India’s long struggle of freedom is full of stories of valour and the undying spirit of freedom fighters. Unfortunately though, there are certain unsung heroes without whom India's freedom would’ve only been a distant dream. The Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army is one such group. Their story needs to be told. And the Amazon Original Series, The Forgotten Army, is an attempt to bring forth such stories. Check out the teaser here.
Till this comes out, here are some amazing facts about the fearless troops of the INA who fought to overthrow the British Raj.
1. How the inception of the INA happened.
Escaping house arrest in Calcutta and taking the long overland route, Bose reached Singapore. He took over the leadership of the Indian Independence Movement in East Asia and also revived INA. The army was declared to be the army of Bose's Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (the Provisional Government of Free India).
2. How the youth became a part of the army.
The British government looked upon Bose as a dangerous revolutionary but to his followers he was known Netaji. He inspired a generation of youth to give up on everything and join his quest for the liberation of India. The new INA, under Netaji, comprised of ex-prisoners of war from the British Indian Army and civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population in Malaya (present-day Malaysia) and Burma.
3. The female power — the Rani Jhansi Regiment.
The INA believed in the power of women too. Rani of Jhansi Regiment was an all-women corps of soldiers which fought under the Indian National Army. Most of these women had no prior military training and were trained here for the first time. Tough training at the regiment like night marches, bayonet charging, tactical combat, weapon skills etc. was unable to shake the unwavering spirit of these young ladies.
4. Lakshmibai to Lakshmi Sahgal, one of the army's most important leaders.
Learning about Subhash Chandra Bose’s determination to start a women’s regiment, Lakshmi Sehgal decided to meet him. After a five-hour interview she returned with a mandate to set up a women’s regiment which received a huge response from women willing to join the all-women brigade. Dr. Lakshmi Swaminadhan, thus became Captain Lakshmi, leader of possibly one of the first women contingents of the world.
5. The origin of the famous "Chalo Dilli" slogan.
Netaji’s famous battle cry “Chalo Dilli” (on to Delhi) was working, as the number of volunteers to join the army kept increasing. He worked out a master plan for the INA with the ultimate goal of reaching Delhi. A provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India) was to be set up to launch and conduct the struggle that would bring about the expulsion of the British from India.
6. How the end of World War II affected the INA.
Atomic bombing on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to a rapid close to World War II. At the end of the war, INA too got dissolved. This is when the troops returned home. Some educated women entered professional careers, while others returned to the same disempowered situations as they were in before the INA. The male soldiers were sent to stand trial at the Red Fort in Delhi, where they were expected to be hung as traitors. The Red Fort Trials, however, collapsed under pressure of Indian unrest.
7. How the INA helped in finally taking the British down.
The stories of INA’s remarkable courage and sacrifice soon reached the Indian people and the nation came under a wave of revolutionary upsurge. The British Government could realise that patriotism for Indians was greater than their service to a foreign power and this was instrumental in their final defeat.
History though, has failed to properly celebrate the courage of these undefeated troops. Don't forget to catch their stories on Amazon Prime Video's upcoming series, The Forgotten Army. Starring Sunny Kaushal and Sharvari (soon to be seen in Bunty and Babli 2), The Forgotten Army is the first ever web series directed by Kabir Khan of Bajrangi Bhaijan and Ek Tha Tiger fame. Check it out this January and celebrate the relentless spirit of the INA.