1947: The partition of moveable assets
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Rs55 crore and other assets
Partition and The 55 crore issue
The Rs 55 crore controversy in 1947: India was supposedly holding this sum back from Pakistan, which M. K. Gandhi insisted on paying up, and which consequently was one of the reasons given for his assassination.
The book Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre was the best source (though considered to be heavily biased in favour of Lord Mountbatten and Nehru) – while online, the most helpful information Mr MJ Ambhekar got was from www.mkgandhi.org, the archives of the Deccan Herald and the archives of the UNO.
- The amount due to Pakistan was not Rs. 55 crores, but Rs. 75 crores. The first instalment of Rs. 20 crores had been paid; but then, the Pakistani army invaded Kashmir which had acceded to India at the time, and the Indian government refused to hand over the balance of Rs. 55 crores, asking for the Kashmir issue to be resolved first, since any money given to Pakistan would probably be used for military purchases and used against India. Gandhi was against this decision and argued that this meant going back on an agreement made in earnest and not a good beginning for relations between two newborn countries, and undertook a fast to insist on paying the agreed upon money.
- Of all monetary and liquid assets, Pakistan got 17.5% while India’s share was 82.5%. Liquid assets included printed currency stocks, coins, postal and revenue stamps, gold reserves and assets of the Reserve Bank of India. This was accounted for so meticulously that there is even a record of proportional division of Rs 75 – petty cash from a district commissioner in an inaccessible part of Nagaland!
- Of all movable and non-liquid assets, there was to be a division in the ratio 80-20 between India and Pakistan. These assets included items like all the contents inside governement premises – down to tables, chairs, stationery, even stocks of lightbulbs, ink pots, brooms and blotting paper. Even books in government libraries were divided between the 2 countries.
- Railway rolling stock and government vehicles were divided in proportion to the rail track and roadway mileage inherited by each country.
If Pakistan was to get Rs 75 crores, what was India’s share?" – The answer is – 470 crore Rupees…
These rules of division – or "The terms of Alimony" as they were sometimes called – brought about some amazingly insane and incredible incidents. The book Freedom at Midnight documents these…
- The Police Superintendent in Lahore divided everything equally between a Hindu deputy and a Muslim deputy – leggings, turbans, lathis, rifles etc. The last items were the instruments of the police band. These were split up too – a flute for Pakistan, a drum for India, a trumpet for Pakistan, cymbals for India, till there was only 1 item left – a trombone. Before his eyes, the deputies, who had been comrades for years and devoted to each other, got into a fist fight to gain the trombone for his country.
- Sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica in the Punjab Government library were religiously divided, alternate volumes going to each dominion. Dictionaries were ripped apart, A-K going to India while the rest went to Pakistan. Where only 1 copy was available for any book, librarians were supposed to allot that book based on which country had a greater interest in it. As a result, librarians actually came to blows over which country had a greater interest in Alice in Wonderland or Wuthering Heights.
- Wine cellars would stay with India, as Pakistan would be an Islamic state where alcohol was haraam. However, Pakistan was to be monetarily compensated for its share of the value of the wine.
- There was only one government press that printed currency notes and India refused to hand that over. So Pakistan began its existence with Indian currency notes rubber stamped "Pakistan" over "India".
- The Viceroy of India had 2 sets of Royal carriages, one set trimmed in gold, the other with silver. Who would get which set was decided by Mountbattens Aide-de-camp by the toss of a coin, with India getting the gold trimmed set. After the harnesses, whips, spurs, uniforms etc were divided, the only item left was a ceremonial horn, used on special occasions. Splitting that into two would have made it useless, and giving it to any one dominion would have caused a fight. In the end, the ADC took it for himself as a souvenir.
2014: Pakistan believes India owes it Rs 5.6 billion
Partition 1947: India might owe Pakistan Rs 5.6 billion!
DC | Shafqat Ali | July 17, 2014 Deccan Chronicle
Islamabad: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said that some 67 years after the Partition, India owes Pakistan over Rs 5.6 billion mainly on account of assets held with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) post-1947 pending transfer to Pakistan,.
The SBP report says the division of assets and liabilities of the Reserve Bank of India post-1947 still remains incomplete. Pakistan and India became two independent nations in 1947 when the British rulers decided to leave the sub-continent.
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) says India still owes it a little over Rs 5.6 billion to Pakistan. The SBP, from the first-ever Statement of Affairs that the SBP issued on its second day of existence July 2, 1948 to the latest one released on June 27, 2014, has listed the unsettled claims on the RBI among its assets unfailingly for the last 66 years.
The SBP’s issue department which deals with currency and the assets that underlie it shows the outstanding claims on the RBI under two distinct categories of assets.
The bigger chunk, comprising gold coins worth Rs 4.1 billion, sterling securities amounting to Rs 501.6 million, government of India securities worth Rs 240.4 million and Rs 4.9 million of rupee coins, appears as assets held with the RBI pending transfer to Pakistan.
The smaller chunk consists of India notes representing assets receivable from the Reserve Bank of India.
As per the agreement between political leaderships of the two sides, the RBI was to remain the Central monetary authority for both India and Pakistan post-Partition, with Indian notes to stay on as legal tender in Pakistan until September 30, 1948.
According to the first annual report of the SBP for 1948-49, the two governments mutually agreed to end the Reserve Bank of India’s status of the common monetary authority from July 1, 1948. Subsequently, the SBP was to claim equivalent assets against these Indian notes and coins from the RBI.