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>>

Special Order of the Day

Brave Officers and Men of the Azad Hind Fauj!

It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving Burma— the scene of the many heroic battles that you have fought since February 1944, and are still fighting. In Imphal and Burma, we have lost the first round in our Fight for Independence. But it is only the first round. We have many more rounds to fight. I am a born optimist and I shall not admit defeat under any circumstances. Your brave deeds in the battle against the enemy on the plains of Imphal, the hills and jungles of Arakan and the oilfield area and other localities in Burma will live in the history of our struggle for Independence for all time.

Comrades! At this critical hour I have only one word of command to give you, and that is that if you have to go down temporarily, then go down as heroes; go down upholding the highest code of honour and discipline. The future generation of Indians who will be born, not as slaves but as free men, because of your colossal sacrifice, will bless your names and proudly proclaim to the world that you, their forbears, fought and lost the battle in Manipur, Assam and Burma, but through temporary failure you paved the way to ultimate success and glory.

My unshakable faith in India's liberation remains unimpaired. I am leaving in your safe hands your National Tricolour, our National honour, and the best traditions of Indian warriors. I have no doubt whatsoever that you, the vanguard of India's Army of Liberation, will sacrifice everything, even life itself, to uphold India's National honour, so that your comrades who will continue the fight elsewhere may have before them your shining example to inspire them at all times.

If I had my own way, I would have preferred to stay with you in adversity and shared with you the sorrow of temporary defeat. But by the advice of my Minister and high-ranking officers, I have to leave Burma in order to continue the struggle for emancipation. Knowing my countrymen in East Asia and inside India, I can assure you that they will continue the fight under all circumstances and that all your suffering and sacrifices will not be in vain. So far as I am concerned, I shall steadfastly adhere to the pledge that I took on the 21st of October, 1943, to do all in my power to serve the interests of 38 crores of my countrymen and fight for their liberation. I appeal to you, in conclusion, to cherish the same optimism as myself and to believe, like myself, that the darkest hour always precedes the dawn. India shall be free and before long.

May God bless you.
Dated: 24th April, 1945.