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Mountbatten Plan and Partition of India

Accoringly Lord Wavell’ this apponitment as Viceroy was terminated and Lord Mountbatten took over charge as the new Viceroy on 24th march 1947. Mountbatten was the great grandson of Queen Victoria.

He had a good deal of influence in the political sphere of the Labour Government. He was also the Allied supreme Commander in South-East Asia during the Second World War. When he took over charge, communal riot had infected many parts of Assam, Punjab, Frontier Province and Bengal. Mountbatten manipulated the intricate political problem of India with super skill and strategy.

His wife also came to a great help to him. Mrs. Mountbatten could convince the Indian leaders that partition was the only solution to the Indian problem. She, through her pleasing manners, admiable disposition and personal touch won the heart of Indian leaders like Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel.

The communal riots in India were growing in intensity every day. Mountbatten was well aware that Jinnah’s ambitions rose with every moment of delay in partitionainf India. So, he became prompt to take quick action.

He held frequent discussion with Jinnah, Mountbatten tried to pursuade him to keep India united. Butr Jinnah remained adamant. He demanded a corridor right across the heart of India in order to link West Punjab and East Bengal. On the other hand the Viceroy accepted the plan of V.P. menon, a high official in the Viceroy’s Secretariat, which provided for the partition of India into two states and exclusion of non-Muslim areas in Punjab and Bengal from Pakistan.

Thus, accoring to Mountbatten’s plan the provinces of India were to be divided between Pakistan and India through a referendum. Accordingly West Punjab, Baluchistan, Sind, North-Western frontier Provinces, East Bengal and Sylhet district of Assam were incorporated into the new Muslim state called Pakistan.

The word ‘Pakistan’ came out of the combination of the initial letters of certain provinces of India. ‘P’ stands for Punjab, ‘A’ for Afghanistan, ‘K’ for Kashmir, ‘I’ for Indus region and ’stan’ Baluchistan. Jinnah dreamt of a Pakistan which was to contain the whole of the Punjab, North-Western Frontier, Sind and Baluchistan in the West and the whole of Bengal and the whole of Assam in the east.

But Mountbatten turned down these demands of Jinnah. He appointed a Boundary Commission to goods into the question of the settlement of boundary between India and Pakistan. He asked Mr. Cyril Radecliff to undertake the task immediately. It was Mr. Radecliff who prepared the map of partition and decided the boundary lines between India and Pakistan. These boundary lines are popularly known as the ‘Radecliff Lines’.

Mountabatten’s plan of partition came as a rude stock to Mahatma Gandhi. He opposed it till the last by saying, “………division of India can only do harm to the country’s future.” But Mountbatten avoided him cleverly and persuaded top Congress leaders like Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel who ultimately agreed to the proposal of partition, because the Congress had no alternative. The Muslim League under Jinnah also accepted the partition happily, because it provided the Muslims a homeland.

This historic pronouncement of partition was received with mixed feelings by the Indian public. The Hindus and the other nationalists denounced the partition as a sad and painful affair, while the Muslims were not fully satisfied, because their new state Pakistan was , as described Mr.Jinnah himself, the “truncated and motheaten Pakistan.”

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as the Frontier Gandhi, and his brother Dr. Khan Saheb, strongly opposed the decision of The Congress to accept the Partition. The Khan Brothers argued for creating a separate dominion called “Pakhtoon” for the Pathans of the Forntiers. But it was immidiately turned down by the British authority.

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