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The garland of Netaji that fetched Rs 7 lakhs and more in an auction in Burma

(adapted from Ami Netaji ke Dekkechi (I have seen Netaji) by Narayan Sanyal) on 26 January 1944, a great public meeting was held in Rangoon on the premises of the Municipality Building. Netaji had recently shifted his HQ to Rangoon to be closer to the battlefield. This was the first public meeting of Netaji in Burma. Thousands had gathered, and they presented him with a thick garland of fresh flowers. Many millionaire businessmen had come from far-off places. To raise fund for the Azad Hind Government, Netaji auctioned the garland offered to him. Several millionaires offered lakhs of money. But one young Sikh businessman surpassed them when he staked everything for the garland. By providing his everything, he bought the garland and begged Netaji to include him as part of the Indian National Army. Netaji gladly did so. Millionaires were not far behind, as demonstrated by Habib, who donated his crores of legacy and earned the highest civilian award - Sevak-e-Hind, from Netaji. An older woman who lived on the streets begging offered the modest amount that she had made, her everything, to Netaji, for the freedom of a country she would never visit. This latter incident brought tears to the eyes of Netaji, who was in a dilemma about whether to accept that gift, knowing very well that she was giving away her last means of survival. Ultimately, he decided to honor the older woman and accept her sincere gift. Thus millions of people in East and South East Asia contributed to India's fight for freedom. And yet, their resources were looted by the collaborators of British rule in connivance with an elite ruler of India who despised Netaji. More about the INA treasury loot will follow.

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