‘Rename Andaman & Nicobar islands as Netaji wanted'

‘Rename the Andaman & Nicobar islands as Netaji wanted’

At present, Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary year is being observed

India's first PM Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Credit: Getty Images

A section of Netaji’s family feels that while the Centre renamed three islands - Ross, Neil and Havelock as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Shaheed Dweep, and Swaraj Dweep, respectively, in 2018, it doesn’t reflect Netaji’s original desire and decision.

“As the first Prime Minister of the united free India, Netaji had gone to the Islands and hoisted the tricolour on 30 December, 1943. This region became part of free India. He named the islands Shaheed and Swaraj,” Chandra Bose, Netaji’s grand nephew told Deccan Herald.

“We had submitted a proposal to PM Modi in 2016. Subsequently, the Centre renamed (three) islands. Netaji’s declaration was for the clusters of islands. Just renaming two islands wasn’t proper. Also it wasn’t essential to name one island after him. I fail to understand why the government didn’t rename the clusters. This should be reconsidered. I am to write to the PM, again,” Bose added.

At present, Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary year is being observed.

Anuj Dhar, an investigative writer on Netaji, told Deccan Herald that such demand has been there for decades, perhaps, due to certain sensitivities involved, this hasn’t been taken forward. “My sources reveal that there was a great resistance in renaming, as it is claimed that the Japanese were brutal with islanders. This is an old western narrative. The demand to rename the clusters is justified.”

Abhijit Ray, another grand nephew of Netaji, says, it’s not unclear that after Netaji had named the islands, why after 1947, the islands were again called the Andaman & Nicobar. “History says something else. We want what Netaji and the provisional government declared,” he told Deccan Herald. 

Chandrachur Ghose, author, who has delved into Netaji’s life feels that the “opportunity has been missed” and there’s no point going back afresh. 

The Japanese occupied the islands from the British in 1942. After the provisional government was formed in 1943, Netaji on his visit in December that year renamed the islands. 

"A chief administrator from the Azad Hind government took over, and, in principle, a phased-handover was agreed to,” Ghose told Deccan Herald. “What’s more important is that the remaining files on Netaji be declassified,” he added.

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