Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon

The Heroes of the INA Trials

Reginald Masssey
Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is INDIA: Definitions and Clarifications (Hansib, London). A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Editor's note: This story is an expanded version of an excerpt from the author's book Azaadi!: stories and histories of the Indian subcontinent after Independence, Abhinav, Delhi 2005. It is reproduced here with the author's permission.

The Second World War ended in 1945 when I was a teenager, although I'm not sure whether the term `teenager' was invented then.

Anyway, the question often discussed in our home was: Were the Indian officers who went over to Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army (INA) heroes or traitors? The arguments and counter-arguments got very heated because my father was a King's Commissioned Officer in the Royal Indian Air Force, and was loyal to his commission. Further, he had served on the Burma front and did not approve of the Japanese army because he was aware of the brutality meted out by the Japanese army to its prisoners of war. (Editor's note: The INA was working closely with the Japanese army.)

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