After the party came the reckoning. Radcliffe left India on Independence Day; so, too, did Jenkins, Abell and the remaining members of the ICS. None of them felt like joining in the celebrations. Neither did Gandhi, who had decided to take himself to Calcutta as a 'one-man boundary force', hoping that by his very presence he could prevent any fresh outbreak of killings there. Ismay was absent, too, laid low by a severe bout of dysentery. 'This dispensation was painful,' he wrote, 'but not altogether unwelcome. I was convinced that the right thing had been done, but I was in no mood for unrestrained rejoicing ... I had deep forebodings about the immediate future ... Many of my Indian friends were likely to lose their lives, and many more were certain to lose their homes. 1
At 5.00 p.m. next day, Saturday, 16 August, the newly-elevated Earl Mountbatten of Burma handed copies of Radcliffe's awards to the Indian and Pakistani leaders — Liaquat and Muhammad Ali had flown to Delhi from Karachi that morning for an emergency meeting of the Joint Defence Council. They were all given two hours to take the documents away and study them, before returning to Government House for another meeting.
Both sides were incensed by what they read. As expected, Calcutta had gone to India, and Lahore to Pakistan — in both cases there was sadness, but no shock. The Indians were angry to find that the Chittagong Hill Tracts had gone to Pakistan, while the Pakistanis were furious to discover that not only Ferozepur but also an important part of the Muslim-majority district of Gurdaspur, in the northern Punjab, had gone to India.
Gurdaspur was not a rich district by any standard, but it had great strategic and symbolic significance, since it provided India's only road into Kashmir. Like the legendary Shangri-La, the valley of Kashmir is protected on all other sides by mountains, with few passes. All Kashmir's other road and rail communications with the rest of the sub-continent ran through West Pakistan. So did the great rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, the lifeblood of West Pakistan, which flowed down from Kashmir into the dusty plains, carrying Kashmiri timber exports with them. With the maharaja, Hari Singh, still dithering over accession to either dominion, Gurdaspur had become the key to Kashmir's future. Without it,