Rishi Aurobindo’s Message on Independence Day

This message, given at the request of the All India Radio, Trichinipoly, for the 15th August 1947, is in two versions.   The original version [left] was found to be a little too long for the time allotted for the message; so in the second version [right] it was slightly abridged and recast. It is this second version that was broadcast from the All India Radio on the 14th August 1947 ..

 

Original Version

In Bold: Modified or omitted passages

Broadcast Version

In Italic: Modifications or additions

August 15th is the birthday of free India. It marks for her the end of an old era, the beginning of a new age. But it has a significance not only for us, but for Asia and the whole world; for it signifies the entry into the comity of nations of a new power with untold potentialities which has a great part to play in determiningthe political, social, cultural and spiritual future of humanity. August 15th, 1947 is the birthday of free India. It marks for her the end of an old era, the beginning of a new age. But we can also make it by our life and acts as a free nation an important date in a new age opening for the whole world, for the political, social, cultural and spiritual future of humanity.
To me personally it must naturally be gratifying that this date which was notable only for me because it wasmy own birthday celebrated annually by those who have accepted my gospel of life, should have acquired this vast significance. August 15th is my own birthday and it is naturally gratifying to me that it should have assumed this vast significance.
As a mystic, I take this identification, not as a coincidence or fortuitous accident, but as a sanction and seal of the Divine Power which guides my steps on the work with which I began life. Indeed almost all the world movements which I hoped to see fulfilled in my lifetime, though at that time they looked like impossibledreams, I can observe on this day either approaching fruition or initiated and on the way to their achievement. I take this coincidence, not as a fortuitous accident, but as the sanction and seal of the Divine Force that guides my steps on the work with which I began life, the beginning of its full fruition. Indeed, on this day I can watch almost all the world-movements which I hoped to see fulfilled in my lifetime, though then they looked like impracticabledreams, arriving at fruition or on their way to achievement.
I have been asked for a message on this great occasion, but I am perhaps hardly in a position to give one. All I can do is to make a personal declaration of the aims and ideals conceived in my childhood and youth and now watched in their beginning of fulfilment, because they are relevant to the freedom of India, since they are a part of what I believe to be India’s future work, something in which she cannot but take a leading position. In all these movements free India may well play a large part and take a leading position.
For I have always held and said that India was arising, not to serve her own material interests only, to achieve expansion, greatness, power and prosperity, – though these too she must not neglect, – and certainly not like others to acquire domination of other people, but to live also for God and the world as a helper and leader of the whole human race. [omitted]
Those aims and ideals were in their natural order these :
– a revolution which would achieve India’s freedom and unity;
– the resurgence and liberation of Asia and her return to the great role which she had played in the progress of human civilisation;
– the rise of a new, a greater, brighter and nobler life for mankind which for its entire realisation would rest outwardly on an international unification of the separate existence of the peoples, preserving and securing their national life but drawing them together into an overriding and consummating oneness;
– the gift by India of her spiritual knowledge and her means for the spiritualisation of life to the whole race;
– finally, a new step in the evolution which, by uplifting the consciousness to a higher level, would begin the solution of the many problems of existence which have perplexed and vexed humanity, since men began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society
[ = the “dreams“]
[ = – a revolution which would achieve India’s freedom and unity; ] The first of these dreams was a revolutionary movement which would create a free and united India.
India is free but she has not achieved unity, only a fissured and broken freedom
At one time it almost seemed as if she might relapse into the chaos of separate States which preceded the British conquest. Fortunately there has now developed a strong possibility that this disastrous relapse will be avoided.
India today is free but she has not achieved unity.
At one moment it almost seemed as if in the very act of liberation she would fall back into the chaos of separate States which preceded the British conquest. But fortunately it now seems probable that this danger will be averted and a large and powerful, though not yet a complete union will be established.
The wisely drastic policy of the Constituent Assembly makes it possible that the problem of the depressed classes will be solved without schism or fissure.
But the old communal division into Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of a permanent political division of the country.
It is to be hoped that the Congress and the nation will not accept the settled fact as for ever settled or as anything more than a temporary expedient.
For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled : civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest.
Also, the wisely drastic policy of the Constituent Assembly has made it probable that the problem of the depressed classes will be solved without schism or fissure.
But the old communal division into Hindus and Muslims seems now to have hardened into a permanent political division of the country.
It is to be hoped that this settled fact will not be accepted as settled for ever or as anything more than a temporary expedient.
For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled: civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest.
India’s internal development and prosperity may be impeded, her position among the nations weakened, her destiny impaired or even frustrated.
The partition of the country must go, – it is to be hoped by a slackening of tension, by a progressive understanding of the need of peace and concord, by the constant necessity of common and concerted action,even of an instrument of union for that purpose.
In this way unity may come about under whatever form – the exact form may have a pragmatic but not a fundamental importance.
But by whatever means, the division must and will go. For without it the destiny of India might be seriously impaired and even frustrated. But that must not be.
This must not be; the partition must go. Let us hope that this may come about naturally, by an increasing recognition of the necessity not only of peace and concord but of common action, by the practice of common action and the creation of means for that purpose.
In this way unity may finally come about under whatever form – the exact form may have a pragmatic but not a fundamental importance..
But by whatever means, in whatever way, the division must go; unity must and will be achieved, for it is necessary for the greatness of India’s future
[ = – the resurgence and liberation of Asia and her return to the great role which she had played in the progress of human civilisation; ] Another dream was for the resurgence and liberation of the peoples of Asia and her return to her great role in the progress of human civilisation.
Asia has arisen and large parts of it have been liberated or are at this moment being liberated; its other still subject parts are moving through whatever struggles towards freedom. Only a little has to be done and that will be done today or tomorrow.
There India has her part to play and has begun to play it with an energy and ability which already indicate the measure of her possibilities and the place she can take in the council of the nations.
Asia has arisen; large parts are now quite free or are at this moment being liberated: its other still subject or partly subject parts are moving through whatever struggled towards freedom. Only a little has to be done and that will be done today or tomorrow.
There India has her part to play and has begun to play it with an energy and ability which already indicate the measure of her possibilities and the place she can take in the council of the nations.
[ = – the rise of a new, a greater, brighter and nobler life for mankind which for its entire realisation would rest outwardly on an international unification of the separate existence of the peoples, preserving and securing their national life but drawing them together into an overriding and consummating oneness; ] The third dream was a world-union forming the outer basis of a fairer, brighter and nobler life for all mankind.
The unification of mankind is under way, though only in an imperfect initiative, organised but struggling against tremendous difficulties. But the momentum is there and, if the experience of history can be taken as a guide, it must inevitably increase until it conquers.
Here too India has begun to play a prominent part and, if she can develop that larger statesmanship which is not limited by the present facts and immediate possibilities but looks into the future and brings it nearer, her presence may make all the difference between a slow and timid and a bold and swift development.
That unification of the human world is under way; there is an imperfect initiation organised by struggling against tremendous difficulties. But the momentum is there and it must inevitably increase and conquer.
Here too India has begun to play a prominent part and, if she can develop that larger statesmanship which is not limited by the present facts and immediate possibilities but looks into the future and brings it nearer, her presence may make all the difference between a slow and timid and a bold and swift development.
A catastrophe may intervene and interrupt or destroy what is being done, but even then the final result is sure. For in any case the unification is a necessity in the course of Nature, an inevitable movement and its achievement can be safely foretold.
Its necessity for the nations also is clear, for without it the freedom of the small peoples can never be safe hereafter and even large and powerful nations cannot really be secure.
India, if she remains divided, will not herself be sure of her safety.
A catastrophe may intervene and interrupt or destroy what is being done, but even then the final result is sure. For unification is a necessity of Nature, an inevitable movement.
Its necessity for the nations is also clear, for without it the freedom of the small nations may be at any moment in peril and the life even of the large and powerful nations insecure.
It is therefore to the interest of all that union should take place. Only human imbecility and stupid selfishness could prevent it. Against that, it has been said, even the gods strive in vain; but it cannot stand for ever against the necessity of Nature and the Divine Will. The unification is therefore to the interests of all, and only human imbecility and stupid selfishness can prevent it; but these cannot stand for ever against the necessity of Nature and the Divine Will.
Nationalism will then have fulfilled itself; an international spirit and outlook must grow up and international forms and institutions; even it may be such developments as dual or multilateral citizenship and a voluntary fusion of cultures may appear in the process of the change and the spirit of nationalism losing its militancy may find these things perfectly compatible with the integrity of its own outlook.
A new spirit of oneness will take hold of the human race.
But an outward basis is not enough; there must grow up an international spirit and outlook, international forms and institutions must appear, perhaps such developments, as dual or multilateral citizenship, willed interchange or voluntary fusion of cultures.
Nationalism will have fulfilled itself and lost it militancy and would no longer find these things incompatible with self-preservation and the integrality of its outlook.
A new spirit of oneness will take hold of the human race.
[ = – the gift by India of her spiritual knowledge and her means for the spiritualisation of life to the whole race; ] Another dream, …
The spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India’s spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure.
That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice.
… the spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India’s spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure.
That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice.
The rest… [ = – finally, a new step in the evolution which, by uplifting the consciousness to a higher level, would begin the solution of the many problems of existence which have perplexed and vexed humanity, since men began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society. ] The final dream was a step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solution of the problems which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society.
… is still a personal hope and an idea and ideal which has begun to take hold both in India and in the West on forward-looking minds. The difficulties in the way are more formidable than in any other field of endeavour, but difficulties were made to be overcome and if the Supreme Will is there, they will be overcome.
Here too, if this evolution is to take place, since it must come through a growth of the spirit and the inner consciousness, the initiative can come from India and although the scope must be universal, the central movement may be hers.
This is still a personal hope and an idea, an ideal which has begun to take hold both in India and in the West on forward-looking minds, The difficulties in the way are more formidable than in any other field of endeavour, but difficulties were made to be overcome and if the Supreme Will is there, they will be overcome .
Here too, if this evolution is to take place, since it must proceed through a growth of the spirit and the inner consciousness, the initiative can come from India and, although the scope must be universal, the central movement may be hers.
Such is the content which I put into this date of India’s liberation; whether or how far or how soon this connection will be fulfilled, depends upon this new and free India. Such is the content which I put into this date of India’s liberation; whether or how far this hope will be justifieddepends upon the new and free India.
Sri Aurobindo

in SABCL, volume 26, “On Himself”
pages 400-403
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA

That version ONLY has been printed since 1948 in the booklet of the Ashram : “Sri Aurobindo and His Ashram” – Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press – Pondicherry

Sri Aurobindo

in SABCL, volume 26, “On Himself”
pages 404-406
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram – Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA

 

 

 

Advertisements

” Those 15 days” ( Before Partition ) – 3/15

Those 15 days”  is an account of the 15 days before Independence in 1947. Those were the 15 days of hectic political activity, unprecedented turmoil, foolhardiness of some of the leaders and the acute & deliberate ( ?) mis-management of the British. Sri Prashant Pole is running a series giving details of those 15 days. AriseBharat is documenting these notes into 15 separate articles giving links of the previous articles too..

This is part 3 of the series ; 1st Part is here

August 3, 1947*
– Prashant Pole
This day was meant for a meeting with Maharaja Hari Singh. Ramchandra Kak, the Diwan of Kashmir State, had handed over a formal letter in this regard on the day of arrival itself of Gandhiji in Srinagar. Today, the morning of August 3rd, was same as others for Gandhiji. Although it was month of August, there was quite cold in Kishori Lal Sethi’s house in. Gandhiji was awake in the wee hours as was his daily routine. His granddaughter ‘Manu’ was next to shadow for him. So she too woke up when Gandhiji woke up.
Manu would sleep with Gandhiji. About a year ago, during his tour of Noakhali, Gandhiji started sleeping with Manu along with him in bed. This was one of experiments of ‘truth’ for him. With his transparent and pure heart, Gandhiji never sensed any wrong in this. But this news had become very popular. The Congress leaders were left red-faced. The public opinion started turning against Gandhiji. Finally, Manu separated herself from Gandhiji when he embarked on his Bihar tour after completing Bengal’s tour.
Here in Srinagar, it was not like that. And Gandhiji living with his granddaughter was no more a novelty that would arouse curiosity for people. Gandhiji’s morning prayers were over before the sunrise and he busied himself in cleaning his staying place.
After everything was over, Gandhiji entered Gulab Bhavan, the royal palace of Kashmir’s king Hari Singh at about 11 AM. Even though this meeting with Gandhiji was against the wishes of Maharaja, yet he did not leave anything wanting in welcoming the former. Maharaja himself was standing with Maharani Tara Devi  to welcome Gandhiji in the premise of royal palace. Yuvraj Karan Singh was also present  there for the royal welcome. Maharani Tara Devi welcomed Gandhiji with a traditional welcome by smearing tilak on his forehead and a pancharati.
_(A copper plate has been placed on the tree under which Gandhiji and Maharaja met in the royal palace Gulab Bhawan, but the month mentioned on the plate of their meeting is wrong. Gandhiji met Maharaja in August while the date mentioned in June 1947)._
No trace of any kind of pressure on Gandhiji was visible in that palace. He had a very casual demeanour. Maharaja and Gandhiji had a hearty talk. *However, Gandhiji never told Maharaja to ‘join India’ anywhere’.*  Saying so, in Gandhiji’s opinion, would not be appropriate. It would have dented his image. *According to Gandhiji, he was the patriarch of both countries – India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, however, he didn’t know that the Muslim leaders, who demanded Pakistan, saw him as Hindu, hated him and hence, Gandhiji had no place in Pakistan…!*
Since Gandhiji had nothing to say on what stand State of Kashmir should take after the exit of British, there was not much political discussion. However, Gandhiji’s this visit resulted in the implementation of Nehru’s agenda on Kashmir. This meeting took place on August 3rd and the Maharaja relieved his trusted aide and Kashmir’s Diwan Ramchandra Kak, who placed Nehru in prison, from the service on August 10th. Another effect was that Nehru’s close friend Sheikh Abdullah was released from Kashmir prison on September 29th.
On the surface, the outcome of Gandhiji’s visit seems to be limited to this. *Had Gandhiji demanded to Maharaja to join India, instead of these two demands or along with them, Kashmir’s ascension to India would have happened in August 1947 itself, without waiting for October 1947* and the Kashmir problem, that has arisen today, would not be there…
But that was not to happen…!
——- ——– ——–
Mandi.
A small town situated at the foot of the Himalayas. It was named Mandi after the sage Manu. A spectacular place located on the banks of the Vyas (Beas ) river. It was a cute and cosy Princely State in 1947. However, the king of the State was toying with the idea of his own kingdom after unyoking from British rule. The state and Narendramandal, the organization of the Princely State, were full of chaos. In the meantime, the king of neighbouring Sirmaur State also decided to have his own state without joining India. Now, they understood fully well that having so small independent states was impossible. These Princes came to know that Maharaja of Kashmir too was thinking of keeping his state independent.
Then, these two kings put forward a plan of having a ‘Greater Union’ of hilly states in Jammu-Kashmir, Punjab and Simla. They had met Lord Mountbatten just a week ago. He wanted some time to think about this plan. Therefore, they could not sign the letter of accession in India in hurry and asked for more time for doing so.
Sitting in his grand and pompous office of Viceroy in Delhi, Lord Louis Mountbatten was reading the letter by those kings again and again. As many kings would insist on remaining independent, the British would be put in more hassle at the time of leaving India. Therefore, Mountbatten would not like such small states to remain independent. Still, for the sake of democracy and for the sake of his post, Mountbatten started writing a letter to Sardar Patel in this regard.
Despite knowing that there would not be a favourable decision on it, as he wrote the letter in the afternoon of August 3rd, Mountbatten requested Patel to allow some more time to kings of Sirmaur and Mandi on the Letter of Accession.
——– ——– ——–
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was in Delhi today. He had a slew of works since last few days. The party workers of his Schedule Caste Federation were coming to him from all over the country for various works. A lot of correspondence was still pending. Babasaheb could not find enough time for his favourite task – reading. But Babasaheb liked this situation. *In fact, when there was a load of work and he had to immerse himself in it, Babasaheb saw it as a parvani.*
That is why when Nehru asked him last week about joining his Cabinet, Babasaheb gave an affirmative reply but he also said, “There is not much work in the law ministry. So give me a responsibility with much work.” Nehru had said smilingly, “Surely. A heavy task is coming to you.”
And this afternoon, Babasaheb received a letter from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The letter noted that he was appointed as the first Law Minister of independent India.
This was an important and joyous occasion for Babasaheb and his Scheduled Caste Federation…!
——– ——– ——–
Cyril Radcliff had a harrowing time in the extreme summer of August in Delhi. This fearless and impartial judge from Britain assented to come to India and work on the plan of partition because Prime Minister Atlee had appealed to his consciousness and exhorted him to do so. Mountbatten wanted someone with little knowledge of India to draw the line of partition. Justice Radcliff knew nothing about India.
However, Radcliff came to understand how big burden it was to ‘know nothing’. An expansive terrain, rivers, streams, network of canals and one was to draw just one line on this expansive land that would render many non-existent. The land tilted by generations would turn foreign. That one line will ruin many a people…
Mr. Radcliff knew this very well. And he was trying his best to bring about partition in a judicious manner. Three rooms in his bungalow were flooded with documents and different types of maps. Much of his work was finished today August 3rd. Some controversial places were remaining in Punjab and he was giving finishing touches to them. And at this juncture, he received a letter written by Major Short. Here was a completely regimental man, a typical British. He had written the letter to convey the reactions from masses to Radcliff. His words in it were, *“The people believe that Radcliff will decide as told by Mountbatten”.*
Radcliff got thinking. This part of the letter was somewhat true. Mountbatten certainly had some influence on Radcliff.
 ——– ——– ———
August 3rd.  At around 4 PM, a press note came out from Jawaharlal Nehru’s residence at 17, York House. Since this was a turbulent time, press notes would come out or press conferences would held daily. However, today’s press note was special. This press note was going to assume a huge historical importance.
*Through this press note, Nehru had announced the names of his cabinet colleagues. Independent India’s first cabinet.* And that’s why this press note had a unique significance. The names given by Nehru in it appeared serially as followed –
• Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
• Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
• Dr. Rajendra Prasad
• Dr. John Mathai
• Jagjeevan Ram
• Sardar Baldev Singh
• C. H. Bhaba
• Princess Amrit Kaur
• Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
• Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
• Shanmugamchetty
• Narahar Vishnu Gadgil
Among these 12 members, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was the only woman. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was inducted in the cabinet as the representative from Scheduled Caste Federation, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee from Hindu Mahasabha and Sardar Baldev Singh from Panthik Party.
——— ——– ——–
Elsewhere, a press note from Ram Manohar Lohia had reached the offices of newspapers that disappointed many a Goans. Lohia informed the Goans through this press note that ‘Goa’s freedom is not possible with the independence of India. Therefore, people of Goa should continue their struggle for independence as such…!”
——– ——– ——–
Away from all these development and raging fire of partition, it was day of conclusion for the meeting at Devachi Alandi in Maharashtra of the Communist activists working in Congress. Workers were brainstorming since the previous day.
*Finally, it was decided that a separate group within Congress and with the Communist ideology, thinking of interests of farmers and labourers should be set up.* It was decided that Shankarrao More, Keshavrao Jedhe, Bhausaheb Raut, Tulsidas Jadhav etc. should collectively lead this group.
A new Communist Party was emerging in Maharashtra…
——– ——— ——–
It was Gandhiji’s last day of stay today in Srinagar. He was to leave for Jammu the next morning. So it was Begum Akbar Jahan had the privilege of hosting this evening’s dinner.
She had duly invited Gandhiji to the evening dinner. *With Gandhiji’s friendship with Sheikh Abdullah, there was no reason for him to turn it down.*
Sheikh Abdullah was in jail, yet Begum Sahiba had a gala of dinner party in his absence. The workers of National Conference were looking after all the arrangements. Begum Sahiba herself and her daughter Khalida were there to at the door to welcome Gandhi.
Gandhiji observed that royal pomp and he become uncomfortable. Any dinner in his imagination could not be so royalistic. Still, expressing his fair reservations to Begum Sahiba, Gandhiji stayed there at the dinner till last…!
——– ——– ——–
The uncomfortable night of August 3rd was moving forward. Millions of rich families were coming to the partitioned India as refugees through Lahore, Pathankot and elsewhere in Bengal. Fear of life, frustration of leaving the hardly earned properties and becoming refugees, bodies tired with hunger and thirst…
India had just 10 nights before being split…!
—to be continued 

” Those 15 days” ( Before Partition ) – 2/15

Those 15 days”  is an account of the 15 days before Independence in 1947. Those were the 15 days of hectic political activity, unprecedented turmoil, foolhardiness of some of the leaders and the acute & deliberate ( ?) mis-management of the British. Sri Prashant Pole is running a series giving details of those 15 days. AriseBharat is documenting these notes into 15 separate articles giving links of the previous articles too..

This is part 2 of the series ; First Part is here

*August 2, 1947*

The house at ‘17, York Road ‘ had become important not only for the people of Delhi but for the whole country. It was the residence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for last few years. The residence of the designated Prime Minister of India! And there were only 13 days for this word ‘designated’ to go away. Jawaharlal Nehru would start working as the first Prime Minister of independent India from August 15.
The visits of officers and the citizens were started getting more and more at the 17, York Road. York Road was, in fact, an important road. When the British decided to move capital from Calcutta to Delhi because of the unrest in Bengal in 1911, they entrusted the work of designing Delhi to the British architect Edwin Lutyens. It was this York Road that Lutyens started his work from. And the bungalow at 17, York Road where Nehru stayed was built in 1912.
Nehru’s morning on August 2 in this bungalow arose with a hustle. Only thirteen days were left for the transfer from the British. The preparation for that program was on agenda, but many other issues also fell on Nehru literally like a waterfall. There was a heavy list of works from national anthem to cabinet’s choices. Amidst all this, a trifling problem was also there that nudged Nehru as to what he would wear on August 15…!
Some Congress leaders and senior officials of the administration had arrived at 17, York Road. Discussions on different issues were to be held with them. Therefore, Nehru got over his breakfast hurriedly and prepared himself to face the busy day ahead.
——– ——— ———-
Somewhere else, the events for merging the princely states in India had gathered momentum. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel himself kept an eye on each of the states. He had inducted V. K. Menon, a sharp administrator, in his department for this work.
On the instructions of Sardar Patel, V. K. Menon had written a letter to the Sir Patrick, the Deputy Secretary of India Affairs in Britain, on the morning of August 2. In the letter, he informed that ‘The princely states in India that are big in size and economy such as Mysore, Baroda, Gwalior, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaipur are ready for ascension with India. However, the decision of the States like Hyderabad, Bhopal, and Indore is yet to be known…”
These states had actually made their mind. Bhopal, Hyderabad and Junagarh did not want to stay with India in any way. In this connection, the Nawab of Bhopal wrote a letter to Jinnah on August 2. Jinnah and Nawab Hamidullah were both very good friends. Thus, Nawab Hamidullah writes to his friend, “Bhopal stands alone with an 80% Hindu majority in the midst of Hindu India, surrounded by my personal enemies as well as by the enemies of Islam. Pakistan has no means of helping us. You rightly made this point to me last night”.
 ——– ——– ——–
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, who resided at 1, Queen Victoria Road, was also busy. He had a long time to become future President. However, everyone was seeing him as a patriarch (Father figure). Obviously, there was a beeline of people coming to him form consultations or exchanging information on specific subjects at this critical juncture.
 Dr. Rajendra Prasad was originally from Bihar. Therefore, many people from Bihar came to him with various issues and various problems. He was writing one such letter in the afternoon of August 2 to Defence Minister Sardar Baldev Singh.
It was a letter about ceremony on August 15. The letter said, “Military should also participate in the ceremony along with citizens and administration in the Patna city so that the ceremony will assume grandeur”.
Sardar Baldev Singh was the minister who was inducted in the Cabinet from Akali Dal. He respected Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Therefore, it was certain that he would appropriate action on Rajendra Babu’s letter.
——– ——– ——–
A different drama was taking place in the United Province (today’s Uttar Pradesh) since the morning of August 2. The government had arrested the local Hindu Mahasabha previous night and charge laid against them was that ‘they were to start direct action against the government’. The term “Direct Action” was a much-maligned one in the Indian politics. Just a year ago, the Muslim League goons had massacred five thousand Hindus in Bengal, and raped thousands of women. The reason why the Congress executive accepted the partition in later period was in a way fall out of this word ‘Direct Action’. Therefore, picking up Hindu leaders and imprisoning them in the name of ‘direct action’ seemed a bit strange, because the word ‘direct action’ was linked to the Muslim League.
Even Indian Daily Mail, a newspaper published from Singapore, picked up this news. It carried this news on the front page on the issue dated  August 2nd. It also published ten demands of the Hindu Mahasabha. This news created discomfort among Hindu Mahasabha’s supporters.
——– ——– ——–
A report came from the faraway Kohima on the eastern front on Saturday, August 2nd that was not good for the Indian federal state. Independent League of Kohima had announced that they would not join the August 15th. They would form an independent Naga government that would cover the entire area inhabited by the Naga tribes.
Mountains of challenges were coming up before the Indian federal state that was being shaped on August 15th.
 ——– ——– ——–
 In spite of all these tension, Indian movies were entertaining people in the country and abroad. Aath Din, a movie starring Ashok Kumar and Veera was attracting crowds in the Diamond Theatre in Singapore. Noted Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto had written the story of the movie while music director S. D. Barman entered the movie world through it…!
——– ——– ——–
Even Sardar Patel’s residence at Delhi (today’s 1, Aurangzeb Road) was brimming with activities. The Home Ministry had a testing time on the issues of merger of princely states as well as riots in Sindh, Baluchistan and Bengal.
 In the meantime, Sardar received a letter in the afternoon written by Pandit Nehru. The letter was brief. It said –
“This letter is occasioned for fulfilling some formalities. I am extending invitation to join my cabinet. Actually, this letter has no meaning because you are already a strong pillar of my cabinet.”
Patel took the letter. He looked at it for a while and smiled lightly. And he continued talking with his secretary about the raging riots on the yet to be announced India – Pakistan border.
………………
Far far away from this whole atmosphere, a group of leftists in Congress had gathered at Devachi Alandi in Maharashtra. They had decided two months ago to organize a convention of the group some day or other. All of them had gathered on the appeal of Shankarrao More and Bhausaheb Raut. They could see that India was gaining independence and Congress was to get the key to power of independent India. However, the question that nagged them was – what about their left, communist ideology…? They had gathered to brainstorm on this issue. They included noted and heavyweights like Tulashidas Jadhav, Krushnarao Dhulupa, Dnyanoba Jadhav, G. D. Lagoo, Datta Deshmukh, R. K. Khandilkar, Keshavrao Jedhe etc. The plan to form a separate group in the party for the peasants and labourers was taking shape there.
Nobody thought at least then that this meeting would give birth to a big left-wing party of peasants and workers…
These famous personalities did not utter a single word about the partition of India and inhuman riots in this meeting of August 2nd.
………………
Elsewhere in Egmore area of Madras, Food, Medicine and Health Minister of the Madras Presidency T. S. S. Rajan was interacting with the anglo- Indian community in a meeting held in the evening. Many of them had a question in their hearts as to what would happen to their community after British left India. Responding to the same, the Minister said, “This small community of yours has mixed well in the society. Now, even after independence, this community has to play the role of a responsible citizen.”
——– ——– ——–
Far away in Pune, a public meeting was being held at S. P. College in honour of Veer Savarkar. Tatyarao (Savarkar) himself was to speak on the prevalent situation of the country, on the country’s independence and the partition.
Huge crowd had gathered in the meeting. This was a grand rally in true sense. In his fiery speech, Veer Savarkar said , “We are all Hindus. Then what is so shameful in calling oneself ‘a Hindu’…? Even though Congress is the main culprit for today’s situation, the people at large are equally responsible. This is the outcome of the support they have given to Congress from time to time. A class was successful in dividing this country since it was repeatedly appeased.”
________________________
Meanwhile in Srinagar, the second day of Gandhiji’s first visit to Kashmir was about to set. This day was not filled with any especial important events. Begum Akbar Jahan came to Kisori Lal Sethi’s house, where Gandhiji stayed, in the morning after the prayer itself with her daughter. In this meeting also, she told Gandhiji many times how crucial it was that her husband (Sheikh Abdullah) was to be released from the prison. Even today, Gandhiji was surrounded by the National Conference’s Muslim leaders. However, Gandhiji today met many people including a lot of Hindu leader.
Gandhiji was to go to meet Maharaja Hari Singh tomorrow, on August 3rd, as per the invitation given by Ramchandra Kak.
——– ——– ———
Hindu-Muslim skirmishes continued all day in Lahore, Pindi, Peshawar, Chitgaon, Dhaka, Amritsar etc. However, as the darkness of the night engulfed this whole region, large flames of fires became visible on the horizon.
The night of August 2nd too was going to be in full of turmoil…!
To be continued…
– Courtesy : Sri Prashant Pole

” Those 15 days” ( Before Partition ) – 1/15

“Those 15 days”  is an account of the 15 days before Independence in 1947. Those were the 15 days of hectic political activity, unprecedented turmoil, foolhardiness of some of the leaders and the acute & deliberate ( ?) mis-management of the British. Sri Prashant Pole is running a series giving details of those 15 days. AriseBharat is documenting these notes into 15 separate articles giving links of the previous articles too..

Those 15 Days

*August 1st, 1947*
– Prashant Pole
Friday. August 1st, 1947. This day suddenly assumed importance. Two things happened on this day regarding Kashmir, which would prove significant in the future. These two things had hardly any connection between them, but these two developments would be necessary in the Ramayana and Mahabharata that was to be followed.
That Gandhiji reached Srinagar on August 1st was the first among those two. This was Gandhiji’s first visit to Kashmir. Earlier, Maharaja Hari singh of Kashmir had extended personal invitation to Gandhiji to visit Kashmir when the latter had just returned from South Africa and the World War I was going on. The Maharaja was just a 20-year old then. However, everything had changed dramatically in 1947. The Maharaja as well as the administration of Jammu & Kashmir did not want Gandhiji to come this time around. Maharaja Hari Singh himself wrote a Letter to Viceroy Lord Mountbaten in this regard. In it, he said, “After a comprehensive thinking, we want to suggest that Mahatma Gandhi should cancel his planned tour to Kashmir this time around. And if he indeed wants to come, he should come after the end of autumn. We want to tell you again, neither Gandhiji nor any other political leader should come here before the situation in Kashmir improves.”
Thus, it was a situation akin to going to host’s house in spite of his hostility. Gandhiji was aware of this to some extent. Kashmir was now a key issue for both India and Pakistan. Freedom was virtually only two weeks away. And Kashmir had still not make its decision known.
Hence, Gandhiji did not want his Kashmir visit to be seen as his campaign to get ‘Kashmir merged with the Indian Union’. It would have been detrimental to his persona, it appeared to him. Before leaving for Kashmir tour, Gandhiji had said in his prayer meeting at Delhi on July 29th, *”I am not going to tell Maharaja to join India and not the Pakistan.* The people of Kashmir are the true owners Kashmir. They should decide as to where they would join. And hence, I am not going to do any public work in Kashmir. Even prayer. Even that would be personal for me…!”
Gandhiji arrived at Srinagar on August 1st via Rawalpindi. Since Maharaj did not invite them this time, he stayed at Kishori Lal Sethi’s house. Even though his house was rented one, it was a spacious one. This house was located very near to the Bone & Joint Hospital of Barzula in today’s Srinagar. This Sethi would procure contracts of the forests. He was close to the Congress, but he was also closer to the National Conference. However, the Maharaja had put the leader of the National Conference Sheikh Abdullah in jail at that time. Many leaders of the National Conference were expelled from Kashmir. They were charged with conspiring against the Maharaja under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah.
And therefore, when Gandhiji was coming en route to Srinagar via Rawalpindi, NC leaders Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and Khwaja Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, saw his off at Kohla bridge and went back to Lahore. Gandhiji had his personal secretary Pyarelal and two nephews with him. After entering Srinagar, Gandhiji went straight to Kishori Lal Sethi ‘s house. He was taken to the Dal Lake after having a brief rest there
*During the entire tour of Gandhiji, NC men accompanied him everywhere.* But why…? Because prior to this first visit to Kashmir, Gandhiji had asked all the information on Kashmir to Nehru. He himself disclosed this during his Kashmir tour. And in Kashmir, Pandit Nehru ‘s closest friend was Sheikh Abdullah, who was imprisoned in jail. Of course, Sheikh’s begum and other followers took care of all the arrangements for Gandhiji in his absence.
The first official government representative to pay visit to Gandhiji in Kashmir was Ramchandra Kak . The Prime Minister of Kashmir who also happened to be a very trusted aide of Maharaja Hari Singh and occupying the top spot in the ‘hate list’ of Nehru. The reason was that on May 15, 1946, when Sheikh Abdullah was arrested and imprisoned for his anti-Kashmir campaign, Nehru announced that he would go to Kashmir to be former’s lawyer. Kak prohibited Nehru from entering Kashmir and arrested him near Muzaffarabad. Nehru, obviously, harboured a great disdain for this act…!
Ramchandra Kak handed over a sealed letter from Maharaja to Gandhiji. This letter was an invitation for a meeting. The meeting was fixed on 3 August at Maharaj’s residence ‘Hari Nivas’.
As per Nehru’s briefing, the NC workers surrounded Gandhiji during his entire Kashmir tour. In Sheikh’s absence, Begum Akbar Jahan and daughter Khalida came to meet him many times during his three-day stay.
*On August 1st , Gandhiji did not met even a single Hindu nationalist leader in Srinagar…!*
——– ——– ——— ——–
Hari SinghAn another development was taking place on August 1st because of which there would be discontent in the Indian subcontinent for many years to come. And this incident  also related to Kashmir. The state of Kashmir was a large one under the leadership of Maharaja Hari Singh. The British severed Gilgit Agency, a province that fell under it, and added it in the British Empire in 1935. Basically, the entire and undivided Kashmir is a literally a paradise on earth. Moreover, Kashmir held and still holds a critical importance strategically and militarily. The boundaries of three countries touched this state. In 1935, even though World War II was far away, major changes had started taking place in world politics. The might of Russia was increasing and hence the British took away Gilgit Agency, the part of Kashmir that touched Russia from Maharaja Hari Singh.
Later, much water flew through Jhelum. The World War II ended. All the countries that participated in that war were left in shambles. The British had decided to leave India. And in this situation, British had no interest in controlling a remote area like Gilgit Agency (the region of Gilgit-Baltistan). And therefore, even before according independence to India officially, the British handed over the Gilgit Agency province to Maharaja. At the sunrise of August 1st, 1947, the state flag of Kashmir was flying proudly at the place of Union Jack at all district headquarters in Gilgit-Baltistan.
However, how much did the Maharaja consent to this transfer? Not much…!
The British had deployed Gilgit Scouts battalion for the defense of this region. Except for some British officers, the whole army was formed by Muslims. With the transfer of August 1st, this Muslim army also came to Maharaja. The Maharaja appointed Brigadier Ghansara Singh as the Governor of this region. Moreover, he gave Major W. A brown and Captain S. Methison of the Gilgit Scout  with him. Subedar Major of Gilgit Scout  Babar Khan was also with these officers.
While doing this, Maharaja would not have imagined that whole of Gilgit Scout would turn treacherous within two months and three days and imprison Governor Brig. Ghansara Singh.
This transfer of August 1st paved the way for important events in future…!
——– ——– ——– ——–
Even as the divided freedom of united India was at the threshold, huge massacres were going on at the east and west borders of the country. The British authorities anticipated that this massacre would increase with the advent of Independence Day and of course, the partition day. Therefore, to tone down the severity of these riots, they put forward the concept of the mixed army of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Accordingly, a force named ‘Punjab Boundary Force’ was formed. It had eleven mixed infantries. The total military persons were 50 thousand and four brigadiers led them – Mohammad Ayub Khan, Nasir Ahmed, Digambar Brar and Thimmaiah.
All these four brigadiers started their work of Punjab Boundary Force in their temporary headquarter at Lahore  on August 1st .
However, this mixed army was forced to witness their headquarter Lahore burn within 15 days…!
——– ——– ——– ——–
At the same time, a drama was being enacted at far away  Calcutta.
A senior leader of Congress and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s elder brother Sharad Chandra Bose resigned from Congress on August 1st. Sharad Babu was a radical personality. This was a man who remained in Congress for forty years and fought with full spirit and might. It is mentioned in the report of British Intelligence in 1930 – “He is a man, who assisted the revolutionary movement for years by means of his Purse, his Press and his Prestige, and who was unquestionably a most dangerous opponent of Government.”
Sarat_Chandra_Bose
Sharad Chandra Bose and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had too many similarities. Both of them were born in 1889. Both of them were educated in England. Both of them acquired their law degree from the England. Both had left-leaning thinking in their younger days. Later on, both became active in Congress. Both shared a good relationship.
However, Congress won majority 54 seats in the provincial elections in the 1937, followed by Krishak Praja Party and Muslim League which got 37 seats each. As a leader of the Bengal Congress, Sharad Chandra Bose exhorted Congress and especially, Gandhi-Nehru to form joint government with the Krishak Praja Party.  However, Congress did not relent. The Congress party sat on opposition benches even after winning most seats while Muslim League formed the joint government with the help of Krishak Praja Party. Sher-e-Bengal A. A. Fazlul Haq became the ‘Prime Minister’ of Bengal. From then on, the foundation of the Congress in Bengal became weakened. It eventually led to someone like Surhavardi from Muslim League becoming ‘Prime Minister’ after nine years under whose leadership five thousand Hindus were mercilessly massacred on the ‘Direct Action Day’ in 1946…!
All these events perturbed Sharad Babu. He  was writing to Congress leadership, and especially Nehru, in this regard from time to time, but to no avail. Sharad babu was obviously infuriated by the campaign run by Nehru against Subhash Babu during the presidential election for the Tripuri (Jabalpur) Congress in 1939 as well.
And to top all this was the consent given by Gandhi- Nehru to the partition of Bengal. Sharad Babu could not digest this and hence on August 1st, he resigned from his 40 year old Congress party…!
On August 1st, Sharad Babu formed the ‘Socialist Republican Army’ party. He emphasised that “The partition of the country and the situation of anarchy in the country is the failure of Nehru’s leadership”.
——– ——– ——— ——–
August 1st. The day of large scale and rapid developments was about to set. *Punjab was still burning. The horrendous flames of fire from burning houses in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan were visible from far away in that fearsome darkness of the night. Fifty eight thousand swayamsevaks of RSS were working around the clock to protect the Hindus and Sikhs from being massacred in the whole of Punjab.* The situation in Bengal was heading towards anarchy…
The freedom and partition along with it was just fourteen days away…!
– Courtesy : Sri Prashant Pole
To be continued …

The Kargil War : How Courage Prevailed Upon Cowardly Duplicity

26 July 1999, when India emerged victorious in the Kargil war. The ignominious designs of a belligerent neighbour (Pakistan) to violate the territorial integrity of the nation were thwarted by a military action that has no parallel in the annals of military history.

On this day, the brave soldiers of the Indian Army, fighting against insurmountable odds, successfully restored a situation that had the potential of escalating into a nuclear holocaust.

The situation was contained by orchestrating a mature and restrained response that won international acclaim and gave India, not only a military victory, but also a moral ascendancy over Pakistan.

On 3, May, 1999, two shepherds reported to the army an unusual movement of people with a soldierly bearing in the Batalik Sector. Further investigations exposed blatant intrusions amounting to a full-fledged breach of the Line of Control (LOC) by Pakistani forces in the trans-Himalayan sector.

A war, not of its choosing, was once again thrust upon India. The war that lasted for almost three months was a battle of epic proportions fought at extreme high altitude. It culminated with Pakistan lamely announcing the withdrawal of its battered Northern Light Infantry (NLI) formations when there was very little left to withdraw.

On the eighteenth anniversary of the war, it would be appropriate to revisit the treachery, duplicity and deceit that went into the planning and execution of the war by Pakistan.

Even as India was being feted with an olive branch with the promise of a negotiated peace, Pakistani troops were already on their way to stealthily occupy Indian territories. Pakistan went into the war with a fair realisation of the risks and gamble involved. An eminent Pakistani writer, Altaf Gauhar, has suggested that contingency planning for the Kargil conflict was formulated way back in 1987. The plan, however, was set aside as militarily untenable and irrational as also internationally indefensible.

Why then did Pakistan decide to take this gamble after twelve long years? The reason was the then Chief of the Pakistan Army, General Pervez Musharraf! He had been part of the initial planning and had all through considered the plan to be operationally tenable.

The Pakistan Army, under the leadership of General Musharraf, factored in a normal winter, a weak and vacillating Indian reaction, a strong element of surprise, and most likely a strong international intervention for fear of a possible nuclear escalation. All tenuous probabilities not based on rational analysis.

Having decided to launch the operation, the Pakistani leadership sent in troops of the Northern Light Infantry (NLI) for the same. The NLI comprises exclusively of troops from Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Being from a backward and underdeveloped area, their education levels are low. They are hardy, innocent and well disciplined troops who exude a great sense of loyalty. However, they are looked down upon by their Punjabi counterparts and are given a status of low grade soldiers. It is these troops that the Pakistani military hierarchy decided to sacrifice at the altar of its unsustainable ambition. They were, in other words, cannon fodder.

A captured diary of a Captain serving with one of the NLI units, tells a chilling story. He was in the vanguard of the operation launched in February when winter was at its peak. Only trained mountaineers, specially clothed, equipped and rationed could have risked a passage in the treacherous terrain. The Captains untrained and ill equipped column lost eleven men in the approach march itself. The remainder suffered terrible physical torture.

The terrain was so inhospitable that the intruders would not have been able to survive without comprehensive and sustained re-supply operations. Those who reached their objective found themselves without support and assistance. These poor soldiers were not aware that, right from the word go, the operation was undertaken with woefully inadequate planning for logistic support, a situation that is considered to be suicidal in military terms.

The Indian response was swift, courageous and spirited. The tactical advantage of the enemy sitting on high ground did not deter the resolve of the Indian soldiers to throw him out of Indian soil. No sooner was the battle joined, the intruders realised the harsh reality of the treachery of their own leaders.

The result for this hapless body of troops was an ignominious death under conditions of great deprivation and humiliation. Even after denigrating their loyal troops in such a dastardly manner, Pakistan declined to receive the bodies of its regular soldiers from the Indian side. The country took eleven years to acknowledge that it lost soldiers in the conflict. In November, 2010, it listed on its official website, the names of 453 soldiers and officers as killed in the operation. The actual figure, according to informed sources, was well over 2000.

The then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has gone public to acknowledge complete lack of information about the operation; Benazir Bhutto openly condemned the same.

The emerging realities provide enough evidence about the psyche of those involved in the Kargil misadventure with Pervez Musharraf at their helm. The plan can, without doubt, be perceived as the product of a highly masochist, egoistic and diabolic mindset at the highest level of military leadership in the Pakistan hierarchy.

Pakistan’s flawed policies have caused divisiveness and unrest within the country. Most of its Provinces, especially Balochistan and Waziristan, are reeling under full-fledged insurgency that the Pakistan Army is unable to control. The internal security situation is attaining alarming proportions. Yet, Pakistan continues to harbour terrorists and perpetrate violence in the subcontinent.

One is reminded of the famous saying “what you sow, so shall you reap”. It is time for Pakistan to understand that it cannot get away with such duplicity and if this situation carries on, the country will disintegrate under the weight of its own internal contradictions.

  • By Jaibans Singh 

  • Courtesy : JammuKashmirNow