PORT BLAIR, Jan 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday virtually unveiled the model of a proposed memorial
dedicated to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, to be set up in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and said it will infuse
feelings of patriotism among people.
Modi, on the occasion of Netaji's 126th birth anniversary, also named 21 islands of the Union Territory after Param
Vir Chakra awardees.
"Today, it is a proud moment for me as I address the people of Andamans because this is the land, where Subhash
Chandra Bose unfurled the national flag for the first time in 1943," the prime minister said.
The freedom fighter had hoisted the Tricolour in the archipelago on December 30, 1943.
PM Modi noted that the islands, named after famous soldiers, including Major Somnath Sharma, Lt. Colonel (then
Major) Dhan Singh Thapa, Subedar Joginder Singh, Major Shaitan Singh, Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul
Hamid, 2nd Lt. Arun Khetrapal and Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, will be a source of inspiration for
generations to come.
“It gives me immense pleasure to announce the naming of 21 islands after Param Vir Chakra awardees and to
inaugurate the model of a proposed memorial at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island (previously known as Ross
"One should see the naming of 21 islands as ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' and the memorial will infuse feelings of
patriotism in the hearts of people,” he said.
PM Modi also mentioned that islands named earlier in the day after Param Vir Chakra awardees “will be the land
of inspiration for generations to come”.
The prime minister said that attempts were made to "downplay" Netaji's contribution to the freedom movement,
but the entire country, right from Delhi and Bengal to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is paying tribute to the great
hero today, preserving history and heritage associated with him.
“Attempt was made to suppress Netaji's contribution towards freedom struggle, but the entire nation is
remembering him today. Netaji will be remembered for his fierce resistance to the colonial rule. I am deeply
influenced by his thoughts,” PM Modi said.
He also pointed out that demands to make Netaji's files public were made by many for long, and it was his
government which eventually declassified the files.
“There were demands to make Netaji's secret files public and we did so while respecting his sacrifice for the
country," PM Modi said.
The proposed memorial whose model the prime minister inaugurated during the day will be set up on Ross Island,
which had been renamed as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep in 2018. Neil Island and Havelock Island were also
rechristened as Shaheed Dweep and Swaraj Dweep.
Referring to the rechristening of the islands, PM Modi also stated that these islands were earlier associated with
signs of slavery.
“Therefore, we decided to rename these islands,” he said.
Highlighting the tourism potential of the archipelago, the PM said, the Centre has identified various opportunities
in Andamans in the last eight years, and worked hard to make this place a "must-visit for people" across the globe.
“Several steps were taken, including laying of optical fibre for better internet connectivity and many more
initiative will be taken in future…Not only for beautiful beaches, but people are also now visiting Andamans to learn
our history (of freedom struggle)."
The memorial will have a museum, a cable car ropeway, a laser-and-sound show, a guided heritage trail through
historical buildings and a theme-based children's amusement park, besides a restro lounge, an official said.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah lauded the initiative to christen the 21 islands, and said this effort will be
a source of encouragement for the country's armed forces.
He also said that the cellular jail in the Union Territory, where many freedom fighters were incarcerated, is no less
than a "pilgrimage site".