Departure of the last Viceroy: The story of Kashmir entangled in the Indo-Pak partition and British interests


Seventy-four years ago on June 21, 1948, when Lord Mountbatten departed from Palam Airport in England, the last lamp of our slavery, which our leaders themselves had diligently burned, was extinguished. Why were they stopped? This question is surprising. There is hardly any other instance in the world history when the leaders of the slave oppressed themselves have stopped the representative ruler of imperialism in their position as head of state even after independence.

Was it because our own leaders were getting nervous or incapacitated by the horrors of Partition, its consequences? If so, have our leaders not proved the statement of John Stachy and Rudyard Kipling that Indians lack the capacity for self-government? What was the meaning of independence of a country whose head of state has been running since colonial times? In true sense, we became independent on June 21, 1948, after the departure of the colonial ruler.

Mountbatten’s first responsibility was to protect the British interest in every situation. When there was no constitution, on August 15, Governor General Mountbatten and Prime Minister Nehru were sworn in as loyal servants to the British Queen. Now what were the British interests in Indian territory after independence? The expansion of the Soviet Union was a major geo-political problem. Afghanistan was in a buffer position. It is now clear that Pakistan was created in the laboratory of British colonialism.

The Lahore Resolution was read in 1940 and on 14 August 1947, Pakistan became independent as an Islamic country. Otherwise, new countries would not have been created in seven years. It was necessary for Britain to ensure that there was no feticide in this new country. That is why the Unionist Party in Punjab and the Congress governments in the border provinces were dismissed. Cunningham was called and made governor. The boundary between India and Pakistan was to be determined. Radcliffe was busy with his work. The agenda of Kashmir was still pending.

During his visit to Kashmir, Mountbatten told Maharaja Hari Singh that the leaders of India would not object if Kashmir gave an option to join Pakistan. Hari Singh had ambitions of his own. Pakistan had no ideological base other than Islam and was therefore a natural pawn against communist expansion. From this point of view, the going of Kashmir, especially Gilgit-Baltistan to Pakistan, was in favor of British interest.

When the Radcliffe Award included Gurdaspur in India, it became clear that Mountbatten, under the influence of Nehru, provided this road to Kashmir to India. If India did not get this Gurdaspur Corridor, then it would not have been possible for India to conduct any campaign for Kashmir. Like Balochistan, Kashmir too would have become a part of Pakistan. But in this way the role of Kashmir dispute was written. At the time of the tribal invasion on 23 October 1947, both India and Pakistan were the British Army Chiefs.

Mountbatten was aware of every incident. Nehru was a victim of confusion, indecision. It was Sardar’s intervention that the merger was signed and the forces started landing in Srinagar on 27th, then the Kashmir Valley could be saved. It is clear from the developments that the Kashmir Valley remaining in India is nothing short of a miracle. This would have been contrary to the British agenda. Nevertheless, Mountbatten ensured that the Indian army did not advance in the valley from Uri to the north towards Skardu.

This war was such chess, in which the British army chiefs were playing friendly matches from both the sides. Their aim was to limit their respective armies to the desired limits. The Gilgit Agency traces back to the Maharaja in July 1947. The Indo-Pakistani War begins on 26 October 1947 with a tribal invasion. On November 1, 1947, Major Brown, who was originally a British agent, serving in the Maharaja’s army in Gilgit, revolts and announces joining Pakistan. The surprise is that Gilgit has become a part of India, but the British Army Chief of India and Mountbatten do not take any military action.

Nor do they liberate Skardu. That area goes to Pakistan without any resistance. War is going on in Jammu. Soldiers are getting martyred. Here our Prime Minister Nehru ji gets the water stopped from Pakistan by the Chief Minister of Punjab again during that war. Mountbatten’s stay in India seems to have been part of an agenda for the partition of Kashmir. Had Mountbatten not been there, the country would have had General Cariappa or General Nathu Singh in place of the British Army Chief. The army fought with full force. Pakistan’s Kashmir dream would have ended.

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