Home English Articles Netaji’s INA soldiers first hoisted tricolour in Manipur’s Moirang city in 1944

Netaji’s INA soldiers first hoisted tricolour in Manipur’s Moirang city in 1944


Netaji’s Moirang headquarters in Manipur; disregarded glorious saga of India’s freedom struggle

By Dr. Rakesh Sinha

Moirang, 45 KMs from Imphal, has importance in the history of modern India no less than any place in our territory known for a historic reason. It was liberated by force from the British domination, 39 months before India formally achieved independence. Patriotic fervour of North Eastern people and the valour of the Indian National Army (INA) created a history but the incident has merely a passing reference in our history textbooks. It is one of the places which deserves to be called patriotic pilgrimage reminding and inspiring posterity to sacrifice for the motherland.

14 April 1944 Tricolour was hoisted

Moirang is in Bishunpur district of Manipur where on 14 April 1944 tricolour was hoisted for the first time on a liberated Indian soil. Subhash Chandra Bose, the man who lives in every Indian heart as a real hero of the anti-imperialist movement, was a great strategist. His INA with the help of Japanese army fought a decisive battle with the British army. It was an ‘Operation U Go’ launched by the INA to liberate the Indian soil from the British Suzerainty. It succeeded.

The people of Imphal and Nagaland were at the forefront to cooperate the INA.The battle is known as Imphal-Kohima Battle and the British military historian Robert Lyman describes it as one of four decisive battles during the world war II. Lyman writes, “‘It is clear that Kohima/Imphal was one of the four great battles. The battles at Stalingrad, El Alamein and in the Pacific between the US and Japanese navies were the other three.”

Battles of Imphal and Kohima

In April 2013, the Battles of Imphal and Kohima were together named ‘Britain’s Greatest Battle’ by the National Army Museum in the United Kingdom (UK). Have our textbooks written after independence considered it significant and given due importance? As geographically Moirang is in a corner of India so it is also in a corner of history textbooks!

Domoralizing Isult to the British Empire

The first Provincial Independent Government was formed in Moirang, a demoralizing insult to the British empire. It created a consternation in the British army and Parliament. Colonel Shaukat Malik commander of the Bahadur Group of the INA unfurled India’s flag. It was the day of proud and golden letter day in Indian history.

It was taken as the beginning of the decline and highest mobilization of arms, ammunition and soldiers were done by the Britishers to restore their control. As Peter Ward Fay wrote in The Forgotten Army on the INA “To Shah Nawaz [Khan] and his battalions climbing the Chin Hills, to Prem [Kumar Sehgal] pushing papers in Rangoon though he would much prefer a field command, to Lakshmi [Sehgal] wondering when she will receive word to collect her women and go forward once more with Netaji, to Netaji himself—what is happening in and about Imphal is of enormous importance. Bursting into India, after all, is what the Indian National Army is all about, its raison d’être, the excuse for its existence. It can only be done at the Burma–India border. No other place offers an approach.”

Patriotic Memories of Moirang

But April 14, 1944, a historic day in the annals of our freedom movement, remained for the long-forgotten chapter. The successive governments of the Old Regime, heavily influenced by Jawaharlal Nehru, deliberately neglected its importance, patriotic memories of Moirang. The key battleground of Imphal assumes importance for another reason. The nationals of more than six countries participated in the war. Those who arrived during the war included, among others, the Japanese, Canadians, Australians, Americans, the British as well as from British-ruled Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika (now Tanzania) 120,000 British soldiers and 70,000 INA and Japanese soldiers confronted each other.

War Memorial Exists

A war memorial exists in Moirang, at the place where the national flag was unfurled. It unravels the great story of the INA and Bose. A beautiful and rare collection of weapons, ammunition, photographs concerning INA is its distinct feature. But looks like an orphan. The dedication of local people protects its dignity, importance and invaluable collections of the memorial. People of Imphal identify themselves with it. there is a caretaker N Dwijamani, 52 years old. He speaks like a historian. His dedication is amazing. He told me he has been working for the last 15 years voluntarily, no permanent job he has. He spends more than 14 hours in the memorial, welcomes guests, takes them around the memorial, narrates collections. There is a huge photograph of Shilbhadriyaji, a close associate of Bose, According to Dwijamani he used to visit every month in his lifetime and cared for the Memorial. After him, nobody took any interest. The last photo of Bose is in the memorial before his alleged death in the plane crash.

Apathy towards headquarter of the INA in Moirang

There is another story of the unpatriotic behaviour of the successive governments and their historians. The headquarter of the INA in Moirang is a disowned house and two boys with their family live in as their ancestral home.

The picture shown was the headquarter of the INA and Provisional Independent Government formed by the INA. This is a historic place self-narrating the story of the world war II and the INA. The marks of Bombs and Bullets is a live narration of the story of critical and deadly battle between the INA patriots and imperialists.

H Dhanacnhadra Singh, 27 years old, H Nanda Babu 25 years old has been trying to preserve this historic building but the government has not paid any heed. Their late father Heman Naren Singh had the desire to protect the house as a monument and his both children doing the same.

I have an hour-long conversation and when I asked them would they agree to donate the house if the government was ready to take over, they agreed. They don’t have any ensured means of livelihood but their patriotism keeps their morale high to welcome guests and give them the opportunity to go inside the house.

Contempt for INA and Bose is not hidden

Nehruvian – Marxist historians and state’s contempt for INA and Bose is not hidden and this suppression of glorious saga of history is its best example. Moirang has potential to emerge a patriots pilgrimage. Now the time has come to reverse the things and give due importance to our martyrs’ historic role. Bose is dead, long live Bose.

Courtesy: NewsBharati