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Sunday, August 26, 2018

first Governor of Madras Province after Independence - hoisting National flag

The flag “Triranga’ attracts most ~ every time we see, WE SALUTE THY !! ~ here are some random read on what happened in Madras on that great day, and who hoisted the National flag !!

The Nation celebrated  the 72nd  INDEPENDENCE DAY with pomp and gaiety -    the great day of 15th August when BHARAT was liberated from foreign rule. .. due to the blood and sacrifices of innumerable martyrs.  Read that though  freedom dawned at 12 midnight, the flag at Fort St. George was hoisted only on the morning of August 15, 1947, at 5.05 am. The union jack was lowered in the Fort and amid cheers; the National flag with the chakra was hoisted.  The flag was made of silk and measured eight feet by 12 feet,  went fluttering atop the 150-foot high flagstaff (hailed as the tallest flag-post in India and over 300 years old). In all probability, the flag was woven at the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyuktha Sangha in Hubli. The flag is still exhibited in the Fort Museum. Horsemen in glistening jackets and gold sashes stood amid the large crowds that streamed along the beachfront to Fort. St George, to gaze at the Indian flag fluttering over the first Fort of the British East India Company.

Later in the day, Governor of Madras Presidency, Archibald Nye hoisted the national flag at the nearby Island Grounds to the sound of trumpets blaring and the Premier of Madras, Omandur Ramaswami Reddiyar, unfurled the tricolour at Ripon Buildings. The biggest crowd was in the Old Congress House Grounds in Royapettah where the Congress flag was removed and the national flag hoisted.   Chennai always celebrated with music. The music lined up for the eve of Independence included concerts by Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar at Gokhale Hall and Ms. Subbulakshmi who performed on AIR that evening at 8. There was cheer on many fronts. Jail doors opened for many convicts who had been granted a pardon.

That one of the splinter groups called it a day of mourning and stayed away from the celebrations is an aberration and would not merit any further mention in this post.   

Everytime when we read about Independence struggle and that great day of Aug 15, 1947, we feel happy and remember those martyrs whose sacrifices have given us the freedom this day.  .. that event led to partition of this great country and innumerable blood spilling is always tragic. Independence of India was preceded by the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics. The partition of the country gave birth to the Dominion of Pakistan, a new homeland for Indian Muslims (which would later be further divided into the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh). The partition of India is one of the most violent and tragic events in the sub continent in recent history and saw massive migration across the border.  Millions had to  flee from their homes, leaving behind all their possessions in fear of communal violence. Ten million people travelled miles on foot, bullock cart and train towards their newly promised homes.

Back home it was Chennai or Tamil Nadu, but -  Madras Presidency, or the Presidency of Fort St. George, and also known as Madras Province,  an administrative subdivision (presidency) of British India.  The city of Madras was the winter capital of the Presidency and Ootacamund or Ooty, the summer capital. The island of Ceylon was a part of Madras Presidency from 1793 to 1798 when it was created a Crown colony.  Following the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms of 1919, Madras was the first province of British India to implement a system of dyarchy, and thereafter its Governor ruled alongside a prime minister.

When the transfer of power took place at New Delhi, thousands of Chennai’s citizens were glued to community radio sets, listening to the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly. “Hundreds marched on roads with torches and tricolour, with drum and music, keeping up an unending refrain of ‘Vande Mataram.’ That great day – 15th Aug 1947 was a Friday -  the swearing-in of Governor Archibald Nye and the Prime Minister (which was how the position of Chief Minister was known then) O.P. Ramaswami Reddiar took place in the Cabinet Room at Fort St. George. The then Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Frederick Gentle administered the oath of allegiance to the Governor, who later swore in the Ministers. The Governor hoisted the national flag on the Island Grounds.  Mr Reddiar unfurled the flag at the Ripon Buildings, the headquarters of the Chennai Corporation.

So here is something on the 1st Governor of Tamil Nadu (aka Madras Province) – Nye.  Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Edward Nye GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, KCB, KBE, MC (1895 –1967) was a senior British Army officer who served in both world wars. In the latter he served as Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff(VCIGS).  After the Second World War he served as Governor of Madras – after which appointment Nehru asked for him to stay on as High Commissioner in India.  He subsequently served as High Commissioner to Canada.

Archibald Edward Nye was born at Shipstreet Barracks, Dublin, to Charles Edward Nye who  was a regimental sergeant major in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, British Army. At the outset of the Great War, Nye went to France with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 serving as a non-commissioned officer. Wounded twice in action, he was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. Becoming a Major, later he completed his graduation in law and qualified as a barrister at the Inner Temple in 1932.  In 1939, Nye was promoted to colonel, with the temporary rank of brigadier, and sent to India to raise a brigade, commanding the Nowshera Brigade.  He was to return to London rising in ranks and had the role of representing the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Alan Brooke, when he was unable to attend one of the many committees on which he sat such as the Chiefs of Staff Committee.  In 1944,  Nye was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the first of five knighthoods he would ultimately be conferred with.

Following his retirement in 1946, Nye was appointed Governor of Madras  and served as Governor till 7 September 1948. The day prior to his appointment as Governor there was a major labour strike in Madras. The rest of his term was plagued by peasant uprisings all over the province.  Nye was also the Colonel-in-chief of the Madras Regiment from 1946 to Mar 1949.  In Nov 1947, when Sir Frederick Gentle, the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court resigned over the Government of India order that the Chief Minister of the particular state should be consulted along with the Union Home Minister with regard to the selection of High Court judges, Nye expressed support for Gentle against political interference in appointment of judges.

Though Nehruvian congress held him in high posts,  Nye was strongly critical of Britain's efforts to admit India into the British Commonwealth. He felt that from the defence point of view, India would be "an ailing child who has literally, nothing, whatever to offer but who, on the other hand, constitutes a grave liability". From his term in Madras, Nye   was appointed the UK's High Commissioner to India, later UK’s High  Commissioner to Canada.  Nye was a keen billiards player and teetotaller.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Aug 2018.
Biblio :  Wikipedia; and other web.

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