Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose would have been proud to see the powerful avatar of India that he had once envisioned and the way the country is helping others during the Covid-19 pandemic while stressing that ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ has to lead to ‘Atma Nirbhar Bengal’ and ‘Sonar Bangla’.

PM Modi was in the city to commemorate Netaji’s birth anniversary.

While addressing the event held at Victoria Memorial, PM Modi said Netaji is the biggest inspiration for ‘Sonar Bangla’ along with the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

“The role that Netaji played in the freedom of the country, the same role Bengal has to play in Atmanirbhar Bharat…..Like Netaji, even we have one goal: live for the country and with our strength, make India Aatmanirbhar”, PM said.

Emphasising on the progress made by the country in all spheres, PM Modi said that Netaji would have felt proud to witness the changes that have made a ‘powerful avatar of India’.

“From LAC to LOC, the world is witnessing the powerful avatar of India that was envisioned by Netaji. India today is giving a befitting reply wherever attempts are made to challenge its sovereignty. Netaji would have been proud had he seen India’s unwavering fight against Covid and seen our efforts in producing vaccines against the virus. Had he seen us helping other nations, he would have felt proud,” he said and added that India currently has a strong army that Netaji envisioned and is developing advanced weapons.

“Netaji used to count poverty, illiteracy, disease, among the biggest problems in the country. These problems can be solved if society comes together to address them,” he said, adding that all sectors are working to become self-reliant.

He said that every person in India is indebted to Netaji and every drop of blood flowing in the veins of over 130 crore Indians is indebted to him. If one is truthful to oneself then one cannot do wrong to others, he said, adding that there was nothing impossible for a man with stout intentions like Netaji.

“Netaji had pledged to lay the foundation of independent government on the land of India. Netaji fulfilled his promise. He arrived in Andaman with his troops and hoisted the tricolour,” he said. Modi said that in keeping with the desires of the people of the country, the files related to Netaji were made public by the Centre and it participated in the INA Veterans Parade on 26 January. The train plying from Howrah, Howrah-Kalka Mail is being renamed as Netaji Express and every year Netaji’s birth anniversary will be celebrated as ‘Parakram Diwas’, he said, adding: “Netaji is an inspiration for India’s courage.”

INA veterans were felicitated by the Prime Minister on the occasion. The PM released a memorial postal stamp and coin on the occasion and a book on ‘Letters of Netaji’ of 1926-38 was released. Union culture minister and the Governor were also present at the programme. A laser light show was organised at Victoria Memorial portraying Netaji’s life and an exhibition was inaugurated to inspire the youths. Modi also inaugurated a permanent museum dedicated to Netaji. The events of Netaji’s life were projected on the inner walls of Victoria Memorial and his radio addresses were played.

A cultural programme was also organised on the occasion. Prior to this, Modi visited the National Library where he paid a floral tribute to Netaji and visited an open art exhibition. The PM began his tour this afternoon with a visit to Netaji Bhawan, Netaji’s ancestral home. He was received at the entrance of the house by Sugato Bose and his brother Sumantro Bose, Netaji’s grand nephews. The visit to Netaji Bhawan was not included in the PM’s itinerary but the Prime Minister’s Office included it last evening