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Netaji and Singapore

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is such an international figure, who has been forced to leave the minds of present Indian generation due to political rivalry! It is so ridiculous, so unfortunate and such a tragedy that in spite of best effort by the present Indian Government it will take decades to bring back the glory of Netaji in India if the effort is continued. It is a glaring example to marginalize a global hero of our country due to political differences.

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose the great! Our National Hero! He who unfurled our National Flag after declaring India independent in 1943 in Port Blair, Andaman, much before forced division of India and formally declaring India independent in August, 1947 by Pandit Nehru.

Netaji had a very good relationship with Singapore. Revolutionary Indian freedom fighter Rash Bihari Bose invited Netaji to Singapore. He arrived in Singapore on 2nd July, 1943. He was appointed President of the Indian Independence League.  He took over the charge from Rash Bihari Bose.

Captain General Mohan Singh founded Indian National Army (INA) in Singapore on 17th February 1942. The army was disbanded due to disagreements between Capt. Singh and the Japanese. Singh was an Indian soldier fighting for the British and later he was captured by Japanese. He recruited Indian prisoners of war to fight for independence of India.

In 1942, Dr. Lakshmi Swaminathan, better known as Lakshmi Sahagal arrived in Singapore. She started treating and managing wounded personnel of Prisoners of War there. They were members of Indian British Army defeated and captured by Japanese forces. Their wives told Dr. Lakshmi that they want to fight for freedom of India.  

When Netaji arrived in Singapore, he was impressed by the idea of Azad Hind Fauz or INA. Dr. Lakshmi met him and told him about the  request of spouses of Prisoners of War. Netaji later allowed to form an All Female Brigade under Azad Hind Fauz, named it as Rani Jhansi Brigade and gave its command to Dr. Lakshmi. After this she became Captain Laksmi. She was also made minister in Provisional Government of Independent India.

Netaji reorganized INA into 3 wings, e.g. Gandhi Brigade, Nehru Brigade and Rani of Jhansi Brigade. One more brigade was added as Subhash Brigade.

Netaji formally established Provisional Government of Azad Hind on 21st October 1943 in Singapore. He set up a memorial for the soldiers of the Indian National Army, which was later destroyed by British in 1945. A commemorative icon is still present at the Queen Elizabeth Walk in downtown Singapore to mark the site.

In April 1944 Netaji started an offensive against British army and entered India through Burma with the help of Azad Hind Fauz. They crossed Burmese border and planted Indian National Tri-color Flag at Moirang, Manipur. It was a symbolic victory of claiming Indian soil by Provisional Government of Independent India. But, their attempt to claim Kohima and Imphal was foiled by British Army and Netaji with Azad Hind Fauz retreated to Burma. This campaign was a failure and Netaji returned back to Singapore via Bangkok on 24th April, 1944.

Netaji got the tragic news of Japanese surrender on 12th August, 1945 after USA dropped atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

Since Japanese forces captured Southeast Asia, they supported Netaji’s fight for independent India. After Japanese surrender Netaji left Singapore on 17th August, 1945 for Bangkok and later went to Saigon. His mysterious death in Japan plane crash is yet to be authenticated.

A big salute as a citizen of India to this great Indian freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!

Dr. Krishna Kumar Mallick

MBBS (Gold Medalist), FCGP (India), FSASMS (Delhi), MRSH (London)

PhD (Medical Education), CEMS (Berlin)

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