Trace the salient sequences of events in popular revolt that took place in February 1946 in the then Royal Indian Navy and bring out its significance in the freedom struggle. Do you agree with the views that the sailors who took part in this revolt were some of the unsung heroes of the freedom struggle?
(Civil Services Mains 2011, 250 words)
The sequences of the events of RIN revolt can be traced in three stages. The first stage started with the protest against the British Raj by the ratings of Royal Indian Navy; in the second stage the people of the city and region around joined the revolt. While in the third stage the solidarity for the revolt was seen from across the country.
The RIN revolt started in February 1946, when naval ratings of HMIS Talwar struck work at Bombay. The surcharged political milieu of the country in the background of Quit India Movement coupled with the racial discrimination and substandard quality of the food were the immediate cause of the revolt. After Bombay, the ratings of Calcutta and Karachi too revolted. In the second stage, the people of these cites joined the revolt with the ratings and meetings, processions and rampant in the effected cites to show sympathy towards the rating. In the third stage the solidarity was displayed by the students and people from different part of the country in the support of the revolt.
Significance of the revolt
The revolt was the direct challenge to the British Empire. The revolt in the armed forces of the British Raj had a huge psychological liberating effect on the minds of the people. It galvanized the already surcharged political atmosphere of the country and it was clear that roots of British empire in India were shaking.
Apart from this the revolt displayed a great example of the Hindu Muslim unity and also has the connotations of the class struggle and communist ideology.
Since Congress and Muslim League did not officially supported the revolt and various contemporary historians gave much emphasis on the “militancy” factor in the revolt. As a result the sailors who took part in the revolt remained to be the unsung hero of the freedom struggle.