Sanjay Dalmia’s long-awaited dream comes true: 3 Andaman and Nicobar Islands to be renamed ‘Saheed and Swaraj’
The Government has decided to rename three islands in Andaman and Nicobar — Ross Island, Neil Island, and Havelock Island, as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island, Shaheed Dweep, and Swaraj Dweep respectively. The official announcement of the new names will be done by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Port Blair on December 30. All the formalities for changing the names have been completed by the Home Ministry.
The move has garnered great appreciation from all over the country. It was in the year 1995 that ace industrialist Sanjay Dalmia, moved a private members bill, as a Member of the Rajya Sabha, for renaming the Andaman Nicobar Islands as Shaheed and Swaraj Islands, as a tribute to Subhash Chandra Bose and the freedom fighters.
“The Islands were the first Indian Territories freed from the British rule by Azad Hind Fauj; Subhash Chandra Bose then named the Islands as Shaheed (martyr) and Swaraj (self-rule).”
Dalmia adds, “Though the bill didn’t get taken up for discussion back in 1995; I feel more humbled than anytime in my life as this subject is being taken up by the present government. This will realise the dream of Subhash Chandra Bose after 75 years.”
An avid nationalist, Sanjay Dalmia believes that while we are celebrating 75th anniversary of Bose’s declaration of the formation of India’s first independent government, we need to fulfil the unfinished agenda of Netaji, viz. the renaming the islands of Andaman & Nicobar.
Dalmia further appreciated PM Modi’s for his initiative of introducing a national award in the name of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. This award will be given every year to police personnel for excellent work in rescue and relief operations during any kind of disaster.
“With this award, the clamour has suddenly increased to rename the islands Andaman and Nicobar; an idea which was mooted by Netaji Bose on 30th December 1943, a dream which has remained unfulfilled even after 75 years,” said Mr Dalmia, chairman of Dalmia Group.
He reveres Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as the brightest star in India’s independence movement. It was Bose who led from the front and went ahead with an aggressive push to free India, even setting-up a government in exile when the others advocated for peaceful means of protests.
30th December, 1943 was the day when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose hoisted the National Flag for the first time at the Gymkhana Ground in Port Blair, wherein he announced the Islands as the first Indian Territory freed from the British rule. He then named Andaman Island as Shaheed and Nicobar Island as Swaraj. He also appointed INA General AD Loganathan as the governor of the Islands.
Azad Hind Government was not merely a Government in Exile anymore but had its own land, own currency, civil code and stamps. By hoisting the Azad Hind flag, Bose, the head of Provisional Government of Azad Hind also fulfilled his promise that INA would stand on the Indian soil by the end of 1943.
Along with commemorating the victory of Azad Hind Fauz, the renaming of the islands as Swaraj and Saheed is also a reminder of how organized armed struggle by an Indian in the British India had brought down the British Empire to their knees. It conquered back territories from British clutches, thereby proving that non-violence wasn’t the only driver of Freedom of India.
Certainly, the real respect and gratitude for our greatest freedom fighters is not just by keeping their name in the history books. Considering the supreme sacrifices of our freedom fighters, renaming the islands within Andaman and Nicobar is the least we can do as a mark of respect for them. Their victory and contribution to the country’s struggle for independence makes them immortal in our hearts.