Sunday, August 17, 2008

Deconstructing Wolpert - 2

For full context - see this post from two years ago.

Wolpert wrote of Nehru's reaction to Mountbatten, when informed of Gandhi's plan to ask Jinnah to form the Government of India in return for unity as follows:

Nehru was shocked to learn that his Mahatma was quite ready to replace him as premier with the Quaid-i-Azam......But Nehru had tasted the cup of power too long to offer its nectar to anyone else - last of all to that "mediocre lawyer", the "reactionary-Muslim Baron of Malabar Hill" as so many good Congress leaders thought of Jinnah.

Wolpert's construction is quite unfounded on any facts on the record.

Further, I read today - in Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre's "Mountbatten and the Partition of India, March 22-August 15, 1947", pages 93-94, the following (a week later)

Minutes of Viceroy's Staff Meetings
Eleventh Meeting April 8, 1947


His Excellency the Viceroy said that all the various factors on which a decision on India's future would be based were fast becoming clarified. With each talk he had with the different Indian leaders new facts arose, new plans were suggested. Perhaps the outline plan put forward by Pandit Nehru was the best so far. Pandit Nehru had considered it probable that the 1935 Constitution (as at present modified by practice) would remain in force with the least possible number of changes until a new Constitution was devised.

Mr. Abell gave his view that this was bound to be the case -- for the whole of India if unity was maintained or for Hindustan in the event of partition.

His Excellency the Viceroy said that Pandit Nehru had also expressed the opinion that the only way in which the Gandhi scheme could be made use of was by offering Mr. Jinnah the leadership of the Interim Government. Pandit Nehru had emphasized that on no account should the strong central authority be dissolved until there were competent alternative authorities to which to hand over. In this opinion Pandit Nehru was in accordance with Rao Bahadur Menon.