Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sylhet Referendum, 1947

Sylhet Referendum, 1947
N the wake of the Partition Assam lost one of her districts to Pakistan. Mountbatten’s partition-plan announced on 3 June 1947, provided inter-alia for a referendum to be held in the Sylhet district of Assam to decide whether it should remain a part of the Indian province of Assam or go to East Pakistan. The Sylhet referendum was held on 6 July 1947 and the result went in favour of a merger with Pakistan. Assam thus lost a wealthy district causing serious loss of revenue.

But the Assamese people in general greeted this loss and the Assam press projected it as a gain. This attitude, somewhat unusual in the context of the national aspiration of the period, has its origins in what can be called the long-cherished quest of the Assamese – carving out a homogenous province for themselves. The Assamese perceived the partition of 1947 as a god-sent opportunity to attain that goal. In fact, the Assamese Congress leaders were sowing the seeds for subsequent manoeuvres in this direction well before the partition plan was announced. Lord Wavell, the Viceroy, wrote in his journal as early as April 1946, that Gopinath Bordoloi, the Congress Premier of Assam, gave the Cabinet Mission to understand that ‘Assam would be quite prepared to hand over Sylhet to Eastern Bengal....
Post a Comment