An Indian Civilizational Perspective

How India got its Independence – The Real Story

235x96_top-indivine-postUtpal Dutt, the actor who played comedian in one of most memorable role in Hindi Cinema in Golmaal, was arrested on December 27, 1965 by the Government of West Bengal under the Preventive Detention Act. The Government of Bengal and India feared he was “subversive”. Why? Because he wrote a play called “Kallol” (Sound of Waves) on an important chapter of Indian Freedom that is never mentioned in any official History book. The Royal Indian Navy Mutiny (or Naval Uprising) of 1946.

The Beginning

British were in trouble in 1946. Indians in the Armed forces were no longer trust worthy. The mutiny, that no one in our generation has ever heard of, did to the British colonization, what no other action could have done in the long struggle of 250 years.

Said Sir Stafford Cripps, intervening in the debate on the motion to grant Indian Indepence in the British House of Commons in 1947 (‘The Freedom Struggle and the Dravidian Movement’ by P.Ramamurti, Orient Longman, 1987)

…The Indian Army in India is not obeying the British officers. We have recruited our workers for the war; they have been demobilised after the war. They are required to repair the factories damaged by Hitler’s bombers. Moreover, they want to join their kith and kin after five and a half years of separation. Their kith and kin also want to join them. In these conditions if we have to rule India for a long time, we have to keep a permanent British army for a long time in a vast country of four hundred millions. We have no such army….”

In August 1945, Subhash Bose had reportedly died, while he collaborated with the Japanese and Hitler to fight the British. After the Second World War was over, three of the top officers of the Indian National Army (INA) – General Shah Nawaz Khan (Muslim), Colonel Prem Sehgal (Hindu) and Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon (Sikh) were put on trial at the Red Fort in Delhi. Their crime: “waging war against the King Emperor”

paper clipWhile Nehru was busy “defending” the three; he (Nehru), Gandhi, Mohd. Ali Jinnah, and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had come to a secret pact that if Subhash Bose was to enter India (as many knew he hadn’t died in 1945), he would be handed over and charged.

Unprecedentedly, these trials were very public. Due to the sympathy toward Netaji and the INA in general, there was an instant and large outpouring of passion and patriotism in Indians. These stories were being shared via wireless sets and through media in general on the ships, where the sailors who were being given bad treatment (lack of proper service facilties), got inspired to go out and join together in a strike and rebel against the government.

The Spread

The mutiny started on 18 February 1946 and by next evening a Naval Central Strike Committee was formed where Leading Signalman M.S Khan and Petty Officer Telegraphist Madan Singh were unanimously elected President and Vice-President respectively.

The spread of the Naval mutiny, which started in Bombay was complete – Karachi, Calcutta, Cochin and Vizag. 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20,000 sailors had been involved in the strike.

Seeing this Naval strike, the Bombay-ites did a one day general strike. Even the Royal Indian Air Force and local police forces joined in the other cities. The NCOs in the British Indian army openly ignored and defied the orders of the British superiors. In Madras and Pune, the Indian Army revolted in the British Garrisons.

Riots broke out all over the country. The mutineers were hoisting 3 flags – Indian National COngress, Muslim League and CPI. British people in cars were made to get off and shout “Jai Hind” by the mutineers. The Indian Tricolor was hoisted on many ships and establishments, by just the second day.

Such was the crisis that destroyers were gotten and stationed at the Gateway of India in Bombay to deal with the mutineers. Navies of Australia and Canada were also summoned.

The third day into this – the Royal Air Force flew an entire squadron of Bombers over Bombay Harbor to show support. Meanwhile the sailors had taken over HMIS Bahadur, Chamak and Himalaya and from the Royal Naval Anti-Aircraft School .

It was by that time that the decision to confront the Navy ratings was taken by the British and the sailors aboard the destroyer Hindustan were challenged. The sailors lost many lives and could not fight back much and in the process the ship Hindustan was destroyed.

Betrayal by Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah and Azad

Despite the extensive public support and support from all the wings of the Armed forces – Army, Navy, Air force, and even police – apart from unanimous coming together of people across religious groups at a time when the religious situation had been made really bad due to Partition debate and passion, ALL the National Leaders not only did NOT support the Navy Mutineers and their supporters but instead condemned them.

They were leaderless, surely, but they had achieved what NO OTHER generation and group of Indians had achieved in 250 years – turn the Indian Armed forces personnel against their Masters. Subhash Bose had imagined this kind of situation. Little did he know that from the failure of his own Army, would arise a rebellion and a will to fight amongst the rank and file of Indian soldiers hitherto fighting dutifully for the British, often against their own countrymen, to strike back.

The Mainstream politicians – from Jinnah to Gandhi, to Nehru to Maulana Azad – ALL let these final Freedom fighters down. They just abandoned them and except for preaching they did nothing to help them.

In midst of one of most unprecedented religious tension in the sub-continent, this rebellion and its genesis was a Godsend to reinforce religious and class harmony, which was forged instantly WITHOUT any machination. Yet, it was squandered…. probably deliberately by all those who promised us peace and harmony.

These people – the so-called Mainstream politicians spearheaded by Gandhi were interested in only their hold of their masses.. to see themselves being upstaged by a bunch of young upstarts with romantic patriotism in their eyes was unnerving. (James L. Raj; Making and unmaking of British India. Abacus. 1997. p598) Show of fake “constitutional process” and “principles” was a good way to brush them aside despite all they had been able to do.

Real Reason for Independence

So what were the three things which convinced the British that India could not be governed by force anymore?

Subhash Bose, Indian National Army and the Royal Navy Uprising..

When Justice P.B. Chakrabarty, the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court once asked the British PM Lord Clement Atlee – responsible for conceding India’s Independence, the all important question –

“what was the extent of Gandhi’s influence upon the British decision to quit India”

His response, with a smirk: “m-i-n-i-m-a-l!“

So, then why did they have to leave if the Quit India movement of 1942 had subsided and nothing major happened in the mainstream politics – then why did the British have to leave so suddenly in 1947??

Clement Atlee’s response:

Erosion of loyalty to the British Crown among the Indian army and navy personnel as a result of the military activities of Netaji

Such was the Congress party scared of the truth coming out that as late as 1965, a Marxist theater actor and writer Utpal Dutt was arrested for writing a passionate play on the VERY event that ensured India its Independence – the Royal Navy Uprising!

But as the story goes in our History books…….

Reference Links:

1. Royal Indian Navy Mutiny
2. Subhas Chandra Bose, the Indian National Army, and the War of India’s Liberation – Ranjan Borra, Journal of Historical Review, no. 3, 4 (Winter 1982)
3. Inside the actor’s mind

 

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20 Comments
  1. Parthasarathy says

    The Naval Uprising might be the last straw in the camel’s back but would it have done what it did without the pressure built on the British by years and years of non-violent struggle by the masses led by Gandhi and its ideals.. U cant expect a Britisher to answer that question truthfully .. And Did Gandhi ever promise that he would save Nethaji that you talk of betrayal and all.. Gandhi’s ideals and principles were different from Nethaji’s and Gandhi merely stood for his principles and what he believed in..

  2. Desh says

    So you are saying that for his so-called principles, if Gandhi conspired to give Netaji to British if he returned back to India after 1945, that was ok???

    That is the basic problem with our nation, we have men of fake principles who pretend that their heart beats for the nation and have no compunction in living for their own personal agendas!

    And one more thing, opposition to Netaji or the Naval Uprising had nothing to do with his “principles” – if it was then he would have at least appreciated the fantastic example of communal harmony and love (at the very least these young people had the sense to put both, ML and Congress flags up together) amidst utter chaos and religious riots. It was all about hold of the masses. Gandhi was an out and out megalomaniac. At least this chain of events clearly demonstrated it.

  3. Parthasarathy says

    The Naval Uprising might be the last straw in the camel’s back but would it have done what it did without the pressure built on the British by years and years of non-violent struggle by the masses led by Gandhi and its ideals.. U cant expect a Britisher to answer that question truthfully .. And Did Gandhi ever promise that he would save Nethaji that you talk of betrayal and all.. Gandhi’s ideals and principles were different from Nethaji’s and Gandhi merely stood for his principles and what he believed in..

  4. Desh says

    So you are saying that for his so-called principles, if Gandhi conspired to give Netaji to British if he returned back to India after 1945, that was ok???

    That is the basic problem with our nation, we have men of fake principles who pretend that their heart beats for the nation and have no compunction in living for their own personal agendas!

    And one more thing, opposition to Netaji or the Naval Uprising had nothing to do with his “principles” – if it was then he would have at least appreciated the fantastic example of communal harmony and love (at the very least these young people had the sense to put both, ML and Congress flags up together) amidst utter chaos and religious riots. It was all about hold of the masses. Gandhi was an out and out megalomaniac. At least this chain of events clearly demonstrated it.

  5. Sumit says

    It was never a secret that Gandhi never liked Netaji because of his own so called “principles”, but its really shocking to learn he actually made a pact with Brits…
    I knew we got our independence only because of WW-II because after the war it was really difficult for Brits to manage their home and outside together….. and Armed force revolt would have been really too much to handle at that time for them… which was inevitable ..

  6. Sumit says

    It was never a secret that Gandhi never liked Netaji because of his own so called “principles”, but its really shocking to learn he actually made a pact with Brits…
    I knew we got our independence only because of WW-II because after the war it was really difficult for Brits to manage their home and outside together….. and Armed force revolt would have been really too much to handle at that time for them… which was inevitable ..

  7. senthil says

    IT doesnt matter if gandhi lived by his ideals.. (Every person has his own ideals.. so as godse and so as nethaji) what is at discussion is that if those ideals helped india in getting freedom..

    The discussion is that gandhi is NOT responsible for freedom of india..

  8. senthil says

    IT doesnt matter if gandhi lived by his ideals.. (Every person has his own ideals.. so as godse and so as nethaji) what is at discussion is that if those ideals helped india in getting freedom..

    The discussion is that gandhi is NOT responsible for freedom of india..

  9. Anonymous says

    Nothing new! If the so-called mutiny had so much public support – across the armed forces and across religions – as this post is wishfully stating, why did everyone run back to Gandhi and Nehru after the British actually left. Where did the so-called President and Vice-President MS Khan and Madan Singh vanish? Why were all the forces happy to work with Nehru? If the movement had so much force, why couldn’t it dislodge Nehru?

    Like him or not, Gandhi was a force and he had more public support than any mutiny could ever even dream of having. Of course the British would never accept that an unarmed old man threw them out of the jewel in the British crown, or that he had anything more than “minimal” influence. But you’d rather believe them and their stupid stories.

    Here’s the truth…the millions of Indians who walked with Gandhi in the Dandi March were just stupid idiots with no principles; millions who cried when Gandhi died were just misled fools; the “story” about how Gandhi betrayed the nation is correct… and I’m Super Man.

    Wait… you didn’t know this??? YOU IDIOT!! Hahahaha.

  10. Anonymous says

    Nothing new! If the so-called mutiny had so much public support – across the armed forces and across religions – as this post is wishfully stating, why did everyone run back to Gandhi and Nehru after the British actually left. Where did the so-called President and Vice-President MS Khan and Madan Singh vanish? Why were all the forces happy to work with Nehru? If the movement had so much force, why couldn’t it dislodge Nehru?

    Like him or not, Gandhi was a force and he had more public support than any mutiny could ever even dream of having. Of course the British would never accept that an unarmed old man threw them out of the jewel in the British crown, or that he had anything more than “minimal” influence. But you’d rather believe them and their stupid stories.

    Here’s the truth…the millions of Indians who walked with Gandhi in the Dandi March were just stupid idiots with no principles; millions who cried when Gandhi died were just misled fools; the “story” about how Gandhi betrayed the nation is correct… and I’m Super Man.

    Wait… you didn’t know this??? YOU IDIOT!! Hahahaha.

  11. Anonymous says

    This play (directed by utpal dutt himself) was being staged during sangeet natak akademy’s nehru centenery (what an irony!) drama festival in 1989. Utpal Dutt wrote one another play on gandhi’s murder, in which he shows (with facts) this whole incident as a conspiracy by hinduist leader savarkar etc with support of sardar patel. In this series, one another docu-drama ‘itihas’, written by dayaprakash sinha, ‘unfolds’ the ‘lairs’ of congress leader’s- particularly nehru’s- opportunism during freedom movement.

  12. Anonymous says

    This play (directed by utpal dutt himself) was being staged during sangeet natak akademy’s nehru centenery (what an irony!) drama festival in 1989. Utpal Dutt wrote one another play on gandhi’s murder, in which he shows (with facts) this whole incident as a conspiracy by hinduist leader savarkar etc with support of sardar patel. In this series, one another docu-drama ‘itihas’, written by dayaprakash sinha, ‘unfolds’ the ‘lairs’ of congress leader’s- particularly nehru’s- opportunism during freedom movement.

  13. Anonymous says

    Gandhi Besharam, Gandhi Besharam..down with Gandhi anD the British imperialism!
    Gandhi screwed India up completely. The truth about Gandhi is that he screwed India up and is hated among many Sikhs. He along with Nehru (India’s then current prime-minister) and others abandoned the later freedom fighters. They had promised the Sikhs there freedom and dignity safeguard. They assured that the constitution would be framed if it’s freely acceptable to the Sikhs. They used the Sikhs for there advantage who sacrificed there lives more for the country. The Punjab state was torn apart because of him. The land where the Sikhs where born. but after the independence they forgot about everything and backed out. they spread dirt on the freedom fighters blood that had been spread with martyrs. the Sikhs weren’t given anything. the Sikhs were abandoned. and then when Indra gandi came, oh my god..i would have killed her is i had the chance. she ordered an attack on the holiest of holiest shrines of the Sikhs and holiest of holiest of any religion. Muslims shouldn’t be given any right to be part of the Indian government when they had committed many genocides of the Sikhs and of hinds too. the talk shouldn’t be for , oh that was then.. not now. NO! it was then and goes to now. they are of there blood and they all are the same. Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed his life in order to save the existence of the Hindu religion. you Hindu’s wouldn’t be alive if it were for his tremendous sacrifice. and yet you guys talk shit on us, have two faces, and commit genocides and don’t give us any rights and to be a part of the nation. on our passport or anything its written as hinds. there is no Sikh. what the hell..who do u think u are. there is one god and truth is his name and that with many paths we all are created by one creator of all creations. SIKHS WILL HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON THE WORLD ONE DAY SO THAT EVERY ONE APPRECIATES WHO WE ARE. I AM 17 N’ PROUD TO BE BORN IN THIS SACRED HONORABLE RELIGION AND TO CALL MYSELF A SINGHNI! LONG LIVE KHALSA…SAT NAM WAHEGURU…WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA, WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH!

  14. Anonymous says

    Gandhi Besharam, Gandhi Besharam..down with Gandhi anD the British imperialism!
    Gandhi screwed India up completely. The truth about Gandhi is that he screwed India up and is hated among many Sikhs. He along with Nehru (India’s then current prime-minister) and others abandoned the later freedom fighters. They had promised the Sikhs there freedom and dignity safeguard. They assured that the constitution would be framed if it’s freely acceptable to the Sikhs. They used the Sikhs for there advantage who sacrificed there lives more for the country. The Punjab state was torn apart because of him. The land where the Sikhs where born. but after the independence they forgot about everything and backed out. they spread dirt on the freedom fighters blood that had been spread with martyrs. the Sikhs weren’t given anything. the Sikhs were abandoned. and then when Indra gandi came, oh my god..i would have killed her is i had the chance. she ordered an attack on the holiest of holiest shrines of the Sikhs and holiest of holiest of any religion. Muslims shouldn’t be given any right to be part of the Indian government when they had committed many genocides of the Sikhs and of hinds too. the talk shouldn’t be for , oh that was then.. not now. NO! it was then and goes to now. they are of there blood and they all are the same. Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed his life in order to save the existence of the Hindu religion. you Hindu’s wouldn’t be alive if it were for his tremendous sacrifice. and yet you guys talk shit on us, have two faces, and commit genocides and don’t give us any rights and to be a part of the nation. on our passport or anything its written as hinds. there is no Sikh. what the hell..who do u think u are. there is one god and truth is his name and that with many paths we all are created by one creator of all creations. SIKHS WILL HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON THE WORLD ONE DAY SO THAT EVERY ONE APPRECIATES WHO WE ARE. I AM 17 N’ PROUD TO BE BORN IN THIS SACRED HONORABLE RELIGION AND TO CALL MYSELF A SINGHNI! LONG LIVE KHALSA…SAT NAM WAHEGURU…WAHEGURU JI KA KHALSA, WAHEGURU JI KI FATEH!

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  17. Karan says

    Somehow i feel that India has been going down Just after Mahabharata war, that is when lord Krishna left this world! India has nothing to speak of in Kaliyuga, it has been one disaster after the other. I don’t think we can get rid of this behemoth called corruption in another million years to come. Democracy is not at all suitable for India.. All are equal only by the fact that we have the same blood flesh and bones but all souls have different capacities or different mindset. This flawed logic of “All are equal” as in democracy will make sure that goons and lowlife thugs rule Bharatavarsham perpetually! Varnasrama dharma under an efficient king aka hindusim is the only solution where each one is given a place according to his merits not birth but for this all should shun ego and do their duties sincerely!

    1. Desh Kapoor says

      Hrishikesh – Well, the main reason for our decline is not that we don’t have Krishna anymore, but that we have assumed that Krishna was a freak phenomenon!

      Everyone has the right, ability and the duty to become Krishna! Only when we have clarity of vision can we do what is required, as opposed to what we think may be “good”.

  18. aniya khan says

    its amazing

  19. Ritvik Sharma says

    well see about NON corporation that movement alone would have thrown out the British earlier that Netaji ever came up I know about the mutiny very well but Gandhi would never use violence he agreed till just strikes he asked the sailors to go to their posts and congress will ensure they are given their demands but stop mutiny now that dint happen Gandhi became against the mutiny so did congress well what happened in 46 was what Gandhi intended to happen in non corporation just peacefully the major cause was Hitler the 2nd WW had weakened British they could not control all the mutiny and eroding loyalty for British but during Quit India the British could still control it but not 4-5 years later so the major cause in indian independence was WW2 Gandhi and then Bose because as soon as 2nd WW started all was ensured india will be indepenedent soon but Gandhi dint want that the movement splits between nehru and bose and we loose independence also dont discount what happened aftyer independence Gandhi’s fast onto death decreased the major civil ws in india which Bose sorry to say could never do

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