| Reminiscence of Netaji's visit to Silchar |
On his 116th birthday celebration, Netaji's visit to Silchar town was recollected fondly by elderly citizens. It was in 1938 and 1939, as records and reminiscences reveal, two leading weeklies of the town 'Surma' and 'Saptak' brought out special supplementaries to commemorate his visits. First visit was as Congress president and the second as the president of Forward Block. Eminent historian and educationist, Dr Suhas Chatterjee, recollected in his memoirs "Netaji came by train via Kullora in the April of 1938. Arches were put up at several places in his honour and he was cheered all the way. He was felicitated at a public meeting. He stayed at the Ukilpatty residence of freedom fighter Rukini Das, chairman of municipal board. Netaji also addressed a meeting organized by Congress which was attended among others by Europeans also, mainly tea planters. The meeting began under the presidentship of Cachar District Students' Association, Sushil Ranjan Chakraborty, who initiated his introductory speech with rendition of a Nazrul Geeti".
Netaji was too much impressed by the dynamism and leadership quality of Chakraborty and he left a message for the members of the Association 'work for the present, but prepare for the future'. Following year, Netaji came here as the president of Indian Forward Block in order to campaign for his party and to form its units, recollected Dr Chatterjee. His speech at Gandhibag was so impressive that many young boys and girls, besides elderly persons of this valley, joined the Forward Block. Among them were Mata Das Roy, Maulana Golam Sabir Khan, Debendra Purkayasha, Sukhmoy Singh, Hironmoy Singh.
But, Forward Block did not have the much desired impact in the provincial politics of Assam outside the valley where some efforts were made to propagate the ideology of the party. Quite significantly, a brigade of Rani Jhansi was raised and a movement began to strengthen and bolster up Indian National Congress (INA). The news of Netaji's exploits on Burma-Assam-Arakan frontier spread in the valley by the end of November 1943 with the arrival of war evacuees from Chin hills. The British administration and its army headquartered at here since this town was virtually turned into a cantonment tried their best to block the information in respect of the Netaji's advances in the north-eastern front and the hoisting of INA flag at Moirang in Manipur with the help of Japanese forces.
Some elderly citizens who were witness to the situation of this valley town in the wake of INA's expeditions in Manipur, not far from here, could recollect and recount aircraft dropping pamphlets in Bengali, Urdu and Hindi in the region and North Lushai Hills. These leaflets contained pictures of Netaji and some INA soldiers in uniform and marching towards Delhi with the famous slogan Delhi chalo… Delhi chalo. The British administration under constant onslaughts of tribal rebels of various ethnic groups launched house to house search to root out INA supporters and to prevent them from having any tie-up with them. Source: http://www.sentinelassam.com/