Untold and unheard events from the ‘Partition Diary’! A ‘Fist Fight’ and a ‘Coin Toss’ played a deciding factor in division of items between India and Pakistan

When we recall the partition that followed after India’s Independence, the only thing that strikes our mind is the death of more than 2 lakh Hindus and Sikhs at the hands of religious fanatics. Gradually this was sidelined by the Indian historians who embraced Nehru and his likes.

Rest is history: India’s past was distorted, villains were made heroes; heroes were projected as savage villains. India’s great sages who discovered gravity to atom theory were thrown out of Indian textbooks and the foreigners who stole India’s vast knowledge were declared as pioneers of modern scientific inventions.

Amidst this, Indians never gave a thought on how the assets were divided between India and Pakistan after the partition. Few of the alert Indians know that India had to pay Rs 75 crore to Pakistan as a part of partition agreement. This was because the division of liquid assets (cash, coins, stamp duties etc) was to be done in a ratio such that Pakistan was supposed to get Rs 75 crores.

But as Pakistani Army invaded Kashmir soon after Independence, Indian government refused to hand over the balance of Rs. 55 crore to the terror nation. One might ask, if Pakistan was eligible for Rs 75 crore then much amount India was entitled to receive? The answer is Rs 470 crore as Pakistan’s share was 17.5% while India’s share was 82.5% in the monetary and liquid assets.

But did you know that “Coin Toss” and a “Fist Fight” was used to divide few of the items between India and Pakistan?

From books to bullets, drums to flutes, coins to stamps, everything was included in the partition list. What was hilarious is that when the question arised on how to divide Indian Viceroy’s 2 sets of Royal carriages: one set trimmed in gold, the other with silver, the method opted was through “coin toss”.

To solve this tricky situation, Mountbattens Aide-de-camp (a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank) decided to toss a coin so that he can hand over the items to the winner of the toss. India was lucky enough as it got the gold trimmed set.

Few other hilarious incidents during the partition of assets!

  • Even dictionaries were ripped apart between the nations at few libraries. From A-K was handed over to India and the rest to Pakistan.
  • In a police station in Pakistan, all the items from leggings, turbans, lathis, rifles to flute, drum, trumpet and cymbals were divided. But at last the only thing that was left over was a trombone. So to divide this instrument, the deputies, who had been comrades for years got into a fist fight to gain the trombone for his country.

Of all movable and non-liquid assets, there was to be a division in the ratio 80-20 between India and Pakistan. Due to this agreement, cash, debt and financial reserves like gold bars were easily divided. India got 4 gold bars then Pakistan was entitled to receive 1 gold bar.

As there was only a single press to print the currency, the Pakistan had no other option than to reuse Indian currencies by marking those notes with “Government of Pakistan” stamp till it could establish its own printing press.



Hansika Raj