Major Events Pre-1950

1947: Partition in the Army by S K Sinha

S K Sinha
S. K. Sinha

Lieutenant General Srinivas Kumar Sinha, PVSM, born 1926, joined the Indian Army in 1943. He retired as the Vice-Chief of Army Staff and later served as governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on

from where it has been reproduced without any changes.

The fact that the Indian Army also influenced the decision on Partition needs to be taken into account.

After their experience with Cromwell’s military dictatorship, the British ardently nurtured the concept of an apolitical army. It suited them to transplant that concept in the Indian Army that they raised. While this concept continues to hold good in India, it was thrown overboard in Pakistan. After 1857, the British decided not to have one-class regiments except for Gorkhas and Garhwalis. All other combat units were composed of 50 per cent Muslims and 50 per cent non-Muslims. Different communities living together in war and peace and encouraged to remain apolitical developed a regimental ethos that held them together.

My Memories of Maulana Azad

R C Mody
R C Mody

R C Mody is a postgraduate in Economics and a Certificated Associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers. He studied at Raj Rishi College (Alwar), Agra College (Agra), and Forman Christian College (Lahore). For over 35 years, he worked for the Reserve Bank of India, where he headed several all-India departments, and was also Principal of the Staff College. Now (in 2010) 84 years old, he is busy in social work, reading, writing, and travelling. He lives in New Delhi with his wife. His email address is

Abul Kalam Ghulam Muhiyuddin, who was better known as Maulana Azad, was one of the leading figures of the Indian freedom movement. He became President of the Indian National Congress in 1923, when he was less than 35 years old, being the youngest ever to occupy that position.

But it was not until 1940, when he was elected as Congress President for the second time, that he became known to me and others of my generation. This time he was elected effectively in place of Subhas Bose who was forced to resign a few months after his re-election in 1939 (in between Dr. Rajendra Prasad held temporary charge).

There Were A Million Revellers That Night – First Independence Day

Munir Kadri
Munir Kadri

Dr. Kadri, a surgeon, lives in New Zealand. He was a third-year medical student in August 1947.

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on and It is reproduced here with Dr. Kadri's consent.

I had made up my mind as soon as the date was set: I would bunk medical school and go to Delhi to witness the first Independence Day celebrations. Everyone was set against it, including Gandhiji.

"Are you mad?" he asked me when I met him in July and told him of my intention of going to Delhi for the celebrations. "What is there to celebrate - I shall weep tears of blood that day." But I was adamant.

Editor's note: According to Dr. Kadri, he met Gandhiji at Baroda (now Vadodra) railway station. He is not sure of the date when the meeting took place.

My Memories of M A Jinnah

R C Mody
R C Mody

R C Mody is a postgraduate in Economics and a Certificated Associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers. He studied at Raj Rishi College (Alwar), Agra College (Agra), and Forman Christian College (Lahore). For over 35 years, he worked for the Reserve Bank of India, where he headed several all-India departments, and was also Principal of the Staff College. Now (in 2010) 84 years old, he is busy in social work, reading, writing, and travelling. He lives in New Delhi with his wife. His email address is

During pre-independence days, there was a craze among youngsters to boast about how many leaders of the independence movement they had seen. Everyone wanted to excel the other in this regard. Not only the number but also the stature of the leader mattered. I had little to report. I had grown up and spent my early boyhood in Alwar, a Princely state. Leaders of national stature rarely visited Alwar, as the freedom movement was confined largely to British India. I had not seen practically any well-known leader in person till I was in my mid-teens.

The Heroes of the INA Trials

Reginald Masssey
Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is INDIA: Definitions and Clarifications (Hansib, London). A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Editor's note: This story is an expanded version of an excerpt from the author's book Azaadi!: stories and histories of the Indian subcontinent after Independence, Abhinav, Delhi 2005. It is reproduced here with the author's permission.

The Second World War ended in 1945 when I was a teenager, although I'm not sure whether the term `teenager' was invented then.

Anyway, the question often discussed in our home was: Were the Indian officers who went over to Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army (INA) heroes or traitors? The arguments and counter-arguments got very heated because my father was a King's Commissioned Officer in the Royal Indian Air Force, and was loyal to his commission. Further, he had served on the Burma front and did not approve of the Japanese army because he was aware of the brutality meted out by the Japanese army to its prisoners of war. (Editor's note: The INA was working closely with the Japanese army.)

Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation special train

Railway Gazette International

Editor's note:

This is an extract from the Railway Gazette, 5 March 1948, p.276. This material is reproduced here by permission granted generously by the Editor of the Railway Gazette International.

Mahatma Gandhi's Asthi, (the Indian name for the ashes removed from the funeral pyre), was conveyed by a special train from Delhi to Allahabad for immersion at the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Jamna, and the mythical Saraswati rivers. The train left Delhi at 6.30 a.m. on February 11 (Editor's note: the year is 1948), and reached Allahabad the next day at 9 a.m. The rake of the special consisted of five freshly-painted third class bogies, of which the centre coach had been modified suitably to carry the copper urn containing the Mahatma's ashes.

Shimla Conference 1945 to discuss India's Independence

Various sources

Shimla Conference 1945 between Viceroy and various Indian leaders to discuss India's Independence


Another report

Another report on Shimla Conference 1945

A newspaper report

Ananda Bazar Patrika Report on Sihimla Conference 1945

Acceptance of India's Partition by Indian leaders - June 3 1947

Various sources

Editor's note: The Viceroy met with several Indian leaders on June 3, 1947. The minutes of that meeting are attached below. Source: This is followed by the broadcasts that took place later in the evening. The statement issued by the British Government on June 3, 1947 is also attached.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Viceroy with the Indian Leaders, 3 June 1947.


Speeches of Recrimination

His Excellency The Viceroy asked those present at the meeting to request their subordinate leaders to refrain, from now on, from speeches of recrimination which were likely to produce violent reactions. If the past could now be buried, the prospect of building a fine future would be opened up.
All those present at the meeting signified concurrence.

Mr. Gandhi

Mr Liaquat Ali Khan said that he fully agreed that it might be possible to control the speeches of subordinate leaders. In addition, however, there should be a request for restraint on the part of "super leaders" - for example Mr. Gandhi at his prayer meetings. It was true that Mr. Gandhi preached "nonviolence", but that many of his speeches could be taken as an incitement to violence.

Acceptance of India's Partition by Indian leaders - June 2 1947

Various sources
Indian leaders agree to Partition June 2, 1947 In the photograph, at the table, from left to right: Abdul Rab Nishtar, Sardar Baldev Singh, Acharya Kriplani, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord Mountbatten, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and Liaqat Ali Khan.

Editor's note: I have asked R C Mody, who was 21 years old in 1947, to put this photograph in the context of the situation in India at that time. Mr. Mody remembers those days clearly, and has contributed many memories to his website. Mr. Mody writes:

This photograph shows seven Indian leaders sitting around a round table in the Viceroy's study in Viceroy's House (now Rashtrapati Bhawan) in New Delhi in the forenoon of June 2, 1947, along with Lord Mountbatten, the Viceroy of India. Several of the Indian leaders were members of the Interim Government that had been formed on 2nd September 1946 in anticipation of India's Independence. Lord Mountbatten was the President of the Executive Council, and the Indian leaders were Members of this Council, which functioned as a Council of Ministers. Three of the India leaders represent the Indian National Congress (Congress), another three represent the Muslim League (League), and the seventh one represents the Sikh community.

The three leaders representing the Congress are:

From Kot Khan Pakistan to India 1947

R P Bhatla
R P Bhatla

R P Bhatla is an AMIE (India) Engineer in Civil Engineering. He retired in 1994 as Deputy General Manager from Engineers India Ltd. He continued to work as General Manager, Triune Projects Ltd., General Manager Enron India, General Manager, PLL/Simon Carves India Ltd, and Advisor L&amp\;T Faridabad.

Editor's notes:

This is the second of several stories related to the life of the Bhatla family before and after the Partition of India in 1947. The first story is available here.

From Meghiana to Hoshiarpur, 1947 by Pran Bhatla is an independent story of another family in a similar situation.

India and Pakistan got their Independence in August 1947. My parents and their four children - three sons and one daughter - were living in a village called Kot Khan in District Jhang in west Punjab. We were Hindus, and this area became a part of Muslim-dominated Pakistan.


Subscribe to RSS - Major Events Pre-1950