On 20th February, 1947, His Majesty’s Government announced their intention of transferring power in British India to Indian hands by June, 1948.
India’s last Viceroy
The film Viceroy’s House, directed by Gurinder Chadha, follows the transition of British India to independence. It is set in the home of India’s last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten.
The story has an upstairs/downstairs quality.
Upstairs the story follows the negotiations taking place between Lord Mountbatten, politicians and dignitaries. It becomes clear that, whatever ideas Mountbatten may have had, he was being manipulated towards an outcome that had been decided before his appointment to office.
Downstairs the Viceroy’s House employs Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. The film examines the effects of India’s partition on the different groups and their relationships. In particular it concerns Jeet, a Hindu boy, who falls in love with Alia, a Muslim girl, and all the obstacles that are put in the way of their romance.
Chapter 30 of The Indian Independence Act 1947 partitioned British India into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan. It received the royal assent on 18 July 1947.
Pakistan was created at midnight on 14/15 August, at the same time as India became independent. The act states “As from the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, two independent Dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as India and Pakistan.”
Due to viceroy Lord Mountbatten’s need to be in New Delhi for the transfer of power, Pakistan celebrated its formation a day ahead on 14 August 1947 to enable him to attend both events.