- The history of the Indian nationalist movement can be studied under three phases:
(i) The Indian National Congress and its Moderate phase (1885-1905)
(ii) Extremist phase (1905-19)
(iii) Gandhian phase (1919-47)
The phase of Congress activities covering the years between 1885 and 1905 is generally called the ‘moderate phase’ of the Congress.
Some of the great presidents of the Congress during this early phase were Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Anandacharlu, Surendranath Banerjea, Romesh Chandra Dutta, Ananda Mohan Bose and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. The main aims of the Congress in its early phase were as follows:
- To found a democratic, nationalist movement.
- To formulate and present popular demands before the Government with a view to unifying the people over a common economic and political programme. Dadabhai Naoroji, the ‘Grand Old Man of India’, put forward the theory of economic drain in Poverty and UnBritish Rule in India.
- The drain theory, popularised by Dadabhai Naoroji (Grand old man of India), RC Datta and others was an open indictment of Britain’s economic rule in India.
Partition of Bengal
- On 20 July 1805, Lord Curzon issued an order dividing the province of Bengal into two parts: (i) Bengal and (ii)East bengal and Assam — East Bengal with a population of 31 million and Assam with a population of 54 million.
- The main aim of the British was to create a gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims on religious ground and to disrupt and weaken nationalism in Bengal.
- Partition of Bengal came into effect on October 16, 1905.
- The anti-partition movement was initiated on August 7, 1905.
- October 16, 1905, the day the partition formally came into force, was observed as a day of mourning throughout Bengal.
- People fasted, bathed in the Ganga and walked barefoot in processions, singing Bande Mataram, which almost spontaneously became the theme song of the movement
- Rabindranath Tagore composed the national song ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’, which was sung by huge crowds.
- Soon, the movement spread to other parts of the country in Poona and Bombay under Tilak, in Punjab under Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh, in Delhi under Syed Haider Raza and in Madras under Chidambaram Pillai.
- The veteran leader Ananda Mohan Bose laid the foundation of a Federation Hall to mark the indestructible unity of Bengal.
Swadeshi and Boycott
- ‘Swadeshi and Boycott’ was adopted as a protest movement against the partition of Bengal.
- The important aspect of the Swadeshi movement was the emphasis placed on ‘self-reliance’ or ‘Atmasakti’.
- It involved programmes like boycott of Government services, English goods, English speech etc.
- The theory of Swadeshi was promoted to establish Indian textile mills, national banks, soap facotires, tobacco factories, chemical work, tanneries, insurance companies and Swadeshi stores.
- Its initial objective was the annulment of the partition of Bengal, which was however soon superseded by the greater objective of attainment of India’s independence.
- The movement was suppressed by the British through repressive measures like imprisonment and deportation of its leaders in 1908.
Formation of Muslim League (1906)
The Muslim League was formed at Dacca (Bangladesh) by Aga Khan in 1906. Nawab Salimullah of Dacca played an important role in its formation.
The objective of the League was to create a sense of loyalty among the Muslims towards the British government and to protect the political rights and other interests of the Muslim.
- In 1905, Cama along with her friends designed the India’s first tricolour flag with green, saffron and red stripes bearing the immortal words – Bande Mataram. This flag was raised by Madam Cama on August 22, 1907, for India’s Independence at the International Socialist Conference in Stuttgart, Germany. After 35 years of fighting for India’s independence on foreign land, she returned to India and died on August 13, 1936.
The Surat Split of 1907
- In December 1905, at the Benaras session of the Indian National Congress presided over by Gokhale, the Moderate-Extremist differences came to the fore. The Extremists wanted to extend the Boycott and Swadeshi Movements to regions outside Bengal and also to include all forms of associations.
- The Moderates, on the other hand, were not in favour of extending the movement beyond Bengal and were totally opposed to boycott of councils and similar associations.
- The policies of Moderates and Extremists were different Thus, the Moderates were determined to split. Therefore, the Congress split at the Surat came in December 1907.
Home Rule movement
- Two Home Rule Leagues were established — one by BG Tilak in April 1916 at Poona and the other by Mrs Annie Besant and S Subramaniya Iyer in September 1916 at Adyar in adras.
- The aim of the movement was to attain Home Rule or selfgovernment for India within British empires by constitutional means.
- Inspired by the Gadar Party, 700 men of the 5 Light Infantry at Singapore revolted under the leadership of Jamadar Chisti Khan and Subedar Dundey Khan.
Kamagata Maru Incident
Kamagata Maru was the name of a ship which was carrying 370 passengers, mainly Sikh and Punjabi Muslim would-be immigrants, from Singapore to Vancouver. They were turned back by Canadian authorities after two months of privation and uncertainty. The ship finally anchored at Calcutta in September 1914. The inmates refused to board the Punjab-bound train. In the scuffle with the police at Budge Budge near Calcutta, 22 persons died.
Lucknow session of the Congress (1916)
The annual session of Congress was held at Lucknow. This session witnessed two historical developments.
(i) The two parts of the Congress — the Moderates and the Extremists — were reunited.
(ii) Equally significant was the unity between the Congress and the Muslim League at Lucknow session. An important role in bringing the two together was played by Lokmanya Tilak and Mohammed Ali Jinnah because the two believed that India could win self-government only through Hindu-Muslim unity. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak played important role
for bringing together the Extremists and the Moderates.
The word Mahatma is taken from the Sanskrit words maha (Great) and atma (Soul). Rabindranath Tagore is said to have accorded the title Mahatma to Gandhiji.
“Mahatma Gandhi came and stood at the door of India’s destitute millions, clad as one of themselves”: Rabindranath Tagore
“The only ray of light — He was the only ray of light to help us through these darkest days”: Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
“Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth”: Albert Einstein
“Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read, I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance…. The whole concept of Satyagraha was profoundly significant to me”: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
“He was right, he knew he was right, we all knew he was right. The man who killed him knew he was right. However long the follies of the violent continue, they but prove that Gandhi was right. ‘Resist to the very end’, he said, ‘but without violence’. Of violence the world is sick. Oh, India, dare to be worthy of your Gandhi”: Pearl S. Buck “Impressions of Gandhi? You might well ask for someone’s impression of the Himalayas”: Bernard Shaw
“Mahatma Gandhi will go down in history on a par with Buddha and Jesus Christ”: Earl Mountbatten
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 in Porbandar in Gujarat. After university, he went to London to train as a barrister. He returned to India in 1891 and in 1893 accepted a job at an Indian law firm in Durban, South Africa. Gandhi was appalled by the treatment of Indian immigrants there, and joined the struggle to obtain basic rights for them. During his 20 years in South Africa he was sent to prison many times. Influenced primarily by Hinduism, but also by elements of Jainism and Christianity as well as writers including Tolstoy and Thoreau, Gandhi developed method of direct action, first called “passive resistance” and subsequently described as “Satyagraha (devotion to truth)”, in South Africa. Satyagraha was a new non-violent way to redress wrongs. In 1914, the South African government conceded to many of Gandhi’s demands. Gandhi returned to India in January 1915.
Champaran Satyagraha (1917)
First Civil Disobedience: Gandhiji’s first civil disobedience movement was Champaran Satyagraha in 1917 in a district of Bihar.
Here indigo planters were compelled to grow on at least 3/20 of their land and to sell it at prices fixed by the planters. The peasants of Champaran invited Gandhi to help them. Gandhi was accompanied by Babu Rajendra Prasad, Mazharul-Huq, JB Kriplani, Narhari Parikh and Mahadev Desai.
An enquiry committee was appointed by the government. Gandhiji as one of the members was successful in abolishing the Tin-Kathia system.
Ahmedabad Mill strike(1918): First hunger strike Gandhi now intervened in a dispute between the mill owners of Ahmedabad and t he wor kers over the issue of discontinuation of the plague bonus.
Bapu’s ‘Satyagraha’ fasting was undertaken to put pressure on his opponents, who finally agreed to give the workers an increase in wages. Kheda Satyagraha, 1918 (First Non-Cooperation Movement)
- The crops failed in 1918 in Kheda district of Gujarat. But the Government was not ready to remit the land revenue and insisted on its full collection.
- It was the first non-cooperation experiment in which Gandhiji advised the peasants to hold the payment of revenue till they accepted the demand.
- The struggle was withdrawn when the Government declared that revenue should be collected from only those peasants who could afford to pay.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was one of Gandhiji’s followers in this Satyagraha. Satyagraha against Rowlatt Act (First All-India Satyagraha)
- In 1919, British plans to intern people suspected of sedition — the Rowlatt Acts — prompted Gandhi to announce a new satyagraha which attracted millions of followers. The satyagraha was to be launched on April 6, 1919.
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
- April 13, 1919, Baisakhi Festival Day
- A demonstration against the Rowlatt acts resulted in the Amritsar Massacre by British troops.
- A large but unarmed crowd had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh at Amritsar to protest against the arrest of their popular leaders Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal.
- General Dyer, military commander, ordered to open fire on the mass gathered around.
- The Hunter Commission was appointed to probe into the incident. Gandhiji described the report of the Commission as a whitewash.
- Rabindranath Tagore returned his knighthood in protest against the Jallianwala incident.
- Udham Singh killed General Dyer in England.
- Gandhiji was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind (Emperor of India) gold medal in 1915 for distinguished service to the British Raj. In 1920, he returned the medal to protest the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
- On 13 April 1919, a Sikh teenager named Udham Singh, who was being raised at Khalsa Orphanage, saw the happening with his own eyes and avenged the killings of more than 1300 countrymen by killing Michael O’Dwyer in Caxton Hall of London. On 31st July, 1940, Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville jail, London.
Khilafat and Non Cooperation Movement
The Non-Cooperation Movement (1919-22) is also called the Khilafat Movement. The unique feature of this movement was the united action by the Hindus as well as the Muslims. The Muslim community was attracted to the Khilafat Movement because of the shabby treatment meted out by the British to the Ottoman Empire and the Caliph of Turkey. The position of the Sultan of Turkey, who was regarded as head of the Muslim community (Caliph) all over the world, got undermined to a great extent.
The Khilafat Committee formally launched the Khilafat Movement on August 31, 1920. Immediately after this, the Indian National Congress convened a special session in September 1920 in Calcutta, where Gandhi presented a plan for non-cooperation with the government till the wrongs in Punjab and those in Turkey were mended by the British. Khilafat committee was formed under the leadership of the Ali brothers (Shaukat Ali and Muhammad Ali). Congress agreed with the plan of Gandhi and gave a call for boycotting the government educational institutions, offices and law courts. Call was also given to boycott foreign clothes and adopt Khadi.
After the Chauri Chaura incident of violence in 1922, the Movement was suspended by Gandhiji.
Chauri Chaura incident
Chauri Chaura is a small village in the Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh. On 5 February 1922, the police stationed there fired at a group of demonstrators. The demonstrators retaliated by burning down the police station, which caused the death of twenty-two policemen.
Gandhiji had all through the movement emphasized on peace and non-violence. This incident hurt him deeply and he called off the movement. In 1922, Gandhi himself was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He was released after two years and withdrew from politics, devoting himself to trying to improve Hindu-Muslim relations, which had worsened.
Very soon the people of Turkey rose up under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Pasha and, in November 1922, deprived the Sultan of his political power.
- The sudden calling off of the non-cooperation movement disappointed many of the Congress leaders.
- One school of thought headed by CR Das and Moti Lal Nehru advocated the end of the boycott of legislature so as to enter the council and expose the government’s weaknesses.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Rajendra Prasad and others opposed council entry. They came to be known as No Changers.
- In December 1922, CR Das and Motilal Nehru formed Congress Khilafat Swarajist Party with Das as president. The party was popularly known as Swaraj Party.
- On Gandhiji’s advice the party became ready to remain with Congress but worked in its own way.
- The Belgaon session (1924) of the Congress presided by Gandhiji endorsed the council entry.
- Swaraj Party won 42 seats out of 101 elected seats in the Central Assembly with a clear majority in Central Province.
- In 1925, Vithalbai Patel became the president of the Central assembly.
A group known as ‘Responsivists’, including Madan Mohan Malaviya, Lala Lajpat Rai and NC Kelkar, offered cooperation to government so that so-called Hindu interests might be safeguarded.
Simon Commission and Nehru Report
The Government of India Act, 1919, had provided that a review of the constitutional position would be made after ten years. However, the Briti sh Government appoint ed Royal Commission headed by Sir John Simon in 1927, two years ahead of time, to go into the question of constructional reforms. This Commisison did not contain any Indian
members; its all-White composition was treated by the people of India as an affront to national dignity. When Simon landed in Bombay, he was treated with black flags and shouts of “Simon, go back”, and there was a countrywide hartal. AntiSimon demonstrations took place all over the country. Lala Lajpat Rai, the “Lion of Punjab”, was struck with lathi blows of the police, and he died soon afterwards.
The Congress, on the other hand, appointed an all-party Constitution Committee to draft a new Constitution for India. As a result, there emerged a report drafted under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru. Called the Nehru Report, it marked a watershed in the constitutional thinking of Indian nationalists. The Nehru report came up before the Calcutta Congress for approval. At the Calcutta Session of the Congress held in 1928, it was intended to pass a resolution declaring complete independence as the goal of India. However, Mahatma Gandhi intervened and Dominion Status was declared to be the goal of India. The year 1929 had been a year of waiting.
Lahore Session and Poorna Swaraj
When the Congress leaders met on the banks of the river Ravi, near Lahore, in 1929 they were disappointed over the attitude of the British Government. Leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose and Srinivas Iyengar asked for bold action against the Government. Nehru declared that complete independence should be the goal of the Congress. Mahatma
Gandhi also approved of the goal. A resolution was passed that the word Swaraj in the Congress Constitution means “complete independence”. The All India Congress Committee was authorised to launch a programme of civil disobedience including the non-payment of taxes. On midnight of 31 December 1929, as the new year was ushered in, the Tri-colour Flag of Purna Swaraj was hoisted on the banks of the river Ravi by the Congress President, Jawaharlal Nehru.
26 January 1930 was declared the First Independence Day and a pledge was taken by the people of India on that date and the same independence pledge was repeated year after year.
Civil Disobedience Movement
Under the leadership of Gandhiji, the Civil Disobedience Movement was launched in AD 1930. It began with the Dandi March. On 12 March 1930, Gandhiji with some of his followers left the Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad and made their way towards Dandi, a village on the west coast of India. After travelling for 25 days and covering a distance of 385 km, the group reached Dandi on 6 April 1930. Here, Gandhiji protested against the Salt Law (salt was a monopoly of the government and no one was allowed to make salt) by making salt himself and throwing up a challenge to the British government. The Dandi March signified the start of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
The movement spread and salt laws were challenged in other parts of the country. Salt became the symbol of people’s defiance of the government. In Tamil Nadu, C Rajagopalchari led a similar march from Trichinopoly to Vedaranyam. In Gujarat, Sarojini Naidu pretested in front of the salt depots. Lakhs of people, including a large number of women, participated in these protests actively. In the North-West Frontier Province, the movement was led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar ‘Khan, popularly known as Frontier Gandhi’, under the banner of his Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God) organization. Chronology of events
- 12 March 1930: Dandi March was undertaken from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi by Gandhiji.
- 23 March 1931: Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were executed.
- December 1931: Gandhi returned and launched Civil Disobedience Movement but the movement was brutally suppressed by force.
- April 1934: The movement was withdrawn formally. First Round Table Conference (1930)
- The First Round Table Conference was organised in London in 1930 to discuss the Simon Commission Report.
- The Indian National Congress boycotted the Conference.
- Muslim League was represented by Mohammed Ali, Agha Khan, Fazl-ul-Haq and Jinnah.
Gandhi–Irwin Pact 1931
- Lord Irwin agreed to release all political prisoners except Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
- Gandhiji agreed to suspend Civil Disobedience Movement and participate in the second session of Round Table Conference.
- The spirit in which the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed did not last long. In spite of protests from all quarters, the Government carried out the execution of Sardar Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Raj Guru on 23 March 1931. On 18 April 1931, Lord Irwin was succeeded by Lord Willingdon. The new Viceroy had no intention to abide by the terms of the Pact.
Second Round Table Conference (1931)
The Second Round Table Conference was held in London in September 1931. Gandhi went to England to attend it along with Sarojini Naidu, Mahadev Desai, G.D. Birla and Madan Mohan Malaviya. He powerfully advocated for the immediate grant of Dominion Status to India, but this was refused. This led to the failure of the Second Round Table Conference. Ramsay Mc Donald announced the formation of two new provinces, viz Sind and North-West Frontier, and three experts committees on finance.
Moreover, Gandhi discovered how the British wanted to apply “divide and rule” policy through their proposed constitution. On his return Gandhi resumed the Civil Disobedience movement in 1932.
When the Civil Disobedience movement was resumed, the Government took stern measures to supress it. The new Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, was determined to crush it. The Congress was declared an illegal body and special ordinances were made to arrest the satyagrahis.Gandhi and many other Congress leaders were arrested in January 1932. Over a lakh of satyagrahis were jailed and the properties of some of them
Third Round Table Conference
- The Third Round Table Conference was scheduled to be held in London (1932). The Congress did not participate in it. The discussion led to the passing of the Government of India Act, 1935.
1. In 1931 Gandhi ji arrived in England to attend the Second Round Table Conference to mediate for peace between the British government and the Indian Independence Movement. Huge crowds of people poured on the streets of London to have a glimpse of him, for he was dressed in a loincloth, like the poorest of Indians whom he came to represent. Hundreds would gather to listen to this “Nanga Fakir” (as Mr. Winston Churchill used to call him).
2. Ramsay Mc Donald was the prime minister of England at the time of Round Table Conferences.
3. Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar attended all Round Table Conferences.
Communal Award and Poona Pact (1932)
- The Communal Award was announced by the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in August 1932.
- The Muslims, Sikhs and Christians had already been recognised as minorities. The Communal Award declared the depressed classes also to be minorities and entitled them to separate electorates.
- Gandhi saw the Communal Award as an attack on Indian unity and nationalism.
- The provision for depressed classes was objected by Gandhiji and he decided to go on fast unto death in Yervada Jail.
- This decision brought about negotiations with BR Ambedkar and Gandhiji through Poona Pact (24 September, 1932), by which a common electorate of all Hindus was agreed upon with reserved seats for depressed classes in the central and provincial legislatures.
- The text uses the term “Depressed Classes” to denote untouchables, who were later called Scheduled Castes under India Act 1935, and the later Indian Constitution of 1950.
Gandhi’s Harijan Campaign
- While in Yervada Jail, Gandhiji had set up All India AntiUntouchability League in September 1932 and had started the weekly Harijan (children of God) in January 1933.
- After his release, he shifted to the Satyagraha Ashram in Wardha as he had vowed in 1930 not to return to Sabarmati Ashram unless Swaraj was won.
- After this, Gandhi put aside political activities and devoted himself to the service of the Harijans and other constructive work.
Government of India Act, 1935
- It provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of provinces and princely states as units.
- The Act divided the powers between the Centre and units in terms of three lists—Federal List (59 items), Provincial List (54 items) and the Concurrent List (36 items). Residuary powers were vested with the Viceroy.
- It abolished dyarchy in the provinces and they were allowed to act as autonomous units of administration in their defined spheres.
- It provided for the adoption of dyarchy at the Centre.
- In the elections to the Central Legislative Assembly held in November 1934, the Congress captured 45 out of 75 seats reserved for Indians.
- In February 1937, elections to the provincial assemblies were held.
- The Congress contested 716 out of 1161 seats.
- Congress ministries were formed in Bombay, Madras, Central Provinces, Orissa, UP, Bihar and later in NWFP and Assam also.
Second World War and Indian freedom struggle
The Second World War began on 1st September, 1939. Two days later, the Viceroy of India declared war against Germany without consulting or taking into confidence the Indian leaders. Indian troops were sent to the various theatres of war for the defence of the British Empire. All Congress members decided to resign in the provinces against this move. This day (22 December 1939) was celebrated by the Muslim League as a “Day of Deliverance”.
August Offer (1940)
On August 8 1940, Lord Linlithgow offered a set of proposals to the Congress for securing its cooperation during the Second World War. It turned down the Congress demand of setting up the provisional National Government but made the following proposals:
(1) A representative Constitution-making body to be set up after the war
(2) Increase in the number of Indians in the Governor’s Executive Council
(3) A war advisory council to be set up.
Individual satyagraha (1940)
It was decided to launch satyagraha in support of the issue of freedom of speech. On October 17, individual satyagraha commenced and Vinobha Bhave was the first nominee. Pandit
Nehru was to follow him but was arrested on October 31, 1940, and was sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment. The campaign thus went on smoothly for 14 months.
Cripps Mision (1942)
The spectacular success of Japan and the pressure of the allies of Britain during the early months of 1942 forced the British Government to make a serious attempt to end the deadlock in India. On March 11, 1942, Mr. Churchill announced that Sir Stafford Cripps, a member of the War Cabinet, would go to India to explain certain constitutional proposals. An Indian union with a dominion status would be set up of the British provinces, princely states and chief commissionary areas. All political parties rejected the proposal. Mahatma Gandhi remarked that the Cripps offer was a post-dated cheque on a crashing bank.
Quit India Movement (1942)
- Soon after the departure of Cripps, Gandhiji decided that the time for sterner policy and programme had come.
❄ The All India Congress Committee met at Bombay on August 8, 1942 and passed the famous Quit India resolution proposing to start a non-violent mass struggle to achieve this aim.
❄ On this occasion Gandhiji gave his famous call of “Do or Die”.
❄ But before the Congress could start the movement, the Government arrested all the popular leaders, including Gandhiji.
❄ A number of Congress leaders like Jai Prakash Narain, Ram Manohar Lohia and Aruna Asaf Ali went underground and carried out the struggle from there.
Indian National Army (INA)
❄ Subhas Chandra Bose had escaped from India in March 1941 to go to the Soviet Union for help. But when the Soviet Union joined the allies in June 1941, he went to Germany.
❄ The idea of the Indian National Army (INA) was first conceived by Mohan Singh at Malaya. The first division of INA formed in September 1942 with the Japanese help.
❄ The more vigorous phase of INA began with the arrival of Subhas Chandra Bose at Singapore in July 1943. He set up the Azad Hind government, adopted tri-colour flag and gave the slogan ‘Jai Hind’.
❄ Subhas Bose set up two INA headquarters at Rangoon and Singapore.
❄ Even a women’s regiment called the Rani Jhansi regiment was formed.
❄ Subhas Bose was the first to address Gandhiji as the Father of the Nation in his appeal on the Azad Hind radio from Singapore.
❄ In May 1944 INA captured Mowdok (Manipur) and INA chief Shah Nawaz Khan hoisted the tri-colour flag on Indian soil. The Japanese Government handed over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to him.
❄ Unfortunately Japan was defeated and forced to retreat from the Indo-Bhutan border and ultimately the INA troop had to surrender before the British. The INA troops had to surrender before the British Army in 1945.
The government decided to put on trial the prisoners of INA. The defence of the INA prisoners was taken up by the Congress. Bhula Bhai Desai, Tej Bahadur Sapru, KN Katju, Nehru and Asaf Ali appeared in the court at the historic Red Fort.
C. Rajagopalachari Formula (1945)
- In 1994, C. Rajagopalachari proposed that after the termination of the war, a Commission could be appointed for demarcating contiguous districts in the north-west and east where Muslims were in absolute majority. In the areas thus demarcated, a plebiscite would be held on the basis of adult suffrage that would ultimately decide the issue of separation from Hindustan.
- Jinnah objected, as he wanted Congress to accept twonation theory and wanted only Muslims of the northwest and east of India to vote in the plebiscite. Hindu leaders led by V.D. Savarkar condemned the plan.
Simla Conference (1945)
- The conservative government in Britain led by Churchill was keen to reach a solution on the question of constitution in India.
- For this purpose, a conference was convened by the viceroy, Lord Wavell, at Simla in June 1945.
- Talks suggested setting up of a new executive council with only Indian members, and Hindus and Muslims were to have equal representation.
- Talks broke down due to Jinnah’s demand for the Muslim League to have absolute choice in choosing all Muslim members and a demand for communal veto.
Cabinet Mission (1946)
- The Attlee Government announced in February 1946 the decision to send a high-powered mission of three British Cabinet members (Pethick Lawrence, Secretary of State for India; Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade; and A.V. Alexander, First Lord of Admiralty) to India to find out ways and means for a negotiable peaceful transfer of power to India.
- The plan proposed rejection of the demand of a fullfledged Pakistan.
- On 29 July 1946, Jinnah withdrew his earlier aceptance of the plan and fixed 16 August 1946 as Direct Action Day.
- Interim government came into existence on 2nd September 1946 in accordance with Cabinet Mission’s proposal and was headed by J.L. Nehru.
Mountbatten Plan (3rd June Plan)
In 1945, the British government began negotiations which culminated in the Mountbatten Plan of June 1947, and the formation of the two new independent states of India and Pakistan, divided along religious lines. Massive intercommunal violence marred the months before and after independence. Gandhi was opposed to partition, and now fasted in an attempt to bring calm in Calcutta and Delhi. On 30 January 1948, he was assassinated in Delhi by a Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse.
Independence of India Act, 1947
On July 18, 1947 the British Parliament ratified the Mountbatten Plan as the “Independence of India Act 1947”. The Act was implemented on August 15, 1947. The Act provided for the creation of two independent dominions of India and Pakistan with effect from August 15, 1947. Each dominion was to have a governor-general to be responsible for effective operation of the Act.