Aug. 15, 1947: Indian Formally Partitioned Into Two Nations

L.A. Times, 1947
Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

NEW DELHI, Aug. 15 (Friday) (U.P.)—The proud British Empire of India died last night as the clocks struck midnight.
Two independent nations were born at the moment of its death—the dominions of Hindustan and Pakistan.

Adm. Viscount Mountbatten, great-grandson of Queen Victoria in whose name India was made an empire 70 years ago, ceased to be viceroy and became governor general of Hindustan.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah became governor general of Pakistan.

The new nations are to retain the status of British dominions until June. Meantime, they are to decide whether to remain in the British Commonwealth or go their own way.

Mobs Burn and Loot

As the new nations were born, hate-maddened mobs of Hindus, Sikhs and Moslems in the Punjab were killing, burning and looting.

But in great cities, in towns and villages all over this teeming subcontinent, joyous millions were flying the new flags of Hindustan and Pakistan. Bells were ringing. Great crowds of men, women and children were surging through such cities as Calcutta and Bombay, cheering in the wildest celebrations in contemporary history.

The celebrations started yesterday, worked toward their climax during the evening hours and promised to continue untiring far into today.
Mountbatten turned over power to Pakistan at Karachi, its capital, this morning.

Returning to New Delhi by plane, he at once promulgated a formal Indian independence proclamation, under which the Dominion of India, or Hindustan, took over all international agreements which had been held in the name of united India. Membership in all international organizations, like the United Nations, went to Hindustan by agreement; Pakistan will now seek membership for itself.

Assembly Holds Meeting

The old New Delhi Constituent Assembly, at its last meeting yesterday, unanimously elected Hindu Leader Jawaharlal Nehru leader of the Congress party and the new Constituent Assembly. At midnight he became automatically the first premier over a free Cabinet.

Nehru submitted his Cabinet to Mountbatten as the new governor general.

The Dominion Constituent Assembly met at 11 p.m. yesterday. Rajendra Prasad, president of the Assembly, made the opening address and there were two minutes of silence in memory of men who had died for independence.

Nehru moved a resolution embodying the oath of allegiance dedicating India to world peace and the welfare of all mankind.

At the stroke of midnight Assembly members took the oath of allegiance and Hindustan was a dominion.

Tomorrow the new government will be installed with Mountbatten as governor general. The new leaders take the oath of office at Government House at 8:30 a.m.

At 10 a.m. Mountbatten will drive to the Constitution Hall in a state coach with eight white horses, to hand over power in the name of the King-Emperor in a speech from the throne.

Prasad will reply and the national flag will be unfurled over the white dome. A 31-gun salute will hail the new dominion.

The United States, French, Netherlands, and Chinese ambassadors will be given special seats for the ceremony, with diplomatic envoys of other countries.
Loudspeakers have been installed so the tens of thousands around the building may hear the speeches.
In a special independence day order, the government will decree an amnesty for prisoners.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1947 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply. Note: Your IP is logged with your comment so a fake name and email address are useless.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.