“Azad Hind Fauj Founded on 21st October 1943”

thHukūmat-e-Āzād Hind,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 Japan  and by Nazi Germany.

It was a part of a political movement originating in the 1940s outside of India  with the purpose of allying with Axis power  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 Island  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.[8]

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. 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.

 

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