Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose can arguably be called the ‘Father of Indian Armed Forces’ for he laid the seeds of what would become the Indian army, navy & air force. Bose’s aim to free India from British Colonialism found resonance in Germany & Japan, Britain’s enemies. While in Germany & Japanese controlled Singapore, Bose was able to put together Indian residents in Germany & Singapore as well as Prisoners of War (PoW) to form the Indian National Army or INA. The INA, along with Japanese assistance, then marched into India & played an important role in its freedom struggle;
- The INA engaged with the British Forces at Manipur. The Special Forces ‘Bahadur group’ of the INA fought against the British at Arakan Yoma. Here the Special Forces were met with success and after capturing Moirang in Manipur from the British forces on 18 April 1944, the INA hoisted their flag on this area.
- Emboldened with the Moirang victory, the Japanese fought the British army at Kohima & Imphal along with the Burmese Army. The Japanese were eventually joined by the Nehru & Gandhi brigades of the INA who then mounted a combined attack against the British. But due to tactics of the Gurkha regiment & a combined British offensive, the Japanese forces and INA’s attempts to go further into India were met with failure
- Moreover, the INA campaigns into Mandalay, Pegu and Mount Popa were met with failure due to lack of essential supplies, vehicles and food as well as mutinies. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki in August 1945 forced the Japanese to withdraw which eventually led to the disbandment of the INA.
Despite its attempts to free India, the INA was viewed as ‘fascists’ & traitors by many Indian citizens & the British. However, the Red Fort Trials of the INA officers, Colonel Dhillon, Col. Sehgal & Major Gen. Shah Nawaz shook the conscience of the entire nation. Many Indian soldiers of the British Indian army as well as the Royal Indian Navy revolted seeing the unjust trial of their comrades. The British were shaken up. Though Netaji’s aims to free India were a military failure, the Red fort trials as well as the solidarity of the 3 aforementioned soldiers in the face of British Oppression cemented the role of the INA as one of India’s strongest forces that challenged British rule so much so that the British were forced to think about leaving India completely.
Yes, Mahatma Gandhi & Pandit Nehru along with many other leaders of India were equally responsible for giving their all to India’s contribution, it was however Netaji, whose single-minded dedication to free India from British colonialism, who won the hearts of Indians world over like never before. The recent teleseries ‘Bose: Dead or Alive’ is a worthy tribute to this worthy ‘Son of India’ and must be watched by all to truly understand the worth of this die-hard patriot.