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The Forgotten Army: India's Armed Struggle for Independence, 1942-1945

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The last days of the Raj bring to mind Gandhi's nonviolence and Nehru's diplomacy. These associations obscure another reality: that an army of Indian men and women who tried to throw the British off the subcontinent. The Forgotten Army brings to life for the first time the story of how Subhas Chandra Bose, a charismatic Bengali, attempted to liberate India with an army of former British Indian soldiers--the Indian National Army (INA).

The story begins with the British Indian ...

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Overview


The last days of the Raj bring to mind Gandhi's nonviolence and Nehru's diplomacy. These associations obscure another reality: that an army of Indian men and women who tried to throw the British off the subcontinent. The Forgotten Army brings to life for the first time the story of how Subhas Chandra Bose, a charismatic Bengali, attempted to liberate India with an army of former British Indian soldiers--the Indian National Army (INA).

The story begins with the British Indian Army fighting a heroic rearguard action against the invading Japanese down the Malaysian peninsula and ends with many of these same soldiers defeated in their effort to invade India as allies of Japan. Peter Ward Fay intertwines powerful descriptions of military action with a unique knowledge of how the INA was formed and its role in the broader struggle for Indian independence.

Fay incorporates the personal reminiscences of Prem Saghal, a senior officer in the INA, and Lakshmi Swaminadhan, leader of its women's sections, to help the reader understand the motivations of those who took part. Their experiences offer an engagingly personal counterpoint to the political and military history.

". . . a well-crafted and thought-provoking mixture of oral history and original research, providing the most comprehensive account yet published of the events leading to the formation of the INA." --Guardian

"Fay has made a magnificent attempt to analyse all the credible information on the history of [Subhas Chandra] Bose's legendary Indian National Army (INA)." --Times Higher Education Supplement

"This fine study of the Indian National Army (INA) seeks to demonstrate this army's significance in the attainment of Indian independence and the termination of the British Empire. . . . Throughout, Fay seeks to explain why 'constant and true' Indians like Sahgal and Swaminadhan chose to fight alongside the Japanese and against the British . . . ." -- Pacific Affairs

Peter Ward Fay is Professor of History, California Institute of Technology.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on the memories and records of members of the Indian National Army, Fay ( The Opium War, 1840-42 ) offers a revealing depiction of the little-understood army that Subhas Chandra Bose formed with Japanese backing. The INA was rooted in the growing nationalism of Indian soldiers and of the Indian community of Malaya. Both groups saw themselves as Indians, apart from distinctions of caste and religion, and were united by anti-British sentiment. The INA became both a symbol of direct action for the independence movement and a challenge to the gradualism of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohandas K. Gandhi. Though never a particularly effective fighting force, the British saw it as a portent: quit India or face the risk of widespread disaffection in an army crucial to a stable subcontinent. Fay sheds light on what has tended to be a footnote to the history of WW II and the struggle for Indian independence. Photos not seen by PW . (Nov.)
Library Journal
Although Fay got his title wrong--this army was hardly forgotten--his narrative of the famous--or infamous--Indian National Army (INA) and its leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, offers an important contribution to the history of the Indian Independence Movement. Fay ( The Opium War 1840-1842 , LJ 8/75) contends that the turncoat INA fought a war of revolution in Burma against the British that must be viewed within the context of Indian independence. In support of this view, he digs into the history of the British and Indian relationship. Further, he justifies the position that the INA, or the ``Jiffs,'' as they were called, did not support the Japanese but existed as a quasi-independent military body fighting against the British for their own independence. That a segment of the British-led Indian Army turned traitor has always been viewed with great hostility by many British historians. Fay's work, however, convincingly explores new interpretations and deserves a fair hearing. For informed lay readers and scholars.-- John F. Riddick, Central Michigan Univ. Lib., Mt. Pleasant
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472101269
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/1994
  • Pages: 584

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