New York, Jan 24 (PTI) As India marked the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a first-ever documentary chronicles the stories of Malaysian veterans of the Indian National Army and its Rani of Jhansi regiment who, inspired by Netaji, joined in the fight for India’s independence from the distant lands of Southeast Asia.
“The film is an attempt to see Netaji, the Indian National Army and the Rani of Jhansi regiment through the eyes of the Malaysian veterans who fought alongside Netaji,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti, the then High Commissioner of India to Malaysia, says in the documentary.
The 30-minute documentary ‘At the Altar of India’s Freedom – INA Veterans of Malaysia’, made in 2018, has been directed by journalist Choodie Shivaram and was produced by Tirumurti and the High Commission of India in Malaysia.
Tirumurti tweeted Saturday, “1st time ever: INA Veterans of Malaysia on #NetajiSubhasChandraBose. On #Netaji125 watch ‘At the Altar of India’s Freedom’– Malaysian women/men fight for India. Producer @hcikl (when I was High Commissioner to Malaysia) & Director/Creator Choodie Shivaram.” Tirumurti shared the link of the documentary, which will now be available on YouTube, on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji.
In the documentary, veteran Indian-Malaysian freedom fighters recall their journey of getting inspired by Netaji as young teenagers and joining his fight for India’s independence while being thousands of kilometers away from India.
Through archival footage of Netaji and his Indian National Army and the Rani of Jhansi regiment, the documentary chronicles the valour, courage and sacrifice of the veterans.
INA veteran Dato Saroja Dev Param recalled the time when Netaji addressed a large gathering in Seremban, a city in Malaysia. “It had lit up the whole country so everybody was moving in the same direction that is freedom for India.” INA veteran, Rani of Jhansi Regiment, Datuk Rasammah Bhupalan recalled, “When Netaji came, (it was like) a whole blaze of sunshine, we were spellbound. That really changed the whole scenario,” she said.
Bhupalan also recalled that her mother was shocked when she learnt that her daughter was going to join the Rani of Jhansi regiment.
“There were about 8 families, all of them didn’t want the girls to go. All of us went.” INA veteran from the Rani of Jhansi regiment Anjalai described Netaji as a “father to all of us.” “Still he is guiding me, he is guiding my life also,” INA veteran Seethapathi said in the documentary.
“At the mention of Netaji, it evokes some emotion in us like when we see a God in a temple. In the same way, we feel we are seeing a God in him,” INA veteran Palaniappan Pillai said.
The documentary notes that in true INA spirit, the veterans who once fought alongside Netaji for India’s independence expect nothing in return.
“Well, we don’t worry about recognition but this part of Indian history that should be remembered,” INA veteran Tan Sri Dr K R Somasundaram said.
“In golden letters, it should be there in Indian history,” INA veteran N Sundaram said.
India on Sunday paid homage to Netaji on his 125th birth anniversary, with leaders hailing his “monumental” contribution to the country’s freedom struggle and Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiling a hologram statue at the India Gate in New Delhi.
The day was observed as ‘Parakram Diwas’, announced by the government to mark the Azad Hind Fauj founder’s birthday, and a number of events were organised across the states and abroad where floral tributes were offered at the statues and portraits of the iconic freedom fighter. PTI YAS IND AKJ IND
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