INA: Turning Point in India's Independence Struggle

  Aug 16, 2023

Indian National Army:The Turning Point: INA, Mutinies, and the British Exit from India

The British colonial rule in India faced a turning point when they publicly tried members of the Indian National Army (INA) at the Red Fort in Delhi from 1945-46, accusing them of waging war against the King-Emperor. These members included Col Prem Sahgal, Major Gen Shah Nawaz Khan, and Col Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon, who had served as officers in the British Indian Army. They had initially been taken as prisoners of war but later joined the INA to fight for India's liberation.
The trial of these INA officers led to widespread disenchantment within the armed forces and among the public. The trial highlighted the British oppression and united Indians against colonial rule. This sentiment was further fueled by the RIN (Royal Indian Navy) mutiny that erupted on February 18, 1946. The mutiny spread to over 70 ships, where Indian sailors took down the British flag and raised flags of the Congress, Muslim League, and Communist Party. The demand for independence echoed through the streets of Bombay, with sailors and the public supporting the cause.
Around 220 people lost their lives and about 1,000 were injured during the unrest, particularly due to police firing. The RIN mutiny was followed by rebellions in the Royal Indian Air Force and some Army units, indicating the growing discontent within the Indian armed forces.
The British realized that their control over the Indian armed forces had significantly diminished. The series of mutinies and uprisings, coupled with the sacrifices of freedom fighters and the INA's efforts, convinced them to expedite the process of granting independence to India. Britain's resources, finances, and manpower had been exhausted during World War II, leaving its economy in a dire state.
Clement Attlee, the British Prime Minister, had no choice but to approve the decision to grant independence to India. The events of 1945-46, especially the INA's activities and the widespread mutinies, played a pivotal role in hastening the British colonial power's exit from India.
The INA, led by Subhas Chandra Bose, had sowed the seeds of disloyalty to the Crown within the Indian armed forces, creating a crucial impetus for India's path to independence. The INA's collaboration with Indian soldiers, prisoners of war, expatriates, and Japanese allies, including the establishment of the Jhansi Ki Rani Regiment for women led by Lakshmi Sahgal, highlighted the determination and unity of Indians against British colonial rule


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