Manipur Polls: Constituency with Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose link seeks better deal for him

It was at Moirang the Tricolour was unfurled for the first time on April 14, 1944 by the Indian National Army (INA).

Published: 22nd February 2022 08:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2022 08:47 PM   |  A+A-

Subhas Chandra Bose

The Subhas Chandra Bose statue at the INA memorial-cum-Museum in Moirang. (Photo | Prasanta Mazumdar)

Express News Service

MOIRANG: Ibomcha Singh of Moirang in Manipur's Bishnupur district is happy and sad at the same time.

He is filled with pride that it was at Moirang the Tricolour was unfurled for the first time on April 14, 1944 by the Indian National Army (INA). He is sad because he feels the country has not given the charismatic INA leader Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose his dues.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a hologram statue of the freedom fighter in Delhi, Ibomcha was hoping the BJP will commit more considering elections in Manipur and Moirang's special place in the history of India's freedom struggle.

"Neither the BJP nor the Congress had anything on Netaji in their election manifestos. I am sad," the middle-aged man said.

Other locals such as Kunjabihari Singh, K Inaocha Singh, Rajen Singh, Babina Devi and Ningthoujam Denny praised the Modi government for installing the hologram statue. At the same time, however, they insisted the government do more to recognise Netaji's contributions.

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"I feel proud that my shop is next to the INA memorial. Netaji was a great leader who had sacrificed his life for all of us but the country has not given him his dues," Kunjabihari lamented.

Inaocha heard from his grandfather that the locals fed the INA soldiers when they had arrived at Moirang during the Battle of Imphal in World War II.

"They had come on foot from Burma (Myanmar). The people of Moirang then had no idea if the soldiers were Indians, Japanese but they fed them well," he said.

Both Inaocha and Kunjabihari felt the people of India could give a fitting tribute to Netaji by celebrating his birthday at every place.

For the tourists visiting Manipur, Moirang is a favoured destination.

It was a dream visit to Moirang for Dr Vinod Kumar who came from Kerala. He too felt Netaji did not get his dues. "The present government is doing something but he deserves more respect," Kumar said.

"Mahatma Gandhiji had a disagreement on his (Netaji's) approach to secure freedom but it was more practical at that time as the British were very strong. I don't think we could have won the battle through a peaceful movement," he added.

Denny, who accompanied Kumar, said, "I get inspired by Netaji’s heroics every time I visit the memorial. We, the Manipuris, prefer Netaji to Gandhiji. Our traits are similar to that of Netaji. We should give more credit to Netaji than to Gandhiji."

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The INA Memorial-cum-Museum is managed by the Manipur government. It has a collection of letters, photographs, badges of ranks and other war memorabilia which remind visitors of the sacrifices made by the INA soldiers.

Moirang, meanwhile, will go to polls in the first phase on February 28. The constituency braces for a straight fight between Sharatchandra Singh of the Congress and M Prithviraj Singh of the BJP.

Sharatchandra, the sitting MLA, had defected to the Congress recently after being denied a ticket by the BJP.


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