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PM launches Gaidinliu centenary celebration

NEW DELHI: Expressing regret that several freedom fighters and other prominent personalities who contributed for the cause of the country had not been “remembered adequately”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday recalled the contribution of ‘Rani’ Gaidinliu to India’s freedom struggle.

Inaugurating the birth centenary celebrations here of Gaidinliu, a spiritual and political leader, the prime minister said India must remember the glorious heritage of the freedom struggle and ensure that the legacy of the struggles and achievements of our freedom fighters is passed on to succeeding generations.

“It is our misfortune that people such as Rani Gaidinliu have either not been remembered adequately, or have been deliberately forgotten,” he said in his address.

He said the Northeast has given birth to several great personalities and had people learnt about their contribution, issues like alienation would not have crept in.

Modi said that even after India got Independence, the “Rani maa”, as he referred to Gaidinliu, was kept in jail for another three-four months. She was put behind bars by the British during the freedom struggle.

PM said she could not go to her village for “political reasons” as she was a nature worshipper.

“Her philosophy has the answers to the issue of global warming and other environmental matters which we face today,” he said. He termed as “important” the decision of the Congress party then to have passed a resolution for her release from jail in its Haripura session in 1938.

It was Jawaharlal Nehru who gave the name ‘Rani’ (queen of the people of the northeast) to her, speakers at the function said.

A brochure brought out by the Culture Ministry said Rani Gaidinliu was also associated with organisations such as Kalyan Ashram, VHP and Vidya Bharti.

The Prime Minister also released Rs. 100 commemorative coins and Rs. 5 circulation coins on Rani Gaidinliu on the occasion.

Modi also credited Gaidinliu with spreading the message of Mahatma Gandhi in the North Eastern region.

Blaming lacunae in the system, the Prime Minister lamented that “either we forgot about some great personalities or they were deliberately forgotten”.

Modi said Gaidinliu’s thoughts on living in harmony with nature could provide an answer to the problem of climate change being faced by the world today. Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minster Arun Jaitley also spoke on the occasion.

Rajnath Singh said as Durgawati and Rani Laxmi Bai were mentioned in the history of the freedom struggle, the name of Gaidinliu should have been given the same prominence.

“Historians have failed to do justice with Rani Gaidinliu,” the minister said.

He further said that the Naga accord will usher in peace and the wish of Rani Gaidinliu of a prosperous and peaceful Northeast will be fulfilled.

Born on January 26, 1915, Rani Gaidinliu joined her cousin Haipou Jadonang’s movement at the age of 13 to drive out the British from Manipur. Following this the Heraka religion also came into being.

Nagaland Governor PB Acharya, Nagaland chief minister T.R. Zeliang, Manipur chief minister O. Ibobi Singh, union ministers Mahesh Sharma and Jitendra Singh including legislators from Nagaland attended the programme held at Vigyan Bhavan.

Celebrations to help remove ignorance & misconceptions: Zeliang
Addressing the gathering, Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang hoped that the celebrations would go beyond “mere symbolism” and help remove “ignorance and misconceptions” about the people of the North East.

He said that inspite of her contribution, Gaidinliu has been ignored by writers and she remains “largely absent” from school and college textbooks. He hoped that the “records will be rectified”.

His views were also echoed by Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh who urged upon PM Modi to ask the HRD Ministry to include her contribution in NCERT textbooks.

Nagaland Governor PB Acharya said the programme will send “right signals” to the people of the North East.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the two chief ministers are right that the “history of the role models needs to be retold to the whole country”. He said the forgotten chapter of history is being re-recorded today.

Jaitley said remembering Gaidinliu would help the North Eastern region of the country to come closer to the mainstream. “It would go a long way in creating a sense of involvement (among the people there),” he said while addressing the function largely attended by school children.

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