ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Naval Uprising of 1946

A Forgotten Page of Indian History

Hope and Despair: Mutiny, Rebellion and Death in India, 1946 by Anirudh Deshpande,New Delhi: Primus Books, 2016; pp 122 (134 including preliminary pages),950.

The book Hope and Despair: Mutiny, Rebellion and Death in India, 1946 is a well-researched thesis. The introduction reveals a long-standing period of academic enquiry of this multifaceted account. The actual event lasted less than a week with the action set across Bombay, Karachi, Calcutta and a few other locations, and lasting over a year prior to independence. Apart from recent nostalgia and few rare poetic and cinematic references, Insurrection 1946 is a classically forgotten page in Indian history.

The preceding neglect gives this book its importance. Researchers would be delighted to lap up a comprehensive political, demographic and environmental study of the mutiny. Previous and recent narratives of this naval mutiny have called it an uprising, or even an insurrection. This book is based on work that refers to reams of archives, including those from the National Archives of India and involves a long period of research (starting from studies by the author when doing his BA course). The story does get influenced by Marxist scholarship, ranging from Sumit Sarkar to Sekhar Bandyopadhyay. In many places, young naval ratings have been given an extrapolated revolutionary zeal, similar to the cadres of the Indian National Army (INA). The author states, “It was evident that the Marxist interpretation of the Naval Revolt was radically different from the official one to which conservatives like my father subscribed” (p xviii).

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Updated On : 5th Mar, 2018
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