The Provisional Government of Free India, or, more simply, Free India (Azad Hind), was an Indian provisional government established in occupied Singapore in 1943 and supported by the Empire of Japan, Nazi Germany, Italian Social Republic, and their allies.
It was a part of a political movement originating in the 1940s outside India with the purpose of allying with the Axis powers to free India from British Rule. It was established by Indian nationalists-in-exile during the latter part of the Second World War in Singapore with monetary, military and political assistance from Imperial Japan. Founded on 21 October 1943, the government was inspired by the concepts of Subhas Chandra Bose who was also the leader of the government and the Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government-in-exile. The government proclaimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in Southeast Asian British colonial territory and prospective authority over Indian territory to fall to the Japanese forces and the Indian National Army during the Japanese thrust towards India during the Second World War. The government of Azad Hind had its own currency, court and civil code, and in the eyes of some Indians its existence gave a greater legitimacy to the independence struggle against the British.
However, while it possessed all the nominal requisites of a legitimate government, it lacked large and definite areas of sovereign territory until Japan gave it nominal authority of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1943 and the occupation of parts of Manipur and Nagaland. Japanese officials made all the decisions, and throughout its existence it was entirely dependent on Japanese support.
Immediately after the formation of the government-in-exile, Azad Hind declared war against the Anglo-American allied forces on the Indo-Burma Front. Its army, the "Azad Hind Fauj" (Indian National Army or the INA), went into action against the British Indian Army and the allied forces as part of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The INA had its first major engagement at the Battle of Imphal where, under the command of the Japanese Fifteenth Army, it breached the British defences in Kohima, reaching the salient of Moirang before suffering a catastrophic defeat as the Allied forces held, and Allied air dominance and compromised supply lines forced both the Japanese and the INA to retreat.
The existence of Azad Hind was essentially coterminous with the existence of the Indian National Army. While the government itself continued until the civil administration of the Andaman Islands was returned to the jurisdiction of the British towards the end of the war, the limited power of Azad Hind was effectively ended with the surrender of the last major contingent of INA troops in Rangoon. The death of Bose is seen as the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement.
Some historians contend that the Azad Hind was a free and independent government.
The legacy of Azad Hind is, however, open to judgment. After the war, the Raj observed with alarm the transformation of the perception of Azad Hind from traitors and collaborators to "the greatest among the patriots". Given the tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and the resentment and revolts it inspired, it is arguable that its overarching aim, to foster public resentment and revolts within the Indian forces of the British Indian Army to overthrow the Raj, was ultimately successful.
Provisional Government of Free India
Ārzī Hukūmat-e-Āzād Hind
Anthem: Subh Sukh Chain
Light green: Territory claimed.
Dark green: Territory controlled (with Japanese assistance).
|Status||Puppet state of the Empire of Japan|
|Capital||Port Blair (provisional)|
|Head of State|
|Subhas Chandra Bose|
|Subhas Chandra Bose|
|Historical era||World War II|
|21 October 1943|
|18 August 1945|
The direct origins of Azad Hind can be linked to two conferences of Indian expatriates from across Southeast Asia, the first of which was held in Tokyo in March 1942. At this conference, convened by Rash Behari Bose, an Indian expatriate living in Japan, the Indian Independence League was established as the first move towards an independent Indian state politically aligned with the Empire of Japan. Rash also moved to create a sort of independence army that would assist in driving the British from India – this force would later become the Indian National Army. The second conference, held later that year in Bangkok, invited Subhas Chandra Bose to participate in the leadership of the League. Bose was living in Germany at the time and made the trip to Japan via submarine.
Rash Behari Bose, who was already ageing by the time the League was founded, struggled to keep the League organised and failed to secure resources for the establishment of the Indian National Army. He was replaced as president of the Indian Independence League by Subhas Chandra Bose; there is some controversy as to whether he stepped down of his own volition or by pressure from the Japanese who needed a more energetic and focused presence leading the Indian nationalists.
Bose arrived in Tokyo on 13 June 1943, and declared his intent to make an assault against the eastern provinces of India in an attempt to oust the British from control of the subcontinent. Bose arrived in Singapore on 2 July, and in October 1943 formally announced the establishment of the Provisional Government of Free India. In defining the tasks of this new political establishment, Subhas declared: "It will be the task of the Provisional Government to launch and conduct the struggle that will bring about the expulsion of the British and their allies from the soil of India." Bose, taking formal command of the demoralised and undermanned Indian National Army from Rash Bose, turned it into a professional army with the help of the Japanese. He recruited Indian civilians living in Japanese-occupied territories of South-east Asia, and incorporated vast numbers of Indian POWs from British forces in Singapore, Malaya and Hong Kong to man the brigades of the INA.
The Provisional Government of Free India consisted of a Cabinet headed by Subhas Chandra Bose as the Head of the State, The Prime Minister and the Minister for War and Foreign Affairs.
Captain Doctor Lakshmi Swaminadhan (later married as Lakshmi Sahgal) was the Minister in Charge of Women's Organization. She held this position over and above her command of the Rani Jhansi Regiment, a brigade of women soldiers fighting for the Indian National Army. For a regular Asian army, this women's regiment was quite visionary; it was the first of its kind established on the continent. Dr. Lakshmi was one of the most popular and prosperous gynaecologists in Singapore before she gave up her practice to lead the troops of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment.
Other public administration ministers of the Provisional Government of Free India included:
The Indian National Army was represented by Armed Forces ministers, including:
The Provisional Government was also constituted and administered by a number of Secretaries and Advisors to Subhas Chandra Bose, including:
All of these Secretaries and Advisory officials held Ministerial rank in the Provisional Government. The extent of the Provisional Government's day-to-day management of affairs for Azad Hind is not entirely well-documented, so their specific functions as government officials for the state outside their positions as support ministers for Subhas Chandra Bose is not entirely certain.
Azad Hind was recognised as a legitimate state by only a small number of countries limited solely to Axis powers and their allies. Azad Hind had diplomatic relations with nine countries: Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan, Italian Social Republic, Independent State of Croatia and Wang Jingwei Government, Thailand, the State of Burma, Manchukuo and the Second Philippine Republic. On the declaration of its formation in occupied Singapore the Taoiseach of Ireland, Éamon de Valera, sent a note of congratulations to Bose. Vichy France, however, although being an Axis collaborator, never gave formal political recognition to Azad Hind. This government participated as an observer in the Greater East Asia Conference in November 1943.
The same night that Bose declared the existence of Azad Hind, the government took action to declare war against the United States and Britain. The government consisted of a Cabinet ministry acting as an advisory board to Subhas Bose, who was given the title "Netaji" (translating roughly to "leader") and was no doubt the dominant figure in the Provisional Government. He exercised virtual authoritarian control over the government and the army. With regards to the government's first issuances of war declarations, the "Cabinet had not been unanimous about the inclusion of the U.S.A. Bose had shown impatience and displeasure – there was never any question then or later of his absolute authority: the Cabinet had no responsibility and could only tender advice..."
At the end of October 1943, Bose flew to Tokyo to participate in the Greater East Asia Conference as an observer to Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere; it could not function as a delegate because India had technically fallen outside the jurisdiction of Japan's definition of "Greater East Asia", but Bose gave speeches in opposition to Western colonialism and imperialism at the conference. By the end of the conference, Azad Hind had been given a limited form of governmental jurisdiction over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which had been captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy early on in the war.
Once under the jurisdiction of Azad Hind, the islands formed the government's first claims to territory. The islands themselves were renamed "Shaheed" and "Swaraj", meaning "martyr" and "self-rule" respectively. Bose placed the islands under the governorship of Lt Col A. D Loganathan, and had limited involvement with the official governorship of the territory, instead involving himself in plans to expand the Indian National Army, ensure adequate men and materiel, and formulate its course of actions and the administrations and relations of the Indian population in south east Asia and determining Japanese designs in India and his provisional government. In theory the government itself had the power to levy taxes on the local populace, and to make and enforce laws: in practice they were enforced by the police force under Japanese control. Indians were willing to pay these taxes at first, but became less inclined to do so towards the end of the war when the Provisional Government enacted legislation for higher war-time taxes to fund the INA. During his interrogation after the war Loganathan admitted that he had only had full control over the islands' vestigial education department, as the Japanese had retained full control over the police force, and in protest he had refused to accept responsibility for any other areas of Government. He was powerless to prevent the Homfreyganj massacre of 30 January 1944, where forty-four Indian civilians were shot by the Japanese on suspicion of spying. Many of them were members of the Indian Independence League, whose leader in Port Blair, Dr. Diwan Singh, had already been tortured to death in the Cellular Jail after doing his best to protect the islanders from Japanese atrocities during the first two years of the occupation.
Azad Hind's military forces in the form of the INA saw some successes against the British, and moved with the Japanese army to lay siege to the town of Imphal in eastern India. Plans to march towards Delhi, gaining support and fresh recruits along the way, stalled both with the onset of monsoon season and the failure to capture Imphal. British bombing seriously reduced morale, and the Japanese along with the INA forces began their withdrawal from India.
In addition to these setbacks, the INA was faced with a formidable challenge when the troops were left to defend Rangoon without the assistance of the Japanese in the winter of 1944–1945. Loganathan was relocated from the Andaman Islands to act as field commander. With the INA garrison about 6,000 strong, he manned the Burmese capital in the absence of any other police force or troops during the period between the departure of the Japanese and the arrival of the British. He was successful in maintaining law and order to the extent that there was not a single reported case of dacoity or of looting during the period from 24 April to 4 May 1945.
Almost all of the territory of the Provisional Government lay in the Andaman Islands, although the Provisional Government was allowed some authority over Indian enclaves in Japanese-occupied territories. Provisional Government civil authority was never enacted in areas occupied by the INA; instead, Japanese military authority prevailed and responsibility for administration of occupied areas of India was shared between the Japanese and the Indian forces.
Left to defend Rangoon from the British advance without support from the Japanese, the INA was soundly defeated. Bose was suggested to leave Burma to continue his struggle for Indian independence and returned to Singapore before the fall of Rangoon; the government Azad Hind had established on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands collapsed when the island garrisons of Japanese and Indian troops were defeated by British troops and the islands themselves retaken. Allegedly Bose himself was killed in a plane crash departing from Taiwan attempting to escape to Russia. The Provisional Government of Free India ceased to exist with the deaths of the Axis, the INA, and dissapearence of Bose in 1945.
The troops who manned the brigades of the Indian National Army were taken as prisoners of war by the British. A number of these prisoners were brought to India and tried by British courts for treason, including a number of high-ranking officers such as Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon. The defence of these individuals from prosecution by the British became a central point of contention between the British Raj and the Indian Independence Movement in the post-war years.
Since Subhas Chandra Bose pragmatically aligned with Japan to liberate India, British propaganda tried to portray him as a controversial figure for his official stance against imperialism which would run in opposition against what British propaganda portrayed as Japanese imperialism in Asia during World War II. Bose himself opposed all manner of colonial practices, but saw Britain as hypocritical in "fighting a war for democracy" but refusing to extend the same respect for democracy and equal rights to their colonial subjects in India. Bose opposed British racial policy and declared working for the abolition of racial discrimination with Burmese, Japanese and other Asians. British propaganda accused him of fascism, citing his control over the Provisional Government as strict as evidence of this; and further tried to portray him wanting to establish a totalitarian state in India with the blessings of the Axis powers. It is inaccurate to term Bose solely as a fascist. But he believed that parliamentary democracy was unsuitable for India immediately after independence, and that a centrally organised, self-sufficient, semi-socialist India under the firm control of a single party was the best course for Indian government. Some of his ideas would help shape Indian governmental policy in the aftermath of the country's independence from Britain.
The fact that Azad Hind was aligned politically with Japan may have little to do with explicit agreement and support for Japanese policy in Asia, and more with what Bose saw as a pragmatic approach to Indian independence. Disillusioned with Gandhi's philosophies of non-violence, Bose was clearly of the camp that supported exploiting British weakness to gain Indian independence. Throughout the existence of Azad Hind, Bose sought to distance himself from Japanese collaboration and become more self-sufficient, but found this difficult since the existence of Azad Hind as a governmental entity had only come about with the support of the Japanese, on whom the government and army of Azad Hind were entirely dependent. Bose, however, remains a hero in present-day India and is remembered as a man who fought fiercely for Indian independence. 
Although Japanese troops saw much of the combat in India against the British, the INA was certainly by itself an effective combat force, having faced British and allied troops and making their mark in the Battle of Imphal. On 18 April 1944 the suicide squads led by Col. Shaukat Malik broke through the British defence and captured Moirang in Manipur. The Azad Hind administration took control of this independent Indian territory. Following Moirang, the advancing INA breached the Kohima road, posing a threat to the British positions in both Silchar and Kohima. Col. Gulzara Singh's column had penetrated 250 miles into India. The Azad Brigade advanced, by outflanking the Anglo-American positions.
However, INA's most serious, and ultimately fatal, limitations were the reliance on Japanese logistics and supplies and the total air-dominance of the allies, which, along with a supply line deluged by torrential rain, frustrated the INA's and the Japanese bid to take Imphal.
With the siege of Imphal failing, the Japanese began to shift priority for resource allocation from South Asia to the Pacific, where they were fighting United States troops advancing from island to island against Japanese holdings there. When it had become clear that Bose's plans to advance to Delhi from the borders of Burma would never materialise due to the defeat of the INA at Imphal and the halt of Japanese armies by British aerial and later naval superiority in the region, Japanese support for Azad Hind declined.
The true extent to which the INA's activities influenced the decision to leave India is mirrored by the views of Clement Attlee, the British prime minister at the time of India's Independence. Attlee cites several reasons, the most important of which were the INA activities of Subhas Chandra Bose, which weakened the very foundation of the British Empire in India, and the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny which made the British realise that the support of the Indian armed forces could no longer be relied upon.
Arathil Chandeth Narayanan Nambiar (1896–1986) was an Indian Nationalist and a friend and colleague of Subhas Chandra Bose. Originally from Kerala (he was born in Thalassery), Nambiar spent much of his life serving the Indian independence movement in Europe.A. D. Loganathan
Major General Arcot Doraiswamy Loganadan (12 April 1888 – 9 March 1949) was an officer of the Indian National Army, and a minister in the Azad Hind Government as a representative of the Indian National Army. He also served briefly as the Azad Hind Governor for the Andaman islands and Burma.Loganadan (spelled 'Loganathan' in most historical references) attended the RBANM'S School and subsequently the Central College of Bangalore before enrolling as a student of medicine in the Madras Medical College and later training in London as a doctor of tropical diseases.
He received a temporary commission as a lieutenant into the Indian Medical Service on 27 August 1917, and was later promoted temporary Captain. He was appointed to a regular commission in the Indian Medical Service 1 March 1922. He was promoted Major 27 February 1929. Loganadan served during World War I.
By April 1940 he had been promoted Lieut-Col 15 December 1939.During World War II, Loganadan joined the Indian National Army following the fall of Singapore and joined the Azad Hind Government under Subhas Chandra Bose to free India from British rule. He was also appointed the Governor of the Andamans and Nicobar Islands during its brief occupation during World War II when it was transferred to Azad Hind authority from the Japanese Navy.
Bad health and severe differences with the Japanese Forces of Occupation led ultimately to Loganadan relinquishing authority and returning to Burma. Later, towards the end of the successful Allied Burma Campaign, Loganadan was appointed the G.O.C(General officer commanding) of the Indian National Army's Burma Command as the Azad Hind Government withdrew from Rangoon. Without a regular police force or security forces, his troops, an INA Contingent 6,000 strong INA contingent formally surrendered to released British PoWs held in the city and manned the Burmese Capital, successfully maintaining law and order between 24 April and 4 May 1945.Loganadan was later repatriated to India and held at the Red Fort as preparations for were made to try the men of the Indian National Army for treason. He returned to his family in Bangalore in 1946 after the completion of the trials and his acquittal. He was however removed from the Indian Army as a Lt-Col, IMS in the London Gazette 20 September 1946. He declined a diplomatic assignment to New Zealand under the Nehru Government because of failing health.A. M. Sahay
Anand Mohan Sahay (born and brought up in Bhagalpur city of Bihar) was an activist of the Indian Independence League who later came to be the Military secretary of the Indian National Army. He was a secretary with ministerial position in the Azad Hind Government of Subhas Chandra Bose. From 1957 until 1960 he was Indian Ambassador to Thailand.http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/discussionpapers/2008/Goodman.htmlAbid Hasan
Abid Hasan Safrani, IFS, born Zain-al-Abdin Hasan, was an officer of the Indian National Army and later, after 1947, an Indian diplomat.Born to an anti-colonialist family in Hyderabad, Abid Hasan was brought-up in India and later went to Germany to train as an engineer. It was while he was a student in Germany during World War II that Abid Hasan met Subhas Chandra Bose and decided to join the Indische Legion. Hasan would later serve as Bose's personal secretary and interpreter while Bose was in Germany. Hasan also sailed with Bose in the German U-Boat U-180 in 1943 on Bose's voyage to South East Asia. Over the course of the reformation of the INA and its campaigns in the south east Asian theatre, Hasan rose to be a Major in the Azad Hind Fauj. It was also during this that he adopted "Safrani", after the holy Hindu colour of Saffron, to his name as a mark of communal harmony.
After repatriation to India at the end of the war, Abid Hasan was released following the end of the INA trials in 1946 and joined the Indian National Congress briefly. After partition, Hasan chose to settle in Hyderabad and joined the nascent Indian Foreign Service. Over a long diplomatic career, Hasan served as the Indian Ambassador to a number of countries including Egypt and Denmark before retiring in 1969 and settling back in Hyderabad. Abid Hasan Saffrani died in 1984. According to Leonard Gordon, author of Brothers Against the Raj, Abid Hasan Safrani coined the salutation "Jai Hind" (Hail India). It was the shortened form of "Jai Hindustan Ki". The term was made famous by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose's INA and its subsequent use as a national patriotic salutation in independent India. Netaji Bose's nephew Aurobindo Bose later married Safrani's niece. Her name is Suraya Hasan. She was the daughter of elder brother of Abid Hasan safrini by name Badrul Hasan, who worked with Gandhiji. Mr Abid Hasan died on 05-04-1984.Azad Hind Dal
The Azad Hind Dal was a branch of the Indian Independence League that was formed during World War II to take administrative control of the Indian territories to fall to the Indian National Army starting with the latter's Imphal campaign. The branch was created by Subhas Chandra Bose to replace the Indian Civil Service in areas of British India, and is also thought to have been the nascent concept of a one-party political, bureaucratic and civil administrative system similar to that of the Soviet Union or the Fascist states of the time. During the brief period that Azad Hind was in possession of small Indian territories around Imphal and Kohima during the U Go offensive between April and May 1944, parties of the Azad Hind Dal were sent along with the INA contingents to take administrative charge and rehabilitation of these areas.Azad Hind Radio
Azad Hind Radio was a propaganda radio service that was started under the leadership of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Germany in 1942 to encourage Indians to fight for freedom. Though initially based in Germany, its headquarters was shifted to Singapore and later to Rangoon following the course of the war in South East Asia. Following Netaji's departure to South East Asia, the German operations were continued by A.C.N. Nambiar, the head of the Indian Legion in Germany and later Ambassador of the Arzi Hukumate Azad Hind in Germany. The station broadcast weekly news bulletins in English, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Pashto and Urdu only as these were the languages of potential volunteers for the Indian Legion in Germany and the Indian National Army in southeast Asia. The majority of the volunteers spoke these Indian languages only.
Azad Hind Radio aimed to counter the broadcasts of Allied radio stations. On Azad Hind Radio, Netaji referred the British Broadcasting Corporation as the Bluff and Bluster Corporation and the All India Radio as the Anti Indian Radio.Azad Hind stamps
The Azad Hind Stamps are a set of Cinderella stamps in six different designs produced in 1943 in Nazi Germany for Subhas Chandra Bose's Azad Hind (Indian National Army). The Indian Postal Department includes these six unused Azad Hind Stamps in its commemorative book India's Freedom Struggle through India Postage Stamps.Decorations of Azad Hind
The decorations of Azad Hind were instituted by Subhas Chandra Bose while in Germany, initially for the Indian Legion, to be awarded for gallantry in the field of battle. Both Indians and Germans were eligible for the decorations. Later, the same awards were instituted by the Azad Hind provisional government for the Indian National Army during its campaign in South-East Asia.Free India Centre
The Free India Centre (German: Zentrale Freies Indien) was the European branch of the Provisional Government of Free India, the provisional government of the Azad Hind movement for Indian independence led by Subhas Chandra Bose. It was founded by Bose when he was in Berlin in 1942, and headed by A. C. N. Nambiar.
Its responsibilities included managing relations with the European Axis powers, supporting and recruiting volunteers for the Indian Legion, running Azad Hind Radio, and preparing for the much larger provisional government that was formed in southeast Asia with Japanese support. While its main base was in Berlin, it also had branch offices in Paris and in Italy. On its establishment in Berlin, the Free India Centre was essentially given the status of a diplomatic mission by Germany. It had an office at No. 2A Lichtensteiner Allee in Tiergarten, although its activities were for some time mostly conducted in hotels or Bose's eventual house on Sophienstrasse in Charlottenburg.Hikari Kikan
The Hikari Kikan was the Japanese liaison office responsible for Japanese relations with the Azad Hind Government that replaced the I Kikan. It was initially headed by Colonel Bin Yamamoto, later replaced by Major-General Saburo Isoda.
It recruited Sri Lankans, Indians and other South Asians domiciled in Malaya and Singapore for spying missions against the Allies.INA treasure controversy
The INA treasure controversy relates to alleged misappropriation by men of Azad Hind of the Azad Hind fortune recovered from belongings of Subhas Chandra Bose in his last known journey. The treasure, a considerable amount of gold ornaments and gems, is said to have been recovered from Bose's belongings following the fatal plane crash in Formosa (present-day Taiwan) that reportedly killed him, and taken to men of Azad Hind then living in Japan. The Indian government was made aware of a number of these individuals allegedly using part of the recovered treasure for personal use. However, despite repeated warnings from Indian diplomats in Tokyo, Nehru is said to have disregarded allegations that men previously associated with Azad Hind misappropriated the funds for personal benefit. Some of these are said to have travelled to Japan repeatedly with the approval of Nehru government and were later given government roles implementing Nehru's political and economic agenda. A very small portion of the alleged treasure was repatriated to India in the 1950s.Indian Independence League
The Indian Independence League (also known as IIL) was a political organisation operated from the 1920s to the 1940s to organise those living outside India into seeking the removal of British colonial rule over India. Founded in 1928 by Indian nationalists, the organisation was located in various parts of Southeast Asia and included Indian expatriates, and later, Indian nationalists in-exile under Japanese occupation following Japan's successful Malayan Campaign during the first part of the Second World War. During the Japanese Occupation in Malaya, the Japanese encouraged Indians in Malaya to join the Indian Independence League.Established primarily to foster Indian Nationalism and to obtain Japanese support for the Indian Independence Movement, the League came to interact and command the first Indian National Army under Mohan Singh before it was dissolved.Rash Behari Bose handed over the INA to Subhas Chandra Bose. Later, after the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in South East Asia and the revival of the INA, the League came under his leadership, before giving way to Azad Hind.Indian Legion
The Indian Legion (German: Indische Legion), officially the Free India Legion (German: Legion Freies Indien) or Infantry Regiment 950 (Indian) (German: Infanterie-Regiment 950 (indisches), I.R. 950) and later the Indian Volunteer Legion of the Waffen-SS (German: Indische Freiwilligen Legion der Waffen-SS), was a military unit raised during the Second World War in Nazi Germany. Intended to serve as a liberation force for British-ruled India, it was made up of Indian prisoners of war and expatriates in Europe. Because of its origins in the Indian independence movement, it was known also as the "Tiger Legion", and the "Azad Hind Fauj". Initially raised as part of the German Army, it was officially assigned to the Waffen-SS from August 1944. Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose initiated the legion's formation, as part of his efforts to win India's independence by waging war against Britain, when he came to Berlin in 1941 seeking German aid. The initial recruits in 1941 were volunteers from the Indian students resident in Germany at the time, and a handful of the Indian prisoners of war who had been captured during the North Africa Campaign. It would later draw a larger number of Indian prisoners of war as volunteers.
Though it was initially raised as an assault group that would form a pathfinder to a German–Indian joint invasion of the western frontiers of British India, only a small contingent was ever put to its original intended purpose. A small contingent, including much of the Indian officer corps and enlisted leadership, was transferred to the Indian National Army in South-East Asia. The majority of the troops of the Indian Legion were only ever stationed in Europe in non-combat duties, in the Netherlands and in France until the Allied invasion. They saw action in the retreat from the Allied advance across France, fighting mostly against the French Resistance. One company was sent to Italy in 1944, where it saw action against British and Polish troops and undertook anti-partisan operations.
At the time of the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, the remaining men of the Indian Legion made efforts to march to neutral Switzerland over the Alps, but these efforts proved futile as they were captured by American and French troops and eventually shipped back to India to face charges of treason. Because of the uproar the trials of Indians who served with the Axis caused among civilians and the military of British India, the legion members' trials were not completed.Indian National Army
The Indian National Army (INA; Azad Hind Fauj; lit.: Free Indian Army) was an armed force formed by Indian nationalist Rash Behari Bose in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II. Its aim was to secure Indian independence from British rule. It formed an alliance with the Empire of Japan in the latter's campaign in the Southeast Asian theatre of WWII. The army was first formed in 1942 under Rash Behari Bose ,Mohan Singh, by Indian PoWs of the British-Indian Army captured by Japan in the Malayan campaign and at Singapore. This first INA collapsed and was disbanded in December that year after differences between the INA leadership and the Japanese military over its role in Japan's war in Asia. Rash Behari Bose handed over INA to Subhas Chandra Bose It was revived under the leadership of Subhash Chandra Bose after his arrival in Southeast Asia in 1943. The army was declared to be the army of Bose's Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (the Provisional Government of Free India). Under Bose's leadership, the INA drew ex-prisoners and thousands of civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population in Malaya (present-day Malaysia) and Burma. This second INA fought along with the Imperial Japanese Army against the British and Commonwealth forces in the campaigns in Burma, in Imphal and at Kohima, and later against the successful Burma Campaign of the Allies.After the INA's initial formation in 1942, there was concern in the British-Indian Army that further Indian troops would defect. This led to a reporting ban and a propaganda campaign called "Jiffs" to preserve the loyalty of the sepoys. Historians like Peter W. Fay who have written about the army, however, consider the INA not to have had significant influence on the war. The end of the war saw a large number of the troops repatriated to India where some faced trials for treason. These trials became a galvanising point in the Indian Independence movement. The Bombay mutiny in the Royal Indian Navy and other mutinies in 1946 are thought to have been caused by the nationalist feelings that were caused by the INA trials. Historians like Sumit Sarkar, Peter Cohen, Fay and others suggest that these events played a crucial role in hastening the end of British rule. A number of people associated with the INA during the war later went on to hold important roles in public life in India as well as in other countries in Southeast Asia, most notably Lakshmi Sehgal in India, and John Thivy and Janaki Athinahappan in Malaya.The legacy of the INA is controversial. It was associated with Imperial Japan and the other Axis powers, and accusations were levelled against INA troops of being involved and complicit in Japanese war crimes. The INA's members were viewed as Axis collaborators by British soldiers and Indian PoWs who did not join the army, but after the war they were seen as patriots by many Indians. Although they were widely commemorated by the Indian National Congress in the immediate aftermath of Indian independence, members of the INA were denied freedom fighter status by the Government of India, unlike those in the Gandhian movement. Nevertheless, the army remains a popular and passionate topic in Indian culture and politics.Jaganath Rao Bhonsle
Major General Jaganath Rao Bhonsle also known as Jagannathrao Krishnarao Bhonsle (10 December 1906 – 1963) was an officer of the British Indian Army subsequently the Indian National Army, a minister for armed forces in the Azad Hind Government, and later a minister in the post-independence Nehru Government in India.Bhonsle graduated from Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun in 1926 and then went to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst where on 2 February 1928 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He would have then spent a year attached to a British Army regiment in India before posting to his permanent British Indian Army unit on 12 April 1929, which was the 5th Royal battalion, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry of the British Indian Army. He was promoted lieutenant 2 May 1930 and captain 2 February 1937.He was stationed at Singapore in 1941 and was taken PoW after the Fall of Singapore. Bhonsle was one of the most senior officer to join the Indian National Army and was appointed the head of the Hindustan Field Force of the First INA. He was appointed the commander of the INA at the time Azad Hind was proclaimed but later reverted his allegiances to turn spy for the Allies. Assigned the code B1189, Bhonsle's intelligence was especially important in tracing the last movements of Subhas Bose in August 1945, following the collapse of Azad Hind.
He was cashiered from the British Indian Army as a captain on 13 September 1946.Following Indian independence in 1947, Bhonsle was appointed deputy minister for rehabillitation in the Nehru government, and was key in implementing the National Discipline Scheme.Japanese occupation of the Andaman Islands
The INA occupation of the Andaman Islands occurred in 1942 during World War II. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands (8,293 km² on 139 islands), are a group of islands situated in the Bay of Bengal at about 1,250 km (780 mi) from Kolkata, 1,200 km (750 mi) from Chennai and 190 km (120 mi) from Cape Nargis in Burma. Until 1938 the British government used them as a penal colony for Indian and African political prisoners, who were mainly put in the notorious Cellular Jail in Port Blair, the biggest town (port) on the islands. Today they form a Union Territory of India.
The only military objective on the islands was the city of Port Blair. The garrison consisted of a 300-man Sikh militia with 23 British officers, augmented in January 1942 by a Gurkha detachment of 4/12th Frontier Force Regiment of the 16th Indian Infantry Brigade. Following the fall of Rangoon on March 8, however, the British recognized that Port Blair had become impossible to defend, and on March 10 the Gurkhas were withdrawn to the Arakan peninsula.Lakshmi Sahgal
Lakshmi Sahgal (pronunciation ) (born Lakshmi Swaminathan) (24 October 1914 – 23 July 2012) was a revolutionary of the Indian independence movement, an officer of the Indian National Army, and the Minister of Women's Affairs in the Azad Hind government. Sahgal is commonly referred to in India as "Captain Lakshmi", a reference to her rank when taken prisoner in Burma during the Second World War.Mohammed Zaman Kiani
Major-General Mohammed Zaman Kiani (1 October 1910 – 4 June 1981) was an officer of the British Indian Army who later joined the Indian National Army and was appointed its Chief of General Staff. He earned Soward-of-Honour from IMA and joined 14/1 Punjab Regiment (now 5 Punjab with Pakistan Army).
While at Burma front, he alongwith his regiment joined the Azadi Movement, led by Neta Jee Subhash Chandar Bosse; and fought against the British Raj.
After partition he shifted to Pakistan, he served as political agent of Gilgit Agency and also remained Minister of Information in Zia Government. After his death, his contributions for Azad Hind were acknowledged and he was awarded with Neta Jee Medal,by Indian Government.S. A. Ayer
Subbier Appadurai Ayer (14 April 1898 (in madras presidency) – 1 April 1980) was the Minister for Publicity and Propaganda in Subhas Chandra Bose's Azad Hind Government between 1943 and 1945, and later a key defence witness during the first of the INA trials. Ayer had travelled to Bangkok in November 1940 as a Special correspondent for Reuters before joining the Indian Independence League. In October 1943, Ayer was appointed the Minister of publicity and propaganda in the nascent Azad Hind Government.
Following the successful Allied Burma Campaign and the fall of Rangoon, Ayer retreated out of Burma with Bose and about 100 members of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment by foot for Bangkok and onwards to Singapore. After the Japanese surrender, Ayer was chosen to leave Singapore for an unknown destination together with Bose and two other members of the Azad Hind cabinet. On Bose's last flight from Formosa to an unknown destination, there was no room for Ayer. The plane crashed on August 17, 1945 and Bose died the following day. Ayer was flown from Tokyo to Delhi in November 1945 to give evidence in the Red Fort Trials and became a key defence witness in the first trial. In 1951, Ayer published his personal accounts of the Indian National Army and Subhas Chandra Bose called "Unto Him a Witness: The Story of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in East Asia, Bombay, 1951".
Ministry of external affairs file No 25/4/NGO - Volume 1, which used to be top secret is now available at the National Archives SA Ayer and Munga Ramamurti, the head of Indian Independence League (IIL) in Tokyo, were accused in the file of having made away with the war chest Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's had created for the Indian National Army and the India Independence League with public help to sustain the freedom struggle. Assisting the duo was Colonel JG Figgess, the military attaché at the British embassy. It is alleged that the Indian Government had done nothing in their dispensation to investigate the allegations and might as well have been rewarded.