Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

Broadcast by Voice of India Radio (Rangoon)

In a broadcast to the officers and men of the Indian National Army, Netaji Bose said:

“My comrades of the Indian National Army! Last year, on October 21, the Provisional Government of Free India was established. That was almost one year ago. There has been a marked progress in India's Freedom movement during this year and it is the first time since her slavery that a Free Government of India has been established. The importance of this Government of India is due to the fact that it is supported by a powerful Army. What can be more encouraging than the fact that at last a powerful Indian Army of Liberation has been mobilised, and what can bring more joy to an Indian than being able to call himself a soldier of this force? I can honestly state that my countrymen have, by God's grace, accorded me a great respect,but I feel that every soldier of the Indian National Army be he a sepoy or an officer enjoys equal esteem. Throughout my life I have not enjoyed a greater honour. Sooner or later death comes to all, but we have pledged ourselves to die with a smile on our lips in the fight for freedom. We also know that the names of those who die fighting for India will be written in letters of gold in the pages of our history. You may remember that at a military parade last year in Shonan, I gave the Indian National Army a slogan. It was 'Onward to Delhi.’ It has now become the war cry of a gallant band of patriots as they go forward in the battle for our freedom. It will be on their lips when they march into their homeland, to free her from the ignoble bondage of slavery.

Comrades, you should remember that before our forces marched from Shonan last year I gave a clear warning that this struggle for freedom will not be easy and that it will entail vast sacrifices and require the surmounting of unimaginable hardships and disappointments. Our men have had to bear hardships during their march to India and later. The end of our struggle has yet to come. But that will not deter us from our efforts to do all we can in this great struggle. I have just arrived in Rangoon after visiting our men at the front, and I can say with that their morale is very high and that they are impatiently awaiting the order to advance upon their enemy. It is now clear to the whole world as well as to our enemies that the Indian National Army is a People's Army which is determined to win the battle of freedom at all cost. It will continue its fight till the appointed goal —the liberation of India— is achieved. We have Iearnt many lessons and know what strategy should be adopted next. We will make use of this experience in preparing for the battle to come.

Comrades! During the last battle we fought, which was on a front extending from Akyab to Kohima, the enemy did not achieve a single victory. He had either to retreat or his progress was stemmed at every turn. The whole world knows this and realises that there is only one reason for it; the high morale of our men as opposed to the low morale of our enemies. We were fighting against heavy odds and superior numbers and equipment. We advanced full of hope that our first attack would result in the capture of Imphal. By bad luck it failed, but I can say with pride that up to this time we have advanced and kept the enemy forces firmly in check. With the coming of the rains when it became impossible to supply our forces, we were forced to abandon our operations, and, on merely strategic ground, decided to spend this enforced respite in preparing ourselves for future operations which will assuredly bring us success. The enemy advance after we had carried out our strategic and planned retreat, constitutes their 'glorious victories' and 'rapid advances.'

Only we, who have first-hand experience of this fighting know the true position. We know now that our strength is far superior to our enemy's and that every soldier of the Indian National Army is fired with grim determination and an unshakable faith in final victory. We shall go on fighting till victory is won."