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Indian National Army And Its Role in Independence struggle Yogesh Dilhor ID NO. 1947 IIND YEAR, B. A. , LL. B. (HONS. ) DATE OF SUBMISSION: 25TH SEPTEMBER, 2012 NATIONAL LAW SCHOOL OF INDIA UNIVERSITY 1 Contents Introduction Introduction The much praised twelve volumes of the history of terminal years of British India edited by Nicholas Mansergh are titled The Transfer of Power, 1942-1947.
Hugh Tinker while editing a parallel work on the same time period in Burmese history named it Burma: The struggle for Independence. Tinker does not see Burma obtaining its freedom through management from above. According to him, the British surrendered to the pressure from below. 1 While in case of India, what these twelve volumes assure us is that there was no such surrender of power in India, but her conveyance, a planned and calculated conveyance, with all that this implies in prior purpose, studied, management and mutual consent. These volumes announce that an armed struggle was quite unnecessary, and even if it was attempted, when England was fighting darkness everywhere in the world, it was unconscionable, it was almost a criminal act. What this implies is complete ignorance of a very prominent part of the Indian Freedom struggle which was fought not by the Gandhian peaceful and deliberative means, but by taking up arms against the British. What they completely overlook is that there was a second front of truggle too which operated both inside and outside of India. One such attempt was the Indian National Army. It is a more like a forgotten chapter in our Independence struggle. Bipin Chandra in his book, India’s struggle for Independence puts it, “ Before we end this chapter (Quit India Movement), a brief look at the Indian National Army is essential”, and then spares a single page for the very essential technical details (seemingly for a memorisation exercise) on Indian National Army in his 600 page long book.
No doubt, the INA itself was defeated along with Japan, but even in its defeat, it became a symbol of India fighting for its independence. The very idea of an Indian Army founded and commanded by an Indian of unquestionablepatriotismwas enough to evoke enthusiasm from an unarmed people long used to watching the display of British military might. The INA in essence, represents the last attempt of the Indian people to fight together for the liberation of a United India.
But the official recognition of this brave and unique attempt has been somewhat muted or overshadowed by Gandhi in the initial years of Independent India. INA? sleadership, its functioning, its campaigns, its motivations, and its aspirations form a very interesting study of a second front of Independence struggle. 1 Peter Ward Fay THE FORGOTTEN ARMY: INDIA’S ARMED STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE 1942-1945 Pg. No. 4 (1st edn 1995) 2 Id. 3 Research Methodology Aim The aim of the research paper is to highlight the role of Indian National Army in India? s struggle for Independence. Objective
The objective of the paper is to emphasize on the existence of a second front of the independence struggle which derives its motivations from the mainstream Gandhian struggle but employs means very different from it. This is achieved by looking at various features of the Indian National Army before, during and after its active action like the motivations of the recruits, the methods employed in the campaign and the historic INA trials. A special role is assigned to Subhash Chandra Bose as without the appeal of his character, there would not have been an Indian National Army.
Scopes and Limitations The scope if this paper is limited to the analysis of the formation of the Indian National Army and its immediate effect on the Indian struggle for independence. The Paper also includes within its ambit the role of Subhash Chandra Bose in the Indian National Army. Given the spacial constraints of this paper, it fails to undertake a detailed analysis of the military achievements of the INA. The paper is restricted to the impact of the successes and failures of the INA on the overall campaign.
The paper also fails to give an analysis of the role played by the INA legacy in the socialreconstructionof the free India in the postindependence scenario, although they were very significant consequences with regard to their impact on the Indian Army of a free India. Mode of Citation A uniform mode of citation has been employed throughout this paper. Sources The researcher has completely depended on the secondary sources such as autobiographies, journal articles and campaign accounts of Subhash Chandra Bose and INA officers.
The only primary materials used are the speeches of Subhash Chandra Bose and the letters exchanged by the INA officers. 4 Research Questions ? ? ? ? ? What was the ideological foundation of the armed resistance against the British rule and how did a second front of independence struggle come into existence? What were the factors which guided the INA through its formation and in subsequent military operations? What was the impact of Subhash Chandra Bose on the INA? What were the motivations of the soldiers to join the ranks of the INA?
What impact did the INA trials have on the independence movement? 5 The Ideological Origins As the study ofCivil Disobedienceagainst the British in India would remain obsolete without a conceptual understanding of the Gandhian principles and practicalities that lay behind it, similarly an effort to understand the significance of the Indian National Army in India? s struggle for independence in isolation from the ideological wars that gave rise to it would be rendered ineffectual.
On one side of this ideological conflict was Gandhi and his peaceful resistance to the Raj with self-imposed restraints with regards to the methods of struggle against the British. Under his theme of struggle, the means of achieving a goal were as important as the goal itself. He firmly believed that if the means are corrupt or violent, the goal itself would get contaminated. 3 And on the other end of it was Subhash Chandra Bose, with his uncompromising attitude and adamant desire to kick the British out of India even if it meant rubbing shoulders with the Nazis themselves. According to Subhash Chandra Bose, the new form ofimperialismof Italy, Germany and Japan was in direct conflict with the old forms of imperialism of Britain and United States. In this regard, his opportunist views were closely aligned with those of the „ Father of Indian unrest? , Lokmanya Tilak, who believed that Indian nationalists should learn to take advantage of the difficulty of its enemy and use them to advance the cause of their freedom. 5 In March 1942, he went over radio from Berlin: …. In British decline alone, lies the hope of India’s independence.
Every Indian who works to strengthen British hands betrays the cause of his motherland. Such a man is a traitor to India…… When British Empire will go the way of all other empires of the past and out of its ashes will rise a free and united India…. 6 In his essay „ The Morality of Boycott? , Aurobindo Ghosh had once remarked, “ in pursuit of justice and righteousness the saint? s holiness had to be complemented by the warrior? s sword” 7 This vision of Aurobindo almost came alive in February 1938, when a revolutionary 3 Rudolf C.
Heredia Interpreting Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj, 34(24) ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY 1497-1502 (June 12, 1999) 4 Robert N. Kearney Identity, Life Mission, and the PoliticalCareer: Notes on the Early Life of Subhash Chandra Bose 4(4) 617-636 (Dec 1983) 5 Biswamoy Pati Nationalist Politics and the ‘Making’ of Bal Gangadhar Tilak 35(9/10) SOCIAL SCIENTIST (September 2007) 52-66 6 7 Sisir K Bose A BEACON ACROSS ASIA: A BIOGRAPHY OF SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE 126 (2nd edition 1996) Aurobindo Ghosh, The Morality of Boycott, THE DOCTRINE OF PASSIVE RESISTANCE 87-88 (1st edition 1948) leader from Bengal, Subhash Chandra Bose came to preside over the 51st session of the Indian National Congress in Gujarat. The sight of Gandhi and Bose in earnest conversation on the dias, at the plenary session of the Congress, warmed the hearts of the millions of Indians looking forward to a united nationalist stand against the British raj. 8 In his scheme of independence, Subhash Chandra Bose had attributed a very important role to Mahatma Gandhi, which was the sensitisation of the masses about the great cause of the independence of the motherland.
But he strongly believed that a final strike ofviolencewas necessary to drive the British out of India. This is what he said on 19th June 1943 after attending Japanese Parliament session to some 60 Japanese and foreign newsmen: “ The enemy that has drawn the sword must be fought with the sword. Civil Disobedience must develop into armed struggle. And only when the Indian people receive the baptism of fire on a large scale, will they qualify for their freedom. ” 9 But what distinguished Subhash Chandra Bose from other revolutionaries of his time was his far sighted approach and detailed planning accompanying it.
What helped him in his campaign was his distinctive knowledge of the world history and politics assisting him in making instantaneous comparisons of the political situation at home with various parallel instances of world history. In a historic speech while taking over the command of 13, 000 troops of the Indian National Army under the scorching tropical sun at the city square in Singapore in August 1942, he said: “ Throughout my public career, I have always felt that though India is otherwise ripe for independence in every way, she lacked one thing, namely, an army of liberation.
George Washingtonof America could fight and win freedom because he had his army. Garibaldi could liberate Italy, because he had his armed volunteers behind him. It is your privilege and honour to be the first to come forward and organise India’s National Army. By doing so, you have removed the last obstacle in our path to freedom. Be happy and proud that you are the pioneers, the vanguard, in such a noble cause. ” 10 8 9 Sugata Bose HIS MAJESTY? S OPPONENT 135 (1st edition 2011) Sisir K Bose A BEACON ACROSS ASIA: A BIOGRAPHY OF SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE 142 (2nd edition 1996) 10 Id. at 149 7 The First Indian National Army The Japanese campaign in the South East Asia during the Second World War resulted in the fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942. About 80, 000 British, Australian and Indian troops became Prisoners of War joining 50, 000 taken during the January 1941 Malaya Campaign. Winston Churchill called the ignonimous fall of Singapore to the Japanese the „ worst disaster? and the „ largest capitulation? in the British history. These events caused much excitement among the 2 million Indians living in South East Asia.
Those living in territories freed from European domination organised themselves into associations with the twofold objects of contributing their quota to the liberation of India from the British yoke and serving the interests of the overseas Indians during the critical, transitory period. 11 Indian Independence League was the umbrella organisation for the various smaller associations established in a large number of towns and even villages during this period.
The organiser of the league was Rash Behari Bose, an old Bengali revolutionary who after the attempt to assassinate Lord Hardinge, fled to Japan in June 1915, married a Japanese girl and became a Japanese citizen. Meanwhile, POWs of the 1st /14th Punjab Regiment were received not by the rough Japanese soldiers, but by Giani Pritam Singh, an active eloquent Sikh Missionary and Major Fujiwara, a Propaganda Officer of the Japanese Army who assured the Indian soldiers that they were not prisoners but friends, honoured friends of Japan who, meant to work for the independence of India as her victorious armies marched on. 2 Major Fujiwara during his genuine arguments which went on during intervals for 10 or more days was able to convince one Captain Mohan Singh, one of the most senior Sikh officers of the 1st /14th Punjab Regiment to break away from the British army and take steps for the independence of the his own motherland. They told him that they took no delight in making prisoners of fellow Asiatics, fellow sufferers of the oppression and arrogance of the west and as soon as the British are ousted from the sub-continent, India would come under the „ Co-Prosperity Sphere? hich Japan had created for Malaya, Burma and India with other regional countries. 13 Mohan Singh was no less aware of the atrocities committed on the Chinese by the Japanese and along with the goal of getting India independence from the British, one thing this was to 11 12 R. C. Majumdar HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA 683 (June 1988) Hugh Toye The First Indian National Army, 1941-42 15(2) JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES 365-381 (Sep1984) 13 Id. 8 o was to keep the Indian forces under Indian control. By the end of December that year, Mohan Singh with the consent of a committee from the several hundreds of prisoners he controlled, agreed to organise an Indian National Army, as the military wing of the Indian Independence League of Pritam Singh, for action when India came to be invaded. 14 Fujiwara promised that this army was to be raised from Indians, directed by Indians, for the purpose of India alone.
Although his ideas far outran official Japanese instructions: the propaganda operation had worked. 15 Against the same background of rising excitement, by the end of August, 1942, about 40, 000 men had signed a new pledge “ to join the Indian National Army under Mohan Singh to serve real Indian interests and for the independence of India”. The motivations behind the mass enrolment of the volunteers will be discussed in a later section of this paper.
On 10th September, after inspecting the First INA division, an organised body of 16, 300 men which has been assembled far more quickly than the Japanese had expected, Mohan Singh expressed his urge for more ambitious plans. He told the Japanese Officers that his ultimate plan was to raise an army of 250, 000 men largely from civilians. But the Japanese wanted to wait until their campaign for Burma and as just before the patience of Mohan Singh became exhausted, the Japanese planned to launch an offensive in Burma in early 1943 in which the First Division of the INA was to take part.
But what the Japanese majorly demanded from the Indian troops was their active involvement only in the intelligence tasks and after Lieutenant Colonel Gill defected to the British with all the crucial information regarding the INA, serious differences began to emerge between the British and the Indian leadership of the INA. On March 1942, some of the leaders of the Indian Independence League, including Giani Pritam Singh and Swami Satyananda Puri of Bangkok were killed in an air crash on their way to a conference in Tokyo.
Around the same time Colonel Hideo Iwakuro replaced Fujiwara as the Chief Liaison Officer of with the Indians. Contrary to Fujiwara? advice that Japan needed a diplomatic mission to handle relations with Indians, Iwakuro started operating like an espionage agency dedicated to short-term military objectives. 16The biggest problem for the Indians was the arrogance and high handedness of the middle ranking officers of the Japanese 14 Hugh Toye THE SPRINGING TIGER Letter from Mohan Singh to Fujiwara, dated 1 Jan. 1942 Appendix I pg. 272 ( 3rd Edition 2011) 15 Supra note 12, at 9 16 Sugata Bose HIS MAJESTY?
S OPPONENT 242 (1st edition 2011) 9 Army towards the Indian Military and civil Leadership. 17Despite Rash Behari? s efforts to keep the relations on an even kneel; the lack of trust between the two sides became palpable during the latter half of 1942. And finally, it was in December 1942, an impatient and exasperated Mohan Singh issued an order to disband the Indian National Army. He was promptly taken into detention and Rash Behari tried his best to salvage the situation for the next few weeks and prevented a complete dissolution of the Indian National Army. 17
Hugh Toye The First Indian National Army, 1941-42 15(2) JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES 365-381 (Sep 1984) 10 Subhash Chandra Bose and the Second Front On 9th July 1943, at a rally in Singapore, gathered to show solidarity to the visiting Japanese Prime Minister, Subhash Chandra Bose said: Friends! We have for a long time been hearing so much of the second front in Europe. But our countrymen at home are now hard-pressed and they are demanding a second front. Give me total mobilisation in East Asia and I promise you a second front – a real second front for the Indian struggle. 8 The British considered Subhash Chandra Bose as a dangerous revolutionary and being a person who has been openly advocating taking advantage of the new situation emerging from the war in Europe, there was no way the British were going to allow Subhash to operate freely. He was arrested on 2nd July, 1940, under section 129 of the Defence of India Rules. 19 In prison, while he was being deprived of any political action, he deliberated upon the new developments in Europe and came to three conclusions. Firstly, Britain would lose the war and the British Empire would break up.
Secondly, in spite of being in a precarious position, the British would not hand over power to the Indian people and the latter would have to fight for their freedom. Thirdly, India would win her independence if she played her part in the war against Britain and collaborated with those powers that were fighting Britain. 20 He decided to go on a hunger strike in the jail, challenging the government to “ Release me, or I shall refuse to live. ” In a three page hand written letter, he penned down the historic words: “ One individual may die for an idea – but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives. 21 But as hishealthdeteriorated, the British released him on 5th December 1940. After his release, Bose remained quietly in his ancestral house in Elgin Road, Calcutta, which was under strict surveillance by the Police. On 17th January, 1941, he escaped from the house and after an adventurous journey arrived in Kabul dressed as one Khalji Pathan. He stayed for a few weeks there and then proceeded to Moscow and then to Berlin on March 28. 22 18 19 Sisir K Bose A BEACON ACROSS ASIA: A BIOGRAPHY OF SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE 153 (2nd edition 1996) R.
C. Majumdar HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA 682 (June 1988) 20 Tara Chand HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA VOL. 4 416 (4th edition 1992) 21 Sugata Bose HIS MAJESTY? S OPPONENT 181 (1st edition 2011) 22 Supra note 20, at 12 11 Bose was received well by Ribbentrop, the right hand man of Hitler, where Bose boldly proposed a) he would propagate anti British propaganda from Berlin b) raise “ Free Indian” units from Indian prisoners of War in Germany; while c) the Axis powers would make a joint declaration of Indian Independence. 3 Bose had a long meeting with Hitler on May 29th 1941, when the Fuhrer poured cold water on his idea of a declaration of a free India. Ironically, one of fiercest critics of the European colonialism could be seen allied with the world? s most racist and imperialist state. When Germany attacked Russia in June 1941, believing in their victory, he proposed to organise an Indian Army which could follow German Army to Central Asia and thence operate against the British forces on the north-western frontier. 4 But as the Axis powers started suffering reverses in many places including the Russian front, the ambitions of raising an Indian Armed Division in Germany also suffered. Subhash Chandra Bose soon realised that he couldn? t achieve much in Germany and made plans to go to Japan. Subhash Chandra Bose accepted the invitation of the Bangkok Conference held under Rash Behari Bose to lead the Indian Independence Movement in the South East Asia, despairing of success of his efforts in Europe.
Bose was received in Tokyo on June 13th 1943 where the Japanese Premier made it clear to Subhash Chandra Bose that whether invaded or not, India was to remain under Japanese control. But at the same time he said that Japan had no requirements beyond the necessities of war and intended India to be independent. 25 Bose received encouragement in his project of a Provisional Government which would take control of the Indian Territory as the Japanese forces moved on.
Two days later in the Diet (Japanese Parliament), Tojo surprised Subhash by making a declaration: “ Japan is firmly resolved to extend all means in order help to expel and eliminate from India the Anglo-Saxon influences which are the enemy of the Indian people, and enable India to achieve full independence in the true sense of the term. ” 26 And it took not more than one day after this declaration for Netaji to review the Indian National Army and giving it the rousing war cries of “ Chalo Delhi”. 27 23 24 R. C. Majumdar HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA 683 (June 1988) Tara Chand HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA VOL. 416 (4th edition 1992) 25 Hugh Toye THE SPRINGING TIGER 118 (3rd edition 2011) 26 Id. 27 R. C. Majumdar HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA 686 (June 1988) 12 The Second Indian National Army Netaji inaugurated the Provisional Government in a public meeting at Cathay Hall on 21st October, 1943 before an almost hysteric crowd who stormed the precincts of the Cathay Hall and presented indescribable scenes of overpowering feelings and emotions as the proclamation was made. 28 Hindustani was adopted as the national language, Jai Hind as the form of greeting, the Congress tricolour as the national flag and Tagore? poem as the national anthem. This was followed by recognition of the Provisional Government by Japan, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Thailand, Burma, Nationalist China, The Philippines and Manchuria. Immediately after taking over the leadership of the Indian Independence Movement in South East Asia, Subhash Chandra Bose assumed personal control of the Indian National Army on 9th August 1943. A comprehensive plan for reorganisation and expansion was put into functioning. New training camps were opened with a thorough reorganisation of Recruitment and Training Departments. Instructions, commands and orders were to be given only in Hindustani.
After six months of intensive training, both men and women recruits were absorbed into the Indian National Army. But when the question of INA? s participation in the proposed Imphal Campaign was raised before the Japanese Commanders, they expressed unwillingness to accept the proposal. Field Marshall Count Terauchi told Bose that the Indian National Army would not be able to stand the rigours of a Japanese Campaign. The main part of the INA was to be left in Singapore only and only the espionage and propaganda groups were to be used in the field. 29 To this Netaji proclaimed, „ Any liberation of India secured through Japanese sacrifices? he said, „ is worse than slavery.? 30 He talked about the national honour of India, insisted that the Indians must make the maximum contribution of blood and sacrifices themselves, and urged that the INA be allowed to form the spearhead of the coming offensive. 31 Terauchi at last consented to the employment of one regiment of the INA as a trial and only if it came up to the Japanese standards, other regiments would be allowed in the battlefield. 28 29 R. C. Majumdar HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA 687 (June 1988) Hugh Toye THE SPRINGING TIGER 125 (3rd edition 2011) 30 Id. 1 Supra note 29, at 14 13 INA in Action Subhash decided to raise a new brigade by selecting the best soldiers known as the Subhash Brigade, from the other three brigades, namely Gandhi, Nehru and Azad which was to go in action. 32 The regiment was raised at Taiping in Malaya, in September, 1943 with Shahnawaz Khan as its commander. On February 4th, the first battalion of the Subhash Brigade left Rangoon for Arakan, and in the middle of March they had their first taste of blood where they defeated the much praised „ West African Troops? from West Africa.
Reinforced by the Japanese troops, they captured high altitude positions like Paletwa and Daletme. After this, the first British post on the Indian side was Mowdock, fifty miles east of Cox Bazaar which was again captured in a surprise attack at night. “ The entry of the INA on Indian territory was the most touching scene. Soldiers laid themselves flat on the ground and passionately kissed the sacred soil of their motherland which they had set out to liberate. A regular flag hoisting ceremony was held amidst great rejoicing and singing of the Azad Hind Fauz National Anthem. 33 The Japanese withdrew from the post owing to the difficulties of supplies and the counter attack of the British forces, but the INA officers refused to do so. They said, “ The Japanese can retreat because Tokyo lies in their way; our goal – the Red Fort, Delhi – lies ahead of us. We have orders to go to Delhi. There is no going back for us. ” Thus, one Company of the INA under the command of Capt. Suraj Mal was left at Mowdok. The Japanese admiring the spirit also left one of their platoons to share the fate of the INA troops under the command of Capt.
Suraj Mal which in itself was a unique as an Indian Officer was commanding a Japanese platoon. On this instance, The Japanese Commander-in-Chief in Burma went to Netaji, and bowing before him, said: “ Your Excellency, we were wrong. We misjudged the soldiers of the INA. We now know they are no mercenaries, but real patriots” 34 This division held on the British counter offensive from May to September. The other battalions were ordered to proceed towards the Chin Hills where they fought against the British Army several skirmishes. Special mention may be made of the rout of Major Manning? forces at Klankhua, the successful defence of the post on the Klang Klang Road by 20 men of the INA against 100, and the capture of the British stronghold at Klang 32 R. C. Majumdar HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA 689 (June 1988) Id. 34 14 Klang. 35 As the Japanese were now satisfied with the military skill and the efficiency of the INA, the main body of the INA was ordered to proceed towards Kohima in the Naga Hills where they arrived in May. 36 Here, in conjunction with the Japanese troops, they captured Kohima and hoisted the Tricolour flag on the mountain tops around.
But by the time May arrived, the morale of the INA began to decline. The INA lacked air cover as the Japanese had to withdraw their aeroplanes from the Indo-Burma border to the Pacific zone. The INA did not even have mortars; no artillery of their own and its machine guns were only medium sized and without spares. 37 Nocommunicationmeans, no transport gear and even without medical supplies these troops managed to stay in competition with some support from the Japanese. But with the rains, supplies were cut off completely forcing a Japanese retreat.
The disaster to the Japanese forces, disease and starvation demoralised the INA and lead to resentment amongst the Indian troops. The INA had started to disintegrate and Bose found it more and more difficult to recruit more men as the funding also dried out. His government used more stringent measures of collecting funds and the Indian Independence League was infested with difficulties and slowed down its activities. 38 By December 1944, desertions became a regular affair on a daily basis. The Japanese and the Indian troops had been driven out of the Arakan sector.
By the middle of the February, British had a strong hold on the ground and the fighting spirit amongst the INA had become impaired. By May, the INA was completely shattered. The credit for the British success was largely due to the American aid, specially airplanes, weapons and war material worth 650 crores received by the South East Command. 39 Bose who was at Rangoon received on April 20, 1945, the news that the Japanese had resolved to leave the capital. For him no other course remained except leave Rangoon with some of his ministers and the working contingent of the Rani Jhansi Regiment. After the Japanese urrender on 15th August 1945, Subhash was allowed to proceed on his journey in a plane provided by General Terauchi. The plane was reported crashed and Bose? s death was 35 36 R. C. Majumdar HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA 690 (June 1988) Tara Chand HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA VOL. 4 419 (4th edition 1992) 37 Id. , at 420 38 Stephen Cohen Subhash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army 36(4) PACIFIC AFFAIRS 411-429 (196364) 39 Id. 15 announced to the world on 23rd August 1945. His reported death and the surrender of the INA at Singapore marked the end of a vibrant chapter in India? s struggle for independence. 0 40 T. N Sareen Indian National Army in We fought together for freedom : Chapters from the Indian National Movement 208 (Ravi Dayal ed. , 1995) 16 Motivations to Join One of the most interesting aspects of the INA episode of the Indian National Movement remains to be the motivations of the recruits and the POWs of the British Indian Army in joining the INA. The nationalists have been trying to root such massive enrolments purely on patriotic grounds. And English writers on the other hand have completely discredited this claim of the Indian nationalists and have attributed all enthusiasm only on economic and practical reasons.
There were several reasons for volunteering on such a massive scale: 1. K. K. Ghosh, who was one of the Commanders of the Indian National Army in aninterviewin 1964 stated that “ The strongest desire (of the civilian leadership) was to improve the standing of the Indian Community vis-a-vis the Japanese as a measure to ensure the community? s safety and safeguard its interests” 41 In light of the Japanese atrocities on the Chinese, when Indians saw that the League offered protection against the Japanese, the Indians flocked to join. 2.
Hugh Toye in his article on the First Indian National Army emphasises on the role of Mohan Singh in the enrolment of the POWs of the British Indian Army. According to him, no one wanted to build roads and dig latrines for the Japanese, and they joined INA because they were sure that if something went wrong, the personal pledge to Mohan Singh would provide a way out of it. 42 3. Then there were the ambitions of the Viceroy? s Commissioned Officers to whom Mohan Singh had given the full Officer status, and who wielded far more power than they had done under the British Officers.
When Mohan Singh told them that the recruiting would proceed in earnest, some of them sought to improve their personal standings by giving longer lists of volunteers than others. 43 Stephen Cohen in his much more accommodative analysis of the relationship of INA and Subhash Chandra Bose categorises the motivations in three different spheres a) personal benefit b) nationalistic feelings c) and the charismatic appeal of Bose. 44 Stephen Cohen also blames the racial treatment of the fellow Indian Officers of the Indian Army as one of the factors resulting in the shift of allegiance. But Hugh Toye rubbishes this claim by saying that 1 42 N. Raghavan, INDIA AND MALAYA: A STUDY 69-70 (1st edition 1954) Hugh Toye The First Indian National Army, 1941-42 15(2) JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES 365-381 (Sep 1984) 43 Id. 44 Stephen Cohen Subhash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army 36(4) PACIFIC AFFAIRS 411-429 (196364) 17 even if the racial standards had been perfect to the standards of 1984, there would have been sufficient volunteering for the INA, without on the other hand of the cataclysmic British defeat in North Malaya, without the barbarous behaviour of the Japanese during and after the Malayan Campaign, there might have been no INA. 5 But the testimony of Major Shah Nawaz Khan during the INA trials goes against Hugh Toye where he says, “ not a single Indian officer was given command of a division and only one Indian Officer was the given the command of the Brigade”, he concluded “ it appeared to me that lack of talent could not have been the reason for more Indians not getting higher commands”. 46 Genuine nationalistic aspirations were also at work at different levels of reasoning of the officers. Col.
Prem Kumar Saghal, one of the officers tried in the Red Fort for crimes against the King writes in hisautobiography, “ My father had taken an active part in the 1920-1921 non-cooperation movement and from him I inherited an intense dislike for the alien rule. Added to this my own study of history and PoliticalSciencetaught me that complete freedom was the birth right of everyhuman beingand it was the sacred duty of every Indian to fight for the liberation of the motherland” 47. But one factor which no one fails to recognise in the adherence of large numbers of the INA was the character of one individual, Subhash Chandra Bose.
Running through all writings of INA is an appreciation of the singular role played by Subhash Chandra Bose in turning it into an actual fighting force. Had his charismatic leadership not been there with the INA, it was doubtful that a force could be deployed at all, and the INA personnel would probably have joined the many other Indian prisoners of war on forced labour projects. 45 Hugh Toye The First Indian National Army, 1941-42 15(2) JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES 365-381 (Sep 1984) 46 Major General Shah Nawaz Khan, Col. Prem K. Saghal, Col. Gurbax Singh, THE INA HEROES 80-81 (Lahore: Hero Publications, 1946) 47 Id. 8 INA Trials By March 1945, most of the INA officers were in British hands and with the capture of Rangoon on 3rd May 1945, INA virtually ceased to exist. During 1943 and 1944, courts martial were taking place in India of those persons who had formerly belonged to the Indian and Burman armies, but had been captured fighting in the ranks of INA, or working on its behalf. 48 A few Viceroy? s Commissioned Officers, NCO? s and senior sepoys caught in battle distributing or shouting propaganda, firing on British Indian Soldiers or betraying them to the Japanese, were tried by Court martial and imprisoned or executed. 9 These cases numbered less than 30, and the executions only 9. No other disciplinary action was taken at all. Meanwhile during July 1945, everyone was apprehensive of any kind of settlement between the INC and Muslim League and it seemed as if the independence would be delayed by another decade. And just when things seemed coagulated, the British helped out. They put Capt. Shah Nawaz Khan, Capt. P. K. Saghal and Lt. Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon on trial in Red Fort, Delhi. The combination was perfect, a Hindu, Muslim and a Sikh, one which Bose himself could not have chosen for himself.
The press immediately started making comparisons with the revolt of 1857 and apart from the general turmoil throughout the nation, it created a political consciousness which the Indian Servicemen had never possessed before. 50 Jawahar Lal Nehru who earlier saw the INA as „ merely tools of Japanese? 51 now had „ no doubt that the men and women who had enrolled in this army, had done so because of their passionate desire to serve the cause of India? s freedom.? 52 The news of Bose? s death further fuelled the movement.
But as a political weapon, the INA was of greatest use to the Congress. It had resorted to it the ability to cause widespread civil commotion, and in circumstances where the government might hesitate to use the Indian Army. 53 Meanwhile the naval and air force mutinies at Karachi and Mumbai air ports had intensified the situation for the British. „ Today? , said Mr Attlee on March 15th 1946, „ the national idea has spread. ….. not least perhaps among some of the soldiers who have done such wonderful service in the war.? 54 Meanwhile the Military judges remitted the sentences 48 49
L. C. Green The Indian National Army Trials 11(1) MODERN LAW REVIEW 46-69 (2011) Hugh Toye THE SPRINGING TIGER 247 (3rd edition 2011) 50 Id. , at 248 51 L. C. Green The Indian National Army Trials 11(1) MODERN LAW REVIEW 46-69 (2011) 52 Shah Nawaz Khan MYMEMORIESOF THE INA AND ITS NETAJI, (Foreward by J. L. Nehru) (1st Edition 1946) 53 Hugh Toye THE SPRINGING TIGER 255 (3rd edition 2011) 54 Id. , at 249 19 against the three prisoners as they had realised that they just could not enforce these sentences. 55The dynamics of power and authority had now changed.
The demand for leniency for INA men from within the Army and the revolt in the section of Royal Indian Navy further conveyed to the far sighted officials, as much as the full scale mutiny would do more brashly confident, thatthe stormbrewing this time may prove irresponsible. 56 These events opened the eyes of the British to their perilous situation in India. They realised that they were sitting at the brink of a volcano which might erupt any movement. When Clement Attlee was asked about the role of Gandhi in India? s independence, he replied, „ minimal?.
These considerations no doubt played a very vital role in their final decision to quit India. The members of the INA did not die or suffer in pain, and their leader, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, had secured a place of honour in the history of India? s struggle for independence. 55 56 L. C. Green The Indian National Army Trials 11(1) MODERN LAW REVIEW 46-69 (2011) Bipin Chandra, INDIA? S STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE 491(3rd Edition 1989) 20 Conclusion After Bose? s tragic death and the collapse of his struggle, Gandhi met the INA prisoners in the Red Fort in Delhi.
They told him that under Bose they had not felt any distinction of caste and religion. “ But here we are faced with „ Hindu tea? and „ Muslim tea?. ” To Gandhi? s question of why they put up with it, soldiers replied, “ We don? t, we mix „ Hindu tea? and „ Muslim tea? half and half, and then serve. The same withfood” 57 Though the INA failed in its immediate objective they have a lot to their credit of which they might well be proud. The greatest of these was to gather together under one banner men from all religions and races of India and to infuse in them the pirit of solidarity and oneness to the utter exclusion of all communal or „ parochial sentiment?. 58 The seeds of the second front of independence struggle were sown as early in the 1930s with the divide between Gandhi and Bose regarding the means by which both aimed at achieving independence. But the Second World War provided the opportunity for Subhash Chandra Bose to join the Axis forces, raise an army for India? s independence and join the war. Japanese and the Indian National Army seemed to be natural allies and it was the arrival of Subhash Chandra Bose in South east Asia, that made the Indian National Army as it was.
The motivations of those who joined the Indian National Army have always been a controversial issue. While it is not appropriate to cite nationalism as the only factor for volunteering at such a large scale, at the same time it is not right to succumb to the reasons given by British and American authors who attribute all of it to practical and circumstantial reasons. It was an amalgamation of both the aspects. And the influence of Netaji was the most crucial factor in turning a group of Prisoners of War into a functioning army.
In the battlefield, the INA might not have been able to achieve a lot, but considering the machinery, weapons and supplies with which it was operating, it was commendable that they were able to hold military positions under heavy British offences. Indian National Army helped develop a strong nationalist Consciousness among the Indians and especially the government employs including the three military wings. INA trials helped in escalating this consciousness into a stronger resistance to the British rule. This once again gave the Congress some new ideas and speeded up the process of India? s independence. 57 58
Sugata Bose HIS MAJESTY? S OPPONENT 323 (1st edition 2011) T. N Sareen Indian National Army in WE FOUGHT TOGETHER FOR FREEDOM : CHAPTERS FROM THE INDIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT 194 (Ravi Dayal ed. , 1995) 21 Bibliography Books 1. Bipin Chandra, INDIA? S STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE (3rd Edition 1989) Sugata Bose HIS MAJESTY? S OPPONENT (1st edition 2011) 2. Hugh Toye THE SPRINGING TIGER (3rd edition 2011) 3. Major General Shah Nawaz Khan, Col. Prem K. Saghal, Col. Gurbax Singh, THE INA HEROES (Lahore: Hero Publications, 1946) 4. Peter Ward Fay The Forgotten Army: India’s Armed Struggle for Independence 19421945 (1st edn 1995) 5.
R. C. Majumdar HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA (June 1988) 6. Shah Nawaz Khan MY Nehru) (1st Edition 1946) 7. Sisir K Bose A BEACON ACROSS ASIA: A BIOGRAPHY (2nd edition 1996) 8. Tara Chand HISTORY OF FREEDOM MOVEMENT IN INDIA VOL. 4 (4th edition 1992) 9. T. N Sareen Indian National Army in WE FOUGHT TOGETHER FOR FREEDOM OF MEMORIES OF THE INA AND ITS NETAJI, (Foreward by J. L. SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE : CHAPTERS FROM THE INDIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT (Ravi Dayal ed. , 1995) Articles 1. Aurobindo Ghosh, The Morality of Boycott, THE DOCTRINE OF PASSIVE RESISTANCE (1st edition 1948) 2.
Biswamoy Pati Nationalist Politics and the ‘Making’ of Bal Gangadhar Tilak 35(9/10) SOCIAL SCIENTIST (September 2007) 3. Hugh Toye The First Indian National Army, 1941-42 15(2) JOURNAL OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES (Sep 1984) 4. L. C. Green The Indian National Army Trials 11(1) MODERN LAW REVIEW (2011) 5. Robert N. Kearney Identity, Life Mission, and the Political Career: Notes on the Early Life of Subhash Chandra Bose 4(4) (Dec 1983) 6. Rudolf C. Heredia Interpreting Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj, 34(24) ECONOMIC POLITICAL WEEKLY (June 12, 1999) 7. Stephen Cohen Subhash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army 36(4) PACIFIC AFFAIRS (1963-64) AND
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