Chennai: Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu here on Thursday said Indian history textbooks should highlight the life stories of freedom fighters, like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
Unveiling the bronze statue of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose at TN Raj Bhavan, Naidu said, “Our history textbooks must highlight the life stories of our national icons, like Sardar Patel and Veer Savarkar, who were not given due recognition.”
Veer Savarkar was given two life sentences, imprisoned for 10 years and was subjected to inhuman treatment, he said. “Unfortunately, some people are trying to belittle his invaluable contribution to the nationalistic cause and the freedom struggle,” Naidu said.
Naidu said Netaji was a youth icon and very few leaders had inspired the country’s youth like him.
Stating that India is at a cusp of transformation, the Vice-President said it had the largest youth population in the world, 65 per cent of the population was below 35 years, and they would determine the country’s future.
According to Naidu, the energy of the youth should be channelised into creative pursuits for nation-building. “Netaji can be the guiding light for the Indian youth of the 21st century,” Naidu said.
According to Naidu, Muthuramalinga Thevan was instrumental in establishing Netaji in the minds of Tamil’s imagination. “An influential leader and a close confidante of Netaji, Thevan was also one of the founding pillars of Forward Bloc and played an instrumental role in mobilising support for the Indian National Army (INA) founded by Netaji,” he said.
The Vice-President also recalled the the daredevilry of Lakshmi Swaminathan (famously known as Captain Lakshmi Sahgal) who had set up the INA’s Rani of Jhansi Regiment.
Another Tamil Malaysian woman Janaky Nahappan, and Malaysian freedom fighter and social activist Rasammah Bhupalan also joined the Rani of Jhansi Regiment.
As a 14-year-old, Janaky once attended a Netaji’s rally and was so enthralled by his idealism that she handed over her expensive earring to the INA as a part of fund raising drive, Naidu said recalling the Tamil links to the INA.