Whilst during the war the Indian National Army (hereafter INA) could be charged with having been the ‘puppet army’ of a fascist regime, the INA was brought firmly into the realms of anti-colonial and nationalist discourse after the war. Despite its earlier very distanced position, the Congress chose in 1945 to appropriate the trials of the INA soldiers to its own political advantage. Due to its emotive value, the INA became a symbol of national pride and anti-colonial resistance. Political engineering of the Congress can largely explain why the INA men had their biggest impact as prisoners of war, rather than as actual soldiers. Whilst the Congress dominated the perception and portrayal of the INA, the issue also helped to reinforce the ‘secular’ and ‘nationalist’ image of the Congress itself. The cause of the INA, the Congress and even the Indian ‘nation’ began to merge. The Congress by appropriating the perception and portrayal of the INA also managed to champion the very meaning of ‘nationalism’ itself. © 2007, Sage Publications India Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved.