Col. Shaukat Ali Malik of the Azad Hind Fauj marched into Moirang along with his soldiers and hoisted the national flag on 14th April 1944.
On April 14, 1944, the Azad Hind Fauj captured Moirang in Manipur and half of Nagaland from the clutches of the British Empire. It was a fierce battle and one of the most difficult ever faced by the British forces in India, as admitted by the Britishers themselves.
Col.Shaukat Ali Malik of the Azad Hind Fauj, marched into Moirang along with his soldiers and hoisted the national flag on April 14, 1944. This was the first victory of India against the British imperialist forces. Shri Mairembam Koireng Singh hosted the Azad Hind Fauj in Moirang, who later on became the first chief minister of Manipur. This fact of history is not that well known and textbooks of modern Indian history completely obliterated the saga of the heroic battle of Imphal.
A small function is held at Moirang on April 14 every year, but the importance of ‘Moirang Day’ or ‘Victory Day’ was never told . Nation is celebrating 75th year of independence, therefore, it is imperative that in 2022, the Government of India along with the state government of Manipur, give a befitting tribute to the soldiers and martyrs of the Azad Hind Fauj on April 14, 2022, who brought freedom to India first by defeating the British forces on Indian soil and hoisted the tricolor at Moirang.
The Azad Hind Fauj, an army of 60,000 raised on foreign soil consisting of ‘Prisoners of War’ (POW’s) and fellow Indians mainly based in South East Asia, who were willing to fight for the freedom of their motherland. Almost twenty six thousand soldiers gave up their lives fighting so that India could be free. In the Azad Hind Fauj, there was no distinction of religion, caste or creed. They could establish themselves as Bharatiyas/Indians. The absence of the ideology of the Azad Hind Fauj in present day India is challenging the very existence of India as a nation.
The formation of the army of liberation of India began in 1942 with the efforts of iconic figures like Rashbehari Bose and Capt. Mohan Singh. The arrival of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in South East Asia in 1943 ,gave a new fillip to the Azad Hind Fauj/Indian National Army. The charisma of the new leader of the Azad Hind Fauj, not only gave a new dimension to the army of liberation, but also challenged the might of the British Empire militarily, which had never happened before. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose became the Supreme Commander of the Azad Hind Fauj and the new Commander believed that one has to fight for freedom. Indians throughout South East Asia gave handsome donations to the army enabling and empowering them to fight for their motherland.
The Provisional Government of Azad Hind/Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind was established on October 21, 1943 and Netaji became the first Head of State of united free India. Netaji was also the first Prime Minister, Minister of War and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Provisional Government of united free India. Netaji was the last prime minister of united free India.
What makes Netaji and Azad Hind Government stand apart was its refusal to use religious symbols for political purposes which can explain the appeal across all communities. We must re-dedicate ourselves to working towards a society that Netaji had envisaged- a society which is not only free from political, but also social and economic bondage. In doing this, we may recall the words of Netaji: