The Azad Hind Fauj was established on 1 September 1942 and Captain Mohan Singh was declared as its Commander-in-Chief. The delegates to the Bangkok Conference invited Subhas Chandra Bose for leading the movement to free India from British rule. Bose accepted the invitation and reached Singapore in June 1943 and took over the leadership of the Azad Hind Fauj.
The Azad Hind Fauj
The Azad Hind Fauj consisted of a large number of soldiers who were captured by the Japanese forces in Myanmar, Malaya, and Singapore. Some of his famous battle cries were “Give me blood, and I will give you freedom” and “Delhi Chalo”.
A women’s wing of the Azad Hind Fauj was also set up. It was named after Rani Laxmi Bai. This wing was led by Dr. Laxmi Swaminathan.
Objectives of the Azad Hind Fauj
- To fight the British army with modern arms and weapons.
- To organize Indians living abroad and plan an armed revolution against the British Government.
- To organize the Provisional Government of Free India
- To mobilize manpower and money for war against the British
Victories of INA in Southeast Asia and Subsequent Retreats
- The INA or the Fauj along with the Japanese army over ran many territories in South Asia. It captured Mowdok, a place near Chittagong. It then captured Kohima and reached Imphal.
- However, when the INA was just near Imphal, the Japanese troops had to withdraw their forces from the border because of their confrontation with the Americans in the Pacific Ocean.
- The onset of heavy rainfall also prevented the INA from capturing Imphal.
- The INA withdrew to Burma and continued to hold it for almost a year. A year later in May 1945, Burma was recaptured by the British forces.
- The defeat of the Japanese forces in the Second World War also marked the defeat of the INA in India.
- Subhas Chandra Bose was killed in an aeroplane crash while flying to Tokyo.
Significance of the Struggles of Azad Hind Fauj
The Azad Hind Fauj gave a tough fight to the British. It not only advanced up to the frontiers of India but also captured the strong military post of Klang Klang. It also captured Ukhral and Kohima. Although the INA did not succeed in its mission to liberate India, its contribution to the Indian independence movement was immense. The INA inspired uprisings in the armed forces of the country. The Indian Naval ratings in Mumbai rose in revolt against the British.
Similar uprisings took place at Kolkata, Chennai, and Karachi. These uprisings shook the foundation of British rule in India. The heroic deeds and sacrifices of the soldiers of the INA led to the awakening of political consciousness among the Indians. The British now realized that they cannot continue to rule India for long.
Also, Read The First War of Independence, 1857