Cabinet Mission, 1946

On 19th February 1946, British prime minister Attlee declared settling up of Cabinet Mission for resolving constitutional deadlock and contemporary problems. The purpose of Cabinet Mission was to further the process of self governance in India with the cooperation of Indian leaders. Latter Attlee declared that the British government  recognizes the right to independence of India and it would be the right of India whether or not to remain part of British empire. 

On 24th March 1946, cabinet mission reached Delhi, it included three British cabinet ministers: Pethick Lawrence, Cripps and A.B. Alexander.

to be continued ...

Royal Indian Navy (RIN) Revolt (1946)

On 18th February 1946, the ratings of Royal Indian Navy revolted. The cause of the mutiny was unhygienic food, racial discrimination and salary. The arrest of V.C. Dutta, a sailor, who wrote 'Quit India', on INS Talwar, also taken as the reason of mutiny.

The mutineers organized Navy Central Strike committee under the leadership of MS. Khan. The mutiny that began in Bombay soon reached Karachi and Madras. The ratings replaced Union Jack flag with flag of Indian National Congress, Muslim League and Communist party.

The Indian army that was called to suppress the mutiny also refused to raise arm, then British soldiers were called. About 20 Lakh workers of Bombay went on strike in favor of these ratings. When the news of mutiny of ratings of Bombay reached Karachi, INS Hindustan and INS Narmada along with employees of Ship Coastal organization went on strike. On 23rd February 1946, the signal corps of airforce in Jabalpur went on strike.

Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel intervened in this violated situation and advised mutineers to surrender. Patel was aware of the repressive measures that was about to be followed. Patel's view was supported by V.C. Dutta, prominent leader of mutineers.

Elections in India in 1946

Attlee became Prime Minister of Britain and appointed Pethick Lawrence as the secretary of India. Attlee declared general elections in India and the results were announced in December 1945 and January 1946. Congress secured 57 out of 102 seats in Central Legislative Assembly. Congress formed government in United Province and Central Province, Orissa, Bihar, Bombay and Madras, In North West Frontier Province , congress formed a coalition government with Khudai Khidmatgar. In Punjab Congress formed coalition government with Akali Dal and Unionist Party. Muslim League formed government in Bengal and Sindh.

Wavell Plan / Shimla Conference

Lord Wavell became viceroy of India in October 1943, the situation in India was very tense at that time. Wavell came out with a plan on 14th June 1945 which had following proposals : 
a) The executive council creation at centre comprising all Indian members other than viceroy and commander in chief.
b) The executive council was an interim arrangement for the period till the concensus over the permanent constitution.
c) All the congress leader were to be released, imprisoned in Quit India Movement.

Nehru released from Almorah Jail, Abul Kalam Azad from Bakuda Jail and G.B. Pant from Naini Jail.

Abul Kalam Azad was in jail from 1942-1946 and before that he was the president of congress and no session was held during this period.

The Shimla conference was organized on 25th June 1945 to discuss the Wavell plan. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad participated as the representative of Congress and Mohd Ali Jinnah represented Muslim League. Other members were J.L. Nehru, Sardar Patel, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Master Tara Singh and Ismail Khan. Jinnah demanded that all Muslim members of the executive council should be from Muslim League only. This demand of Jinnah resulted in the failure of the proposal and on 14 July 1945, Wavel plan was declared failed. At a conference, Wavell provided such a veto power to Mulsim League,  it could be used by them against any constitutional proposal. Maulana Abul Kalam referred failure of Shimla conference as the water shed in the political history of India.

Quit India Movement (1942)

On 14th July 1942, the congress working committee passed 'Quit India' resolution at Wardha conference. Prior to this meeting Gandhi had challenged his opponents that if the proposal for struggle is not accepted then he would create a movement bigger than Congress out of the sand.

On 7th August 1942, the annual session of AICC was held at the historical tank ground Gwalior  under the presidentship of Abul Kalam Azad and the Wardha proposal was passed.

On 8th August 1942, Bombay Congress passed Quit India resolution and Gandhi gave the slogan, 'do or die'. The movement of 1942 had the greatest impact in the regions of Bengal,Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Bombay and Madras. J.P. Narayan, Lohiya, Achyut Patwardhan and Aruna Asaf Ali went underground and continued this movement. Sucheta Kriplani, Chota Bhai Puranic, Beeju Patnayak and R.P. Goenka used to distribute explosives to secret organizations.

On 10th February 1943, Gandhi declared fast of 21 days at Agha Khan Palace, Poona. M.S. Ane, M.R. sarkar and H.P. Modi resigned from the Viceroy's executive committee demanding release of Gandhi.

On 6th May 1943, Gandhi was released from the jail. During the imprisonment, Mahadev Desai, his personal secretary and Kasturba, his wife died. Sardar Patel,Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad were imprisoned in the fort of Ahmadnagar. J.P. Narayan was imprisoned in Hazaribagh jail.

During Quit India movement, parallel governments were formed at several places such as : Ballia - First parallel government formed under Chittur Pandey, Tamluk (Midnapur,Bengal) , Satara (Maharashtra) - longest running parallel government.

One who opposed the Quit India movement were :
Communist party of India - opposition and boycott,
Muslim League - criticized because they were of the view that Muslims were in minority and Congress would form Hindu empire.

T.B. Sapru,
B.R. Ambedkar,
Anglo Indian Society,
Hindu Mahsabha,
Akaali Dal.

On 23rd March 1943, Muslim League observed "Pakistan Day". At the Karachi session in December 1943, Muslim League gave the slogan, 'Divide and Quit'.

Cripps's Mission (23 March 1942)

With the weakening of Allied forces in second world war, the pressure on Britain to do justice with Indians increased. American president Roosevelt, Australian prime minister Evar and Chinese prime minister Chiang Kai Shek exerted pressure on Winston Churchill to discuss with Indians for getting their support. Churchill declared that a mission led by Cripp's will be sent to India to remove political and constitutional obstacles. Cripps was the member of Labor party and supporter of Indian National Movement and friend to J.L. Nehru.

Cripps reached India on 23rd March and on 30th March 1942 he presented his report, India shall be given the status of dominion state after the war that shall not be any domestic and foreign rule. A constituent assembly will be formed after the war comprising representative of British India and princely states. If any of the state of British India does not participate/ accept this constitution then it shall be entitled to maintain status quo.

Congress and Muslim League both rejected the proposal. Gandhi termed it as post dated cheque on a crashing bank. J.L. Nehru commented that his old friend has come as the friend of evil. On 11 April 1942 the proposal was taken back.

Individual Satyagrah (1940)

This satyagrah was started on 17 October 1940. Gandhi nominated Vinobha Bhave as first satyagrahi and J..L. Nehru as second satyagrahi.

Muslim League and Demand of Pakistan

At Allahabad session of Muslim League in 1930, Iqbal said that the creation of Muslim state in North West India seems to be ultimate fate of Muslim. First time the word 'Pakistan' was given by Chaudhary Rahmat Ali, president of Pakistan National Movement and student of Cambridge University.

Punjab                          P
Afghan Province         A
Kashmir                       KI
Sindh                            S
Baluchistan                  TAN

The Muslim League constituted a committee in 1939 including Fazal Hussain and Hussain Qadiri. This committee prepared a proposal called 'Aligarh Plan' which suggested for the creation of a new Muslim nation. On 22-23 March 1940 at Lahore session of Muslim League, a proposal for separate state for Muslims was passed. This proposal didnot contained the name 'Pakistan'. This session was chaired by Mohd. Ali Jinnah.

In 1943 at Karachi session of Muslim League the proposal of 'Divide and Quit' was passed.

August Offer 1940 (8 August)

In March 1940, Congress passed a resolution at Ramgarh session demanding an interim national government at center in lieu of help in World War -II. Lord Linlithgow presented the August offer in reply to the demand of Congress on 8 August 1940. The main points were as follows :
1) Dominion Status (first time accepted by government)
2) Creation of a representative constitution body after WW-II
3) Increase in the number of Indians in the executive council of the viceroy
4) Organization of a war advisory council

J.L Nehru termed August offer as the rusted nail in the door.

Tripuri crisis of Congress

S.C. Bose was elected as the president of Congress in 1938 at the Haripura session. In this session, S.C. Bose constituted National Planning Committee under presidentship of J.L. Nehru, its other members were Birla and Vishweshraiya.

In 1939, S.C. Bose contended for the presidentship of Congress and he defeated Pattabhi Sitaramaiya, candidate of Gandhi. S.C. Bose got 1570 vote and Pattabhi got 1377. Gandhi declared defeat of Pattabhi as his own defeat. Ultimately in April 1939, S.C. Bose resigned and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was made new President.

On 3 May 1939, S.C. Bose founded a new party 'Forward Block' at Makur, Unnao. In August 1939, S.C. Bose was removed from the post of President of All India Congress committee and Bengal Congress Committee and was declared unfit for any post in Congress for the next 3 years.

End of Civil Disobedience Movement (Individual CDM)

Gandhi started Individual Civil Disobedience Movement on 1st August 1933. But this movement was soon discontinued. In 1933, S.C. Bose and Vitthal Bhai Patel declared Gandhi as unsuccessful leader and in October 1934 Gandhi distance himself from active politics and associated himself with the development of Hraijans. Gandhi resigned from the membership of Congress.

Communal Award and Poona Act

On 16 August 1932, British Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald made announcement which is known as Communal award. It provided separate electorates not only for Muslims but also for depressed class (Dalits). The Muslims, Sikh, Christian, Anglo Indians and Europeans were provided separate electorates at the provincial level. Special Constituency's with reserved seats were to be constituted for women in all provinces except in North West Frontier Province. Seven seats were to be reserved for Marathas in Bombay.

Gandhi opposed communal award and he started fast unto death in the Yaarvadaa jail in the protesst against separate electorate for depressed class (Dalit).

Gandhi ended his fast following Poona pact between Gandhi and Ambedkar by the efforts of M.M Malviya, C. Rajagopalchari, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and P.K. Tandon.

According to Poona Act, 148 seats were reserved for the depressed class in different provincial legislature and 46 seats were reserved in central legislature.

Second Phase of Civil Disobedience Movement (1932-34)

 On 17th January 1932, the congress executive decided to restart the Civil Disobedience movement. Soon after the beginning of this movement, important readers like Gandhi,Nehru and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan were arrested and congress was declared as illegal organization. The government arrested about 1,20,000 people.

Third Round Table Conference (17 November 1932 - 24 December 1932)

Total 46 members participated in the third round table conference but congress didn't participated. B.R. Ambedkar took part in this conference.

The British government on the basis of discussion of the three sessions drafted its proposal for the reform of Indian constitution. It was published in March 1933. This proposal was named 'White paper'. The 'White Paper' was examined and approved by British parliament in October 1934 and bill based on report of this committee was introduced and passed in British parliament which is known as 'Government of India Act, 1935'.

Karachi Session of Congress (December 1931)

The Congress for the first time passed resolution regarding Fundamental Rights and economic policies.

Poorna Swaraj was defined for the first time.

Congress for the first time passed resolution with regard to free primary education.

Second Round Table Conference (7 September 1931 - 1 December 1931)

The Second Round Table Conference was held at St. Thomas Palace. Gandhi was the representative of Congress. Annie Besant, Madan Mohan Malviya, Mohd. Iqbal, Ghanshyam Das Birla and Ambedkar were other members. Gandhi went to England by the ship, INS Rajputana.
The English rightist leader Winston Churchill was angry with British government that they were negotiating with the seditious fakir on the terms of equality. The Second Round Table Conference failed over the communal issue. Ambedkar wanted separate electoral for the depressed community but Gandhi rejected it.Ultimately this conference ended on 1st December.

Gandhi Irwin Pact

The efforts of Tej Bahadur Sapru and M. Jaykar brought the agreement with government. According to this pact, government agreed on :
  • Withdraw all ordinances.
  • Release all political prisoner except those guilty of voilence.
  • Restore the confiscated property of Satyagrahis.
  • Permit peaceful picketing on foreign clothing and liquor shops.
  • Permit the free collection and manufacture of salt to the living at specific distance fromt he sea port.
The Congress in return consented to the following :
  • To suspend Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • To participate in second session of Round Table Conference.
  • Not to press for any investigation in police accession.
The Gandhi Irwin pact was passed by Congress at its Karanchi session in December 1931. The Indian youth opposed this pact as no effort was made to save Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

First Round Table Conference (12 November 1930 - 19 January 1931)

First Round Table Conference was held at Royal Gallery, House of Lords, London, it was inaugurated by George-V and its chairman was Prime Minister, Ramsay McDonald. Congress didnot participated in this conference (they were organising Civil Disobedience Movement).

The Viceroy released Gandhi on 25 January 1931. The Congress executives authorised Gandhi for holding talks with Viceroy. After 15 days discussion an agreement was signed in 15 March 1931-Gandhi-Irwin Pact (also known as Delhi Samjhauta).

Civil Disobedience Movement

The Congress executive was authorised to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement at Lahore session in 1929. The Congress working committee met in mid February at Sabarmati Ashram where Gandhi was given full authority with regard to Civil Disobedience Movement. Gandhi submitted eleven points demand before the viceroy,Lord Irwin, of which he overlooked. Demands were :
1) 50% reduction in land revenue.
2) Abolition of salt tax and government monopoly on salt.
3) To fix rupee sterling exchange ratio.
4) Protection of indigenous textile industry.
5) 50% cut in military expenditure.
6) 50% reduction in expenditure of civil accomodation.
7) Total prohibition of intoxicants.
8) Release of all political prisoners.
9) Changes in Central Intelligence Department.
10) Changes in Arm Act.
11) Reservation of coastal shipping for Indians.

Starting of Civil Disobedience Movement :- Gandhi declared his intention about the future course before the viceroy and declared that he could break the salt law on the 11th of that month. Gandhi launched civil disobedience movement on 12th March 1930. On  12th March 1930, Gandhi proceeded on 240 mile march to Dandi along with 78 followers from Sabarmati ashram. Gandhi reached Dandi on 5th April 1930 and Dandi march ended on 6th April 1930 after breaking the salt law.

Program of Civil Disobedience Movement :-
~Violation of Salt law & British law/Government rules.
~Boycott of legal court, government colleges and government ceremonies,
~Stopping the payment of land revenue, rent and other taxes.
~Peaceful picketing of shops selling liquor and intoxicants.  
~Boycott of foreign goods and clothes.
~resignation from government posts.

(Non Co-operation Movement was launched for Swaraj whereas Civil Disobedience Movement aimed total independence).

Repression by the government :-The British tried repressive methods to curb this movement. On 21st May, about 25000 volunteers led by Sarojini Naidu,Imam Sahab and Mani Laal tour the factory of Dharsana, the government ordered lathi charge and they were beaten by iron rod. Web Miller, an American journalist provided first hand account of the struggle between satyagrahis and police in the magazine, New Freedom.

Shri Raj Gopalchari proceeded on Salt march from Trichannapali to Vedaranyam. K. Karappan, hero of Vaikom movement proceeded on Salt march from Calicut to Payannar. Jawahar Lal Nehru was arrested on 14 April 1930 for breaking Salt law. C. RajaGopalchari was arrested on 30 April 1930. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan popularly known as Frontier Gandhi also participated in this movement along with his organization, Khudai Khidmatgar or Red Shirt (Members of Khudai Khidmatgar used to wear red shirt).

Nagaland queen,Gidalu, revolted against British at the age of 13.
'No Tax,No revenue' movement was launched in Uttar Pradesh.
During Civil Disobedience Movement, Monkey movement was organized by boys and Manjari army by girls.

In June 1930, Congress and its associate organizations were declared illegal and all prominent leaders including Gandhi were arrested.

On July 9, 1930, Viceroy proposed Round Table Conference and dominion state for India. 

Lahore Conference (1929)

In December 1928 at the Calcutta Session, Congress passed the Nehru report with majority and gave ultimatum to British government to accept the report before 31 December 1929 otherwise congress would launch a fast/mass movement. The time period of one year passed without any response from the government.
(All India Youth Congress was formed at Calcutta session in 1928. Jawahar Lal Nehru was the first president.)

In December 1929, Nehru report was declared cancelled at Lahore session. Gandhi made Jawahar Lal Nehru president of Congress at Lahore session to check the growing influence of "leftist" on Congress. In the chairmanship of J.L. Nehru congress declared complete independence (Poorna Swaraj). On 31st December 1929 around midnight hosted the newly adopted national flag in Lahore on the bank of river Ravi. The Congress working committee decided to celebrate 26th January 1930 as the first independence day.

At the Lahore session, congress working committee was authorized to start Civil Disobedience Movement.

Gandhi rejected the proposal of Subhash Chandra Bose of forming parallel government. Then, Subhash Chandra Bose formed a new party, Congress Democratic Party.

Vaikom Movement

Upto 1917, the Congress kept refusing the issues related to social reform that sent wrong message among the people. Gandhi was the first national leader who raised issues of social reform. He gave priority to abolition of untouchability. In 1923 congress decided to take concrete step in abolishing untouchability.

Ezava and Pullaiyan had to maintain 16'' and 32'' distance respectivily. The intellectuals like Narayan Guru, N. Kumaran and T.K. Madhavan opposed the social evil like untouchability. This movement started from a village called Vaikom.

On 30th March 1924, a procession of higher caste and lower caste led by congress reached a temple violating the law of untouchability. The main   organization of higher caste that supported this satyagrah :1) Nayar Service Society. 2) Nayar Samajam 3) Keral Hindu Sabha 4) Yogakshem Sabha