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17. “Breaking the Chains with Which We Were Bound”: The Interrogation Chamber, the Indian National Army and the Negation of Military Identities, 1941–1947

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Chapter Summary

During the Second World War the second largest rebellion of personnel in British Imperial military history occurred with the formation of the INA from among the 50,000 jawans captured during the Japanese offensive through Malaya. This chapter starts with an account of how and why the machinery for the interrogation of INA personnel was created. It discusses how the jawans subverted the whole process of the interrogation by refusing to respect the ordinary relationship between interrogator/interrogated or officer/soldier, and investigate the jawanled histories. The expectation was that they would be assessed somewhere between 'White' and 'Black', reconditioned, and then returned to their old military units. The men of the battalion were cited as an example of how low Indian soldiers had fallen. Few of those interrogated expressed a desire to serve as soldiers once more, but rather did quite the opposite: they negated or rejected their military identities.

Keywords:battalion; Indian National Army (INA); Interrogation Chamber; Japanese; jawanled histories; military identities



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