IF YOU REMEMBER NETAJI, REMEMBER BARABATI FORT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is a matter of great pleasure that the birthplace of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at Oriya Bazar, Cuttack has been renovated and attempts are galore to make it a point of pilgrimage for the patriots of India and whosoever loves Nataji in the world.

But it would be sheer injustice to history if equal importance is not paid to Barabati Fort of Cuttack. This is the fort, which had inspired Subhas Chandra so much in his formative days that in course of his life he emerged as the beloved Netaji of India.

There were many Netas (leaders) of our freedom movement. But amongst them all only Subhas Chandra became the Netaji. His parents had many children. But amongst all of them only Subhas, who had spent his first sixteen years in Cuttack became Netaji.

According to the author of Arthasastra, Chanakya, character building of a person continues till he / she becomes sixteen. Thereafter that character becomes the factor of the becoming of that person. Netaji became Netaji because of the character he acquired / developed during the first sixteen years of his life that he spent in Orissa.

Orissa was the land that the British had not dared to attack until rest of India except the Portuguese pockets had gone into its grip.

But Orissa was the land that was the first to raise revolt against the foreign yoke.

British historian G.Toynbee has noted, “It was not long, however, before we had to encounter a storm which burst with so sudden fury as to threaten our expulsion”, (A Sketch of the History of Orissa, G.Toynbee ).

Such were the Oriyas. Barabati Fort at Cuttack was the epitome of their mana.

Subhas Chandra had spent his formative days till he was sixteen in Orissa. The romance of aggressive patriotism had shaped up his character under the aura of this Fort. And that eventually had blossomed into making him our Netaji.

So, if we remember Netaji, how can we do justice to history if Barabati Fort is not properly remembered?

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