Bel Bahadur Nirola was an officer of the Subash Brigade and was a close associate of Netaji on the Burma front. He was born in 1922 in Burma and joined Netaji’s Azad Hind Force at the age of 22 years. He was in charge of the Azad Hind Bank. He was an office bearer of the INA Association and worked for the veterans till his death in 2016.
The veteran’s family, comprising three generations, was greeted at the Museum by researcher Anil Dhir and Hitesh Seth who took them around the galleries. His son Youdishter Kumar spoke of his father’s undying love for Netaji and the sacrifice he and the other veterans had made. The great-grandson of the veteran garlanded the statue of Netaji. His family has promised to donate all the documents and memorabilia of the Late Bel Bahadur Nirola to the Museum.
Hitesh Seth of the Cuttack Heritage Walks said that Netaji Museum has become an important landmark of the millennium city with many visitors even on days other than the anniversaries.
According to Anil Dhir, the Netaji Birthplace Museum is a Mecca for all freedom fighters and nationalists. The Government of Odisha should invite all the living INA Veterans to Cuttack and honour them.
“There are only a dozen of them left, the last remnants of Netaji’s Army. They should all be invited to Cuttack. That is the least we can do,” said Dhir.
The researcher is in touch with R. Madhavan, the 97-year-old who had joined the Indian Independence League and had been Recruitment Officer and Fund Raiser for the Azad Hind Bank. Madhavan had been jailed for 8 months at Rangoon Jail from May 1945 to December 1945. The veteran is keen to visit Cuttack and give his final tribute to his leader.
Dhir says that if the government does not respond, he himself will arrange to bring the veteran to Cuttack.
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