A commemorative postage stamp on the 50th Anniversary of the Indian National Army
The Indian National Army (INA; Azad Hind Fauj) was an armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 in Southeast Asia duringWorld War II. Its aim was to secure Indian independence from British rule. It formed an alliance with Imperial Japan in the latter's campaign in the Southeast Asian theatre of WWII.
The army was first formed in 1942 under Mohan Singh, by Indian PoWs of theBritish-Indian Army captured by Japan in theMalayan campaign and at Singapore. This first INA collapsed and was disbanded in December that year after differences between the INA leadership and the Japanese military over its role in Japan's war in Asia. It was revived under the leadership of Subhas Chandra Bose after his arrival in Southeast Asia in 1943. The army was declared to be the army of Bose's Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (the Provisional Government of Free India).
Under Bose's leadership, the INA drew ex-prisoners and thousands of civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population inMalaya (present-day Malaysia) and Burma.This second INA fought along with theImperial Japanese Army against the British and Commonwealth forces in the campaigns in Burma, in Imphal and at Kohima, and later against the successful Burma Campaign of the Allies.
After the INA's initial formation in 1942, there was concern in the British-Indian Army that further Indian troops would defect. This led to a reporting ban and a propaganda campaign called "Jiffs" to preserve the loyalty of the Sepoy. Historians like Peter W. Fay who have written about the army, however, consider the INA not to have had significant influence on the war. The end of the war saw a large number of the troops repatriated to India where some faced trials for treason. These trials became a galvanising point in the Indian Independence movement.
The Bombay mutiny in the Royal Indian Navy and other mutinies in 1946 are thought to have been caused by the nationalist feelings that were caused by the INA trials. Historians like Sumit Sarkar, Peter Cohen, Fay and others suggest that these events played a crucial role in hastening the end of British rule. A number of people associated with the INA during the war later went on to hold important roles in public life in India as well as in other countries in Southeast Asia, most notably Lakshmi Sehgal in India, and John Thivy and Janaki Athinahappan in Malaya.
The legacy of the INA is controversial. It was associated with Imperial Japan and the other Axis powers, and accusations were levelled against INA troops of being involved and complicit in Japanese war crimes. The INA's members were viewed as Axis collaborators by British soldiers and Indian PoWs who did not join the army, but after the war they were seen as patriots by many Indians.
Although they were widely commemorated by the Indian National Congress in the immediate aftermath of Indian independence, members of the INA were denied the status of freedom fighter by the Government of India, unlike those in the Gandhian movement. Nevertheless, the army remains a popular and passionate topic in popular Indian culture and in Indian politics.
Issued Date : 31.12.1993
Denomination: 100 Paise