Kolkata, Jan 20 (IANS) Describing Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as a "real icon" for the youth, President Pranab Mukherjee Sunday said his life was a story of sacrifice and service to the cause of India.
"This great son of India's life was a story of sacrifice and service. The motto of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was 'seva' and 'tyag' (service and sacrificed). In many centuries, we may not have someone like him," he said, inaugurating the 116th birth anniversary celebrations of the freedom fighter at his ancestral house Netaji Bhavan here.
Addressing the function by Netaji Research Bureau, Mukherjee hailed Bose as a "great son of India who fought for its liberation till the last moment of his life".
Bose's daughter Anita Pfaff, her husband Martin Pfaff and his family were at the event.
With the nation celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, Mukherjee referred to the tremendous influence the religious leader had over Bose.
"Netaji wrote that at an early age of 15, Swami Vivekananda entered his life. During the war in Singapore, Netaji used to visit the Ramakrishna Mission there to meditate," Mukherjee said.
Swami Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission, a philanthropic and spiritual organisation based on the philosophy of spiritual mentor Ramakrishna Paramhamsa.
Mukherjee said the two addresses by Bose as president of the Indian National Congress inspired him in drafting his acceptance speech on being elected president last year.
He said a letter written by Bose to chief ministers (then called premiers) of eight Indian provinces in 1937 provided the ingredients which later formed the directive principles of the nation's constitution.
"He conceptualised and articulated the concept of planning and planned economic development," Mukherjee said.