Over 70 years after the independence, four personnel of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army (INA) participated on the Republic Day parade this year for the first time. The four soldiers aged between 95 years to 100 years and they hail from nearby areas of Delhi-NCR.
The senior-most soldier is 100 years old, named Bhagmal resident of Manesar, Haryana who had joined and fought for INA in 1942. The other three members include Lalti Ram, 98, from Panchkula, Hira Singh, 97, from Narnaul in Haryana and Parmanand Yadav from Chandigarh
On the commemoration of Republic Day, INA veteran Lalti Ram ji appeared on Republic to converse with Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami along with his grandson, reminiscing his INA days. Sharing his thoughts to the country on Republic Day and his participation in the parade, the 99-year-old veteran said:
"I feel very good, I feel on top of the world. What happened today on Republic Day has never happened before."
"Netaji's slogan 'tum mujhe khoon do, mein tumhe azadi dunga', it was not just us who did the job with our body, mind, and soul but we were supported by the people. If people had a buffalo they gave it away, if anybody had a cow they gave that away saying give the milk to the soldiers and take them ahead. In the name of Netaji, the public gave whatever they had," he added.
The grandson of the INA veteran translated his grandfather's words where he expressed his disappointment towards the displacement of his colleagues from the INA, whose families received no acknowledgment. The veteran from Subhash Chandra Bose's Army made a startling revelation as he believed that Netaji was actually not martyred the day it was told that he was martyred in a plane crash, but in fact met with him and the battalion on the same day.
He further said that the whereabouts of Netaji was questioned, but no one had any proof of his death.
Lalta Ramji said, "Even after India attained freedom it was asked multiple times in the Parliament about Netaji, his whereabouts and his files and if he's dead show us some proof but nobody had proof and it could never be proven."
Founded in 1942 by Ras Bihari Bose, INA was led into war by Netaji who had fought fierce battles with the British till Independence. However, the INA soldiers were not allowed to merge with the Indian Army due to certain policies of the government at that time.
(With ANI inputs)