- Japan, as well as South East Asia, was a major refuge for Indian nationalists living in exile before the start of World War II who formed strong proponents of militant nationalism and also influenced Japanese policy significantly.
- At the outbreak of World War II in South East Asia, 70,000 Indian troops were stationed in Malaya. After the start of the war, Japan’s spectacular Malayan Campaign had brought under her control considerable numbers of Indian prisoners of war, notably nearly 55,000 after the Fall of Singapore.
- From these deserters, the First Indian National Army was formed under Mohan Singh Deb and received considerable Japanese aid and support.
- It was formally proclaimed in September 1942 and declared the subordinate military wing of the Indian Independence League in June that year. The unit was dissolved in December 1942.
- The arrival of Subhas Bose in June 1943 saw the revival and reorganisation of the unit as the army of the Azad Hind government that was formed in October 1943.
AZAD HND FAUJ
- Within days of its proclamation in October 1943, the Azad Hind had been accorded recognition.The Azad Hind government declared war on Britain and America in October 1943.
- In the early part of 1944, INA forces were in action along with the Japanese forces in Imphal and Kohima area against Commonwealth forces, and later fell back with the retreating Japanese forces after the failed campaign.
- In early 1945, the INA’s troops were committed against the successful Allied Burma Campaign. Most of the INA troops were captured, defected or fell otherwise into British hands during the Burma campaign by end of March that year and by the time Rangoon fell in May 1945, the INA had more or less ceased to exist although some activities continued until Singapore was recaptured.
- At the conclusion of the Second World War, the government of British India brought some of the captured INA soldiers to trial on treason charges. The prisoners would potentially face the death penalty, life imprisonment or a fine as punishment if found guilty.
- The first of these was the joint trial of Shah Nawaz Khan, Prem Sahgal and Gurubaksh Singh Dhillon, followed by the trials of Abdul Rashid, Shinghara Singh, Fateh Khan and Captain Malik Munawar Khan Awan.
- The decision was made to hold a public trial, as opposed to the earlier trials, and given the political importance and significance of the trials, the decision was made to hold these at the Red Fort.
SHAH NAWAZ KHAN,COLONEL PREM SEHGAL AND GURBAKSH SINGH DHILLON
- The Indian National Congress made the release of the three defendants an important political issue during the agitation for independence of 1945-6.
- The committee declared the formation of the Congress’ defence team for the INA and included famous lawyers of the time, including Bhulabhai Desai, Asaf Ali, Jawaharlal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Kailash Nath Katju.
- This movement marked the last major campaign in which the forces of the Congress and the Muslim League aligned together.
- The Congress tricolor and the green flag of the League were flown together at protests. In spite of this aggressive and widespread opposition, the court martial was carried out and all three defendants were sentenced to deportation for life.
- This sentence, however, was never carried out During the trial, mutiny broke out in the Royal Indian Navy, incorporating ships and shore establishments of the RIN.
- At some places, NCOs in the British Indian Army started ignoring orders from British superiors. In Madras and Pune, the British garrisons had to face revolts within the ranks of the British Indian Army.
- Reflecting on the factors that guided the British decision to relinquish the Raj in India, Clement Attlee, the then British prime minister, cited several reasons, one of which was the INA activities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
- INA and the revolts, mutinies, and the public resentment they germinated were an important factor in the complete withdrawal of the Raj from India.