August 5, 1947: A gentleman from Tripura told me that after 2000 years of independent rule, Tripura has been officially ceded to India. I wonder how it must feel. Would they feel the pride of a united country or will they worry about the loss of identity…
August 7, 1947: Protests and bandhs have become a way of life. As the Independence for 'British India' draws nearer, the French India Student's Congress have called for a protest today, to call on France to quit India. And just like the British would have done, the French have issued a ban against it.
August 8, 1947:
Refugees gather in Delhi having fled the Punjab riots (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
August 9, 1947: Habib Hoosein has founded a 1200-seater single screen theatre in Bombay and since it is built in the year of India's Independence, he has named it 'Liberty'. Mark my word, Indian cinema is at the threshold of something very big.
August 9, 1947:
Indian High Commissioner S Runganadhan, with Leslie Hore-Belisha and governor-general of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, at a reception at India House, London. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
August 9, 1947:
One of 30 special trains leaving New Delhi Station which will take the staff of the Pakistan government to Karachi. Muslim League National Guards stand to attention in honour of the departure. 600 Delhi muslims were relocated to Pakistan following the partition. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
August 10, 1947: Five days to go to see a dream come true. The children are insisting on buying crackers and flags. Cannot blame them… most of the adults are exuberant. Our neighbour has been on a cleaning/washing spree for almost a month now. Welcoming new times with an auspicious cleansing of personal space.
August 10, 1947: The princely states are yet to make up their minds about which country they are going to accede to. Heard a rumour about a coup in Junagarh where the Nawab has been made a virtual prisoner in his palace. It was supposedly carried out by a group of pro-Pakistan Sindhi-Muslims.
August 10, 1947: People of India are discovering their potential in a hurry. The ban by the French authorities on the protest called by The French India Students Congress lead to spontaneous protests by the trade unions and Communist party of French India amongst others, thus leading to its withdrawal. The mass rally that was to happen yesterday, took place today and the main demand was the immediate merger of French India with the Indian Union.
August 10, 1947:
A special train takes 600 Muslims from New Delhi to the new Muslim republic of Pakistan. A railway official checks several crates of government documents before departure. (Photo by Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
August 10, 1947:
Muslim women boarding a train at New Delhi to travel to Pakistan. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
August 10, 1947: Today is the day for royal news. Apparently, the ruler of the state of Sandur, Raja Yeshwantrao signed the instrument of accession to the Dominion of India today. Talks are that he might merge his state with Madras in the coming years.
August 10, 1947:
August 10, 1947:
From left: Pakistani prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Fatima Jinnah and Lady Mountbatten at a reception for Jinnah given by the Muslim members of the Interior Government. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
August 10, 1947: Things are moving along in our brand new neighbouring country as well. The first session of the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was held today at the Sindh Assembly building in Karachi.
August 11, 1947: Walked by New Delhi station this morning… the crowd and the chaos has to be seen to be believed. One family was desperately trying to stack their luggage on a wheelbarrow.... a sense of sadness overpowers me...
August 11, 1947:
A crowd scrambling for their gift from the Maharaja Pratabsinh Gaekwar of Baroda on the occasion of his birthday. (Photo by Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)
August 11, 1947: Muhammad Ali Jinnah addressed the constituent assembly of Pakistan. His speech is supposed to have been about an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all. I have not heard or read the speech myself, but Jinnah is known to be secular and it is not difficult to imagine him speaking of a liberal secular country.
August 11, 1947: Khan Chacha who lives down the lane has refused to leave Hindustan. He says he is too old a dog to learn new tricks or find the energy to set up a new home in a strange country. His son tried to shout sense into him before leaving with his wife and children for Pakistan. Chacha is one of ours. So was his son… once upon a time.
August 11, 1947: Apparently the Maharaja of Manipur has signed the instrument of accession with India. Some of the reporters seem to think this is not as simple as it seems. We have got to wait and watch on this one.
August 11, 1947: Pakistan has adopted Amiruddin Kidwai's design of its National flag in the meeting of its constituent assembly. The Tiranga, India's National Flag was adopted in a constituent assembly sometime in July. It is based on the Swaraj flag of the Indian National Congress and is designed by Pingali Venkayya.
August 11, 1947:
A Dominion flag unfurls outside India House, London. (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
August 11, 1947: Just found out another titbit about our flag designer Pingali Venkayya. He is also called Diamond Venkayya because of his authority on diamond mining. He was the one who suggested the need for a National flag for India to Gandhiji, who in turn asked him to come up with a design.
August 11, 1947: A Hindu family of 14 arrived today from a village in West Punjab. They speak of terror and hunger and of immense sadness at having been turned out of their birth place. Their life was saved by a Muslim neighbour who warned them ahead of an attack and helped them escape. They say he is their messiah. One minute you despair of the human race, the next minute someone manages to restore your faith.
August 11, 1947: I have heard the song Dilli tere qile par honge nishaan hamare from the movie 1857 several times today. There was a time when all patriotic songs and films were banned. I am glad to be alive today, to be able to taste the joy of freedom.
August 12, 1947: Three days to go and the atmosphere is almost festive. After all, freedom is probably the biggest festival ever. The local sweet shop is giving out free sweets to everybody. Must go and pick some up…
August 12, 1947: The Maharaja of Kashmir has proposed a 'Stand Still' agreement with both India and Pakistan in order to postpone a decision on the problem of accession. Kashmir is going to be a bone of contention between the two countries. Will it be a case of paradise lost? Only time will tell.
August 12, 1947:
Jawaharlal Nehru, wearing his Harrow School Cadets uniform. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
August 12, 1947:
The streets of Calcutta. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
August 12, 1947: Youngsters in the coffee house today burst into a spontaneous singing of Vande Mataram. Everyone present joined them till the sounds echoed throughout the market. It felt right to be singing the 'National song' by Bankim Chandra with such spirit, such pride. Vande Mataram, Sujalam Suphalam, Malayajasitalam, Sasya syamalam, Mataram ... Vande Mataram
August 12, 1947: Delhi Dawn newspaper's office was set on fire today, apparently by Hindu Extremists. The Editor Altaf Husain's house was also burnt. Altaf Husain and his family have moved to Pakistan… but his collection of books is ash.
August 12, 1947: Malda District, or the city of English Bazaar as it is sometimes called, is the topic of much debate between India and Pakistan. It is to remain under the Magistrate of East Pakistan till the 15th of August. Its fate depends upon Sir Cyril Radcliffe's recommendation.
August 12, 1947: There was some arguments outside the university sometime ago. Some people believe that Sir Radcliffe's report is ready but is being kept a secret to avoid disputes and delays. The line that will divide the two countries is rumoured to be hasty to say the least.
August 12, 1947:
Viscount Mountbatten of Burma arrives home in London from his post as Viceroy of India. (Photo by JA Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
August 12, 1947: One more princely state is facing the confusion of accession. The Nawab of Junagadh Mohammad Mahabat Khanji III is said to be partial to Pakistan. Lord Mountbatten had suggested that only states that shared a border with Pakistan should choose to accede to it. Junagadh does not share any border with Pakistan and has a majority of Hindu population. Another case of wait and watch.
August 12, 1947: Another piece of disturbing news I just heard is that a large part of Nadia District has been given to Pakistan. One of my friends, a native of Ranaghat says the joy of freedom has turned bitter for him. Such uncertain times we live in, when we have to depend on a stranger to tell us where our loyalties should lie.
August 13, 1947: Tomorrow will be a day of celebration in Pakistan, a new country will be born. I hope we can settle down in peace and live as we have lived for centuries before the partition. As amicable neighbours - as friends even.
August 13, 1947:
Muslim women boarding a train at New Delhi in India to travel to the newly independent Pakistan. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
August 13, 1947: Speaking of friends, India is keen on establishing friendly relations with the Soviet Union. Vijayalakshmi Pundit presented her credential as India's Ambassador to Soviet Union today. We certainly are very enthusiastic about this relationship, considering our Independence day is still 2 days away…
Maninder from the next gully is getting married on the 15th of August. He says this way he will never forget his anniversary. His only problem is all the bands have already been hired for the Independence Day celebrations. Maybe he should just get married at the Lal Quila. He will get music, flowers, crowd and unprecedented bonhomie all for free…Bhopal
August 13, 1947: Tripura's queen, Maharani Kanchanprava Devi has signed a consent paper for the Merger Agreement to join the Indian Union. Tripura has been under princely rule for a very long time. After the death of the last king, a council of regency was formed headed by the queen to rule in the name of the minor prince. One of my uncles visited Tripura once and he has not stopped raving about its natural beauty.
August 13, 1947: India is going to have its first Chief Justice tomorrow. Sir Harilal Jekisundas Kania will hold the office. Prior to holding the office at the Supreme Court of India, he was the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, the predecessor of the Supreme Court.
August 13, 1947: Hamidullah Khan, the Nawab of Bhopal is said to be in talks with other princely states to remain independent, or form a union of their own. He does not wish to join either India or Pakistan. It has become such a confusing situation. I wonder how the map of India will look, once all these arguments and counter-arguments are through.
August 13, 1947: The Nizam of Hyderabad has issued a 'farman' announcing that on the transfer of power, his state would be resuming independence. It is rumoured that the Nizams are partial to Pakistan. Sometimes I think these rulers have no idea as to what they are saying. Hyderabad is surrounded by states that have acceded or are part of India. Almost 85% of its population is Hindu. To me the case seems pretty clear cut. Now we have to watch how the royals think.
August 13, 1947: Though the border disputes still manage to bring a sour note into everything, I hope it is a bright and happy day for Pakistan tomorrow. My best wishes are with them, who were mine not so long ago.
August 14, 1947: Muhammad Ali Jinnah becomes the first Governor General of Pakistan. Liaqat Ali Khan takes office as the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. And today, we are officially two different countries. Happy Independence Day Pakistan, may you prosper. The people must be beside themselves with joy and I can only imagine the din. Tomorrow I will find out. In just a little over 12 hours, India will be a free country. I will be a citizen of India. My leaders will be chosen by me. I will walk into any place I please, anytime I please. My hard work and talent will be utilised to bring progress to my nation. I think I am just about going to burst with pride. In the absence of Sarojini Naidu, Mrs Hansa Mehta presented the National Flag to the Constituent Assembly on behalf of the Women of India. As part of her speech, she said about the Indian women, "We have donned the saffron colour, we have fought, suffered and sacrificed in the cause of our country's freedom. We have today attained our goal. In presenting this symbol of our freedom, we once more offer our services to the nation." So true.
August 14, 1947: The children seem the happiest of the lot. I asked one 8-year old what was the significance of tomorrow. He said his father was buying him kites, his mother was making him sweets and he did not have to go to school. The innocent always have their priorities right. In the evening, the personal standard of the Viceroy of India, a Union Jack emblazoned with the Star of India, came down the flagstaff of the Viceroy's House for the last time this evening. The end of an era, the beginning of another.
August 14, 1947: Later in the evening the Constituent Assembly is scheduled to meet in the Constitution Hall and at the stroke of midnight, it will take over as the Legislative Assembly of an Independent India.
August 14, 1947: The excitement is too much for me to take sitting at home. I am off to walk the streets of my city, to share with my fellow Indians this moment of impossible joy.
August 15, 1947: This is it. We are a free country today. The roads are full of people celebrating and the tri-colour flutters proudly. Late last evening, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru gave a rousing speech to the Indian Constituent Assembly. Tryst with Destiny is what the speech is being popularly called. It was a speech that made us all look forward to tomorrow and be proud of our past.
August 15, 1947:
Jawaharlal Nehru on the occasion of his becoming the Prime Minister of of India, asking members of the Constituent Assembly to take a pledge of loyalty to the new state. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
August 15, 1947: The free India's National Flag was hoisted atop the Council House and the cheer that went up was like a hundred gun salute.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru making his speech on the midnight session of the Indian Parliament when the new self-governing dominion of India was formed. Chinese, American and Dutch diplomats are seated to the left. (Photo by William Stacey/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
August 15,1947: The Indian Constituent Assembly has taken over the reins of the country. As Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru said "We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again…"
August 15,1947: During the Swearing-in-Ceremony at the Viceregal Lodge as the new Government took the oath, the Tiranga was hoisted for the first time on the central dome at 10.30 a.m. The flag fluttered beautifully against the august sky.
August 15, 1947: A minor miracle happened during the first public Flag Salutation Ceremony that was held near the "War Memorial Arch". As the Prime Minister, unfurled the flag against a clear summer sky, from nowhere a rainbow resembling the colours of the flag appeared on the horizon. Is it a sign of the future to come? Inshallah … God willing …
August 15, 1947: Reports about the various ceremonies are coming in from across the country. One bit of interesting news is about the tallest flag mast ever built in India. The 47.5 meter (156 feet) mast at the Fort St. George, Madras is where the Indian Tricolour was hoisted for the first time in Madras. Flying high, literally.
August 15, 1947: People have come out on the streets everywhere. It is like a fair, only this time the entire country is participating in it. In Trivandrum, I hear, there was a great rally of bicycles, each one flying the Tiranga.
August 15, 1947: May India be blessed and may Indians fulfil all their dreams. Tomorrow is a day when another cherished dream will come true. Pt. Nehru will hoist the Nation Flag on the ramparts of the Red Fort. I plan to be there, and I am sure, so are a thousand others.
August 16, 1947: Today I woke up really early and went for a walk. I wished to breath the fresh morning air in my free country. About a few hundred people had the same idea. The park was inundated with laughter and a general sense of well being. One of my professors, Mr. Jain was in especially high spirits. He was telling anyone who was willing to listen about how on the 14th of August at the stroke of midnight,power transferred from the British empire to the government of independent India. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was sworn in as the first Prime Minister and the Constituent Assembly headed by its president Dr. Rajendra Prasad appointed Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British India, as the first Governor General of independent India.
August 16, 1947: The mood in New Delhi yesterday was ecstatic. Surging crowds of happy people from Delhi broke through the light police cordons at the Constituent Assembly. Though the formal ceremonies were cancelled, in their place was a spontaneous exhibition of joy and happiness which made August 15 an unforgettable day.
August 16, 1947: When Lord Mountbatten drove by in his State coach, he was greeted with cries of 'Mountbatten Zindabad' and 'Lord Sahib Zindabad' were heard along with the major and persistent shouts hailing Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and the Congress. The complete absence of any bitterness, hostility or untoward incidents were the highlights of one the brightest days of our lives.
August 16, 1947:
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, addressing the Indian Constituent Assembly at New Delhi as Viceroy of India. Present are Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly (left) and Lady Mountbatten, Vicereine of India (seated, right). (Photo by Devi/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
August 16, 1947: Lord Mountbatten, Viceroy of India, describes the 15th August as 'the most remarkable and inspiring day of my life'.He has accepted to become the Governor-General of India after independence, for a limited transitional period.
August 16, 1947: Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the Nation Flag on the ramparts of the Red Fort. Pandit Nehru wore a fawn coloured Nehru jacket, unfurled the National Flag and greeted the crowd with Jai Hind. He then went on to speak for about half an hour. He referred to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's dream to see the National flag unfurled at Red Fort in his speech.
August 16, 1947: I foresee a lot of trouble thanks to the indecision of many Princely states on which country they wish to accede to. Making India a prosperous and proud country that the world can look up to is going to be an uphill task. Maintaining peace is going to be a big worry. But all that is for tomorrow... today, we are free after more than a century. It is time to be happy and celebrate this beautiful day. Jai Hind!