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The Common CausePostcolonial Ethics and the Practice of Democracy, 1900-1955$
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Leela Gandhi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226019871

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226020075.001.0001

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Some Little-Known Mutinies Around 1946

(p.116) Four Inconsequence
The Common Cause

Leela Gandhi

University of Chicago Press

This chapter concerns the outbreak of anti-imperial global mutinies in the demobilization era, with a particular focus on the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny of 1946. It draws upon trial proceedings for the perpetrators of this outbreak, and analyzes its negative reception in the national and world media. The central claim is that the inconsequentiality with which the naval mutineers were frequently charged was in fact a motivated ethics of non-generativity or symbolic celibacy, protesting considerations of causality in moral and political procedure. Read sympathetically, the oddly self-trivializing practices (and testimonies) of the mutineers can be shown to obtain from the buried history of anticolonial mutinies in general, beginning with the revolt of 1857. Much like their predecessors, the rebels of 1946 refuted the perpetuation of empire within themselves (and thereto, the protracted conversion of colonial worlds into garrison states) performatively, by falling short of military regimen and the contingent culture of perpetual war.

Keywords:   inconsequentiality, moral causality, perpetual war, garrison state, anticolonial mutiny, demobilization, Royal Indian Navy, performativity, symbolic celibacy, 1857

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