Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Was the INA a failure?

In strictly black and white terms, the Indian National Army , was a failure, and too often Bose’s authoritarian control was blamed for it. As the dictum goes History is written by the victors and not the vanquished. Leaving aside the merits of Bose’s strategies and his tactics, if we take it on a broader level, the INA, succeeded on many aspects. The INA was a shining example of how he managed to integrate the different communities of India into one. Bose went beyond the platitudes of Hindu-Muslim bhai, bhai, and Unity in Diversity. He walked the talk. Hindus, Muslim, Sikhs, Parsees all were melded together as one, and he actually created a pan Indian identity. Not a very religious person himself, he gave equal importance to people of all communities, religions and regions.

But more than military victories, the INA, succeeded in winning the hearts of people. Ordinary Indians responded in thousands to his call, people willingly gave money and their gold to him. While all other political leaders just paid mere lip service to cause of women, he raised a woman’s regiment in his army. The INA failed in it’s final assault on Imphal , because of their dependence on Japanese for logistics, and the heavy rain. As also the superior air power of the British.

But it was the later events that would show how successful the INA was. After the war, when 3 officers of the INA, Gen Shah Nawaz Khan, Col Prem Sehgal and Col Gurbux Singh Dhillon were put on trial in the Red Fort, the person defending them was none other than Jawaharlal Nehru, himself, in spite of the fact, that Nehru and Bose differed in their views. Both the Congress and Muslim League, made the defense of the 3 officers a major political issue. The British Government was so alarmed that it had to stop BBC from broadcasting this story.

But it could not prevent mutinies from breaking out in the British Army , especially the one by the Indian soldiers of the Royal Navy. Chennai, Pune, Jabalpur all saw the Indian soldiers rising in mutiny. The British often used the Indian soldiers as cannon fodder, they did all the dirty work, were the persons on front line in conflict and in many World Wars, many Indian soldiers died fighting for the British empire. Yet in grant for this, the British, treated the Indian soldiers as second class citizens, and exploited them. It was Bose’s Indian National Army which sparked the uprising. Years later Clement Atlee , cited the revolts of the Indian Army, as a major decision, to grant independence. Britian already economically and militarily weakened, after WW2, knew that it could no longer trust the Indian armed forces to prop up it’s Raj. So in a way, Bose, contributed significantly to the end of the Raj.


VIJAY said...

Good blog sir, stick to facts!
after a long time read about Netaji
not mentioning his apparition

One of interesting thing I know today because of you British officers forced BBC to sensor news

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I-Ore Trading said...

Dear Ratnakar,

Great one. Pleasure to read another of your blogs.

Vetrimagal said...

Good information on Netaji. Many would not even know that he was one of the reasons for Raj's end in India.
I think, he is not in the forgotten category , yet. His fame is alive,and keeps popping up every now and then in common people's mind.(not by the Govt.propaganda, though)

nimeshchandra said...

Commander-in-Chief Auchinleck - If the Indian Forces as a whole cease to be reliable, the British Armed Forces now available are not likely to be able to control the internal situation or to protect essential communications, nor would any piecemeal reinforcement of these forces be of much avail. To regain control of the situation and to restore essential communications within the country nothing short of the organized campaign for the reconquest of India is likely to suffice


personal notes plz unblock me on twitter is possible @nimeshchandra