Why did Andaman and Nicobar islands became part of India although they are much closer to Malaysia, Thailand, Sumatra and Myanmar?
Today, Andaman & Nicobar is seen as a tourist place but very few know that this was the first Indian place to attain freedom from the clutches of British. Yes, the first part of Indian land to be liberated was Andaman & Nicobar Island.
Located 1200 kms from the Indian mainland, apprx 50 kms from Myanmar and 90 kms from Indonesia, the Andaman and Nicobar consists of 572 islands.
Andaman and Nicobar islands are approximately 8,249 square km in size and houses India’s only Tri-Service Theatre Command of the Armed Forces.
Its vantage position, from the straits of Malacca, and the presence of the Indian Armed forces in the region, is one of the reasons for China’s famous Malacca Dilemma and perhaps the mother of the OBOR and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
But DO YOU KNOW?
IRONICALLY, these Islands were the first one to be liberated by An Indian Freedom Fighter.
My friends this Freedom fighter was none other than
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
He liberated it on 8th November 1943 when Japanese Army ( a supporter of Netaji) conquered it from the hands of Britishers and handed it over to the Azad Hind Fouz.
Meanwhile, Andaman was captured by the Japanese Naval force as the British surrendered without a fight. All the political prisoners were released from Kalapani jail and the British soldiers and officers were jailed/sent to Burma.
So It was the first land where Indian Tricolour was flagged by the hands of Netaji in 1943.
The Azad Hind Government was successful in convincing the Japanese force to hand over Andaman and Nicobar islands to the Azad Hind Government. Finally, Netaji Bose fulfilled his promise that was made to the Indians of Singapore. Yes, in the year 1943, Subhas Chandra Bose landed at Port Blair aerodrome and met the Japanese Military Commander of the island. On December 30th 1943, the tricolour was hoisted in the Andaman Island. Very soon, the Andaman Island was named as ‘Shaheed’ and Nicobar Island was named as ‘Swaraj’.
Why Andaman and Nicobar Islands has a very special bonding with India?
The Cellular Jail, also known as Kala Pani (Black Water), was a colonial prison situated in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago.
Many Indian freedom fighters faced the unimaginably painful torture in the Kalapani including Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) and Batukeshwar Dutt, Diwan Singh Kalepani, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, Yogendra Shukla, Maulana Ahmadullah, Movli Abdul Rahim Sadiqpuri, Maulvi Liaquat Ali, Babarao Savarkar, Bhai Parmanand, Shadan Chandra Chatterjee, Sohan Singh, Vaman Rao Joshi and Nand Gopal.
The British had plans of resettling Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmese, so that they could form a separate nation. Needless to say, these plans didn’t materialize. The islands became a part of India in 1950 and the Union Territory was formed in 1956. Interestingly, these islands were used by the Cholas and the Marathas as a naval base, during their respective time periods.
Indians had control on these islands since ancient times!!
It’s not known when the first inhabitants arrived on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands but their presence was documented in the 2nd century by Greek astronomer Ptolemy, and again in the 7th century by Chinese monk Xuan Zang during his 17-year journey through India.
Rajendra Chola I of Chola dynasty was first ruler to colonize these islands and use them as a strategic naval base to launch an expedition against the Sriwijaya Empire (Indonesia).
Later on again it was under rule of some rulers having control of it until European colonization of these islands which started with Danish East India Company. Denmark, Austria & British all had conflicts but still it was under Danish rule till 1868. In 1869 these islands were purchased by British and made them part of British India.
Due to all these reason, these islands became a part of India.