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>>


Comrades! As you all know, the positive achievements of the officers and men of the Azad Hind Fauj last year on the field of battle and the victories that they scored over the enemy through their patriotism, bravery and self-sacrifice were marred to some extent by the cowardice and treachery of a few officers and men. We were hoping that with the advent of the New Year all traces of cowardice and treachery would be wiped out; and that in this year's operations the Azad Hind Fauj would be able to put up an unsullied record of heroism and self-sacrifice. But that was not to be. The recent treachery of five officers of the HQ of the 2nd Division has come as an eye-opener to us that all is not well within our ranks and that the seeds of cowardice and treachery have yet to be wiped out. If we now succeed in exterminating cowardice and treachery once for all, this shameful and despicable incident may, through God's grace, ultimately prove to be a blessing in disguise. I am, therefore, determined to take all possible measures necessary for the purification of our Army. I am confident that in this I shall have your full and unstinted support. In order to destroy completely the germs of cowardice and treachery the following measures will have to be adopted:

1. Every member of the Azad Hind Fauj, Officer, NCO or Sepoy will, in future, be entitled to arrest any other member of the Azad Hind Fauj, no matter whatever his rank may be, if he behaves in a cowardly manner or to shoot him if he acts in a treacherous manner.

2. I am giving an opportunity to all members of the Azad Hind Fauj who may not feel inclined to work dutifully or fight courageously in future to leave the ranks of the Azad Hind Fauj. This offer will be open for one week from the time of its communication.

3. In addition to giving an opportunity to unwilling elements to leave voluntarily the ranks of the Azad Hind Fauj, I want to carry out thorough purge of our Army. During the course of this purge, all those will be removed against whom there is suspicion that they may fail us, or betray us, at the critical moment. In order to carry out this purge successfully I want your fullest cooperation and I want you, therefore, to give me and my trusted officers all available information about any cowardly or treacherous elements that may still exist in our Army.

4. It will not be enough to carry out a thorough purge now. In future also vigilance will have to continue. It will, therefore, be the duty of every member of the Azad Hind Fauj in future, to keep his eyes and ears open in order to detect in good time any tendency towards cowardice or treachery. In future, if any member of the Azad Hind Fauj detects any tendency towards cowardice or treachery, he should report at once, either orally or in writing, either to me or to the officers who may be within reach. In other words, from now onwards and for all times, every member of the Azad Hind Fauj should regard himself as the custodian of the honour and reputation of the Azad Hind Fauj and of the Indian Nation.

5. After the purge has been carried out and unwilling elements have been given an opportunity of leaving our Army, if there is any case of cowardice or treachery, the punishment will be death.

6. In order to create within our Army a moral bulwark against cowardice and treachery, we have to create an intense hatred against cowardice and treachery in any form. A strong feeling has to be created in the mind of every member of this Army that for a member of a revolutionary army, there is no crime more heinous and despicable than to be a coward or a traitor. Instructions are being issued separately as to how we can create such an intense hatred against cowardice and treachery so that there will be no more cowards or traitors within our ranks.

7. After the purge has been carried out, every member of the Azad Hind Fauj will be required to renew his oath to fight on bravely and courageously until the emancipation of our dear Motherland is achieved. Instructions regarding the form and manner of this oath will be issued separately.

8. Special rewards will be given to those who give information regarding cowardly and treacherous elements or who arrest or shoot at the front cowardly and treacherous elements.

Supreme Commander, Azad Hind Fauj, Burma, Dated 13th March 1945.