Major General Shah Nawaz Khan, who was one of the Generals in the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fouj), was born on 24 January, 1914 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. His father Tikka Khan was a high rank official in the British Indian Army. After completing his initial education, Shah Nawaz got military training and joined the British Indian Army in 1935. At the time of Second World war, he joined the Indian National Army on the invitation of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who appointed him as Major General. He led the troops of the Indian National Army, which defeated the British troops near the Indian Borders in 1944.

The overwhelming joy of this victory could not last long because Japan left the Indian National Army to its own fate due to international situation prevailed upon. During that critical situation Major General Shah Nawaz led his troops against the British Forces in 1945. Indian National Army suffered a huge loss in that battle. Most of its soldiers lost their lives and the remaining troops including Shah Nawaz were detained on 13 May, 1945. The British government charged them with treason and conducted trial in the Red Fort in Delhi on 5 November, 1945.

During that trial, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, offered to plead on behalf of Shah Nawaz only. But, Shah Nawaz rejected the offer by saying ‘We have stood shoulder to shoulder in the struggle for freedom. My comrades have died on the field of battle inspired by our leadership. We stand or fall together’. Finally, the British government sentenced him to life term in exile but released him due to the new political situation that arose in the country. During that trial he grew close to the Indian National Congress leaders including Jawaharlal Nehru. This led him to join in the Congress in the later stages.

He worked for the harmony among different communities. After independence, he got elected to the Loksabha in 1951, 1957, 1962 and 1971. He lost in the 1967 and 1977 in Lok Sabha election from Meerut. He served the country as a Union Minister. He penned his experiences in the Indian National army in his book ‘My memories of the INA and its Netaji’. Major General Shah Nawaz Khan died on 9 December, 1983 in Lucknow.

Source : The Immortals, an album of 155 Muslim Freedom Fighters with the brief of each MFF in English and Telugu, authored by Syed Naseer Ahamed, Mobile : 9440241727)