On 3 June 1947, Lord Mountbatten then Governor General of India, declared a plan to break India into two piece – India and Pakistan. It was the failure of Congress led by Jawahar Lal Nehru as the country was divided on the basis of religion. Pakistan would be for Muslims, and India is for Hindus. However, this has never happened since 1947 till now.
The Hindus, residing in Pakistan have faced a lot and still facing – as a result the only 3 percent Hindus are left in Pakistan. While the Muslims population in India have grown by leaps and bound and cross over 18 percent and even more. The politics of India have allowed them to be appease just for the sake of their vote bank.
Let’s go back to history which begins since February 20, 1947, Clement Attlee, the then British Prime Minister, declared that the British would quit India in June 1948. This announcement comes in the wake of as countrymen united and stood up against the British oppression, the mighty British Empire began to crumble and finally decided to quit India after two hundred years of its imperialism.
The Britishers were still wanted to run India directly or indirectly, therefore, they chose for the transfer of power even as it was agreed between then leaderships Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru were prominent amongst them.
Secondly, the British would relinquish control either to some form of central government or in some areas to the existing provincial governments if the constituent assembly was not fully representative, i.e., if the Muslim majority provinces did not join the assembly.
It is vital to substantiate that Muslim League-led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, had boycotted the Constituent Assembly after Cabinet Mission had rejected the idea of Pakistan. The ‘Direct Action’ call given by Muslim League leaders and the inability of the Congress leadership to stop violence and negotiate a better deal with Pakistan had eventually provided MA Jinnah with an upper hand in the talks with the British.
Earl Louis Mountbatten, the last Governor-General of India, who arrived in India on March 22, 1947, had his task cut out – to liquidate the British empire and quit India as soon as possible. Initially, he was given time until June 1948 – not 1947 – to complete his mission. But, in a hurry to get back to Britain to advance his naval career, Dickey decided to prepone the transfer of power by ten months, to August 1947. To achieve this, he worked out a plan after having long discussions with Congress and the Muslim League leaders.
As Mountbatten’s efforts to keep India united failed and with increasing communal riots in the country, he asked Ismay, his Chief of Staff, to prepare a plan for the transfer of power to responsible hands and the division of the country. It was discussed that the entire plan was to be kept secretive, and none of the parties in India should have any information before the plan was finalised.
However, even before the announcement of the plan, Jawaharlal Nehru, who was staying with Mountbatten as a guest at his residence at Simla, had a look at the plan, who rejected the plan in totality. Mountbatten then asked VP Menon, the only Indian working in his personal staff, to present a new plan for transferring power.
On May 31, Mountbatten returned to India and met the Indian leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Acharya Kripalani, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Liaqat Ali, and Baldev Singh. After both Congress and Muslim League leaders approved the plan without raising any objections. Later, Mountbatten discussed it with Gandhi and convinced him saying partition was the best plan under the circumstances.
On 3 June 1947, Lord Mountbatten announced a plan offering a key to the political and constitutional deadlock created by the refusal of the Muslim League to join the Constituent Assembly formed to frame the Constitution of India.
Under this Plan, the British would immediately transfer power to two successor authorities — the Congress and the Muslim League and the plan envisaged dividing British India into two dominions – India and Pakistan on a territorial-cum-communal basis. The idea of Mountbatten was to divide India but to retain maximum unity, to which Congress readily agreed.
Accordingly, the country would be partitioned, especially the two major British provinces – Punjab and Bengal so that a limited Pakistan would emerge. The initial plan said that each of the 11 provinces of British India and each of the 559 princely states would be allowed to join India or Pakistan or remain independent.
Thus, the League’s position on the creation of Pakistan was tactically conceded by the Indian National Congress in exchange for the Congress’s position on the unity of the future Indian state, especially on not granting independence to princely state, but be a given to choose to join either India or Pakistan. The idea was to keep Pakistan as small as possible.
A Boundary Commission headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe was constituted by the British government tasked to delineate the boundaries between India and Pakistan in the provinces of Bengal and Punjab. Radcliffe, who had never previously set foot in India, was assigned to create artificial boundaries between the two countries. Apparently, he had worked with Mountbatten earlier, and since he had never been to British India, he was considered unbiased. Both Nehru and Jinnah agreed to the appointment, which the Partition Council formally approved.
On July 5, 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act, which was based on the Mountbatten Plan. The Act that was implemented on August 15, 1947, provided for the creation of two independent dominions of India and Pakistan with effect from August 15, 1947. The Indian Independence Act was the legislative culmination of the Mountbatten Plan, and the passing of the act is considered as the official declaration of Indian Independence.
According to the act, the two new dominions – India and Pakistan-were to have a governor-general responsible for the effective operation of the Act. In addition, the constituent assembly of each new dominion will have to exercise the powers of the legislature of that dominion, and the existing Central Legislative Assembly and the Council of States were to be automatically dissolved.