My Memories of I.N.A. and its Netaji is an eyewitness account of the Indian National Army and its Netaji from a man who was intimately associated with Netaji for the entire period he was in East Asia: the author Shahnawaz Khan was with him in Singapore; then he moved with him to Burma where he stayed together with Netaji nearly a year and a half. The Indian National Army (I.N.A.) made history not only in Malaya and Burma but also in people’s minds all over India. The book provides an important record of an important undertaking.
The history of the I.N.A. has been one of the most controversial chapters in the last phase of the British Raj. Official British histories have for obvious reasons avoided any deep analysis of the activities of this relatively insignificant military unit, raised by Indian nationalists in South-East Asia during the Pacific war. War-time propaganda had excluded almost every reference to the existence of the I.N.A. The tendency, which also continued in the post-war years, was to treat this topic as if it were taboo. In India, furthermore, in spite of the large number of publications written on behalf of the I.N.A. and Subhas Chandra Bose, its outstanding leader and organizer, the interpretation of the movement was stronger in polemics than in evidence. Most of these attempts failed because they were based on too much patriotism and too few balanced sources.
An authentic account of the I.N.A will constitute a glorious chapter in the history of the struggle for the liberation of India from foreign domination. It is abundantly clear that no trial in India either by Court Martial or in the civil courts attracted so much attention as the first I.N.A. trial. After his release, the author had an opportunity of traveling a good deal throughout India, and everywhere he went, he found the Indian people anxious to know more about the I.N.A. and its Netaji. Impelled, therefore, by a burning desire to put down what he knew, the author has undertaken to narrate the entire and an absolutely uncolored story of I.N.A. in the method and language of a soldier.
The author felt the urgency for this all the more when he saw that some authors both in vernacular and in English in their eagerness to be first in the market, have written books on the I.N.A. without any real knowledge of that army, with the result that the story remained incomplete and unconvincing. In addition to this, there were certain very other important aspects of the I.N.A. which were either never touched upon or were only brought out very inadequately during the Court Martial. These were the brilliant achievements of our so many thousand brothers who lived, moved, and had their being in the Movement during the most fateful and eventful period of three years and eight months, under the inspiring guidance and dynamic leadership of Netaji, Subhas Chandra Bose. The history of these achievements is as fascinating as soul-lifting.
My Memories of I.N.A. and its Netaji would enable people to view the Movement from a proper perspective. It will dispel any doubt and many a mistrust which they entertained in their minds. This book would also reveal that from time to time it was made clear by people in authority that the plan and the program of the Independence Movement were directed to be in line with the aims and intentions of the Indian National Congress.