Kolkata: Family members of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose have written to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee clarifying that their house at Kodalia in South 24-Parganas district, which her government wants to acquire for upkeep, never belonged to the freedom fighter, nor to the Indian National Army.
"It is a two-storeyed house of which only two rooms - one on the ground floor and one on the first floor - belong to the descendants of Janaki Nath (Netaji`s father), the rest of the building belong to distant relatives," read the letter signed by a majority of 30 members of the Bose family.
It points out that although Netaji had visited the house, built by his grandfather over 150 years ago in South 24 Parganas district, there is no record of his having stayed there overnight.
"Netaji was born in Cuttack and spent his life at many places. He never built a house of his own and stayed at his father`s or his brother`s houses. His father`s house at Elgin Road, where he spent a few years of his life, has already been converted to Netaji Bhavan," Chandra Kumar Bose, spokesperson of the Bose family, told a news agency.
"She (Mamata) cannot walk into somebody`s house and say that since Netaji walked its veranda we will acquire the plot. The house should be dedicated to Janaki Nath Bose who was a reputed barrister in his own right besides being Netaji`s father," Bose, Netaji`s grandnephew, said.
Since 1935, the family priest has been doing `Narayan Seba` (puja) daily morning and evening in the house which is also the venue of the family`s annual Durga Puja and Saraswti Puja celebrations.
"Netaji`s mother Prabhabati Bose enjoined that under no circumstance should this be discontinued. A post office for the local people is located near the gate but no rent has been received for many years," the letter said.
Saying that all repair and maintenance carried out by the family has kept the property in good condition, the members pointed out to the CM, "As you are aware that heritage buildings are not to be altered or modernised, but preserved in the pristine original condition".
In the upstairs room a museum to Netaji has been created which is open to the public year round, they said.
The family has also demanded that the land at Malancha, two km away from Kodalia, in Netaji`s name should be utilised for the benefit of the local villagers by providing a health or educational centre.
"They want a monument to be constructed. What purpose does it serve? Monument is constructed when the date and place of death of a person is known. In Netaji`s case it is a question mark," Bose said.