Postcolonial Text / Author

Amitav Ghosh and The Forgotten Army

Neelam Maharaj
Victoria University

Late in 2000 Amitav Ghosh withdrew The Glass Palace from being considered for the Commonwealth prize, as he regards the notion of the Commonwealth to be a misnomer and anachronistic. His reason for doing this was laudable. However, one has to be concerned with the new Indian identity that he envisaged in that novel.

The exploration of the forces that shape identity, especially national identity, has long been a pre-occupation of writers, and Indian writers in particular. At the beginning of this new century, as India sought to re-define itself, Indian thinkers were re-examining their past to help explain their present identity. While the interpretation of history can be as selective as it is subjective, there is a disturbing element in the most recent trend to rewrite the past, which is helping shape a militant identity for a nation that had learnt to become proud of quite the opposite national characteristics. While the intention of those who offer these new perspectives may not be consciously to encourage and spur on India's race to become a nuclear power and a more aggressive force in its region, that is precisely the effect of this new historical reconstruction.

Proponents of this new historical reconstruction are led by Peter Ward Fay, who published The Forgotten Army in 1991. Shortly afterwards, Granada television produced a documentary of the same name. Both the book and the documentary are a response to the notion, as fantastic as it is absurd, that India did not winits freedom; it was given it because the British finally chose to "transfer power." This idea had its origins in India: The Transfer of Power, edited by Nicholas Mansergh. Peter Ward Fay, the producers of the documentary, and now Ghosh argue that this was not so, and that India did fight for its freedom. They trace the history of the Indian National Army (INA), citing it as one of the major reasons why the British were finally forced to leave India.

The main problem with the view held by Fay and others who support him is that in their rush to prove there was not merely a transfer of power, and that India earned its freedom in its own right, they overlook Gandhi's achievement, which was to gain independence by non-violent means. It is indeed unfortunate to rewrite history so that it negates Gandhi's triumph. It is not the purpose here to trace India's long struggle for independence; this has been well documented for anyone who chooses to look for it. It is worth arguing, however, that India did not gain its freedom by violent means. It appears that, unless Indians can prove that there was violence, their right to self-rule was something bestowed, not gained. India tried to win its freedom, by violent means, as early as 1857, with what in the west is known as the Great Mutiny, but what Indians chose to call the First War of Independence. There were many violent uprisings, not the least of which was the one led by the Rani of Jhansi. None of these, as is the case with the violent resistance in Ireland, ever achieved what they struggled to gain. Only Gandhi, one of the great men of the twentieth century, achieved it and he did it by non-violent means. He was not a saint, but a brilliant politician, who managed to unite almost the whole nation in offering resistance to the British. He gained the support of the general public by appearing to be one of them; one of his attendants is quoted often as saying, "If people only realised how much it costs to keep Gandhiji looking poor." With the backing of the masses he galvanised the nation into finally forcing the British to leave India. And it is indeed unfortunate that a little over half a century later, Indians are beginning to forget his contribution and some now even argue that Gandhi could not possibly have achieved what he did; it was the INA who were responsible for India's ultimate independence. Those who maintain this view take his triumph and put it into the hands of men whose integrity could be highly questionable. Unfortunately, Ghosh is an unwitting contributor to this process.

In The Glass Palace, Ghosh intertwines the lives of his fictional characters with real people and events. He uses the lives of his protagonists to explore a range of issues, including colonialism, conflicting notions of loyalty and allegiance, and how these shape identities. Arjun, a British Indian officer in the novel, is Ghosh's instrument for investigating the motivations of those who resisted joining the INA. It is curious that of all the national heroes available to him, Ghosh chooses the fairly obscure INA to epitomise patriotism. Elsewhere too, Ghosh has extolled the INA, while dismissing those who refused to be part of that army (including his own father) as moral cowards (New Yorker).

Like Ghosh, I too as a child had been intrigued by this moral dilemma, of why some men, including my father, chose not to enlist in the INA. My father died when I was just over two years old - he was thirty -six. He was a Colonel in the Indian Army, after Independence, (but in the British Indian Army pre-independence) and had been a Japanese Prisoner of War (POW). He contracted beriberi at Changi, which affected his heart, and he died as a result of that, three years after his release. I never knew my father personally; it was only through other people that I gleaned some inkling of what he was like. My school in Delhi was situated opposite the Red Fort, the headquarters for the Indian military. Many a time, men from the Red Fort would leave presents for me at the school office, in memory of my father. As I grew older, my understanding of him did not increase. I still knew very little about him, except that he was so well esteemed by so many that they continued to bestow gifts on his daughter long after his death. I caught a glimpse of the bond that existed between these men when I read a poem he wrote entitled "With the Remains of My Friend" - which recounts how he brought back the body of his friend, who wished to return, to Singapore. I knew that he was considered somewhat of a hero in India - he had a full military funeral, with a forty-one-gun salute. I have photographs of the funeral procession. There is a street named after him and the place where he was cremated has a long dedication to him engraved on a stone and still maintained by the army. Yet he did not join the Indian National Army.

For me, as with many, the idea of a National Army inspires notions of genuine rebellion, passionate opposition to the oppressors, a valiant resistance to unwanted rulers. Yet this national hero, my father, had refused to take part in their struggle. I have no doubt that he loved his country. The following is from an extract entitled Jai Hind, which translated means Hail India, that I found among his papers:

What greater pleasure can be there for one than to praise the land where one has lived? Whither the ties of home and family and memory and affection drag with irresistible force. That is the country that has clothed us and fed us. That is where the mountains are more blue and the plains the most beautiful in the world. Only there is the peak, which you have climbed and played around, and the stream where you have swum. That is where the earth speaks and the house walls talk and feel with you. That is the country, which I have loved.

I do not know the author of the above extract. However, it was among his meagre possessions as a POW, either written by him or presumably kept to sustain him through his years of captivity.

He also definitely was not a coward as he was nominated for the Victoria Cross, and mentioned in despatches as well as received several other medals, including the Military Cross. So why would he have refused to be part of what most ardent nationalists would normally be eager to embrace?

To find the answer to my question I needed to know more about the INA.

The origins of the INA lie with the fall of Singapore on February 15, 1942, when the English surrendered to the Japanese. The Japanese invasion had commenced on the night of December 7/8, 1941, when the Japanese destroyed the American fleet at Pearl Harbour, invaded Hong Kong and the Philippines, and landed troops at Singgora in southern Thailand. By December 18 Penang had fallen. On January 11, 1942, the Japanese arrived at Kuala Lumpur. On February 9, the Japanese Imperial army crossed the Straits of Johore at the Kranji river area. Incidentally, the mention in despatches and the nomination for the Victoria Cross my father was given was for laying the charge on the Causeway and then crossing it just before it blew up. By February 13 all reservoirs were in Japanese hands and by February 14 most areas of the city had no water. On February 15, 1942, the English surrendered to the Japanese. This amazingly rapid advance over the entire Malaya peninsula - a distance of 650 miles in seventy days - or roughly nine miles a day - through sometimes highly dense jungle meant that by the time the Japanese arrived in Singapore, they were exhausted and their troops were depleted. Yamashati had 30,000 debilitated men to take control of 90,000 POWs, many of whom were marched into Changi prison, which had housed 2,000 soldiers pre war and which was now to house close to 50,000.

Of the 90,000 troops, Fay (524) estimated 600 were Malay and 55,000 were Indian, while other estimates suggest 45,000 Indians (Turnbull 188). The Japanese had been negotiating with an Indian officer, Mohan Singh, to recruit Indians to renounce their loyalty to the British army. It would have reduced the number of their POWs by half, as well as given them the manpower to administer the camps. On February 17, 1942, the Japanese ordered the Indian troops to gather at Farrer Park (Fay 81). Major Fujiwara spoke to the men and then handed them over to Captain Mohan Singh, who addressed them with great fervour, asking them to join a "National Army," ostensibly to help India gain its freedom from the English. To even the most naive, it would be obvious that promising men future freedom was an easier way of recruiting help than asking them to help man POW camps. And what Ghosh does not acknowledge is that the choice here was not just loyalty to the English or freedom for India that the men faced, but remaining POWs or becoming guards at the prison camps.

Facing imprisonment, men are not always brave. Australian POW Noel Barber notes that straight after the surrender, "Some Indian soldiers boasted Japanese flags hurriedly sewn or pinned to their tunics. Others had tied strips of white cloth round their helmets. On Collyer Quay he came across the extraordinary sight of an Indian soldier in an abandoned car discarding his uniform for a suit of civilian white drill" (Sinister Twilight 242). This is well before the Farrer Park meeting. At the meeting, these men were being offered a seemingly more honourable way out, and it is not surprising that several took the opportunity - not because they were overly concerned with gaining India's freedom, but because it was one way to survive, perhaps not the most heroic way, but certainly a way. This is never acknowledged by Fay, the producers of the documentary, or Amitav Ghosh.

Turnbull says of the Farrer Park meeting, "Eight Malay officers were executed when they refused, but their men were given permission to return home. The first batch of about 100 were loaded into lorries, ostensibly to be taken to the railway station, but were instead taken away to mass executions. ... Despite the pressures put on them, most professional soldiers of the Indian Army resisted any inducement to change sides. Many who refused were beaten, tortured and murdered. ... About 20,000 now volunteered to join the Indian National Army, some because they saw this as a genuine opportunity to free India from British rule and the majority in the interests of self preservation" (188). Other accounts also indicate that those who had refused to change sides were being killed or starved (Singapore Surrender 129).

My own mother told me that Indian officers, including my father, were held at gun point to force them to join the INA. Officers were thus first induced, so the men would follow. Some were shot. I have been told that my father was not shot because the Japanese feared the outrage from his men had he been killed. Instead, the Japanese courted him for an entire year. He had a car at his disposal and was free to go wherever he chose. Only when he continued to refuse to join the INA, after a whole twelve months or so, did the Japanese change their treatment of him. He was beaten and tortured quite mercilessly then. He himself apparently never spoke of his experiences as a POW. However, I am told that after the war he gave up swimming because he was too embarrassed to expose his scarred back in public. I have also read the evidence other officers gave of his treatment under the Japanese at the Inquiry after his death. They testified how he was beaten, starved for days and kept in isolation.

There are several other reasons that appear obvious to me, but apparently not to Ghosh, why some men refused to join the INA, which was hardly an Indian army, but simply an extension of the Japanese army. In fact they were called JIFFs - standing initially for the Japanese-Inspired Fifth Column and then later for Japanese-Indian Fifth Column. Enlisting with them and supporting the Japanese would have meant simply changing one imperial power for another - swapping the English for the Japanese. And those who had seen the Japanese treatment, particularly of the Chinese, may have nursed some doubts. There are innumerable accounts of the Japanese atrocities against the Chinese. Turnbull recounts, "It is impossible to say how many Chinese died in the massacres during the first week of the Occupation. The Japanese later admitted to killing 5000, but many Chinese put the total at more than five times that figure" (190) and "Chinese were summarily decapitated and their heads put on public display as warning" (189). And also, "Elsewhere, tens of thousands were kept upwards for a week, crowded in the open without food, water or shelter, often kicked and slapped. ... Some were taken to prison, but most were roped together and either taken out in boats and dumped overboard off Bakang Mati or herded into the sea of Changi and Siglap and machine gunned to death" (190). It is not inconceivable that some men may have had serious doubts about collaborating with the perpetrators of such atrocities. These doubts again are never questioned by Ghosh, et al.

Thirdly, Indians under Gandhi had been agitating for independence. Gandhi had decreed that there was to be no violent resistance to the British. These men in Singapore, unbeknown to the Indians in India, were now joining the Japanese to fight for India's independence, in direct opposition to Gandhi's directions and because it suited their purposes. Nehru is known to have said "that despite his commitment to non-violence, he would take up arms, if the Japanese were ever to approach Indian borders" (Fay 429). Yet these very people, whom Ghosh eulogises, were ready to bring the Japanese to India's door, via Burma. Those who refused to join the INA may have had Nehru/Gandhi's stance towards the Japanese in mind. Their loyalty may not have been to the English, but to Gandhi. And one has to remember that it was Gandhi and his followers ultimately who achieved independence for India, not the INA, who never even made it to India.

The Japanese soon showed that they could not be trusted. Firstly, as Fay describes in some detail, they changed scripts written by Indians for broadcasts (145). Secondly, they refused to respond to any of the Indians' demands, which included that all property abandoned by Indians who had fled from Singapore be handed over to the Indian National League (147). In October 1942, a meeting was convened to resolve these issues (148). The Japanese insisted that if they allowed the League to use abandoned property, it would be for purposes determined by themselves. They argued that "Law and custom alike assigned the spoils of war to the victors. The Indians were not victors, they were not even partners; more like paupers they were, or puppets - yes, puppets was the word!" (147). These puppets are those whom Ghosh eulogises over the real heroes of the Indian Independence movement.

Mohan Singh had been providing the Japanese with several hundred men for shipment to Burma. He finally refused to let any more men embark on the ships to Rangoon until the Japanese gave the INA the formal recognition that it sought. By December 1942, Mohan Singh was dismissed by the Japanese and then taken into custody (Fay 150). The Japanese first moved him to an island in Johore Strait, then to Sumatra and there he remained until the end of the war, which looked like it would have been the end of the INA, too.

However, almost a year and half after the Farrer Park meeting, Subhas Chander Bose arrived in Singapore in July 1943 to take command of the INA. Bose, a strong Nationalist and Cambridge graduate, had been a problem for the English in India since his youth. He was jailed by the English several times, sent to Burma as a prisoner and suffered bad health. Bose was also known to have a tense relationship with the Congress Party and Gandhi in particular. He had been president of the Congress Party for a year, but Gandhi had decided not to let him continue for longer, because of his perceived lack of commitment to non-violence (Gordon 372). In April 1939, Bose formed the Forward Bloc to fight Gandhi's policies from inside the Congress. In 1940, he called upon his Forward Bloc to begin civil disobedience on its own (390). He announced a public demonstration, after which he was arrested by the British and jailed again. He began a hunger strike, which forced the British to release him to his family house, from where he escaped, first to Kabul, then to Berlin. In Germany, he persuaded several thousand to join the Indian Legion, which he hoped would be a spearhead for a thrust into India, at the right moment. This, however, did not happen.

Bose was attracted by the fascists, Hitler and Mussolini, and tried to organise a meeting between Mussolini and Nehru, which Nehru declined. It did, however, make Nehru wonder if Bose "saw himself as India's future dictator" as is noted in his diary (Fay 191). In Germany Bose had approached Hitler to help him get the English out of India (199). Hitler is believed to have given him a cigarette case as a present, but not much support. Fay suggests that for Hitler, Britain's rule in India was the model for what Germans might do in Russia (199). In 1943, Bose left Germany in a submarine for Singapore.

He came to Singapore when he heard of the INA and approached the Japanese. Bose was a charismatic leader and on arrival, gave some stirring speeches, raising national fervour among locals. It has never been clear how many people Bose recruited for the INA from the local population. The one thing that is established is that he formed a women's brigade called "The Rani of Jhansi" Regiment, named after the original Indian rebel. There are, however, real questions about how many other recruits there were. The total INA is said to have comprised some 40 to 50 thousand people. At the Red Fort trials (see below), Colonel Anderson is quoted as saying the strength of the army was 40,000 (Fay 526). Given that there were 55,000 Indians among the forces in Singapore, and only around 5000 (as attested by Colonel Anderson) remained prisoners of war, it would appear that most of the army would have consisted of the soldiers who had deserted from the British Indian Army, rather than of the local population (besides, of course, the women's brigade).

In any case, this army then marched (although some were shipped) with the Japanese to Burma. They fought several battles on the Indo-Burmese border against the Allied forces, who finally won. When it looked like the Japanese were going to lose, several of the INA members deserted again, this time from the Japanese/Indian National Army, to rejoin the Allied forces (Fay 293-294 & 354 -355). After the defeat of the Japanese in Burma, Bose himself fled. He was on his way to Russia in a plane which crashed, and he was reported to have been killed (although there are many who believe he survived the crash). Fay recounts how Bose could have continued to be a problem for Congress. Once killed, he became a martyr and much easier for Congress to deal with (Fay 435).

After the war, the British court-martialled three Indians (a Hindu, a Muslim, and a Sikh) for treason, in what has become known as the Red Fort Trials. Ghosh has examined the records of the trial, and read the testimony of two of the defendants. The Congress Party took up the cause of these men and used the trials as another means of opposing the British. The Party choreographed the whole trial, not so much to defend the men but to oppose the notion that men fighting for independence could be tried for treason. Just as it was a political ploy to have Gandhi looking poor, so also Congress, as a political move, orchestrated the public passion for the three defendants and used their most able lawyer at the trial. Congress was happy to use any means to gain their objective and specifically asked all returned POWs to remain silent in regard to the pressure applied on men to join the INA, which is why the records of the trials of the three have no accounts of these measures. Once their purpose was served, Congress did not seek to defend any of the other INA members. It is worth noting here that although there was violence during and after the trials, which did cause some problems for the British, it was not the spur for India gaining independence, which was not attained until two years later by the negotiations of Gandhi and Nehru.

The later trials of other INA members reveal the torture and threats to which the men who refused to join were subjected (detailed by Fay 497). The Congress party had little to do with even the INA members it chose to support after the trials. Then they were treated with what they (the INA members) saw as condescension and disdain, told "that they had been got off, now what did they want?" (505) or "now it is time to put away your swords in your scabbards" (503).

At the Red Fort Trials, however, the three who were court-martialled did achieve a degree of renown and recognition. And most other members of the INA have lived off the fame achieved by the three at the trials (conferred on them by Congress) and their own individual records have never been examined. Self-justification can lead all of us to distort reality, and this is true of many of those who joined the INA straight after the surrender in Singapore. Those, however many, who were recruited by Bose later, had different agendas than the original recruits.

The Glass Palace and "India's Untold War of Independence" bear ample testimony to the fact that Ghosh interviewed many ex- INA members. It would be interesting to know if he was able to interview any who did not join, and were in Singapore when the British surrendered. There are interviews with non- INA members who were not in Singapore, but none ostensibly with those who were left as POWs at Changi. Ultimately, it matters little how many INA members Ghosh interviewed; there are very few who would admit to their own lack of courage.

The voices of these men who remained loyal to Gandhi - or for whatever reason did not join the INA - are now being silenced in India. There are estimates of 2000 soldiers who returned home at the end of the war, many of whom died soon after, because of diseases such as beriberi that they endured in the camps. So compared to the testimony of so few of these survivors, the proclamations of the far greater numbers who escaped the hardships of those camps are bound to be far more prevalent.

If these men were, as Ghosh believes, being loyal to the English, they could have spoken at the court-martial trial of the three. They could have curried favour with their English masters, who promised them medals, etc, in return, as attested by Fay, who also affirms that only one spoke up. The rest, even after having endured the most unimaginable atrocities under the Japanese, remained silent, loyal to other Indians. I am now told that while the nomination for a VC was made for my father, he was never awarded it because he refused to give evidence. It is unfortunate that the voices of men like him are not being heard, and probably will be silenced forever. The English refused to recognise them, since they remained loyal to other Indians and not the English; Indians choose to forget, since they themselves refuse to acknowledge the cowardice of many among them.

Ghosh has also seriously tried to examine the motivation of Indians who enlisted in the British Indian Army in the first place. There is a striking image in The Glass Palace of Ghosh's protagonist and others like him being moulded like a potter's pot:

He had a sudden hallucinatory vision. Both he and Kishan Singh were in it, but transfigured: they were both lumps of clay, whirling on potters' wheels. He, Arjun, was the first to have been touched by the unseen potter; a hand had come down on him, touched him, passed over to another; he had been formed, shaped - he had become a thing unto himself - no longer aware of the pressure of the potter's hand, unconscious even that it had come his way. Elsewhere, Kishan Singh was still turning on the wheel, still unformed, damp, malleable mud. It was this formlessness that was the core of his defence against the potter and his shaping touch. ... Was it possible - even hypothetically - that his (Arjun's) life, his choices, had always been moulded by fears of which he himself was unaware? ... But if it were true that his life had somehow been moulded by acts of power of which he was unaware - then it would follow that he had never acted of his own volition; never had a moment of true self-consciousness. Everything he had ever assumed about himself was a lie, an illusion. And if this were so, how was he to find himself now? (The Glass Palace 430-431)

Ghosh also speaks of

... an empire that has shaped everything in our lives; coloured everything in the world as we know it. It is a huge, indelible stain which has tainted all of us. We cannot destroy it without destroying ourselves. (The Glass Palace 518)

The emphasis is on the passivity of Arjun and his comrades, on their inability to make moral decisions. In Ghosh's view they become dis-empowered figures, moved involuntarily by the impersonal forces of colonial history. My father, and others like him who, after having examined carefully the legitimacy of the Japanese demands, then rejected them and suffered dearly for the moral stand they took, would not have agreed with Ghosh's position. The implication is that Arjun, like many other educated Indians, was like the English, having been shaped by them unconsciously. Those not educated like Kishan Singh were "still unformed, damp, malleable mud." However, the image does not fully encapsulate the colonial experience and does not recognise that the people living in the colonies were not necessarily "unconscious" but had few , most of which were seriously limited, options.

It is perhaps difficult to imagine life in colonial India. People served the British in whichever occupation they followed. To not serve the British they would have to opt out of society and live in a cave as hermits. And simply by serving them they did not become "moulded" by the British, and those who did not serve them were yet "unformed." We forget that in the mid 1900s the British had been in India for almost two centuries. It is not as though they had just arrived and certain sections of the community, those having been "moulded" by them, were rushing to them trying to gain favour. The whole fabric of Indian society was by then totally British. Everybody served the English, the educated and the uneducated. And there were also those who served, but still longed for freedom - educated people, "shaped" by the colonisers, yet able to see (but perhaps not as readily achieve) other options.

In whichever profession people worked, law, education or the civil service, they served the English. And so too, if they were in the army, they were in the British Indian army. People all over the world join the army for a myriad of reasons. Why they choose to is their prerogative, just as it is in any other profession. (I believe, but am not certain, that my father joined the army because he himself was fatherless and had to find a way to give himself an education and a career that would help provide for the family. He was the remaining eldest, with three younger sisters and a brother).

Ghosh also sees those who worked in the army as "mercenaries" (Glass Palace, 346- 347, 522). This view does not acknowledge the process of the"Indianisation" of the army. As the independence movement had been gaining momentum, it was generally perceived that eventually a free India would need to defend itself. While Indian soldiers had been fighting for the British for a long time, there were no Indian officers in the British Indian Army. In 1927 the English finally agreed to train Indian officers at Sandhurst initially and then, from 1932, at a new Military Academy at Dehradun in India (Fay 25). My father was one of the first two recruits at Dehradun. This process had commenced before war broke out.

Unfortunately for soldiers, when war breaks out they have to fight, because that is what soldiers do. It is important to remember that men who joined the army did not do so for the specific purpose of serving the English but because it was a career option, or as part of the process of the Indianisation of the army. When Australians went to fight in Singapore they were not seen as traitors to Australia; they were not regarded as hired mercenaries. Yet Australians took an oath to serve the King - Indians enlisting in the British Indian army did not do that. Indians took an oath to serve their regiment. It is unlikely that many men joining at the age of 19 or 20 would have considered that one day war might break out and then by implication they would be fighting for the enemy. However, that is what did happen. War broke out and these men were serving the enemy. Most men, verbal accounts suggest, went to war serving their battalions and distancing themselves from the fact that they were fighting England's war. Those serving in any of the other professions had also been undertaking the enemy's chores. None of them can be regarded as mercenaries or traitors simply because they lived and worked in a society that was ruled by an outside power. That is what happens in a colony, and that is what Indians all over India were agitating about - what they demanded to be freed from. To give another example, if an indigenous Australian, an aboriginal, chose to go into the army today, (two hundred years after white Australians came into his country - just as long as the British had been in India by the mid 1900s), would he be considered a traitor to his own people?

It is sad when non- Indians cannot see Gandhi's triumph, but when Indians themselves, such as Ghosh, start to detract from his achievement, it is quite tragic. India gained its freedom non- violently. However, recently, unfortunately it had become part of the new Indian anti-Congress, and pro-BJP view to deny this. Ghosh, whether he means to or not, is implicitly agreeing that the struggle of all the genuine heroes was to no avail, which is what the English also now claim. Fay, Ghosh and the producers of the Granada documentary take the mantle of honour from those who really won India's independence and place it on the shoulders of men, many of whom are much less deserving. It is not surprising that the English now suggest that the non-violence movement never happened if Indians themselves are so ready to deny its achievement. Also, it is futile to glorify these so-called martyrs, because in the long run, their motivations are very easy to discredit. It is a sad day indeed when writers such as Ghosh turn their backs on the men who founded their country, and proclaim others, many of whom were deserters (some twice) as their heroes. Perhaps it suits India, as it rushes headlong to be recognised as a major power in the world by its nuclear tests, to forget what non-violence did achieve. Elsewhere, Ghosh offers a highly intelligent and thorough analysis of the reasons for India's rush to become a nuclear power (Ghosh Countdown). And yet his own stance of questioning the wisdom of this ambition is contradicted by the view he presents in The Glass Palace. By seeing only violent solutions to past events, he inadvertently encourages violence in the future. It would be so much more worthwhile if writers of Ghosh's calibre celebrated the magnificent legacy that Gandhi left his country or even if they gave voice to those heroes who are being so unfairly silenced. It is also worth noting that the INA has been a "forgotten army" and forgotten for very good reasons. Trying to resurrect its memory can be of little avail.

Finally, we also need to remember that Gandhi was killed by a fanatical Hindu. Now even more ardent fundamentalists are desecrating his memory and all that he stood for.

Works Cited

Barber, Noel. Sinister Twilight: The Fall of Singapore. Boston: Random, 1968.

Dean, Penrod. Singapore Samurai. East Roseville, NSW: Simon & Schuster (Australia), 2000.

Fay, Peter Ward. The Forgotten Army. Ann Arbor, MI: U of Michigan P, 1993.

Ghosh, Amitav. Countdown. Delhi: Ravi Dayal, 1999.

  - . "India's Untold War of Independence." New Yorker, June 20 & 30,1997. 104-121.

  - . The Glass Palace. New York: Random, 2001.

Gordon, Leonard A. Brothers Against the Raj. Delhi: Rupa, 1997.

Turnbull, C.M. A History of Singapore, 1819-1988. New York: Oxford UP, 1996.