The modern history of India is the biggest Myth which actually gives a selective perspective and hides most of the critical information under the garb of intellectualism. It is a well known fact that many critical parts of Indian history are left overlooked and never got the credit they deserve.
We have numerous examples like Marathas, Rajputs, Cholas, Ahoms, Vijaynagar Kingdom, Suhel Dev, Lachit Borphukan, and several others who fought for our Nation and sacrificed their lives but unfortunately ignored by our so-called eminent historians.
On similar grounds, the contribution of the Indian National Army (INA) has been largely ignored. We will try to present some information about the INA, which actually won independence for us.
Escape of Netaji Bose and formation of INA ?
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was considered as a member of the ‘Garam Dal’ of Congress. The then British establishment used to look upon him as a dangerous revolutionary, who could have challenged the British Government.
In 1940, the British Administration put Bose under house arrest. A few days later he escaped and went to Peshawar, then reached Germany via Russia. He met with German Chancellor Hitler, who was an adversary of the British Government.
Bose left Germany and went to attend the Bangkok Conference. He travelled in a German U-boat to meet a Japanese submarine (Japan was the Friend of Germany), which ultimately took him to Sumatra. He arrived in Tokyo in June 1943.
Bose made a daring announcement from Tokyo, over Radio. He clearly expressed his determination to launch an armed fight against the British as soon as possible. The Indians diaspora across all over the world were excited and thrilled to take part in this revolution.
On 2nd July 1943, Bose reached Singapore and on 4th July 1943, another eminent freedom fighter Ras-Behari Bose delegated the leadership of the Indian Independence Movement to Subhash Chandra Bose, who then became the Supreme Commander of the I.N.A. (Indian National Army) which is also known as ‘Azad Hind Fauz”
Formation of Azad Hind Government
On 21st October 1943, Netaji Bose formed the Provisional Government of Independent India, which is also known as the Azad Hind Government. The creation of the Azad Hind Government gave Bose an opportunity to negotiate with the Japanese and take their help for training and mobilization of the Indian Army towards the eastern part of India.
Bose was declared as the Head of the independent State of India and the Prime Minister of Independent India’s Government.
Netaji Bose conceived the idea of Azad Hind Government and created its structure as well. It contained several ministries like Home, Defence, Finance, law, women organization, Broadcasting, etc. People will be surprised to know that It had its bank, hospitals, currency, court, civil code, and a national planning commission as well.
On 30th December 1943, Netaji Bose hoisted the Tricolour flag at Port Blair. The amazing fact is, this Government of Independent India was recognized by 18 countries and Netaji Bose was the Commander-in-Chief of INA and Hon. President of the Indian Government.
INA marched to snatch independence from British
In 1944, when the entire world was engulfed in the Second World War, Bose sensed the opportunity and ordered INA to start its march towards Imphal and Kohima. NIA secured the first Indian victory in Arakan, which is a mountainous terrain between Indian and Burma (Myanmar).
The biggest day for INA came on 14th April 1944, when they defeated the British Army and captured the city of Moirang (Manipur). INA Army hoisted the Tricolor for the second time on Indian soil in Moirang and declared it as a headquarter of INA.
The Allied forces led by USA, Russia and Britain came out victorious in World War 2. The INA lost the war in Burma due to depleting support from the Japanese Army, as they were failed terribly in their World War campaign. British Army captured more than 16,000 soldiers of INA and sent them back to India.
Trials of INA
This was the watershed moment of the Indian Independence War. British Government ordered a trial against INA’s Lt Colonel Prem Kumar Sehgal, Lt Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon, and Major General Shah Nawaz Khan, they were charged with murder and waging war against the British King. The trial began in November 1945 at Red Fort and the sole objective was to execute INA officers had a huge impact on India’s freedom movement.
Till then most of the Indians were unaware of the achievements of Netaji and INA due to massive censorship imposed by the British government. However, the ghastly trials of the INA Soldiers at Red Fort had a counterproductive effect on this censorship. This British attempt to diminish the Indian national spirit was backfired badly.
Many pieces of evidence were put together during the course of the trial, and for the first time, Indians were able to see the magnitude of the I.N.A. organization, its achievements, and the heroic feats. It was only then that people realized that INA was truly an Indian army with the sole objective of snatching independence from British colonial rule.
Final push for Indian Independence
This INA trial captured the imagination of every Indian and entire country stood up for INA soldiers and wanted the immediate release of INA soldiers as they were national heroes now.
The public was up in the arms against the British Administration, countless protests and political meetings were held across the nation in support of INA Soldiers. This was the first time when all the political parties including the Indian National Congress, Muslim League, Hindu Maha Sabha, and Akali Dal came together to put a common brave front to pressurize the British Government.
The British Government had to conclude the trials and had to release all INA officers. Upon their release, the public gave them a rousing reception at Lahore.
These trials gave a decisive message to the British Government that their time is over and its their time to retreat and leave India. The then Viceroy warned the British Government about the depleting morale of Civil services and the Royal Indian Army and Navy.
Massive revolt in Royal Indian Army, Navy and AirForce
As expected, some sections of the Royal Indian Army and Royal Indian Air Force revolted against the British leadership. On 18th February 1946, more than 20,000 Sailers along with 78 naval ships, 27 shore establishments started a mutiny in support of INA.
A large section of Gurkha and Baluch regiments also revolted and refused to serve the orders of British officers. It is also said that more than 1200 Airmen of the Royal Indian Air Force participated in this growing resentment against the British Government. Indian Pilots refused to obey the orders of British Seniors.
Even the Transport units Royal Indian Army and Royal Indian Air Force refused to carry British troops. All this while Britain was entangled in the Second World War, this mutiny was only making the situation worst for the British Government.
Just a week after the Royal Indian Navy mutiny, more than 1700 men of the Signal Corps of the Royal Indian Army at Jabalpur cantonment revolted against their British Officers. The situation was such that British Establishment understood that politically and militarily it was impossible for the British to rule India anymore.
British sensed that the loyalty of Indian troops was now in a great doubt. If mutinies of the Indian armed forces were the last nail in the coffin of the British Empire, then Azad Hind Fauj acted like a hammer and Netaji himself was the striker.
Britain realized that its position in India had become untenable, that it would be better to withdraw or it would be run over. The shift of allegiance of the Indian Army was bound to happen. All it needed was a shot in the arm and that came in the form of the INA.
The British Government felt the tremors
British authorities understood the truth that it was impossible to end this revolt without a political support from Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. On February 23, 1946, Sardar Patel met the Strike committee leaders to discuss the issue and he requested them to end the revolt immediately. Muslim League also made similar calls to INA and its supporters.
On 4 December 1946, a British MP delegation visited India and they gave a clear signal that the process to accord independence to India will be resumed by the British Government.
Was INA the most important contributor towards Indian Independence?
No doubt about that. It was indeed the truth of INA activities that evoked the passion in every Indian and the biased Red Fort trial actually motivated the Indian Royal Navy to revolt, which had a cascading effect on the Indian Royal Army and Indian Airforce, which ultimately forced the British Government to realize that they could no longer hold on India.
Calcutta High Court Chief Justice P.B. Chakraborty, who also served as the Governor of West Bengal later, disclosed a secret in his book ‘A History of Bengal’.
Justice Chakraborty got an opportunity to take interview of the then British PM Atlee, where he asked a question about the reasons behind the hasty British departure from India.
British PM Atlee replied that “The primary reason being the eradication of loyalty to the British Crown among the Indian Army and Navy personnel as an outcome of the Military aggression of Netaji and INA.
Justice Chakraborty asked Atlee another question about the influence of Gandhi upon British Government’s decision to quit India, to which Atlee replied sarcastically “Minimal!”.
It was quite evident that power was wrestled from the British Government, as it is clear from Clement Attlee’s statement. And it was the efforts of Netaji Bose and INA along with millions of Indians that forced Britain to accord independence to India.