Masterpiece Theatre: Lord Mountbatten - The Last Viceroy (1986–…): Season 1, Episode 5 - Episode #1.5 - full transcript

Where is everybody?
Having the day off.

Must be the first break
they've had for months.

Give them a chance to see their
families, now that we're out of it.

Out of it! You Daddy!

Well, with independence,
they've got their own government.

They're running the country now,
and that's how it should be. Ouch!

Ah ha!

Stop! Stop!

Why don't you stop them!
They're looting those shops!

Are you deaf and dumb,
and blind, or what?

Do you know that I can't
remember the last time

that we had
dinner together?

(Mountbatten) Just family.
(Pamela) Just family.

You didn't mind did you?
No, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

You know, Dougie Fairbanks
always used to tell me

that I should be an actor.
But I ... I don't agree.

Oh, but you are
Dougie Fairbanks.

No, I could never
quite carry that off.

You see, I don't actually like
being on show all the time.

(Edwina) Just some of the time
(Pamela) Well, I hate it.

Well, I must admit, next
to you two shrinking violets

I'm a positive glutton
for the limelight.

Do you mind if I take a walk round
the garden, before I go to bed?

All right, but don't be long
All right. Good night.

Good night, darling.

Good night.

Stop! Stop! Stop!
Look out! Look out!

Stop! Stop! Stop!
Look out! Stop!

What is the matter?
What is wrong?

Drive! Drive!

Drive the car!
I'm telling you to go!

Get out of here!
Come on!

Good evening, Your Excellency.

Oh, V.P.!
Are you still working?

Sorry to disturb,
Your Excellency.

I don't know whether you have
heard of the trouble here in Delhi?

Well, there's been
some rioting, hasn't there?

It could hardly be worse.

The authorities have lost control
of whole sections of the city.

Both Mr Nehru and Mr Patel
feel that this is only the beginning.

I urge you sir, to return
as soon as possible.

Now look V.P. ... the worst thing
I can do is to start haring back to Delhi.

And the last thing the government
needs is for me to start interfering.

Is that final sir?

Both Mr Nehru and Mr Patel

are well capable of taking care
of this affair on their own.

And if they want me, then
they know where to get me.

Very well sir,
I will tell them.

But don't bother
to change your mind.

If Your Excellency does not return
in the next 24 hours it will be too late.

We will have lost India!



All right V.P., you old swine!
What's all this about?

We have a crisis
on our hands, sir.

I'll tell you, inside.

Delhi is in a
state of chaos.

Shop keepers, government
clerks, richer men, butchered!

Whole sections
of the city in flames.

We find ourselves in the
equivalent of a war situation,

which neither of us is equipped
by experience to deal with.

Well gentlemen,
you invited me here,

would you be interested
in hearing my advice?

That's why we're here.
Very well.

There must be a central
authority to combine all efforts.

And, you must set up
an emergency committee.

If you agree ...
We agree.

I am prepared to head that
committee if you invite me to.

Now please, don't
misunderstand me.

We need your experience,

yet, I am concerned that, less
than 3 weeks after independence

it might be seen that you,
and not the government

are running the committee.
Which might suggest

that you are still
running the country.

It is not my desire or intention
to run the country, Mr Nehru.

But in a situation like this,
someone has to be in command.

I shall only head this emergency
committee at your request.

(Nehru) Very well.
(Patel) We invite you.

You'll want to know how
I propose to run it. All right!

When I make a decision,
I shall ask you both if you agree.

That seems fair.

I should point out, however, that
as there will be no time for argument

I expect you both
to agree at once.

When immediate decisions are
called for, you don't have time

... to pussy-foot around.
If we go down in Delhi ...

... we're finished!

Very well then ...

we are all aware
that the situation is grave.

and liable to become worse
in the very near future.

The whys and wherefores
we can leave till later.

For now, we
shall only consider

the most immediate steps
which must be taken.

Vernon ... will you keep the
minutes of these meetings?

Yes sir.
Copies of the minutes

will reach each of you within
2 hours of the end of each session.

Those of you given specific
assignments will report in person

at the next meeting on
what progress is being made.

If we have to spend
time preparing reports ...

We're not asking for
a treatise, Mr Singh,

only an assurance that
positive action is being taken.

Now, let's get down to business.
Security ... General Rees.

Our top priority is to prevent
the breakdown of law and order.

As a matter of urgency,
I would arrange for several units

of the Delhi garrison to be
brought back, to police the city.

If you would like him to.

I would like you
to do that, General.

Very good, sir.

Our communications are vital.
At all costs, the telephone system

must be maintained, and
a radio link with the Punjab.

I'll take responsibility for that.
Thank you, Mr Patel.

Now we are still skirting the main
problem, the refugees themselves.

The number of refugees,
already in the city

or due to arrive within
the next few days

is put at
three-quarters of a million.

But we cannot cope
with those numbers.

We haven't got sufficient
accommodation or facilities.

We will be swamped!
Then we must build more camps,

and arrange for the transport to
Pakistan of all who wish to go there.

From the point of view of
health, the greatest danger

is the spread of disease.
We could not cope.

We do not have enough
food or medical supplies.

And far from enough
doctors and nurses.

The RAF squadrons
still here could fly in

the most urgent
vaccines and medicines.

As to the shortage of
medical staff, there are many...

welfare organisations,
all doing excellent work.

But, obviously ...
their efforts would be

much more effective
if they were co-ordinated.

The difficulty will be,
if I may say...

that the organisations were
founded by different religious

and political groups, to
serve distinct communities.

They will never agree
to work together.

Perhaps they never had to
face such a crisis, Mr Azad.

All we can do
is put it to them.

We'll leave that to
you and Rajkumari.

Right now! Additional
transport will be needed

to ship in staple foods
like grain and rice.

Trucks must be made available
by the Ministry of Defence.

Your Ministry, Mr Singh.

Yes, Your Excellency.
I will take care of it.

RAF transports can
drop leaflets informing

marauders and looters
they will be shot on sight.

Would you like the
information sub-committee

to look into that, Prime Minister?
It should certainly do so.

No doubt, Prime Minister,
you would like us now to

pass on to such questions
as the banning of weapons,

and the larger subject
of marshal law.

I would like us
to discuss that.

I agree.

I am grateful to you both
for meeting me at the station

... but ... why have
you brought me here?

Mr Birla has put his house
at your disposal, Gandhiji,

while you are in Delhi.
That is kind but ...

... I shall only be
here for a few days.

and I shall be staying
with my children of God.

That will not
be possible, Bapu.

The sweepers colony
is crowded with refugees.

I can still go there.
It's out of the question.

You have not fully recovered from
your fast in Calcutta. You must rest!

And you have not to
be obstinate about it.

Obstinate ... when have I every
been known to be obstinate?

And I have three
other rooms like this?

Just like this, Gandhiji.

Not for me ... I am neither an
industrialist, nor a Maharajah.

I could not work,
I could not even sleep here.

But it's the most convenient place
for all who wish to see you.

The offer of it was
kindly meant, Gandhiji.

It is far to grand for me,

But I cannot
refuse a kindness.

And since it is only for a
few days ... very well, I accept,

provided all the
furniture is removed.

What happened here?
They came last night, Your Excellency.

They took all our Muslim
domestics and orderlies.

We could do nothing.

Why haven't you removed
the bodies, at least?

They told us, that if we did
anything to help the Muslims,

they would burn
the hospital down.

The staff and my
patients are afraid.

There are still
snipers around.

Do you have
a handkerchief, Doctor?

Thank you.


No, Ma'am ...

... they're already dead.


Good day.
Oh, please continue.

They've roped you in
as well, Pammy?

Yes sir. I'm working
for General Rees.

We've just had this report of an
attack on Victoria Zenana hospital.

Is it bad?
No details as yet ...

but it seems as though some of
the staff and patients were killed.

Please excuse me.

It is always the weakest
who are attacked ...

... the defenceless.

What is the latest
situation, General?

Well, I can probably explain better
if I show you the operation board.

Every reported incident
is recorded here.

These black markers
show the trouble spots.

The blue, the latest
reported outbreaks of fighting.

The white,
the existing refugee camps,

and the silver,
the ones under construction.

And the red and green?

These are the refugee columns
moving into and out of India.

These show attacks on the columns,
but only the main ones, sir.

They're exposed to
constant hit and run raids.

As if they had
not suffered enough.

If we are to offer them
any degree of protection

I strongly request
permission sir,

to order more army
units into these areas.

Yes, of course, it must be done.
And more trains to move the refugees.

Of course. I want as many
people as possible off the roads.

Thank you, General.

These attacks, are the
work of few extremists

who only want to stir up fear
and hatred ... they can't win.

Yes, but it could take
us years to recover.

And leave a whole generation
who remember independence,

... not as a time of glory...

... but as a time of horror.




Muslim sods! Murderers!

We have done nothing.
Hurt no one. We live here.

Gandhiji! Gandhiji!

Gandhiji! Save us!

Protect us!

What has happened?
What is this?

They're Muslims, Bapu. See how
they have butchered our people.

Has there not been
enough death here?

Have you not
seen enough horror?

Would you really kill these people,
innocent people, with your bear hands?

They're Muslims.

Today ...

I thought of leaving Delhi
to go to the Punjab.

to use what little
strength I have left

where it seemed
most needed.

But even here ...
... even here ...

... the hatred
was only in hiding.

Pray for us, Gandhiji.
Pray for us.

If you leave Bapu, Delhi will
burn like Amritsar and Lahore.

Very well ...

I shall not leave
for the Punjab

until Delhi is at peace.

And you! ... you who
would kill and maim

you are my brothers
and sisters, my children.

I have devoted my life to teaching
you, and you have learned nothing.

You turn your hand
against your brother

because they call God
by a different name.

Now is the time for
me to test the beliefs

that have made
my life worth living.

And find out whether my
people are really worthy

of the freedom
they have won.

I don't think
I ever fully believed it.

Neither did I ...

... not until now,
seeing it for myself.

So much missing.

I thank God ...

we did not leave India
on August fifteenth.

I too, give thanks.

Through one of you, I have
rediscovered the meaning of friendship.

And through the other ...

I have remembered ...

I have remembered
what it is ... to love.

At any other time ...


We both have our duty.
Sometimes it is very ...

... unkind.

In my experience ...
... lack of information ...

...adds greatly to the
fears of the refugee.

One of our most important jobs
will be to let them know that ...

with your help
and cooperation ...

we shall soon have an
organisation whose only object ...

... is to solve their problems.

When we brought the
??? forward, You Excellency

it would seem
most suitable for them

to be undertaken by
a government department

rather than by charitable
and welfare groups like ours.

We serve the needs of our own
community, and will continue to do so.

We do not turn
anyone away

regardless of race,
creed or denomination.

But already, we are operating
at the limit of our resources.

Your greatest resource,
ladies and gentlemen,

is the bond that
already unites you.

Your desire and willingness to...
care for the needs of others.

Let me remind you
of what we're facing.

Three-quarters of a million
refugees ... hopeless, starving,

... centred in Delhi alone.

Daily the death toll rises from...
...riots, malnutrition, disease.

We are nearing
a condition of anarchy,

when none of you,
individually ...

will be able to carry out the
work that you were formed to do.

Delhi has food supplies
for only two more days.

As for medical treatment ...

the facilities have been
stretched beyond the limit.

More appalling than that, are the
attacks on the hospitals themselves.

Police and soldiers
have been taken away

from other essential
duties to guard them.

We do not tell you these
things to make you despair

but to make you aware
of the task that faces us.

It is too great for any one group,
too great for any government.

It can only be tackled
by all of us working together.

What do you propose,
Your Excellency?

I want to unit your
separate voluntary organisations

into a single working team.

If necessary, I'm prepared to
keep this meeting going all day.

But at the end of it, I want
your unanimous agreement,

your unanimous agreement ...

to the formation of a united
council for relief and welfare.

We'll concentrate for a time on
the camps in the northern provinces.

Well, I've prepared a list of the
food and medical supplies required,

but we will
need air transport.

(Elizabeth) Can we get it?
(Edwina) I can only ask.

If they refuse me, they'd
better give a damn good reason.

See what that is
would you Dilip.

What is it Dilip?
What are they doing here?

It's some of the Muslim
servants, Your Excellency.

They're afraid for
their wives and children

so they've brought them
secretly into the compound.

They're afraid you
will send them away.

I wouldn't dream of it ...

... but there's not shelter here.
We'll find them somewhere better.

Tell them, those are our own
guards firing warning shots.

They'll be quite safe here.

I will speak to the controller
and ask them to find

better accommodation ... some
food and milk for the children.

Move them round to
the servants quarters.

We'll have to hunt out
some extra bedding for them.

With these extra numbers,
food is going to be in short supply

We'll have to have strict
rationing in the kitchens.

Is that for everyone?
Everyone ... you me Dickie, everyone.

And any visiting bigwigs.

It'll do no harm to give our
diplomatic guests a touch of austerity.

Might even make them think
about how they can help.

She did it, Martin.
Yes, just to get them all together

in one room was a tribute to
the respect they have for her.

After that, I don't think
they knew what hit them.

No, no thanks.

I think we ought to get
away from here, Martin.



Major Gilliatt is wounded inspector.
We must get him to hospital immediately.

Right sir.
Come on man.

How bad is Martin?
Not as bad as it seemed.

The bullet just grazed his skull.
He's mainly weak from loss of blood.

And how about you?

Oh, I'm perfectly all right.
Just a little shaken.

Well I can't blame you for wanting to
see for yourself how things are going.

But I can't do without you.
So be more careful in future.

Yes, of course.

I was just thinking
it's the 9th September.

Reminds me of another
close shave I had.

Oh, when was that?
It was during the blitz.

A German 500 pound bomb
dropped just outside

our ground floor
flat in Westminster.

The point is, that was
exactly 7 years ago,

on the night of
9th September 1940.

Remind me to keep away from you
on the night of September 9th, 1954.

Yes, well you were lucky.
It was terrible about the driver.

Did he have family,
do you know?

Sorry, I've no idea.

Well, we must find out.
Do what we can.

Do you know
who he was?

Singh, Gurdil Singh.
My driver!

Gurdil ... Oh no!

Oh no!

Namaste ... ¿Hindi? ... mubarak.

Bapuji ... ¿Hindi? ... mubarak.

Thank you.
Thank you my child.

You will forgive my not rising...
but it has been a very tiring day.

Of course.
Many happy returns, Gandhiji.

Your Excellency
... Maniben.

You honour me
by coming here.

My husband asked
me most particularly

to bring you his
warmest wishes.

I received his charming letter.
That is more than kind enough.

You've never seen so many
letters, cables, telegrams

from all over the world.

Why send congratulations?

There is nothing but
anguish in my heart.

But you mustn't
be sad, Gandhiji,

... today of all days.

I'm sure that
all will be well.

And didn't you tell me once
that you want to live to be 120?

That is in what seems now like
another world, my dear friend.

I have lost all
desire to live long.

I will never give up hope ...

but I do not wish another
birthday to come upon me,

... in an India in flames.

How dare you beat your father
in front of a head of state.

Won't you join us?

I've just come from a 6 hour cabinet
meeting. I don't have the energy.

Is there something
on your mind?

Just a thought.

It occurred to me
there is now no reason

why the emergency committee
can't be phased out

and the country returned
to its normal government.

No reason at all.

You mean,
you don't object?

Patel thought I'd
have to talk you into it.

When is he going to realise,
that I have no desire

to take over
the government

You know I think I'll join
you for a swim after all.

Excuse me a moment.

Come on, coming out?

Allah hu Akbar!


Yes, the report is, it was invaded
this evening by a strong force

of Pathan tribesmen, demanding
its accession to Pakistan.

They've obviously been sent by Jinnah.
This is an outright act of war.

The tribesmen
say their aim is to

liberate their fellow Muslims from
the rule of the Hindu Maharajah.

This is not a time
to play at diplomacy.

You know as well
as I do ... all of you,

that this has been planned by
Jinnah to get Kashmir for Pakistan.

There's no proof
of that yet.

I want our troops
sent in at once.

I'll call a meeting of the Defence
Council, for first thing in the morning.

Nothing can be done until
we know the exact position.

And that is your only
proposal ... to do nothing?

Not until we know
the exact position.

Why was there no
intelligence of this?

There must have
been intelligence reports.

While we talk, the Pathans
could already have taken Kashmir.

Why are our
troops not sent in.

I want the troops sent at once.
Any delay could be fatal.

Gentlemen, gentlemen,
gentlemen, please!

We must deal with
these things in order.

General Lockhart, do you have
an accurate situation report?

Well, as far as we can make out sir,
the invasion was carried out by

approximately 5000 heavily armed
Pathan tribesmen, a surprise attack.

They smashed through the
border posts and by late last night

had captured the cities of
Domel and Muzaffarabad.

But that is only 130 miles
from the capital ... Srinagar.

Can the Maharaja's
army hold them off?

Extremely unlikely sir.
It'll simply be overwhelmed.

An invasion on this scale must have
needed a great deal of preparation.

I have kept asking, why we
have had no intelligence reports.

We had only reports of
preparation for defence, Mr Singh.

My opposite number in Pakistan
has been sent to London on a mission.

I checked with his staff.

They had no knowledge of
preparations for an invasion.

Jinnah planned all this

under the noses of
his British advisers.

And made sure,
that when it happened

his commander-in-chief
was out of the way.

That's an assumption,
Mr Patel.

It's one we have
every right to make.

But until it's proven, we still
have to act under international law

otherwise the consequence
could be disastrous.

The Maharajah has asked for our help.
We must send in troops at once.

I would advise
most strongly against it.

We must at least send
arms and ammunition.

Are we to sit idly by and
let Jinnah take Kashmir?

The point is, he is not
doing so, at least not openly.

We know we cannot send
Indian troops into a neutral state.

That would give him the excuse
to commit the Pakistan army.

Then we would
commit the Indian army.

Do you really want a war,
Mr Patel? ... A full scale war?

If it's unavoidable.
It must be.

Then what do you suggest?

We are still legally
bound by our agreement.

Maharajah Hari Singh
must decide...

whether he is ready now to
make a formal accession to India.

But we must remember that
whatever decision he makes

must be confirmed later, by a
referendum among his people.

I agree ... and I propose we send
our representative immediately.

I suggest V.P.Menon

V.P. Will you fly at once to Srinagar
put the case directly to the Maharajah

and return as soon as
possible with his signature?

Certainly, Your Excellency.

General Lockhart ... detail two
military advisers to go with him

to report back on
the exact position.

Very good, sir.

You realise, it may
already be too late?

The military situation
is confused.

The tribesmen should have
reached Srinagar by this time

yet for some reason
they haven't.

Whatever it is that's held them up,
we might just have time.

Would you excuse me gentlemen,
I have an urgent meeting

with Field Marshal Auchinleck.

There's no diplomatic way
out of this mess, Dickie.

There's gonna be fighting,
and a lot of it.

There are many retired British
in Kashmir, hundreds of them.

It's always been a favourite spot,
especially around Srinagar.

You know as well as I do,
when the tribesmen get there

there'll be a massacre.

I want permission to
lift a brigade into Srinagar

to protect and evacuate our people.
I'll command them myself.

Haven't you got it into
your head yet Claude,

I can't bring British troops into this.
These countries are independent.

We have no mandate
for military operations here.

Then our people in Kashmir
are going to be slaughtered.

And it'll be on your head.

Then that's a responsibility
I shall have to accept.

If there's going to be any intervention
in Kashmir it must be by Indian troops.

No one can estimate the consequences
if British forces are involved.

And what do we do?
Just watch and do nothing?

Well that's the hardest
thing I've had to learn.

But there's something you can do.

Go and see Jinnah,
he respects you.

He must be made to understand,
how disastrous a war would be

between India and Pakistan.

He'd lose half his
officers for a start.

His British commanders
would resign on the spot.

Well tell him. For God's sake,
go and tell him that.




He says he has awful
cramps in his stomach,

and he is also passing
blood in his stream.

Sounds like dysentery.
Could be.

We'll have to
find him a bed.


Well, young man ...
you going to help me, or not?

Well, well, well.

The city of Srinagar
is in total panic.

The Maharajah
completely demoralised.

He is ready to sign an act of
accession on any terms we propose.

He won't go back on it?
Definitely not.

In fact, it is now
extremely urgent.

The Maharajah has fled to
his winter palace in Jammu.

He has given strict
orders to his bodyguards

that if the accession order is not
there for him to sign by the morning

they are to shoot
him in his sleep.

Then I suggest
you return at once, V.P.

before his unusual
alarm clock goes off.

With pleasure.

You said he had fled from Srinagar.
What's the situation there?

The tribesmen are only
35 miles away at Baramulah.

They'll move in as soon
as they've finished looting.

How many men have
been left to defend the city.

Only one squadron
of cavalry, sir.

Srinagar has the only airfield
where transports can land.

Whatever troops
we intend to send in

must be flown
there immediately.

Well clearly we are going
to need more air transport

than the air force
has available.

I would suggest you issue an
order to all Indian civil airlines

to put their passengers off at the
nearest airport, and head for Delhi.

Are your preparations
complete, General?

The First Sikh Regiment
is standing by, sir.

The as soon as I hear from V.P.
that the Maharajah has signed

I want an immediate airlift
of the First Sikhs into Srinagar.

Reinforcements will leave
at dawn by road tomorrow.

At all costs, the
airport must be held.

Very good, sir.

A message came from Field Marshal
Auchinleck, half an hour ago.

He has just had a meeting
with Jinnah, who is at Abbottabad

waiting to make a
triumphal entry into Kashmir.

If now, we can
move quickly enough,

he may have to wait a
little longer than he thinks.

These tribesmen had
two days to reach Srinagar.

They could have done it
in as many hours.

130 miles of
undefended road.

The Muslims there would
have risen to support them

and we could have annexed Kashmir,
in the Maharajah's palace itself.

But what did they do? They stopped to
loot every town and village on the way.

And gave Nehru time
to fly in his soldiers.

Can't we send in our
own troops to support them

before Indian
reinforcements arrive?

You're talking nonsense.

We daren't order
our regulars in.

Anyway, our army would fall into
pieces without its British officers.

Now, all we can hope for is
that these stupid tribesmen

will hold on at least to
some part of Kashmir.

While I patch together
a bargain with Delhi.

I'm sorry Your Ex, I do have to
confirm 4 appointments for tomorrow.

The Joint Council
for Relief and Welfare,

Combined St John and
Red Cross Organisation,

the Lady Willingdon Group, and
the Marchioness Dufferin's Group.

Darling, I've just heard,
Nehru's been taken ill.

It was kind of you to come.

I don't think you should talk.
We want you to get your strength back.

You must get well.
You must recover.

Now everybody
needs you so much.

I am not a
military leader.

I have tried to
think like Gandhiji.

I've preached
non-violence for years.

Even the anger of these last
few days has taken all my energy.

I cannot rest.

I cannot stop thinking ...

... that Kashmir could
be lost to India forever.

I couldn't face the
future if that was so.

I couldn't face
the people of India.

Then there's something
you should hear.

The Sikhs have held Srinagar, and
begun to push the tribesmen back.

As soon as our reinforcements arrive
they'll clear the Vale of Kashmir,

and they will not
let it go again.

That is news I had
not dared to hope for.

I have a great deal to do.

Maybe you'd like
to stay for a while?