This Day in History (20-Feb-1947) – Lord Mountbatten appointed as last viceroy of India

In October 1943, Lord Mountbatten became the supreme allied commander, South East Asia Command (SEAC), a position he held until 1946. He achieved the defeat of the Japanese offensive towards India and the reconquest of Burma. In September 1945, he received the Japanese surrender at Singapore. In 1947, Mountbatten was appointed as the Viceroy of India. He mainly administered the British withdrawal from India with minimal reputation damage and the transition from British India to independent states of India and Pakistan.

Mountbatten was fond of Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru and his liberal outlook for the country. Though Mountbatten emphasized on the united, independent India, he could not influence Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who demanded a separate Muslim state of Pakistan, despite being aware of the difficulties that would arise while meeting the demands.  Unable to sway away Jinnah from his modus operandi of a separate Muslim state, Mountbatten adapted himself to the changing situation and concluded that his vision for a united India was an unachievable dream. He then resigned himself to a plan for partition, creating the independent nations of India and Pakistan.

He worked towards setting a fixed date for the transfer of power from British India to the Indians. At the stroke of midnight on August 14-15, 1947, India and Pakistan attained independence. Mountbatten served as the country’s first Governor General for ten months until June 1948.

Mountbatten also developed a strong relationship with the Indian princes, who ruled those portions of India not directly under British rule. His intervention was decisive in persuading the vast majority of them to see advantages in opting to join the Indian Union. Thus the integration of the princely states can be viewed as one of the positive aspects of his legacy.

In 1953, Mountbatten returned to the Royal Navy, becoming commander of a new NATO Mediterranean command. Finally, he retired from the navy in 1965 as a Chief of the defence staff. In 1979, Mountbatten was murdered when IRA terrorists blew up his boat off the coast of County Sligo, Ireland.

 

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/february/20

http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/lord-mountbatten-15.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Mountbatten,_1st_Earl_Mountbatten_of_Burma

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/mountbatten_lord_louis.shtml

This Day in History (18-Sep-1948) – Operation Polo is terminated after the Indian Army Accepts the Surrender of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s Army

Spread over most of the Deccan Plateau, the Hyderabad State was established by Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah in 1724 after the end of the Mughal Empire. Under the rule of Mir Usman Ali, the Hyderabad state was very prosperous and had its own army, railway and airline network, postal system and radio network. In 1947, the then Indian Home Minister Sardar Patel requested the Nizam to join India, but he refused and instead declared Hyderabad an independent nation on 15th August 1947, the day Indian received Independence. The Indian Government then offered Hyderabad a Standstill Agreement, which assured the state that no military action would be taken against it. Unlike the other princely states which acceded to either India or Pakistan, Hyderabad only promised India that it would not join Pakistan. In June 1948, Lord Mountbatten proposed the Heads of Agreement deal which gave Hyderabad the status of an autonomous dominion nation under India. The deal was signed by India, but the Nizam refused to sign this saying that he either wanted complete independence or the status of a dominion under the British Commonwealth of Nations. While these negotiations were being carried out, communal riots between Hindus and Muslims had broken out in Hyderabad. The state was also busy arming itself and was receiving arms from Pakistan and the Portuguese administration in Goa.

As soon as the Indian Government received information that Hyderabad was arming itself and planning to ally with Pakistan, Sardar Patel described the idea of an Independent Hyderabad as “an ulcer in the heart of India which needed to be removed surgically”. This was when talks between India and Hyderabad broke down and India decided to annex Hyderabad under “Operation Polo” and “Operation Caterpillar”, or more commonly referred to as “Police Action”. The battle between India and Hyderabad began on 13th September 1948 and ended on 18th September 1948 after which the Nizam’s army surrendered to the Indian Army and Hyderabad became a part of the Union of India. It is estimated that 32 were killed and 97 injured on the Indian side and 490 killed and 122 wounded on the Hyderabadi side. Subsequentky Hyderabad state was merged with Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh in 1956.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/18th-september-1948-operation-polo-is-terminated-after-the-indian-army-accepts-the-surrender-of-the-nizam-of-hyderabads-army

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/hyderabad-indian-army-telangana-police-action-independent-india/1/309167.html