Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate today -- under the cupola where the statue of British monarch King George V once stood. "The role of our heroes, whose memories were being erased post-Independence... are now being revived," he said at the inauguration.
In what appeared a swipe at the successive Congress governments since Independence, PM Modi said: "It is unfortunate that after Independence, along with the culture and rites of the country, work was done to erase the contribution of many great personalities."
Then underscoring the point, he said, "The freedom struggle involved the penance of lakhs of countrymen. But efforts were made to limit their history as well. But today, after decades of independence, the country is correcting those mistakes".
Netaji, one of the iconic freedom fighters, had won the Congress presidency in 1938. In his second presidential term, he quit the Congress after disagreements with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and other key leaders over policy issues. He then formed the Azad Hind Fauj and pursued the path of armed revolution.
The controversy over Netaji's death is a hugely emotive issue, especially in Bengal and many still believe that he did not die in a plane crash in 1945.
In response to a query under the Right to Information Act in 2017, the Centre had confirmed that Subhas Bose died in a plane crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945.
"It is my good fortune that last year, on this very day, I had the opportunity to visit Netaji's ancestral residence in Kolkata... The car in which he left Kolkata, the room in which he used to study, the stairs of his house, the walls of his house, seeing him, that experience is beyond words," PM Modi said today. "Azadi Ke Amrit Mahotsav resolves that India will revive its identity and inspirations," PM Modi said.
The 28 feet-by-6 feet hologram statue is powered by a 30,000 lumens 4K projector. The light is thrown on a high-grain, 90 per cent transparent holographic screen that is not visible to visitors. The hologram, the Prime Minister has said, will be replaced by a granite statue.
The Prime Minister also conferred the 'Subhas Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar' at an investiture ceremony that followed. The government has instituted the award to honour the invaluable contribution and selfless service by individuals and organisations in disaster management.
This year, the government has also announced that the Republic Day celebrations will now begin from January 23 instead of January 24, to include Netaji's birth anniversary. It will end on January 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.