LEAVES FROM MY DIARY- Memories and reflection of my INA Days
The Founder of the I. N. A. was born of poor parents in a Sialkot village in 1909. The father died before the baby was born, and the mother when he was a child of five. Her brothers brought up the orphan. After Matriculating the lad joined the 2/14 Punjab Regiment as a sepoy. Later he was selected for the Kitchner College and later joined Indian Military Academy from where he passed out in 1935, when he was posted in 1/14 Punjab Regiment. Promoted Captain in 1940 and Major 1941, he was in that year sent to Malaya. As the senior-most Indian in his battalion, and persistent in advocating the Indian point of view, he frequently came into conflict with his European officials. He protested against the anti-Indian attitude of his C. O. in the selection for Emergency Commissions. As a result of his (and other Indian Officers’) stand, Indian food, hitherto taboo in the officers’ mess, began to be served at all meals in his battalion. When the Japanese invaded Malaya he fought against them for 3 days, but on the fourth he approached them to secure their support in raising an Indian National Army to oust Britishers from India. Within a week of his joining the Japanese (December 1941) he raised an army of a thousand men and fought against the British in Malaya. By the time Singapore fell he had about 10,000 Indian soldiers under his command. After co-operating with Japanese for 13 months, he discovered that the Japanese had designs on India. Of course he refused to be a puppet in their hands. When the Japanese were convinced that he could not be exploited for their selfish ends, they threw him into jail (December 29, 1942) and kept him in detention at various places in the East, till the end of the war. At the time of his arrest the I. N. A. consisted of about 17,000 armed and equipped soldiers, some 25,000 trained soldiers (known as surplus volunteers) whom the Japanese did not equip with arms, and about two hundred thousand volunteers who were not allowed to be enlisted by the Japanese. On receiving the information that Subhas Bose had met with a fatal air accident and fearing that the morale of I. N. A. troops might be affected he surrendered to the British, taking all blame on himself. He was brought to Pearl Hell Jail, Singapore, where treatment meted out to him in the beginning was most barbaric. General Mohan Singh was brought to Delhi on November 23, 1945, and was the last officer of the I. N. A. to be released from the Kabul Lines, Delhi.