Written By Shriya Dasgupta
Commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Centre, under the supervision of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Committee, has built galleries dedicated to him at a few other major airports in the country, including Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata. However, a gallery on Gandhi at an airport named after Netaji has raised many eyebrows.
Speaking to The Indian Express, newly appointed airport director Kaushik Bhattacharya said, “The Gandhi gallery is being built under instructions of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Committee formed by the PMO. We have only given them the space. The gallery is ready and is waiting to be inaugurated by a minister.”
However, this decision did not go down well with some Netaji admirers. Delhi-based Netaji researcher Anuj Dhar, a frequent visitor to Kolkata, said: “To countless people like me, who come to Kolkata, the NSCB airport is the entry point, a reminder of the man who brought India’s freedom. I would like to see a gallery depicting Netaji’s contributions at the airport. There are innumerable galleries and museums dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi all over.”
The Kolkata airport was named after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in 1997 following a long-drawn-out demand of people. Many feel that the Gandhi gallery is going to belittle Netaji’s contributions to India’s freedom movement. However, Netaji kin and historian Sugato Bose feels that it is a good decision. “I hope the gallery features pictures of Gandhiji with Sarat Bose and Subhas Chandra Bose. Many such pictures are available with us at the Netaji Research Bureau,” he said.
Commenting on the same, Chandra Kumar Bose, grandnephew of Subhas Chandra Bose and Vice-President of West Bengal BJP, said: “I feel that Gandhiji’s main contribution to the freedom struggle was making Congress, a party that constituted of an elite club, a part of the masses. I don’t think he had much to do with making India independent. There is no problem with the Gandhi gallery, but along with it other revolutionaries like Binoy-Badal-Dinesh, Master Da Surya Sen and Khudiram Bose should also feature at the Netaji international airport.”
(Shriya Dasgupta is an intern with The Indian Express)