The Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service: Picturing India’s New Woman

Article


Vitali, V. 2019. The Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service: Picturing India’s New Woman. Women's History Review. 29 (7), pp. 1114-1148. https://doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2019.1674468
AuthorsVitali, V.
Abstract

Lack of research on the Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (W.R.I.N.S.) has led to the misconception that most of the women recruited into the Royal Indian Navy during World War 2 were either British or ‘Anglo-Indian’. In reality, by far the majority of the ‘Wrins’, as they came to be called, were Indian. In this paper I follow two parallel lines of enquiry. The first inspects the material stored in British archives - official navy documents, illustrated promotional pamphlets, photographs, memoirs, oral history and letters - to offer the first comprehensive account of the W.R.I.N.S.’ formation, operation and dismantlement. This provides the context for an examination of the visual material created to promote the service. More specifically, comparing the few surviving photographs of Wrins with Lee Miller’s photos of Wrens, I argue that W.R.I.N.S. material mediated a specific and, for the time, new set of discourses about Indian women, ideas about women’s role in a nation-in-making that may still speak to Indian women today.

JournalWomen's History Review
Journal citation29 (7), pp. 1114-1148
ISSN0961-2025
Year2019
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
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Anyone
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2019.1674468
Publication dates
Online17 Oct 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Oct 2019
Accepted20 Aug 2019
Copyright holder© 2019 Taylor & Francis
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Women's History Review on 17/10/2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09612025.2019.1674468.
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