South Asian During Japanese Occupation

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a) The South Asian experience during the Japanese Occupation (1942-45)

The Japanese Occupation was like a long nightmare that lasted for three and a half years. The various ethnic groups of Singapore were treated differently during 3 years of Japanese ruling. Following the defeat of the “Impregnable Fortress”, the Japanese military administration in Tokyo convinced with Japanese military to use highly brutal clean-up operations against the Chinese. The Indians, on the other-hand, were either given much leeway and treated with kindness or experienced a similar fate like the Chinese. This essay will examine how the Indians were torn between two choices; for or against the Japanese military. After the fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942, the Japanese military wanted to show that the Chinese were its only enemy but spared the other ethnic groups. The ‘Sook Ching’ operations (brutal operation of the Chinese) were one way of showing that the Chinese were its only enemy and that the other ethnic groups were its friends. With the existing anti-British sentiments already present in Singapore before the occupation, the Japanese saw a golden opportunity to forge a viable cooperation with the Indian POWs because they intended to exploit Indian anti-British sentiments to sabotage British army. In fact, they openly courted the Indian community with broadcast messages telling them the Japanese had come to liberate. (Heritage Trails :: Civic District Trail I :: Indian National Army) The primary objective was to make use of the Indian POWs in Singapore by harnessing their patriotism to India. At that the time, the Indians in Singapore were eager to join the anti-British, pro-Japanese Indian National Army. It was hoped that they would fight along with the Japanese military in its attacks against New Delhi for the independence of India. The Japanese formed the “Indian Working…...

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