Although many freedom fighters had contributed a lot in the Indian Freedom struggle yet some outside activities from the foreign countries were also marked their deep impact on the British as well as on the Indians. Among them, the effect of Azad Hind Fauj formed initially by Rash Behari Bose and then revived by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was seen more disastrous to overturn the rule of British from India. The main objective of the INA was to declare a war against the British Government.

History of Azad Hind Fauj

During the 2nd world war 70,000 soldiers among which almost were from Punjab sent to far east by the British Government. Captain Mohan Singh was leading his unit in the Malaysian front. When Japanese force took the command over Malaysia and South East Asia then many of the Indian soldiers had been captivated. However the Japanese tried to keep better relations with them. A Japanese official Major Fijiera asked an Indian Nationalist leader Pritam Singh who was residing in Malaysia that time to form an army with the help and support of these prisoners of war and their captain Mohan Singh.

In April 1942 Mohan Singh called all the top officers and had taken Bidadary resolution according to which they would form an army that would fight for the freedom of India. Hence evidences tell us that INA was first formed by Mohan Singh.

Formation of Azad Hind Fauj

The Indian nationalists immigrants living in the South Asia had formed associations like Central Indian Association, the Singapore Indian Independence league etc. When Japan had shown its inclination towards the Indian freedom movement then in the leadership of Ras Bihari Bose these all associations were merged into The Indian Independence league. A conference was arranged in Singapore collecting all the Indian and Japanese intellects in which Mohan Singh also attended the conference as a representative of INA. It was the official declaration of Indian Independence league.

In this conference the utmost demand of the Japan Govt. was the survival of Indian Independence league and Indian National Army or Azad Hind Fauj. The leaders of freedom movement wanted Azad Hind Fauj to take the responsibility of the force and all the prisoner of war would be released. Japan would give the financial support to the army and no other responsibilities were thrown upon this army except Indian freedom movement.

End of the First Indian National Army

In the Bidadary resolution it was accepted that Indian National Army will involve in a war if it was consented by India or the Indian National Congress. This demand annoyed the Japanese and the Japan govt. was delaying to give independent recognition to the Army and there were many other disputes on various issues between the Japanese Govt. and Mohan Singh. Hence Mohan Singh was removed from his responsibilities and was arrested. This was the end of The Indian Nation Army founded by Mohan Singh. Its tenure was just from February to December.

Revival of the army

The name of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was first suggested by Mohan Singh to the Japanese. He told the Japanese officials that Netaji was the perfect person who could lead the Indian National Army perfectly. Many others were also in favour of Mohan Singh and proposed Netaji’s name. Therefore, Bose was invited to take the command of the Indian National army. In 1943 Bose reached Japan. He was disguised in Germany on those days.

 

Many meetings had been arranged between Indian National Army and Japan Govt. After that it was finally decided that Netaji will handle the Army. Subash Chandra Bose reached Tokyo on 11th May, 1943 and met Hideki Tojo the army chief of the Japanese Imperial Army.

In July 1943 Bose visited Singapore and appealed to all Indians living in South Asia on radio to contribute in the Indian Freedom Struggle. He raised the slogan “Give me blood I will give you freedom” and officially taken the charge of The Indian National Army from Ras Bihari Bose. After taking the charge of the Indian National Army, Bose had raised his famous slogan “Dilli Chalo” while he was addressing thousands of soldiers of INA.

In October Netaji called upon all the members of the Indian national Army and declared the establishment of the “Provisional Government of Free India (Azad Hind)” and officially the ‘Indian National Army’ was formally declared as ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ and included in the temporary govt. “Arzi Hukumat-A-Azad Hind”.

The main objective of the Azad Hind fauj was to declare a war against the British for the Indian independence. The number of soldiers in the army was numerous and many of them worked as volunteers. Since all the records have been destroyed therefore the exact number is different but according to an Australian writer Karl Vaudeville 350,000 members had taken the membership under the leadership of Netaji. It included farmers, shopkeepers, advocates, and experienced soldiers.

In the leadership of Laxmi Sahgal women were also appointed in the Azad Hind Fauj and the group was named “Rani of Jhansi Regiment”. It was estimated that there were 85,000 soldiers in the Azad Hind Fauj and many of them were Indians who joined the fauj because of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Operations of INA

Netaji Subash Bose had declared a provisional Government for the independent India. After the first attack by the Azad Hind Fauj on British army, Japan got pleased and handed over Andaman and Nicobar islands to Azad Hind Fauj where Netaji had first hoisted Indian Tri-colour and renamed both the islands as Shaheed and Swaraj.

Netaji had been able to convince the Japanese to participate in the war fought in Manipur against the British. The main objective behind UGO offense’s military operation was to capture Manipur and Naga hills from the British control. Azad Hind Fauj played an important role despite been lost many of its soldiers that weaken the Army.

 

In 1945 Azad Hind Fauj was a part of Burma Campaign of Japan in which Japan fought against British dominion Burma. Unfortunately, Japan was defeated in the war and they had to surrender and signed on many alliances. There was no option left for Azad Hind Fauj to be with the alliance.

In August 1945 Netaji moved The Soviet Union to meet the Soviet Army but the aircraft was crashed in the way and it is said that he died in that mishap.

End of Azad Hind Fauj and the Trials

In 1945 after the defeat of Japan in the war Azad Hind Fauj wasn’t able to achieve its goals and objectives. With the news of the death of Subhash Chandra Bose the Azad Hind Fauj did not existed for long. Approx. 16,000 soldiers of Azad Hind Fauj were captivated and sent back to their countries to join the main stream.

In November 1945 more than 12,000 soldiers were kept into transit camps in Chittagong and Calcutta. Through the court trial many of them were punished. According to a report in November 1945 all Azad Hind fauj soldiers were killed by the British.

In the initial stage Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had opposed the Azad Hind Fauj after the trial he had taken U-turn and supported it by being the defence lawyer. The Indian National Congress had formed a defence committee for Azad Hind Fauj for saving the member in the court trials. Many intellects and Nobel men of the country were the members of that committee such as Kailash Nath Katju, Bhula Bhai Desai, and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru himself. The defence committee had opposed the trail and ensured that no one will be charged in his first trial.

In the trial The Azad Hind Fauj soldiers had been compelled to surrender and divided into three categories- white, grey, and black. It was considered that white would change their attitude and support the British, Greys were being closely watched, and the blacks were considered totally patriots.

There were ten trials taken in the Red Fort that’s why it was called ‘Red for Trial’. At first Colonel Prem Sahgal, Major General Shah Nawaj Khan, and Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dillon were charged and treason case was filed against them. Later on the British govt. had taken a decision to execute the trials among the public. The accused gained the sympathy of the people and again the opposition and riots been upsurged. The Indian National Congress and the Muslim League had started putting pressure on the British Government to release the captives. Due to upheaval in the army the commander-in-chief Marshal Claude Ochinlake hanged three accused.

But the British army had to release Prem Sahgal, Shah Nawaj Khan, and Gurbaksh Singh. In between three months they released 11,000 soldiers. Whereas they couldn’t join the Indian Armed Force because of the condition put by Lord Mountbatten that they had no right to join the army.

Controversies of Azad Hind Fauj

Approx. 40,000 Indians couldn’t join the Azad Hind Fauj because they had taken an oath before Lord Pancham not to join or support any Japanese Institution. Those who joined the Azad Hind Fauj had been called betrayers. It is also said that they were compelled to work in Burma Railways for their living. After independence, the behaviour with Azad Hind Fauj soldiers was criticised severely. They were not treated as freedom fighters but the Govt. of India had also neglected their efforts.

Apart from many struggles and controversies the Azad Hind Fauj was able to win the hearts of the Indian people and left the ever-lasting honour and impression for its contributions in Indian freedom struggle.

Regimental Quick March of the Army

‘Kadam-kadam badaye ja’ was the ‘regimental quick march’ of the Azad Hind Fauj. That song was composed by Ram Singh Thakur and had been included in the Azad hind Fauj as a motivational song. It is still the quick march song of present Indian forces.

Azad Hind Fauj was the first army by which the British army was so frightened that after the Second World War the documentary on BBC was banned by the government.

 

 

More Information about Indian Independence Day:

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