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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Captain Janaky Davar (The Jhansi Rani Regiment)

In 1943, Subash Chandra Bose(Netaji) stood at the Selangor Padang (now known as Dataran Merdeka) and spoke on the struggle for Indian Independent. He appealed for donations to fund and volunteers to join his newly formed India National Army (INA). A young girl was the first to respond to his charismatic speech and plea. She walked up to him, took off her diamond earrings and gold chain and put them into his willing hands. Only when the daily Tamil newspapers printed the story and picture of a girl donating her jewellery to Netaji, did her parents know what (Capt) Janaky Davar had done. That was beginning of a beautiful and meaningful relationship between (Capt) Janaky Davar and her leader, Netaji.
Born in 1925, Janaky Davar at 17 years of age had answered Netaji’s clarion call to enlist in the INA. Along with her sister, Papathy Davar and with mixed blessings of her parents, (Capt) Janaky left the shelter of her conservative home and rallied with other young women to become Indian freedom fighters.
The first all women’s army in the world, the Jhansi Rani Regiment’s soldier underwent highly pressurized training. They were fully aware of the hardships that awaited them in the battlefields along the Indo-Burma border. The future was uncertain. The girls and women soldiers knew that in the nationalist struggle there can be no two ways other than sufferings and sacrifices. The girls were prepared to face it. Always they were conscious of the honour and dignity of Indian woman-hood.
The six months of almost non-stop intensive training in Singapore shaped the Jhansis Regiment (especially (Capt) Janaky) into readiness for onward march to the Indo-Burma border battlefront. (Capt) Janaky rose to the ranks of Captain in the army. The first contingent of five hundred women and girl soldiers of the Jhansi Rani Regiment reached Burma by early January 1944.
In between times, Capt. Janaky was called upon to shoulder heavy responsibilities at the Mingledon Hospital where hundreds on INA soldiers were brought from the battlefield from Imphal, Kohima and the Arakkan fronts. Men who whispered their last prayer “Jai Hind” in great patriotic fervour.
The war was almost over as the Japanese were retreating . Netaji instructed them to break into groups of 150 women and to move out of Rangoon . The second batch led by Capt. Janaky Davar had a rough treat. Their train was bombed and as a result, they had to walk to Bangkok.
In the company of Netaji and the INA men, the 150 women and girls led by Capt. Janaky took 26 days on foot to reach Bangkok. They rested during the day and could only travel at night.
The bombings and machine guns blasted non-stop around them. With no food,they left Rangoon with their back-packs on their back. They walked with terror in their hearts.
On one of those long marches, Capt. Janaky recalls asking Netaji what could possibly happen. And Netaji said , “ Don’t worry , Janaky, the Britishers will never take me dead or alive.”
One morning while resting , Capt. Janaky persuaded Netaji to give his socks to be washed. When he took off his boots and socks, she found his foot swollen and full of blisters. She recalls with tears that here was a leader who ate what they ate and wore the clothes they wore. And he could not be persuaded to go by car to safety but choose to be with his troops.
There were only a few days more to reach safety-after all the hardships and obstacles they had overcome and it was a time to rejoice –but her close friend died of Cholera. Capt. Janaky was devastated, from Bangkok, she sent the Malaysian women in wagons to their homes-cramped like sardines with 50 women in each wagon. On the way she dropped the women in their hometowns, from Jitra, Kedah till Singapore- they were all sent to their homes safely by her.
She reported to Netaji on August 12, 1945 at Singapore.He asked her,“ Janaky Davar – what took you so long to reach here?’’ He put his hand on her head in a gesture of blessing, affection and kinship. She never saw him again. A week later , she heard that he had died in a plane crush.
Capt. Janaky Davar ( now Puan Sri Datin Janaky Athi Nahappan) lives on in the memory of having responded to the call of a leader so absorbed in the cause of freedom for India. A leader who had no identity apart from his dedication.
She recalls that during a walk not far from Rangoon with Abid Hassan Safroni, Abid remarked that the country-side reminded him of home – India. She said “I wouldn’t know. I have never been to India.’’
Abid Hassan Safroni later wrote in his memoirs about his amazement that there she was – a young girl in her early twenties who had left the care of parents and the shelter of her home and gone a thousand miles away with riffle in hand to fight and was prepared to die for a motherland she had never seen.
Capt. Janaky Davar says, “But I was not the only one. There were hundreds of other girls just like me . I know, even today I would join up if Netaji was the leader. He worked more than anyone else. The greatest leader that the world can ever know.


Put together by Pramodini Menon for Puan Sri Datin Janaky Athi Nahappan – in respect and memory o the love of a great lady for a great leader.

We spend wonderful moment with Capt.Puan Sri Janaky Athi Nahappan. After listening to her story it moved us so much that it brought tears to our eyes.

(Source by Capt. Puan Sri Datin Janaky Athi Nahappan)

This song (or video) is dedicated to Capt Puan Sri Datin Janaky Athi Nahappan

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