Rediff Logo Chat Banner Ads Find/Feedback/Site Index


The Alan Campbell-Johnson Chat

He is 84. But there was such vigour in his responses that anyone accessing the Rediff Chat on Tuesday night would have thought he was much younger. Alan Campbell-Johnson's replies were truly spirited; Mountbatten's press attache brought his unique understanding as an eyewitness to history to his assessments of Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah. Inspirational stuff.

Natraj (Tue May 27 1997 20:0 IST)

Mr Johnson, do you personally believe that the British or any other country has the right to RULE over any other nation?

Salim (Tue May 27 1997 20:1 IST)

Dear Mr Campbell-Johnson, sir what was the relationship shared by Nehru and Edwina? Why was Mountabatten's attitude so ambivalent?

Shagufta Ahmed (Tue May 27 1997 20:2 IST)

Its indeed a rare pleasure to get an opportunity to chat with someone who saw the birth of India and Pakistan.

Ishwar (Tue May 27 1997 20:2 IST)

Mr Johnson: Did Nehru's friendship with Lord Mountbatten make him take decisions to the viceroy's suggestions?

Ishwar (Tue May 27 1997 20:2 IST)

Mr Johnson: Did Nehru's friendship with Lord Mountbatten make him take decisions to the viceroy's suggestions?

Maria (Tue May 27 1997 20:3 IST)


Akhtar (Tue May 27 1997 20:4 IST)

Dear Mr Cambell-Johnson: Can you name any one person who was solely responsible for the Partition of India? Was it Pt. Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel or M.A. Jinnah?

Shagufta (Tue May 27 1997 20:5 IST)

Mr Campbell-Johnson, in your earlier interview to Rediff On The Net you've said that the history of the subcontinent would have been different if Liaquat Ali Khan and Sardar Patel had lived longer. How different would India-Pak be if they did live a little longer? What are your views?

Akhtar (Tue May 27 1997 20:5 IST)

Hey guys, Is Mr Johnson in???

Nikhil Lakshman (Tue May 27 1997 20:12 IST)

Welcome to the Rediff Chat, Mr Campbell-Johnson. What an honour it is for us to have you here.

Anwar (Tue May 27 1997 20:13 IST)

Hullo, Sir. I am a Pakistani. There is a feeling that Lord Mountabbten was biased towards India. For whatever reason. Is this impression correct?

ALAN CAMPBELL-JOHNSON (Tue May 27 1997 20:14 IST)

Hello to everyone. I am trying to sort out the various questions.

Srikant Hattangadi (Tue May 27 1997 20:14 IST)

Mr Johnson. How are you? Reading your interview, I got the impression that you greatly admired Sardar Patel and Liaquat Ali Khan. Now that is surprising .Most people would have spoken of Gandhi or Jinnah, why these two men? Why would the history of the subcontinent been different if these two men had lived?

Atul (Tue May 27 1997 20:16 IST)

Reading Mission with Mountabbten, I got the impression that Gandhi did nothing but to lecture the Mountbattens. What impression did they have of the Mahatma? Did they indulge him as they would an elder uncle? Was he as wily as they say he was?

ALAN CAMPBELL-JOHNSON (Tue May 27 1997 20:16 IST)

Natraj: Clearly I do not think there was any divine right to rule. We were transferring power to the people who did have the right to rule.

Freedom (Tue May 27 1997 20:17 IST)


Salim Chishti (Tue May 27 1997 20:18 IST)

It is most gracious of you, Sir, to discuss the issues of 50 years ago with us. Did you expect India to survive as it has done? What in the last 50 years of India's existence, Sir, has surprised you the most?

ALAN CAMPBELL-JOHNSON (Tue May 27 1997 20:18 IST)

Anwar: No, Mountbatten was not biased towards India. If he had been, he would not have been able to secure a settlement. If he had been biased, he would not have secured a settlement. Pakistan did not get all it wanted; neither did India. It was a settlement all accepted, but none of them agreed to. If they hadn't accepted, there would have been collapse and chaos. The disagreement had gone on for so long that there was a danger of total collapse of central authority.

Akhtar (Tue May 27 1997 20:20 IST)

Alan Campbell Johnson: Do you sincerely believe that had the congress leaders known about Jinnah's health, they would have never accepted independence in the year 1947 and would have waited for say another year or two?

Ajit Donald (Tue May 27 1997 20:20 IST)

What kind of a man was Nehru? Was he a schemer under that patrician facade? Was he more trustworthy than Jinnah?

NANDINI* (Tue May 27 1997 20:20 IST)

Allan uncle, it's me Nandini. One of your grand nieces in India here. Want to know so much about Uncle Nehru... I am sure you being you, must have known him pretty well. Is there any truth in all what that horrible American wrote about him? His homosexulity --tch, tch -- and affairs and all that? Pls answer

ALAN CAMPBELL-JOHNSON (Tue May 27 1997 20:21 IST)

Freedom: No I don't think the British were wrong at the time of the 19th century. At that time, there was a widespread belief in the rights of imperialism, but with the passing of time, new ideas prevailed. One has to judge these ideas in the context of their times. The British Raj was very popular in India and many regretted our departure. The time had come for us to go.

Anwar (Tue May 27 1997 20:21 IST)

Did Nehru have an affair with Mountbatten? There is also speculation that Lord Mountbatten was gay. Why is there such a lot of hostility towards Lod Mountbatten? What kind of a man was he?

Akhtar (Tue May 27 1997 20:21 IST)

Alan: What was the reason to divide the Punjab, even though it had no muslim league government. Infact, it was the unionist party which was ruling Punjab. So can you please elaborate the fact that why Punjab was divided on communal lines?

Anwar (Tue May 27 1997 20:22 IST)

Thank you, Sir, for your kind response. Have you visited India or Pakistan after 1947?

Akhtar (Tue May 27 1997 20:23 IST)

Alan: Bitter lies, you looted our country. India was more prosperous during the Ashoka Period and Mughal period. On what basis you can say that people were more happy in your Raj? If that was the case people would have never demanded for independence?

Srikant (Tue May 27 1997 20:24 IST)

Mr Campbell-Johnson, you are 84 now. Which means you must have been just 34 when you accompanied Lord M out to India. It must have been a heady time for you, meeting all these history-makers, seeing history in the making. What is your most enduring memory of all that time?

ALAN CAMPBELL-JOHNSON (Tue May 27 1997 20:24 IST)

Akhtar: It is a hypothetical question. We ourselves do not whether Jinnah himself was aware that he had only a few months to live. If he was so aware, he kept it from his followers. Clearly the Indian leaders would have been tempted to wait for his passing. But he was a key man in the situation and he pressed for a solution.

Agnivesh (Tue May 27 1997 20:25 IST)

Why do you feel that 1947 was the right time for Independence? Wasn't it true that India was supposed to have been made independent in 1948? Why did Mountbatten rush through the whole thing?

Atul (Tue May 27 1997 20:25 IST)

You said in your interview that Kashmir will be partitioned someday. Was the accession of Kashmir manipulated in dubious circumstances?

Damodar (Tue May 27 1997 20:25 IST)

hi everybody