As the country celebrated 75 years of Independence this week, tributes poured in for our revered freedom fighters, many of whom gave their lives so that we saw the dawn of freedom from colonial rule. Many such revolutionaries have been involved in the freedom struggle of the country but we often do not celebrate them all. The legacy of some of the lesser-known revolutionaries gets lost in the sands of time and not all know about their contribution. We will today tell you about one of these unsung heroes, someone who was associated with the Azad Hind Fauj. And you will be amazed to know that he had a connection with a reigning Bollywood superstar.
Shah Nawaz Khan was a brave soul, who served as an officer in the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army during World War II. Shahnawaz was born on 24 January 1914 in Mataur village of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He started serving in the British Indian Army after studying at the ‘Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College’ located in Dehradun during that period of undivided India.
According to media reports, Shahnawaz Khan first contacted Subhash Chandra Bose in the year 1943. The views and ideologies of the great Netaji influenced Shah Nawaz and he soon joined the INA. It is known that Shah Nawaz led the INA troops into North-Eastern India, taking control of Kohima and Imphal, which were subsequently held by the INA under Japanese authority for a while.
Not many know that Shahnawaz Khan created history by being the first Indian to hoist the Tricolor at Red Fort after taking down the flag of the British Empire.
After the INA surrendered to British forces, officers and soldiers of the INA were arrested. In a public court-martial conducted by the Indian Army, he was tried, found guilty of treason, and given the death penalty. Following disturbances and protests in India, the punishment was mitigated by the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. Following the trial, Khan committed to following Mahatma Gandhi’s path of nonviolence and joined the Congress party. He was active in politics until he died in 1983.
Shah Nawaz Khan has a close relationship with Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan. Latif Fatima, the mother of Shahrukh Khan, was the adopted daughter of the late freedom fighter, making him the maternal grandfather of the Baadshah of Bollywood.
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