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Manipur Thinkers Forum launched

Imphal Free Press 2019-08-19 00:00:00
Chief minister N. Biren Singh speaks at the launch of Manipur Thinkers Forum at INA Memorial Hall, Moirang

INA complex will be upgraded soon: CM

IMPHAL | Aug 18

Chief minister N. Biren Singh has said that the State government is putting in serious efforts to develop Indian National Army (INA) complex as a world-class tourist destination considering its historic importance.

He was speaking at the launch of Manipur Thinkers Forum at INA Memorial Hall, Moirang in Bishunpur district today. The chief minister informed that the government is working on expansion of INA complex and upgrade its infrastructures to world-class standard with the help from the Central government to attract tourists from all over the world.

N. Biren Singh said that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the INA are especially close to the Manipuri people, and the modern history of Manipur, because it was here that the INA flag was flown for the first time in British-India on April 14, 1944. Moirang was the first territory captured by the INA, he said while adding that the battlefields of the INA in Manipur revealed Netaji’s greatness as a military leader and an organizer.

On this day, seventy-five years ago, the Chief Minister said, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose boarded an airplane in Saigon and flew to Taihoku (now called Taipei) in Taiwan. His disappearance thereafter is still a mystery to many, he added.

Stating that the spirit of freedom is not new to the Manipuri people, the chief minister said that the names of Bir Tikendrajit Singh, Thangal General, Paona Brajabashi, Niranjan Subedar, Kajao, Chirai Thangal, Rani Gaidinliu and many others, who fought against the British continue to inspire us. The tradition was carried forth by the INA freedom fighters of Manipur, such as Mairembam Koireng Singh, Hemam Nilamani Singh, Potsangbam Tomal Singh, M. Randhoni Devi and O. Keina Devi, to name a few, he added. Their love for the motherland laid the foundation for strengthening our nationalism, the Chief Minister maintained.

Biren said that the Imphal campaign, undertaken jointly by the Japanese army and the INA, including the battle of Kohima, is one of the most daring military campaigns in world history. In 2013, the Battle of Kohima and Imphal was voted as one of the greatest battles in history, based on a national survey conducted by the National Army Museum, he added.

For the INA, the importance of the Imphal campaign was that it was the only major battle in which it would participate with the object of achieving freedom for India, the Chief Minister stated.

He further said that the British Government instituted a public trial of the Azad Hind Fouz soldiers on charges of treason. The trial only helped to rouse the people’s patriotic emotion. The exploits of INA led by Netaji stirred the whole nation and the country was thrilled with excitement, he observed.

The Imphal Peace Museum was inaugurated to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal recently, he said adding that the museum also features names of the local people of Manipur, who joined the Indian National Army.

Speaking at the occasion as the guest of honour, Works Minister Th. Biswajit opined that Manipur Thinkers Forum is being launched at the right time. He expressed hope that eminent thinkers and intellectuals would share their ideas and efforts for taking Manipur to a higher level of development through this forum.

Regarding Subhas Chandra Bose, the Minister said that though Netaji had ideological differences with Congress leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, he never did anything which could break the party. Instead he kept on working in his own way to achieve the freedom of India, he said while adding that the current generation should learn to adopt such sense of dedication and integrity.

Eminent Thinker, Author and Board of Governors Member of India Foundation, Ram Madhav presented a talk on the topic, ‘Subhas Chandra Bose, INA and Contributions of Manipur’ at the occasion.

In his speech, Ram Madhav observed that the present generation must try to understand and acknowledge the spirit of Indian National Army - the sense of strong patriotism and love for one’s motherland. He said that the Indian freedom struggle had multiple streaks. The movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and his followers believed in non-violence and satyagraha. On the other hand, there were also a section of freedom fighters, who adopted revolutionary/extremist campaigns, he said.

Stating that there were also innumerable writers and thinkers whose means for freedom struggle were publications, newspapers and books, Ram Madhav said that they tried to instil the sense of patriotism and movement against British rule through their write-ups and articles. He also said that even many parts of India witnessed movements from tribal people as well. However, the final and unexpected blow on the British Government came from the Indian National Army, which waged a full-fledged war, he added.

When the British Government instituted a public trial of INA leaders on charges of treason after World War-II, a sense of revolutionary movement guided by strong patriotic sentiments swept across the country, Ram Madhav said. And this ultimately played one of the most significant role in getting Independence, he opined. British Prime Minister Attlee cited in British Parliament this sense and weakening of British forces due to World War-II as the major reasons for giving Independence to India. That is why the spirit of INA played major part in the Indian freedom struggle although INA’s contribution was less appreciated and understood for quite a long time.

Although India got independence on August 15, 1947, INA flag was hoisted on the Indian soil for the first time three years earlier i.e. on April 14, 1944 at Moirang. This day on which INA captured its first territory on India soil must never be overlooked but it should be taken as the first Independence Day of the country,  Ram Madhav opined. It was the people of Manipur who witnessed this historic day. As such, the spirit of INA should be promoted among the people and youth of the State, he observed.

Lok Sabha MP Dr. RK Ranjan Singh and Manipur State Women’s Commission Chairperson Meinam Binota also spoke at the occasion.

Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC) chairman Lt. General L.N. Singh (Retd.) and Central Agricultural University vice-chancellor prof. M. Premjit Singh also attended the function as dignitaries.

MLAs, high ranking officials of the State government, intellectuals, scholars, students and invitees were also present.