Subhas Chandra Bose as the Head of the Provincial Government of Azad Hind
Major General A.C Chatterjee (Anil Chandra Chatterjee) in his memoirs India's Struggle for Freedom gives a vivid account of the Azad Hind under Netaji. After the initial arrangements in Singapore, Netaji went to Rangoon to celebrate the Burmese independence upon invite from Dr. Ba Maw, and met General Ida, commander in chief of the Imperial Japanese forces, Dr. and Mrs. Ba Maw, and Japanese Ambassador to Burma. Dr. Ba Maw promised all help and support to liberate India as they realized that without India's independence, Burmese independence was at risk. While in Rangoon Netaji took time to visit the tomb of Bahadur Shah, the last Mughal emperor as proclaimed by the Sipahi mutineers of 1857, who was extradited and spent his last days in exile in Burma. Netaji held a parade on 26th July 1943, of all the contingents of Indian National Army that were present in Rangoon. He said, "We express our unshakeable determination before a sacred memorial, before the mortal remains of the last fighter of India's freedom, the man who was an emperor among men and a man among emperors. Now when we are engaged in this last war of independence, it is all the more necessary for us to renew our unshakeable determination to fight this last war for independence, to a finish, regardless of all sufferings and sacrifices, regardless of all difficulties in our path." As a fitting tribute he repeated the poem written by the last emperor, "As long as the warriors have the determination, the sword of Hindusthan will rule over London."
Great Famine of Bengal: Churchill's Secret War that killed millions
A terrible famine had begun in Bengal in March 1943. This was mainly owing to the scorched earth policy of Britain and also because of the colonial policies and the racial prejudice of Churchill. Historian Madhusree Mukerjee in her book Churchill's Secret War estimates that 1.5 mn to 3 mn people perished in this man made famine. British government would, per, Lord Wavell, feed only those Indians who were “actually fighting or making munitions or working some particular railways". India produced 600,000 miles of cotton fabric for British interests during the war, Mukerjee writes. Because of the shortfall and inflation this caused within India, the poorest were reduced to covering themselves with scraps or going naked. Women would have to stay indoors all day waiting for others to return with the single piece of cloth the family possessed. Same thing happened during the first world war but at a smaller scale. British adopted a scorched earth policy to deny Japan access to food and transport should it invade Bengal, when Japan invaded and conquered Burma. Mukerjee attributes the "scorched earth" approach to Churchill, who reportedly urged it on 14 November 1941. The "rice denial" policy saw soldiers confiscate and destroy rice deemed surplus; according to one journalist, thousands of tons of rice were thrown into the water in East Bengal. The "boat denial" policy saw 46,000 boats able to carry more than ten passengers confiscated; bicycles, carts and elephants were also taken. One British civil servant said the policy "completely broke the economy of the fishing class" in Bengal. Only a despicable liar like Churchill could claim after the war that "No great portion of the world population was so effectively protected from the horrors and perils of the World War as were the peoples of Hindustan [India]. They were carried through the struggle on the shoulders of our small island." While Bengal starved, food rationing in Britain was unpopular: "In the end," Mukerjee writes, "it was not so much racism as the imbalance of power inherent in the social Darwinian pyramid that explains why famine could be tolerated in India while bread rationing was regarded as an intolerable deprivation in wartime Britain. (source: Wikipedia). The famine code was not even invoked by the colonial rulers, who were still smarting from the attacks on them in coastal Bengal, esp. they wanted to teach Medinipur a lesson for its patronage of the revolutionaries. External supplies of food were neither sought nor were allowed. Churchill disdainfully said, "let them die, they breed like rabbit anyway", about starving and dying Indians.
Here is a documentary on the Bengal Famine that describes how the British deliberately starved to death millions of hapless Indians.
Subhas's magnanimity, Britain's meanness
Naturally this deliberate killing of his countrymen by his arch enemies deeply disturbed Subhas. He tried to send one hundred thousand tons of rice from Burma to Bengal but the British turned down his offer and worse, suppressed it from his countrymen. Bose said that he would guarantee safe conduct of the supply ships, if the British agreed to accept the delivery. Richard Tottenham mentioned in September 1943 that the plan of British Government was to discredit Subhas Bose in every possible way. Politics and vendetta were more important than the life of starving Indians to the "great" Britain.
Organizing the Government - Day to Day Operations and Activities: Netaji's personal involvement
After returning from Burma Netaji reorganized the Indian Independence League and gave the department of General Affairs and Finance to Lt. Col. A.C Chatterjee, Publicity and Propaganda to S.A Iyer, Education to John Thivy, Social Welfare, Housing and Transport to D.M Khan, Women's dept. to Lakshmi Swaminathan, Supplies to Hardayal Singh, Recruitment to B.M Pattanaik, Training to Lt. Col. Ehsan Qadir, Reconstruction to A.N Sarkar. All departments had their responsibilities defined and department of General Affairs provided the liaison and coordination across the departments. The recruitment department was responsible for the recruitment of volunteers for the Indian National Army, Azad Hind Dal and other umbrella organizations. Many training centers were opened to cater to the large number of volunteers who wanted to join Azad Hind. Training department provided a programme for training of the volunteers. A large volunteer training camp was established in Saleetar in Singapore. In the camps there were no separate kitchens for Hindus, Muslims and Christians. The volunteers took food together without distinction of caste or religion. Volunteers established kitchen garden and grew their own vegetables. For most of them this life was new. They also underwent all types of military training and discipline. The training was for a period of 6 months. Initially there were minor troubles owing to linguistic differences between the Tamils and the Hindi speaking population, but when Yellappa, chairman of the Indian Independence League, Singapore, took charge of the training camps, there was no further disturbance.
Each territorial committee of the Indian Independence League adopted for itself a badge for its executives. The emblem or insignia read "Ekta, Viswas, Validaan" or "Ittefaq, Itmad, Kurbani" or "Unit, Faith, Sacrifice". Netaji completely reorganized the Indian National Army. He abolished the Military Bureau and appointed Lt. Col. J.K Bhonsle as the Chief of Staff. He opened enlistment of civilian population for recruitment to the Indian National Army, revised scales of pocket allowances and increased the scale of rations for the troops. Before Netaji's arrival, Japanese had taken large number of Indians as workers in different parts of South East Asia for constructing roads, bridges, airfields and barracks. Netaji had asked his Japanese counterparts to bring the Indians back for the work of Azad Hind. Indian National Army was renamed as Azad Hind Fauj (India's Struggle for Freedom, Maj. Gen A.C Chatterjee). Supreme Headquarters contained the Supreme Commander Netaji, the Chief of Staff, and the Heads of the branches. Netaji did not assume any military rank. It was decided that Azad Hind Fauj would carry out guerrilla warfare. They had to be extremely mobile and operate behind the enemy lines and maintain a close contact with the larger Japanese units. They would be lightly equipped. Gandhi regiment was under Col. I Kiani, Nehru regiment was under Col. Aziz Ahmed Khan, Azad regiment was under Col. Gulzara Singh. There were other groups such as Bahadur Group, Hind Field force, Intelligence Group, Reinforcement Group. Intelligence Group operated under Lt. Col. S.N Malik who later got Sardar-e-Jung. Intense training was provided on physical, military, educational (like language training) and spiritual (purpose of the battle and motivation of the forces). An officer's training school was established in Neesoon with Lt. Col. Habibur Rahman as the first officer commanding it. N.C.Os training camps were established along with volunteer training camps. Netaji took a special interest in the training of all his men and women. He himself frequently inspected the troops, saw them under training in the parade ground and accompanied them in the maneuvers and the training for the jungle warfare. He went to their barracks, saw their living conditions and even tasted their food. These inspections were made at very short notices to see the actual day to day living conditions. It was his personal interest and love for them that had developed a deep bond of trust and affection and the soldiers were ready to lay down their lives for him. Japanese had also opened special service training centers for secret service work, for infiltration and intelligence work in India. They were opened in Rangoon and Penang. Penang one was later put under Major Swami who had been brought from Germany by Netaji. Dr. Pabitramohan Roy was one of the key secret service men who worked closely with Netaji. Lt. Col. Dr. Loganathan who later assumed the charge of the free Andaman islands, was in charge of the medical units and he went to the different territories for recruitment of volunteers and for establishing training camps in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In Hong Kong a large number of Indian prisoners of war joined the Azad Hind. In Shanghai a large no. of policemen and their wives and daughters, mostly Sikhs, joined Azad Hind. The officer's corps had easy access to Netaji and often joined him for badminton matches. A warm camaraderie developed among soldiers from different religions, castes and linguistic backgrounds and they all dined together. Netaji picked forty five young men for training in Tokyo's elite Military Academy. He also selected ten among them for developing a future air force. He gave patronage to an Azad Hind orchestra and encouraged cultural programmes with patriotic fervours, like dramas and songs. INA orchestra created a set of inspiriting songs (like Kadam Kadam) set to innovative tunes. Bose worked very hard and slept hardly for three hours a day. Coffee and cigarettes were his mainstay during his night outs. However he was up at the crack of the dawn with his rosary, and did his japam or daily prayers. A small pocket Gita and a Chandi (Bengali rendition of the Sri Sri Durga Saptashati in the Markandeya Purana - hymn of the Goddess Durga) were his constant companions. Ayer noted that Netaji never made a public display of his religion. It was to him intensely personal affair and he lived spirituality. He loved all animals except cats. He refused to discuss work over dinner and instead focused on culinary topics. He would often drive to Ramakrishna Mission in Singapore, changed from his military attire to silk dhoti and meditated for an hour or two in the shrine. Swami Bhaswarananda, president of the ashrama, and Brahmachari Kailasam were his intimate friends in the ashrama. He also donated about 50,000 dollars from his personal account for an orphanage established by the Ramakrishna Mission and participated in the Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi's birthday tithipuja.
During collection of funds drive, large sums of money were collected. At public gatherings, the garlands which were given to Netaji were auctioned for large sums and one Punjabi gentlemen donated his entire wealth to get one of it. Milkmen from Bihar and UP donated even their cattle. An old woman who lived on begging, donated all that she had and Netaji did not have the heart to refuse her. With the help of the Indian Independence League at least three national schools were established for children and the adults. Hindusthani was taught as a language, although Tamil and English were also given prominence keeping in view the large Tamil population. Brahmachari Kailsasam gave his service for the school. In Kuala Lumpur a relief center was opened which gave relief to the vast majority of the labourers who had been thrown out of job owing to the closure of the plantations. Relief work raised contributions locally to meet the expenses and the credit went to the chairman Ram Chandra Naidu. Other centers across East and South East Asia, viz. Shanghai, Bangkok, Philippines, Java, Sumatra, Indo China, Tokyo, Siam contributed significantly by mobilization of resources, supply and supporter groups among Indian diaspora. Netaji visited Saigon in November 1943 and was enthusiastically received by the Indians, but French rulers did not like his presence. A Sindhi businessman donated a large sum to money of over hundred thousand dollars to Netaji and joined the Azad Hind Fauj.
Subhas's Azad Hind Government declares war on Britain. His Indian National Army gave the toughest fight to the British in the second world war. His soldiers loved and respected their Netaji who often used to share their meals and took every care of them personally
Subhas Chandra Bose as the head of state had to tour several countries in South east Asia, offering the hand of friendship and building a case for forging an alliance against the British. He was a diplomat per excellence
Subhas Chandra Bose took oath as the Head of the state for the Arzi Hukumat Azad Hind or Azad Hind Provisional Government On October 21, 1943. Two days later his Government, that was recognized by atleast nine nations of the world, declared war on Britain and America
Formation of the Provincial Government - Arzi Hukumat e Azad Hind
21 October, 1943, a Red Letter Day in the history of India, possibly the real day of her independence. On this day the proclamation of the formation of the provisional Azad Hind Government was made by Netaji in Singapore. Ayer had mentioned as to how Netaji wrote the proclamation. He worked through the night, "did not lift his eyes from the paper in front of him, silently handed to me (Ayer) the first page as soon as he finished it and I walked out of the room and sat at the typewriter. Abid and Swami went to his room and brought me the proclamation manuscript, sheet after sheet, as Netaji finished it." Never once did Netaji refer to any of his earlier sheets, not a single correction was necessary. Delegates from all over East Asia were summoned to Singapore. In the Cathay Hall, as Dr. R.C Majumdar puts, before an almost hysteric crowd who stormed the precincts of the Cathay Hall and presented indescribable scenes of overpowering feelings and emotions, Netaji read his famous Proclamation setting up the Provisional Government of Free India at Singapore. The duty of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind (Free India) was thus described in the Proclamation : “It will be the task of the Provisional Government to launch and to conduct the struggle that will bring about the expulsion of the British and of their allies from the soil of India. It will then be the task of the Provisional Government to bring about the establishment of a permanent National Government of Azad Hind constituted in accordance with the will of the Indian people and enjoying their confidence. After the British and their allies are overthrown and until a Permanent National Government of Azad Hind is set up on Indian soil, the Provisional Government will administer the affairs of the country in trust for the Indian people. The Proclamation ended with a passionate appeal : “In the name of God...we call upon the Indian people to rally round our banner and to strike for India's freedom. We call upon them to launch the final struggle against the British and all their allies in India and to prosecute that struggle with valour and perseverance and with full faith in final victory until the enemy is expelled from Indian soil and the Indian people are once again a free nation.” Netaji was clearly inspired by the Irish proclamation of independence. "The provisional government is entitled to and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Indian. It guarantees religious liberty, as well as equal rights and equal opportunities to its citizens. It declares its firm resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation equally and transcending all the differences cunningly fostered by an alien Government in the past." Netaji became the Head of the State. He held the foreign affairs and the war portfolios. His voice choked with emotion as he took his oath in the name of God to continue his fight to liberate India and Indians till the last breath of his life. He allocated his cabinet portfolios by giving finance to A.C Chatterjee, publicity and propaganda to S.A Ayer, and woman's affairs to Lakshmi Swaminathan. Eight representatives of the armed forces - Aziz Ahmed, N.s Bhagat, J.K Bhonsle, Gulzara Singh, M.Z Kiani, A.D Loganathan, Ehsan Qadir, and Shah Nawaz Khan were inducted in his cabinet. Ananda Mohan Sahay became cabinet secretary. Rashbehari Bose was designated as the Supreme Adviser and seven others including Karim Ghani, Debnath Das, Yellappa, John Thivy, Sardar Ishar Singh, A.N Sarkar, and D.M Khan were in the panel of advisers.
Azad Hind Government's effective administration
On 23 October the Provisional Government decided at a Cabinet meeting to declare war on Britain and U. S. A. The declaration was broadcast over Radio by Bose himself and San Francisco Radio communicated it to the world. ‘‘In a few days, nine world powers—Japan, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Burma, Thailand, Nationalist China, the Philippines and Manchuria—accorded their recognition to the Provisional Government of Azad Hind. “On the 28th of October, Netaji flew to Tokyo where he attended the Greater East Asia Conference in the first week of November, and was received by the
Japanese Emperor with all honours due to the Head of the State and the Provisional Government of Free India. “At the Greater East Asia Conference, Premier Tojo announced on the 6th November, 1943, that Japan had decided to hand over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the Provisional Government of Azad Hind. Thus the Provisional Government acquired its first stretch of territory in Free India. “Returning to Singapore towards the end of December, after visiting China and the Philippines en route, Netaji left for the Andamans where he set foot on the first Free India territory on the 31st December, 1943. It was decided to rename the Andaman and Nicobar, ‘Shahid’ and ‘Swaraj’ Islands, respectively (History of Freedom Movement of India, Vol 3, R.C Majumdar). On the declaration of its formation in occupied Singapore the Irish Nationalist leader De Valera, a personal friend of Bose, sent a congratulatory note.
On 22 October, 1943, preparations were complete for the formal opening of the training camp of Rani Jhansi regiment in Waterloo street, Singapore. Netaji addressed the gathering and reminded them what women could achieved. He told them how women had contributed to the independence and the revolutionary movements in India and also on the life and ideals of Rani of Jhansi, that she was the best and the bravest even according to her enemy. The women were greatly excited to be part of the journey. The maximum strength of the regiment in Singapore was around five hundred. A certain number of Ranis were trained in nursing in the hospital at Bidadari in Singapore. The nurses played a very vital role when they were stationed in Burma and served in the Base and Advanced Base hospitals in Rangoon, Mandalay and Maymyo.
Bose's decision to declare a war against United States was not uncontested. Loganathan had asked him politely the reason, "Why America Sir?". But Bose argued that the presence of Americans on Indian soil was a reality that would make the INA's task of defeating the British very difficult. He had a point as later events would prove. United States did barely nothing to put pressure on British to accede to India's demand for independence. US did nothing to help the Indians starving in Bengal and silently condoned the mass murder. United States' hypocrisy was evident since they did not participate in the war despite the massacre of the Jews until Pearl Harbour was attacked and their own interests compromised. On 23rd October Bose publicly declared in a huge mass rally in which Azad Hind Fauj also took part, his decision to wage a war against the British and American forces. People wholeheartedly ratified the decision. Major General A.C Chatterjee recalled the power which Netaji exercised over the audience. Swami Bhaskarananda confirmed the same in his reminiscences and opined that a divine power seemed to have descended on Netaji in the way he could mesmerize and influence people during the Azad Hind Government days.
Netaji also felt the need for his Government possessing territory as a mark of legitimacy. He had made a declaration of setting foot upon Indian soil before the end of the year and the capture of Andaman and Nicobar islands gave him that opportunity to fulfill his promise. Provisional Government also gave the option of accepting the Indian citizenship anywhere in South East Asia after signing an oath of allegiance. Provisional Government also created several sub committees - 1) National Planning Sub Committee that decided on a common language, the Hindusthani, with Roman alphabet, common dress, common mode of address, that was Jai Hind 2) Decoration and Medal Sub committee deciding on the bravery awards like Sher-e-Hind or Sardar-e-Jung 3) Pay, allowances and pensions sub committee, which also took up the matter of looking after soldiers and civilians who would die or become disabled owing to the battle or diseases. In November 1943, decisions were taken on the contentious issues of the flag and the songs. Tri Colour without Charkha was adopted as the flag while Subh Sukh Chain ki Barkha Barshe, composed by Hussain, was accepted as the national song, based on Tagore's Jana Gana Mana. Netaji rewarded Hussain with ten thousand dollars for this rendition. Netaji had requested the Chettiar temple trustees for contribution to the Azad Hind Government funds. When they insisted that he come down to the temple, he agreed to go only on condition of allowing all his officers, irrespective of religion and caste. The temple authorities agreed to this revolutionary step and his officers from all religious background were even allowed in the inner sanctum sanctorum. They were also offered Tilaka and prasadam. Hindus and Muslims of his government celebrated each other's festivals and took part in each other's joys.
Raising of money had been a contentious issue. Though donations came pouring in from rich and poor they were not sufficient for war efforts. Netaji had to issue threats to certain rich merchants who were unwilling to part with their wealth. He said to the merchants of Malaya on October 25, "‘Legally speaking there is no private property when a country is in a state of war...if you think that your wealth and possessions are your own, you
are living in delusion;.Your lives and your properties do not now belong to you; they belong to India and India alone" (Dr. R.C Majumdar, History of Freedom Movement of India, Vol 3). Indian Independence League Fund Committees were set up in the Branches and Sub-Branches, with a Central Board of Management to control and direct them, and to issue final receipts to contributors. A form of assessment of taxes was adopted which was a sliding scale of percentage of total wealth. At the Board meetings, rules and regulations were passed, in accordance with the policy of the Movement and the representations that were made from time to time. The basis of valuation of properties, both movable and immovable, were fixed by the Board. A businessman originally from Dhoraji town of Saurashtra, Memon Abdul Habeeb Yusuf Marfani, donated almost his entire fortune of Rs 1 crore to the Indian National Army. He was duly honoured and decorated by Netaji as a recognition of his patriotism and spirit of renunciation.
Publicity and propaganda department worked very hard to prepare pamphlets and leaflets in different languages. 21st of each month would be regarded as the Provisional Government of Free India Day and flags would be hoisted in every house and public meetings were to be held. 26th January was treated as Independence day and Mahatma Gandhi's birthday was celebrated. Provisional Government took over broadcasting stations in Singapore, Saigon, Bangkok and Rangoon, and started one in Tokyo.
Azad Hind bank was established in April 1944 in Burma and Singapore with Debnath Das as the chairman. Currencies of Azad Hind were printed and became the instruments of transaction. Thus the Azad Hind Government became fully functional in six months and even managed to get its own territory. Now was the time to set eyes on the promised march to India.
Greater East Asia Conference - Netaji in extreme right and Tojo in the center, with the Asian leaders. Image Source: Wikipedia
Trip to Japan and East Asia
In November 1943, Netaji received invitation from the Imperial Japanese Government to take part in the Greater East Asia Conference to be held in Tokyo. Netaji agreed to accept the invitation as an observer. Major General Chatterjee writes that, before Netaji went to Tokyo he made it clear to the Japanese Government that he would attend the conference but would not commit himself in any way on behalf of his country. He went to Tokyo accompanied by Major General J.K Bhonsle, S.A Iyer, A.M Sahay and Major Abid Hasan. Key participants were the Empire of Manchukuo, National Government of China, Philippines, Siam, Burma, and Japan, apart from the Provisional Azad Hind Government. Netaji had expressed his displeasure with the liaison agency Hikari Kikan and the attitudes of the Japanese military officers in South East Asia. He demanded full control of the intelligence operatives to be sent to India. He wanted to deploy the first division of INA in the Indian offensive and asked Japan to handover the Andaman and Nicobar islands to the provisional Government. He also sought acknowledgement of his Government's rights to issue currency and exercise jurisdiction over abandoned Indian properties all over South East Asia. Tojo yielded on the political and economic demands and promised to discuss the military ones ( Prof. Sugato Bose - His Majesty's Opponent). Bose spoke on the second day of the five day conference for twenty minutes and impressed everybody with his eloquence, vast subject matter knowledge and deep analysis of the prevailing situations. Three cardinal principles were agreed by all nations concerned that would govern their mutual dealings. They would be Freedom, Justice and Reciprocity. Tojo reiterated his full support to India's independence and announced his intentions to transfer the sovereignty of the Andaman and Nicobar islands to the provisional Government. Tojo in a speech had said that Netaji would be the all in all in free India. But Netaji objected and told him that he was only a humble servant and it was for the people of India to decide who would be their leader. He entreated General Sugiyama to consider INA as an allied army and to accept his plans regarding the second and the third divisions of INA. Bose also placed requests for equipment to build a navy and an airforce. He regarded the Japanese support as loans to be repaid after independence. He also held a mass meeting in Tokyo. On November 18, 1943, Netaji went to occupied Nanjing in China at the invitation of the pro Japanese Chinese leadership. He wanted to communicate with the Chungking Government of Chiang Kai Shek. He paid homage to Sun Yat-Sen. He appealed to the Chungking Government not to send troops to India to fight for the British. Netaji went through a second round of visits in East Asia, notably Jakarta, Surabaya in Java, and Borneo and Sumatra, in order to garner the support of the Indians.
The Andamans and its association with the Revolutionaries
As promised by Tojo, Andaman and Nicobar islands were handed over to the Azad Hind Government but Japan did not relinquish its military control, owing to the strategic nature of the islands as a naval base on the Bay of Bengal. Accompanied by Anand Mohan Sahay and Abid Hasan, Netaji visited the Port Blair in the Andamans on December 29. As per S. A Ayer in the book The Story of I.N.A, the date was 31 December, 1943. One of the hallmarks was his visit to the Cellular jail, the small narrow constrained cells in which the British, along with dreadful murderers, had imprisoned many illustrious sons of India who fought for independence. This was the jail where the convicts of Alipore Bomb case, including Aurobindo's own brother Barindra, were imprisoned. This was the jail where the dreaded demonic Jailer David Barry's tortures led to the suicide of a young revolutionary Indu Bhushan Roy and drove Ullaskar Datta to insanity. This was the jail where Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, later the Hindu Mahasabha leader and formerly a great revolutionary, had spent roughly 11 years. His brother Ganesh Savarkar also spent Other notes inmates included Biplobi Trailokya Nath Chakrabarty Maharaj, convicts from 1914 revolution, esp. from that of Ghadar party, that included Chattar Singh who was suspended in an iron suit for three years, Baba Bhan Singh, who was killed by Barry's men, Sachindranath Sanyal, the right hand man of Rashbehari Bose, and Bhai Paramanand. Many freedom fighters were hanged in the jail premises. Several were killed during a hunger strike while force feeding them with milk, in the most brutal manner that defies imagination. Those who were killed during 1933 force feeding program included Mohan Kishore and Mohit Moitro. The Jail was a stark reminder of the British atrocities, the darkest chapters of the Raj. In 1939, because of the repeated appeals of eminent people, esp. Tagore, the Government repatriated the political inmates, and in two years Japan occupied the island. The Indian residents extended a hearty welcome to Netaji. The Indian National Flag was hoisted as a symbol of Indian sovereignty in the Gymkhana grounds in Port Blair. Netaji renamed the islands as Shaheed and Swaraj. In 2018, to commemorate the incident, Indian Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, renamed Ross island as Subhas Dweep, Neil island as Shaheed Dweep and Havelock as Swaraj Dweep. Netaji appointed Dr. A.D Loganathan as the Chief Commissioner of the islands. The latter with his staff proceeded there and took formally the charge.
The following site provides the names of the key members of the Azad Hind Provisional Government-