Netaji’s Rare Photographs Preserved By Odisha Lawyer

Kendrapara : As the nation rose to remember the contributions of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose on his 122nd Birth Anniversary today, endeavour of a lawyer in Odisha’s Kendrapara district in preserving the memory of the legendary revolutionary leader merits appreciation.

Inspired by Netaji, the legal practitioner here has preserved some of the rare photographs related to the life of the great revolutionary freedom fighter.

The great leader shaking hand with Nazi ruler Adolf Hitler, Bose sharing private moments with family, Netaji’s broadcast to the nation, the great leader’s visit to infamous Cellular jail in Andamans, Ras Behari Bose handing over the baton of Indian National Congress presidentship to Subhash besides a number of priceless photographs figure in the repertoire of collections of Kendrapara lawyer.

Mohammad Mustaque (55), a lawyer living along the dusty lanes of Badahaat locality of this district headquarters township, has turned his home into a miniature museum.

Besides about two dozen of photographs on the life of Netaji, it houses several rare collections related to the life of the great revolutionary freedom fighter.

“It was quite a task to collect photos. I had to part with the hard-earned money. A very glimpse at the frozen frames in black and white stirs me with patriotic fervour. I feel my labour was worth it”, he narrated.

“Since childhood, I was an ardent fan of Netaji. His magnetic personality drew me to know more and more about Netaji. The children of my age oved and adored bollywood heroes, but for me, he remained my idol. Later on, I began to collect everything that had the private musuem named after Netaji”, Mustaque recalled.

Besides the photographs,his collections include letters, manuscripts, magazines, journals and coins related to the great leader. Majority of these collections are worthy of preservation in museums.

“It was three decades of perseverance and hard work that is now paying dividends. I take pride in the fact my personal collection on the great leaders are drawing people from various parts.

For the collections, a lot has been spent from my own purse. Right from the street corner book shops at College streets in Kolkata to various individuals in the state, my search for Netaji articles still goes on. I am now planning to turn the private museum into a trust as organizations are showing interest to conserve the collected articles.

The 1913 gazette notification of Bihar and Orissa, where it was mentioned that Subash Chandra Bose passed out the high school entrance examination in 1913, is treasured by the young lawyer.

A handwritten letter of Captain Laxmi Saigal of Indian National Army (INA), an original copy of the magazine ‘Forward’ published by Netaji, a special issue of INA ‘Basumati’, a Bengali magazine, ‘Meaning of Leftism’, an article written by Netaji in Socialist Republican magazine, are among the collections of Mustaque.

A postal stamp issued by INA to commemorate the liberation of Manipur are some of the treasure troves collected by Mustaque from different sources.

Two rare coins, which the government minted to observe the centenary of Netaji in 1997, can also be found at Mustaque’s house.

Though the centenary of Netaji was observed in 1997, inadvertently in some coins the centenary year was wrongly mentioned as 1996. Mustaque also possesses three of these errored coins in his museum.