On Netaji’s secret service: Capt. Kanwar Singh Dalai’s clandestine war

From being trained at the German Secret Service Training School under the management of the Gestapo, being promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant while under training to enter India secretly using a Japanese submarine, armed with wireless equipment to work as a personal representative of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Capt. Kanwal Singh Dalal was a legend in his own right.

Born in village Mandothi of district Jhajjar in Haryana on August 4, 1920, he joined the British Indian Army in 1940 and went to fight on the Libyan front where he, along with the rest of his unit, was taken Prisoner of War by the German African Corps in 1941.

On his arrival in Germany, he was acquainted with the presence of Netaji there and his efforts to raise the Indian National Army. He volunteered to be part of it in December 1941 and post his two-month training, he was selected for secret service training by Netaji and sent to Berlin for the same.

Ordered to proceed to Japan post his training where in 1943, where he was met by Netaji, who had already arrived there, Dalal proceeded to Singapore and then Penang, where he underwent further secret service training and was promoted to the rank of Captain.

Finally, in 1943, he entered India in the capacity of Netaji’s personal representative in a Japanese submarine.

He was carrying wireless equipment and started collecting military and political information for the INA to transmit to the headquarters in Rangoon every day.

He carried on with his activities for several months, but eventually he was arrested by the Bombay CID after an aide betrayed him.

According to an elaborate article by his son, Rajesh Dalal, the INA Captain was brought to Delhi for interrogation by the British intelligence bureau. Sent to the Shahi Fort in Lahore, where he was tortured, he was again brought to Delhi for trial after seven months.

Charged under the war-time ‘Enemy Agent Ordinance 3’ for “waging war against the King”, Dalai was given the death penalty. He was to be executed on November 14, 1945, but on the intervention of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru, his punishment was commuted to life imprisonment.

He was released from Lahore jail in November 1946. Post his release, he was employed in the INA Relief and Enquiry Committee in Delhi as an INA Welfare Officer.

Capt. Dalal was later appointed as District Commander NVC Rohtak (with the honorary rank of DSP). He raised a volunteer force that helped the government in maintaining law and order. He passed on on August 4, 2003.




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