Third Round Table Conference 1932 : Proved fruitless as most of the national leaders were in prison. The discussions led to the passing of the Government of India Act, 1935.
Note : The meeting of All – India Kisan Congress was held in 1934 in Lucknow under the Presidentship of Sahajanand Saraswati.
The Government of India Act 1935 :
- Based on the Simon commission report. (The recommendations are mentioned separately in the Charter Acts at the end).
- The Congress rejected the 1935 Act and demanded the convening of a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise to frame a constitution for an independent India. J.L. Nehru described it as “we are provided with a car, all breaks and no engine”.
- Yet, INC fought the election in 1937, when the constitution was introduced and formed ministries in seven out of eleven provinces. Later, Congress formed coalition governments in two others, only Bengal and Punjab had non – Congress ministries. Punjab was under the Unionist Party and Bengal under the Krishak Praja Party-Muslim League coalition.
- The Congress ministries coming to power did wonders to the morale of the people. They continued to function till the coming of the Second World War in 1939. When the war broke out, Lord Linlithgow declared India to be at war without prior assent of the Central Legislature.
- The Congress agreed to support Britain only in return of independence being granted. The Viceroy could promise this only after the war. In October – November 1939, the Congress ministries resigned in protest. The Muslim League observed this as the Deliverance Day (Dec 22, 1939).
- INC was willing to help the forces of democracy in their struggle against fascism, but asked how it was possible for an enslaved nation to aid others in their fight of democracy. They declared that India must be declared free or at least effective power put in Indian hands before it could actively participate in the war.
- The Viceroy refused to accept preconditions set by the Congress – Constituent Assembly for establishment of genuine responsible government at the Centre. Eventually, however, the British Government was eager for the INC to support their war efforts. Subsequently, it tried to pacify the Congress and the Indian leaders by a series of offers through August Offer and Cripps Mission.
The Demand for Pakistan :
- In 1930, Iqbal suggested that the Frontier Province, Baluchistan, Sindh and Kashmir be made the Muslims state within the federation.
- Chaudhary Rehmat Ali gave the term Pakistan in 1933.
- Mohd. Ali Jinnah of Bombay gave it practicality.
- Muslim League first passed the proposal of separate Pakistan in its Lahore session in 1940 (called Jinnah’s Two – Nation Theory). It was drafted by Sikandar Hayat Khan, moved by Fazlul Haq and seconded by Khaliquzzaman.
- In December, 1943, the Karachi session of the Muslim League adopted the slogan – ‘Divide and Quit’.
The August Offer 1940 Aug 8 : It offered :
- Dominion status in the unspecified future.
- A post – war body to enact the constitution.
- to expand the Governor – General’s Executive Council to give full weightage to minority opinion.
- Rejected by the INC because there was no suggestion of the national government and because the demand for the dominion status was already discarded in favour of Poorna Swaraj. It was accepted by the Muslim League.
The Cripps Mission 1942 :
- In Dec 1941, Japan entered the World War – II and advanced towards Indian borders. By Mar 7, 1942, Rangoon fell and Japan occupied the entire S E Asia.
- The British govt, with a view to get co-operation from Indians sent Sir Stafford Cripps, leader of the House of Commons to settle terms with the India leaders.
- He offered a draft which contained the following proposals:
- Dominion status to be granted after the war.
- Setting up a constitution – making body for India after the war whose members would be elected by the Provincial assemblies and nominated by the rulers in case of the Princely States.
- The British govt, under took to accept and implement the constitution so framed subject to two conditions :
- First, Any province(s) not willing to accept the new constitution could form a separate union and a separate constitution. Second, The new constitution making body and the British Government would negotiate a treaty to sort out matters arising out of transfer of power to Indian hands.
- Rejected by the Congress as it didn’t want to rely upon future promises.
- Gandhiji termed it as a post dated cheque in a crashing bank.
The Revolt of 1942 & The Quit India Movement 1942 :
- Called the Vardha Proposal and Leaderless Revolt.
- The resolution was passed on Aug 8, 1942, at Bombay. Gandhiji gave the slogan ‘Do or die’.
- On Aug 9, the Congress was banned and its important leaders were arrested. Gandhiji was kept at the Aga Khan Palace, Pune.
- The arrests provoked indignation among the masses and, there being no program of action, the movement became spontaneous and violent. Violence spread throughout the country. Several govt, offices were destroyed, telegraph wires were cut and communication paralyzed.
- The trend of underground revolutionary activities also started during the phase. J.P. Narayan, R.M. Lohia and Aruna Asaf Ali started consolidating underground networks. The most daring act of the underground movement was the establishment of Congress Radio with Usha Mehta as its announcer.
- Parallel govts, were set – up at various places. The first one was in Ballia in eastern UP under the leadership of Chittu Pande. Others were in Satara, Talcher, parts of eastern UP and Bihar.
- The Muslim League kept aloof and the Hindu Mahasabha condemned the movement. The Communist Party of India also didn’t support the movement.
- The movement was however crushed.
Naval Mutiny 1945 :
- A revolt took place in HMS Talwar on Feb 18, 1945 in Bombay due to racial discrimination, unpalatable food and abuse after the arrest of B C Dutta who had written ‘British Quit India’ on the wall.
- Next day, HMS Hindustan in Karachi also revolted.
- Soon the revolt spread to other places also. In Bombay, the mutineers hoisted the tricolour on their ship masts together with a portrait of S. C. Bose and shouted Jai Hind in the barracks. Their demands included release of all political prisoners including those belonging to the Indian National Army.
- It was suppressed after persuasion by the Indian leaders.
Rajagopalachari Formula 1945 :
- He proposed that plebiscite should be held in contiguous districts of North West and East where Muslims were in absolute majority.
- If the majority decides in favour of forming a separate sovereign state, such decision could be accepted.
- Jinnah objected as he wanted only Muslims of North West and East of India to vote in the plebiscite.
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