Azad Hind Fauj was an army formed by Indians during second world war to overthrow the colonial powers from India. Largely forgotten but its action shook the very foundation of the British empire from which it never recovered. “War criminal” tag given by the colonists, endorsed by once colleague of Bose later first Prime Minister of India Nehru still effective today and surprisingly no efforts made since then to remove it even though classified files concerning Bose have been made public. Baffling! yet true. Anyways this is a discussion for some other time. Let’s look at Azad Hind Fauj’s timeline.
- 24th June 1942
Indian Independence League was established in Bangkok.
- 8th February 1943
Bose Boarded German U-Boat U-180 and travelled to Asia. Later Japanse submarine I-29 Picked him up.
- 8th May 1943
Bose landed in Sabang, Sumatra then an imperial Japanese held territory.
- 4th July 1943
Subhas Chandra Bose became the head of Indian Independence League.
- 5th July 1943
Azad Hind Fauj (INA) was established. The exact number is not known as most documents were destroyed by INA while retreating. It is said to have over sixty-thousand soldiers with several brigades such as Gandhi brigade, Nehru brigade, Azad brigade, Subhas brigade, Bahadur brigade, Rani Jhansi regiment, Chand Bibi Brigade etc.
- 9th July 1943
Time has come for three million Indians living in East Asia to mobilise all their available resources including money and manpower. Half-hearted measures will not do. …Out of this total mobilisation I expect at least three hundred thousand soldiers and three crores that is thirty million dollars.”
Subhas Chandra Bose at Padang rally.
- 12th July 1943
History’s first women-only Rani Jhansi regiment was established. Bose named it after the Legendary queen of Jhansi Rani Lakshimbai who fought against the East India Company to make India free and martyred while fighting.
- 25th August 1943
Bose became the commander-in-chief of the Azad Hind Fauj.
- 21st October 1943
The Azad Hind Government or the provisional government was formed in Singapore on and Subhas Chandra Bose was elected as the head of state of the government. The government was recognised by 11 countries including Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the Socialist Republic of Italy.
- 22nd October 1943
Rani Jhansi Regiment camp was established.
- 25th 1943
Azad Hind government declares war on Britain and its allies.
- 8th November 1943
Andaman Nicobar Islands was transferred to Azad Hind Fauj by the Japanese.
- 30th December 1943
Indian flag (The springing tiger) was hoisted in Port Blair by Bose.
- 18th March 1944
Indian National army crossed into India.
- 22nd March 1944
Colonel A.C. Chatterji became the first governor of liberated areas.
- 5th April 1944
Azad Hind bank was established. Indians and Indian origin civilians especially women from Malaya, Burma, Thailand responded overwhelming, donations were made. Famed war chest filled with gold of INA is still missing. Some historians belives that today it would be close to a thousand crores.
- 14th April 1944
Colonel Shaukat Ali Malik of Bahadur group (special operation group) planted the flag in Moirang village.
- 4th July 1944
“Give me blood and I shall give you freedom”
Said Netaji while attending a rally in Burma.
20th July 1944
Japanese forces retreated to Burma but INA remained dug in the frontline.
- 24th August 1944
Due to monsoon, disease and almost no supply, all operation was halted.
- 24th April 1945
INA abandoned Rangoon and Left for Bangkok.
- 3rd May 1945
INA along with its Japanese allies surrendered Rangoon to the British and allied forces.
- 8th July 1945
Bose laid the foundation stone for a hurriedly-built war memorial dedicated to the unknown fallen soldiers of the Indian National Army. On the memorial, INA’s motto was inscribed i.e Unity (Ittehad), Faith (Ittemad) and Sacrifice (Qurbani). Later Lord Luis Mountbatten ordered the destruction of the memorial.
- 18th August 1945
Bose boarded the Japanese military plane which later crashed.
The official version is, Bose died in the crash. However, rejection of Mukherjee commission reports and declassified files which mention of Nehru governments surveillance on Bose’s family for a long time makes one curious.We may never fully know what actually happened on that fateful day and why successive Indian governments failed to reveal the secrets of Bose and his missing war chest but there is no doubt that people of India have been fed a story for the past six decades which is too good to be true.