Netaji wanted India to be secular, strong: Speakers

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New Delhi, Jan 23 (UNI) Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, an iconic figure for every Indian, wanted the country to be resurgent, dynamic, strong and resoundingly secular, said speakers at a function here today on his 111th birth anniversary.

The Netaji Subhash Bose-INA Trust and FICCI organised the second Netaji Subhas Commemorative Lecture here and the speakers comprised Vice President M Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister I K Gujral, Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, former Union Minister and BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

However, former President A P J Abdul Kalam, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and former Union Minister Jaswant Singh, who were also scheduled to speak at the lecture, could not make it to the function.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Ansari said Netaji was no ordinary member of the freedom movement.

''He was one among the pantheons of Gods who eventually led us to freedom,'' the Vice President said.

Mr Ansari said Netaji had major differences with Indian National Congress leaders Mahatama Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel but those never came in the way of their ultimate goal - freedom.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Prasad said Netaji is an iconic figure for every Indian and his contribution in the freedom struggle could in no way be minimised.

''Destiny would have been nice to him had he continued his march for one more month and the history of India would have been entirely different,'' he added.

The BJP leader said Netaji, a true nationalist, wanted India to be vibrant, resurgent, powerful and dynamic.

In his lecture, Mr Reddy said Netaji is a symbol of supreme patriotism, nationalism and sacrifice.

''He fought for the freedom in the manner he thought and later disappeared in a blaze of glory. Netaji is a supreme hero for every Indian and an inspiration for all those who fight for freedom and against injustice,'' the Congress leader added.

Mr Reddy said Netaji was a humanist and not a narrow minded nationalist who mobilised both Hindus and Muslims in large numbers to join the Indian National Army (INA).

''Netaji wanted India to be resoundingly secular. He did not allow Vedic hymns to be sung on the INA platform. He believed in planning and industrialisation. The country is proud of him,'' the Union Minister said.

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