DMPQ- How Royal Indian Mutiny Proved to be last nail in the coffin for British Imperialism in India?

The Royal Indian Navy mutiny was arguably the single most important event in convincing the British government that it could no longer hold on to India. The RIN revolt started on 18 February 1946 in Bombay. The naval ratings on HMIS Talwar protested against the poor quality of food and racial discrimination by British officers. The protest spread rapidly to the Castle and Fort barracks on shore, and to 22 ships in Bombay harbour. By the following evening, a naval central strike committee had been elected. The mutineers took out a procession in Bombay, holding aloft a portrait of Subhas Bose. Their ships also raised the flags of the Congress, Muslim League and Communist Party.

The demands advanced by the naval central strike committee combined service grievances with wider national concerns. The latter included the release of INA (Indian National Army) personnel and other political prisoners; withdrawal of Indian troops from Indonesia; and the acceptance of Indian officers only as superiors. Ratings in striking naval establishments outside Bombay echoed these themes. The strike spread to other naval establishments around the country. At its height, 78 ships, 20 shore establishments, and 20,000 ratings were involved in the uprising. The revolt at various locations was coordinated by signal communication equipment on board HMIS Talwar.

The most significant feature of this short uprising was the massive outpouring of public support for the mutineers. The city of Bombay, especially the labouring classes, went on strike on 22 February in solidarity. The public transport network was brought to a halt, trains were burnt, roadblocks were erected and commercial establishments were shut down. An army battalion was inducted to control the situation. Three days later Bombay was quiet, but 228 civilians had died and 1,046 were injured. Meanwhile, following assurances of sympathetic treatment from Vallabhbhai Patel and M.A. Jinnah, the ratings in Bombay surrendered on 23 February.

The most significant feature of this short uprising was the massive outpouring of public support for the mutineers. The city of Bombay, especially the labouring classes, went on strike on 22 February in solidarity. The public transport network was brought to a halt, trains were burnt, roadblocks were erected and commercial establishments were shut down. An army battalion was inducted to control the situation. Three days later Bombay was quiet, but 228 civilians had died and 1,046 were injured. Meanwhile, following assurances of sympathetic treatment from Vallabhbhai Patel and M.A. Jinnah, the ratings in Bombay surrendered on 23 February.

 

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