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You are here: Home > Netaji Home > Indian National Army
By Sitanshu Das  
Japan begins enlisting Indians
Bose moves away from Germany
Japan's imperialistic intentions
Prov Azad Hind Govt formed
Birth of Indian National Army
The leadership issue
The summer of 1942
Bose takes over as INA chief
Chinks in relations with Japan
INA's victory & defeat
To know how the INA took birth after the British military defeat in the Malaya-Singapore theatre in December 1941, a long forgotten chapter in the Indian freedom struggle needs to be recalled.

After an attempted revolt in the British Indian Army cantonments in 1915 was aborted, many Ghadr leaders of Punjab and Bengal revolutionaries were executed or sentenced to long terms in prison by the British Indian government.

Many Ghadr leaders and Bengal revolutionaries, escaping the British dragnet, fled India and sought refuge in countries like Thailand. Rash Bihari Basu, who had planned the uprising in the British Indian Army in 1915, was given refuge in Japan although Japan was an ally of Britain in the 1914-18 war with Germany.

Among the revolutionaries living in Thailand in 1941 were two very remarkable persons. Giani Pritam Singh, a Sikh missionary, had been living in Thailand since 1933, after the suppression of the Civil Disobedience movement in India. Another was Swami Satyananda Puri, a former Anusheelan revolutionary in Bengal, who had taught Oriental philosophy in Calcutta University and also at Rabindranath Tagore's Shanti Niketan.

In June 1941, Giani Pritam Singh came to know of Japan's decision to help Burma's nationalist group led by Aung San. This was a politico-military Japanese move to prepare for Japan's war against the western colonial powers in East Asia. According to British intelligence agency reports, Pritam Singh contacted the Japanese embassy in Bangkok in June 1941.

India was not included in the geographical area which the Japanese armed forces were planning to over-run in East and Southeast Asia if Japan failed to extract concessions from Britain and America. Since Japan's policy at that time was limited to indirectly helping Indian freedom fighters to undermine the British rule over India, the Imperial General Headquarters took nearly six months before they sent Major Iwaichi Fujiwara to contact Pritam Singh and other Indian revolutionaries in Thailand.

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