Overview for Burma to Japan with Azad Hind: A War Memoir, 1941-1945
Ramesh Benegal, recipient of the Maha Vir Chakra, was born in Burma and was seventeen when the Japanese captured British-occupied Burma. He tells this extraordinary, first-person story of his career with the Indian National Army in Burma and Japan in the years from 1941 to 1945.
A series of chances lead the young Ramesh to enroll for the selection of cadets to be sent to Japan for military training at the initiative of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. We follow his journeys on land, sea and air as the young voice narrates in sharp and often visceral detail the experience of traveling from Burma to Thailand, Singapore and Japan. The years are long and hard and alternate between deprivation and plenty and between disaster and hope -- before the turning point of the war changes everything. What opens before us is not only a war memoir but the transformation of a boy as he steeps himself in the cultures of food, behaviour, customs and the ethnic aspirations of the countries he finds himself in.