Cyril Radcliffe and his strategy to divide the two most conflicted countries.
It is notable that Cyril John Radcliffe, a British counselor, was vested with the duty of dividing supreme India. The current Press Club of India, situated on Raisina Road, was where Radcliffe used to live. Since it was his home cum-office, it turned into the spot from where the division of the Indian subcontinent into two new countries was plotted and arranged. Radcliffe’s home was a little cabin, worked as a hutment during World War 2 like numerous other abutting structures. Notwithstanding the Press Club today, the more significant part of different arrangements have been supplanted by new ones. The partitioner of India was born in 1899 and was a leading attorney in England whose solitary visit outside Britain was while on a get-away to Italy. It is also a highly mystifying fact that the person who divided a country with such complicated issues had only five weeks of South Asian experience in his entire lifetime.
The fate of the two nations had been decided on August 12, but the matter was made public on August 17, 1947. The primary reason for this was to control the already frenzied atmosphere in the entire subcontinent. On one side, there was Jinnah and the Muslim league already laying claims to have a separate homeland for the Indian Muslims. On the other hand, The Indian National Congress still held onto the hope of keeping the country together, thereby maintaining the religious integrity. There was also the uproar by the princely states to remain independent, as well as the threat possessed by groups like RSS.
He was selected as the administrator of the Boundary Commission set up with the entry of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, by the British Parliament. It had four additional individuals, every single lawful illuminating presence of their time. Two of them belonged to India – Mehar Chand Mahajan, who went on to become the Chief Justice of India, and Teja Singh. Two of them belonged to Pakistan – Din Mohammad and Mohammad Munir. Radcliffe was the one to have decided on the demarcation line since the committee was already divided into both sides. The British Government chose him on the notion that he had no connections to India whatsoever. Mohammed Ali Jinnah had also approved of his name.
Be that as it may, to keep up his impartial stance, Radcliffe kept a protected separation even from the emissary, Louis Mountbatten, and the entire undertaking was done in most extreme mystery. A rough outskirt had just been drawn up by the previous emissary, Lord Wavell. This underlying activity gave Radcliffe a take-off platform to decide precisely which regions to relegate to every nation. There wasn’t any proper yardstick which he applied to draw the lines to the horror and dismay of many. He had gone through tonnes of research and materials. According to him, both sides provided him with an extensive presentation as to why they deserve the beautiful cities. With the limited time that he had and with the constant pestering of the higher officials, he tried to finish the job as soon as possible. Radcliffe confessed later that he could have done a better had he been provided with more time and patience.
The British had endowed the sensitive errand of explaining the ‘India’ circumstance to her last Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. An enchanting and viable mediator, Mountbatten had the option to persuade Nehru and Jinnah into an understanding. They had just concluded that the territories of Punjab and Bengal be part of two to frame West and East Pakistan, and the august states had been offered a decision of either joining the domain of India or Pakistan.
The commission was told to separate the limits of the two pieces of Punjab based on finding out the adjacent lion’s share regions of Muslims and non-Muslims. In doing as such, it likewise considered indistinct components that gave Radcliffe some space yet included choices concerning “common limits, correspondences, streams, and water system frameworks,” just as socio-political contemplations. Given the gridlock between the interests of the different sides and their malicious relationship, the ultimate choice was Radcliffe’s.
Radcliffe’s report was presented, the Partition map introduced in August 1947, and royal India was divided into free India and Pakistan along the ‘Radcliffe Line,’ a division of 175,000 sq miles (450,000 km) of the region occupied by a populace of 88 million individuals. In this way started the most considerable mass movement in humanity’s history. While Radcliffe’s commission was fundamentally keen on separating the outskirt based on strict demography, different contemplations, for example, main streets and water system designs, were likewise now and then considered, for the most part, in a way that profited India.
No one was happy about the limit that came to be known as the Radcliffe Line. Pakistan was quite often given the worst part of the deal, with a few Muslim majority share regions on the outskirt being provided to India for vital purposes. Lahore was almost given to India but had to be given away to Pakistan despite being densely populated with Hindus and Sikhs. Radcliffe made this decision at the end moment to make sure that Pakistan has a major city to their name. In the end, there was no simple method to segment India. Any line would have been, to some degree, discretionary and caused challenges for the individuals living in Bengal and Punjab. The flurry of the parcel — Radcliffe had minimal over a month to draw the limit — has regularly been scrutinized. Yet, the border did a genuinely great job of outlining the outskirts based on strict demography.