A statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was unveiled in DB Block to mark the onset of the 125th birth anniversary of the patriot. Created by CL Block-based sculptor Gautam Pal, the statue was a surprise for most residents.
“A health camp had been planned and announced beforehand but then we got a call from two young members of our block committee asking us to come see a surprise,” said secretary of DB Block Residents Association Loknath Sastri.
The Netaji statue gifted by Gautam Pal. Telegraph picture
The two youths — Partha Saha and Abhijit Saha — had arranged the statue. “Every year we hoist the National Flag on Netaji’s birth anniversary but this being his 125th year we wanted something special,” said Partha.
The duo contacted the sculptor, who went on to donate a statue to the block. “We received the statue from him the night before and kept in hidden till placing it before the decorated backdrop on January 23,” Partha said.
An elderly resident of DB Block, Jiban Chowdhury, hoists the flag. Telegraph picture
Minister and local MLA Sujit Bose and member, board of administrators, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, Rajesh Chirimar came for the inauguration, garlanded the statue and appreciated the initiative.
“We are now planning a permanent structure on which to place the statue,” said Sastri.
The health camp, organised in association with Apollo Hospitals, conducted basic tests like blood sugar and pressure as well advanced ones like ECG. There was also consultation by a general physician and dentist. The camp drew about 50 residents.
400 residents participate in march
Over 400 residents took part in a march from the Netaji statue to EZCC on January 23, where they settled down to watch cultural programmes — music, dance and recitation — centred around the theme of Netaji and patriotism. There was also a puppet show by Dhumketu Puppet Theatre and its members took part in the march too with the puppets.
Ritesh Basak, secretary of the township-based NGO Initiative for Scientific and Public Awareness Target, that had organised the walk. Telegraph picture
The walk was led by the likes of Devashis Jana, member, board of administrators, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, and S.A. Ahmed, the former chairperson of Sector V’s governing body, NDITA, who is also a resident of FE Block.
“The world seems to be fascinated with the disappearance of Netaji but what we need is discussion on his ideals and ideology,” said.
Ex-Air Force chief presides over R-day show
Former Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha presided over the Republic Day celebrations at New Town’s Mallika Malancha housing complex this year. He unfurled the National Flag, watched the cultural performance and infused the audience with a heart-felt speech.
Raha spoke of the significance of the day, the Constitution, its three pillars — the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. “We need to take an oath to be good professionals. It does not matter which profession we are in.” He also urged all to stop blaming the government for its faults and step up to contribute.
“There was pin-drop silence when Raha spoke. Even the kids didn’t fidget,” said a member of the organising committee.
Though planned by ladies, the show was almost entirely conducted by children. Some sang patriotic songs, some danced to medleys, some recited the preamble to the Constitution… Tots aged eight and below put up a cute show of unity by parading in traditional costumes of different states. Tanvi Chatterjee won the contest dressed as a Maharashtrian, Paakhi Bardhan came second as a Punjabi and Aniketh Sahoo came third, dressed as a Bengali.
The show was anchored by four middle school students — Arnabi Chowdhury, Sannidhya Biswas, Shinjini Sarkar and Shloke Sengupta.
Books on and by Netaji on display at the tree library. Telegraph picture
A two-day programme on Netaji was held at the New Town Tree Library. The celebration took place on a plot in DA Block where the authorities have planted lots of trees and information on them has been provided on placards in front of each.
“We want people to think of Netaji in a beautiful atmosphere and not just keep him limited to books. We want them to step out into the greens and learn and celebrate the person he was,” said Debashis Sen, chairman cum managing director of Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco), that was organising the event.
But there were books to be read too seated in the open. A total of 61 books on and by Netaji were kept on display on loan from The New Town Library from January 23 to 26.
A sit-and-draw competition for children was held on the first day where kids had to draw “my city”. Peacefully sitting between the trees, everyone was seen having a wonderful time with crayons and brushes.
“I wish I had practised drawing buildings, it took me a lot of time to draw them properly so in the end I could not finish my painting. But I enjoyed the experience,” said 10-year-old Priyanka Basak of DA Block.
Nine-year-old Shreeyanshi Sahoo finished third in the competition with her depiction of a village scene. “My grandparents stay in a village and I enjoy going there. So instead of buildings, that’s what I drew,” said the resident of neighbouring CE Block.
On the next day, an open-to-all quiz was held on Netaji and nature, conducted by quizmaster Rajiv Sanyal. “I have been to many places but the ambience here among trees is amazing,” said Dibyajyoti Nandi, who correctly answered Sisir Kumar Bose as the author of the book Mahanishkraman, on Netaji’s great escape from house arrest.”
Twelve-year-old Aritra Biswas answered the most correct answers on the day. “I love reading and have read many books on Netaji , apart from the ones in the school syllabus. I am happy I could use my knowledge here today,” said the DA Block resident.
Residents also took part in a walk from the tree library to Balaka Abasan, holding up banners on the freedom fighter. The walk was led by Sen, Anup Matilal, curator of Rabindra Tirtha, Gopal Ghosh, joint managing director, Hidco, and the other officials. They were accompanied by an orchestra band.