Formation of Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj)
Formation of Indian National Army
Indian National Army is also known as Azad Hind Fauj. Many leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose, Rash Behari Bose and many others took the initiative to form the Indian National Army.
The spirit of national independence was instilled in them and they took the side of the Axis Powers when the Second World War (1939-1945) was going on.
In the year 1941 during the month of December, the British were defeated by the Japanese at Malaya. After this defeat Captain Mohan Singh along with other Indian and British officer captured them. This was the initial stage of war and the Indians who were staying in the Southeast Asia were inspired and happy that Japan earned a victory.
At this point of time everyone was forming their own associations, groups, forums, blocks etc. with the common aim of getting India independent from the rule of the British. One such association or organization was formed and Pritam Singh was its leader. Along with him, there was another Japanese officer.
His name was Major Fujihara. Both of them requested Captain Mohan Singh to gather all the Indian soldiers who were captured and form and Indian Army. In the starting Mohan Singh was not ready to agree for this but eventually he did. There were around forty thousand Indian soldiers who had surrendered to Fujihara.
He handed all these Indian soldiers to Mohan Singh. This eventually was the beginning of the formation of the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj).
In the year 1942, on the 15th of February the Japanese took over Singapore as well. Then, they moved ahead towards the north and attacked Burma (Myanmar). After this they took over Rangoon (Yangoon) very soon. During this period of time, Rash Behari Bose was staying in Japan.
He made arrangements to organize a meeting where all the leading Indians were staying in Tokyo. This meeting took place on 28th March, 1942. It was decided in this meeting that there would be an establishment of the Association of Free Indians and a National Indian Army would be formed which would be commanded by the Indian officers.
Later after two months there was another conference at Bangkok to discuss more on the previous meeting. This conference was for 9 days during which almost thirty five proposals were adopted. At that time it was agreed and decided that Subhash Chandra Bose would get an invitation to go to Southeast Asia.
Apart from this, the army which Mohan Singh had formed got the approval in this conference. A working committee was formed which included five members and Rash Behari Bose was appointed as the President of the committee. Finally, the formation of the Indian National Army got the declaration.
Restoration of the army
While this was going on Subhash Chandra Bose quietly left from Calcutta and went to Germany. He made an Indian Government there in Berlin which was in exile. He also gave support from his side to Germany. He made his contact with Japan and his aims and objectives were broadcasted in the Radio Berlin.
All these instilled great enthusiasm in India. Subhash Chandra Bose got the title of “Netaji’ from the Indians who resided in Germany. At the same time the slogan “Jai Hind” also came into the light in Germany. After this, Subhash went to Japan in a submarine that belonged to the Germans.
He reached Tokyo on 13th June, 1943. At that time Hideki Tojo was the Prime Minister of Japan. When Subhash Chandra Bose arrived there, he got a cordial reception from the Japanese Prime Minister. Hideki Tojo was ready to help India in all the way possible to get independence from the British. He declared this in their Parliament.
Next, Subhas Chandra Bose went to Singapore on the 2nd of July in 1943. As soon as he reached there a huge crowd went to receive him. After two days, that is, on 4th July, Rash Behari gave up his post and then Subhash was made the President of the Indian Independence Movement in East Asia. He took the in-charge of the Indian National Army formally on the 25th of August.
He performed his duties with utmost dedication for the Indian National Army. Later in the month of October, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose declared that a Provisional Government of Azad Hind had been formed. After a few days of this declaration, he declared for a war on America and Britain.
Advancement of the army
From all of these it can be understood that the Indian National Army was divided and organized in such way that they could invade India easily along with the Japanese soldiers. But the Japanese commander Terauchi did not agree to this. He objected this plan on three criteria.
According to him the Indians who were also the war prisoners were dispirited. They were not the ones who would be ever ready bear any sort of pain like the Japanese soldiers. They were mostly mercenary soldiers. So, he tried to show his point of view that the Japanese soldiers would go to invade India but the Indian National Army would remain in Singapore itself.
This proposal was not accepted by Netaji Subhash. Due to this both the sides went on for a long discussion regarding this problem. Finally it was decided that only a few Indian soldiers would join with the Japanese soldiers but they would be a separate unit.
The few Indian soldiers who went with the Japanese soldiers had to prove that they were equal to the Japanese soldiers. Only if they did so, more Indian soldiers would be sent to them.
In the year 1944 in the month of January, the headquarters of Indian National Army was shifted to Rangoon and there was a war cry which was Chalo Delhi. It meant March on Delhi. There were three brigades. They were Subhash, Gandhi, Nehru and Azad Brigades.
When the headquarters was shifted to Rangoon, at the same time even the Subhash Brigade reached there. As it was decided that Indians would have a detached unit, their number would equal to that of a battalion and the commander would be an Indian.
The war would take place according to the joint plan of actions. The Indians would be on different spots and they would be fighting separately. According to the decisions, the battles would take place at the Kaladan valley of Arakan and Haka center of China hills to the east of Lusai hills.
Division of the Brigades
There were three battalions of the Subhash Brigade. The first one moved near the banks of Kaladan and took over Paleto, Doletmai and Maudak. It became difficult for them to get their arms, food and ammunitions. So, the Japanese soldiers were deciding to go back.
But it was the Indian soldiers who refused to go back. But only one group stayed back which was commanded by Surajmal. The rest of them returned. Even though the Japanese left, they left many of their contingents to Surajmal. While this was going on the other two brigades went to the border of Haka and Kalan.
At this point of Imphal fell so the Indian National Army decided to camp at Kohima. This would be easier for them to enter Bengal from the river Brahmaputra. Even the Gandhi and Azad Brigades moved towards Imphal.
Fall of Indian National Army
Later on the Japanese Prime Minister declared which ever territories were under the British, after they were freed those territories would come under the government which was formed by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The Indian National Army had problems because of lack of food and other materials and hazards.
But still they managed to enter India almost to 241 km. After the Japanese had declared, the British and Americans decided to invade Japan. They started this by putting all their powers in the Pacific side. This put Japan in a very critical situation.
So, the Japanese forces which were going to invade India had to cancel their plans. After this even the Indian National Army had to give up and surrender when Burma was recaptured by the Allied powers. Many members of the Indian National Army were given serious punishments by the Indian Government.
Out of which even Captain Shah Nawaz and Captain Rashid were also included. But these created great commotion among the public. This made the Government remove their order. It was because of the Indian National Army that the spirit of Independence increased among the citizens of the country.