ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Flights to Freedom: Independence and the Indian Air Force

An emerging consensus among historians is that the Second World War played a key role in the decolonisation of South Asia. This article focuses on the Indian Air Force to point to the role of the war in the unmaking of the British Raj. Desperate to stem the tide of the advancing Japanese, colonial authorities were forced to permit ever larger numbers of Indians into the Indian Air Force. While this helped win the war it also placed India on the path to independence since it helped demonstrate that Indians were capable of defending themselves. After the war, serious unrest in the force, which took the form of a series of non-violent 'strikes' combined with wider trends of insubordination in British and Indian military forces contributed to the end of colonial rule in India.
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