[Marxism] The disappearing Peronist legacy

Sayan Bhattacharyya ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Tue Dec 26 21:37:30 MST 2006


On 12/26/06, John Obrien <causecollector at msn.com> wrote:

>
> I also am aware of the Indian troops captured by German, Italian forces in
> Africa and even some in Asia, who were then placed under supposed Indian
> rule, as part of the nazi war machine.  The Indian leaders associated with
> this, were sentenced by the British for treason, but after 1947
> independence, were no longer prosecuted for this.

This is only partially correct.

Subhash Chandra Bose, a left-leaning leader within the Indian National
Congress, was  being held under house arrest in Calcutta, and
succeeded in escaping in disguise in January 1941. He first went to
Afghanistan, and then to the USSR, to seek help for an anti-British
armed insurgency. Not receiving much help from the USSR, Bose  then
met with the German ambassador in Moscow, who had Bose flown to
Berlin.

>From Wikipedia:

"[Bose] founded the Free India Centre in Berlin, and created the
Indian Legion (consisting of some 4500 soldiers) out of Indian
prisoners of war who had previously fought for the British in North
Africa prior to their capture by Axis forces. The Indian Legion was
attached to the Wehrmacht, and later transferred to the Waffen SS[3];
its members swore their allegiance to both Hitler and Bose to secure
India's independence. At a time, when no one in Germany dared
criticise Hitler, Bose was openly critical of Hitler's treatment of
Jews, the destruction of democratic institutions in Germany and the
Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. He was also, however, prepared to
envisage an invasion of India via the U.S.S.R. by Nazi troops,
spearheaded by the Azad Hind ["Free Indian"] Legion; many have
questioned his judgment here, as it seems unlikely that the Germans
could have been easily persuaded to leave after such an invasion,
which would also have resulted in an Axis victory in the War.[4]

"The lack of interest shown by Hitler in the cause of Indian
independence eventually caused Bose to become disillusioned with
Hitler and he decided to leave Nazi Germany in 1943. He travelled by
the German submarine U-180 around the Cape of Good Hope to Imperial
Japan (via Japanese submarine I-29), which helped him raise his army
in Singapore. This was the only civilian transfer across two
submarines of two different navies in World War II.

"The Indian National Army (INA) was originally founded by the
expatriate nationalist leader Rash Behari Bose, who handed over
control of the organisation to Subhas Chandra Bose after the latter's
arrival in the Far East in 1943. At its height it consisted of some
85,000 regular troops. These troops were under the aegis of a
provisional government, with its own currency, court and civil code,
called the "Provisional Government of Free India".

"As the Japanese pressed forward through Burma towards India, some of
the INA's troops assisted in the Japanese victory over the British in
the battles of Arakan and Meiktila, along with the Burmese National
Army led by Ba Maw and Aung San. A year after the islands were taken
by the Japanese, the Provisional Government and the INA were
established in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal,
part of the British Indian Empire under Japanese occupation. Bose
visited the islands on just one occasion late in 1943, when he was
carefully screened from the local population by the Japanese
authorities, who at that time were torturing the leader of the Indian
Independence League on the Islands, Dr. Diwan Singh (who later died of
his injuries, in the Cellular Jail). The islanders made several
attempts to alert Bose to their plight, but apparently without
success.[5]

"On the Indian mainland, an Indian tricolor flag, modeled after that
of the Indian National Congress, was raised for the first time in the
town in Moirang, in Manipur, in northeastern India. The towns of
Kohima and Imphal were placed under siege by divisions of the
Japanese, Burmese and brigades of I.N.A.

"Bose had hoped that large numbers of soldiers would desert from the
Indian Army when they would discover that INA soldiers were attacking
British India from the outside.[6] However, this did not materialise
on a sufficient scale. Instead, as the war situation worsened for the
Japanese, troops began to desert from the INA. At the same time
Japanese funding for the army diminished, and Bose was forced to raise
taxes on the Indian populations of Malaysia and Singapore, sometimes
extracting money by force.[7] When the Japanese were defeated at the
battles of Kohima and Imphal, the Provisional Government's aim of
establishing a base in mainland India was lost forever. The INA was
forced to pull back, along with the defeated Japanese Army. Japan's
surrender also led to the eventual surrender of the Indian National
Army.

"Bose died in a plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to Tokyo on 18
August 1945. However, his body was never recovered."




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