Walking a step further after declassifying 64 secret files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose that were in the custody of the Bengal government on September 18, chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on Monday, released more classified files to the public domain, including documents from Cabinet meetings held between 1938 and 1947 — a crucial period in the pre-Independence era.
The files are likely to shed more light on several important events, such as the Quit India Movement of 1942, the Bengal Famine of 1943 and the Great Calcutta Killings of 1946, among others.
“All these are unique files of the history of pre-Independence India. They will be kept at the Kolkata Information Centre and the state library in a digitized form,” Mamata said while officially releasing the files at state secretariat Nabanna.
Altogether 401 files were declassified on Monday. There are plans to declassify more such files in the near future, the chief minister said, adding that she would give copies of the digitized Netaji files to President Pranab Mukherjee in Delhi on Tuesday.
“In this age of internet and social media, we believe in transparency. That is why we declassified the files. People must know the truth. Netaji’s daughter has also demanded declassification of the files with the Centre. The Centre should do it,” the chief minister said. She said researchers, historians and student would benefit from the files. Files related to Cabinet meetings held after 1947 would also be declassified in phases, she said.
The secret papers of that period when British governors used to preside over Cabinet meetings are expected to provide an interesting insight into the politics of the day.
Taking a dig at PM Narendra Modi’s Digital India drive, Mamata said, “Just talking about Digital India is not enough. It must be followed by action. Digitization of files is one such step taken by us. We want such important historic documents like the Netaji files be brought to light instead of being kept wrapped up in bags.”
The Digital India drive will not be successful if it does not reach the people of rural India, she said. “There should be socio-economic programmes in villages for their uplift before going digital.”