RIN Revolt of 1946

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RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 26 Apr 2011 22:06

I think we need to have thread to undertand this event and its role in the advent of Independence in 1947.

*** I changed the name to a revolt instead of a mutiny on Parag Tope's suggestion****

it wasnt a war for it lasted for a short period. It was definitely a revolt for it had many aspects to it: simultaneous sympathetic risings, ignition of political frevor in civilians the election of leadership, the display of unity of the politicial groups and the inspiration from the INA and the trials.

here qare a few links for starters:

Wiki article :


India Netzone Article on
http://www.indianetzone.com/42/royal_in ... mutiny.htm

British Site;


The Indian Navy Mutiny

On the 21st of February 1946, mutiny broke out on board the Royal Indian Navy sloop, H.M.I.S. Hindustan. The 2nd Battalion of the Black watch was called from their barracks in Karachi to deal with this mutiny on Manora Island. Several ratings from shore establishments had taken over the Hindustan and refused to leave and began firing on anyone who tried to board the ship. At midnight, the 2nd Battalion was ordered to proceed to Manora as trouble was expected from the Indian naval ratings who had taken over the shore establishments H M I S Bahadur, Chamak and Himalaya and from the Royal Naval AA school on the island. The Battalion was ferried silently across in launches and landing craft. D company was the first across, and they immediately proceeded to the southern end of the island to Chamak. The remainder of the Battalion stayed at the southern end of the Island. Next morning the astonished to residents woke to find British soldiers had once again secured the island. No one had heard them arrive in the night.

The first priority was to deal with the Indian naval ratings on board the Hindustan that was armed with 4-in. guns. During the morning three guns ( caliber unknown ) from the Royal Artillery C. Troop arrived on the island. The Royal Artillery positioned the battery within point blank range of the Hindustan on the dockside. An ultimatum was delivered to the mutineers aboard Hindustan, stating that if they did not the leave the ship and put down their weapons by a 10:30 a.m.. they would have to face the consequences. The deadline came and went and there was no message from the ship or any movement. Orders were given to open fire at 10:33 a.m.. The RAs first round was on target. On board the Hindustan the Indian naval ratings began to return gunfire and several shells whistled over the Royal Artillery guns, fortunately without hitting anyone. Most of the shells fired by the Indian ratings went harmlessly overhead and fell on Karachi itself. They had not been primed so there were no civilian casualties. At 10:51 a.m. a white flag suddenly appeared from a hatch aboard the Hindustan. British naval personnel boarded the ship to remove casualties and the remainder of the mutinous crew. Extensive damage had been done to Hindustan's superstructure and there were many casualties among the Indian sailors. These young Indian ratings, many of them still in their teens, had paid a heavy price for allowing themselves to be misguided into mutiny.

Soon more trouble broke out on the Bahadur. Several Indian naval officers were thrown off the ship by ratings and the situation became serious. Soon after midday the 2nd Battalion was ordered to storm Bahadur, and then the other establishments on the island. This was achieved and all Indian naval personnel returned to their barracks. By the evening D company was in possession of the A A school and Chamak , B company had taken the Himalaya, while the rest of the Battalion had secured Bahadur. The mutiny was over.

This one describes the actual events from British military prespective. Will look for the political assessment.

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Re: RIN Mutiny 1946

Postby ramana » 26 Apr 2011 22:19

Madan the Mutineer:

Tribune Article

Madan, the mutineer
by A.J. Philip

IT was my third meeting with him. I knew it was the life support system at the intensive care unit that was keeping him alive. Even as he gasped for breath, his face remained as glowing as when I met him three years ago.

It was at a party his son-in-law, Dr G.S. Dhillon of Dalhousie Public School, organised that I gravitated towards him. The heavily built Madan Singh sat under a garden umbrella with a large hat on his head. He wore a striped suit and clutched at a beer glass.

My colleague Sanjeev Singh Bariana introduced me to him. “Oh you are a journalist! I too was once a journalist”, he began in his stentorian voice. Suddenly, the age gap between us vanished.

I asked him how he became a journalist and where did he work. “That is a long story, young man,” he said as he pulled his chair closer to mine.

“You know, I was suddenly jobless. And that, too, in a city like Bombay”, he continued.

“How did you lose your job?” I interjected.

“That is another story”, said Mr Madan Singh. “I was a Petty Officer in the Indian Royal Navy. We Indians were a little upset about the way we were treated. So we protested and the British threw us out of the Navy”.

Mr Madan Singh believes in understatement. I had to scratch my head to figure out that he was referring to the great Naval Mutiny of 1946, which hastened the British decision to quit India.

“Are you talking about the Naval Mutiny?” I had to ask.

“Oh you have heard about the mutiny?” he asked a counter question. Before I could respond, he added, “Young people do not know about such incidents”.

“That is because people like you do not write about it”. Caught on the wrong foot, he chided me for going slow on my beer. He did not even mention the fact that he was one of the ringleaders of the mutiny.

Dismissed from the Navy, Mr Madan Singh approached S. Sadanand of the Free Press Journal for a job. They hit it off well and he became a reporter. “My job involved covering public functions of national leaders. I enjoyed the job, although it was tough making both ends meet. Sadanand was a great man but not a great paymaster”.

Less than a year later, he quit the job and went about feathering his own nest by doing business all over the world. In due course he married and sired two sons and a daughter, who were at his bedside when he died on Thursday evening.

Mr Madan Singh wanted to know from me about one of his colleagues in the Navy, C.P. Ramachandran, who took to journalism and never gave it up till he breathed his last.

It shocked him to know that CP, the quintessential Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times, was no more. It pleased Mr Madan Singh when I told him about my visit to Parali in Palakkad district to meet CP, long after his retirement.

“As I was busy in my business I could not keep track of CP although I knew he was doing well in journalism,” he said. Regret was palpable in his words.

“I hope to meet you again to do a story for our Sunday Magazine,” I told him.

“You may not find me fit enough for a magazine story but we can always meet over a bottle of beer”. That was the mutineer, whom the Indian Navy honoured by naming a ship INS Madan Singh, who made understatement the core of his personality.

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Re: RIN Mutiny 1946

Postby ramana » 26 Apr 2011 22:29

Sunday Tribune:

Hero's honor for Royal Indian Navy Mutineer

Hero’s honour for Royal mutineer

by Reeta Sharma

TOMORROW will be a historic day in the life of this self-respecting Punjabi from Siar village, near Ludhiana. He would be presiding over the "induction ceremony" of ‘INS Madan Singh’, named after him in recognition of his role in India’s struggle for freedom from colonial rule. The honour has come his way 52 years late. An incredible optimist he laughs off the delayed honour and grins: "It did appear like a mirage all these years but it’s better late than never."

Mr Madan Singh held his head high for all these 52 years despite the tag of having been dismissed from service after a ‘Commission of Enquiry’ set up by the British Colonial rulers found him guilty. He was charged with leading the historic ‘Royal Indian Naval mutiny’ of 1946. Although India became Independent in August 1947, no review of or rethinking about the mutineers was ever done all these years.

Nobody knows what happened to hundreds of mutineers who were dismissed from service. However the two main leaders, former leading telegraphist B.C. Dutt and telegraphist Madan Singh are still around. While Mr Dutt settled in Maharashtra, Mr Madan Singh worked in several parts of the world after dismissal. But eventually he came back to settle in his own country, "as that is what I always yearned for".

Here is a follow up on his life, packed with events which are gripping.

Mr Madan Singh continues to assert that "The mutiny in the Navy was the immediate cause of India’s freedom. The British rulers were simply shaken. Nevertheless, the role of the mutineers has been ignored and they were denied due recognition."

He vividly remembers even the minutest detail of the mutiny. "The roots of the mutiny in the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) lay in the British themselves who indulged in blatant racial discrimination over the years. The simmering discontent over ill-treatment, poor service conditions, lack of a redressal forum, humiliating of our Indian political leaders, etc pushed us to the wall and then to the mutiny. However the immediate cause was the arrest of B.C. Dutt who was put under detention. His crime was that he had painted slogans like, "Jai Hind".

"After the outbreak of the mutiny, the first thing that we did was to free B.C. Dutt. Then we took possession of Bucher Island (where the entire ammunition meant for Bombay Presidency was stocked) and telephone and wireless equipment, including transmitters at Kirki near Pune. Our quick actions ensured that all naval ships were fully under our command."

"Simultaneously we the Indians ratings at RIN had formed a ‘Naval Central Strike Committee’ (NCSC) to coordinate and direct the activities of the various units outside the HMIS Talwar. Leading Signalman M.S. Khan and I were unanimously elected President and Vice-President, respectively.

There is another crucial point to be recalled today. You see, next to the Castle Barracks there was an ‘iron gate’ closer to the town hall of Bombay. It was cleverly wired to the system so that in the event of an enemy trying to capture Bombay, a press of the switch would blow up the whole of Greater Bombay. This was the scorched earth policy of the then British government.

"Fortunately for us, this ‘iron gate was heavily manned by Indians who obviously obeyed our command when General Lockheart attempted to capture it. When he tried to advance towards the gate, the NCSC ordered firing which led to many casualties among the British sailors."

Sadly hundreds of mutineers were arrested and imprisoned either with the prisoners of world war or in solitary confinement as was the case with both Mr Madan Singh and Mr B.C. Dutt. The ‘Commission of Enquiry’ dismissed all of them from service. The national leadership, according to the various accounts and statements, seemed to be divided on the role of the mutineers. No wonder they were forgotten for good.

Mr Madan Singh had an extremely hard life after his dismissal in July 1946. "I went to my village Siar. I felt hurt when I overheard my father telling someone that I have come to see him only to take money from him. I left my village penniless and joined as a reporter with the Bombay daily, Free Press Journal. The great Sadanand was the proprietor and Natarajan was the Chief Editor at that time. Within a year I got disgusted at a majority of journalists reporting on the basis of handouts issued by the British authorities. The final blow was struck when I was an eyewitness like other journalists to the shooting of a leader of mill workers at point blank range. But my report was not carried. All papers carried the handout released by the British government with no mention at all of the killing of the leader. Crushed by agony and humiliation, I confronted Natarajan who directed me to meet Sadanand. I had always revered this illustrious old man who treated Churchill and Sardar Patel in the same way. When I barged into his room he very calmly said: "Your report was absolutely correct but I am sorry to have disappointed you. I hope you will one day understand my turmoil. My 18 ventures of newspapers have one by one been banned by the British. By keeping this one alive, even at such a cost like not using your report, we are at least able to point out some misdeeds of the British and motivate our people to eventually rise against the slavery". "I understood him fully but I still resigned because I knew that I won’t be able to swallow it day in and day out. Sadanand gave me the warmest ever send off in Free Press Journal. I reached Calcutta with only Rs 6. On the third day of my stay on the streets of Calcutta I got a job on a salary of Rs 150 a month with Dalmia Jain Airways. When I raised the issue of my petty salary, they rebuked me in the most humiliating manner. I walked back like a whipped dog, swallowing my pride for I could not afford to let this job go".

But Mr Madan Singh was an extraordinary worker with a brilliant brain and expertise in his line. No wonder then that by the seventh week of his job with Dalmias, the company raised his salary by five times. By 1952 he got admission into a regular course run by BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation), in International License in Radio Electronics nowadays known as AVIONICS. "These were the most stressful three years of my life. Minimum pass marks were 75 per cent, whereas in London University one was required to secure only 45 per cent." Mr Madan Singh not only passed out with 83 per cent, which was rare for even an Englishman, but also was the first ever Indian to make it. BOAC handpicked him and he worked in their foreign service wing.

By 1990 he came back to lead a retired life in India. Rear Admiral (retd.) Satyinder Singh wrote him five letters requesting him to apply for the status of a freedom fighter. "But I wrote back that if it is such a thing which one can get for the asking, it is not worth having it." However when Beant Singh former Chief Minister met Mr Madan Singh his childhood friend he was aghast on learning the fate of mutineers. He personally approached the Ministry of Home in Delhi in this regard. "So finally I have received a letter from Commodore Dina Bandhu Jena, VSM inviting me to the ‘Induction Ceremony’ on February 26, 1999 at Bombay."

His face was embossed with the serenity of the sea shore at sun set.

Under two Ensigns: Indian Navy from 1940-1950

RAdm. Satyindra Singh

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Re: RIN Mutiny 1946

Postby paragtope » 26 Apr 2011 22:31

Ramanaji - let's see if we can create a new name for this event, because like 1857 it was more than a "mutiny."

I suggest the "one day war" of 1946. Other suggestions are welcome. We can always refer to as the "RIN mutiny" to clarify the context.

So much of the context is decided by how an event is labeled.

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Re: RIN Mutiny 1946

Postby ramana » 26 Apr 2011 22:34

Two more news reports:

The Lesser Known Mutiny

The lesser-known Mutiny
Trilochan Singh Trewn


Line-up of Indian Naval ships on Mumbai dockyard breakwater during the crucial three days of the Rin Mutiny.

THE trauma experienced during those four days of the Rin Mutiny in February, 1946 was a source of tension. In fact the situation was more sensitive than the one that arose from the actual combat condition prevailing in the north Arabian sea during the India-Pakistan conflict in 1971.

The mutiny was initiated by the ratings of Indian Navy during early 1946. It was a reaction against the treatment meted to ratings in general and the lack of service facilities in particular. On January 16, 1946, a contingent of 67 ratings of various branches arrived at Castle Barracks, Mint Road, in Fort Mumbai. This contingent had arrived from the basic training establishment, HMIS Akbar, located at Thane a suburb of Mumbai at 1600 in the evening. The officer on duty informed the galley (kitchen) staff of this arrival. Quite casually, the duty cook, without winking an eyelid, took out 20 loaves of bread from the large cupboard and added three litres of tap water to the mutton curry as well as the gram dal which was lying already cooked before as per the morning strength of the ratings. Every one associated with each wing of administration in those days had such a mindset that no one bothered. Nothing more was required to be done in such cases. On that day, only 17 ratings ate the watery, tasteless meals while the rest went ashore and ate. Such daily cases of neglect, when reported to senior officers present, practically evoked no response and the discontentment continued to build up. The better educated ratings of communication branch in the shore establishment, HMIS Talwar, located in Mumbai had been complaining of neglect of their facilities and harboured a high level of revulsion towards the authorities.

The adventures of Indian National Army and the stories of glory of Netaji Subhas Chander Bose received through the wireless sets and the media inspired them. A naval central strike committee was formed. It was led by a naval rating M.S Khan. Soon, thousands of disgruntled ratings from Mumbai, Karachi, Cochin and Vishakhapatnam joined them. They communicated with each other through the wireless communication sets available in HMIS Talwar. Thus, the entire revolt was coordinated. The unrest spread to ships too. Admiral Godfrey in Mumbai took a stubborn stand towards the demands of the strikers. Demands by now had come to include the release of INA prisoners too. This was early February, 1946.

Inspired by the patriotic fervour sweeping the country, the movement started taking a political turn. During the second week of February, 1946, my ship was alongside the outer breakwater. One fine early morning, I noticed about 20 junior ratings surrounding the main duty- free canteen located close to the smithy shop inside the naval dockyard in Mumbai. This large canteen was a part of an international chain of canteens run by the royal navy and was well-stocked with choicest brands of foreign liquor, cheeses, caviar, cigarettes etc mostly imported. About four ratings forced themselves into the store and came out with cartons of cigarettes, cameras and electric irons etc. It was followed by another rush of ratings who now were holding boxes of scotch whisky in both hands and sported imported umbrellas slinging on their shoulders. Soon the canteen staff also arrived but was helpless and terrified as some of the ratings carried arms.

As if this was not enough, another batch of ratings brought some steel bars from the closeby smithy shop and dismantled the steel safe from its seat. Efforts were being made to drag the locked safe to nowhere when I left the scene. I then came across some cooks holding fully-loaded automatic weapons in their hands and pointing those towards the direction of Gateway of India where the British destroyers from Trincomalee were expected to arrive. Just then Captain (E) T.N. Kochhar, then an engineer officer of HMIS Narmada, sped past me and told me that the strike committee had broadcast a message that Indian officers would not be harmed if they did not interfere, while Admiral Godfrey required all officers to be in their place of duty and ensure that no violent action or damage to equipment and property took place and that the agitation remained peaceful. In the evening, a news item was received stating that a Gurkha regiment in Karachi had refused to fire at an agitated group of naval ratings. This was day one.

The next day morning, the tricolour was hoisted by the ratings on mastheads of most of the ships and establishments. There was a general feeling of anxiety and tension everywhere. The ships deck and lavatories had not been cleaned for past two days. Officers and ratings’ kitchens were out of use. The canteens in every ship were forced open and eatables consumed in lieu of cooked food. The morning news on the radio indicated that fully-armed destroyers of British Navy had already steamed out of Trincomalee harbour and were heading towards Mumbai to quell the Mutiny. The naval ratings’ strike committee decided, in a confused manner, the HMIS Kumaon had to leave Mumbai harbour while HMIS Kathiawar was already in the Arabian Sea under the command of a striking rating. At about 10.30 HIMS Kumaon suddenly let go the shore ropes, without even removing the ships’ gangway while officers were discussing the law and order situation on the outer breakwater jetty.

So the wooden gangway, six-metre-long was protruding out of the ship’s starboard waist when the ship moved away from the jetty under command of a revolver bearing senior rating. However, within two hours fresh instructions were received from the strikers’ control room and the ship returned to the same berth.

The situation was changing fast and rumours spread that Australian and Canadian armed battalions had been stationed outside the Lion gate and the Gungate to encircle the dockyard where most ships were berthed. Unfortunately, by now all the armouries of the ships and establishments had been seized by the striking ratings. The real danger was that the sophisticated arms with the ammunition were being handled casually by unscrupulous ships clerks, cleaning hands, cooks and wireless operators who had never handled these before.

The third day dawned charged with fresh emotions. Sardar Patel’s statement of assurance did improve matters considerably. However, an unruly guncrew of a 25 pounder gun fitted in an old ship, without orders from the strikers, fired a salvo towards the Castle barracks and blew off a large branch of an old banyan tree. It was clear that those bearing arms had started acting on their own without taking orders from their central striking command. The negotiations moved fast, keeping in view the extreme sensitivity of the situation and on the fourth day most of the demands of the strikers were conceded in principle.

Immediate steps were taken to improve the quality of food served in the ratings’ kitchen and their living conditions. The national leaders also assured that favourable consideration will be accorded to release of all the prisoners of the Indian National Army. By this time the British destroyers fully armed to go into action arrived and had positioned themselves off the Gateway of Indian Mumbai.

Luckily a very grave situation was tackled in a very timely manner and a real disaster was averted by the prudent action both by the strikers and the country’s leadership.


RIN mutiny gave a jolt to British

RIN mutiny gave a jolt to the British

The ratings mutiny in the Royal Indian Navy made the British realise it was time to leave India. Dhananjaya Bhat on the uprising that took place 60 years ago on February 18


RIN Mutineer’s Memorial in Mumbai

WHICH phase of our freedom struggle won for us Independence? Mahatma Gandhi’s 1942 Quit India movement or The INA army launched by Netaji Bose to free India or the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny of 1946? According to the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee, during whose regime India became free, it was the INA and the RIN Mutiny of February 18-23 1946 that made the British realise that their time was up in India.

An extract from a letter written by P.V. Chuckraborty, former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, on March 30 1976, reads thus: "When I was acting as Governor of West Bengal in 1956, Lord Clement Attlee, who as the British Prime Minister in post war years was responsible for India’s freedom, visited India and stayed in Raj Bhavan Calcutta for two days`85 I put it straight to him like this: ‘The Quit India Movement of Gandhi practically died out long before 1947 and there was nothing in the Indian situation at that time, which made it necessary for the British to leave India in a hurry. Why then did they do so?’ In reply Attlee cited several reasons, the most important of which were the INA activities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which weakened the very foundation of the British Empire in India, and the RIN Mutiny which made the British realise that the Indian armed forces could no longer be trusted to prop up the British. When asked about the extent to which the British decision to quit India was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s 1942 movement, Attlee’s lips widened in smile of disdain and he uttered, slowly, ‘Minimal’."

Strangely enough, like the chapattis which went all around India during the 1857 First War of Independence asking the nation drive away the British, it was 20 loaves of bread that started this so-called RIN Mutiny. It was a reaction against the high-handed behaviour by British officers of the RIN. On January 16, 1946, a contingent of 67 ratings of various branches arrived at Castle Barracks, Mint Road, in Fort Mumbai. This contingent had arrived from the basic training establishment, HMIS Akbar, located at Thane a suburb of Mumbai at four in the evening. The officer on duty informed the galley (kitchen) staff of this arrival. Quite casually, the duty cook, without winking an eyelid, took out 20 loaves of bread from the large cupboard and added three litres of tap water to the mutton curry as well as the gram dal which was lying already cooked before as per the morning strength of the ratings. On that day, only 17 ratings ate the watery, tasteless meals, while the rest went ashore and ate. When reported to senior officers present, this grievances practically evoked no response and the discontentment continued to build up.

These complaints continued to agitate the ratings and a naval central strike committee was formed on February 18, 1946. It was led by naval rating M.S Khan. Soon, thousands of disgruntled ratings from Mumbai, Karachi, Cochin and Vishakhapatnam joined them. They communicated with each other through the wireless communication sets available in HMIS Talwar. Thus, the entire revolt was coordinated. The unrest spread to shore establishments from the initial flashpoint in Bombay to Karachi and Calcutta, involving 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20,000 sailors.

The next morning, the Tricolour was hoisted by the ratings on most of the ships and establishments. The third day came charged with fresh emotions. Sardar Patel’s statement of assurance did improve matters considerably. However, an unruly guncrew of a 25-pounder gun fitted in an old ship, fired a salvo, without orders from the strikers, towards the Castle barracks and blew off a large branch of an old banyan tree. By this time the British destroyers fully armed to go into action arrived and had positioned themselves off the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

The RIN Mutiny was treated as a crisis of the empire by an alarmed British cabinet and Attlee Clement, ordered the Royal Navy to put down the revolt. Admiral Godfrey, the Flag Officer commanding the RIN, went on air with his order "Submit or perish".

The next day, the RAF (Royal Air Force) threatened the defiant RIN ships by flying a squadron of bombers low over Bombay harbour even as Admiral Rattray, Flag Officer, Bombay, RIN, issued an ultimatum asking the ratings to raise black flags and surrender unconditionally.

Both Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Sardar Patel successfully persuaded the ratings to surrender. Patel wrote, "Discipline in the army cannot be tampered with. We will want [the] army even in free India". Mahatma Gandhi, criticised the strikers for mutinying without the call of a ‘prepared revolutionary party’ and without the ‘guidance and intervention’ of ‘political leaders of their choice’.

The issue remained unresolved till the morning of February 23, when the hopeless situation produced a vote of surrender. The black flags went up at six on the morning of February 23.

The negotiations moved fast, keeping in view the extreme sensitivity of the situation and most of the demands of the strikers regarding welfare measures were conceded in principle. Immediate steps were taken to improve the quality of food served in the ratings’ kitchen and their living conditions. But these were followed up by court martials and large-scale dismissals from the service. None of those dismissed were reinstated into either of the Indian or Pakistani navies after Independence. :eek:

But the brave sailors had demonstrated to the British that they would rise in defence of their motherland, thus leaving the foreign imperialists little option but to quit.

Today a memorial to the brave RIN ratings, completed by the Indian Navy in 2002, stands in the busy Colaba area in Central Bombay. — MF

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 26 Apr 2011 22:47

Uty of Edinburgh Study on

The Anatomy of Dissent in the Military of Colonial India during the First and Second World Wars

Wonder why Indian utys cant produce such easy studies. Are they discouraged by eminent historians?

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby svinayak » 27 Apr 2011 00:14

Some passage show that how dissertation and excuses were common for the Indian soldier in the BIA and they were not really happy to go to the front line fighting for other nations war.

This should also answer the questions why the Indian soldiers were inside the BIA active but really reluctant to wage war.

This should explain also why MFG boycott of the war in 1942 is correct since the Indian nation was not ready.

For the majority of Pathans in the First World War, however, desertion was the

means by which a collective psychological rejection of the military was expressed. For,

despite the assertions made by David Omissi that individual Pathans chose to desert

because is was easy to evade colonial authorities in the lawless Hindu Kush83, letters

exchanged between soldiers show that desertion operated among corporate groups and as

a conversation between France and India. It was in this manner that, shortly after a group

of sipahis from the 40 Pathans crossed over to the German lines in February 1915, a flurry

of letters were exchanged by sipahis in France to those in India that appeared to relay

messages from the deserters, saying ‘We are now under the German King. You can

please yourselves. We are all well and happy’84. This correspondence in turn inspired

letters by sipahis in India claiming to have spoken to those who deserted85, or being

adamant that they were from ‘our regiment’ and ’25 [of us] have deserted to the

Germans’86. More importantly still, the transmission of this rumour, and the co-option of

it by different companies and battalions, resulted in a wave of desertions in India, to the

extent that 25 Malikdin Khel and other frontiersmen of the 55 Rifles at Thal deserted in

July 191587, 168 men of G and H Companies of the 28 Punjabis at Bannu deserted by

June88, and a mutiny at Kohat occurred that was justified by referring to the deserters in


Everyone says that four German ministers have come to Kabul and the Sultan Sahib [of

Turkey], and with them is an army of 12000 men. …These four ministers have come and

with them are four Afridis who deserted from the 58th Rifles [in France]. The remaining

Afridis [who deserted] are with the army at Teheran.90

Furthermore, in all these cases of desertion, the actions of Pathans were committed in

wilful disregard of the wishes of commanding officers or the punishments that they may

have enforced, as the Risaldar Major of the 17 Cavalry learnt to his dismay;

I got a letter from the Major Sahib in Africa saying “Tell the Afridis not to resign for their

people out here are doing excellent work, and after the war their claims will be

recognised.” But alas! Daim Khan and the others would not listen and off they went.91

Therefore, a dialogue inciting desertion took place, with each wave of letters not only

strengthening a collective bond among Pathans, but doing so at the expense of their

loyalty to their officers.

In contrast, Indian troops in North Africa during the Second World War did not

express a ‘particular’ solidarity with one another in cases of self-mutilation or desertion,

but in the collective fabrication of circumstances with which to obtain a return to India.

For by the end of 1942, as sipahis’ time in the deserts of Egypt had worn on whilst

accounts of hardship in India had grown ever more bleak, not only did many soldiers

begin to agree that all they ‘want is leave’92, but some in the 4/11 Sikhs were granted

extraordinary dispensation to return home because ‘our house has fallen in’, ‘one of my

[father’s] legs is fractured’ and ‘mother has turned blind’93. Yet, what seemed to the

military authorities to be genuine concerns caused by unforeseen circumstances, revealed

itself to be the work of soldiers’ ingenuity as the same formula for securing leave came to

be used by other sipahis throughout 1943. It was in this manner that, at the beginning of

the year, one soldier recounted how he had been told of ‘a really good excuse’ that

originated ‘from one of my friends’ in another regiment94; by April, the ‘excuse’ had been

used by another sipahi as he sheepishly informed his father that he had been portrayed as

‘a blind old man’ who was ‘unable to pay his land revenue of fifty bighas’95; and by the end

of 1943, so common had this deception become, that men of the 5/5 Maratha Light

Infantry had each submitted ‘10/12 applications’ of this type96. Indeed, it was perhaps

because the original formula had become so popular, that many sipahis began to amend

the ‘excuse’ in their petitions, so that some would add that they were also recently

married97, others that they had documentary proof of their parents’ illness98, and yet

more would combine all these elements as they enjoined their supposedly ill relatives to

petition on their behalf;

I reported the illness of my father to my Coy. Commander. I also added that I was poor,

while all my older brothers were well-off and wanted to confiscate all my heritage after my

father’s death and that I had a wife …You will please get an application sent by father to

our C.O. saying that he is an old man, dead nearly and requests the C.O. to send me back

very soon.99

Moreover, although the true object of all these applications was rarely in doubt by British

junior officers, who saw their men go on leave but never return, they found themselves

helpless to refuse their applications because of the mood that united those under their


I have sent off a bunch of lads on leave again lately [but] none of the former lot I sent off

have come back. …[Yet if I refuse] it breeds discontent, [and] one gets very tired of

making excuses and holding out false promises.100

Thus, among sipahis the transmission and motivation of the securing of leave on false

grounds, alongside acts of desertion and self-mutilation, relied on a level of corporatism

that was originally engendered by the Indian military hierarchy, but which in wartime

provided a psychological alternative to straightforward loyalty to one’s officers.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 27 Apr 2011 00:50

Three X-posts that led me to start this thread.....

paragtope wrote:
Atri wrote:http://bharatendu.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/subhas-chandra-bose-5/
what is your opinion, guys? this is part 4.. read all 4 parts before forming an opinion..

Quoting Bharatendu's blog:
a) without Moslem approval neither can Swaraj be won, and what is more, nor was it worth winning without their support;
b) the onus of Hindu-Moslem unity lied on the shoulders of the Hindus alone, and the Hindus should be willing to make unlimited and extreme sacrifices to that end;
c) only by adjusting to the Moslem sensibilities and removing their ‘misgivings’ was it possible to achieve that unity; and therefore
d) appeasing Moslems should be made a core and visible part of any program, which is what he conscientiously belaboured to do throughout his political career.

Bharatendu's paraphrasing of Bose's ideas, is clearly intended to be provocative. If the above arguments were abstracted, then in reality that is consistent with what Indic ideas represent. However, these ideas were hijacked and misrepresented by the left-leaning folks to isolate Muslim leadership and prop them against the idea of the Indian nation.

More recently, in the context of 1857 - you see the Maratha-Mughal alliance, being romanticized as a "Hindu-Muslim" camaraderie as well - again at a civilian and sub-altern level.

The point is that whether or not there was a Hindu-Muslim "civilian" unity, what mattered was that the leaders were united in a cause.

The liberal paradigm, whose focus is on "society" and "social" mindset have turned the argument upside down. We should not be judging the roles of Hindus or Muslims as individuals or the "society" they represented, but how their leaders viewed them. Did it even matter if the soldiers where Hindus or Muslims if they were fighting the English? Did the the leaders of the 20th century create an unnecessary hyphenation?

Consider the one day Anglo-Indian War of of February 18, 1946, that secured India's independence. However, it is the reaction of Indian leaders that is worth considering (the following is a quoted from Operation Red Lotus, pg. 305-306)
Jawaharlal Nehru quickly declared himself, ‘impressed by the necessity for curbing the wild outburst of violence.’[14] M.K. Gandhi in his speech on 22 February 1946 said that he had followed the events in India with ‘painful interest’, and scolded the ‘members of the navy’ for setting a ‘bad and unbecoming example for India’.[15] As the popularity and scale of the movement increased, there were slogans announcing India’s impending liberation. This was a clear vindication of Bose’s approach toward the English. Disturbed by the usage of the INA’s war cry, Gandhi said that, ‘to shout Jai Hind or any popular slogan was a nail driven into the coffin of Swaraj.’[16]

Muslim League’s Jinnah echoed the Congress’ sentiments and asked the navy to return to their ships and lay down their arms. Hoisting the Congress and Muslim League flags in addition to the Azad Hind flags, symbolised a unity that superseded the political divisions that were unfolding in India. Hindus and Muslims were united, but Gandhi was distressed. He viewed this combination of Hindus and Muslims for ‘violent action’ as ‘unholy’... Gandhi censured the ‘known and the unknown leaders of this thoughtless orgy of violence’.[17]

14. Anthony Read, David Fisher, The Proudest Day: India’s Long Road to Independence, pp.368-9, W.W. Norton & Company, 1998.
15. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, ed. Pran Nath Chopra, The Collected works of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Gandhi’s statement dated 22 February 1946 on the RIN Disturbances, pp.188-9, Konark Publishers, 1997.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.

The so-called "Hindu-Muslim" problem is not a flaw in "society." Society is not flawed... its polity can be... its leaders can be. 1857 altered my thinking... I stopped thinking "mutiny"... I thought "war." I stopped thinking "society", I thought "polity."


brihaspati wrote:I fully appreciate Parag Tope ji's pointers on the Navy uprising. This is what I have repeatedly drawn attention to on the forum - what is the position of a political ledership when they are forced to choose sides? This was what started the first rather acrimonious debate with me on the forum - where someone defended these Congress leaders' position from the "army/military dsicipline" and "oath" viewpoint.

But for me this was much more an indication of the inherent political position of the Congress luminaries like MKG (well then no longer formally a member but drafted in on AICC meetings when JLN felt weak) and JLN and Sardar. This shows the true colours.

This is the lesson they learnt in politics from the Brits. Never to appear to be defeated formally in a trial of force - but always appear to magnanimously gift or donate what is actually rightfully someone else's. Moreover the Naval uprising was heaven-sent for them. The Congress could then pose as the more moderate option to the Brits to whom the Brits could appear to "gift/donate" Indian independence. Moreover the Congress could raise the fear of what would the alternative be. for the Brits if they did not gift independence to the Congress.

A very strong role was played as an intermediary and third party matrix in which the players played - was the Indian big bourgeoisie. These were the people who really switched - or in fact maintained a hedged approach between the Brits (continued ties of dependent colonial capitalism and potential in the future world market), the Congress, and the working class movements together with peasant uprising in various parts (primarily in Bengal and to a lesser extent Punjab) which were not pan-Indian but still in their eyes something to be nipped in the bud. The more I study this apsect, it explains a lot of what really happened. It was the views, needs and future projections of this class that shaped who really came to power - within the Congress, or what direction Congress should take. In fact an interesting possibility arises about the real reason the Congress ministries actually resigned in 1937 - even if the formal logic was that of unilaterla declartaion of war. Rather it was the war which saved the working relationship between the Congress and big-biz.


paragtope wrote:
brihaspati wrote: Moreover the Naval uprising was heaven-sent for them. The Congress could then pose as the more moderate option to the Brits to whom the Brits could appear to "gift/donate" Indian independence. Moreover the Congress could raise the fear of what would the alternative be. for the Brits if they did not gift independence to the Congress

The way I look at the situation is as follows:

First condense the various "forces" into three.
1. The English
2. Indian "capitalists" who were "sharing" power/economy with the English
3. Indian nationalists (of varying hues)

The asymmetry between the first two is important to understand. The English propped up the Indian "capitalists" as a part of the consolidation of the domestic Indian trade and later opium trafficking. It was the inevitable outcome of English economic policies. The Indian capitalists - became large an ambitious enough to want India as their fiefdom.

Now consider two motivations for each of this category. Their primary motivation and an acceptable solution.

For the English the primary motivation was to continue ruling India. The acceptable solution was to have their "friends" in power.
For the Indian "capitalists", the primary motivation was to get rid of the English, but keep the nationalists out of power.
For the Indian nationalists, the primary motivation was to get rid of the English, and any Indian rule was an acceptable compromise.

This was the tri-polar game that had remained in status-quo throughout the 20s, 30s. Bose attempted to change that - but the defeat of INA brought the status quo back. What eventually broke the status-quo was February 18, 1946. Within one day, the English decided to leave India. They announced in a joint-session of parliament in London on Febraury 19. It was a done deal.

The stable solution to this game was Congress - since they were the least unacceptable compromise for all the three forces.

What was important though was the trigger - and a strong trigger at that.

Again the naval ratings, like the subhedars of 1857, needed strategic input to coordinate the 78 naval establishments and cooperation of the Indian army, police and air-force. Indian nationalistic leaders *had* to have been involved in the background. 1946 was *not* a mutiny. One of these days we will know the identity of the civilian leaders behind 1946. Gandhi did not name them and they never came forward to take credit. From their point of view the job was done and the English were out.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby Klaus » 27 Apr 2011 01:28

Could we get upstart film-makers to create a documentary based on the facts in this thread? The short film-documentary, preferably a Marathi or a bilingual (I would prefer Marathi-Kannada) could later be adapted to the mainstream.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 27 Apr 2011 02:15

A simple begining would be to get hold of pictures and facts and put on a slideshow and youtube it with commentary and spread it.

Next step have an small budget film maker make a movie and get it some viewers.

Meantime get parag to write the next book.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby Klaus » 27 Apr 2011 02:41

^^^ youtube is passe but still effective. Am thinking of an audio streaming approach through twitter, question is how to make it effective without being discarded!

Had something like this in mind: Link

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby gpati » 27 Apr 2011 09:35

ramana wrote:A simple begining would be to get hold of pictures and facts and put on a slideshow and youtube it with commentary and spread it.

Next step have an small budget film maker make a movie and get it some viewers.

Meantime get parag to write the next book.

ramana garu, CBSE IX or X class history textbook from 1999-2001 period had one or two pictures. I first learned about the incident through that book.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby Rahul M » 27 Apr 2011 09:42

thanks for this thread ramana ji. there were sporadic instances of revolt in BIA too, albeit in a much less organised manner.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 27 Apr 2011 22:53

This blog article has extensive info on the event:

Indian Naval Mutiny of 1946

Has lots of pictures and details of other units that showed sympathy. There was police firing on civilian crowds in Bombay.

Legacy and assessments of the effects of the Mutiny

The most significant factor of this mutiny, with hind-sight, came to be that Hindus and Muslims united to resist the British, even at a time that saw the peak of the movement for Pakistan. This critical assessment starts from events at the time of the mutiny. The mutiny came to receive widespread militant support, even for the short period that it lasted, not only in Bombay, but also in Karachi and Calcutta on 23 February, in Ahmedabad, Madras and Trichinopoly on the 25th, at Kanpur on the 26th, and at Madurai and several places in Assam on the 26th. The agitations, mass strikes, demonstrations and consequently support for the mutineers, therefore continued several days even after the mutiny had been called off.
Along with this, the assessment may be made that it described in crystal clear terms to the government that the British Indian Armed forces could no longer be universally relied upon for support in crisis, and even more it was more likely itself to be the source of the sparks that would ignite trouble in a country fast slipping out of the scenario of political settlement. It is therefore arguable that the mutiny, had it continued and confronted the threat of the RIN commander Admiral Godfrey to destroy the fleet, would have put the British Raj on the path of a maelstrom of popular movement which would have seen British exit from south-east Asia under very different circumstances than eventually happened.

Certainly, the forces at Godfrey's disposal was sufficient for him to carry out his threat of destroying the RIN. However, to control the result of those actions, compounded by the outpourings of the INA trials was beyond the capabilities of the British Indian forces on whom any British General or politician (including Indian leaders) could reliably trust. The navy itself was marginal in terms of state power; Indian service personnel were at this time being swept by a wave of nationalist sentiments, as would be proved by the mutinies that occurred in the Royal Indian Air Force. In the after-effect of the mutiny, a Weekly intelligence summary issued on 25 March 1946 admitted that the Indian army, navy and air force units were no longer trust worthy, and, for the army, "only day to day estimates of steadiness could be made". It came to the situation where, if wide-scale public unrest took shape, the armed forces could not be relied upon to support counter-insurgency operations as they had been during the "Quit India" movement of 1942. The mutiny has been thus been deemed "Point of No Return"

Also, the USA's historic hostility towards Imperialism certainly made it unlikely that Atlee's government would have sought solution by force. The involvement of the Communist Party also cast a very red tinge to this ultimately mass movement that, if confronted, had the potential to have been the flashpoint for the post-war powers, as was seen in Vietnam.

However, probably just as important remains the question as to what the implications would have been for India's internal politics had the mutiny continued. This had become a movement characterised by a significant amount of inter-communal co-operation. The Indian nationalist leaders, most notably Gandhi and the Congress leadership apparently had been concerned that the mutiny would compromise the strategy of a negotiated and constitutional settlement, but they sought to negotiate with the British and not within the two prominent symbols of respective nationalism—-the Congress and the Muslim League.. By March 1947, the Congress had limited partition to only Punjab and Bengal (thus Jinnah’s famous moth-eaten Pakistan remark).

In the after-effect of the mutiny, Weekly intelligence summary issued on the 25th of March, 1946 admitted that the Indian army, navy and air force units were no longer trust worthy, and, for the army, "only day to day estimates of steadiness could be made". . It was decided that; if wide-scale public unrest took shape, the armed forces (including the airforce- for Quit India had shown how it could turn violent) could not be relied upon to support counter-insurgency operations as they had been during the Quit India movement of 1942, and drawing from experiences of the Tiger Legion and the INA, their actions could not be predicted from their oath to the King emperor .

Reflecting on the factors that guided the British decision to relinquish the Raj in India, Clement Attlee, the then British prime minister, cited several reasons, the most important of which were: which were the INA activities of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which weakened the Indian Army - the foundation of the British Empire in India- and the RIN Mutiny that made the British realize that the Indian armed forces could no longer be trusted to prop up the Raj.

Although Britain had made, at the time of the Cripps' mission in 1942, a commitment to grant dominion status to India after the war; these events and views held in 1946 by the administrations of the Raj would suggest to the reader that, contrary to the usual narrative of India's independence struggle, (which generally focuses on Congress and Mahatma Gandhi), the INA and the revolts, mutinies, and public resentment it germinated were an important factor in the complete withdrawal of the Raj from India.

In the same breath, whether awarded any credit for India's independence or not, the events at the time show that the strategy of Azad Hind (derived from the embryo of the Free India Legion) of achieving independence from Britain by fermenting revolts and public unrests - although a militarily a failure.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 27 Apr 2011 23:11

A pak account:

Monday February 17, 2003-- Zil Haj 15 1423 A.H.

Ten days that shook the British Raj

Prof Khwaja Masud
The writer is a former principal,Gordon College, Rawalpindi

(On the 57th anniversary of the R.I.N. uprising)

Fifty seven years ago, on February 18, 1946, the sailors of HMIS (this Majesty's Indian Ship) Talwar, the communications training establishment on shore in Bombay struck work in protest against bad cooking. Although the first day of the uprising passed off as a peaceful hunger-strike, it was clear that the ratings intended to receive from the British a full redress of their multifarious grievances.

On February 19, the Talwar ratings spread the message of protest to the sailors of Fort and Castle Barracks. The naval trucks were driven around Bombay by jubilant, slogan-raising sailors. Quite obviously the mutineers wanted to popularise their cause and involve the people of Bombay in their struggle.

The anti-British, anti-imperialist sentiment spread swiftly and by evening more than 20,000 ratings from all shore establishments of Bombay joined the uprising. All the RIN (Royal Indian Navy) ships defiantly discared the Union Jack. Within 48 hours, the British lost control over a full unit of their armed forces in the sub-continent.

The uprising, assisted by rumour and radio which the technically educated rebels used to great effect, quickly spread to 74-ships, four flotillas and 20 shore establishments including Calcutta, Karachi, Madras, Cochin, and Vishakhapatnam. On February 20, to the utter consternation of the British, only 10 ships and two shore establishments remained unaffected. To begin with, it was a spontaneous uprising. On February 19 evening, a Naval Central Strike Committee was formed. Signal-man M S Khan was unanimously elected as its president and petty-officer telegraphist Madan Singh as its vice-president. Both were under 25. The fact that one was a Muslim and the other a Sikh was symbolic of the unity among all communities so far as the charter of demands reforming the RIN was concerned.

The Strike Committee was entrusted by the mutineers with the task of canvassing support among all the political parties. The lukewarm reaction of the Indian political leadership made the future of the rebellion uncertain and underlined a mood of growing despondency among the rebels.

Yet such was the revolutionary fervour that Bombay kept resounding with the slogans: Down with the British! Inquilab Zindabad! The sailors were singing Josh Malihabadi's verses:

Kam hai mera taghayyur, naam hai mera shaheed

Mera na'ara inquilab, inquilab, inquilab

On the morning of February 21, the guards opened fire at the ratings trying to escape from the castle Barracks and transformed a peaceful mutiny into an armed uprising.

Sporadic fighting continued throughout the day. There was only one casualty. While in Karachi the next day, during the gun-battle, casualties ran between five and fourteen ratings killed.

After regiments of the British army were deployed against the civilians in Bombay on February 22 and 23, the number of people killed rose above 250.

The RIN mutiny reached its climax on February 21, when the people rose in a veritable insurrection against the British raj. The Strike Committee shifted command to the RIN flagship Narba. All rebel ships manned guns, raised steam and began to hoot their intention of defending their comrades on shore.

The event was treated as a crisis of the empire by an alarmed British cabinet and the Labour Prime Minister, Attlee, ordered the Royal Navy to put down the revolt. Admiral Godfrey, the Flag Officer commanding the RIN, went on air with his order "Submit or perish".

The next day the RAF (Royal Air Force) threatened the defiant RIN ships by flying a squadron of bombers low over Bombay harbour even as Admiral Rattray, Flag Officer Bombay RIN issued an ultimatum asking the ratings to raise black flags and surrender unconditionally.

In the evening Sardar Patel appealed to the rebels to surrender on official terms. He also promised protection against victimisation -- a promise which was not kept.

Having lost all hope of getting any support from leadership, M S Khan requested the Strike Committee to surrender, but he was over-ruled. Since the issue could not be decided, the 36-member Strike Committee repaired to the Talwar to deliberate on the fate of the uprising.

The issue remained unresolved till the morning of February 23, when the hopeless situation produced a vote of surrender. The black flags went up at six on the morning of February 23.

The Strike Committee sent its last message to the people of the subcontinent: "A last word to our people. Our strike has been a historic event in the life of our nation. For the first time the blood of men in the services and the blood of the common people flowed together in a common cause. We, in the services will never forget this. We also know that you, our brothers and sisters, will not forget. Long live our great people!"

While Sardar Patel said: "They are a bunch of young hotheads, messing with things they had no business with."

History passed a contrary judgement i.e. but for the RIN uprising, the British rulers would never have been convinced that their days were numbered, and, that sooner they quit the subcontinent, the better for them.

The history books, both in India and Pakistan are silent about the magnificent fighters of the Talwar. No one can do justice to great events, unless he is blessed with an historic vision and perspective.

If the struggle for independence began in 1857, sparked off by the so-called Sepoy Mutiny, the coup de grace was delivered by the Naval Uprising.

Whereas the mutiny of Battleship Potemkin was immortalised by the great film-director, Eisenstein, unfortunately "Talwar" is still in search of someone who would do justice to the sailors who stormed heaven fifty-seven years ago.

Though it is correct to encompass history by dates, one can say without fear of contradiction that the British empire began to unravel from February 18, 1946. Lord Pethik Lawrence made a momentous declaration in the House of Lords on February 19, 1946 in which he announced the decision of the British government to send a special mission, consisting of himself, Sir Stratford Cripps and AV Alexander to resolve the constitutional dead-lock in India. This was the beginning of the end. On February 20, 1947, Prime Minister Attlee made the historic statement in which he declared the intention of the British government to quit India by a date not later than June, 1948.

In pursuance of the June 3 plan of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Indian Independence Bill was presented before the British parliament on July 4, 1947 and it was passed on July 18, 1947 without any dissent. The Indian Independence Act provided for the partition of India and the establishment of two dominions of India and Pakistan.

A moment comes and it comes rarely in history when the soul of a nation finds utterance. It came on August 14, 1947, but it was heralded on February 18, 1946 when the sailors stood up and took the destiny of their country into their hands, ushering in the dawn of freedom. Sahir Ludhianvi said about these immortal sailors:

Sublime was the passion that shook a moribund way of life.

Made the flower of hope blossom in the burnt-out wasteland,

The blood of soldiers flowed with that of the people.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 27 Apr 2011 23:12

Another blog note the date!!

When big guns threatened Bombay

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby jamwal » 27 Apr 2011 23:47

Thanks for starting this thread. I was really intrigued by teasers about the incident in Tatya Tope's Operation Red Lotus.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 03 Oct 2013 04:39

On Oct 2 Gandhiji's birthday time to reflect on the role of RIN muiny in getting Indian independence.

Karan M wrote:http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/local-blogs/dark-matter/7482540/Hero-or-puppet-Gandhi-s-role-in-India-s-freedom

Hero or puppet? Gandhi’s role in India’s freedom
Last updated 12:05 15/08/2012

Independent India is 65 years old today. It is as good a time as any to dissect M.K. Gandhi’s role in India’s freedom movement. He is revered by most people as a great hero who liberated over 300 million Indians and defeated a great empire. Albert Einstein paid tribute to the man: "Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

The reality, however, is different. In both Britain and India, Gandhi’s role is exaggerated. It suits the British because the Gandhian view is that he shamed them into leaving India. It runs parallel to another myth that after ruling India for 190 years the British became so tired of the responsibilities of civilising a difficult people that they simply wound up their empire and left.

In India, Gandhi’s party, the Congress, has purely selfish reasons for perpetuating such myths because it helps them stay in power. In fact, right from school onwards Indians are taught how a frail old man achieved freedom without firing a shot.

The mythmaking has taken absurd dimensions. There is not a town in India that doesn’t have a square, street or stadium named after Gandhi. In fact, most towns have all three. His face stares at 1.2 billion people from currency notes; in parks and government buildings his statutes abound; his gaze follows you like Big Brother from portraits that adorn railways stations and post offices. You get the picture – in India you can’t escape Gandhi.

Today, government radio and TV channels will be regurgitating the same old lies – how the “father of the nation” used the weapon of non-violence to defeat well-armed colonialists.

There is an ancient Hindu adage – Satyam Eva Jayate or Truth Alone Wins. Precise and true. Millions of Indians are waking up to the fact that Gandhi was not quite the apostle of peace he’s made out to be but rather a misguided man – perhaps a British collaborator – who caused untold harm to India, playing a key role in the breakup of a country that held together through cultural and religious continuity for at least 10,000 years.

The fact is Gandhi’s arrival on the stage upended India’s freedom movement. In the early 1900s, Indian leaders were looking at overthrowing the British by the 1920s, but Gandhi’s arrival delayed it by more than two decades.

Social media and the widespread reach of the Internet are taking this debate to the furthest corners of India. The good money is on Gandhi statues falling like those of Karl Marx in 1991 and Saddam Hussein’s in 2003.

Gandhi vs the revolutionaries

The Indian freedom movement was massive in its sweep. Armed revolutionaries were not only carrying on guerrilla wars at home, they even took the battle to England, where they assassinated British officials.

However, Gandhi severely reprimanded such acts, calling the Indian revolutionaries misguided people. "There should be no malice or vindictiveness in our resistance," he said.

But his statements condemning such acts only hurt India and Indians. One, it cooled Indian anger and two, it made it easier for the British to hang the revolutionaries. It is worth noting that while Indian freedom fighters experienced third-degree torture in jails on remote islands, Gandhi never got a scratch. For all his protests, fasts-unto-death, marches and sloganeering, he only got short-term sentences in comfortable, minimum security prisons, where he could leisurely churn out his theories on non-violence.

Out of Africa

Gandhi started off as a humble lawyer in South Africa. While his supporters argue that he evolved into a saint over the years, few are aware that he joined the ambulance corps of the British Army during the 1896 Boer War. So basically, the man who would go on to lead India’s freedom movement was denying the same freedom to the Dutch Boers.

Again in 1906, during the Zulu Rebellion against the British government, Gandhi served the British army as a stretcher-bearer. The native Africans were victims of colonialism just like Indians and Gandhi’s sympathies should have been with them. But he was a self-confessed Anglophile with a firm belief in the goodness of the British.

Changing perceptions

In India there is a growing body of scholars that now believes Gandhi was working for the British. Perhaps his Anglophilia convinced the British to prop him up an interlocutor between Indians and the British. While there may never be direct evidence to prove his links to British handlers, there is plenty of indirect evidence that he was serving Britain more than he was serving India’s cause. (There is little or no evidence Hitler ordered the genocide of the Jews, but six million Jews could not have been sent to the gas chambers without a directive from Hitler.)

After he returned from South Africa, Gandhi was in favour of continued British rule in India. In 1907 he wrote, “Should the British be thrown out of India? Can it be done, even if we wish to do so? To these two questions we can reply that we stand to lose by ending British rule and that, even if we want, India is not in a position to end it.” These are the words of a man who was literally thrown out a train for sitting in a whites-only coach in South Africa.

The supreme irony was that Gandhi - the apostle of non-violence and peace - urged Indians to enlist as combatants in the British Army. He set up recruitment camps to enlist Indians during the First World War. For his efforts he was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind (Caesar of India), British India’s highest civilian award. Other Indians opposed his war efforts. Among them was M.A. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, who said Indians should be put on the same footing as European British subjects before being asked to fight. And secondly, they said, Britain must guarantee independence after the war. Gandhi, however, waved aside all such conditions.

Indian revolutionaries were frustrated by the tardiness shown by Gandhi in demanding full freedom. His non-violence exasperated these leaders because it shielded the British from the wrath of the people.

British view

Let’s hear it from the British side. Clement Atlee, the British prime minster who decided to finally quit India, was very clear that Gandhi is not what he’s cracked up to be. After India’s independence in 1947, the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court asked Atlee about Gandhi’s influence upon the British decision to quit India. [b\Atlee had only one word to say: “M-i-n-i-m-a-l”. He said the principal reasons why Britain decided to quit India was the erosion of loyalty to the British Crown among the army and navy personnel.

Atlee’s statement is corroborated by Fenner Brockway, political secretary of the Independent Labour Party of England. According to him, the two major causes of Britain’s hasty exit from India were: “One, the Indian people were determined to gain independence. Two, was the revolt by the Indian Navy.”[/b]

It’s easy to see why the Indian Army was the deciding factor and the Indian Navy’s revolt was the tipping point. Over 1.5 million Indian soldiers had fought on the side of Britain in the First World War and 2.5 million Indians during the Second World War.

The UK's History Learning site says:
"When war was declared on August 4, 1914, India rallied to the cause. Offers of financial and military help were made from all over the country. Hugely wealthy princes offered great sums of money. Despite the pre-war fears of unrest, Britain, in fact, could take many troops and most of her military equipment out of India as fears of unrest subsided. Indian troops were ready for battle before most other troops in the dominions.

"They fought in most theatres of war including Gallipoli and North and East Africa. In all 47,746 were classed as killed or missing with 65,000 wounded. The Indian Corps won 13,000 medals for gallantry including 12 Victoria Crosses.

"Such was the cost of the war, that India’s economy was pushed to near bankruptcy."

The Indian support given to Britain’s cause surprised the establishment in Britain. The Times wrote: “The Indian empire has overwhelmed the British nation by the completeness and unanimity of its enthusiastic aid.”

Expectations were high in India the British would leave after the war. They were belied. As a British general told Gandhi: "My dear sir! India is British. We're hardly an alien power."

Gandhi now had little credibility with Indian revolutionaries.

Armed and dangerous

At any rate after the war, these returned soldiers – battle hardened and exposed to the freedom of Europe – were spread across India with nothing much to do. Basically, they were ready recruits for armed revolutionaries, who were engaged in pitched battles with the police and army.

Also, in December 1941, the Japanese Army defeated a British Imperial force comprising over 100,000 imperial troops; 30,000 of these were Indians. The Indian POWs were recruited by the armed revolutionary force formed by Gandhi’s mercurial political opponent Subhash Bose, who had long called for an armed revolution. Bose got help from Japan and Nazi Germany. (To be sure, Adolf Hitler was extremely reluctant about supporting an Indian because it clashed with his racist views.)

This ‘betrayal’ of the Indian soldiers rattled Britain. From that point on, no Indian could be relied upon to defend British interests. Desertions by troops became common.

The freedom movement also impacted the Navy, but the immediate cause of the revolt was something as simple as the right to use the swimming pool. Indians, even of commissioned ranks, were not allowed entry into the Navy’s swimming pools, whereas British sailors of any rank could use them.

The Navy’s Indian officers decided they had had enough. In February 1946 the Indian Navy declared an unprecedented strike. It quickly drew support from the Indian crews of all the 20 vessels anchored in Mumbai port; 20,000 naval ratings revolted.

This revolt, which very likely would have spread to the army, forced Britain’s hand. The writing was clear – thousands of miles from home, and in a new world order where the Americans and Russians were rewriting the rules of empire, safety was no longer guaranteed by Indian soldiers. Indian soldiers – divided by language and religion – had helped Britain build a vast empire. Mercenary Indian soldiers had fought for Britain in Afghanistan, Iraq, China, Turkey and Europe, and now these same soldiers had united to overthrow the colonialists. Wisely, albeit reluctantly, Britain decided the game was over.

At any rate despite Churchill’s rhetoric (“I have not become prime minister to preside over the demise of her majesty’s empire.”) the British had been preparing for such an eventuality. The reason was that unlike most other countries where they encountered Stone Age civilisations, in India they met a scientifically advanced people who were simply too numerous and too warlike to be subjugated forever.

In fact, way back in the 1700s, Warren Hastings, the first British governor general of India, had said with amazing foresight that Britain's empire was over the day the foundation was laid in 1757.

Unlike the romanticised Raj history – which many people are fond of reading – British rule in India was in actual fact a period of constant and brutal wars. The British never quite managed to achieve complete control or total peace in India, and there was hardly a single year in the 190 years of British rule when there wasn’t a rebellion somewhere in the country.

Another little known fact is that the British had to move India’s capital from Calcutta to Delhi because Calcutta had become a hotbed of revolutionary activity. This is yet another fact that has been glossed over even in Indian school books, which portray Gandhi as the lynchpin of the freedom movement.

(It is worthwhile to point out here that the Gandhi family, that has ruled India for almost 60 of the past 65 years, has nothing to do with Gandhi. Yes, they are not really Gandhis and are not related to Gandhi at all. Not only has this family stolen the glory of freedom from the real revolutionaries, they acquired his name too through a bizarre accident. It gets even more bizarre when you consider that the most powerful person in India, Sonia Gandhi, is in fact an Italian named Antonia Maino.)

In the narrative of this dynasty, there is no place for anyone other than Gandhi. India is Gandhi and Gandhi is India. In contrast, the real Gandhi would have begged to differ. He went around the world half naked whereas the current Gandhis are billionaires, who ride roughshod over democracy and donate millions of dollars in grants to Cambridge and Oxford scholars to write hagiographies that belittle Indian history that does not fit in the family’s narrative. It is a circular cycle that feeds on its own tail for sustenance – fake Indian secularists led by the Gandhi family get the history they want from obliging colonial scholars; the Indian liberals and Marxists then pick up this thread and it passes into school history books. The Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels couldn’t have done a better job.

Seeds of fundamentalism

Gandhi played a deplorable role in the creation of Pakistan. Here’s busting another myth – the people living in the current geographical areas of Pakistan did not - repeat did not - want a Muslim country. Muslims comprised a majority in those areas and hardly felt threatened by the Hindus. The demand for Pakistan was made by educated, upper middle class Muslims living in India’s eastern states.

In the 1920s Turkish nationalist Ataturk was involved in a power struggle with the effete Ottoman rulers and the Caliph of Istanbul. At this crucial juncture two Indian Muslim brothers, self-styled religious leaders, distributed pamphlets calling upon the Turkish people to preserve the Ottoman Caliphate for the sake of Islam. This was laughable because Indian Muslims had no locus standi in the matter. After all, who did they think they were, Saladin?

This wound up the nationalist Turks. Says Wikipedia: ‘‘Under Turkey's new nationalist government, however, this was construed as foreign intervention, and any form of foreign intervention was labeled an insult to Turkish sovereignty, and worse, a threat to state security. Ataturk promptly seized his chance. On his initiative, the National Assembly abolished the Caliphate on March 3, 1924.’’

The Caliph was exiled and the Ottoman dynasty, after a 700 year reign, ingloriously ended up in the dustheap. Indian Muslims should feel proud of their contribution to the demise of the Caliphate.

Opportunist at large

Now, here’s what our man did. In order to show solidarity with Indian Muslims, Gandhi launched a protest movement demanding the reinstatement of the Caliph. This was not just rank bad politics but it also shows his muddled side.

One, Gandhi, who apparently wanted freedom for Indians, did not care about freedom for the millions of Arabs who were seething under Ottoman rule. Secondly, he seemed indifferent to Turkey’s search for modernity. And finally, he fanned the flames of fundamentalism among Indian Muslims.

The average Indian Muslim did not care a rat’s tail about Turkey. Nearly 99 per cent of Indian Muslims are forced converts from Hinduism; they were - and most still are - patriotic Indians. But Gandhi encouraged Indian Muslims to be loyal to the Islamic cause. So basically while Turks were preparing for the 20th century, Gandhi was pushing Indian Muslims into the 17th.

The Indian nation is still paying a price for it. For, Gandhi’s Caliphate strategy gamed the Muslim mindset. From that point, extraterritorial loyalties enticed them. He pointed their compass away from the Himalayas to Mecca. Pakistan then became an inevitability.

The British, who were deeply suspicious of Indian Muslims, now discovered an enemy’s enemy and actively sought out key Muslim leaders in Project Pakistan. They assured Muslims that if they asked for an Islamic homeland and if the new country promised to be loyal to Britain, they could have Pakistan.

Even then, it was Gandhi’s ‘peaceful’ strategies that literally disarmed the Hindus and gave away Pakistan. In a way, while India has moved on and prospered, sending spacecraft to the moon, Pakistan is stuck in a cycle of unending violence. India’s Muslim leaders no doubt should take the blame for consigning 200 million people to the tragedy that is Pakistan, but Gandhi is equally culpable for their fates.

In fact, Jinnah, the architect of Pakistan, was a diehard secularist who repeatedly warned Gandhi about the dangers of flirting with fundamentalist Muslims. Jinnah despised fundamentalist Muslim leaders and stayed away from them. It was Gandhi’s arrogance and repeated snubs that left no choice for Jinnah to throw in his lot with Project Pakistan. He died a broken man.

Hello Hitler: Going too far

Gandhi's misguided approach can be seen in his advice to the British during the Second World War. As German rockets and bombs were raining down on them, he recommended the British use non-violent methods to fight Hitler. On December 24, 1938 he wrote, "How can non-violence combat aerial warfare, seeing that there are no personal contacts? The reply to this is that behind the death-dealing bomb there is the human hand that releases it, and behind that still is the human heart that sets the hand in motion. And at the back of the policy of terrorism is the assumption that terrorism if applied in a sufficient measure will produce the desired result, namely, bend the adversary to the tyrant's will. But supposing a people make up their mind that they will never do the tyrant's will, nor retaliate with the tyrant's own methods, the tyrant will not find it worth his while to go on with this terrorism."

Yeah, I can imagine the Nazis getting tired of committing genocide.

But that's not all. Gandhi then wrote an open letter to Hitler, asking the German leader not to go to war.

Do you still believe he was sane?

Stop the lies

On June 11, 1988 the Soviet Union in a momentous decision cancelled all history exams in schools across the country, affecting more than 53 million students. The reason: under President Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost the re-examination of Soviet history had gone so far that historians, social scientists and even Communist Party theoreticians were uncertain what was correct. “The guilt of those who deluded one generation after another, poisoning their minds and souls with lies, is immeasurable,” the government said. Remember, this happened at the height of Soviet power.

[b]In stark contrast, in both Britain and India no such introspection seems to be taking place. In Britain, the Raj is all about romance and nostalgia, about civilising a subcontinent. In India, it's all about Gandhi. It seems the elites in both countries want to sidestep the dubious aspects of their relationship.

Independence came through the indefatigable spirit of revolutionaries rather than the charisma of one man.


Rakesh Krishnan's articles have been used as reference at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the Centre for Research on Globalization, Canada; Wikipedia; and as part of the curriculum at the Anthropology Department of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. His work has been published by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi; Oped News, Pennsylvania; and Rossiyskaya Gazeta Group, Moscow, among others.

See is as Atlee says that RIN mutiny was a major factor in the British decision to quite, then why did the freedom struggle leaders opt for Partition? they had no role in the Independence decision yet agreed for the country to be divided.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 03 Oct 2013 05:23

Maybe the British ouster by an unsure armed forces is the real fear of JL Nehruji that made him neuter the Army while piling on useless arms and shiny toys(from the unreturned Sterling balances looted from India during WWII) for the other two services? The initial years India need to have a strong Army instead it was weakened and other forces were given marignally usefull toys? Yet it was the Army that stood firm in 1965 and redeemed its honor in 1971.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby Hitesh » 04 Oct 2013 02:43

It goes all along the lines I have been saying: Britain left India because it lost the loyalty of 2 million battle-hardened Indian army and they were in no mood for further British bullsh!t. When the Mutiny happened and it only resolved when the INC asked the IN sailors to stand down, it was became readily apparent that Britain no longer control India. INC controlled India by the support given by the 2 million man Indian Army and the Navy. Gandhi was just a front, a face-saving way for the British to leave on its terms. INC was only happy to oblige because it meant that INC could inherit the reins of power with minimal fuss. That is why they turned against Bose because Bose would have threatened that handover.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 29 Oct 2013 22:37

Finally a former Indian Army Chief Gen Shankar Roy-Choudary breaks ranks and acknowledges the contributions of INA and Subash Bose.

Philip wrote:Ge.Shankar Roychoudary has written a fine piece in the Deccan Chronicle (Op-Ed page) on legendary Vietnamese Gen.Giap who died recently,considered as possibly the greatest post-war military leader for defeating two colonial powers ,the French and US,with his army of peasant warriors.They faced the most advanced weaponry available at that time including chem-warfare (Agent Orange) and massive bombings by US B-52s but saw off both in full measure.Gen.Giap's book,'People's War,People's Army" is a classic and found in the library's of any military institutions worldwide. Gen.Choudary correctly says that we have not given enough importance to nationalist military leaders like Netaji and the Azad Hind Fauj,forerunners of the Viet Cong,and analysed the politico-military perspectives of both,saying that the time has come for a serious reappraisal of Netaji and the AHF and remains of the "utmost relevance"to the Indian Army in the 21st century.

The piece is yet to get onto the paper's page,will post in full when it arrives.

In my opinion INA was an offensive formation while Indian Army ethos was for defensive battles. It was re-organised from the post-1857 EIC armies by Lord Kitchener and was primarily a defensive formation with a limited Expeditionary force for colonial engagements.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 14 Feb 2014 01:08

Post RIN revolt:


A British Daily Mail cartoon dated 1946.


http://2ndlook.wordpress.com/2009/04/22 ... itish-raj/

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 30 Nov 2014 10:34

www.niticentral.com/2014/11/25/ajit-dov ... 46597.html

Ajit Doval on Subhash Bose and British India

Nov 25, 2014

Saswat Panigrahi

#indian freedom struggle
#Mahatma Gandhi
#Subhas Bose

NSA Ajit Doval reveals one of the best kept secrets about Netaji. (File Photo)

This is contrary to historiographers’ interpretations of Indian freedom struggle. It was not because of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, but because of Subhas Chandra Bose the British left India.

This would certainly be a great surprise to those who believe in Nehruvian interpretation of history. But the fact of the matter is that this was the truth.

It was one of the best kept secrets till date, thanks to Jawaharlal Nehru and his Congress. The truth has finally become official as National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval retold it.

It was the year 1956. Justice Phani Bhusan Chakravartti, then Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, asked visiting British Prime Minister Clement Atlee about why the Britishers left India. Citing the conversation, NSA Ajit Doval said in a recent Conference:

“Clement Atlee was asked that why did you (the British) leave India, after all you had won the Second World War. The burst was over since then. The Quit India Movement was a flop in 1942. So what was the tearing hurry in 1947 that you decided to leave the country immediately?

Then British Prime Minister replied it was (because of) the spark that Subhas Chandra Bose created among the soldiers of Indian Army. Atlee said, ‘It was the threat of Subhas Bose and the rise of Indian nationalism from which we understood that it was a matter of time’.”

Recall Royal Indian Navy Mutiny. The stories of Subhas Chandra Bose and INA’s fight during the Siege of Imphal and in Burma were seeping into the glaring public-eye. From the initial flashpoint in Bombay, the revolt spread to Karachi and Calcutta. There was similar resistance in Indian Army, thanks to the influence of Subhas Bose.

NSA Ajit Doval said:

“British understood that the revolt in Indian Army was something that they couldn’t have handled.”

The NSA explained how Subhas Bose’s Indian National Army (INA) is the sole example in the annals of warfare.

“Of the entire strength of 60,000, two-third soldiers of the INA died fighting the British. But still the soldiers kept on fighting for an Independent India.”

Exposing Congress’s dirty politics over freedom struggle, Ajit Doval further said:

“The soldiers of INA were neither rehabilitated nor integrated into the Indian Army.”

For Mahatma Gandhi, peaceful non-cooperation movement was a means to evict British from India. In sharp contrast, Subhas Bose took the path of armed struggle to throw British out of India.

Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution to freedom struggle can’t be discounted. But the fact of the matter is that the historiographers have deliberately ignored Subhas Bose’s decisive role in the freedom struggle. It’s time Indian history did justice with Netaji.

So finally BRF topics are hitting mainstream!!!

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby member_28840 » 30 Nov 2014 19:06

Good man that Ajit Doval.

The british had no reason to leave, they did fool us before after WW I on self rule.
I always have a good laugh when people tell me a bunch of half starved people on a hunger strike was the reason for the demise of the British Empire. Though salt march and hunger strikes were commendable, a potential full scale revolt by 2.5 million battle hardened men at arms is what caused them to leave just a year later.

The extent of the deception by the congies is just staggering.

Half the people who vote congress in India do so because they think "Sonia Gandhi... must be related to father of the nation Gandhi, let me vote for them."

I am very sure this is what Nehru intended when he found someone to marry his daughter so that his family could cash in on Gandhi's fame.

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby Bharath.Subramanyam » 27 Dec 2014 06:07

Are there books on RIN Revolt of 1946 which we can buy?

As Parag Tope ji says, how come suddenly many ships travelling in different parts of India changed their flag? Who was planning all this?

Are there bigger accounts or monographs in western universities on who planned and how it was executed etc?

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Re: RIN Revolt of 1946

Postby ramana » 13 Aug 2015 00:19


nageshks wrote:x posted from the Gandhi Ideology thread.

Roles played by Gandhi, Patel, Nehru & Azad in suppression of the naval mutiny. Also an examination of how the Congress treated the military mutineers of 1946. Article http://www.dailyo.in/politics/how-gandh ... /5567.html by Saswati Sarkar, Brihaspati & myself.

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