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At a dead end

Narayana Murthy wants streets named after Netaji. But our revolutionary hero is still alive.

india Updated: Jul 04, 2011 13:49 IST

Infosys chief mentor NR Narayana Murthy is very, very angry. And shocked. But who wouldn’t be if one was in Kolkata on the occasion of Subhas Chandra Bose’s 114th birth anniversary. Delivering the ‘Netaji oration’ at the Netaji Research Bureau, Mr Murthy pointed fingers at the political leadership of the country for failing to show “due respect” to Bose adding that it was time “this is corrected”.

Being a practical man, he even provided an example of the failure of political commemoration for the great man: “I was shocked to learn that there is not a single major avenue named after Netaji in Delhi” adding that he was hopeful “our wonderful PM will correct this lacuna”.

Nice, revolutionary disgruntlement from Mr Murthy. But how can Delhi name a road after the former Congress president and leader of the Indian National Army? An unwritten rule of street nomenclature is that the person honoured has to be dead. To suggest that Bose is not 114 years old and alive would be to suggest that he is dead, something that Mr Murthy should be wary of suggesting to any Bengali especially in Kolkata.

On its end, the CPI(M)-led Left Front government, of which the Subhas Bose-formed and Netaji-worshipping Forward Bloc is a member, is blaming the central government for turning a deaf ear to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s suggestion of “getting the thoughts and ideals of Netaji across to the people of the entire nation”.

Mr Bhatta-charjee wants January 23 to be declared as ‘Deshaprem Divas’ (Patriotism Day). Which is a perfectly kosher way of celebrating the man who, according to the communists in Bengal, could have hatao-ed corruption, poverty and rising prices all in one go if he is invited to Delhi from his current hide-out. As for Mr Murthy’s suggestion, we only hope the Bengalis don’t mind.