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State remembers sons of soil

Cuttack/Sambalpur, Jan. 23: Tributes were paid across the state to legendary freedom fighters Subhash Chandra Bose and Veer Surendra Sai on their birth anniversary today.

Various events were held at the birthplaces of the two leaders —Cuttack and Khinda in Sambalpur — to mark the occasion. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik garlanded the statue of Surendra Sai in Assembly, while a series of celebrations were held in Cuttack to mark the birth anniversary of Bose.

It was an official holiday in the state.

BJP president Rajnath Singh visited the Netaji Birthplace Museum in Cuttack. He said the nation wanted to know the mystery behind the disappearance of the “real hero” of the country’s freedom struggle.

Singh asked the Union government to unravel the mystery behind the death of Bose. “If our government (BJP) comes to power, we will definitely take initiatives in this regard. He was a true patriot,” he added.

Eminent personalities, freedom fighters, people from various walks of life and schoolchildren queued up at the Odia Bazaar residence of Bose, which now houses the museum, to pay tribute to him.

An autobiography of Bose, which was originally written in Bengali but has recently been translated in Odia, was released by revenue divisional commissioner Arabinda Padhee on the occasion. Politicians were conspicuous by their absence at the meeting in view of the model code conduct, which is in force for the upcoming civic polls in the city.

Noted filmmaker Gopal Ghose had earlier donated two books — Bharat Pathik and Subhash Chandra ra Antardhyan Kahani —to the museum in 2010.

“I am glad that his autobiography has been translated. Steps should also be taken for translation of the second book, which is a rare one, in Odia,” said Ghose.

Ghose said he had purchased the two books in Calcutta in the 1940s. With the Odia translation of Bose’s autobiography, many youths will now be able to have a rare insight into the early life of the legendary freedom fighter in Cuttack, he said.

Bose was born on January 23, 1897, at his parental house at Odia Bazaar.

A painting exhibition, blood donation camps and cultural programmes were organised in Cuttack today. A special puja was also performed inside the room where Bose was born while various rallies were also organised by students of various schools in the city.

A sand art was created by Pramod Patnaik depicting the early childhood of Bose and various prominent events in his life. Hundreds of people gathered at Kinda, the birthplace of Veer Surendra Sai, 40 kilometres from Sambalpur, to pay tributes to the leader. At a meeting organised by the Surendra Sai Smruti Sansad, speakers recalled his contributions to the freedom struggle.

Many people garlanded his statue at Jail Chhak in Sambalpur today. About 1,600 students from various schools took part in a road march.

The district administration and Odisha Sanskrutik Samaj, a city based cultural organisation, jointly organised a meeting to mark the occasion. A torch rally was also held.

“The achievements of Surendra Sai and his uncommon heroism in the freedom struggle have few parallels in the history of the country. He had fought a battle of self-respect. He is the real hero of the soil,” said Satya Narayana Thakur, a resident of Sambalpur.

Veer Surendra Sai was born in a royal family on January 23, 1809. He revolted against the Raj at the age of 18. He was captured by the British government in 1840 and was kept at Hazaribagh prison.

“Sai and his supporters had fought against the British government for 20 long years. He had spent 37 years in prison,” said Panda.