Research Question: How has the film helped students attain a comprehensive understanding the
history of the partition of India?
India was ruled by the British for almost two centuries. Indian resistance to Britain colonialism
intensified in 1939. After many more such events, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi led a nonviolent protest of
noncooperation with the British. Many nationalists were imprisoned due to this action. The British tried to
gain the support of the nationalists by promising governmental changes after the war in 1942. But since the
offer did not include independence, the Indians wouldn’t budge. While the Indians struggled with the British,
they also struggled between themselves. India was a home to two main religious groups; the Hindus and the
Muslims. The Indian National Congress was the main national political party of India, with mostly Hindu
members and a few Muslim members. The competition was the Muslim League, an organization founded to
protect Muslim interests. Members of this league felt that the congress mainly looked out for the Hindu’s
interests. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League insisted that all Muslims resign from the
Congress Party since he felt that it meant if India acquires independence, the Hindu dominated Congress
Party would be in rule. When World War II ended, Britain was highly indented. Hence, British leaders started
to rethink the expense of maintaining and governing distant colonies. India continued to push for
independence. This led to the return of power by the British to the Indians.
Lord Mountbatten, the final viceroy of India, his wife Edwina and daughter Pamela arrives at the
viceroy’s house. He was in charge of overseeing the dissolution of the British rule and the establishment of
an independent Indian nation. He attempts to negotiate an agreement between Jawaharlal Nehru who wanted
India to remain intact as one nation after independence and Muhammad Ali Jinnah who wishes to have the
separate Muslim state of Pakistan. In the meantime, Mountbatten’s newly arrived valet Jeet comes across
Alia, whom he was in love with. Alia continues to reject Jeet because he is Hindu and she is Muslim. She
fears to disappoint her father Ali.
With the increase in riots across India, the British decided to accelerate the independence process.
Mountbatten was intent upon a one-state solution. But, he had to reluctantly accept the partition of India
because of the intensifying violence between the Hindus and Muslims. He was to carve out a separate state
from the existing territory in only a couple of months with the help of an inexperienced English lawyer. Meet
continues to pursue Alia until he gets to know that she has been betrothed to another man since childhood.
The servants at the viceroy’s house are forced to choose between India or Pakistan. Lord Ismay,
Mountbatten’s chief of staff had been covertly working to draw the boundaries of Pakistan in order to create
a separate state between the Indian subcontinent and the Soviet Union. Mountbatten is enraged to find out
about this. He realizes that he had been used as a pawn and as a result, millions of people will be displaced.
Jeet is devastated to know that his entire family had been slaughtered in Punjab. Alia chooses to leave for
Pakistan with her father although she rejects her fiance? when he returns to claim her. Days later Jeet reads the
newspaper to find that the night train Alia boarded was attacked and everybody was killed. In anger, he
shows a knife at Mountbatten before resigning his post. Since Delhi was overwhelmed with refugees, the
Mountbattens decide to stay in India to assist where they can. Alia is brought in badly injured to the place
where Jeet volunteered to help the refugees. She was the only survivor of the train attack. She recognizes
Jeet and shouts for him and they reunite.
This movie is based on the British rule and how they cause the portion of India, the time period of the
movie was the 19th Century in India when Lord Mountbatten was appointed to be the Viceroy of India by
Queen Victoria, he was sent to India with his wife and daughter to give India their independence. After world
war II, there were huge phenomenal political changes beginning to happen all over the world, especially the
countries which were colonized, these countries questioned their practices and begged for freedom. After this
struggle of dictatorship many leaders argued that no country can rule over or colonize another nation and the
others questioned the high cost and commitment of folding colonies and so the colonized nations pressed
even harder for their independence and so one of the largest and the most populous colonies the world was
freed and given independence on 15th August 1947 which was British – held India.
Even though India was independent, they were partitioned into India and Pakistan by Lord
Mountbatten’s plan which involved Jawaharlal Nehru, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but Gandhi was totally
opposite to what they were planning as he wanted a united nation of Hindus and Muslims. While the
partitioning was taking place there were bomb blasts, people dying of starvation, massacres, etc. People were
dying because of the plan of the partition. New Delhi in March 1947, the huge and stately Viceroy’s Palace is
like a beehive. Its five hundred employees are busy preparing the coming of Lord Mountbatten, who has just
been appointed new (and last) viceroy of India by prime minister Clement Attlee. Mountbatten, whose
difficult task consists of overseeing the transition of British India to independence, arrives at the Palace,
accompanied by Edwina, his liberal-minded wife and Pamela, his eighteen-year-old daughter.
The movie explained in detail the factors that led to partition and the effects it had on the common
man. The Muslim members of India resisted attempts to be included in a Hindu dominated government. They
did not want an unequal position. Riots between the two groups led to the breaking out of several Indian
cities. Hence, the leader of the Muslim League, Muhammad Ali Jinnah demanded another separate country
where the majority would be Muslims. He wanted all states with a larger number of Muslims to be part of the
new country, Pakistan. Lord Mountbatten tried to negotiate an agreement between Jinnah and Nehru but in
vain. Jinnah was adamant about getting what he wanted and Nehru was not ready to give up a large part of
India to Pakistan. The only safe and secure solution that was visible to the British was the partition. The
northwest and eastern regions of India would become the new nation of Pakistan because it was where most
of the Muslims lived.
The partition of 1947 had horrible consequences. An act was passed by the British House of Commons
on 16th July 1947 which granted the two nations’ independence in one month’s time. More than 500
independent princes had to decide which nation they would join in that short time. Millions of Indian citizens
had to decide where to go. While many people were migrating to and from Pakistan, violence erupted
between the different religious groups. Millions didn’t have shelter or food.
The film was directed by Gurinder Chadha and written by Paul Mayeda Berges, Moira Buffini, and
Chadha. All the roles in the movie were beautifully depicted by the actors. The film changed my perspective
about the Mountbattens and the other members who were involved in the partition of India in 1947.