Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bharatpur State Gazette on withdrawl of National War Front restrictions - WW2

Today's item is an important Bharatpur State Gazette issued on 15th May 1945. The gazette carries a message from Maharaja of Bharatpur, Sawai Brijendra Singh on lifting of restrictions imposed as part of National War Front when the war started. Since, the victory is in sight and war is coming to an end, the restrictions are being lifted.

The Gazette was posted hence carries a seal of 19th May 1945. The message is written in English.

Orders, Circulars, Notifications etc.

As else-where in India, the National War Front was established in this state early in 1942. It was a time when owing to Japan's winning a series of victories almost dramatically and appearing at the eastern gates of our beloved country, nervous minds were badly affected. Foodstuffs and other civil supplies were cornered and even currency coins began to be hoarded. Under such circumstances, I and my Government considered it necessary to restore confidence by mobilising public opinion and forestalling a lowering of morale not only for the sake of Country's War efforts but also for the welfare of my people and a smooth running of their day to day life.

In a public meeting held on the 1st of May 1942, which was attended by my subjects of all caste, creeds and shades of opinion, I explained the aims and objects of the National War Front in the State, and assumed its command as its "Leader". I am glad to note that under the various committees and sectional leaders, my subjects stood to the occasion and were behind nobody in shouldering their responsibilities.

Thanks to the strategy of the Allied Nations, the situation has changed and we are no longer threatened with the dangers which once loomed over our skies. I therefore think that the need for the National War Front has passed, and therefore order that it may be discontinued forthwith. This should however in no case let us slacken our War Efforts which should be furthered with redoubled energy and zeal till final victory is gained over the enemies of liberty and civilization.

We have yet another task before us - effective solution of problems arising directly out of the War, post-war reconstruction and speedy progress of nation building activities. For this purpose my Government has decided to establish a permanent department of Publicity, which is intended to be a more efficient instrument of public information and instruction. It will be essentially mobile in a character and is designed to reach my subjects even in remotest corners of my State. Its approach to the people will be informative and factual rather than emotional or exhoratory and the Staff will be paid and work under the direct supervision and control of my Government.

I cannot close this, without an expression of my deep appreciation of the work done by all officials and non-officials in making the National War Front movement in the State a success.


Maharaja of Bharatpur.

Indian Independence Movement Fund - WW2

Today's item is an Indian Independence Movement Fund receipt issued during WWII. Before I share the item and talk about historical background, I want to present my opinion on these kinds of items available for sale.

As we all understand that over period of time, these items have become rare and definitely command a good amount of money. I have seen people selling these items (whenever they appear) on eBay and other auction sites at very high price. I understand that like Gandhi anything related to INA/IIL or Subhas Chandra Bose is now days difficult to procure and they have been becoming costly year by year. Still, I think some of the gentlemen (sellers) on eBay have become greedy. For example, I bought this item at reasonable rate and when I saw similar item for sale later on eBay, the price was at least 6 times more than what I had paid! You can imagine the difference.

I just thought I should warn fellow readers from purchasing such items on any auction site. Just think for a moment before buying whether it is worth paying or not irrespective of emotions flowing in your mind :-) This way we all can keep these items within our reach and available for trade.

Shown above is the fund receipt issued in 1944 at Taiping, Mallaya. Even though the date mentioned on receipt indicates 24-12-04, seller from whom I bought it told it is 1944. I forgot to ask him how did 04 (which I thought to be year) change to 1944 (like everyone my mind was already over powered by my emotions :D

Well, I believe the seller. There are couple of reasons behind it. I will trace them through history lesson that I am about to start so anyone not interested can stop here. I sound like a prof in college :-) In professional life also, I have to wear sometimes 3GPP hat and act like a professor in front of customers.

History (Guest) Lecture - Prof. (self crowned) Jyotirmay Bareria

It was late 1941 when Japan unfolded its strategy in Asia to counter British forces. Based on experiences in China, the Imperial Japanese Army established a semi-autonomous unit to carry out liaison duties with local independence movements in Southeast Asia and transmit intelligence gathered from these movements back to the army command. Two such units were established before the outbreak of World War II in South-East Asia: the Minami Kikan and the F Kikan. We will focus on F Kikan in this post.

The Japanese IGHQ in October set up the Fujiwara Kikan, or the F-kikan, in Bangkok, Headed by the Major Fujiwara Iwaichi, chief of intelligence of the 15th army. He was tasked with intelligence gathering and contacting the Indian independence movement, the overseas Chinese and the Malayan Sultan with the aim of encouraging friendship and cooperation with Japan. Fujiwara's staff included five commissioned officers and two Hindi-speaking interpreters. Again, we will focus of F-Kikan's achievement with Indian Independence Movement. In reality also, they were hugely successful with Indian struggle than Malayan or Indonesians.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th Dec 1941, the 15th Army was tasked with the invasion of Malaya. During Malaya campaign, Fujiwara was camping in Alor Star when he learnt that there was a body of men from the 1/14 Punjab Regiment, with their British commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzpatrick, sheltering in the jungle east of Alor Star. The British force in the northern part of the Malaya Peninsula including Captain Mohan Singh's battalion, 1/14 Punjab Regiment, was fleeing towards the south. Mohan Singh's own forces had been outgunned and destroyed by superior Japanese forces at Jitra.

After preliminary negotiations, Fujiwara went into the jungle to contact the unit, and persuaded the wounded battalion commander that it was his duty to his men to surrender. Captain Mohan Singh agreed with Fujiwara and was taken to Alor Star where he met Pritam Singh at a joint office of the F-Kikan and the Indian Independence League (IIL). Although Pritam Singh was involved to a large extent, it was Fujiwara who, with his sincerity of purpose and belief, convinced Mohan Singh to betray his oath to the Crown by uniting with the Japanese mission for the greater motive of Indian freedom.

Fujiwara accompanied Mohan Singh to the Tactical Headquarters of 25th army where they met General Yamashita. Impressed by general's sympathetic views, Mohan Singh returned to F-Kikan HQ with a set of propositions that had been drawn up by him after discussion with other Indian prisoners-of-war.

1) An Indian National Army (INA) should be formed.
2) The Indian National Army should cooperate with the already existing Indian Independence League.
3) Indian POWs should be put under Mohan Singh's command for the Indian National Army.
4) The Indian National Army should be considered by the Japanese as an allied force.

These principles were accepted, in principle, by Yamashita, and the Indian National Army was born at Taiping on 31st December 1941. Now you understand the importance of Taiping :-) To me, Taiping holds a very important place in history.

After the British surrender of Singapore in 1942, F-Kikan was dissolved, and replaced by a new liaison agency, the Iwakuro Kikan, or "I-Kikan", to coordinate activities between the Indian National Army and the Japanese army.

Of course later, INA was put under supreme commander Subhas Chandra Bose. There is more history behind it. I will shed more light on exploits of INA under Mohan Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose in future posts (next class :-) when I share IIL/INA war propaganda leaflets.

For now, go ahead and read Wikipedia and other links to lighten yourself :D

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hyderabad War (WW2) Purposes Fund - Part II

Last weekend, I had to travel to my relatives place hence I couldn't update the blog. My aim this year is to not only to cross last year's posts but also touch at least 52 posts (1 each for 1 week in year :-) That was the goal I had in mind when I started blogging for this year. One can say it should have been easy posting at least a week but I think that's max for me :-) You can see that I have barely been able to maintain it. I am naturally excited hoping to cross the mark this year! Another successful blogging year for me.

I know you may not be interested in my personal gains :D so lets talk about something which interests you. Today's post is continuation of an old post "Hyderabad War Purposes Fund, Part-I" where I had shown 3 different war purposes fund issued by Princely State of Hyderabad during WWII. I had mentioned that Hyderabad had issued some more such stamps and I would share them in future.

Well, the reason was I didn't have that stamp in my possession that time. I was desperately looking for one of them shown at the end of this post. Even when it was offered on eBay, it was neither in good condition nor at good price. Finally, I bought it in good condition at very reasonable rate. Patience finally paid off. In fact, during that process I bought another rare War Charity stamp issued by Princely State of Hyderabad which is not mentioned anywhere. Since I am still trying to do research on it, I would keep it for future post ;-) I guess, this way I can still keep my readers interested :D So, we will cover them in Part-III of this post.

Before I share the stamp of this post, I would like to show some better images of earlier stamps. Over period of time, I happen to gather block of 4 of such labels in my collection. Shown below is first of such one Anna "Faithful Ally" Hyderabad War Purposes Fund label in green color.

Next is another variety again in block of 4 (this one seems more colorful and attractive to me):

I have yet to acquire block of 4 of third stamp of this set. Still, you can see 2 stamps set below.

And finally, the main attraction of this post is shown below. It was issued with 1/2 Anna denomination. The label shows famous tourist attraction of old Hyderabad "Charminar" and its market through one of doors leading to Charminar.

The stamp/label was issued in yellowish brown color and it has a text "Hyderabad War Relief Seal". The exact year and reason behind this issue is unknown. I am still digging on it to find out more. If any of my readers have any information to share please feel free to comment.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Outward Bound Souvenir Edition - WW2 Newspaper

As the Cyclonic Storm ‘JAL’ is weakening over Bay of Bengal, I think it is time for another voyage into history :-) Hell, no I even don't know swimming forget about sailing. The only sea where I can attempt to dive is history. So, I will post a small article today on one of the on board publication called "Outward Bound".

June 1945, a British ship sailed towards India carrying British Soldiers to carry on their duty in that vague area termed S.E.A.C (South East Asia Command). The warship was commanded by Lt. Col. G. M. Perry of Coldstream Guards. As usual, the two main things which the troops missed on board the ship were mail and news. To compensate that and keep sailors in high spirit for long voyage to India, the officers of ship made use of reverse side of Army Form N1513.C. by converting them into a wall-newspaper. The broadsheet contained all the latest news [culled from the B.B.C.'s news broadcasts], items of topical interest en route, Quizzes [with prizes] and items of general information. Based on the grand reception the newspaper received along with contribution from soldiers, it was decided to conjure a kind of newspaper out of absolutely nothing. Hence the Outward Journey, a souvenir edition was printed on board the ship.

It was 12 page special edition newspaper, published just above the water line with 3,000 copies only. The newspaper or booklet contains short stories and poems penned down by the sailors along with interesting events organized on board the ship through the eyes of sailors.

The booklet just leaves short of naming the actual ship. It gives some hint though. It mentions that the ship (named S.S. ----) was once the pride of P.&O. line. It was kind of a floating palace-like the Ritz. During the war, it was rechristened as Mistress H.M.T. (His/Her Majesty Trawler) carrying troops overseas.

I tried looking into P&O line ships but couldn't identify this one which sailed in June 1945 to India. It will be great if someone can shed some light on this beauty so I can dig more on history of this ship.

Friday, November 5, 2010

German WW2 Propaganda Leaflet against Indian Soldiers - Hoshiar!

It's celebration time :-) It's Diwali today. So, along with my best wishes here is a propaganda leaflet for my readers to celebrate with!

It's long time since I showed a German WW2 propaganda leaflet against British India. This one is not in very good condition but then you can't expect more from a leaflet. It survived all odds of war for us to enjoy and admire it now after more than 60 years itself is wonder.

Shown above is front side of German War Propaganda leaflet targeting Indian Soldiers part of British Army. It depicts a Sikh soldier listening to radio broadcast consisting of news and music/dance program. The soldier is imagining a female dancing on some music. It also has text in Urdu and English (Hindi words formed using English alphabets).

Attention! Attention!

Bhai Band is calling you!
You are listening to Radio Bhai Band.

"Bhai" in Hindi means brother in English.

If you see the reverse side then you will understand the real propaganda. The reverse has text in Hindustani (Hindi), Urdu and English (again Hindi words are formed using English alphabets).


Do you know how to listen to Indian music and dance program?

Tune in to Bhai Band Radio!

Do you want to get the true news from all over the world?

Then listen Bhai Band Radio!
When can you listen Bhai Band Radio?

Daily 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the evening on 449.1 medium wave and 28.3 or 39.6 short wave.
Who speaks on Bhai Band?

Only your fellow countrymen, Indian Brothers!

Basically, the leaflet asks soldiers to tune in to Bhai Band Radio so they can be brain washed and misled about the then situation of war in Africa, Europe and Asia where Indian soldiers were fighting against German and Japanese forces as part of allied forces.

Here I am borrowing text from Herbert Friedman's article, which states:

It is said that India’s real involvement in modern psychological warfare began when Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army waged it. The Azad Hind radio stated its regular broadcasts from January 1942, in most of the prominent Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Pashto and also English.

"Free India Radio" (Azad Hind Radio) was the main propaganda station for India set up by the exiled Subhas Chandra Bose with German assistance. Bose’s Provisional Indian Government in Berlin also had two other radio stations, namely "National Congress Radio" and "Free Moslem Radio." ("National Congress Radio," by the way, had nothing to do with the short-lived "Congress Radio," which was a clandestine station operated by Gandhi supporters on British soil). Moreover, there was an Italian-sponsored Indian station known as "Radio Himalaya," run by the exiled Indian Moslem Iqbal Shedai. In addition to these stations, there was a German station manned by Indians called "The Brothers" or "Bhai Band" (BBC Monitoring Service translation), to which the soldier in the above leaflet is shown listening.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

WW2 V-Mail (India) - Thanksgiving Greetings

It's Deepawali or Diwali time in India. I was searching for some WWI or WWII item in my collection which could be related to Diwali but there was none. So, I settled down on next big holiday, of course not for India but nevertheless it is related to WWII. Yes, I am talking about Thanksgiving Day celebration.

For the US forces stationed in India, V-Mail served the same purpose as Airgraph for British forces. There are variety of V-Mails known to exist for India Command with creative illustration though Airgraph is more popularly seen. I bought this item sometime back because I had no example of V-Mail and it was related to India.

Shown below is example of V-Mail which was also photographed and sent as picture roll which got later developed and then posted.

But the surprising thing is that it was posted from New York to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania i.e. within US and still it was posted as V-Mail. Though, the posting date indicates 19 Sep, 1945 so it was posted after the war had ended. And that's the reason there is no censor marking in it. Still, I wonder why it was posted as V-Mail since it was within US. If you see the cover already mentions that usage of this for private will attract penalty of USD $300 but we still see this example! Or is it that sender address is misleading where it mentions NY?

Anyway coming down to the mischievous illustration itself, it mentions "Thanksgiving Greetings" from the India-Burma Theater. One of the character is shown wearing CBI (China-Burma-India) patch on his dress. A really funny and interesting example of V-Mail.
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