Amitav Ghosh and The Forgotten Army

Neelam A Maharaj


This paper challenges the notion proposed by Amitav Ghosh, Peter Ward Fay and a documentary entitled The Forgotten Army, that Indian independence was a consequence primarily of the struggle of the Indian National Army’s (INA). It demonstrates, through historical authorities and personal knowledge that instead the INA was essentially a client of the Japanese occupying forces in Singapore and that most of its representatives joined for reasons which, though understandable, were less than completely admirable.

Paradoxically, the soldiers who, while believing fully in Indian independence, and resenting fiercely the British occupation of their country, suffered in the prison camps, by taking the more difficult path of refusing to collaborate with the Japanese at all.

An unfortunate side effect of the argument proposed by the authors mentioned above and the Granada television documentary is to play down the significance of Gandhi's policy of passive resistance and give undue credit to the soldiers who merely carried out the Japanese bidding. The denial of Gandhi’s efforts and suggestions that India achieved independence through violent means also lends support to those resorting to armed, perhaps even nuclear, solutions to current political issues.


Biography- history

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