The Level 4 Gallery hosted the exhibition ‘At midnight’s hour: India and Pakistan, from empire to independence’, which ran from 22 – 30 January 2015. This exhibition connected with the University of Southampton’s 2014/5 ‘One Book, One Southampton’ choice: Jeremy Paxman’s Empire.
You can find out more about the scheme and Paxman’s book here.
Some information about the exhibition:
Between 1945 and 1947 British policy towards India focused on disengagement: how to leave India, with peace and with honour, maintaining the association with the British empire for the purposes of trade and defence. Describing the process that culminated in August 1947 with the creation of independent India and Pakistan as ‘the transfer of power’ is to give it a British perspective. It was executed in its final phases under the last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, to an agreed, if truncated, timetable. The transfer of power resulted in the partition of communities, population movement on a large scale in some areas, violence that was beyond control and the abandonment of allies among the Indian princes.
The end of empire came in carefully managed ceremonies, in Karachi on 14 August at the Legislative Assembly; and the subsequent day in Delhi. The Viceroy flew back to Delhi on 14 August: late in the evening the Legislative Assembly passed the resolution proclaiming independence and invited Mountbatten to be the first Governor General of India. The following day, after being sworn in, the principal ceremony saw the unfurling of the flag of the new dominion of India in Princes Park.
On display are reproduced and enlarged images from the Mountbatten papers, particularly covering the time around the ‘transfer of power’ in 1947.