Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday evening said his government was reviving the memories of the forgotten heroes of India as he unveiled a hologram of Subhas Chandra Bose at Delhi’s India Gate. Sunday marked the 125th birth anniversary of Bose, or Netaji as he was popularly referred to.

The prime minister said the previous governments tried to erase the contributions of many great personalities. “Freedom struggle involved the penance of lakhs of countrymen, but efforts were made to limit their history as well, he added. “The country is now correcting the mistakes made in decades after Independence.”

Modi said Subhas Chandra Bose refused to bow before the British. He said: “Netaji’s statue will inspire democratic values and future generations. This is a historic location and a historic occasion.”

The hologram statue will be powered by a 30,000 lumens 4K projector. The 3D image of Bose will be projected on it to create the effect of a hologram, the government has said.

The hologram will be replaced by a granite statue once it is ready.

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.

Modi also conferred the Subhas Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskars for the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. The seven awards honour the contributions of individuals and organisations in the field of disaster management. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 51 lakh in case of an institution and Rs 5 lakh in case of an individual.

Modi hit out at previous governments, who, he said, tasked the agriculture department with disaster management. He added that international agencies have also lauded his government for its initiatives in the sector.

“We have laid emphasis on reform as well as on relief, rescue and rehabilitation,” said the prime minister. “We modernised the NDRF, expanded it across the country. Space technology and other best possible practices have been adopted for planning and management.”

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was also present at the event, said the statue marks a step towards reviving Bose’s forgotten legacy. “Today marks a new beginning for the nation,” said Shah, according to Hindustan Times. “This is not just a granite statue but also a befitting tribute to the legendary Netaji, who gave everything for India’s freedom.”

‘We don’t know about Netaji’s whereabouts’: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday claimed that the Centre has not declassified all the files related to Bose’s death, reported ANI.

“Till today we don’t know about Netaji’s whereabouts,” Banerjee said at an event to mark the birth anniversary of Bose. “They [the Centre] had said that when they come to power, they will work on it but nothing happened. In fact, we [the state] have released and declassified all files on Netaji Bose.”

The Centre claims it has declassified all the files related to Bose.

In January 2016, Modi had released digital copies of 100 secret files related to Bose, on the freedom fighter’s 119th birth anniversary. The files were put in the public domain for the first time. Since then, the Union Ministry of Culture has released batches of the classified files in connection with Bose.

However, a section of researchers allege that the Intelligence Bureau files on the matter were still not in the public domain.

Banerjee’s party, the Trinamool Congress, also demanded that the ashes preserved at Renkoji temple in Japan be sent for a DNA analysis. The ashes are believed to be that of Bose’s who is believed to have died in a plane crash in Taipei in 1945.

Banerjee on Sunday said Bose’s statue was now being built “because we pressurised you”. On Friday when Modi had announced the statue, Banerjee’s party had said that it was 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,” TMC state General Secretary Kunal Ghosh had said. “The decision to install the statue of Netaji is only aimed in that direction. But we welcome the decision.”