Navy’s tableau to depict 1946 uprising and indigenous aircraft carrier

The Navy’s tableau on this year’s Republic Day will depict the 1946 uprising by Indian sailors who went on a slow-down strike protesting against their living conditions and food, and a model of the indigenously built INS Vikrant aircraft carrier.

In February 1946, around 1,100 Indian sailors went on a strike in what came to be known as the Naval uprising, though it was called a mutiny then. The slow-down strike, in which the sailors slowed the pace of their work, began at HMIS Talwar, a shore establishment in Bombay, and the Royal Indian Navy Signal School, also in the same city. But the uprising quickly spread to the other parts of the country.

Angered by the strike, HMIS Talwar’s commander, F M King, reportedly called the Indian sailors “sons of coolies and bitches”, which infuriated them even more. By the next day more than 20,000 Indian sailors from Calcutta to Karachi joined the strike. It also led to an upsurge in nationalistic fervour within the armed forces just years ahead of India’s Independence. The strike was eventually called off after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s intervention.

Said Lt Mayank Bhagour, a naval aviation officer posted at the INS Rajali air station, “The forward part of the tableau will depict the 1946 Naval uprising that contributed to India’s struggle for Independence.”

The rear section, he said, would feature several initiatives of indigenous defence manufacturing from 1983 to 2021. “A model of the indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant with light combat aircraft in air will take centre-stage, flanked by models of the indigenous missile corvette Kora, a Visakhapatnam-class destroyer, and the frigate Shivalik on the left and the P-75 submarine Kalvari, the frigate Godavari and a Delhi-class destroyer on the right. Frames on the lower section of the trailer will depict construction of Naval platforms in India,” he said.

The INS Vikrant aircraft carrier is yet to be commissioned.

The Navy’s contingent will include 96 men, three platoon commanders and one contingent commander.

The Navy’s famous 72-men brass band will play nine tunes during the parade, including one named after the INS Vikrant. Vincent Johnson MCPO will lead the band for the 18th time as it marches down the Rajpath for a Republic Day parade. Johnson has led the Navy band at many events across the world, including in Sydney, Mauritius, St Petersburg and Edinburgh.

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