Outbreak of World War 1939
In 1939, World War 2 broke out. Lord Linlithgow announced India at war with Germany. Congress was angry on not being informed before the announcement about Viceroy’s Decision and refused to cooperate. They demanded Self Rule and when Immediate Self Rule was not promised.
Muslim League demands were also set up:
End to anti-Muslim policies by Congress
No law affecting Muslims should be passed unless 2/3rd Muslims are supporting it
Congress should agree to form coalitions in Provincial Govt.
1939, 22nd December Congress resigned from government. Muslims celebrated at the end of the age of Congress Tyranny and they named it “The Day of Deliverance” offending the Congress Deeply.
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the first Muslim who pointed out that the Hindus and the Muslims were separate nations. In 1930 Allama Iqbal gave the idea for a separate homeland for the Muslims.
1933, Chaudhry Rehmat Ali suggested the same idea and the name. At first M.A. Jinnah was not in favor of idea. He believed that Muslims would be bettor of in a federation in which they had political autonomy and a promise that their rights would be safeguarded. But the two years of Congress rule and a growing realization that the British would soon be force to leave India convinced, M.A. Jinnah that it was to consider establishing a Muslim State.
The Historic annual session of Muslim league began on 22rd March in 1940 at Lahore under the chairmanship of Quaid-e-Azam. On 23rd March 1940 ‘Pakistan Resolution’ was passed. It was put forward by Fazul-ul-Haq “Sher-e-Bengal”. The important part of the resolution was as follow:
“Geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions… In which the Muslims are numerically majority as in the north-western and eastern zone of India should be grouped to constitute independent and sovereign.”
This resolution was passed unanimously and soon became known as ‘Lahore Resolution’. However the Hindu press began referring it as ‘Pakistan Resolution’ and that title was soon adopted. Now it was the time to work for the homeland to become a reality – and it was the Muslim league which was undisputed leader of ‘Pakistan Movement’
Cripps Mission (1942)
Sir Stafford Cripps (along with 6 men) were sent to suggest the recommendation for the new reforms and to persuade the Congress leader ship to support the war effort. The mission reached Delhi on 23rd March 1942 to hold the discussion with the Indian leaders. It proposed:
o Dominion status for India after the war. Any provinces of states would be able to opt out of proposed Indian Federation
o Constituent Assembly to frame new constitution and members for this assembly to be elected after War.
Congress, which had observed the weak position of the British Government during the did not want to offer any concession to the British, so it decided to use that occasion to pressurize the government and demanded immediate transfer of power to a Congress dominated body. Gandhi regarded the proposals of government as a “Post-dated Cheque on a falling bank”. All India Muslim league also rejected the proposals because there was no guarantee that the proposals didn’t contained reference to Establishment of Pakistan
Quit India Resolution
On 8th August 1942, the India National Congress Committee passed its ‘Quit India Resolution’ calling for immediate withdrawal of the British. Gandhi argued that if the British left India, there would be no longer be threat of Japanese invasion. The British responded firmly by arresting most of the senior leaders of congress (Gandhi, Nehru and Azad etc.) as well as by banning the Congress party. For several weeks there was widespread rioting and the British lost control in some parts of the Country. However, they got it back through the use of air bombing and gas. Thousands of Indian lost their lives.
The Muslims League did not approve of the Quit India Movement. Quaid-e-Azam During this movement, termed it as a Black mail, saying that congress was trying to exploit Britain’s problems to win advantage for itself.
A number of letters and conversations were held between the 2 leaders in 1944 however the result was disdainful as Gandhi wanted Self Rule first and then consider partition while Jinnah wanted Partition first and no other alternative. Gandhi wanted power in hands of Federal Government while Jinnah wanted provincial Autonomy. This widened the gulf between Hindus and Muslims even further.
In 1945 Lord Wavell the Viceroy of India announced a plan for the transfer of power of India to its natives. To discuss the details of the plan Lord Wavell invited representatives from the various political parties in a conference at Simla in June 1945.
o An Executive council should be set up as Interim Government under the present constitution (Government of India act 1935) until a new constitution could be agreed on.
o The Executive Council would contain equal number (5 each) of Muslims and Hindus.
o All portfolios would be given to Indians expect defense and Viceroy.
To discuss the formation of the Executive Council and the future handover the Viceroy called a Conference of all the political parties in Simla. The Muslim league delegation included Quaid-e- Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan and Khawaja Nazimuddin while Gandhi, Abdul Kalam Azad and Khizar Hayat Tiwana represented the Congress. They deliberately included Muslim members in the delegation to demonstrate that not all Muslims were members of the Muslim league.
There was a deadlock over the Muslim league’s demand that all the five members of the Executive Council should be the nominees of the Muslim league. The Viceroy accepted four and Chief Minister of Punjab and Unionist party leader Khizar Hayat Tiwana demanded one Muslim seat out of Muslim quota, which was accepted by the Viceroy. Jinnah also pointed out as the Sikhs and Scheduled Castes on the Council were bound to vote with the Hindus, this would mean permanent Muslims minority in the Executive Council. Jinnah also objected Lord Wavell could see no solution to the problem and closed the conference on 14th July 1945. Another British attempt to find a solution had failed.
The general elections to the provincial and central legislatures were held in 1945-46. Both the parties took an active part in these elections because the constitutional future of India was dependent on the results of these elections. Both Congress and Muslim league contested the election on two exactly opposed slogans. Congress wanted to keep Subcontinent united, whereas Muslim League wanted to divide it.
Results of Election: The results showed that the Muslims league won all the 30 Muslims seats in the Central Assembly and 446 out of 495 Muslims seats in the Provincial Assemblies. The Congress won the same victory in the Hindu majority areas. In Bengal, the Muslim League won 113 out of 119 Muslim seats and formed ministry in Sindh. The Victory of Congress in N.W.F.P was a serious blow to the league, Muslim League won 17 out of 36 Muslim seats and Congress took 19 Muslims seats and Dr. Khan Sahib formed ministry with Congress. In Punjab, Muslim league won 79 out of 86 Muslim seats and Khizar Hayat Tiwana formed the ministry with Congress. Congress won total 930 seats gaining an absolute majority in 8 provinces.
Result of the elections not only divided the assemblies between Muslim League and Congress but also approved the Muslim league claim that, it was a sole representative’s party of the Muslims of Subcontinent and the demand for the establishment for a separate Muslim homeland was true.
THE CABINET MISSION PLAN (1946)
The British Prime minster, lord Clement Attlee announced that a special mission consisting of three cabinet Ministers would be sent to India to discuss the constitutional issues with the viceroy and Indian political leaders. The Cabinet mission was consisted of Lord Oathic Lawrence Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V Alexander.
Quaid-e-Azam made it clear to the mission that the Muslim majority areas should be grouped together to make a sovereign and independent Pakistan comprising of six provinces. Congress was opposed to any partition and would not accept Jinnah’s idea. The mission conducted meeting with top leaders of India in Simla Sir Stafford Cripps openly supported Congress. Abdul Kalam Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru, Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Vallabhai Patel represented Congress while Quaid-e-Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan, Nawab Ismail and Abdul Rab Nishtar represented the Muslim league, which demanded two separate constitution making bodies be set up for framing the respective constitution. Both the parties could not accept the proposals of each other.
The Cabinet Mission and Viceroy formulated a three-tier constitutional plan, which was as follow: Long term Plan:
1) It rejected the idea of establishing Pakistan
2) There would be three different parts to post-British India. (Hindu Majority Territories, Muslims Majority Provinces, Bengal and Assam)
3) Each part would have local autonomy and would be able to draw up its own constitution
4) Foreign affairs, defense and communication would be managed by a central Indian Union.
Short term Plan: The mission also proposed of setting up of an interim Central Government in which the Indian national should hold all portfolios. Gandhi criticized and rejected the plan and called it ‘An appeal and an advice’ while the Muslim league accepted long term and short term plans. The viceroy broke his promise by refusing to form the government only with Muslim league. On other hand Nehru, however said that Congress would not feel bound by the plan once the British had gone. The Muslim league felt that his made further discussions pointless. Any agreement might just overturned after the British had gone. So the Cabinet Plan was dropped.
Direct Action Day
Muslims were afraid that British might pull out without finding a solution, so they will suffer from Congress rule anyway. So in 1946, a peaceful demonstration to show that Muslims wanted Independence and British should hurry up with it. However in Calcutta it turned to serious rioting and 4000 people died in ‘Great Calcutta Killing’
3RD JUNE PLAN (PARTITION PLAN 1947)
Lord Mountbatten was appointed as the last viceroy of India and he was told by the prime minister, lord Clement Attlee to hand over the power to the Indian by 1st June 1948. Attlee had deliberately set a short time span for arrangement to be made. He feared that if more time were given, there would only be more disagreement. When Mountbatten reached India, he faced problems like Muslim League wanting partition and congress opposing it and he had very short time. In March 1947 there were riots and killing between Muslims and Hindus in Punjab. Soon the trouble spread to other provinces. After negotiations, he had worked out a partition plan. The Congress met on 1st may 1947 and gave its acceptance of the partition plan and Muslim League also gave its approval.
Mountbatten got approval from the British Government and the plan was issued on 3rd June 1947. The main characteristics of the plan were:
· India would be divided into 2 different states on the midnight of 14 and 15 August 1947
· Government of India act 1935 would be modified to adopt as the temporary Constitution for both India and Pakistan.
· Boundary Commission would be set up to demarcate the boundary between India and Pakistan.
· Military and Financial assets would be divided between India and Pakistan
· Legislature of Sindh would be given chance to vote Pakistan.
· Referendum would be adopted to decide NWFP future.
· Muslims members in the legislative assembly of Bengal and Punjab were given chance to vote for Pakistan. Which means they can join Pakistan.
· Appropriate measures would be adapted to decide the future of Baluchistan.
· Rulers of Princely states would be given option to join Pakistan or India or remain independent.
RADCLIFFE AWARD (1947)
The issue which was not solved on 14th August was the boundary between Muslims and non- Muslims areas. Lord Mountbatten had appointed Sir Cyril Radcliffe to head a boundary Commission to establish new borders, particularly in Bengal and Punjab. Radcliffe had four assistance, two nominated by the Muslim league and two by Congress.
The decision of the boundary Commission (known as Boundary reward on Radcliffe award) was announced on 16th August 1947. The Muslim League was disappointed to hear that Calcutta was given to India, even though the Muslim areas surrounded it. In Punjab both Ferozpur and Gurdaspur were given to India. Again the Muslims were disappointed by this decision. Ferozpur had a Muslim majority and Pakistani had evidence to suggest the Radcliffe had originally awarded it to Pakistan but had been forced b Mountbatten to change his mind. Gurdaspur also had a Muslim majority. By awarding it to India the Indian now had a border with Kashmir and future disputes between India and Pakistan became inevitable.
Jinnah told people of Pakistan that the awards were Wrong and unjust and perverse. However, the partition had been take place two days earlier.
INDEPENDENCE ACT OF 1947: The British Government passed the Indian independence acts on 15 July 1947. The act ordered that from 15 August two independent dominions be established by the names of India and Pakistan. These dominions have complete freedom to pass any act or bill and the Government of India act 1935 was to be the provincial constitution until replaced. The princely states were given the option to join one or either of the country.