India’s Transition to Independence

September 2, 1946 was the day that the interim government of India,
headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, pictured alongside, was formed to assist the transition of India from British rule to independence. It remained in place until 15 August 1947, the date of the independence of the new nation. The Viceroy’s Executive Council became the executive branch of the interim government. Originally headed by the Viceroy of India, it was transformed into a council of ministers, with the powers of a prime minister bestowed on the vice-president of the Council, a position held by the Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru.

The senior Congress leader Vallabhbhai Patel held the second-most powerful position in the Council, heading the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Information and Broadcasting. The Sikh leader Baldev Singh was responsible for the Department of Defence and Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari was named to head the Department of Education and Arts. Asaf Ali, a Muslim Congress leader, headed the Department of Railways and Transport. Scheduled Caste leader Jagjivan Ram headed the Department of Labour, while Rajendra Prasad headed the Department of Food and Agriculture and John Mathai headed the Department of Industries and Supplies.

I was only just over 14 years old on that seminal day, but I was made aware of its importance by my father who held a senior government position under the Viceroy of the British Raj with its capital in New Delhi.

Many years later in the provincial capital of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, it was my nephew, Ranjit Dass – the older brother of my late twin-sister’s sons – who played a starring role in Prime Minister Nehru’s visit to that city, memorialized in this intimate, personal photograph in my family album:

Postscript:
Ranjit went on to become the Principal of a well-known private school in South India.

References:
Wikiipedia; Family memorabilia.

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