Indian National Army: Formation, Founder | Azad Hind Fauj

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Indian National Army was famously known as Azad Hind Fauj. It was a military force established in 1942 by the Imperial Japanese Army and Indian nationalists. During world war II, amidst the Indian independence movement, Indian National Army was formed in East Asia. But the formation of the INA started way before Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose went to Singapore.

INA’s complete form is Indian National Army, and Azad Hind Fauj in English is called Indian National Army. The movement was already begun by Rash Behari Bose, led by Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose. He was known to form the Provisional Government of the Azad Hind Fauj.

Formation of Indian National Army

The first Indian National Army was formed during World War II under the leadership of Mohan Singh. He was a British-Indian Army officer and a prisoner at that time. Rash Behari Bose founded the Indian National Army. This army was formed by prisoners of war captured during the Japanese campaign to invade Southeast Asia.

The army gathered massive support from the Japanese Imperial Army. During the last months of 1942, when was Azad Hind Fauj formed, concern arose with the autonomy and working of INA and the intentions of the Japanese army. Mohan Singh then disbanded the first INA. The unit was dissolved. After that, Rash Behari Bose, who formed Indian National Army, tried to hold the army together but struggled a lot.

Second Azad Hind Fauj

Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose then led the second Indian National Army. He assumed the charge on October 21, 1943, which is why this date is celebrated as the anniversary of the formation of INA. This was the period when he launched the famous quote, “Give me blood! I will give you freedom.” The local civilians and officials widely accepted this. The new version of the Azad Hind Fauj became popular and more robust.

The Indian National Army started with 40,000 troops, whereas the second Indian National Army started with 12,000 troops. The Subhash Chandra Bose army name was Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind. The army thus became larger and larger, with around 40,000 soldiers. However, exact data on the strength of the soldiers have yet to be discovered. The training was being given to the soldiers in Azad school.

Role of Indian National Army in the Freedom Struggle

With the invasion from Manipur, the Indian National Army declared war against US and Britain. The office of Azad Hind Fauj also moved to Rangoon. The basic plan was that the Japanese force would break through the British army at Imphal, and Indian National Army would set a base in North East India along the Ganges plains. This army would live as a guerrilla army, which went differently than planned in the later phases of the operation. The designed attack happened in Imphal and Kohima in 1944, which suffered significant losses.

The Japanese army also didn’t help to that extent due to their defeat in World War II. The INA suffered significant losses and the death of several troops with every attempt.

End of Indian National Army

The end of INA began way before Japan’s loss in WWII. Various troops caught by the British army or allies were questioned regarding their strategy and interrogated strictly. It is said that more than 16000 troops of Azad Hind Fauj were captured during various campaigns.

Many captured troops of the Indian National Army were sent to India. An immense number of soldiers returned to civilian life. Subhash Chandra Bose evaded, and later it came to know that he was martyred in a plane crash near Taiwan two years before seeing Independent India (1945).

Azad Hind Fauj in Post-Indian Independence

Various INA troops who did not leave the army even after everything was praised highly in Independent India were given different essential roles such as ambassadors, etc. For example, Mohan Singh was assigned to the Rajya Sabha.

Controversies with Indian National Army

Various INA troops were called traitors by the Britishers. Indian National Army leaders were even alleged to have tortured the PoW, which was later cleared that it was just a product of Jiff’s campaign. Various exaggerated stories of INA desertions during battles were promoted.

It is known that personal dislike of the British officers towards Neta Ji led to their judgment regarding the Azad Hind Fauj. This is why surviving members of the Indian National Army were trailed in Red Fort publicly. Various waves of freedom movement came with INA.

Various movements, such as Quit India Movement, were launched after that. The defeat of the British govt. And India’s successful independence can be attributed to the Azad Hind Fauj.

Indian National Army UPSC

The rebirth of the Indian National Army happened on 21 October 1943, with Neta Ji Subhash Chandra Bose joining the mission. Therefore this day is celebrated as the anniversary of the formation of the Azad Hind Government. Some significant and essential facts for the UPSC exam based on INA are:

  • The Azad Hind Fauj was founded by Rashbehari Bose in Southeast Asia with the prisoners captured during the outbreak of World War II.
  • Mohan Singh was the leader of the first INA.
  • Subhash Chandra Bose led the INA after its revival.
  • Each year, 21 October is celebrated as the anniversary of Azad Hind Fauj and the formation of the Azad Hind Government.
  • The Japanese army started Operation U-Go with the help of INA against British India.
  • The battles of Imphal and Kohima were major battles where the Japanese army suffered a major loss from the British army.
  • On 12 July 1943, Subhash Chandra Bose formed the Rani Jhansi Regiment.
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