AZAD HIND FAUJ
AZAD HIND FAUJ
About Azad Hind Government
- On 21st October 1943, Subhash Chandra Bose announced the formation of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India) in Singapore, with himself as the Head of State, Prime Minister and Minister of War.
- Known as Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind, it was supported by the Axis powers of Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Italian Social Republic, and their allies.
- With this, Bose had launched a struggle to free India from British rule under the banner of the provisional government-in exile during the latter part of the Second World War.
- Following the outbreak of World War II, Japan invaded South East Asia. At the time 70,000 troops were stationed in the region, most of them along the Malayan coast.
- Japan conducted a lightning campaign which culminated in the fall of the Malayan peninsula and Singapore in 1942.
- In the Singapore campaign alone, 45,000 Indian prisoners of war were captured. It was from these prisoners of war that the Japnese decided to create an auxiliary army which would fight against the British.
- The first INA was formed under Mohan Singh, a former officer of the British Indian Army captured during the Malay campaign. Conditions in the prisoner of war camps, as well as resentment against the British in general, saw many prisoners of war volunteer join the Indian National Army
- The initiative received considerable support from the Imperial Japanese Army and from the ethnic Indian population of South-East Asia. However, disagreements between Mohan Singh and Japanese Army Command regarding the autonomy of the Indian National Army led to the disbandment of the first INA in December 1942
The Second INA
- The second Phase of Indian National Army began when Subhash Chandra Bose was brought to Singapore on 2nd July, 1943 by means of German and Japanese submarines.
- He went to Tokyo and Prime Minister Tojo declared that Japan had no territorial designs on India.
- Subhash Chandra Bose returned to Singapore and set-up Provincial Government of Free India. It then declared war on Britain and US, and was recognised by the Axis powers and their satellites.
- Subhash Chandra Bose set up two Indian National Army Headquarters, at Rangoon and Singapore.
- A women’s regiment Rani Jhansi regiment was formed. The regiment was headed by Lakshmi Sehgal.
- Subhash Chandra Bose renamed Indian National Army as Azad Hind Fauj.
- It was an effort to ally with Axis powers during Second World War to free India from British Rule.
- It was inspired by ideas of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
- Japan provided the Andaman and Nicobar islands to this temporary government, later these islands were renamed Shaheed Island (Andaman) and Swaraj Island (Nicobar).
- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose gave a famous slogan Delhi Chalo after formation of this government.
Azad Hind Fauj against Britishers
- The Azad Hind Fauj participated in operation U-Go, the 1944 Japanese campaign towards British India.
- Although the INA saw initial success during the early phases of the operation, they were forced to withdraw during the battle of Imphal and battle of Kohima in 1944, which saw the disastrous defeat for the Japanese Army at the hands of the British.
- The INA lost a substantial number of men and materiel in this retreat. A number of units were disbanded or used to feed into new divisions of the now declining Japanese Army
- Following the Japanese defeat in World War 2, most of the members of the INA were captured by the British. Subash Chandra Bose himself eluded capture and was reported to have died in a plane crash near Taiwan in September 1945.
Downfall of Azad Hind Fauj
- In March 1944, three INA regiments crossed the Chindwin in Manipur for the “March to Delhi.” They reached as far as Imphal in Manipur. But by June, along with Japanese troops, they were forced to retreat because of disease and inadequate supplies. By March 1945, the INA troop strength is estimated to have declined to 35,000. When Rangoon (now Yangon) in Burma was captured in May 1945, Azad Hind Fauj disbanded and its troops surrendered.
- In August 1945, Bose reportedly died in a plane crash in Taiwan. He was on his way to USSR, where he hoped he could get support to continue his fight against the British.
Significance [AZAD HIND FAUJ]
- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was convinced that armed struggle was the only way to achieve independence for India. The role of Azad Hind Fauj or the Indian National Army (INA) had been crucial in leaving behind a much needed impetus to India’s struggle for Independence.
- Azad Hind government wasactively involved in nation building and had even started its own bank, currency, civil code and stamps.
- According to experts, Netaji laid down the foundation for equal opportunity for women in armed forces, through the formation of Rani Jhansi Regiment. Prime Minister in his address said that the government is carrying forward this legacy in true means and reiterated that women will be given equal opportunity for permanent commission in armed forces.
- The existence of the Azad Hind Government gave a greater legitimacy to the independence struggle against the British.