18th Feb, 1946 - The Red Letter Day...

18th Feb, 1946 - The Red Letter Day...
(Naval, Military & Police Disobedience...)...facts, most of us did not know.....

Feb 18th is a very important day in the annals of Indian history. Writers often use the phrase, “Red letter day” to mark an important day. One such red letter day in Indian history is, 18th Feb, 1946.
On this day, naval officers of Indian origin, captured the naval ships, lowered the Union Jack flag & hoisted the then Indian flag, as a revolt against the British.
Through wireless network, they then contacted all the naval vessels from Karachi in the west, to Chittagong in the east & informed everybody of this deed. Immediately, all the vessels trained their guns back to port. The revolt spread like wild fire across the country for the first time, crushing the hold that the British had on India, in the last 200 years.
The alarmed British officers, asked the Royal Indian Army to march against the Navy. The army officers refused. The British administrators then asked the Air Force to get into action against the Navy. The officers of the Royal Indian Air Force also refused.
By then, the panicking British officers called for the support of the police against the Army, Air Force & the Navy. The Indian police constabulary also refused to come into action.
There was a total breakdown of the defence services & the constabulary, against the British rule in India. This sent jitters down the spine of the British administrators.
The very next day, on Feb 19th, Clement Attlee, Prime Minister of England, announced in the House of Lord’s, the British Parliament, in London, that they would be sending a mission to India to grant independence.
This immediate announcement, saved the day for the British in India. In this standoff between the officers & the services of the police, it was the mighty British that blinked first.
Ofcourse, the moral backing for all these Officers in Service & the Police Constabulary, was the 100 years of freedom struggle behind them, that gave them the strength to revolt unitedly on Feb 18th, a true "Red Letter Day" in the Indian freedom struggle.
Unfortunately, not much is known about this valiant day of the naval, military & police disobedience. We read about civil disobedience, but here was a case of naval, military & the police disobedience, that paralyzed the British hold on India.
The struggle that started in the 1800s, in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, Vishakapatnam in coastal Andhra Pradesh & rose to a crescendo in 1857 in the Punjab, Kanpur & central India, through the likes of Mangal Pandey, Rani Laxmi Bai & Tantya Tope, reached a culmination on 18th Feb, 1946.

Historical, isn't it? We are a little wiser now, aren't we?


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