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Subhash Chandra Bose’s statue unveiled in Malaysia

A bronze statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose has been unveiled at the Indian cultural centre premises here in the presence of nine Indian National Army (INA) veterans, including three women.

Subhash Chandra Bose’s statue unveiled in Malaysia
A file photo of Subhash Chandra Bose along with Lakshmi Sahgal reviewing an Indian National Army

Kuala Lumpur

During a visit to Malaysia last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced renaming of the Indian Cultural Centre here as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indian Cultural Centre. It marked a historic moment for INA, the Rani of Jhansi regiment, Balak Sena and the veterans of the INA in Malaysia. Nine INA veterans participated at the unveiling on Saturday and two more joined through a video message to the gathering. 

Three of the veterans who participated were women who were part of the Rani of Jhansi regiment of the INA. The bust was unveiled by the traditional lighting of the lamp. There were two INA speakers, Rasamma Bhupalan of the Rani of Jhansi regiment and Dr K R Somasundaram, and two more joined through video link, Dr L Krishnan and Janaki Bai Fateh Singh. 

Veteran of the Rani of Jhansi regiment Meenachee Perumal (90 years) sang gusty INA songs in Bengali and Tamil much to the admiration of the crowd which had filled the cultural centre to the brim. All INA veterans were given commemorative plaques by the High Commissioner T S Tirumurti. 

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose strode like a colossus across the Malay Peninsula inspiring numerous Malaysians, particularly those of Indian-origin, to join the army. Bose had great drive and charisma and the INA under Bose was a model of diversity by region, ethnicity, religion, and even gender. 

With Japanese support, Bose revamped the INA, then composed of Indian soldiers of the British Indian army who had been captured in the Battle of Singapore. Malaysia has the second largest Indian-origin community in the world of around two million. One of the most distinguished INA veteran in Malaysia, who passed away last year, was Capt Janaki Athi Nahappan, who had served as deputy leader in the Rani of Jhansi regiment of the Indian National Army under Capt Lakshmi Sahgal. 

The Indian Cultural Centre, inaugurated in 2010, showcases India’s rich heritage and promotes multi-layered cultural exchanges between peoples of India and Malaysia. The High Commission of India hosted the first ever Festival of India in Malaysia last year. The bronze bust of Netaji was sculpted by Ram Sutar and sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

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