Kolkata, Jan 20 (IANS) Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s daughter Anita Pfaff Sunday termed the Partition of the country and the resultant wars and arms race between India and Pakistan as a major disappointment, militating against her father’s vision of the post-Independence nation.
Describing Netaji as a “far-sighted and visionary leader”, she said Bose not only loved his country “fiercely”, but was also pragmatic.
“He had envisioned many far-sighted measures for the post-Independent period. Some came through even after his demise, even without his active role in planning of these ideas.”
“Again, there were other developments which deviated from what he had envisioned. I will name only three – the Partition of the country, and the slow progress in eradicating illiteracy and poverty,” she said while addressing the inaugural session of Netaji’s 116th birth anniversary at Netaji Bhavan here.
Later, Pfaff told media persons that the Partition of colonial India was the most disappointing development.
“The deaths, lot of tragic consequences, the squandering of resources through unnecessary wars between the two nations that succeeded colonial India – it was the most disappointing development.”
The 70-year-old Pfaff said the money spent by the two countries on armament projects could have been better utilised in areas like healthcare and education.
“All the money that was put into all sorts of projects – like armament projects, like procuring nuclear arms – had they been put into education, healthcare, that certainly would have been more beneficial to the population of India and Pakistan,” she said.
However, drawing a comparison between the two countries, she said India has had fewer problems because of the Partition, as it is a stable nation. In contrast, Pakistan is in severe problem.
She praised the economic liberalization policies pursued in India in the 1990s, and said it provided a spectacular take-off for the economy.
“Of course, it has a side product which I think you experience across the world. If you have higher growth, you always have inequality of income distribution, that unfortunately cannot be avoided.”
She said while the country has seen a decline in infant mortality, the failures on the birth control front have led to the rise of growing population among social groups which cannot afford education for their children.
Pfaff lauded the way India has remained intact over the years despite its diversities. “In the early 1950s and 1960s there was a great concern that the country might drift apart due to the cultural differences that existed within. But India has managed remarkably well on containing the cultural odds”.
Pfaff also said she had no idea how the speculation that she would be bringing Netaji’s ashes to India this month came out.
A branch of Netaji’s family as also many others outside believe that he died in a plane crash in Taiwan on Aug 18, 1945, and the ashes are preserved in the Renkoji temple in Tokyo. But there is also a strong second opinion across the nation which nixes the aircrash theory and does not consider the Renkoji ashes as those of Bose.
“I don’t have the ashes. It is not that I go over to the temple and say please hand them to me, as they are the remains of my father. It is not a private matter. Instead, it involves highly formal and diplomatic relations between two nations. The two nations need to agree on that,” she said.