Pramod Kapoor’s insightful book on the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) Mutiny of 1946 is a work of tremendous importance. It sheds light on a largely forgotten episode in the storied history of India’s Freedom Movement during which 228 people died, mostly civilians, and 1048 were injured. The book lays out the role played by the heroic naval ratings (non- commissioned sailors, the lowest rung of sailors in the RIN hierarchy) in Bombay in 1946 to confront the discriminatory actions of the British officers and staff in India against them. The mutiny erupted in earnest on the morning of 18 February 1946 when the ratings of HMIS Talwar, an important establishment that served as the Signal School for the RIN, revolted and went on hunger strike. But within 48 hours the mutiny spread with about 20,000 ratings posted in 78 ships in different Indian ports joining in solidarity with their fellow sailors by laying down their tools, striking work and readying themselves for a showdown with the British authorities.
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