Cultural Environment and Contribution of RIN in and after World War II

Coomaraswamy Hall

A Conversation with Commodore Odakkal Johnson, Curator, Maritime History Society and Author of Book, “Timeless Wake : Legacy of Royal Indian Navy during World War II”

The maritime dimension is a unique medium of human interaction. While India has had a glorious maritime past, the present military maritime might of our nation has a foreign origin amidst an indigenous demography. The turn of the 19th to 20th century in India saw a very austere naval presence in the form of the Royal Indian Marine and its later avatar the Royal Indian Navy become the forerunner of what would grow into the modern Indian Navy.

‘Baba’ one of the narrators of “Timeless Wake” is a character based on Odakkal Mohammad, an Electrical Artificer in the RIN, 1944 – 46. The happenings in the later part of the war and events of February 1946 were first heard in childhood by the author from his father – ‘Baba’. These have contributed to the making of “Timeless Wake” as an enhancement over archival material. The impact of “Indian” naval might during World War II was significant. Indians saw action at sea in theatres from the North Atlantic to Singapore Strait and much of the Indian Ocean. Indian Officers and sailors left a living legacy as a wake that endures through the waters of time. Johnson will be in conversation with Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Shekhar Krishnan to share about the cultures of the Royal Indian Navy during and after World War II.