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 (29-Dec-1930) – Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s presidential address in Allahabad introduces the two-nation theory

Sir Muhammad Iqbal remains in India both a controversial and revered figure. To nationalists he is the misguided intellectual progenitor of Pakistan; but to many lovers of poetry he is one of India’s greatest 20th century poets, perhaps next only to Rabindranath Tagore. Though he wrote in both Urdu and Persian, it is mainly upon his Urdu poetry that his fame rests. In India he is also remembered as the author of the popular song Tarana-i-Hindi  – ‘Saare Jahaan Se Achcha’. In 1922, he was knighted by King George V, giving him the title “Sir”.

Having pursued higher studies in Lahore, by 1905 he was off to England. Prior to his departure, he had already become famous as a poet for such nationalist poems as Naya Shivala- ‘The New Temple’ and Tarana-i-Hindi. Western society and German vitalist philosophy had a major impact on him. He envisaged that if Muslims could recreate the Islam for modern-times, they could offer a model for the East and to the world in general. He believed that a polity created by Muslims in India could serve as a rallying point for Muslims throughout the world and the beginning step towards a global brotherhood. This is the background to his 1930 speech at the Allahabad session of the Muslim League where the first geographic outlines of this state were demarcated.

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal delivered the presidential address at the 21st Session of the All India Muslim League held from 29-30 December, 1930, in which he declared: “I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluschistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North West India”. Largely due to the course of the political events that ensued, Iqbal has ended up becoming the poet-patriot of Pakistan. After the creation of Pakistan, nine years after Iqbal’s death, Jinnah and other League politicians would publicly credit Iqbal as one of the visionaries and founders of the new state. The Pakistan government officially named him a “national poet”. His birthday ‘Iqbal Day’ is a public holiday in Pakistan.

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_29

http://www.allamaiqbal.com/publications/journals/review/aproct09/7.htm

https://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/British/Iqbal.html

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Muhammad_Iqbal

http://www.poemhunter.com/allama-muhammad-iqbal/biography/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Iqbal

This Day in History (26-Oct-1947) – Maharaja Hari Singh agrees to the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India

Gulab Singh founded the state of Jammu and Kashmir after purchasing the entire territory along with people between the rivers of Ravi and Indus from the East India Company in 1846, for 75 lakh. Hari Singh, the great-grandson of Gulab Singh was the ruler at the time of India-Pak independence. Hari Singh, in the weeks after August 15, 1947, gave no indication of giving up his State’s independence, unlike other 570 princely states in the region. It proved to be the root cause of present day Kashmir conflict. Md Ali Jinnah wanted to meet Hari Singh through the excuse of visiting the beautiful valley to recover his lost health. A state with such a vast muslim population makes clear point to come in Pakistan & Jinnah was over sure about this. His shock found no limit when he knew  that Hari Singh does not want him in Kashmir  even as a tourist. Pakistan then decided to force the issue, and a tribal invasion to drive out the Maharaja was initiated. In the early hours of October 24, 1947 the invasion began, as thousands of tribal Pathans swept into Kashmir. Their destination: the state’s capital, Srinagar, from where Hari Singh ruled. The Maharaja appealed to India for help.

On 25 October, V. P. Menon, a civil servant considered to be close to Patel, flew to Srinagar to get Hari Singh’s nod for Kashmir’s accession to India. By signing the Instrument of Accession, on October 26, 1947, Hari Singh agreed that the State would become a part of India. On 27 October, India’s 1st Sikh battalion flew into Srinagar.  Srinagar was soon secured from the Pakistani invaders but the battles in the larger region were just beginning. When Jinnah learnt of the Indian troops’ landing, he reportedly ordered his acting British commander-in-chief General Sir Douglas Gracey to move two brigades into Kashmir, who refused the request. Pakistan finally did send troops to Kashmir but by then Indian forces had taken control of nearly two thirds of the state. Gilgit and Baltistan territories were secured by Pakistani troops. Meanwhile Hari Singh fleed Srinagar with a convoy of 85 cars and wealth of 500Cr. Loaded in 8 trucks and finally settled in Mumbai. Finally, a United Nations (UN) ceasefire was arranged. After long negotiations, the cease-fire was agreed to by both countries, and came into effect at the end of 1948.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/26th-october-1947-maharaja-hari-singh-agrees-to-the-accession-of-jammu-and-kashmir-to-india

http://www.jammu-kashmir.com/documents/harisingh47.html

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-03-14/news/37713654_1_karan-singh-jammu-and-kashmir-omar-abdullah

https://somensengupta.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/a-nemesis-called-kashmir-a-sin-of-hari-singh-and-we-pay-the-price/