Though the initial flashpoint was in Bombay, the revolt spread in a matter of hours throughout British India, from Karachi to Kolkata. It involved 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20, sailors. The strike found support amongst the Indian population, though it was condemned by the Congress and Muslim League. Only the Communist Party of India supported it. The strikers gave way on getting no support from the Congress and Muslim League. Despite assurances by the Congress and Muslim League of no victimisation, widespread arrests were made followed by court martials and large-scale dismissals from the service.
None of those dismissed was reinstated into either the Indian or Pakistani navies after independence. During the Puja celebrations of , the Indian Naval ratings a number of them had been members of the All India Students Federation during their student life posted in Karachi contacted the puja committee to allot them some time for a variety programme.
A slot and time was readily allotted to them. This programme was held on Saptami, the second day of the puja. At that time, there were five shore establish-ments in Karachi, namely, H. Himalaya-Gunnery School, H. Chamak-Radar Training School. All these establishments were situated in an island called Manora. At the far south of Karachi city was the Keamari Jetty. Manora was separated from the city by a small inlet of the Arabian Sea. The first resentment among the Indian ratings surfaced during August , when their application to hold a cultural programme on August 7 to commemorate the death anniversary of Tagore was rejected by the Commanding Officer.
They were however allowed to pay their respects to him in their class room. Their first task was to raise funds for the INA Relief Fund, but they never intended any sort of mutiny, as the island was separated from the mainland and sufficient arms were not available to sustain such a mutiny.
The news of the Bombay Mutiny reached the Naval establishments and Karachi city on the morning of February 19 through newspapers and was received with tremendous excitement and suppressed jubilation at both places. Group discussions in whispers started among ratings about the course they should take. At lunch-break the Sailors Association members of Chamak gathered and decided to hold a meeting of all establishments at the sea beach in the late evening. At the meeting all participants agreed to join the mutiny but there was no unanimity at the beginning. After long discussions consensus developed for February 21, following which a six-point programme was chalked out; it read:.
To assemble at Keamari Jetty at To take out a procession through the streets of Karachi in support of the Bombay ratings. To invite the Dock workers of the Keamari Jetty to join in the procession.
Complete abstention from work. The ratings of Bahadur to march over at Chamak and ratings of these two establishments to proceed jointly to Keamari. Ten ratings were selected to represent their respective establishments. It was decided that work should be carried out as silently as possible. After deciding to assemble on the same spot again on February 20 at 8. The day of February 20 broke without a pipe call to wake up the ratings. The morning papers, particularly the Sind Observer, carried the news of the dramatic turn the Bombay Mutiny was taking. At this moment the Commanding Officer broke the news of the Bombay uprising officially to the ratings and warned of the consequences for following suit.
Meanwhile, the ratings of Hindustan were ordered to leave Karachi on the morning of February 21 and by lunch-time they drove away all the officers, both British and Indian, from their ship and took full control of the ship themselves. Thus Hindustan got the distinction of heralding the mutiny in Karachi. These slogans were:. Ratings of Himalaya—Unite 2. Ratings of Chamak—Unite 3.
Ratings of Bahadur—Unite 4. Hindustan Zindabad 5. Down with British Imperialism 6. Give blood to get freedom 7. We shall live as a free nation 8. Tyrants, your days are over. It was decided that the ratings of Himalaya would proceed from their own jetty while the ratings of Chamak and Bahadur would proceed from the Manora Jetty. The ratings of Himalaya should have with them the ratings of Hindustan and Travancore and all would assemble just outside the Jetty at about It was also decided that a complete hunger strike will be observed in solidarity with the rebels of Bombay.
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18 February Mutiny against the British began in the Royal Indian Navy
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