Moirang, a small town in Manipur, a place that hardly rings a bell to many has in fact monumental importance in India's struggle for freedom. Moirang was the headquarters of Azad Hind Fauz and it was here that the Indian Tricolor was hoisted for the very first time on the sacred soil of India by the Indian National Army(INA) on the 14th of April 1944 by Col. Shaukat Malik. INA war memorial now stands here paying respect to several martyrs who laid down their lives fighting for our Independence.
The INA war museum in the memorial complex is dedicated to World War II and also concentrates on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's efforts with the aid of Japanese Government to free India from British colonialism. Contrary to popular belief it was Captain Mohan Singh who founded the INA in 1942 and not Mr. Bose. However, it was under Mr. Bose's able leadership that the Indian National Army became a formidable and professional fighting force.
The war museum has a nice collection of pictures and portraits of INA soldiers and a large section is dedicated to the Patriot of Patriots and the Supreme Commander of INA- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. It concentrates on the early days of INA- how it was formed, Netaji's role and all their allies. It displays some interesting letters and messages sent across during the struggle for India's freedom. It also houses some rare pictures clicked during the fight for freedom and also some important events in history.
The INA had an exclusive 'All Women Combat' Regiment 'Rani Of Jhansi Regiment led by Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, a very rare feat even today.
One of the best artifacts in the museum is a map displaying the route and mode of transport taken by Mr. Bose during his grand escape right under the nose of colonial forces. Mr. Bose wanted to reach Tokyo from Calcutta. Despite being under house arrest by the colonial forces he opted for the most complex and hard journey. From his home in Calcutta he headed to Peshawar- Kabul- Moscow- Berlin- Singapore. From Berlin, he was ferried on a German submarine until Madagascar and from there he hopped onto a Japanese submarine to Malaysia and finally to Tokyo. This audacious journey took a heavy toll on Mr.Bose's health.
Apart from the fascinating route map, other interesting memorabilia in the museum are the Indian currency notes issued by the Japanese and the Azad Hind Government prior to our freedom recognizing our sovereignty.