Even as the Centre declassified 100 files on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose under intense spotlight last month, a Japanese businessman of Indian origin is quietly campaigning alone to build a Netaji memorial in Japan and to bring back the revolutionary leader’s ashes. Balasaheb Deshmukh, 78, a native of Osmanabad, Maharashtra, but a resident of Japan for more than four decades has taken up this cause with help from his Japanese friends, who are fellow admirers of Subhas Chandra Bose.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Deshmukh’s friend Akkoch Nuri Masa, 78, a farmer from Nikko, a city in northern Japan has committed to donate approximately 15,000 square feet of his land for the proposed Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Memorial and Indo Japan Cultural Centre. Along with Deshmukh, Masa and his daughter Hiromi Sayato are in India to campaign for the memorial project across Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai.The trio are also trying to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek help on the project and to request him for intervening in the efforts to get back Netaji’s ashes from Renkoji temple in Tokyo, where they are believed to be preserved. “Netaji had rescued several Japanese during the second world war and he is revered in our country. As a child, I had about him on radio and seen news about him television. India should help us in building his memorial,” Akkoch Muru Masa told dna.Balasaheb Deshmukh said that they would not be seeking the help of Japanese government but would reach out to state and national level politicians and public personalities sympathetic to this cause for raising money. “I have lived in Japan for four decades and during this period I have experienced the love and admiration Japanese people have for Netaji. I have also met Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani in the past when they visited Japan for this cause. I hope that Modiji extends a helping hand for this project,” said Deshmukh.Hailing from a poor farmer’s family, Deshmukh used to tend to his family’s cattle in teens. Though not formally educated, Deshmukh was a professional wrestler and earned money with the help of his friends Dara Singh and famous Marathi singer Sudhir Phadke to visit Japan in the 1970’s. After emigrating to the far-east nation, he worked odd jobs in Japanese hotels for almost eight years. But with a turn in fortunes, he opened his own restaurants in Japan with help from a few generous financiers. Deshmukh ran five restaurants across four Japanese cities and presently spends much of his time on the memorial project.
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