Azad Hind Government

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Bollywood actor-turned-politician Kangana Ranaut recently stirred up a storm after she claimed that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was the first prime minister of India by citing a news article clipping that purportedly mentioned that Bose had declared himself the PM of ‘Azad Hind’ in 1943.

About Azad Hind Government

  • In 1943, on October 21, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose announced the formation of the ‘Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind’ or the provincial government of free Indiain Singapore and declared war on the British Empire.
  • Under the provisional Government, Bose was the Head of State, Prime Minister, and Minister of War
  • Captain Lakshmiheaded the women’s organisation while SA Ayer headed the publicity wing in the newly formed government.
  • Revolutionary leader Ras Behari Bose was designated as the supreme adviser by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. 
  • The government was supported by the Axis powers of Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Italian Social Republic, and their allies.

Significance of the Azad Hind government

  • Soon after the formation of the government, the Azad Hind government proclaimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel inSoutheast Asian British colonial territory and prospective authority over Indian territory to fall to the Japanese forces and the Indian National Army during the Second World War.
  • The provisional government not only enabled Bose to negotiate with the Japanese on an equal footing but also allowed him to mobilise Indians living in East Asia to join and support the Indian National Army (INA). 
  • The Indian National Armydrew ex-prisoners and thousands of civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population in Malaya (present-day Malaysia) and Burma (now Myanmar).
  • The provisional government was also formed in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The islands were reoccupied by the British in 1945.
  • The Azad Hind government under Bose had in fact started its own bank, currency, civil code, and stamps. 
  • Bose had even formed the first women’s regiment of the INA, the Rani Jhansi Regiment, thus laying the foundation for equal opportunity for women in armed forces.

Q1: What is the Indian National Army (INA)?

The INA was formed during World War II by Indian nationalists and prisoners of war dedicated to winning India’s independence from the British Empire. The first Indian National Army (INA) was formed in September 1942 under Captain Mohan Singh. It comprised around 12,000 Indian prisoner of wars (PoWs) willing to secure independence from British rule in alliance with Japanese assistance. Supported by the Japanese army and led by Subhas Chandra Bose, the INA established its own provisional government and initiated an attack against the British in India. After limited success, however, they were defeated during the battle of Imphal in 1944 and disbanded altogether after the defeat of Japan in 1945.

Source: Subhas Chandra Bose's kin fact checks Kangana Ranaut over 'first PM' remarks; authors jump in