1. Do you think the Royal Navy mutiny has an underrated legacy in the historical context? Substantiate your views. (10 Marks)
क्या आपको लगता है कि ऐतिहासिक संदर्भ में रॉयल नेवी विद्रोह की विरासत को कम आंका गया है? अपने विचारों की पुष्टि करें।
Candidates need to write about the RIN mutiny in introduction then highlight causes and why it has underrated in history. Then explain its significance and the legacy how it fastened the transfer of power.
On February 18, 1946, a section of non-commissioned officers and sailors known as Ratings, serving in the Royal Indian Navy, mutinied against the British Officers. The mutiny started as a strike by the ratings to protest against the hardships regarding pay, food and racial discrimination.
They suffered abuses by superior officers, arrest of a rating for scrawling ‘Quit India’ on HMIS Talwar, INA trials, use of Indian troops in Indonesia and the demand for their withdrawal were some of the reasons behind the RIN mutiny.
The commander of HMIS Talwar, F M King, reportedly addressed the naval ratings as “sons of coolies and bitches”, which inflamed the situation further.
Soon, ordinary people joined the ratings, and life came to a virtual standstill in both Bombay and Calcutta.
The strikers were inspired by the INA trials and the persona of Subhas Chandra Bose.
Why it was underrated:
The revolt, however, failed to see support from the Indian leadership who perhaps saw a mutiny, so close to independence, as a danger.
The leaders realized that any mass uprising would inevitably carry the risk of not being amenable to centralized direction and control.
476 sailors were discharged as a result of the mutiny. They were not taken into the Indian or Pakistani navies after independence.
Besides, now that independence and power were in sight, they were eager not to encourage indiscipline in the armed forces.
Legacy and significance:
It was immediately after this revolt that PM Atlee dispatched the Cabinet Mission to India, so it is also inferred that the mutiny hastened the process of transfer of power to India.
Mutinies are usually confined to a particular station, establishment or ship. However, this was the first instance when the entire service joined the revolt.
Most striking feature was that it was directed against the British government and not against superior officers – not a single officer, British or Indian, was harmed.
The RIN strike came at a time when the Indian nationalist sentiment had reached fever pitch across the country.
The RIN revolt remains a legend today. It was an event that strengthened further the determination among all sections of the Indian people to see the end of British rule. Deep solidarity and amity among religious groups was in evidence, which appeared to run counter to the rapidly spreading atmosphere of communal hatred and animosity.