Anita Pfaff, Chandra Bose question RSS plan to celebrate Netaji’s birth anniversary
As economist Anita Bose Pfaff, daughter of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, has already claimed that her father, being a Leftist, does not have any ideological semblance to that of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the scheduled programme of the RSS on Monday to pay homage to Netaji in Kolkata has come under scathing attacks from different political and social quarters in the state.
The programme to be attended by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday in front of Shahid Minar in central Kolkata is being viewed as an attempt by the Sangh to titillate the sentiments of the Bengalis and the people of Bengal over Netaji.
Besides, even as Netaji’s grand-nephew Chandra Kumar Bose, is the face of the BJP in West Bengal, he has endorsed Pfaff’s statement that Netaji despite being a devout Hindu, had respect towards all religions which, the RSS does not.
Bose has questioned that if the RSS chief at Monday’s programmes does not announce the adoption of Netaji’s inclusive ideology, then just putting garlands on the Netaji statue will not be “true homage to the great son of the country”.
“As I have said before, either one should oppose Netaji or accept and practice his ideology of secularism and inclusivity true to its spirit. Let the hypocrisy over Netaji by all political parties come to an end,” he said.
While from the statements of Pfaff and Bose, it is clear that the family members will stay away from the RSS programme, the non- BJP parties in the state have started questioning the intention behind RSS arranging the Netaji homage, that too in Kolkata.
According to the CPI-M central committee member Sujan Chakraborty, “this is part of a bigger ploy of projecting Netaji as a Hindu rather than a believer in inclusive politics”.
“They are organising the programme just keeping in mind the panchayat elections in the state this year and the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. Even Netaji’s daughter has endorsed there is no common element of connection between RSS’ divisive politics and Netaji’s inclusive ideology irrespective of caste, language and religion,” he said.
Reminding how BJP supporters made a “mockery” of the Netaji birth anniversary celebration last year at Victoria Memorial Hall when the party supporters shouted “Jai Shri Ram” slogan following the entry of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the venue, Trinamool Congress’ state vice president Jai Prakash Majumdar said “whatever RSS would be doing on Monday would be nothing but vote politics”.
“RSS has never shown respect and Netaji did not ever endorse the ideology of RSS. There are reports that Netaji even refused to meet RSS ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar,” he added.
BJP’s state spokesman Samik Bhattacharya, however, said that the opposition parties are unnecessarily politicising the event.
“First of all, RSS is not a political outfit, whose aim is to strengthen Indian society. RSS is above all politics. Secondly, praying in tribute to Netaji cannot be the monopoly of any particular political party since Netaji remains in the hearts of the Indians. There is no need for such unnecessary politics over the matter,” he said.
Historians such as A.K. Das also feels that RSS’ celebration of Netaji birth anniversary this year and that too in Kolkata cannot be a mere coincidence.
“At least, there is no information of RSS celebrating the event in such a way before. There is no historical evidence that can establish synergy in the thought processes of Netaji and RSS. Rather, there is evidence of opposite thought processes,” he added.