When the Quit India revolution was going on, another heroic episode was taking shape outside the frontiers of India. When the struggle of 1942 began to subside inside the country.
Indians were fighting hard to liberate their motherland from outside. The Indian National Army and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose were playing their remarkable part in the freedom struggle of India.
On the eve of the Second World War Bose came to believe that Gandhi’s Non-violent Movement might not bring independence.
In 1939 he resigned from the Congress presidentship and organised forward Bloc for a more vigorous national struggle. The government first imprisoned him, and thereafter kept him confined to his house under close watch.
But in January 1941, in a surprising adventure, he escaped from India secretly and reached Kabul in disguise as a Pathan. He proceeded from there to Moscow and finally reached Berlin in March 1941.
Bose hoped to organise an Indian army in Europe in order to invade the British Empire at the north-western frontiers. But the German dictator. Adolf Hitler did not like to help him for the cause of Indian independence. The golden opportunity for Bose, however, came when Japan joined the war in the Far East, and speedily advanced towards the Indian frontiers in the cast.
In the Countries of southeast Asia, there were large numbers of people of the Indian organ. When the British were defeated in Malaya and Burma, they left their Indian soldiers to their fate and fled.
Taking advantage of this situation an old revolutionary named Rash Bihari Bose, who was living in Japan organised the Indians and formed the Indian Independence League.
Japan handed over to the League the Indian Prisoners of war, who were organised into a liberation army. It became famous as the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (I.N.A.). More than 16,000 men formed tire I.N.A. to start with. Many more thousands signed the pledge to join it. Subhash Chandra Bose was invited to take up the leadership.
In February 1943, Bose left Germany from Kiel port in a submarine. Through serious risks and suffering untold hardship, he finally reached Tokyo in June. There he met Japan’s Prime Minister Tojo who promised to hold the I.N. A. and ‘Enable India to achieve full independence m the true sense of the term.”
In July 1943, Bose became the president of the League and proceeded to form a provisional government of Free India. The number of the I.N. A. men began to grow greatly.
Assuming the command of the Indian National Army, he gave his clarion call: “We have a grim fight ahead of us for the enemy is powerful, unscrupulous and roughless.
In this final March to the freedom you will have to face hunger, privation, forced marches and death only when you pass this test will freedom be your.” He gave the slogan “Delhi Chalo” or March on to Delhi. So, began the epic March of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the I.N.A. Towards India. Through extreme hardship they struggled on, fighting against the British army, and winning victory.
In May 1944 they captured Kohima in the Nag Hills and hoisted the Tricolor flag of independence on the Indian soil. Other I.N.A. forces advanced upon the plains of Imphal.
The role of the I.N.A. caused immense worries to the Government from the beginning when Lord Wavell took over the Viceroyalty from Lord Linlithgow on 20th October 1943; Netaji Bose was his greatest Indian enemy outside India. And, on 21st October, Netaji inaugurated the provisional government of Free India. The new viceroy had to face the advance of the I.N.A. in the coming months and see their triumph on the Indian soil.
The role of the I.N.A. had far-reaching influences on the Indian political scene. When the stories of their remarkable courage and sacrifice came to the knowledge of the Indian people at the end of the war, the nation came under a fresh wave of revolutionary upsurge.
The British by then had learnt a terrible lesson from the I.N.A. episode that the empire no longer enjoyed the loyalty of the Indian army. Patriotism towards the motherland was greater than their service to a foreign power, and the Indian soldiers, therefore, were also looking for their country’s independence.