Azad Hind

Azad Hind

Ārzī Hukūmat-e-Āzād Hind (Hindi: आर्ज़ी हुक़ूमत-ए-आज़ाद हिन्द; Urdu: عارضی حکومت‌ِ آزاد ہند‎; the Provisional Government of Free India), or, more simply, Free India (Azad Hind), was an Indian provisional government established in Singapore in 1943.

It was a part of a political movement originating in the 1940s outside of India with the purpose of allying with Axis powers to free India from British Rule. Established by Indian nationalists-in-exile during the latter part of the second world war in Singapore with monetary, military and political assistance from Imperial Japan, to fight against British Rule in India. After completing the task of reorganising the Indian Independence League and launching preparations for revolutionizing the army, and after conducting a successful campaign to mobilise the support of the Indian communities throughout Southeast Asia—a phase which lasted from July to October—Netaji turned toward formation of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India) in Germany. This had to be done before the army could be sent for action in the battlefield. Founded on October 21, 1943, the government was inspired by the concepts of Subhas Chandra Bose who was also the leader of the government and the Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government in Exile. The government proclaimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in Southeast Asian British colonial territory and prospective authority over Indian territory to fall to the Japanese forces and the Indian National Army during the Japanese thrust towards India during the Second World War. The government of Azad Hind had its own currency, court and civil code, and in the eyes of some Indians its existence gave a greater legitimacy to the independence struggle against the British.

However, while it possessed all the nominal requisites of a legitimate government, it lacked large and definite areas of sovereign territory until the government assumed control of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Japan in 1943 and the occupation of parts of Manipur and Nagaland. Throughout its existence, it remained heavily dependent on Japanese support.

Immediately after the formation of the government-in-exile, Azad Hind declared war against the Anglo-American allied forces on the Indo-Burma Front. Its army, the "Azad Hind Fauj", (Indian National Army or the INA) went into action against the British Indian Army and the allied forces alongside the Imperial Japanese Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The INA was to make its mark in the battle of Imphal where along with the Japanese 15th Army it breached the British defences in Kohima, reaching the salient of Moirang before Allied air dominance and compromised supply lines forced both the Japanese and the INA to lift the siege.

The existence of Azad Hind was essentially coterminous with the existence of the Indian National Army. While the government itself continued until the civil administration of the Andaman Islands was returned to the jurisdiction of the British towards the end of the war, the limited power of Azad Hind was effectively ended with the surrender of the last major contingent of INA troops in Rangoon. The supposed death of Bose is seen as the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement.

The Allies at the time, as well as some post-war historians, regarded the Government as a puppet state. The government was not recognised by Allied governments or Vichy France. Some other historians contend that the Azad Hind was a free and independent government.

The legacy of Azad Hind is, however, open to judgment. After the war, the Raj observed with alarm the transformation of the perception of Azad Hind from traitors and collaborators to "the greatest among the patriots". Given the tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and the resentment and revolts it inspired, it is arguable that its overarching aim, to germinate public resentment and revolts within the Indian forces of the British Indian Army to overthrow the Raj, was ultimately successful.

Read more about Azad HindEstablishment, Ministers, Recognition, Government Administration and World War II, Indian Areas Under The Administration of The Provisional Government, The Defeat of The INA and The Collapse of The Provisional Government, Relations With Japan and View of Azad Hind As Axis Collaborator, Contributions To Indian Independence

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