What about Pt Nehru: Kharge asks PM at India@75 meet

Aditi Tandon

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, March 9

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the “India at 75” event would serve as an apt occasion to salute the memory of freedom fighters who did not receive their rightful place in history.

Addressing the first meeting of the 259 member National Committee on the Celebrations of the 75th Year of India’s Independence” virtually, the PM said nations do not become big by negating the contributions of some people.

“We will celebrate the freedom fighters we know but also those who did not get their due in history. Their stories must also be told. There would hardly be a corner of India where someone or the other did not martyr for national cause. These tales will become a source of inspiration for new generations. We have to also highlight the contribution of all sectors of society and celebrate people who are working selflessly for India. We have to associate citizens with their work. The country does not become big by denying the contributions of some. We must accept everyone’s contribution and celebrate them. That’s what makes the country big,” said the PM adding that people’s participation would be the hallmark of the celebrations of the event.

The PM also said that broadly five pillars had been identified for the celebration of 75 years of freedom.

 “These are Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolve at 75. All these should include the ideas and feelings of the 130 crore Indians,” he noted remarking that the festival of 75 years should be one wherein the spirit of freedom struggle is reflected, one that pays tributes to martyrs and also serves us to take a pledge to create a new India; one that embodies glimpses of the Sanatan Bharat and the glory of modern India; and imbibes the teaching of saints as well as the discoveries of scientists.

The PM said such a celebration would guide the country when it celebrates the 100th year of freedom in 2047. 

Congress president Sonia Gandhi skipped the event, which was attended by her nominee Mallikarjun Kharge. Sources said Kharge today asked why India’s first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru was not listed among leaders to be celebrated. “Subject to verification of whether Pt Nehru’s name is on the list of leaders to be celebrated, I want to say that everyone who contributed to freedom must be saluted irrespective of political affiltations.”

The government’s March 6 circular on India@75 event mentions organising exhibitions on Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose but not JL Nehru.

Kharge also asked for exhibitions to be held on the emergence of India as a functional and adaptive democracy when the world had dismissed it as weak and predicted its disintegration. The Congress veteran added, “In future we would request advance notice for such an important meeting.”

Celebrations of “Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav” will commence 75 weeks prior to Independence Day 2022 and extend up to Independence Day 2023. The PM will launch the celebrations – a 25 day event – on March 12, the anniversary of the launch of Dandi March, from Gujarat.

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