Masterpiece Theatre: Lord Mountbatten - The Last Viceroy (1986–…): Season 1, Episode 4 - Episode #1.4 - full transcript

The King Emperor

Ram, Ram, Ram,
Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram.

(cheers and applause)

To the people of India...
...whose representatives we are...

and join us in
this great adventure

They don't want speeches.

It's like New Years Eve
in Piccadilly Circus out there

and it could never have
happened if it wasn't for you.

The birth of India.

And the death
of the British Empire.

Well grandmother Victoria would
never have believed it possible.

Oh, by the way,

I had a call from London.
I've been raised to the rank of Earl.

You are now
Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Oh, you deserve it.

but not only me.

Well done.

Sorry to interrupt sir, Your Ex.
They'll be here in a minute.

Everything's been
cleared away, sir.

All signs of the Raj
have now been removed.

Good ... Oh, you'd better
remind everyone that

from now on, this is not
to be called Viceroy's House

but Government House.

Everybody like
to come in now.

Try and leave a gangway in the
middle, if possible ... plenty of room.

Round this side.
Leave the doorway clear please.

Keep clear.

Mr Prasad ...
Mr Nehru.

Welcome to Government House

I'd forgotten we'd agreed
the press could be here.

Your Excellency,
Lord Mountbatten

we come here
for a unique occasion.

For a unique reason.

Let us ... let us
gratefully acknowledge

the consummation
of the historic tradition

and the democratic
ideals of the British race.

Thank you, Mr Prasad.

Independent list.

Three quarters
of an hour ago

the independence of
India was proclaimed.

At the same time, the
assembly unanimously endorsed

the request of the Indian
Government to invite you sir,

to be first
Governor General.

I am proud of the honour,
and will do my best

to carry out your advice
in a constitutional manner.

May I submit to you the
portfolios of the new cabinet.

Just hold on one second, I think
you might get rather a good one.

I'm sorry.
I've nothing more suitable

and I feel I would
like to propose a toast.

To India.

I too would like
to propose a toast.

To His Majesty,
King George the Sixth.

To His Majesty.

His Majesty.

This way please.
There is no more.

Thank you
One more please.

He actually proposed
a toast to the king.

Nine years of his life
he spent in British prisons,

and he can still make
a gesture like that.

Yes, an amazing man.

Try to get some
sleep my dear.

It's going to be another
long day tomorrow.

What's in there?

Oh! The list of the
new cabinet ministers.

It's empty!

I thought he seemed so cool,
but in all the excitement

he forgot to
put in the list.

No food.

Today, I will observe ...
as a day of mourning.

Now, India is divided,

and it is not a
time to rejoice.

It is a time to pray.

Listen to us, thy children
in their need and sorrow

A great evil is about
to fall on our land.

Turn the hearts of thy people,
my brothers and sisters,

aside from it.

We reckoned on
a crowd of about 30,000.

This is closer
to a million.

We'll have to cancel
the rest of the parade.

Troops would never
get through here.

Come along, come along.

I can't get across.

Just walk over them,
they won't mind.

Let us through, will you.

Do clear the way, please.

Please clear the way.

Make way for
the Governor General.

Let him through.

It's hopeless.
We'll never reach the platform.

Clear a space.

It's no use.

What a mess!

We'll never make it.
Just hoist the flag.

Never mind the ceremony.
Hoist the flag.

Just get on with it.
Raise the flag.

Yes, clear the way.

No! No! Clear the way!

Clear the way!

What is that
on your head?

Clear the way!

Clear the way!
Clear the way, I say!.

Clear the way!

We decided to cancel the parade.
You'd better move on.

You'd better come with us,
help to ward off some of the crowd.

Excuse me ... let us pass.

Stop! Stop! ... open the door.

Can you get the baby.

Come up here.


Jai Hind!

Jai Hind!

Together, you and I
have done a great thing.

Calcutta is a volcano,
Mr Gandhi,

likely to erupt
at any moment.

A volcano is
a force of nature,

Mr Suhrawardy.

Our volcano, is made
up of human beings.

Human beings!
These people are all fanatics.

You can't
reason with them.

When I ran Calcutta, most
of the police force was Muslim.

Now half of them
have fled to Pakistan.

My people are
afraid, Mr Gandhi.

May I remind you, that
exactly one year ago today

it was you, who
started the violence

by ordering your people to support
Jinnah's day of direct action.

It was ...
a political move.

Thousands died because of it.
You unleashed a monster

and now, you cannot
get it back in its cage.

How can we? We don't even have
British troops anymore to keep the peace.

God forbid!

If we cannot keep
order in our own house

we do not
deserve independence.

As of now, the one
thing stopping a bloodbath

is that you're here,
living in a Muslim quarter.

But how long
can you stay here?

As long as I am needed.

Do you guarantee that?

Provided you agree, to stay
at my side and work with me.

But of course.
I'll back you all the way.

Perhaps you don't completely
understand what I mean, Mr Suhrawardy.

I mean, literally,
at my side.

We will live here together

and we will have neither
the police nor the army,

nor these friends
of yours, to protect us.

If the Hindu's find
that I'm here unprotected

they will tear
me to pieces.

That is what you risk.

Either that,
or we lose Calcutta.

My friends ...
I have decided to remain,

for the time being,
in Calcutta.

And together, I and

Mr Shaheed Suhrawardy,
of the Muslim League

But he's a murderer!

I have given him my word
that he will not be harmed.

But why do
you protect him?

It is our good fortune,
that Mahatmaji is here

to teach us to be brothers.
You talk of brotherhood!

You started it with
the killings, didn't you?

You were responsible

Answer the question!

I was responsible.

This is a time ...

to forget our past errors,

and to build
for the future.

Do you want to lead
your children into tomorrow

with hands
stained with blood,

or with your hand
clasped in your neighbours,

and your heart
filled with love?

If Calcutta can return to
reason and brotherhood

it will be a guiding light

to show how all
India can be saved.

Here we are gentlemen.
Identical copies of the map

showing the new boundaries
between India and Pakistan.

I would like you to take them
with you, to study them separately

with your colleagues and advisers,
and we shall meet again

in the council chamber
in two hours time.

Was it inevitable Pug?

Was there really nothing
else we could have done.

Absolutely nothing.

When we arrived, India
was a ship in mid-ocean

with her decks on fire
and ammunition in the hold.

We had to put out the fire
before it reached the ammunition.

You had no option.

I think it would
be a good idea

if Auchinleck
attended the meeting.

You have Calcutta!
You have Calcutta!

And you have
Chittagong and Sylhet.

Do they make
up for Calcutta?

Gentlemen please!

We must be able to talk
to one another, not at one another.

I asked for
reasoned comments.

How can we make reasoned
comments, when we are faced...

with the realities of partition,
and need time to absorb them?

When we asked for partition,
I never expected it would

create an East Pakistan
that is unable to survive.

We have the areas that
produce the raw materials.

But the factories
that process them,

and the port to ship them
from, is in West Bengal.

We have the
factories and mills

but none of
the raw materials.

What are your
feelings Mr Singh?

What can I say
for the Sikhs?

Wherever the line
was drawn in the Punjab

we have always known we would
be the ones to suffer the most.

It cuts through
our heartland.

It cuts our irrigation canals
from their source of water

It leaves five million
of our people in Pakistan

and five in India.

What can I say?

Sir Cyril Radcliffe ...
was very aware of the distress

his awards would cause.
I should tell you,

he has refused any payment
for the work he has done.

An unnecessary gesture,
but an honourable one.

Well, I'll tell
you one thing,

The panic in the border
areas is going to get worse.

And people who thought
they were safe in India

will find themselves
in Pakistan.

And millions of others, who
rejoiced at the creation of Pakistan

will find themselves
trapped in India.

Did you say trapped?

Yes trapped.
Trapped for a generation.

Yes, trapped, trapped.

Sit down.

please, please.

Before we continue
this discussion,

I think we should have a
situation report on the border areas

from Field Marshall Auchinleck.

We are in the process
of dividing the Indian army

between your two countries.

You made me Supreme
Commander to oversee that division

with no operational responsibility.

The Punjab boundary force under
General Rees, and the joint defence council

deal with disturbances
on both sides of the border.

But what is the situation?

There is scarcely a village
for 50 miles on either side

that is not on fire.

150,000 Muslims have left their
homes and are traveling west,

clashing with as many Sikhs
and Hindus moving east.

Amritsar is now in flames.

Ten percent of Lahore
has been destroyed.

Nawanshahr, the Muslim
population have been massacred.

Gujranwala ... the Muslims
have wiped out the Sikhs.

Shall I go on?

It is civil war.

Worse than that ...'s an upheaval of nature.

I don't want your
blessing, grandfather.

I want you
to be with us.

We can't stay here,
we will be killed.

Look! ... everyone else has gone
to try to get to Pakistan.

May Allah protect you.


Of course you must
protect yourselves.

But there is a world of
difference between that

and killing your neighbours
and their families.

The sword is
not the answer.

India is a democracy,

and the government is pledged to
safeguard the rights, and the lives,

of all our people,
regardless of their religion.

And it will do so to
the full limit of the law.

We are facing
great difficulties,

but we can all overcome
them much sooner

if we agree to work
together in peace.

Very Well. Since civilised
arguments don't reach you

... listen to this.

I know you are planning to
attack the Muslims in their villages.

If I hear that one hair of
their heads has been touched,

I will have you brought
to wherever I am,

and I will personally
give my guards orders

to shoot every one of you.

We should have known
they'd come here.

What are you doing?
Don't you know who lives here?

It's Suhrawardy!

Are you mad?
This is the house of Gandhiji.

We don't care
whose house it is.

We want the men
who came in here.

We want the men?

What men do you want?

The Muslims who attacked us,
then ran away in the dark.

Even if they attacked you,
do you think

I would hand
them over to you?

Come back when you
are less angry, my children.

Don't listen to him.

Look at him ...
... Muhammad Gandhi.

Why don't you go to
the Punjab and save Hindus.

Please! Just stop the ???

They were extremists Gandhiji.

Hindu extremists.

Welcome back Your Excellency.
Thank you Vernon.

H.E. in his study?
I believe so.

I heard Mr Nehru's appeal
on the radio last night.

About the trouble in the Punjab?
Yes, worse even than we feared.

Already 200,000 people in
refugee camps, maybe more,

and 4 to 5 Millions on the move.

Worst of all, large scale
rioting has broken out in Calcutta.

Despite Gandhi?

Yes, what they've been
calling the miracle of Calcutta

really was a miracle,
but it didn't last.

You're thinking of going
to Amritsar yourself.

We desperately need an
up-to-the-minute report on the

full extent of the refugee situation.
Immediate needs, future needs.

But where you're proposing to go
is the very heart of the violence.

You're not going
to forbid it, are you?

Forbid, ... that's a word
we've never used between us.

No, ... you're the expert,
and you know the dangers.

I'll give you what protection I can.
Not too much Dickie.

If I'm surrounded by armed guards
I shall not find out anything.

Will you go
over into Pakistan?

Well, I shall only be
doing half the job if I don't.

It may be even harder for you
to get at the facts you need there.

I shall have a certain
amount of cooperation

as wife of the
Governor General.

And Rajkumari is Minister of Health.
I'm pretty sure she'll come with me.

That might not be much use
to you when you cross the border.

Well ... we'll just have
to see ... won't we?

And what are you
highly decorated gentlemen

going to do about it all?
I beg your pardon?

Major, I've seen Japanese
concentration camps

that offered better
conditions than this.

Some provision must be made
for sanitation and drinking water.

And the food supplies which have
been sent ought to be handed out.

When, and if they are located,
they will be distributed.

But these people are starving.
They are refugees.

Since they decided to leave
Pakistan, they must be prepared

to put with a little hardship
until it can be arranged.

Do you know who
you are talking to?

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur is Minister
of Health in the Indian Government.

And here, at the express request,
of the joint defence council.

Of course I know. I was
asked to show you round.

Then you will also
know who I am.

We have checked that food supplies
have been sent to this relief camp,

and I'm not leaving
until they're distributed,

and adequate arrangements
made to provide water.

Unless the food is
here within two hours

I will personally telephone the
Governor General, Mr Jinnah, in Karachi

and demand to have you arrested for
corruption and deliberate obstruction.

Do I make myself clear?

At your orders,
Your Excellency.

Come with me.
Driver ... move!

Could you really have
got Mr Jinnah to do that?

I've no idea, but the
major certainly believed it.


A fast to death.
He said:

"Either there will be peace
in Calcutta, or I will be dead"

But Gandhi's in no condition
to put his body through that.

He must be talked out of it.
Rajaji couldn't do it, neither could I.

It is the Mahatma's ultimate
weapon when all else has failed.

Yes, alright. It's worked
for him in the past,

but these are totally
different circumstances.

He knows the risks
better than any of us.

Like hell he does!

We've worked damned
hard to get this far,

and now he risks
ruining everything.

If he dies, Calcutta
will go up in flames,

and the whole lot will
blow up in our faces.

Remember us?

Do you recognise me?

You are ...
... the children ...

... who attacked this house ...
... four nights ago.

Is that when ...
... you started this fast?

The very next night.

You shouldn't have
done it ... it was stupid.

Is he going to die?
Nothing is more certain.

If it goes on for another day
... he will be dead.

We didn't want that.

We didn't want that.




Gandhiji ...

... please forgive us.

What can we do?
Forgive us ... please!

I ... forgive you ...

... on one condition.

Your only punishment
... from me ...

will be ... to go

... to the streets ...
... of the Muslims ...

and help ... to protect them.

We accept.

We'll do it.

Only ... don't die.

Please ... don't die.

The column.
God be praised.


Excuse me. I shall need
this apron. Thank you.

Listen, press down.
Very hard, press.

That's it ... burp.

There we are.
Much better, yes?

You'd better take this.


It's Rajaji, Bapu.

Look Bapu ... the declaration
by all the leaders of the cities,

Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims.

They promise never to allow
religious violence in the city again,

or to die themselves,
to prevent it.

It's what you wanted, Bapu.

The promise you wanted ...
Do you understand, Bapu?

You've won! ...You've won.

It's good ...
... to be ... alive



It's a relief to see you back safely.
I was worried about you.

Why should you be
worried about me?

It was an official tour of inspection.
I couldn't come to any harm.

Yes, but you had
stepped into a madhouse

where the ordinary
rules do not apply.

The worst that happened
was that I nearly got sunstroke.

Have you heard the news?
The wonderful news.

The real miracle of Calcutta.

"The city of dreadful night,"
your poet Kipling called it.

Now it has become a
place of hope for all of us.

Because of Gandhiji?

His call was answered,
and it will last.

"Lead us from darkness
into light," he said.

I was ...

...beginning to be unable
to believe in anything,

after all we saw
and heard in Punjab.

It's horrible!

We can only hope and pray
that the worst is over.

The reports you sent
back shocked everyone.

But because of them,
much more help is being given

to the injured,
and to the refugees.

But it's never enough ...
... and always too late.

What we are doing
may not seem enough,

but it is all we can
do at the moment.

And you have done
all you can do.

I can't sit still, there's so much to do.
No, you listen ... listen.

You've been driving
yourself too hard.

For everyone's sake ...
... for my sake ...

... you must rest.
How can I?



Edwina ...

She's sleeping now.

Thank you for
bringing her back.

Edwina is not as strong
as she appears to be.

She has seen so much suffering
in these past few months.

Oh ... what has gone
so drastically wrong?

Why won't the
people trust us?

Why is there so much
hatred and violence?

Is it my fault.
Did I go too fast.

Perhaps it is the price
we have to pay for freedom.

It is certainly the price
we have to pay for partition.

But then ...
... we all accepted that.

Only we never imagined
it would be so high.

I know it's not
my place to say so,

but I think you could
do with a rest yourself.

Too much to do. Tomorrow
I have to fly to Lahore

to chair a meeting
of the joint defence council.

Then why don't you
take Edwina with you?

Depending on what is
decided at the meeting

you could stop off in
Simla for a week or two.

Are you trying
to get rid of me?

No seriously,
I urge you to consider it.

We will be in constant touch,
and there is nothing

we cannot deal with by
telephone or by messenger.

Now please, think about it.

What the devil ...

Mr Jinnah.

Welcome to Lahore ...
... Excellency.

This is an unexpected pleasure.
I'm glad to see you well.

Are you?
I'm sure you know everyone here.

Have you met Major General Rees,
commander of the Punjab boundary force?

I met his Excellency
in Karachi, sir.

We ... I'm sorry.
We should talk please.

Well, I look forward to it but
the Defence Council meeting

starts in a few minutes.

It will wait for us.

I'm sure it will. If you'd
excuse us, gentlemen.

We'll wait in
the council chamber.

Good morning, sir.

You wanted to talk.
Was there anything in particular?

Something must
be done about the ...

attitude of the present
Indian government to Pakistan.

Their unhelpful manner,
their lack of communication

is nothing less than
a crude attempt to interfere

in the efficient
running of my country.

Oh, I'm sure there's been
no deliberate interference.

For example, the share of assets
we agreed before partition

either does not arrive, or is
delivered in such small quantities

that I cannot plan ahead.

You must order them
to fulfill their obligations.

Well, I can look into it,
I can suggest, I cannot order.

You are Governor
General of India.

Yes, that is what
you made me ...

by refusing to accept
a joint Governor General.

I am now an Indian, and that
is how you must deal with me.

Don't forget, I do not possess the
special powers you gave yourself.

My position is
strictly constitutional.

I can only advise.

So be it.

Let us discuss something
for which you cannot deny

a certain responsibility.

Joint defence.
Very well.

I insist on the immediate disbanding
of the Punjabi boundary force.

I have serious doubts about
its effectiveness, conduct

... and impartiality.

The behaviour, and
impartiality of its units,

in spite of a barrage of
propaganda, has been impeccable.

Again Lord Louis,
we must agree to differ.

Field Marshall Auchinleck
has said he will resign

if it is split into
communal forces.

I shall be sorry
to lose him

Mr Jinnah ...
I must ask you to reconsider.

Without it,
the violence could increase

against Muslims
as well as Hindus,

and the refugees will
be left with no protection.

The Pakistan army will be
sufficient to keep law and order,

at least on my
side of the border.

Very well, I accept your decision.
The boundary force will be disbanded.

You accept?

Since I've heard many
of the same complaints

and accusations
from the Indian side.

Without the total cooperation
of both governments

it simply cannot do
the job it was set up to do.

I did not expect you to
agree so readily, Lord Louis.

It was a conclusion
I'd been coming to, anyway.

In fact, Mr Jinnah,
I'm grateful to you.

Yes, you see ...

my authority over the boundary force
through the Joint Defence Council,

was my last
executive responsibility.

Now you have freed me
from it, and I suspect,

Pandit Nehru
will be pleased.

Why him?

Well, not to have me
always looking over his shoulder.

Now, I'll no longer
be directly involved

in the affairs of the
Indian government.

And ... what are
you going to do?

Well, I'd half
resolved to visit Simla,

and have a complete rest for
a week or two, and Mr Jinnah

that is exactly
what I am going to do.

Pandit Nehru!

Hey Pandit ... Jawaharlal.
We've brought you a present.

What is all this?

We've brought you a present.
You like Muslims, don't you?