, India’s premier independent newswire, has completed its first documentary titled ‘The Last Push’ on the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny of 1946.
Put together by the award-winning TV journalist and documentary maker, Sujay, it will be the first of a series of short films on the forgotten episodes of our freedom struggle as the country moves towards the Amrit Kaal of India’s Independence.
Using forgotten footage sourced from the Imperial War Museum and Cambridge University in the UK and press clippings from India and Pakistan, and juxtaposing this material with expert narrations of this story of valour, ‘The Last Push’ reconstructs the 72 hours of the mutiny, which was inspired by the bravery of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) and hastened the end of the British Raj.
The film is being premiered at a select gathering in the Films Division Auditorium, New Delhi, in the presence of Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister for Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises, and Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, on January 25.
The screening will be followed by a discussion featuring the film’s director, Sujay, and two experts on the RIN Mutiny: Pramod Kapoor, author, ‘1946: Royal Indian Navy Mutiny — Last War of Independence’, and founder-publisher, Roli Books, and Salil Mishra, Professor of History, School of Liberal Studies, Dr B.R. Ambedkar University, Delhi.
On February 18, 1946, ratings of the Royal Indian Navy went on strike in Bombay, brought down British flags and over three days took control of 78 ships and 21 shore establishments. The impact of the mutiny was felt across British Indian military formations. For 48 hours the jewel in the crown of the British Empire was seen tottering out of control before command was restored. But from the time of the mutiny the British finally knew that they had no choice but to quit India.
Yet, 75 years after independence, the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny of 1946 is barely a footnote in the history of India’s freedom struggle.
Underlining the historical significance of the brave act, Sandeep Bamzai, Managing Director, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, IANS, said: “The RIN Mutiny hastened Britain’s exit from India after the post-War government in London realised it could no longer count on the support of the Armed Forces, which had been imbued with the spirit of independence. A spontaneous rebellion, it had its ripple effects in the Armed Forces across the country.”
Bamzai added: “Immediately after the Mutiny, British Prime Minister Clement Atlee announced the Cabinet Mission to India to negotiate the details of the transfer of power.”
Recalling his association with the making of ‘The Last Push’, Sujay said: “One may have been a lifelong student of history, but even then, there are events, even from near contemporary times, that somehow seem to have not been in focus. When I started researching the subject as a filmmaker, I realised there are untold stories, relevant and credible ones, that need to be remembered to fully understand how India achieved her freedom.”
Sujay shared one of his telling discoveries from his research on the Mutiny.
“While doing the film I came across the strike committee’s last message to the people of India which ended with the acknowledgement that it was for the first time that the blood of the men in the services and the people flowed in a common cause and that they would never forget this,” Sujay noted.
“I found it ironic that it was the people who actually forgot the bravery and sacrifice of those young men in uniform,” he added.