A 93 years old freedom fighter, who is the only survivor today from the mighty Netaji Subash Chandra Bose’s army force is now in a pitiful condition. He is now living in a thatched rented house. His only worry is that the government didn’t provide him shelter, even after many years of appeal. He has three daughters and two sons. C.M Pandiraj (93) who now resides at Ramanathapuram narrates his story from the start. When asked about his experience in the ‘Team Bose’, Pandiraj straight away wore his military uniform and marched toward Netaji’s Photo and posed a salute. Not only his actions, but all his words were also impregnated with the spirit of patriotism.
The Indians who lived in East Asian countries apart from all the religious and language barriers, joined in the Bose’s INA army. Most of them were Tamilians in it. ‘I was 17 years old when he joined INA in the year 1943. Back then, I was living with my mother in Malaysia. There I worked in the Netaji’s Gorilla team in certain camps’, he said.
‘In 1945, due to the bombing in Japan, INA was not provided with adequate army support. At that time, the British forces captured soldiers in INA, Malaysia. I was imprisoned, for over 6 months and suffered a lot as a prisoner. Had the British army not intercepted in the plan, we the forces of Netaji Subash Chandra bose would have chased away Bristish away from India by entering into Northern states of India. Due to the spoiled plan, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, felt heart broke. One day, he contacted us using Singapore radio. He addressed us as his friends and brothers. Hre told us that he is diluting the operation and bid goodbye. He asked us to join our families. He added that he has no idea where he was going. If he had a chance of second birth, he would be born as a Tamilian. I cried out loud after hearing this. Later in 1946, all I was able to hear was the news that Netaji died in a plane crash at Taiwan’, he added. He expressed his concern that this freedom we enjoy has many untold stories besides it; Many struggles and loos of blood! -And, youngsters today should develop the feel of patriotism and cherish it.
However, over 55 years, he is living in an old rented house. He has appealed the government repeatedly for the past 16 years. Yet no action has been taken. ‘There are several freedom fighters, who struggle to meet their basic needs today due to poverty. If the government could understand our plight, it would be a relief’, he said. It’s not fair to treat the freedom fighters in this way. They have fought a lot, and it’s a responsibility of the government to hear them out.