"When I drafted my acceptance speech on being elected as the President of the Republic -- and that is one speech which I had to draft myself...what struck me first... please let me go through the address of Subhas Chandra Bose as Congress President. And there I got the inspiration," Mukherjee said at a function to commemorate Netaji's 116th birth anniversary.
Mukherjee credited several important features of our constitutional system as part of Bose's vision. He said the Directive Principles of State Policy, which are now a part of our Constitution and the concept of Five-Year plans, were a part of the freedom fighter's vision for governance of India after Independence.
"Subhash Chandra Bose gave the clarion call and laid the basic foundation about the responsibilities and duties of independent India 10 years before the actual liberation. The concept of planning, the directive principles of the state, planned economic development...," he said.
Reminiscing his association with Netaji, Mukherjee said, "I had the privilege of working with him in close cooperation with this very son of Bengal".
He called Netaji the real icon of India, particularly to the younger generation.
Mukherjee also outlined the influence of Swami Vivekananda, who's 150th birth anniversary is also being celebrated this year, on the life of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
"The tremendous influence which Swami Vivekananda had on Netaji are well researched and well documented. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose himself wrote that at the early age of 15 when Swami Vivekananda entered into his life. Even in the height of the war in Singapore, whenever Netaji had time he used to visit Ramkrishna Mission here and spent considerable time in meditation," he said.
Paying homage to Netaji, he said, "This great son's life was nothing short of sacrifice and service...Perhaps in many centuries we may not have one like him".
The President also praised the Netaji Research Bureau, and the contribution of Netaji's nephew Sisir Bose, to bring different aspects of the life and facts of Netaji.
On the occasion, Bose's daughter Anita Pfaff presented Mukherjee a copy of the Bengali version of Sugata Bose's book 'His Majesty's Opponent'. Anita remarked that very few people were so lovingly remembered by their countrymen as her father.
Pfaff said it would be better if India and Pakistan, locked in a war of words over tension in LoC, spent their money more productively on education and healthcare rather than on producing nuclear weapons.
"All the money that is spent on all sorts of armament projects like production of n-arms... If they had put this money) into education, healthcare, then certainly it would have been more beneficial to the population of India and Pakistan," she said.
Anita is in the city to attend programmes to commemorate Netaji's 116th birth anniversary which falls on January 23.