The Second World War had taken a massive toll on the British treasury and it was impossible for Her to run the colonies that had economically suffered with her. India was one of Her greatest treasure chests but, a long running revolutionary force coupled with widespread agitation meant that Britain had to free Her richest colony. India would now be divided into India and Pakistan as dominions.
The task of handling this transition was shouldered on an able Admiral who had recaptured Burma from the Japanese grasp: Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. Along with him came his wife Edwina Mountbatten,who, many historians believe she was sent by British masterminds and she didn’t just accompany her husband. Married to the admiral at a tender age of 21, Lord Louis was aware of Lady Mountbatten’s promiscuous nature. He did not fret, never a bit, which indirectly indicates that the Vicereine was part of an agenda. The paradigm was to use her as a ploy to accelerate the partition that was widely opposed in pre-independence India. But, the British had to leave; their power was on the brink of being extinguished. The partition was essential for them as their policy advised- ‘Divide and rule’.
According to many a source, Lady Mountbatten had an affair with the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru- A tall and handsome widower whose wife passed away only after 8 years of marriage. Trails of this affair can be found abundantly and denial of love between the two is hard to accept. Edwina Mountbatten’s daughter Pamela Hicks has openly indicated that there was an affair and it was effervescent in nature. Hicks claims and many journals support her stance that the Viceriene was quite a patient lady but, one thing she could not tolerate was loneliness. And one thing she craved for was intimacy. With Lord Louis Mountbatten being away most of the times due to his loyal service for the Queen, loneliness was always Edwina’s sole companion. Nehru’s life wasn’t any different. Losing his wife early meant that he had a personal struggle to keep his emotions in check. But, with all the stature he had, he could not hide his own promiscuous nature. M.O Mathai, Jawaharlal Nehru’s personal assistant for more than a decade claims in his book, ‘Reminiscences of the Nehru Age’ that the first PM of India had an urge for sexual intimacy and he indulged in it with many women he named in the same book. Be it an agenda or mere coincidence, Nehru and the Viceriene’s similar needs had an influence on decisions leading up to the partition.
Nehru, a supporter of a united India eventually succumbed to Britain’s convincing and agreed to sign on the Indian Independence Act that divided the two dominions. It is no secret that the British wanted the partition to happen, their only roadblocks were Gandhi’s reluctance to give it away and his faith in Nehru. Edwina had to persuade India’s first PM to get the matter in Britain’s favor. Logical evidence is clearly found in the bundles of letters that the couple exchanged, and with full knowledge Lord Mountbatten never batted an eyelid. M.O Mathai describes Nehru-Edwina relationship as a dictator-follower one. Edwina’s influence was strong and Nehru could hardly oppose. Pamela Hicks claims that their relationship was never sexual in nature but her mother’s power of persuading Nehru was commendable. Though Gandhi eventually agreed on the partition, it was Nehru who initiated the convincing act to get Bapu’s ‘go ahead’.
Before the arrival of the Mountbatten’s, Nehru had a similar stance like Gandhi. As the date of transferring of power arrived closer, the couple’s intimacy was becoming public. Nehru lighting up a cigarette for her or having a glass of wine in her bedroom, they were everywhere. So much so that Lord Mountbatten was virtually deserted, but he never complained. He considered the transition more than he worried about his own wife’s actions. The bigger the picture gets, the more it clarifies the agenda. In rhetoric, the love affair between Nehru and Edwina may seem outrageous, though there are many who claim otherwise. Many historians are affirmative that the British are the astute masterminds who have various methods to get things done. With the Edwina episode in India, they probably sealed their idea of getting India divided neither with the usage of the army nor the politburo. The literary confirmation cannot be obtained but, the depth in the logic with the behavior of the spouse and the turn of events suggested by many historians clearly indicate the architecture of a great agenda, in someone’s desire, existed and apparently, worked.