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Netaji and the Chettiyar temple in Singapore - Debunking the false propaganda

(adapted from the reminiscences of Bhaskaran, Netaji's steno in Singapore). Extreme right-wing and generally all left wings have one thing in common; for their own interest, they can torture facts to any extent and present a distorted view to malign their sworn enemies. Netaji is painted black by some extreme right-wingers based on the incident at Chettiyar temple in Singapore, where he went with all his associates irrespective of their religious affiliation. The extreme right-wingers are aggrieved that Netaji did this to deliberately "insult Hindu religion" as that temple had a rule of not allowing non-Hindus on its premises. Let us narrate the facts without commenting on the sagacity of such rules. When Netaji was approached by one patronizing Temple committee member, a wealthy Gujarati gentleman, he requested the businessman to donate to the Azad Hind Funds as part of the Total Mobilization efforts. The gentleman proposed that he would donate an amount from the temple funds. But he imposed a condition that Netaji needed to visit the temple to get the fund. Netaji said that he would visit the temple to pay his obeyance to God, but not as the Supreme Commander of Azad Hind. He would do it only in his personal capacity, as he often did. The said gentleman requested that Netaji visit the temple as Netaji and address the crowd, not as "Subhas Chandra Bose" in his personal capacity. Now Netaji said he would visit as the Supreme Commander, but only on one condition. His associates in Azad Hind, who consisted of non-Hindus and Hindus, should be allowed to accompany him. To him, Azad Hind stood for a unified India, a representative of all religious traditions of India, and the temple stood for her spiritual tradition. To him, there was no difference between true patriotism and true spirituality transcending religious boundaries. If the temple authority did not or could not get over their narrowmindedness, it would be difficult for them to love their country, to become true patriots. It should be noted that there was no compulsion on the temple authorities. They could have simply refused. Netaji did not enforce his ideals. He merely imposed a condition that if they wanted his visit as Netaji, they needed to comply with the highest standards of patriotism. Fortunately, the temple authorities understood.

The temple committee returned the next day, changed their rules, and requested Netaji to visit with all his associates. They told him they considered his associates devotees of the Lord who worshipped Her with their own blood. When Netaji visited the temple, he was given a grand reception along with all his associates, including Habibur Rahman, M.Z Kiani, and Ayer, a Christian. Netaji and his associates opened their boots and paid their respect to God in the sanctum sanctorium. Netaji silently created another revolution. The temple that was closed to non-Hindus for more than a century now gladly opened itself up for them, eradicating all distinctions and boundaries, as was the norm with Azad Hind. A vast crowd received them; ladies were present there with conches and flowers and performed arati of Netaji. No, not a single dissenting voice protested against the presence of "non-Hindus in a Hindu temple." Netaji addressed the vast crowd, initiated them in patriotism, and the crowd chanted the mantra of Jai Hind. The temple committee presented the Azad Hind Government with a hefty donation.

So the bottom line - there was no coercion, utmost respect, no dissent, and the highest level of patriotism bordering on lofty spirituality. Will the right-wing hotheads understand the true meaning of patriotism? Or will they follow the same path as their leftist counterparts and indulge in blatant falsification and mud-slinging?

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