the immortal contributions of India’s brave son”.
The Trinamool Congress on Friday appreciated the Centre’s decision, PTI reported. However, it said that the statue is being constructed to counter the criticism that the Centre received after rejecting West Bengal’s Republic Day tableau.
The float was reportedly themed around Subhas Chandra Bose.
“As the rejection of West Bengal’s tableau on Netaji has created a major controversy, the Centre is trying to divert attention,” said TMC state General Secretary Kunal Ghosh. “The decision to install the statue of Netaji is only aimed in that direction. But we welcome the decision.”