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government, in whose pay they are, if they are disloyal to the present government tomorrow”. (Mahatma, Volume7, page 72). Such an attitude negated any questions of establishing lines on communication between the national movement and the armed forces. They were condemned to be “mercenaries” and eternally loyal to the Government of whose salt they had partaken. So great was the influence of such thinking that even the various revolutionary forces in the country, including communists and socialists, who accepted the concept of armed struggle, never seriously thought of establishing contacts with the armed forces. Born in the womb of the Gandhian movement, they could not appreciate the teachings of Marx and Lenin on this critical aspect of the revolution. They failed to understand that, by creating the Indian army, “The British rule simultaneously organized the first general centre of resistance which the Indian people were ever possessed of”. This understanding of Marx had been drawn from the experience of 1857. This lesson was not learned by our later day, revolutionaries. This applies equally to Lenin’s statement: “Not a single great revolution has ever taken place, or ever can take place without the ‘disorganisation’ of the army”. In such circumstances it was but natural that the Indian armed forces continued to remain loyal to their salt and mercenary. There were exceptions. The isolation from the people could never really be complete. As the Indian struggle for freedom gained momentum and dynamism it had its impact on the Indian soldier too. How could he remain untouched by the reverberations of the Chittagong armory raid, or the capture of Sholapur by the workers? December - 2018 The Chittagong armory raid took place on 18 April 1931. Only five days later on 23 April two platoons of the second battalion of the 13 th Royal Garhwali Rifles, refused to fire on unarmed demon- strators at Peshawar. Thousands of Muslims had gathered round the place of detention of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. The British game of letting loose a communal holocaust with the help of Hindu soldiers was effectively foiled. What was more, the British were forced to withdraw and Peshawar was in the hands of the people till 4 May. Another example of what happens when sections of the armed forces come over to the side of the people. Significantly, Garhwali soldiers were not violent. They handed over their arms. They were obviously “disloyal” to the government that Gandhi considered evil and had only a short while back called upon the people “to destroy it without delay”. This disloyalty may have been one of the reasons why he did not make their release an issue when singing the Gandhi-Irwin pact withdrawing the civil disobedience movement. His explanation was: “We brought all the pressure we could bear on our negotiations and satisfied ourselves with what in justice we could have under the provisional settlement. We could not as negotiators on the provisional truce forget of our pledge of truth and non-violence, forget the bounds of justice”. (Mahatma, Volume 3, page 63). After this, how could one expect the Indian soldier to join the mainstream of the national movement? Then came the Second World War. The character of the war, as it developed, demanded and entirely new type of an army, with different motivations. The strength of the armed forces in India had to be increased considerably. The old restrictive policies could no longer be maintained. The compulsions of a total war, a war whose political overtones went far beyond the narrow ambitions of British imperialism, forced the government to open the armed forces to the people. This was no easy task. No popular enthusiasm could be created for the war. The only motivation was really economic. Hundreds of thousands of starving peasants enlisted. A large number of the educated middle classes joined the clerical and technical services. Many of them had participated in various popular struggles. Others had, at least, felt the impact of the national movement. They all wanted freedom, but economic compulsions were imperative. The armed forces provided an immediate solution. By 1943 this army of mercenaries expanded tenfold, into a force two million strong. It not only received accelerated training in arms, but also in the politics of the war. The skeptical Indian soldier was told about fascism, about the war to bring freedom to enslaved people, and even about the heroic role of the Red Army. This army went into the world to fight for the freedom of different peoples from the tyranny of the German, Italian and Japanese fascism. These mercenaries fought alongside their White masters and inflicted crushing defeats on the so- called invincible White soldiers of Germany, Italy and their Japanese allies. What a different role it was from that of their predecessors, who had fought to help their British masters enslave other people. In the process the Indian soldiers went through a transformation. I had the privilege of sharing some of this experience and witnessing this transformation. I served with Indian soldiers in Burma and Indo-China in 1945. It was they who won the Battle of Burma. Their victories in the 11