IIAS Newsletter 48 Summer 2008

Warrior queens: the Rani of Jhansi Regiment

Tobias Rettig

The Rani of Jhansi Regiment of the Indian National Army (INA) is one of the most unusual and colourful female-only military units ever created. Enthusiastically initiated in Japanese-occupied Singapore in 1943 by a Bengali nationalist leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, the regiment’s name was inspired by an Indian warrior queen, whereas most of the regiment’s members were lower-class overseas Indians. Tobias Rettig explains that this unique and short-lived regiment was also a training ground for some of India and Malaysia’s pioneering post-independence female leaders and activists.

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