Thursday, 6 September 2018

15 August is not the Independence Day of India

Since the past several years we have been in the practice of greeting happy Independence on August 15, but the facts are otherwise.

It was on October 21, 1943, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose established the first Government of free united India, the provisional Government of Azad Hind or Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind in Singapore (once the bulwark of the British empire). The Government was internationally recognised  by the Axis powers of imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Italian Social Republic and all their allies.

In the backdrop of World War-II, Netaji was convinced that an armed struggle was the only way to achieve independence for India. He had been a leader of the Indian National Congress in the 1920s -30s, rising to becoming its president in 1938 and 1939 but was ousted  following differences with Mahatma Gandhi.

For the armed struggle, Netaji raised an army called the Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj which got support from several war prisoners and thousands of civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population in Malaya (present-day Malaysia) and Burma (now Myanmar).

Netaji exhorted people with the war cry, “Comrades! My soldiers! let your battle-cry be— Chalo Dilli. How many of us will individually survive this war for freedom, I do not know. But I do know this that we shall ultimately win and our task will not end until our surviving heroes hold the victory parade on another graveyard of the British Empire - the lal Kila or Red Fort of ancient Delhi. With the force of arms and at the cost of your blood, you will have to win liberty." He added, "As soldiers, you will have to cherish and live up to three ideals of faithfulness, duty and sacrifice. Soldiers, who always remain faithful to the nation, who perform their duty under all circumstances and who are always prepared to sacrifice their lives, are invincible.”

He said the mission of independence for India was the noblest the human mind could conceive. “I assure you that I shall be with you in darkness and sunshine, in sorrow and in joy, in suffering and in victory. For the present, I can offer you nothing except hunger, thirst, privation, forced marches and death. But if you follow me in life and in death—as I am confident you will—I shall lead you to victory and freedom,” this was also a part of Nataji 's address.

 Under the provisional Government, Netaji was the head of the State, the PM and the Minister for war/ foreign affairs.

Captain lakshmi headed the women’s organisation while SA Ayer headed the publicity and propaganda wing. Revolutionary leader Rash Behari Bose was designated as the supreme adviser. The provisional Government was also formed in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The islands were re-occupied by the British in 1945.

October 21, 2018 marks the 75th year of that first Government of free united India. It shall be a shame on all us Indians, if we forget to remember the countless martyrs who laid down their lives in the cause for India’s battle for freedom. A petition has been submitted through PM Narendra Modi to set the record correct for India. Matter as I am told is under review as we wait in anticipation till I concluded penning this piece.

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