Do you know why 15th August was chosen for the independence of India? - Online History
Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

Do you know why 15th August was chosen for the independence of India?-Now that 75 years of India’s independence have been completed and the country is celebrating the elixir of independence. But one topic which is always in discussion is the controversy related to the independence and partition of India. 75 Years of Independence: Was the date of independence of India suddenly fixed? Let us know what is the truth.

 

Do you know why 15th August was chosen for the independence of India?
IMAGE CREDIT-BBC

Do you know why 15th August was chosen for the independence of India?


No Indian knew that 3 June 1947 would decide the date of India’s independence.

By the way, on 3 June 1947, the Viceroy Lord Mountbatten was to make a formal declaration of both the independence and partition of India. But what that date will be is not yet clear.

The Viceroy Lord Mountbatten was to announce the ‘3 June Plan’ i.e. ‘Mountbatten Plan’ (which also had a draft of the partition of India and Pakistan) on this day.

The night before his announcement, he held two meetings with Congress and Muslim League leaders, which are mentioned extensively in the book Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. He writes that then that night there was darkness and silence in the long verandahs of the Viceroy’s House.

What happened the night before the 3rd of June?


Lapierre and Collins mention in their book that on 2 June 1947, seven Indian leaders went to Lord Mountbatten’s room to meet the Viceroy to read and listen to the documents of the agreement. The prominent leaders of the Congress were Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Acharya Kriplani.

On the other hand, the leaders of the Muslim League, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, and Abdurrab Nishtar were present there, while Baldev Singh arrived as the sole representative of the Sikhs. Significantly, Mahatma Gandhi was not involved in this first meeting.

Mountbatten had decided not to have an unnecessary debate in this meeting. So he first asked Jinnah whether he would accept India as envisioned in the cabinet mission. Jinnah was not ready.

Lord Mountbatten then began to lay out a point of his plan:

  • In Punjab and Bengal, which are Hindu and Muslim-dominated districts, a separate meeting of their members will be called.
  • If any party wants the division of the province, it will be done.
  • Two Dominions and two Constituent Assemblies will be formed.
  • Sindh province will take its decision.
  • Referendums will be held in Assam’s North West Frontier and Sylhet as to which part of India (India or Pakistan) they want to go with.
  • Indian Rajwads (indigenous kings) cannot be given the option to remain independent. So they have to either join India or Pakistan.
  • Hyderabad will not join Pakistan i.e. it will be part of India.
  • If there is any problem or impediment to the partition then an independent boundary commission will be constituted.
  • Concluding his speech at the meeting, Mountbatten said, ‘I want you all to respond to this plan by midnight.
  • He hoped that before midnight the Muslim League, the Congress, and the Sikhs would all agree to accept the plan.

In the second meeting, Gandhi, and silence (Gandhi’s vow of silence)


Significantly, Mahatma Gandhi had refused to attend the first meeting related to India’s independence and partition because he was not in any Congress post at that time. But in spite of this, his existence was overshadowed by the whole assembly. Lord Mountbatten used to show great respect for Gandhi.

But at midnight there was another meeting and Gandhi was present in it. Mountbatten was apprehensive that Gandhi would not indulge in such a thing as to create a rift between the two.

Lapierre and Collins wrote that Mountbatten got up from his chair and moved quickly to welcome Mahatma Gandhi, but suddenly his steps stopped. Gandhi stopped them by placing a finger on his lips (indicating that today was his fast of silence). It did not take long for Mountbatten to understand that today is Gandhiji’s fast of silence.

Mountbatten then explained his entire plan. Gandhi took an envelope and started writing something on the back of it. While writing, Gandhi filled five old envelopes. Lord Mountbatten preserved those envelopes for generations to come.

Gandhi wrote, “I am sorry that I cannot speak today. I observe the vow of silence on Mondays. Taking the vow of silence, I have allowed it to be broken only in two situations. One, is when a high official has a vow of silence. There is an immediate problem with one, and the other when taking care of someone who is sick. But I know full well that you don’t want me to break my silence today. I have a few things to say but not today. If I again If I meet you, I will definitely say.”

 After this Gandhi got up from the meeting and went out.

Jinnah’s dogma and Mountbatten’s blunt


Lord Mountbatten had obtained the consent of the Congress and the Sikhs regarding independence and partition within the time limit, but Muhammad Ali Jinnah still did not agree. Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins have written extensively about this phenomenon.

He writes that Jinnah was still hesitant to say ‘yes’, but even Lord Mountbatten had made up his mind that he would continue to force him to say ‘yes’.

The conversation between the two went on peacefully, with Jinnah avoiding the situation, and then finally Mountbatten insisted, “Mister Jinnah I want to inform you that I will not let you ruin this plan of my partition and independence.

In the meeting to be held tomorrow, I will say that I have got the approval of Congress. He has expressed some doubts which I will clear. Sikhs have also expressed their concurrence.

Lord Mountbatten continued, “After that, I will tell the members to present that I had a very friendly conversation with Mr. Jinnah last night and we discussed the plan in detail and Jinnah sahib has personally reassured me. that he agrees to the plan.” Then I’ll look at you. I don’t want you to say anything at that time.”

“All I want from you, Jinnah, is to keep quiet at that time and express your nature by nodding your head, to show that you completely agree with me. If you don’t, then understand that I am in the future. I will be unable to do anything for you. Your entire game will be ruined. Everything will be over.”

Declaration of partition


And then as had already been decided. Lord Mountbatten held a meeting with Indian leaders for the formal acceptance of partition and independence, in which everything happened as he had explained to Jinnah the night before.

On June 3, 1947, at around 7 pm, all the major leaders formally announced their consent to the creation of two separate countries.

Lord Mountbatten was the first to complete his talk among the members present in the meeting. After Mountwaton, Nehru spoke in Hindi, “India is being divided amidst pain and torture, and its great future is being built.”

Then came Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s turn. He delivered the speech in English and ended the speech with the slogan of Pakistan Zindabad. His speech was later read out in Urdu by the radio announcer. The consent to partition was being announced through radio.

The next day Lord Mountbatten got a message that Mahatma Gandhi was going to hold a prayer meeting by breaking ties with the Congress leaders and those who could not say in the meeting at night, he would say it today.

Lapierre and Collins write in detail that there was a prayer meeting, but Gandhi said, “There is no use blaming Mountbatten for the partition. Look at yourself, shake your mind, then you will realize what happened.” Is.”

Suddenly the date of independence was fixed.


The next day Lord Mountbatten addressed the press conference and explained his plan, which was to change the geography and future of India. Everyone was listening attentively to the Viceroy’s speech. And the questions were pouring in.

Then a question came to which the answer was not fixed. The question was, “If everyone agrees that power should be handed over at the earliest, sir, have you ever thought of a fixed date?”

Dominic Lapierre and Larry Collins write in Freedom at Midnight, “Mountbatten began to race his mind as he had not set a date. But he believed that the work should be completed as soon as possible. Everyone was waiting to hear that date. There was silence in the hall.

Lapierre and Collins wrote that Lord Mountbatten later recalled the incident, saying, “I was determined to prove that everything was mine.”

Suddenly Mountbatten said in the press conference at that time that I have fixed the date for handing over power. After saying this, many dates started spinning in his mind.

That’s when he remembered the most glorious victory of his life when the Japanese army under his leadership surrendered. The second anniversary of the surrender of the Japanese forces was near.

Lapierre and Collins write, “Suddenly Mountbatten’s voice rang out and he announced that power would be transferred to the Indians on August 15, 1947.”

Suddenly there was an explosion in India from London, whose echo is still heard after 75 years, on the day when the date of independence of India was fixed and independence and partition were declared accordingly. No one thought that Lord Mountbatten would cover the history of Britain in India like this.

Finally, on the intervening night (midnight) of 14 and 15 August, India was partitioned and Pakistan came into existence on the world map as a new country. Now both the countries were independent but not united.

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