Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Greetings Card - CBI Theater WWII

First of all Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the new year to all of my readers and their families. Today's post will be very short one as there is nothing much to talk about on the item except for the fact that it is an interesting one and rarely seen on internet.

It is Christmas Greeting card issued by CBI (China-Burma-India) theater for allied soldiers (Since it is CBI thus it has to be issued by US forces in India).

Year of issue is unknown. The card shows expression of words "Everything is O.K." in Hindi, Burmese and Chinese. It depicts landmark monuments such as Taj Mahal (India), Pagoda (Burma) and entrance of some palace/forbidden city (China).

The inside of card has a greeting printed with native people of CBI theater. It also has "FREE" printed on card indicating this must be free of post just like British Military Air Letter Cards (BMALC) or Airgraphs/V-Mails.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mengani (Mengni) State Cash Coupon - WW2 India

Today's post is on another princely state cash coupon issued during WWII. Mengani (Mengni) was an estate or taluk, formerly part of Western India States (Western Kathiawar) Agency which later merged in Saurashtra and now part of modern state of Gujarat in India.

I tried digging on it but couldn't make out how many gun salutation state was granted or when did it accede to India . There is very less information available on this princely state forget about trying to find out state's contribution on WWI and WWII.

Above one is the only cash coupon issued by Mengni State/Taluk with denomination of 1 paisa. It has been recorded as number 24.1 in Indian Paper Money Catalogue by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla. It carries a rectangular floral block pattern around a cow in center. This was issued in blue color.

It has text printed in Gujarati and English both. It states "Mengni Taluk Revenue Stamp" in Gujarati while "Mengni Taluka" in English.

Mengni state printed some revenue stamp of same design on wove paper with size of 43x28 mm between 1930-40. It is said that Mengni state printed same pattern on white cardboard (Cash Coupon) in 1942 to use during a coin shortage period (WWII).

Some princely states were permitted by British Government to issue card coupons; they would appropriately be considered as coins or paper money. But it is doubtful if very small state like Mengni would have been permitted to issue the one Paisa revenue stamps on thick card, which apart from their revenue use could also circulate within the small state as coins thus serving dual purpose.

Nevertheless, the dual purpose of these cards has been noticed in the illustration of the document with these stamps tied to the document with thick thread and and stamped " CANCELLED" by a rubber stamp. Besides, some people have seen bundles of well used cards neatly and meticulously tied into lots of 16, and these lots into groups of 4 to make a rupee's worth. (Note that 1 paisa was 1/64 rupee.) It is said that these cards were circulated as coins in the area of Mengni state from about 1942 until 1947.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

To Indian Soldiers - IIL War Propaganda Leaflet Against British Forces (WW2)

Every time I have confusion what to post, I pick a WW2 propaganda leaflet now that I have 100+ of them :-) In continuation to my IIL (Indian Independence League) war propaganda leaflet posts, I am sharing another such item. Before we walk through them, let me give some more information on these as I promised in my last IIL/INA post.

After formation of INA, Mohan Singh personally chose volunteers for his propaganda unit for their first assignment. He lectured them on the ideology of independence, infiltrating behind enemy lines and bringing men out of the British Army. The men wore regular uniforms and carried F Kikan passes and "F" insignia to get through Japanese lines. INA and IIL teams went back and forth through enemy fire, bringing in Indians, returning again to the front for more. It was an effective shuttle operation.

With a hand-printing press and Hindi and Urdu movable type, Mohan Singh and Pritam Singh worked day and night printing the first propaganda leaflets. They were distributed over the Slim battle-line by the 3rd Airborne Division, whose commander was a former teacher of Fujiwara in the General Staff College.

As fighting spread through Malaya and the Slim battle-line fell under Japanese assault, increasing numbers of Indians were brought into Ipoh by the propaganda teams. The propaganda was so effective that during the move to Kualalumpur, Indian officers and men holding white flags and propaganda handbills joined the growing procession to Kualalumpur on foot and in trucks, mingling with the pursuing Japanes troops. More than 1000 Indian men/soldiers of British Army surrendered to Japanese Army. This encouraged Mohan Singh to start propaganda broadcast from Saigon and Penang radio....

Shown above is one such War Propaganda Leaflet dropped by IIL/F-Kikan over British Forces somewhere in Eastern Asia. Exact location where and date when this was dropped is unknown. The propaganda urges Indian soldiers part of British Army to kill their British officers and change side. It is printed in English only and uncoded. The text reads:


All Indians in our Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere are now combined and marching for India's freedom. Inspite of British oppression, the independence movement is progressing in all parts of India. They are fighting for the establishment of India for Indians. Now you are at the point of choosing slavery or freedom for India.

Don't be a tool in the hand of the English. Kill English officers and come to our side. We heartily welcome you as a comrade of Asia.

The leaflets also clearly shows influence of Japanese F-Kikan. Notice the words used in leaflet such as Japanese concept of "Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere" and term "Comrade of Asia" which were frequently used for IJA (Imperial Japanese Army) who were projected as liberator of Asia.

Hope you would have enjoyed! I will post more leaflet in coming days. Probably, I will try to post them in chronological order depicting INA/IIL exploitation and advancement through war history even though none of them carries date but I will try to present them to the best of my knowledge based on text present in them.
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