Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer

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February 18, 1946
Start of the Royal Indian Navy mutiny, a turning point in the struggle against British rule over India. It starts when Indian sailors based in Bombay harbour go on strike against the British. The strike becomes a full-fledged revolt, encompassing 78 ships, 20 on-shore facilities, and 20,000 sailors in various ports. Though the revolt is eventually suppressed by force by the British, it becomes a decisive factor in the British decision to grant India independence. Realizing that it can no longer rely on colonial troops to enforce their rule over India, Britain concludes that it is better to make a deal with the bourgeois pro-independence organizations than to risk being overthrown by a popular uprising. The revolt also frightens the mainstream independence movements, who are working towards the partition of India, because it succeeded in unifying Hindus and Muslims in a common cause outside their control. Mohandas Gandhi issues a statement condemning the strikers for acting on their own without the “guidance” of their “political leaders” and calling their actions “unholy.”
February 18, 1961
The Committee of 100 stages a sit-down demonstration at the Ministry of Defence in London, to coincide with the expected arrival of the Proteus nuclear submarine on the River Clyde. Between 1,000 and 6,000 people take part.
February 18, 1965
Police attack a peaceful civil rights march in Marion, Alabama. One young marcher, Jimmie Lee Jackson, who is attempting to protect his mother and grandfather from being beaten by the police, is shot in the stomach by a policeman; he dies eight days later.

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For more information about people and events in Seeds of Fire, explore these pages: