British wanted to ban INA song in last years of its rule

Besides providing some information about > Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose disappearance and constant surveillance, the 64 Netaji files declassified by the West Bengal government throw important light on the freedom struggle and how even in its last years, the British considered Indian National Army marching song seditious and tried to ban it.

After scanning the files, it is revealed that not only the INA song ‘Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja’ was considered seditious but the British gramophone company was asked to stop a recording of it.

These developments recorded in letters exchanged between police, government and the company pertain to a period after Netaji’s alleged disappearance in August 1945.

In a letter dated December 7, 1945, addressed to P. Barnes, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Branch, a government official said that a gramophone company producing the records would be liable to prosecuted under Section 124 of Indian Penal Code (Sedition) and the company should accordingly be informed. Interestingly, the company The Gramophone Company LTD ( Incorporated in England) with its office at Jessore Road in Kolkata kept writing to the senior police officials stating that their competitors in Bombay — The National Gramophone Record Manufacturing Co Ltd — had released recording of the song and was making great profits.

This was followed by a letter by Gramophone and Radio Dealers Association which stated that despite being imperfect, the records from Bombay are selling well in Kolkata and why should the dealers be “deprived of such a golden opportunity?”

It was finally on August 29, 1947, two weeks after the country’s independence that the order on the ban on the song composed by Captain Ram Singh Thakur, the band master of the INA, was lifted.

Researchers and historians who have worked on Netaji and the role of INA ,said that other than the crucial correspondence between the family members intercepted by police, the 64 files will throw lot of light on people associated with the INA.

There are about 20 files which are on INA personalities, publications and on protest to free INA detainees between 1945 and 1947.

Nehru’s letters to Azad Interestingly, letters written by Jawahar Lal Nehru to Maluana Abul Kalam Azad that were intercepted by the police also refer to the work that the Congress leaders particularly, Nehru was doing with regard to the INA. In one such letter he writes,

“Much time is being taken by INA work and the National Planning Committee.”

In another Nehru states, “We have to deal with a large number of enquiries and increasing number of discharged INA men who are stranded.”

There are references of growing demand of withdrawal of charges against INA personnel.

From The Hindu archives

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 4:45:57 pm |