Young Guns Of India Against Corruption
Frontier Province (
now in Pakistan
), and up to Kabul. There he had the support of the German and Italian embassiesto give him an Italian passport. Accompanied by a German diplomat he traveled across the Soviet Union, which hadnot entered the war and allowed him to pass through to Berlin.
What do you know of your father's role in forming the Indian National Army that fought the British?
Actually, the INA had existed before his reaching Southeast Asia, but it had not picked up so well. One of the personsactively involved in it -- Ras Behari Bose -- wanted my father to take over. Ras Behari had lived in the region for sometime and was married to a Japanese lady.The INA wasn't just made up of former prisoners of war released by the Japanese. There were also many Indianplantation workers in Malaya who joined up; some of the recruits were prisoners of war and the Japanese handedthem over to the INA. Quite a few joined up because they wanted to do something for their country.What was unusual for those days was that the INA had a women's corps. My father was quite modern in his viewsand he had always felt that India had under-utilised resources. One was women and the other was the downtrodden,the workers, who were not recognised as a human resource.So the INA had a women's corps of 1,000 women; its commander was Dr (
) Lakshmi Sehgal. At that timeshe was Dr Swaminathan from south India who had gone to Southeast Asia. She is still alive. In fact, she was one ofthe contenders for the Presidency of India (
Colonel Sehgal was the Communist parties' candidate for President against A P J Abdul Kalam in July 2002. She lost the election
The INA then saw action on the Burma Front.
The INA reached Indian soil in what is now called the Northeast provinces. There was a battle of Kohima and Imphalwhere they were defeated (
by the British
) and had to retreat. Quite a few died. Politically they were more successfulas subsequently released documents have shown.In post-Independent India the INA's role was played down. The official evaluation was that its activities had littleeffect. Militarily speaking that was true because the army was not that well equipped, but the British made a greatpolitical mistake by putting three INA officers on trial at the Red Fort (
), expecting that people would look downon them as traitors. The opposite happened and the trial publicized the efforts of the INA, which had previously beencensored.Until the trial little had been known of the INA or the Government of India in exile in 1943 when they tried to send foodto Bengal during the Great Famine. All of a sudden this trial made everything known and it revived the struggle forindependence in India, which had been lagging because the leadership of the Congress party and other groupsmostly had been imprisoned. Their efforts like the Quit India movement had not been successful and so this gave anew dawn to the movement.As a consequence of the INA's efforts, large numbers within the British Indian Army -- which was not just British butfor the most part Indian -- became unreliable. There was a mutiny in Bombay (
by the Royal Indian Navy
), whichshowed the armed forces could not be depended on. The administrative system was what had controlled India and