New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) 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 Naga leader Rani Gaidinliu to India’s freedom struggle.
Inaugurating the birth centenary celebrations here of Gaidinliu, a Naga 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.
Gaidinliu, affectionately called Rani Maa, believed that her struggle for the Naga people against the British was also a struggle for India’s unity and integrity, he said.
Modi also credited Gaidinliu with spreading the message of Mahatma Gandhi in the northeast region.
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.
The prime minister also spoke of his government’s initiatives for the development of the northeast.
He reiterated that the progress of the northeast will provide a big boost to the development of the entire nation.
“India will develop only if the northeast develops,” Modi said, adding that the central government was committed for over all development of the region.
“We are putting in maximum efforts to build infrastructure in the northeast,” he said.
The prime minister also said following the resolution of the border dispute with Bangladesh, connectivity with the northeast was set to become easier. “The northeast has now become closer to the rest of India.”
Stating that the northeast was blessed with abundant natural bounty, he said that the region has the potential to become the organic capital of the country.
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.
Jaitley said remembering Gaidinliu would help the northeastern 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.
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.
In 1932, she was arrested at the age of 16 and sentenced to life in prison.
She was released from Tura jail (now in Maghalaya) after having spent 14 years in various prisons. She died on February 17, 1993, at Longkao in Manipur.
Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya, Nagaland Chief minister T.R. Zeliang, Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh and union ministers Mahesh Sharma and Jitendra Singh were also present on the occasion.