Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kartavya Path – a refurbished stretch from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, previously known as Rajpath – in New Delhi on Thursday, 8 September.
The inauguration ceremony began at 7 pm and was be attended by 1,500 guests followed by a cultural event, including a drone show on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s life.
The PM also unveiled a 28-foot statue of Netaji at India Gate, which was carved out of a 280-tonne solid block of granite by a team of sculptors roped in by the government.
Here's all you should know about the statue:
How the Statue Was Built
According to the Culture Ministry, the statue was built by a team of 20 to 25 sculptors led by renowned artist Arun Yogiraj, best known for sculpting the 12-foot statue of Vedic scholar Adi Shankaracharya at Kedarnath.
This team worked closely with the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) to carve the statue out of a granite block weighing 280 tonnes. The granite was sourced by Granite Studio India (GSI), a firm based out of New Delhi.
"Extracting a single piece large granite block of size 32 by 11 by 8 feet, weighing 280 tonnes, was one of the biggest challenges," said Rajat Mehta, the co-founder of GSI.
The block was extracted from a quarry in Telangana and transported on a 100-feet-long truck with 140 wheels to New Delhi in a record time of 14 days, he said, "With the aggressive timeline, almost 37 tires of the truck burst during the 2000 km journey."
Yogiraj and his team put in 26,000 man-hours of "intense artistic endeavor" using traditional techniques and modern tools to produce a statue weighing 65 metric tonnes.
The statue will be housed under the India Gate canopy, which was built in 1936 and housed the statue of King George V till 1968. The canopy was then used to house the Amar Jawan Jyoti, which was merged with the eternal flame of the National War Memorial Torch on Republic Day 2022.
Netaji’s Family To Skip the Event
Bose's daughter Anita Bose-Pfaff, an economist based in Germany, said she won't be able to attend the programme due to the short notice.
"I was invited for the event but had sought time from PMO. PMO did not respond. I understand that PM is a busy person. It is wrong to say that the family has boycotted the event," Bose-Pfaff told India Today.
Chandra Kumar Bose, Netaji's grandnephew, said many of the remaining family members were of senior age and needed to be notified well in advance of the ceremony.
"Netaji’s statue cannot be unveiled on just another day. The day must have relevance to him or the INA. A member of the high-level Central committee had suggested October 21 or January 23," he wrote on Twitter.
Anita Bose-Pfaff also urged political parties in the country to work towards bringing the ashes at Tokyo's Renkoji Temple to India. She claimed that these were Netaji's ashes.
"It was my father's ambition to experience a free India. Tragically his untimely death denied him this wish. I feel his remains should at least touch the soil of India and bring closure to the matter," she said in a statement.
'Am I Their Servant?': Mamata Bannerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said she would not attend the inauguration of the Netaji statue in Delhi as the invite was "not proper."
"I feel bad they are now making a Netaji Statue in Delhi. What about the statue present before? I received letter from an under secretary stating PM will inaugurate the statue today and you be there before the event commences. Am I their servant?" she said.
(With inputs from India Today and news agencies.)