Beginnings at Farrer Park
British surrender, 1942.
On 17 February 1942, two days after the Fall
of Singapore, some 45,000 Indian Prisoners-Of-War (POWs), were
gathered at Farrer Park. There, the British handed them over to
To their surprise, the Japanese welcomed them and pledged their
support for India’s
Independence. Following this, Mohan Singh, a captain in the 1/14th Punjab Regiment
in the British Army, called upon the Indians to form an army to free India.
Almost 20,000 soldiers immediately came forward to join what became
Earlier on, the Japanese Military Administration had encouraged
various Indian nationalist groups in East Asia to form an anti-British
alliance. These Indian
nationalist groups then established the Indian Independence League (IIL),
with its headquarters in Singapore. At the same time, the IIL looked
after the welfare
of Indian communities in East Asia.
In early March 1942, the Japanese proposed that the INA become
the military arm of the IIL, and that Rash Behari Bose, an Indian
revolutionary who had
fled to Japan, lead the movement. This was formally announced in June 1942
By late 1942, however, the Indians increasingly felt that the
Japanese were making use of them and they distrusted Rash Behari
Bose. In December,
other INA leaders ordered the INA to disband after severe disagreements
with the Japanese. Mohan Singh was subsequently arrested by the Japanese
to Pulau Ubin.