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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Freedom and Partition of India


Attlee's Announcement: (Setting the time limit for British Withdrawl)

  • Year: 20th February 1947
  • As per the announcement, the British would withdraw from India by 30th June 1948.
  • Wavell would be replaced by Lord Mountbatten as Viceroy.

Mountbatten Plan:

  • Year: 3rd June 1947
  • It declared that the transfer of power would take place by 15th August on the basis of dominion status to two successor states, India & Pakistan if the Legislative Assemblies of Bengal & Punjab voted in favor of partition.
  • It also provided for a referendum in the NWFP & Sylhet (Assam), and for setting up of a Boundary Commission.
  • The Indian States would be free to join any dominion they liked, India or Pakistan.

Indian Independence Act, 1947:

  • Year: 18th July 1947
  • The Act was passed by the Labour government of Clement Attlee after the Indian leaders agreed on the Mountbatten Plan, the last Plan for Independence.
  • The Bill was introduced with the objective of transferring power to the people of India & received Royal assent on 18th July 1947.
Among other things, the Act stated the following:
  • Pending of the adoption of a new constitution.
  • The boundaries between the two dominions shall be determined by Boundary Commission headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, hence also known as Radcliffe Commissions. 
  • The existing Constituent Assembly of each Dominion would function as Dominion Legislature.
  • Each Dominion shall be governed by the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935.
  • For each of the new dominion, a new Governor-General was to be appointed by the British-Crown. Further, the same person could be Governor-General of both (Mountbatten became the first Governor-General of free India & Jinnah the first Governor-General of Pakistan).
  • The Office of the Secretary of State was abolished & his work was to be taken over by the Secretary of Commonwealth Affairs. 
  • The words 'Emperor of India' & 'Indian Emperor' were dropped from the Royal style & titles.

Independence Day:

  • India woke up to the dual reality of Independence & Partition.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of free India.
  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became the Home Minister.
  • Thus, was a born a new nation, ending nearly 200 years of British rule in India.
Fig: Map of Partition of India



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