An inspired lawyer converts his home into 'Netaji' museum

Collecting and preserving antiques began as a hobby for the 45-year-old Mohammad Mustaque, but now it is his passion. In his private museum at Badahat locality of Kendrapara town, a wide range of collections on the champion freedom fighter finds a pride of place.

Among other things, the unique collections include rare photographs, letters, manuscripts, magazines, journals, coins, homeopathy box, granite glass and lantern related to the great leader.

"Since childhood, I was an ardent fan of Netaji. His magnetic personality drew me to know more and more towards him. The children of my age adored bollywood heroes, but for me, he remained my idol. Later on, I began to collect everything that had even Netaji's name," Mustaque said.

"For the collections, a lot has been spent from my own purse. Right from street corner book shops in Kolkata to various individuals, my search for Netaji's articles still goes on," the lawyer, who takes pride in the fact that his personal collection on great leaders are drawing people from various parts, said.

He is now planning to turn the private museum into a trust as organisations are keen to conserve the collected articles. An old studio photograph of Netaji with family members of Ashok Banerjee, a lawyer from the leader's birthplace, Cuttack, is one of the prized possessions of Mustaque.

The picture depicts octogenarian Ashok Banerjee, who still resides in Cuttack, sitting on the lap of Netaji in 1935. At that time, Banerjee was only four years old. The 1913 gazette notification of Bihar and Orissa, mentioning that Subash Chandra Bose passed out high school entrance examination in 1913, is also treasured by the lawyer.

A handwritten letter of Captain Laxmi Saigal of Indian National Army (INA), an original copy of the magazine 'Forward' published by Netaji, a special issue of INA 'Basumati', a Bengali magazine, 'Meaning of Leftism', an article written by Netaji in Socialist Republican magazine, are also among his collections.

A postal stamp issued by INA to commemorate the liberation of Manipur are some of the treasure troves collected by Mustaque from different sources. Two rare coins, which the government minted to observe the centenary of Netaji in 1997, can also be found at Mustaque's house.

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