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THREE UPSURGES- WINTER OF 1945-46

THREE UPSURGES- WINTER OF 1945-46

The nationalist sentiment which reached a crescendo around the INA trials developed into violent confrontations with the authority in the winter of 1945-46.

There were three major upsurges:

  1. November 21, 1945- in Calcutta over the INA trials.
  2. February 11, 1946- in Calcutta against the seven-year sentence to INA officer Rashid Ali.
  3. February 18, 1946- in Bombay, strike by the Royal Indian Navy Ratings.

All three upsurges showed a similar three-stage pattern.

1.WHEN A GROUP DEFIES AUTHORITY AND IS REPRESSED:

UPSURGE 1 (NOVEMBER 21, 1945):

  • A student procession comprising some Forward Bloc sympathisers, Student Federation of India (SFI) activists and Islamic College students who had tied together the League, Congress and red flags as a symbol of anti-imperialist unity marched to Dalhousie Square- the seat of government in Calcutta.                            THREE UPSURGES- WINTER OF 1945-46
  • These protestors refused to disperse and were Lathi charged. They retaliated by throwing stones and brickbats. The police resorted to firing in which two persons died.

UPSURGE 2 (FEBRUARY 11, 1946):

  • The protest was led by Muslim League students in which some Congress and communist students’ organisations joined.
  • Some arrests provoked the students to defy Section 144. There were more arrests and the agitating students were Lathi-charged

UPSURGE 3:

  • (February 18, 1946): 1100 naval Ratings of HMIS Talwar went on a strike to protest against:
  1. Racial discrimination (demanding equal pay for Indian and white soldiers)
  2. Unpalatable food
  3. Abuse by superior officers
  4. Arrest of a rating for scrawling ‘Quit India’ on HMIS Talwar
  5. INA trials
  6. Use of Indian troops in Indonesia, demanding their withdrawal.                                THREE UPSURGES- WINTER OF 1945-46
  • The rebellious ratings hoisted the tricolour, crescent and the hammer and sickle flags on the mast of the rebel fleet. Other ratings soon joined and they went around Bombay in Lorries holding Congress flags threatening Europeans and policemen.                                  THREE UPSURGES- WINTER OF 1945-46
  • Crowds brought food to the ratings and shopkeepers invited them to take whatever they needed.

2. WHEN THE CITY PEOPLE JOIN IN:

  • This phase was marked by a virulent anti-British mood resulting in the virtual paralysis of Calcutta and Bombay.
  • There were meetings, processions, strikes, hartals, attacks on Europeans, police stations, shops, tram depots, railway stations, banks, and forcible stopping of rail and road traffic by squatting on tracks and barricading of streets.                                            THREE UPSURGES- WINTER OF 1945-46

3. WHEN PEOPLE IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY EXPRESS SYMPATHY AND SOLIDARITY:

  • While the students boycotted classes and organised hartals and processions to express sympathy with other students and the ratings, there were sympathetic strikes in military establishments in Karachi, Madras, Visakhapatnam, Calcutta, Delhi, Cochin, Jamnagar, Andaman, Bahrain and Aden.
  • There were strikes by the Royal Indian Air Force in Bombay, Poona, Calcutta, Jessore and Ambala. Patel and Jinnah persuaded the ratings to surrender on February 23 with an assurance that national parties would prevent any victimisation.                            THREE UPSURGES- WINTER OF 1945-46

ALSO READ : https://www.brainyias.com/attlees-statement-feb-20-1947/

Modern History

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