Saturday, April 15, 2006

Moirang - April 14 1944

I first heard of Moirang, in the quiz show, organized by Siddhartha Basu, long before we started getting these 100s of channels. The question he asked was 'Where did the soldiers of Indian National Army, first raise the Indian flag on the Indian soil?' The answer was 'Moriang Kangla', in the border state of Manipur, in the northeast India.

First, we had studied about World War I, II, French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the American war of independence, the India's satyagraha, the Dandi March, the 'Quit India' andolan, but the history of INA and Subhas Chandra Bose, was relegated to a small chapter here and there. Nothing about this heroic, even if misguided as some might claim, action was highlighted or talked about.

During WWII, Subhas, or Netaji, as he is commonly referred to, created the Indian National Army. He left India, to fight the British, by joining hands with the Japanese and Nazi Germany. The Indian National Army at that time, based in Singapore, marched through the Malaysia, and Burma, to fight with the British soldiers in India. This entire zone of battle was being managed by the British, since they were the pre-dominant colonial power in these parts during that time. I understand the many things that Hilter did, but he did do a good turn by waging war against Britain, because if it wasnt for that fact, the Empire, where 'the sun never sets' would have grown in power. And remember, friends who are quick to blame Hitler for the genocide in Europe. The so-called right thinking and democratic countries of that time, did not raise a finger to stop the atrocities. They began fighting only when the military expansion of Hitler began threatening their existence and span of control.

I didnt know that the INA had ever warred the British, and more still, had even set foot inside the Indian soil. The country has honored these soldiers, by retaining the name, and calling the present army, as INA, and crediting Netaji for founding it. He may have joined the wrong side on the war, but he was fighting for a right cause. A sad fact of the politics of that day, is that here was a situation, when Indian soldiers were fighting each other, one set doing their duty as soldiers of the Empire, and the other attempting to free their motherland from the clutches of the Empire.

But all said and done, i am not unhappy that we won our freedom through the route of satyagraha and the non-voilent route. This makes us special. But the country is fooling itself, if it thinks the contribution of people of Netaji, Bhagat Singh and others who fought the British through other means didnt not weaken the spirit of the Empire.

Moirang is special to me. I hope to visit this place one day.

A memorial for Netaji
State gifts INA museum to Netaji

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