Ahead of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary on the upcoming Saturday, the Government of India has decided to celebrate 23rd January as ‘Parakram Diwas’ every year. ‘Parakram’ is a Hindi word signifying courage. The Union Ministry of Culture made the announcement on Tuesday and said that the decision has been taken by the GOI to pay tribute to the freedom fighter and inspire the youth of the country to ‘act with fortitude in the face of adversity’. The Ministry issued a circular to this effect stating:
The Modi government’s announcement comes in furtherance of their move to restore Netaji amongst India’s greatest freedom fighters. Earlier in January, the Prime Minister had announced that a committee has been constituted to agree on the activities for a year-long commemoration in the honor of Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary from 23rd January onwards.
The committee comprises authors, historians, experts, and family members of Netaji and is headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The committee is tasked with deciding on how to pay tribute to the freedom fighter’s contribution to the country’s independence struggle, in places associated with Netaji and Azad Hind Fauj including Delhi, Kolkata as well as overseas.
Incidentally, Netaji’s contribution to the freedom struggle has been a matter of much controversy and debate as the previous Congress governments have attempted to sideline his efforts.
In 2015, the Modi government declassified 33 files pertaining to Netaji and release digital copies of 100 files. Thereafter, in 2016, all records relating to Netaji and Azad Hind Fauj (the armed force floated by Netaji to fight for the country’s independence) were declassified and transferred to the National Archives of India for permanent retention.
PM Modi also joined a program in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to mark the 75th anniversary of the hoisting tricolor by Netaji and renamed Ross Island to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep. A Netaji museum was also inaugurated by the Modi government in January 2019.
The announcement by the Modi government holds significance in light of the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections this year. PM Modi is likely to visit West Bengal on 23rd January to attend Netaji’s birth anniversary celebrations at the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata. West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also expected to hold a march on the occasion6 of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Jayanti.