The Transfer of Power in India, 1945-7

The Transfer of Power in India, 1945-7

The Transfer of Power in India, 1945-7

The Transfer of Power in India, 1945-7

Excerpt

This is a description of, and a commentary upon, the negotiations leading up to the transfer of British power in India to the two States of India and Pakistan on August 15th, 1947. I have concentrated upon developments of All-India concern in the political and constitutional fields: and my sources have been the material published at the time, such as White Papers, Parliamentary debates, resolutions of Indian political parties, speeches and statements by Indian political leaders, Press comments, etc.

I should like to emphasise two consequences which follow from the limited nature of what I have set out to do. First, I have made no attempt to estimate the inter-action between, on the one hand, the events I have narrated and, on the other, Indian public opinion (if there is such a thing) or any section of it. This I would be quite unqualified to do owing to my lack of first-hand knowledge of the country and its people. I have, in fact, hardly gone beyond the official reactions of the major political parties, and have barely touched upon the highly controversial question how far these parties were supported outside the very restricted electorate. But enough has, I think, been said in Chapter I to indicate why the actions and policies of Congress and the Muslim League were of the highest importance--an importance which did not depend solely upon the extent to which they could justly claim to represent the Hindu and Muslim masses.

Secondly, I have treated these parties very much as corporate personalities, and can throw little light either on their internal politics or on the roles of individual leaders in determining party policy. Similarly, I have in the main treated 'the British' as a single entity, seldom even distinguishing the respective contributions of Whitehall and New Delhi. The material for doing this of course consists of secret correspondence, etc., which will not be available to the student for many years to come.

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