Question: In what ways did the naval mutiny prove to be the last nail in the coffin of British colonial aspirations in India? Explain.
Answer: The Royal Indian Naval Ratings or Naval mutiny was a revolt of Indian Naval servicemen against British higher officials. The earliest revolt was against racial discrimination by British officials but soon it turned into a rebellion and spread across India.
Reasons and aspects of revolt
- Abuse by higher officials
- Unsuitable food for Indians
- Racial discrimination with respect to payment
- Use of Indian troops in foreign lands
- Trial of INA officers
Role of Naval mutiny in ending British colonial aspirations
- Communal unity
The Naval mutiny showed that communal divide that British had planted in Indians was not enough to promote their consolidation of power. There was evident proof of national unity when it came to fighting British armed forces. Even the Muslim league supported the revolt.
- End of dedication by armed forces
The greatest strength of British government in India was dedicated support of army and police towards the government. This changed after the Naval mutiny. British could no longer rely on Indian soldiers to protect British interests. This was a great blow to future aspirations of British.
- Sympathy towards mutiny
The act of defiance expressed by the ratings was appreciated across the country, even from the some members of British political class. This created a sense of insecurity in British administration regarding their ability to hold power in India.
- Growing militant nature
The rise of INA was an indication of growing militant nationalism in Indian independence movement. The defeat of Axial forces could not stop the militant trend and instead it spread across British forces in form of Naval Ratings. This was an indication of military skirmish that could take place between British forces and Indian soldiers.
Thus, Naval mutiny in sense was an indication of what is going to follow in the future if independence was not obtained. The loss of British power after World War II further eroded their belief of retaining one of the prized possessions of the crown: India.