March 18, 1944 is one of the most historc days of India’s independence struggle. On this day, Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose entered India crossing Burma border and 01st April 1944, Indian Tri-Coloure flag was hosted at Moirang for the first time on the sacred soil of India by Indian National Army (INA).

With Japanese support, Bose revamped
the Indian National Army (INA), then composed of Indian soldiers of the British
Indian army who had been captured in the Battle of Singapore. To these, after
Bose’s arrival, were added enlisting Indian civilians in Malaya and Singapore.
The Japanese had come to support a number of puppet and provisional governments
in the captured regions, such as those in Burma, the Philippines and Manchukuo.
Before long the Provisional Government of Free India, presided by Bose, was
formed in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Bose had great
drive and charisma—creating popular Indian slogans, such as “Jai
Hind,”—and the INA under Bose was a model of diversity by region,
ethnicity, religion, and even gender. However, Bose was regarded by the
Japanese as being militarily unskilled, and his military effort was short
lived. In late 1944 and early 1945 the British Indian Army first halted and
then devastatingly reversed the Japanese attack on India. Almost half the
Japanese forces and fully half the participating INA contingent were killed.
The INA was driven down the Malay Peninsula, and surrendered with the recapture
of Singapore. Bose had earlier chosen not to surrender with his forces or with
the Japanese, but rather to escape to Manchuria with a view to seeking a future
in the Soviet Union which he believed to be turning anti-British.

On the Indian mainland, an Indian
Tricolour, modelled after that of the Indian National Congress, was raised for
the first time in the town in Moirang, in Manipur, in north-eastern India. The
towns of Kohima and Imphal were placed under siege by divisions of the
Japanese, Burmese National Army and the Gandhi and Nehru Brigades of INA during
the attempted invasion of India, also known as Operation U-GO. However,
Commonwealth forces held both positions and then counter-attacked, in the
process inflicting serious losses on the besieging forces, which were then
forced to retreat back into Burma.
On 3rd June 2015, I was at
Moirang and one of my dreams comes true when I reached INA Memorial at Moirang,
Manipur. I was speechless and feeling blessed, spent some memorable time with
the INA Memorial authority and had a nice interaction with them.

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