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Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal (25 March 1917 – 17 October 1992) was an officer of the British Indian Army and later the Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose which fought against the British imperial rule in undivided India.

Life[edit | edit source]

Sahgal was educated at the Central Model High School and Government College, Lahore.[1] He sat and passed the entrance exam for the Indian Military Academy Dehra Dun and in August 1936 went up to Dehra Dun.[2] He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on the Special List 1 February 1939 and attached to the 2nd battalion the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders stationed at Secunderabad as of 24 February 1939[3] for a year and when that battalion was posted to Singapore before his year was up, in August 1939, he was transferred to the 1st battalion West Yorkshire regiment to finish his time out.[4]

At the end of his year, after a month's leave with his family in Lahore, he was posted to the 5th battalion of the 10th Baluch Regiment stationed at Peshawar on the North West Frontier.[5]

He was promoted Lieutenant 30 April 1940.[6] He volunteered to be transferred to the 2/10th Baluch Regiment as they were short of officers.[7] In October 1940 he reported to the 2nd battalion at Bareilly. On the 28 October 1940 it sailed for Singapore [8] and on 11 November 1940 landed there.[9]

By December 1941 he had been promoted Acting Captain in the 2/10th Baluch Regiment of the British Indian Army and fought against Japanese forces in Malaya serving with distinction before being made a Prisoner of War in February 1942.[10] He then joined the Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose to fight against the British, and as the commander of the 2nd Division led the 2nd Infantry regiment at Popa against Messervy's 17th Indian Division during the latter half of the Burma Campaign before surrendering.

Sahgal was later tried at the Red Fort along with three other fellow-officers for treason, a trial that became famous all over India in 1946. Colonel Prem Kumar Sahgal married Lakshmi Sahgal in March 1947 in Lahore. Their daughter Subhashini Ali is a leader of the All India Democratic Women's Association, politically affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

According to his daughter Subhashini Ali, Sahgal was an atheist.[11]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Forgotten Army University of Michigan Press, 1995, page 17
  2. The Forgotten Army University of Michigan Press, 1995 page 27
  3. July 1939 Indian Army List
  4. The Forgotten Army University of Michigan Press, 1995 page 29
  5. The Forgotten Army University of Michigan Press, 1995 page 29/30
  6. April 1944 Indian Army List
  7. The Forgotten Army University of Michigan Press, 1995 page 31
  8. History of the Baloch Regiment 1939-56 p 8
  9. The Forgotten Army University of Michigan Press, 1995 page 31
  10. Smith pp 543-544
  11. "There are religions that have very rigid rules and there are others that don't. Religion is something that I, as a person, am not interested in. I have always been an atheist. My parents were atheists. It doesn't bother me if somebody is religious. My problem is when religion is used to institutionalise other things." The Rediff Interview/ Subhasini Ali, 8 August 2001 (accessed 21 April 2008).

Further reading[edit | edit source]

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