My uncle, Jayantilal B. Nallawalla was commissioned by Lord Mountbatten to be his private photographer a few months before and during the Indian independence day (“Transfer of Power”) ceremonies. For the first time, his photos are being released online. As a teenager, I was privileged to communicate with Lord Mountbatten for several years and his unsolicited kindness ultimately helped me to emigrate to New Zealand.
These photos were printed in B&W from a colour film roll, so some sharpness has been lost.
Jawaharlal Nehru played a major role in the Indian independence struggle and became India’s first Prime Minister.Here is a YouTube clip showing his famous “Tryst with destiny” speech:
And here is the photo taken by my uncle.
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.” – Link to speech.
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur DStJ was from the princely family from Kapurthala and became the first minister of Health. Later she served in the upper house – the Rajya Sabha for many years until her death in 1964.
Dr Rajendra Prasad, a lawyer by training, served two terms as President of India.
Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan dropped his “Sir” title after independence and went on to become India’s second President.
After the stroke of the midnight hour, everyone went home, we believe. The next day was 15 August 1947 and the photographs taken near the Princess Gardens show few signs of jubilation or animated behaviour. The “Oh, shit” moment had arrived. India, albeit partitioned, was finally handed back to the Indians.
That’s all, folks.