Sir Ian Scott (1909-2002) went out to India as a member of the Indian Civil Service in 1932 and spent a decade in the North-West Frontier Province before being posted to Delhi as the deputy private secretary of the Viceroy, then Lord Wavell (and later Lord Mountbatten). The interview reflects on the talks prior to independence, including the most controversial aspect of Radcliffe's boundary delineation - the award of the Gurdaspur salient to India.
He was in Karachi with the Viceroy for Pakistan's independence ceremony:
I was in Pakistan for that. I went with Mountbatten to Pakistan on the 14th [August 1947]. That passed off very well. ... My wife and I went to the ceremony .. and she asked me on the way what was the new national anthem of Pakistan. I said I don't know ... wouldn't be surprised if it was a Scottish tune. What were we greeted with but 'The Road to the Isles' - not their anthem but incidental music. ... My life came to an end on 14th August. The ICS was finished n the 15th. I in fact stayed on about five months in Karachi with a new UK High Commissioner who had been appointed, Sir Laurence Grafftey-Smith. He was appointed high commissioner in Pakistan which was suddenly the biggest Muslim country in the world, seventy million, appearing from nowhere in a day. He hadn't an office, a house, nothing. So he got half-a-dozen of us from the ICS to stay on and help him set up in Karachi. ... It was a euphoric mood, people were very happy in Karachi.
While in Karachi, Scott came across at first-hand the killings which marred independence:
The office we found for the High Commissioner was in the city and one day we were there when we heard a shouting and shooting - terrible shouting. One of the other people in the office and me rushed down the stairs. ... got to the second ste from the bottom and I turned to him and said to him: Donald what are we doing, we have no authority to do anything now at all but report back to London. So regretfully we clambered upstairs again and waited for the news. And the news was desperate, because the Hindus had been leaving Sindh ... a trainload of them every night came down through the night and early morning went straight into the docks and alongside and got on to a ship and on to Bombay. This particular day the ship broke down, couldn't leave in the morning, and Karachi police faced with the trouble of what to do with this trainload of Hindus, they decided the best place for them was to stay in a Hindu temple near the port which they could walk to, which thy did and passed within 100 yards of our office. On their way, they were set upon by Muslim mobs and very many of them were massacred. That's the noise we heard... But we could do nothing ... whereas before that it was our job to do something about it That's burnt into my memory.
Sir Ian Scott was interviewed by Clare Jenkins at his home in Suffolk on 24 August 1996 - in part on my behalf, though it was not used in my radio series India: a people partitioned as I eventually decided to focus on the lived experience of Partition rather than the diplomacy leading up to it. Sir Ian's later career was as a British diplomat.
A news conference in New Delhi, 4 June 1947. Mountbatten is the figure in the centre of the back row with Sardar Patel to his right. The row below is (left to right): V.P. Menon; Sir Eric Mieville; Lord Ismay; George Abell; Ian Scott. Photo from Alan Campbell-Johnson, 'Mission with Mountbatten'