Today, let’s have – Singer-Painter Soumita Saha on Subhash Chandra Bose. Yesterday was the late freedom fighter Netaji’s 125th birthday. Personally, I have always been proud of our freedom fighters and I have been moved by the stories of the Netaji that had read in History books.
Even one lesson in Hindi mentioned how a poor woman had lost her son in the struggle for freedom and had contributed the gold frame of his picture for funding the freedom struggle, saying, “When I have already lost my son, what will I do with a gold frame on his picture.” Netaji’s slogan “Tum mujhe khoon do main tumhe aazado doonga (Give me your blood, I will give your freedom)” has always brought goosebumps on me.
Singer-Painter Soumita Saha on Subhash Chandra Bose
Soumita Saha says, “Netaji…. the brave Son of Mother India. We Indians grew up learning about India’s struggle. I hail from the state where the story of Mother India’s bravest son befooling police force to escape from house arrest, with a pledge to liberate India from the British Raj was included in regular storytelling routine, at many homes. My maternal grandmother used to tell me various stories like fairy tales and even India’s freedom struggle.”
She continues, “Netaji’s escape story was one of those stories, which were repeated pretty often. Maybe she loved relating that or maybe she wanted to inculcate the seed of patriotism in me – I don’t quite know what. I have visited Bose’s Elgin Road place once when I was barely 10d. But trying to process that thought and convincing myself that I was standing that very place, standing exactly at the same place from where Netaji escaped wearing the disguise of a Pathan. Such an amazing feeling, I cannot describe it in words.”
Growing up watching Netaji, Tagore, Swamiji’s Birthday celebrations taking place at home, just like our regular celebrations; she quotes Netaji when he had addressed to the women’s section of the Indian Independence League at Singapore on July 12, 1943, “…During the past many years of our national movement, women have been equal to men in undergoing suffering with joy and courage… When I express my confidence that you are today prepared to fight and suffer for the sake of your motherland, I do not mean only to cajole you with empty words. I know the capabilities of our womanhood well. I can, therefore, say with certainty that there is no task which our women cannot undertake and no sacrifice and suffering which our women cannot undergo… Therefore, sisters, you too must take your share in the coming struggle… Many brave women like the Rani of Jhansi were required in our last war of independence also… the time has come for every Indian – man and woman, boy and girl – to come forward and make great sacrifices for liberating India.”
She adds, “This is something that helped to normalized a lot of things. The feeling of equality for me is sorted because I don’t need to hate me to empower myself or any other woman.”
As she grew up, she got inspired by one more thing Netaji had said, “Life loses half its interest if there is no struggle, if there are no risks to be taken.”
She asserts, “This is very true – without struggle the warmth of victory doesn’t exist. The struggle began with choosing the out of box academics for myself, followed by getting rid of a toxic ex-boyfriend and finally combating negativities that some of my so-called relatives threw my away. Life indeed loses half its interest without struggle. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the greatest souls of India, still lives in our heart because of his bravery, confidence, love and sacrifice for the nation. On his birthday, I know so many of us shall share stories and post about his bravery and patriotism. I wanted to share with all of you how Netaji left an impression on my journey, how his ideology is inspiring our daily lives.”
She also shared further information on the video that has been added at the top of this post, “This one is Rabindranath Tagore’s rendition of Vande Mataram (written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay) in 1896 was a much slower-paced one than what we are used to hear now. This version in Tagore’s own voice was released on gramophone record in 1904 and is now available on various online platforms.”