This Day in History (19-Mar-1944) – Azad Hind Fauj hoisted the National Flag for the first time in North East India

Subhash Chandra Bose as Supreme Commander of Azad Hind Fauz adopted in 1943, a variant of Purna Swaraj Flag that included the words “AZAD’ on the saffron band on top, “HIND” on the bottom green band and in the centre white band a ‘Springing Tiger’ in lieu of Gandhi’s ‘Charkha’ symbolising INA’s strength and their indomitable will to fight.

During World War II, the Indian National Army (INA) or the Azad Hind Fauj was born. Originally, it was founded by Capt Mohan Singh in Singapore in September 1942 with Japan’s Indian POWs in the Far East. This was with the support of the Indian Independence League, headed by expatriate nationalist leader Rash Behari Bose. However, the first INA was disbanded almost immediately in December 1942 after disagreements between Hikari Kikan and Mohan Singh, who came to believe that the Japanese High Command was using the INA as a mere pawn and propaganda tool.

However, the idea of a liberation army was revived with the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose in the Far East in 1943. In July, at a meeting in Singapore, Rash Behari Bose handed over control of the organization to Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose was able to reorganize the fledgling army and gained massive support among the expatriate Indian population in south-east Asia. They supported by both enlisting in the Indian National Army, as well as financially. At its height it, INA consisted of about 85,000 troops, including a separate women’s unit, the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, headed by Capt. Lakshmi Swaminathan. This second INA fought along with the Imperial Japanese Army against the British and Commonwealth forces in the campaigns in Burma, Imphal and Kohima, and later, against the successful Burma Campaign of the Allies.

Moirang in Manipur was the headquarters of INA. Colonel Shaukat Malik  hoisted the Tricolour for the first time on Indian soil on 19 March 1944, in Moirang with the help of Manipuris like Shri Mairembam Koireng Singh and others who were members of the INA.

On this event, Bimal Roy produced the film ‘Pehla Aadmi’ in 1950.