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Banned Literature by Raj : 'Netaji ke Saathi', by Imdad Sabri

By : Banned Literature by Raj : 'Netaji ke Saathi', by Imdad Sabri

September 30, 2021

Source: National Archives of India

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Banned Literature by Raj : A Book from 1946, 'Netaji ke Saathi' and the Writer Imdad Sabri

'Netaji ke Saathi', one of the rare books declassified by the National Archives of India, was a publication that was banned by the colonial regime. The book, a work belonging to the year 1946, covers subjects ranging from the contribution of Lala Shankarlal and the groundwork done by him for Netaji in Japan, the inhumane behaviour that was done towards the companions of Netaji, to details pertaining to the officers of the Azad Hind Fauj and their role in the Indian Freedom Struggle.

The book has been dedicated to the martyrs, who sacrificed their entire life for the cause of Indian freedom struggle by motivating people towards war and arousing the spirit of revolution amongst them. Some of these lesser known freedom fighters include:

  • Lala Hanuwant Sahay/Hanwant Sahay
  • Master Amir Chand Shahid
  • Master Awadh Vihari Shahid
  • Mister Baalmukund Shahid
  • Shri Basantkumar Vishwas Shahid

Read more about Lala Hanwant Sahay at:

About the Writer

The real name of the writer of the book, Imdad Sabri, was Imdad-ul-Rashid. He was born amid the chaotic times of World War-I, on 16th October 1914. At the young age of 10 years, he was imparted education in English language. He was also imparted the knowledge of Persian and Arabic, in Saharanpur. He completed his college education from the Punjab University in the year 1930. Later, he learned Hindi in the jail premises in 1937 and developed an interest in literature.

As the political situation in the nation turned towards communal disharmony, a movement grew in support of reforms for the Muslim community. Imdad Sabri gave speeches at the Jama Masjid, Delhi, and was arrested on the charge of disturbing the law and order situation there. A court case began against Maulana Imadad Sabri, whose proceedings were published in the newspaper 'Tez'.

As General Secretary of Delhi Congress Committee (1937-1939), he was arrested for organizing picketing along with 70 other co-workers on 22nd July 1938. Two more cases were filed against him, one in 1939 and another in 1940. He was appointed as the Chairman, Delhi Regional Forward Block Conference (1940) and as President, C. P. Brar Forward Block Amravati Conference (1941).

He did commendable work in the Delhi Municipal Committee and mobilized the people to take interest in matters demanding improvement in their areas. He also raised his voice in support of indigenous supply of electricity in the city. Amongst other movements organized by him were the movement against plying of trams, doubling of house tax, abolition of cycle tax, opening of grain stores amid soring prices at a capital of one lakh rupees, publication of newspaper titled 'Imtiyad' and managed the weekly 'Chingari'. He was kept under house arrest from 15 August 1942 to 30 November 1943.

Despite being on bail, he was arrested and made a royal prisoner in 1945 under the charge of helping the Japanese associates of Netaji Subash Chnadra Bose. He kept Netaji's associates at his home and made arrangements for them to reach the railway station. Since this charge could not be proved, he was tried under other charges and was punished for a term of 13 months. This term was cancelled by the Sessions Court. Thus, he spent time in the Delhi jail, Multan jail and was house-arrested in Ferozpur. While being imprisoned in the Delhi jail, he wrote the 'History of Azad Hind Fauj' which was also banned by the raj.

With respect to the Azad Hind Fauj, he wrote three more books: 'Mukadma Azad Hind Fauj', 'Subash Babu ke Japan aur Germany ke Bhashan', and 'Azad Hind Fauj ka Album'.

Special Thanks to the Staff, Reading Room, National Archives of India (NAI)

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