TODAY -

Battle of Imphal - Catalyst to India's Independence

Rajeshwor Yumnam *

On Imphal front, Sikh signaller operates walkie-talkie for British officers, listening to patrols reporting Japanese positions between 8 March - 3 July 1944
On Imphal front, Sikh signaller operates walkie-talkie for British officers, listening to patrols reporting Japanese positions between 8 March - 3 July 1944
Pix - Wikipedia / British Information Service, information service operated by UK government during WW2.



The Indian National Army was defeated in the Battle of Imphal in March - June 1944. On August 15th 1945, with the Japanese surrender in the 2nd World War, the INA was left with no option but to surrender. Almost all of them surrendered after their retreat from the Indian Border.

It became one of the most important and difficult post war problems for the British Empire to decide how to deal with 19500 former I.N.A officers and men who participate the Imphal Campaign. The disposal of the question might well decide the success or failure of the British control of post-war India. The trial was the most ominous event since the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Its outcome would produce enormous impact and have a decisive influence on Indian officers and men in the British Indian Army, the watchdog for the administration of the British Empire over India.

The British government of India thought it would demonstrate the prestige and power of the British Empire by executing betrayed INA officers following a military trial and by attempting to teach the Indian people, particularly Indian officers and men of the British Indian Army, a lesson in order to establish an unshakable control of India. The British thought it could be done. The decision produced a consequence opposite to their wishes; the British miscalculated and blundered despite their unrivalled experience in the administration of Indians, and their implementation of policy.

Gandhi, Nehru and other leaders of the Indian National Congress seized opportunity on the blunder of the British Empire. They took advantage of the trial whereby the British were determined to punish severely 20000 INA officers and men, whose relatives and friends were also serving in the British Indian Army.

Congress leaders tried to win British Indian Army officers and men to the Congress side and to mobilize the Indian masses in an anti- British movement. The trial was a God- given opportunity that would tip the scales of the movement decisively. It was as if Congress had laid a snare and the British Government had been caught.

On September 14, Congress held an executive Committee in Poona and adopted and declared the resolution that I.N.A. officers and men are heroes who fought for the independence of India and they should be released at once.

The mass movement had started by then. In December 1945, Col Dhillon once said, 'Don't worry. India will gain independence within a year. If they execute any one of us, no Englishman will leave India alive.'

Netaji Subash Chandra Bose's discretion had enabled the INA to take part in the Imphal Campaign and had brought the INA within reach of Independence. Though the military campaign had ended in a fiasco, the political war of anti-British and pro-Independence agitation as a result of INA brought to victory.

With the progress of the first INA court martial, the Indian people's anti-British and pro-Independence agitation spread like a fire, gaining in intensity. India turned into a raging elephant. The court-martial, originally intended to consolidate British control over India, turned into a trial to pass judgments on the criminal act of British control over India for 200 years and to give it the coup de grace.

Transcending differences in religion, race, class, language, political affiliation, and military-civilian rivalry, 400 million Indians, with their wisdom, talents and energy, were united together in rebellion. It was an unprecedented spectacle in India's history. It was truly a great national war of the Indian people in which their destiny was at stake.

Violent mass protest movement erupted in Delhi, Calcutta, Lahore, Madras and other principal cities on 5th November when the trial re-open. On the same day, in Calcutta where Netaji Bose was born, 100000 people staged a huge demonstration, carrying with them placards bearing slogans such as 'Save INA. National Heroes', "Suspend the INA trial and release the defendants Immediately" ' British Go Home from India at Once'. They clashed with police everywhere and bloody tragedies spread in the city. Also there were riots in Madras resulting in countless number of casualties.

Every newspaper including The Hindustan Times (supporting Congress), the Dawn (supporting the Muslim League) and the Statesman (supporting the government) gave extensive news coverage to the INA trial and carried editorials about it.

The first court martial entered its final stage in late December. The prosecution tried desperately to establish the case of treason against the British Crown by the three defendants and of Murder and tortures by INA officers and men. The defense and the defendants counter- argued, 'The INA war of liberation is similar to the American War of Independence which fought against British control and exploitation'

It was a justifiable act, acceptable amongst the military establishment of an independent nation, for the defendants to have executed men who violated wartime military discipline in the battlefield, according to the principle of the INA's military criminal codes' .

The INA as an army of the independent government, took part in a joint operation with the Japanese Army. It was not a puppet army. It was unjustifiable and illegal to try in a British military court the regular officers of an independent government which has the right to fight.

At the conclusion of the trial, Chief counsel Dr Desai delivered an eight-hour speech over two days declaring that ' a subjugated people have the right to fight'.

On 3rd January General Auchinleck suspended the life imprisonment sentence of the three of INA officers, General Shah Nawaz Khan, Lt Colonel P.K. Sahgal and Colonel G.S Dhillon. General Auchinleck was very conscious of the fact that even officers and men of the British Indian Army who were responsible for maintaining India's peace and security were becoming awakened to national Independence, and that they could not be relied upon any more. He was afraid of the British Indian Army turning from a watchdog of the British Empire to an arm of the Indian National Congress.

The British government had succumbed to the demands of the Indian masses and had chosen the path of giving up the power of administration. The British government realized the irreversible course of the situation and began secretly to formulate the second best alternative- an honorable withdrawal while maintaining and protecting British interest in India as far as possible. The military trial in the red fort, contrary to their original expectation and calculation, created the decisive factor for the British withdrawal from India.

The historical significance of the trial was clearly expressed in the article contributed by Nehru and published on 17th January, 1945 as quoted in its preface, . '... The issue of the trial is neither the legality of the court nor eloquence. It is a power contest between the administrator who controls India and the will of the Indian people. Its outcome is a victory for the Indians... Will the trial, held in the last week of the year 1945, terminate the chapter of British control following that of the Mughal dynasty? Yes, the trial presages the end of that chapter'.

Disclamer :- Historial Analysis, Nothing to do with present bilateral Indian relation with any foreign country.


* Rajeshwor Yumnam wrote this article for Imphal Times
This article was posted on January 24, 2018.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Shougrakpam Bijaya :: A Profile
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Unconscious Development
  • Lecture : India's Asian Relations
  • Vajpayeeji full of wit & humour
  • The Founder
  • Mindset of security safety of importance
  • Kayada Ningthijaba Lambino : Listen..
  • Billie's Book: A Children's Book : Review
  • Homage to an Apolitical Politician
  • Delhi, through the lense of a Manipuri
  • RPL Certificate of North Tripura
  • Alphabet of Silence :: Poem
  • Business Process Manager @ Globizs
  • Unsettled crisis
  • Now let the probe team do its job
  • Marangwon @Kangkhui #2 : Gallery
  • Cordillera in North Philippines : Gallery
  • Ithai Barrage and popular resistance
  • Moral education for a harmonious Society
  • Bad unity
  • Career in nutrition and dietetics
  • Locally made product- 'The Lois' launched
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • The want for more
  • Only catchy phrases & alluring documents
  • Expedite FA Rally #1 : Gallery
  • Merger & Manipur State Congress #1
  • Cry of a Dying River - 41 :: Poem
  • A recreation park for elderly
  • High-time NE recreate itself as brands
  • Natural skin detox
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • 72nd Independence Day by AR
  • Independence Day - for whom
  • Nongpok Thong Hangba
  • Khubak Eeshei @Kang festival : Gallery
  • Punsi Sangba, Mathiupuang :: eMing
  • Arresting decline of higher education
  • RPL-PMKVY Certificate at Tripura
  • Silence :: Poem
  • AFSPA took my father
  • Dark Net: Underbelly of the internet
  • Alternative Arrangement, Article 371A
  • Petition challenging dilution AFSPA
  • Rio for integration of Naga areas
  • Brought NE closer to Delhi: PM
  • Independence Day celebrated in NE
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #1
  • Compressed Earth Blocks: Housing
  • Support breastfeeding among adolescent
  • Ithai: Development Decision Gone Awry
  • Who made the sports university ours?
  • An Unoccupied Forehead :: Poem
  • 'NRC should not be a political issue'
  • Independence Day : Govt needs trust
  • Apprehensions before final pact
  • NNC stand to protect Naga sovereignty
  • 'Delay in solution irks people'
  • Patriots' Day- Floral Tribute : Gallery
  • A shot at survival
  • Demography and Population Studies
  • RPL-PMKVY Certificate at Baishalgarh
  • E-Commerce to help access new markets
  • Manipur Heart Foundation Anniversary
  • Artist lineup for NH7 Weekender
  • Kakching World War-II Memorial Run
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • AMPWA observed Patriots' Day
  • Real homage or just showmanship
  • Drama of political clout at MU
  • Patriots' Day @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Historical War fought by Manipur
  • Where are the nurses in HIV response?
  • Understanding false smut of rice
  • The love song of autumn :: Poem
  • Help Underprivileged Sports Youngsters
  • Police : List of Awardees on I-Day
  • Jadugi Mingsel :: Folk Tale
  • Patriotism Redefined [On 13th Aug]
  • Karate Winners felicitated at Kumbi
  • Of Citizenship & Manipur People's Bill
  • Seminar : Path & Pattern in Northeast
  • 42nd Indian Social Science Congress
  • Certificate Distribution at Tripura
  • Failure by WPS-IE to arrest rapist
  • Resolutions : People's Democratic Alliance
  • ..Will it burnt the state again
  • ..Now get the killers !
  • 'Homecoming', Painting Exhibition : Gallery
  • Legacy of Resistance in Cordillera Highland
  • Woke Up, But You're Nowhere :: Poem
  • Resurgence of Sanamahism
  • Nagas & Meiteis must live together
  • No change in 1951 as Base Year : JCILPS
  • B. Voc. at DM Community College
  • Young Scholars Conference 2018
  • ..legitimacy of remaining to power
  • The precursor of things to come
  • Khangkhui Cave , Ukhrul #4 : Gallery
  • Kanglen Kang Chingba #2 : Gallery
  • Reform Manipur's Education System
  • Friendship
  • Cry of a Dying River - 40
  • World's Indigenous Peoples Day
  • Chandigarh students' solidarity with MU
  • MU agitator should withdraw their agitation
  • Repercussion of a prejudice attitude
  • Regulate school vans/buses
  • Disputed Myanmar Border Pillar : Gallery
  • Seven Breaths of Dragon :: Book Rvw
  • Chronological framework of NRC
  • Buttering Najmaji in public
  • JRF Post at Mizoram University
  • Manipur Tourism : Festival Promotion Award
  • The uneasy shift
  • Well co-ordinated rallies across dists
  • Chalwa Village, Kangpokpi #1 : Gallery
  • General strike on article 371 (A) #2 : Gallery
  • Up against the saffron brigade
  • My unsailed ship :: Poem
  • Mathematics and Science Competition
  • General Strike by ATSUM on August 10
  • Drawing Competition at Wapokpi, Bishnupur
  • ADBU delivers course to Indian Railways
  • One man that put Manipur in frying pan
  • Relax MU shut down !
  • Khumang Pokpa Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • Robert Naorem @Blr Fashion Week : Gallery
  • Territorial integrity of Manipur
  • The string :: Poem
  • General Strike by KIM on August 8
  • Robert Naorem at Bangalore Fashion Week
  • Dr. Monisha Behal's work in North East
  • Registrations for IIT Techniche workshop
  • PDA on situation in Nagaland
  • The politics of divide: MU
  • Significance of August
  • Mukna Khong Kangjei #3 : Gallery
  • Greater Nagaland or Mini Nagaland? #2
  • Paint Your City : Campaign at Kakching
  • Pemberton line in Kabaw is our boundary
  • Awakening :: Poem
  • Coffee Plantation : In-lieu of Poppy
  • Recalling of AK Pandey by HRD Ministry
  • TSA's reply to KNO/KNA's allegations
  • 21st Manipur Integrity Day : Gallery
  • Konung Kang Chingba #3 : Gallery
  • Ecological, social impact of Ithai Barrage #3
  • Swindling Manipuris in solving Naga issue
  • The Last of the Romantics :: Poem
  • 'Thoughts on MU strategies'
  • Concerned about continued closure of MU
  • Fear factor
  • No takers for 1 month leave
  • View from Shirui Hills #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur as seen by Meiteis, Nagas, & Zo
  • Certificate Distribution at Nirjuli, ArP
  • Contract Jobs available at NIELIT HQs
  • Cry of a Dying River - 39 :: Poem
  • Banana flower vada
  • Entrance for Free Residential IAS Coaching
  • Resolution of NPF Consultative Meeting
  • Concerned about militants' interference
  • Issues : From ILP, MU to FA
  • Emergence Nongda Lairen Pakhangba #2
  • MU Rally at Canchipur : Gallery
  • News Analysis 0f Akashvani Imphal
  • ILP: A Genuine Idea Lost in Translation
  • Tryst with an Alzheimer's patient #2
  • Letter to Prime Minister of India
  • Female DTP faculty reqd at Protocol
  • In between :: Poem
  • Sowing the seeds of Greater Lim
  • General strike on article 371 (A) #1 : Gallery
  • Article 371A is sui generis
  • Oppose extension of Article 371(A)
  • DTP-Desktop Publishing course at Nambol
  • Central team @ BP 81 , Kwatha #3 : Gallery
  • August Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Protest against MHRD @Delhi : Gallery
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #1 : Gallery
  • Engulfing Uncertainties
  • Ecological, social impact of Ithai Barrage #2
  • Certificate Distribution at Dibang, ArP
  • EEVFAM case: Report for 30 July
  • Pertaining to statement of T. R. Zeliang
  • Issues plaguing the state
  • What is the stand of BJP Govt ?
  • Monsoon Assembly Session : Gallery
  • Election 2019: end of road for Modi
  • The absurd baby talk :: Poem
  • Assam University BTech, MTech Admission
  • Saving the Rhinos - Campaign
  • Arrest perpetrators of Moreh attack
  • Training programmes of NCC
  • Central team @ BP 81 , Kwatha #2 : Gallery
  • MU: Students clash with Police #2: Gallery
  • Kang Khichri chaba : Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram at United Nations, NY
  • Out to clear her name
  • Central team @ BP 81 , Kwatha #1 : Gallery
  • Our Common Crisis: What are We to Do #3
  • Pay Nareckpi : Funga Wari
  • Kayada Ningthijaba Lambino : Story telling
  • Ningol Pali at Kang Festival : Gallery
  • Kanglen Kang Chingba : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #3: Gallery
  • Kang Khichri chaba @Kwakeithel : Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS