Raja Mahendra Pratap formed the Provisional Government of India in Afghanistan on his Birthday

(Following is an excerpt from, My Life Story of Fifty Five Years, an autobiography of Raja Mahendra Paratp. The book had been written in 1943 and was first published in 1947 from Japan. Here I am presenting his account of the formation of the Provisional Government of India.) 

Provisional Government of India was founded as early as the 1st of December 1915. It was my (Raja Mahendra Pratap) birth day too. Only a few friends gathered in my room that night and we formally formed the Provisional Government of India. I became its “life president” or the president so long as a regular government was established by us in India, it was to be of course by our Indian National Congress. Moulana Barkatullah was appointed Prime Minister, and Moulana Ubaidullah was entrusted with the portfolio of the home Ministry! Later we had several secretaries from the Indian brethren whom we had helped to gain their freedom. Two of them today hold important jobs. Mr. Mohammad Ali who was with us got an important post in the third International. I believe, he is still at Moscow. Another secretary Mr. Allah Nawaz is Afghanistan’s Minister at Berlin. With the help of such devoted coworkers we could do some service of India. When the story of the freedom of our country will be written some day this chapter of our Provincial Government of India will receive due consideration. Today, it is suffice to say that our Provincial Government dealt directly in those days with Afghanistan Government. Once even a treaty was drawn up between us and Afghanistan !

First of December dawned over us. The bright sun, like a dove of peace brought the happy tidings of the date fixed before hand. This evening at eight o’clock we shall have a little party in my room. My German, Indian and Turkish friends will assemble- With the exception of four they do not know the exact meaning of the gathering. They know that I would have my birth day celebration. It happened to be also my birth day. But the real purpose of this little secret meeting was a secret with in a secret. The veil was not to be taken off till we all met that night. The whole party did not consist of more than nine or ten persons.

“Now friends, we must tell you why we have given you all this trouble. I do not believe in any personal birth day rejoicings. Life is a constant stream without a beginning or an end. We are going to establish this night the first Provisional Government of India. I am to take the oath of the office of its president and here our honourable friend Moulana Barkatullah will swear before you as the First Premier…….”

Captain Niedermayer, now major, doctor and von—a title of nobility — warmly congratulated us. Captain Kazim Beg and Dr. Munier Beg spoke a few words of encouragement.

We knew little that evening that our humble beginning will develop a terrifying force in course of time. We hardly expected that the pro British Amir Habibullah would unofficially “connive” to our secret designs. And yet all what we did was never in any way criminally secret. We went to Afghanistan to work against the British in India. The Turkish and German governments helped us because they were in war against England. There was no conspiracy.

Later, this provisional government sent several missions, issued many proclamations and tried to come to some kind of understanding with the Czarist, Kerensky’s and Bolshevik Russia. It is however another story. We must not burden the memory of the romantic night with tales of after days.

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Saquib Salim

Saquib Salim is a well known historian under whose supervision various museums (Red Fort, National Library, IFFI, Jallianwala Bagh etc.) were researched. To his credit Mr. Salim has more than 400 published articles on history, politics, culture and literature in English and Hindi. Before pursuing his research and masters in modern Indian History from JNU, he was an electrical engineering student at AMU. Presently, he works as a freelance/ independent history researcher, writer and works at www.awazthevoice.in

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