Mountbatten Plan (1947)
On 20 February l947, Prime Minister Atlee announced in the House of Commons the definite intention of the British Government to transfer power to responsible Indian hands by a date not later than June 1948.
Thus, to effect the transference of that power Atlee decided to send Lord Mountbatten as Viceroy to India. Lord Mountbatten armed with vast powers became India’s Viceroy on 24 March 1947. The partition of India and the creation of Pakistan appeared inevitable to him.
After extensive consultation Lord Mountbatten put forth the plan of partition of India on 3 June 1947. The Congress and the Muslim League ultimately approved the Mountbatten Plan.
Indian Independence Act 1947
The British Government accorded formal approval to the Mountbatten Plan by enacting the Indian Independence Act on 18 July 1947. The salient features of this Act were:
- The partition of the country into India and Pakistan would come into effect from 15 August 1947.
- The British Government would transfer all powers to these two Dominions.
- A Boundary Commission would demarcate the boundaries of the provinces of the Punjab and Bengal.
- The Act provided for the transfer of power to the Constituent Assemblies of the two Dominions, which will have full authority to frame their respective Constitutions.
The Radcliff Boundary Commission drew the boundary line separating India and Pakistan. On 15th August 1947 India, and on the 14th August Pakistan came into existence as two independent states.
Lord Mountbatten was made the first Governor General of Independent India, whereas Mohammad Ali Jinnah became the first Governor General of Pakistan. The most tragic incident occurred on 30 January 1948, when Mahatma Gandhi – the father of the nation on his way to a prayer meeting was assassinated by Nathuram Godse.