UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Oct 21

21 October 1943

Provisional Government of Free India established


What happened?

Currency note issued by the Azad Hind

On 21 October 1943, the Provisional Government of Free India was established as a government-in-exile in Singapore by Indians in exile headed by Subash Chandra Bose. It was also called Azad Hind or Free India.

Background

  • Azad Hind was established as part of a political movement originating outside India by Indians against British imperialism. Subhash Chandra Bose was the most prominent leader of this movement and he was also the Head of State of the provisional government.
  • It was established with financial, political and military support from Imperial Japan. This political movement was spearheaded by Bose, who was called Netaji by the Azad Hind members, and it meant to take sides with the Axis powers (including Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan) in order to wrest India of British rule (who were part of the Allied Forces during World War II).
  • The Indian National Army (INA) was the army of the Azad Hind government.
  • Azad Hind staked claim to the entire subcontinent as its own, but in actuality, it governed Indian military and civilian personnel in the Southeast Asian British colonial territory. After the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and parts of Nagaland and Manipur were captured by Japan in 1943 as part of the on-going war, nominal authority of these regions was given to Azad Hind. These islands were renamed ‘Shaheed’ and ‘Swaraj’.
  • While some historians say that the Azad Hind was an independent government, most say that it was dependent on the Japanese.
  • The provisional Indian government was recognised only by the Axis powers and their allies.
  • Azad Hind had diplomatic ties with Nazi Germany, Italian Socialist Republic, the Empire of Japan, Thailand, Burma, Croatia, Manchukuo and the Second Philippine Republic.
  • In the Greater East Asia Conference held in November 1943, Azad Hind was an observer and was represented by Bose.
  • The Azad Hind government had its own court, civil code and currency. Its provisional capital was Port Blair, while its capital-in-exile was Rangoon and Singapore.
  • Subhash Chandra Bose was the Prime Minister. S. A. Ayer was the Minister of Broadcasting and Publicity and Lt. Col. A. C. Chatterji was the Minister of Finance.
  • There were a number of secretaries and advisors also.
  • The British were successful in defeating the INA and ousting the Japanese from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the northeast. After this and Subhash Chandra Bose’s death in 1945 in a plane crash, the Azad Hind ceased to exist.
  • Azad Hind was disestablished on 18 August 1945.
Also on this day 

1577: City of Amritsar established by Sikh Guru Ramdas. 1934: Jayprakash Narayan and Acharya Narendra Dev established the Congress Socialist Party. 1954: French and Indian governments signed the agreement which led to the transfer of the French colonies of Pondicherry, Karaikal and Mahe to the Indian union.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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