What was the name of the first Government of free Undivided India? Who was the first Prime Minister of Undivided India? Did you know that some parts of India gained freedom from British rule before 1947?
Yes, some parts of the country gained Freedom before 1947. This was possible due to the efforts due to efforts of Azad Hind Government, the first provisional Government of free Undivided India. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was the Prime Minister of the Government.
Today, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, would be hoisting the National flag and unveiling the plaque to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the formation of Azad Hind Government at the Red Fort, Delhi.
The Azad Hind Government, also known as, Provisional Government of Free India or Provisional Indian Government-in-exile, founded on October 21, 1943, at Singapore. It was inspired by the concepts of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The Provisional Government had a well-organised cabinet, headed by Netaji Subhas Bose. He was also the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and External Affairs. Other cabinet ministers were:
- Dr. Lakshmi Sehgal – Minister in Charge of Women’s Organization and the Head of Rani Jhansi regiment, Indian National Army.
- Mr. S. A. Ayer – Minister of Broadcasting and Publicity.
- Lt. Col. A. C. Chatterjee – Minister of Finance.
The Azad Hind Government was a part of the freedom movement, originating in the 1940s outside India with a purpose of allying with Axis powers to free India from British rule. The existence of the Azad Hind Government gave a greater legitimacy to the independence struggle against the British. During its establishment, Netaji Subhas declared: “It will be the task of the Provisional Government to launch and conduct the struggle that will bring about the expulsion of the British and their allies from the soil of India.” Pertinently, the role of Azad Hind Fauj or the Indian National Army (INA) had been crucial in bequeathing a much-needed impetus to India’s struggle for Independence.
Members of the Axis powers and their Allies gave recognition to the Provisional Government. 9 countries gave formal recognition to the Azad Hind Government. The Government participated as an observer in the Greater East Asia Conference in November 1943. The same year, the Azad Hind Government declared war against the Anglo-American allied forces on the Indo-Burma Front with the help of Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army). The INA fought against the British Indian Army and its allies in the Imphal-Kohima sector and made its way to Moirang and was able to win back Rangoon, Imphal and Andaman and Nicobar islands.
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Here, I would like to talk about a famous conversation that took place in 1956, between the then British PM Lord Attlee and then Governor of West Bengal Justice PB Chakraborty. Justice Chakraborty had asked him about the reasons for the British leave India in a hurry.
“In reply, Attlee cited several reasons, the main among them being the erosion of loyalty to the British crown among the Indian Army and Navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Netaji. Towards the end, I asked Lord Attlee about the extent to which the British decision to quit India was influenced by Gandhi’s activities. On hearing this question Attlee’s lips widened in a smile of disdain and he uttered, slowly, putting emphasis on each single letter-“mi-ni-mal”.”, Justice Chakraborty wrote in a letter to the famous historian RC Majumder, the author of A History of Bengal. (Ref.: A History of Bengal).