Phases of Indian Freedom Struggle- Phase III -1920-1947

NATIONAL MOVEMENT-POST FIRST WORLD WAR  SCENARIO

After the First World War the Indian National Movement entered into a new phase. With the emergence of Gandhi, the element of mass mobilisation was introduced. Till the coming of independence three major mass movements were launched; Non-Cooperation (1920-22), Civil disobedience (1930-34) and Quit India(1942).Besides these mass movements the revolutionary movement, peasants and working class movements and state people’s movements also played a vital role in the struggle for freedom. In this period sufficient emphasis was laid on the socioeconomic content of Swaraj. The Communist Party of India and the Socialist groups within the Congress pointed out towards economic emancipation of the masses along with the importance of the struggle for independence.

Impact of First World War on the National Movement.

The First World War (1914-1918) had a great impact on the National Movement in India:

  1. a) Resentment among the Indians:

The British government declared India as an ally and a belligerent. Indian people and resources were used in this war.It created great resentment among the Indians especially when they were not even consulted before joining the war.

 

  1. b) Anguish among the Muslims:

 

The British were fighting against the Turkish Empire which was ruled by the Caliph (Khalifa).The Muslims had great respect for the Caliph.The Indian Muslims joined the Caliphate (Khilafat) Movement for the defence of Turkey against the British.

 

  1. c) Peasant’s unrest:

 

During the war, the peasant’s unrest also grew. These movements helped prepare the ground for mass movement.

 

  1. d) Home Rule Movement:

 

Annie Besant joined the Congress in 1914. In 1916 she along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the Home Rule Movement. The Home Rule League demanded self government to the Indians.

 

  1. e) The Lucknow Pact (1916):

 

In 1916, at the Lucknow Session, the ‘moderates’ and the ‘extremists’ were united. Besides; a pact was made between the Congress and the Muslim League to work unitedly for their demands of greater share and power for Indians in the Executive Council and election of members of the Legislative Councils.

 

  1. f) Emergence of Gandhiji:

 

Gandhiji emerged as the leader of the nationalist movement in India during the First World War.

 

Rowlatt Act

 

In the year 1919, the British Government passed a new rule called Rowlatt Act, under which the Government had the authority and power to arrest people and keep them in prisons without any trial if they are suspected with the charge of terrorism.The government also earned the power to refrain the newspapers from reporting and printing news.The Act was ill famed as `Black Act` by the people and Indians revolt in protest against the Rowlatt Act.

 

The positive aspect of reform by British Government was subjected to severe sabotage by the Rowlatt act of 1919.The act was named after the recommendations made in the previous year to the Imperial Legislative Council by the Rowlatt Commission.The Rowlatt Commission was appointed to investigate the `seditious conspiracy` of the Indian people.The Law passed empowered the Viceroy

Government with extraordinary power to stop all violations by silencing the press, confining political activists without trial and arresting any individual suspected of sedition and treachery and arresting individuals without any warrant. A nationwide protest was raised by calling a Hartal.

 

Mahatma Gandhi was extremely agitated by enactment of Rowlatt Act. He was extremely critical about the act and argued that everyone cannot be punished for isolated political crime. The Act resulted in extensive outrage of political leaders as well as the common public and Government adapted more repressive measures to dominate the Native people. Gandhi and other leaders of national Congress found it futile to take the measure of constitutional opposition and thereby called a `hartal` where Indians suspended all the business and fasted to show their hatred for the British legislation.

 

However, the success of the Hartal in Delhi was dominated as the tension raise high and resulted in riot in Punjab and other provinces. Gandhi found that Indians were not ready yet for the protest in the path of `Ahimsa` (non-violence), which was integral part of Satyagraha and the Hartal, was suspended.

 

The agitation reached the pinnacle in Amritsar of Punjab. The Rowlatt act was effective from 10th March, 1919. In Punjab the protest movement was vast and strong. On 10th April, two renowned leaders of the Congress, Dr. Satya Pal and Dr. Saifuddin Kithlew were arrested and were taken to unknown place.A public meeting was held on 13th April at Jallianwala Bagh in a small park enclosed by buildings on all sides to protest against the arrest.

 

The meeting was absolutely peaceful and was also attended by women and children.Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer with his British troops entered the park, closed the entrance of the park and commanded his army to fire on the gathered people without any warning. The firing lasted for ten minutes and sixteen hundred rounds, killing about thousand people and more than two thousand people were left wounded and unattended. This massacre of Jaliwanwalabagh was the worst incidence of British rule and people lost their trust on British Government.

 

MAHATMA GANDHI

 

The role of Mahatma Gandhi in Indian Freedom Struggle is considered the most significant as he single-handedly spearheaded the movement for Indian independence. The peaceful and non-violent techniques of Mahatma Gandhi formed the basis of freedom struggle against the British yoke. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869. After he came back to India from South Africa, where he worked as a barrister, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who led the Congress party, introduced Mahatma Gandhi to the concerns in India and the struggle of the people. The Indian independence movement came to a head between the years 1918 and 1922.A series of non-violence campaigns of Civil Disobedience Movement was launched by the Indian National Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.  The focus was to weaken the British government through non cooperation. The protests were mainly against abolition of salt tax, land revenue, reducing military expenses etc.

 

Champaran and Kheda Agitations.

 

The Kheda Satyagraha and Champaran agitation in 1918 was one of Gandhi`s first significant steps to achieve Indian independence. Mahatma Gandhi went to Champaran (Bihar) in 1917 at the request of the poor peasants to enquire about the situation as they were compelled by British indigo planters to grow indigo on 15% of their land and part with the whole crop for rent. In the sufferings of a devastating famine, the British levied an oppressive tax which they insisted on increasing. At the same time, Kheda in Gujarat was also experiencing the same problem. Hence, Mahatma Gandhi started reforming the villages, building of schools, clean-up of  villages, construction of hospitals and encouraging the village leadership to denounce many social tribulations. The British police arrested him on the charge of creating unrest.

 

However, the impact of reformation changed after this act and hundreds of people protested and rallied outside the police stations and courts. They demanded his release, which the court unwillingly granted. Gandhi led planned protests against all the landlords, who were exploiting the poor farmers. Finally Mahatma Gandhi became successful in forcing the British to agree with his demands of reforming the farmers. During this agitation people addressed Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as

Bapu. Rabindranath Tagore accorded Mahatma (Great Soul) title to Gandhi in the year 1920.

 

Non Cooperation Movement.

 

The Gandhi Era in the Indian Freedom Struggle took place with the Non Cooperation Movement.This movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. This was the first-ever series of nationwide movement of nonviolent resistance. The movement took place from September 1920 until February 1922.In the fight against injustice, Gandhi`s weapons were non-cooperation and peaceful resistance. But after the massacre and related violence, Gandhi focused his

mind upon obtaining complete self-government. This soon transformed into Swaraj or complete political independence. Thus, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress Party was re-organised with a new constitution, with the aim of Swaraj. Mahatma Gandhi further extended his non-violence policy to include the Swadeshi Policy, which meant the rejection of foreign-made goods.

 

Mahatma Gandhi addressed all the Indians to wear Khadi (homespun cloth) instead of British-made textiles. He strongly appealed to all Indians to spend some time spinning khadi for supporting the independence movement of India. This was a policy to include women in the movement, as this was not considered a respectable activity. Moreover; Gandhi also urged to boycott the British educational institutions, to resign from government jobs, and to leave British titles.

 

Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore resigned the title knight from the British soon after the Jalianwalabagh Massacre as a protest. When the movement reached great success, it ended unexpectedly after the violent clash in Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh. Following this, Mahatma Gandhi was also arrested and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. Indian National Congress was divided into two segments. Furthermore, support among the Hindu and Muslim people was also breaking down. However; Mahatma Gandhi only served around 2 years and was released.

 

Dandi March.

 

Mahatma Gandhi returned to the forefront again in 1928. On March 12, 1930 Gandhi launched a new Satyagraha against the tax on salt. He started the historic Dandi March, by walking from Ahmedabad to Dandi, to break the law that had deprived the poor of his right to make his own salt. Gandhi broke the Salt law at the sea beach at Dandi. This movement stimulated the entire nation and it came to be known as Civil Disobedience Movement. On 8th May, 1933, he started a 21-day fast of self-purification in order to help the Harijan movement.

 

Quit India Movement

 

Mahatma Gandhi again became active in the political arena after the outburst of World War II in 1939. On August 8, 1942 Gandhi gave the call for Quit India Movement or Bharat Chhodo Andolan. Soon after the arrest of Gandhi, disorders  broke out immediately through out the country and many violent demonstrations took place.Quit India became the most powerful movement in the freedom struggle. Thousands of freedom fighters were killed or injured by police gunfire, and hundreds

of thousands were arrested. He called on all Congressmen and Indians to maintain discipline via non violence and Karo Ya Maro (Do or Die) in order to achieve ultimate freedom.

 

On 9th of August, 1942, Mahatma Gandhi and the entire Congress Working Committee were arrested in Mumbai. In view of his deteriorating health, he was released from the jail in May 1944 because the British did not want him to die in prison and enrage the nation. The cruel restraint of the Quit India movement brought order to India by the end of 1943 although the movement had modest success in its aim. After the British gave clear signs of transferring power to the Indians, Gandhi called off the fight and all the prisoners were released.

 

Partition and Indian Independence.

 

In 1946, upon persuasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi reluctantly accepted the proposal of partition and independence offered by the British cabinet, in order to evade a civil war.After independence, Gandhi`s focus shifted to peace and communal harmony. He fasted for abolition of communal violence and demanded that the Partition Council compensated Pakistan. His demands were fulfilled and he broke his fast. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was, thus, able to bring the whole nation under one umbrella to fight the British.Gandhi developed and improved his techniques gradually to assure that his efforts made significant impact.

 

Khilafat Movement

 

During the First World War, Turkey joined the central powers against Britain. The symapathy of Indian Muslims, who regarded the Sultan of Turkey as their spiritual leader or Khalifa, was naturally with Turkey. After the war with defeat of Turkey, the Allied power removed the Khalifa from power in Turkey which aggrieved the Indian Muslims against the British Government. Hence the Muslims started the Khilafat movement in India for the resumption of Khalifa’s position. A Khilafat Committee was formed under the leadership of Mahammad Ali, Shaukat Ali, Maulana Azad and Hasrat Mohini to organise a country-wide agitation. The main object of Khilafat Movement was to force the British Government to change its attitude towards Turkey and to restore the Sultan. October 17, 1919 was observed as Khilafat Day, when the Hindus alongwith Muslims in fasting observed hartal on that day. An All India Khilafat Conference was held at Delhi on November 23, 1919 with Gandhi as its president. The Conference resolved to withdraw all cooperation from the Government, if the Khalifat demands were not met. Congress leaders, like Lokamanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, viewed the Khalifat Movement as an opportunity to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity against British. A joint Hindu- Muslim deputation met the Viceroy on the Khalifat issue, but it failed to yeild any

result.The central Khalifat Commettee met at Allahabad from 1st to 3rd June, 1920 which was attended by a number of congress leaders. In this meeting a programme of Non-Cooperation towards the Government was declared. It was to include boycott of titles, can oferred by the Government, boycott of civil services, army and police and non-payment of taxes to the Government. Gandhi insisted that unless the Punjab and Khilafat wrongs were undone, there was to be non-cooperation with the Government.

 

 

Malabar Rebellion

 

The non – co – operation movement was in full swing during this period of time. It was particularly strong in Malabar, where the Moppilas were agitated over the Khilafat issue. The Gandhian movement had a tremendous impact in Kerala, with large numbers joining the satyagrapha campaign. Gandhiji visited Malabar in 1921, giving a further impetus to the movement. Khilafat Committees sprang up in large numbers and the fraternity between the Hindus and Muslims, through the work in Congress-Khilafat Committees, was a truly remarkable feature of the non-cooperation movement in Kerala, in its early stages. The speed with which the Khilafat agitation spread, especially in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks, created alarm in official circles. A perplexed officialdom clamped down prohibitory orders in the two taluks. Meetings were banned and many people were arrested in the name of law and order. A tragic episode then ensued, namely the Moppila Rebellion or the Malabar Rebellion of 1921.Police attempted to arrest the secretary of the Khilafat Committee of Pokottur in Eranad on a charge of having stolen a pistol.A crowd of 2000 Moppilas from the neighbourhood foiled the attempt. The next day, a police party in search of Khilafat rebels entered the famous Mambaram mosque at Tirurangadi. They seized some records and arrested a few Khilafat volunteers. A rumour spread that the mosque was desecrated.Hundreds of rustic Moppilas converged on Tirurangadi and besieged the local police station. The police opened fire. The mob reacted in a mad fury. Violence spread and engulfed Eranad and Valluvanad taluks and neighbouring areas for over two months. Congress leaders tried in vain to check the violence. Towards the later stages of the rebellion, owing to unfounded rumour of Hindus having helped the police or sought police help, there were instances of atrocities perpetrated on Hindus. This marred the relations between the two communities. Meanwhile British and Gurkha regiments were rushed to the area. Martial law was clamped. A series of repressive measures followed and by November, the rebellion was practically crushed. Relief operations in the ravaged areas, undertaken mostly by voluntary agencies which received help and funds from Gandhiji, lasted for over six months.

 

Wagon Tragedy.

 

The epilogue (in the sense that it came to be known only later) was the “Wagon Tragedy” in which 61 of the 70 Moppila prisoners packed in a closed railway goods wagon and carried to Coimbatore jails, died of suffocation on November 10, 1921.In the wake of the suppression of the Malabar Rebellion and until almost the end of the decade, struggle purely for political freedom was on a low key.

 

Non-Cooperation Movement

 

Non-Cooperation was a movement of passive resistance against British rule, which was initiated by Mahatma Gandhi.To resist the dominance of the British Government and advance the Indian nationalist cause, the non-cooperation movement was a non-violent movement that prevailed nationwide by Indian National Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. This movement took place from September 1920 to February 1922 and initiated Gandhi era in the Independence

Movement of India.

 

The Rowlatt Act, Jaliwanwala Bagh massacre and Martial Law in Punjab caused the native people not to trust the British Government anymore. The Montagu- Chelmesford Report with its diarchy could satisfy a few only. Until then Gandhi believed the justice and fair-play of the British Government, but after this incidences he felt that Non-cooperation with the Government in a non-violent way must be started. In the meantime the Muslims in India also revolted against the harsh terms of the Treaty of severes between Allies and Turkey and they started Khilafat movement. Gandhi also decided to stand beside them. Gandhiji`s idea of winning over Muslim support also helped in Non-Cooperation Movement of India. Gandhi had given a notice to the Viceroy in his letter of 22nd June in which he had affirmed the right recognized `from time immemorial of the subject to refuse to assist a ruler who misrules. After the notice had expired the Non-Cooperation movement was launched formally on 1st August of 1920. At the Calcutta Session on September, 1920 the program of the movement was stated. The programs of Non-cooperation involved the surrender of titles and offices and resignation from the nominated posts in the government body. It included not attending Government duties, Durbars and other functions, withdrawing children from government schools and colleges and establishment of national schools and colleges. The people of India were instructed to boycott the British courts and establish the private judicial courts. The Indians should use Swadeshi cloth and boycott the foreign clothes and other things. Gandhiji strictly advised the Non-Cooperators to observe truth and non-violence. The decision taken in Calcutta Session was supported in the Nagpur Session of the Congress on December; 1920. The decision was also taken for the betterment of the party organization. Any adult man or woman could take Congress membership for 4 annas as subscription. This adoption of new rules gave a new energy to the Non-

Cooperation movement and from January of 1921 the movement gained a new momentum. Gandhi along with Ali Brothers went to a nationwide tour during which he addressed the Indians in hundreds of meetings. In the first month of the movement, about nine thousand students left schools and colleges and joined the national institutions. During this period about eight hundred national institutions were established all over the country. The educational boycott was most successful in Bengal under the leadership of Chitta Ranjan Das and Subhas Chandra Bose. In Punjab also the educational boycott was extensive under the leadership of Lala Lajpat Rai.The other active areas were Bombay, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Uttar Pradesh. The movement also affected Madras. The boycott of lawcorts by the lawyears was not as successful as the educational boycott was. The leading lawyers like, Motilal Nehru, CR Das, Mr Jayakar, V Patel, Asaf Ali Khan, S Kitchlew and many others gave up their lucrative practices and many followed their path inspired by their sacrifice. Bengal again led in this matter and Andhra, UP, Karnataka and Punjab followed the state.However the most successful item of the Non-Cooperation was the boycott of foreign clothes. It took such an extensive form that value of import of the foreign clothes reduced from hundred and two crores in 1920-21 to fifty-seven crores in 1921-22. Although some of the veteran political leaders like the Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Annie Besant opposed Gandhiji`s plan but the younger generation supported him fully. Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Abbas Tyabji, Maulana Mohammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali also supported him.

 

In the month of July 1921, the Government had to face a new challenge. Mohammad Ali and other leaders believed that it was `religiously unlawful for the Muslims to continue in the British army` and they were arrested for their view. Gandhi and other Congress leaders supported Mahammad Ali and issued a manifesto. The next dramatic event was visit of Prince of Wales on 17th November, 1921. The day on which Prince boarded on Bombay Port the day was observed as a `Hartal Divas` all over India. The Prince was greeted with empty streets and closed shops wherever he went. The Non-Cooperators gained more and more energy at their success and became more aggressive. The congress volunteer corps turned into a powerful parallel police. They used to march in formation and dressed in uniform. Congress had already granted permission to the Provincial Congress Committees to sanction total disobedience including non-payment of taxes. The Non-Co operational movement had other effects also which are not very direct. In UP it became difficult to distinguish between a Non-Co operational meeting and a peasant meeting. In Malabar and Kerala the Muslim tenants roused against their landlords. In Assam the labors of tea-plantation went with strike. In Punjab the Akali Movement was considered as a part of Non-Cooperation movement. The Non-Cooperation movement particularly strengthened in Bengal. The movement was not only seen in Kolkata but it also agitated the rural Bengal and an elemental awakening was observed. The movement reached a climax after the Gurkha assault on coolies on the river port of Chandpur (20-21st May).The whole Eastern Bengal was under the lash of the movement under the leadership of JM Sengupta. The other example was the Anti-Union Board agitation in Midnapur led by Birendranath Sashmal.

 

As the Non-Cooperation movement proceeded the woman of India, especially from Bengal wanted to take active part in the protest movement. The women nationalists were assembled under the Mahila Karma Samaj or the Ladies organization Board of the Pradesh Congress Committee of Bengal. The ladies members of that organization arranged meeting and circularized the spirit of Non-Cooperation. Women volunteers were enlisted to take part in the movement. The ladies from many respected families led them.CR Das`s wife Basanti Devi and sister Urmila Devi, JM Sengupta`s wife Nellie Sengupta, Mohini Devi, Labanya Prabha Chanda played significant role in this movement. Picketing of foreign wine and cloth shops and selling of Khaddar in the streets were the point of attention of this movement.

 

The Government proclaimed Sections 108 and 144 of the code of criminal procedure at various centers of agitation. The Congress Volunteer Corpse was declared illegal. By December 1921 More than thirty thousand people were arrested from all over the India. Except Gandhiji, most of the prominent leaders were inside jail. In mid-December Malaviya initiated a negotiation, which was futile. The conditions were like that it offered sacrifice of Khilafat leaders, which Gandhiji could never accept.

 

At that time Gandhiji was also under a pressure from the higher leaders of Congress to start the mass civil disobedience. Gandhiji gave an ultimatum to the Government but the British Government paid no attention to it. In response, Gandhiji initiated a civil disobedience movement in Bardoli Taluqa of Surat district of Gujrat. Unfortunately at this time the tragedy of Chauri Chaura occurred that change the course of the movement, where a mob of three thousand people killed twenty-five policemen and one inspector. Gandhi was in support of complete nonviolence and this incident was too much for him to bear. He ordered to suspend the movement at once. Thus, on February 12th, 1922 the Non-Cooperation movement totally stopped.

 

There were limitations in achievements of Non-Cooperation Movement as it apparently failed to achieve its object of securing the Khilafat and changing the misdeeds of Punjab. The Swaraj could not be achieved in a year as it was promised. The retreat of the February 1922 was only temporary. The movement slowed down gradually. The part of Battle was over but the war continued.

 

Swaraj Party

 

Swaraj Party was established to fight the mighty force of British head-on. Mahatma Gandhi was released from jail in 1924.He and his close followers, such as Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Rajendra Prasad, occupied themselves with the constructive programme, such as hand-spinning on the charkha, uplift of the harijans or members of the depressed class. But not all the congressmen were willing to abandon political action. In 1922 a group had formed around Motilal Nehru and C. R. Das that wished to enter the government`s legislative councils and wreck them front within. They were opposed by the `no-changers` who insisted that the 1920 programme, which called for the boycott of council elections, should not be altered. At the Gaya congress in December 1922, matters came to a head. The `nochangers` prevailed, but early the next year the `pro-changers` formed their own party. This party was at first known as the congress-Khilafat Swaraj Party and later simply the swarajya or swaraj party. The new councils were inaugurated in 1921.The non-congress parties which had entered them had not been successful in influencing government policy. And eventually diarchy proved to be a failure. Provincial minister could not act effectively even in `transferred` subjects because the new safeguards made the governors more autocratic even than before. Only the Montford reform showed that the British were still unwilling to grant responsible government.

 

Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru decided that the way to combat this situation was to enter the provincial legislative councils. Central legislative assembly carries out a policy of uniform, continuous and consistent obstruction, with a view to make government through the assembly and councils impossible would force the British to grant real reforms. In a special session of congress held in Delhi in September 1923, a compromise between no-changers and pro-changers was reached. The former would continue with the constructive programme, whereas the latter could contest

the upcoming elections. Gandhiji gave his blessings to this arrangement. Although they had little time for campaigning, the swarajists did well in the elections. They became the largest party in the central assembly and the dominant party in two provinces. For the next few years swarajist politicians obstructed official business in the assembly and the councils as well. But there were positive gains too.

 

In 1925 the swarajist leader Vithalbhai Patel was elected president of the central legislative assembly. C. R. Das, who had refused to form a ministry in Bengal, was elected mayor of Calcutta (now Kolkata). In this position `Deshbandhu` did much valuable service for his countrymen. The tragic death of C. R. Das in 1925 removed a great patriot from the scene at a critical moment. The Swaraj Party, which had already begun to break up, disintegrated quickly. As usual, the people of discord were religion. Communalminded Muslims isolated themselves, while the so-called social activist began to cooperate with the government with a desire to safeguard Hindu interests. By March end the swarajists day in the sun had ended. Block in their attempt to effect change; they walked out of the legislative assembly.It has become a history in and out of India.

 

MONTAGUE- CHELMSFORD REFORMS (Act of 1919)

 

The Home Rule movement and the rise of revolutionary terrorism mainly led the British authority to pacify the rising tide in India. Chelmsford, the Viceroy of India and Montague; the Secretary of Indian Council submitted a proposal in 1918 to the British Parliament. As a result, the Act of 1919 was passed. Accordingly; the number of members of the Council of the Secretary of State (Indian Council) was fixed at 12. Among them 3 were to be Indians and half of its total members were to be chosen from among those who must have resided in India at least for ten years. It limited the powers of the Secretary of States. The Viceroy was empowered to nominate as many members to his Executive Council as· he wished. The Councilors were nominated for five years.

 

The Central Legislature consisted of the Council of States and Legislative Assembly. The Upper House or Council of States consisted of 60 members. Among them 33 were to be elected and 27 were to be nominated by the Viceroy. Each province in India was allotted a fixed number of representatives to represent in the Council of States for 5 years. The Legislature Assembly or the Lower House consisted of 144 members out of which 103 were to be elected and the rest of the members were to be nominated. The life of the Legislative Assembly was for 3 years. The franchise of both the Houses was restricted which differed in different provinces. The Viceroy was empowered to summon, prorogue and dissolve the Chambers. The first Speaker was to be nominated by the Viceroy and after that the speakers would be elected. The provincial Legislature consisted of only one House known as the Legislative Council. The number increased now what was a beforehand. The power of the Councils also increased a little.

However, the Viceroy had control over the Councils. The communal electorate system was further enhanced. It created provision for ‘separate electorates for Sikhs, Anglo-Indians, Christians and Europeans.

 

The Act of 1919 introduced Diarchy in the provinces. Accordingly, the Rights of the Central and Provincial Governments were divided in clear-cut terms. The central list included rights over defence, foreign affairs, telegraphs, railways, postal and foreign trade. The provincial list dealt with the affairs like health, sanitation, education, public work, irrigation, jail, police and justice. The powers which were not included in the state list vested in the hands of the Centre. In case of any conflict between the ‘reserved’ and ‘unreserved’ powers of the State (the former included finance, police, revenue and publication of books and the latter included health, sanitation and local-self government).The Governor had its final say. The Diarchy was introduced in 1921 in Bengal, Madras, Bombay, U.P., M.P., Punjab, Bihar, Orissa and Assam. In 1932, it was extended to the North-West Frontier Province.

 

No doubt, the Act of 1919 reformed some of the maladies of the Morley-Minot Reforms of 1909, and introduced .Diarchy. Still it was not free from short- comings. Limited franchise, no clear-cut division of powers between the Centre and the States, Viceroy’s authority over every matter etc. were some of the defects of the Act of 19.19 which brought dissatisfaction among the Indians.

 

Simon Commission

 

The Indian Statutory Commission was a group of seven British Members of Parliament that had been dispatched to India in 1927 to study constitutional reform. The Commission was named Simon Commission, following the name of the chairperson of the Commission Sir John Simon. The Government of India Act 1919 had introduced the system of dyarchy to govern the provinces of British India. However, the Indian public demanded for revision of the difficult dyarchy form of government. Moreover the Government of India Act 1919 itself stated that a commission would be appointed after ten years to investigate the progress of the governance scheme and suggest new steps for reform.In the late 1920, the Conservative government, which was in power in Britain feared imminent electoral defeat at the hands of the Labour Party. They also feared the effects of the consequent transference of control of India to such an inexperienced body. Hence, in November of 1927, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin appointed seven MPs (including Chairman Simon) to constitute the commission.

 

The Simon Commission of 1919 was entrusted with the charge to look into the state of Indian constitutional affairs. The growth of the education and the development of the representative institution in British India were the significant responsibilities vested with the Simon commission. The Simon commission was to give report as to whether or what extent the principle of responsible government could be established in India. The Simon commission was also asked to enquire the fact that how far it was desirable to establish Second Chambers of the local legislature. During the enquiry, the Simon commissions did snot however taken into accounts the relation of the British Government with the Indian states and found the British Government extremely constitutional. The Simon Commission created extreme dissatisfaction throughout the whole India. This was so because no Indian Members were included in the Commission.

 

The Simon Commission was an all-White Composition. Lords Birkenhead justified the exclusion of the Indians members from the Simon Commission. He opined that since the Commission was composed by the Parliament, it was necessary that the members of the Commission should be from the parliament. The Simon Commission created enough disaffection allovers the country and everywhere it was hailed with black flags. A general hartal was observed throughout the Country on the day the commission landed in India. In such circumstance, the Central Assembly was invited to form a joint Committee to co-operate with the commission. But however it refused to do so. As a whole, Simon Commission in India was a complete failure.

 

Working Class Movement and the Formation of AITUC

 

The trade union movement in India forms a study of the working class, their demands, response of their owners and redressal measures of the government. In spite of the drain of wealth from India and British apathetic attitude, the factories grew on this soil. The cotton mills in Bombay, the jute mills and tea industry grewup. The poor Indian mass got employment in these factories as workers.Low wages, long working hours, unhygienic conditions, exploitation at the hands of native and foreign capitalists made their condition more miserable. The first Factory Act of 1881 and the Acts of 1891, 1909, 1911 etc. could not end the plights of the working class people

.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 exerted tremendous influence over the working class people of the world. By the efforts of the leaders like N.M. Joshi, Lala Lajpat Rai and Joseph, the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was established in 1920. Nationalist leaders like C.R. Das and V. V. Giri also joined their hands with this union. With the emergence of socialistic and communist ideas, the left wing within the Indian National Congress became active and leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru also presided over the sessions of AITUC.With the recognition of the trade unions by the Trade Union Act of 1926, the trade union movements in India gained momentum. The fourth Congress of the Communist International sent a message to the AITUC to overthrow capitalism and imperialism. The left wing within the AITUC also became very active. The revolutionary of Muscovite group wanted to affiliate the AITUC with the Red Labour Union framed at Moscow. In the power struggle, the liberal leader N.M. Joshi left the AITUC and formed another organisation named’ Indian Trade Union Federation. Under the Leftist direction, the AITUC launched vigorous programmes against the capitalist class. It foreshadowed a socialist State in India with socialisation and nationalisation of the means of production. It organised meetings for protecting the freedom of speech, association, participation in national struggle etc.The Communist Party also flared up the flame. Though the government passed several Acts to satisfythe workers, still they carried on their programmes of strike and protest. The trade union activities were so rampant that in 1928 Viceroy Lord Irwin arrested the prominent leaders and brought them to Meerut for trial. After trial, S.A. Dange, Muzaffar Ahmed, Joglekar, Spratt etc. were given transportation or rigorous

imprisonment.It aroused worldwide sympathy for the union leaders. However, it hurled a terrible blow on the trade union activities in India. Now the Leftists and Rightists joined their hands and defended the case.

 

During the Non-Cooperation Movement, the British Government suppressed the trade union leaders with iron hand. The Socialist Party formed in 1934 wanted to cement coherence between the moderate and the radical trade unions. During the popular governments between 1937-1938 the trade unions increased to 296. During Quit India Movement, the Trade Union Movement went on as usual. The nationalist leaders failed to capture the AITUC but the Communists had their hold over it. After independence, the trade unions are performing their rule as usual.

Gandhi-Irwin Pact

This pact was signed between Mahatma Gandhi and the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin on 5 March 1931.

Salient features of this act were as following:

  1. The Congress would participate in the Round Table Conference.
  2. The Congress would discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  3. The Government would withdraw all ordinances issued to curb the Congress.
  4. The Government would withdraw all prosecutions relating to offenses other than violent one. The Government would release all persons undergoing sentences of imprisonment for their activities in the civil disobedience movement.

Salt Satyagraha succeeded in drawing the attention of the world. Millions saw the newsreels showing the march. Time magazine declared Gandhi its 1930 Man of the Year, comparing Gandhi’s march to the sea “to defy Britain’s salt tax as some New Englanders once defied a British tea tax.” Civil disobedience continued until early 1931, when Gandhi was finally released from prison to hold talks with Irwin. It was the first time the two held talks on equal terms, and resulted in the Gandhi–Irwin Pact. The talks would lead to the Second Round Table Conference at the end of 1931.

In the March of 1930, Gandhi met with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin and signed an agreement known as the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The two main clauses of the pact entailed; Congress participation in the Round Table Conference and cessation of The Civil Disobedience Movement. The Government of India released all satyagrahis from prison.

Round Table Conferences

The Simon Commissions in India induced the dissatisfaction throughout India. It met a violent resistance in India and later the British Government organized for the Rounds Table conferences in order to take into consideration the demands and grievances of the Indians directly. Demands for Swaraj, or self-rule, in India had been growing increasingly strong. By the year 1930, many British politicians believed that India needed to move towards dominion status. As announced by the viceroy on behalf of the Government of England on October 31, 1929, Round Table Conference was convened in London. After lengthy discussions, three basic principles were agreed in the Conference and the British Government was made to accept those principles.

Three basic principles were put forwards in the Round Table Conference. According to the agreement, it was demanded that form of the new government of India was to be an All India federation. The federal government, subject to some reservations would be responsible to the federal Legislature, according to the agreement. The provincial autonomy was also demanded by the Congress in the Round Table Conference. However, Ramsay MacDonald, the British Prime Minister, made a momentous declaration on behalf of His Majesty`s Government. According to the view of His Majesty`s government it was declared that the responsibility of the government should be placed upon legislatures, Central and Provincial with certain provisions as was considered necessary.

The absence of the Congress representations in Round Table conference led to a second session of the Round Table conference, where the Congress representatives would participate. Several efforts were made in that direction by Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and Sir M.R. Jayakar, which led to the famous Gandhi-Irwin Pact, which was signed in March 1931. According to the Poona Pact, all political prisoners were released and the Civil Disobedience Movement was called off.

In the second Round Table Conference, Gandhiji was appointed as the representative of the Congress, which was convened from 1st September to 1st December in the year1931.But the significant issue of the Second Round Table conference was to solve the communal problem, which was not solved. This was because; Mr.Jinnah inflexibility was secretly supported by the British statesman like the Secretary of State for India; Sir Samuel Hoare. Disappointed by the result of the session of the Second Round Table Conference, Gandhiji returned to India and subsequently arrested on his arrival in the country.

Ramsay Macdonald announced that in default of an agreed settlement as regards the respective quanta of representation of different communities, the British Government would have to arbitrate their claims. Subsequently, on August 4, 1932, Macdonald`s infamous “Communal Award” came into existence. The concept of Communal Award was related to the representation of different communities in the provincial legislatures. However the “Communal Award” declared by Ramsay Macdonald was partially modified by the Poona Pact. This was accepted by the Hindu rulers due to Gandhiji, who wanted to prevent a political breach between the so-called caste Hindus and the Scheduled Castes.

Consequently the third Round Table Conference was again convened in London on November 17th to December 24th in the years 1932. A White paper was issued in the year March 1933. The details of the working basis of the new constitution of India were enumerated in the White Paper. It was declared that according to the new constitution, there would be dyarchy at the Center and the responsible governments in the center. In February 1935, a bill was introduced in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for India, which subsequently passed and enacted as the government of India Act, 1935.

Thus the Government of India Act came into existence in the Third Round Table Conference. The Government of India Act drew its materials from the Simon Commission, the report of the All-Parties conference i.e. the Nehru Report, the discussions at the three successive Round Table Conferences, the detail enumerated in the White Paper and the reports of the Joint Select Committees.

Government of India Act, 1935

The Montague-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 had brought a large scale discontentment among the people of India. The Non-Cooperation Movement launched by Gandhi had fanned the fire of this discontentment. In order to give some concession to Indians in the field of administration, the Government of India Act, 1935 was designed on the basis of the recommendation of Simon Commission. It envisaged an administrative set-up for India such as:

  1. A Federal government would be established in India with the inclusion of the native States.
  2. Diarchy introduced by the Act Of 1919 should be abolished from the State and established in the Centre.
  3. The provinces would be given complete autonomy and the administrative subjects divided into three lists i.e. Federal List that included the subjects assigned to the Central Government; the Provincial List that consisted of all the subjects under the sole jurisdiction of the provinces and finally, the Concurrent List upon whose subjects both the Centre and Provinces would exercise their combined authority.
  4. A Federal Court was established at the Centre.

Besides these main provisions, it also contained the provisions of the formation of the provinces of Sindh and Orissa, separate and communal electorate system with reduction of the qualification of voters; separation of Burma and Aden from India and so on. Accordingly, the Home Government in England was reformed. The Indian Council was abolished and a few advisers varying from 3 to 6 were appointed to advise the Secretary of States in his policy formulation towards India. The Secretary was normally not expected to poke his nose in the Indian affairs which were to be carried on by Governors.

Further, a High Commission was to be appointed by the Viceroy of India for a period of five years. Coming to the Federal Government, the Viceroy remained its head. He exercised a wide range of power concerning administration, legislation and finance. The Act had created provisions for Reserved Subjects which were looked after by Viceroy through Executive Councilors and transferred Subjects through the Indian ministers, not more than 10 in number selected from the Legislature. Thus, this system of Diarchy was fully introduced in the Centre. At the Centre the Federal Legislature consisted of two Houses, the Council of States and Federal Assembly consisting of 260 and 375 members respectively. The Council of States (Upper House) was permanent body whose one-third members retired every year.

In case of the Provincial Government, the Governor carried on the administration with the help of a Council of Ministers selected by him from among the members of the Provincial Legislature. Of course, the composition of the Provincial Legislature was different in several Provinces. The Legislatures of U.P., Bihar, Assam, Bengal, Madras and Bombay consisted of two Houses – the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council whereas in other provinces, it consisted of one House i.e.Legislative Assembly. The members of these Houses varied from Province to Province.

The India Act of 1935 was sugarcoated quinine as was apparent from the very beginning. Though it introduced Diarchy in the Centre and autonomy in the Province but the power of the elected or nominated members were limited. Further, it fanned the fire of communalism by retaining separate reserved electorates. In actual practice, this Act did not create scope for the self-experience of the Indian Legislators as they enjoyed only limited powers. On the other hand, the India Act, 1935 had its merits too. It introduced Diarchy in the Centre and granted provincial autonomy. It also created field for some practical experiences on the part of Indian leaders. In the ensuing election of 1936-37, the All-India Congress gained majority in Madras, Bombay, Central Provinces, U.P., Bihar and Orissa. In Assam and northwestern frontier, it became the largest single party. Similarly, the Muslim League got absolute majority in Sindh. The legislators got experience in forming ministry in these provinces. The most important fact regarding the achievement of the Act can be stated that the political experience ingenerated in the minds of the Indian leaders went a long way in making the people of India conscious for their political liberty which they achieved in 1947.

PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS

The Provincial Elections of 1936-37 was a leading event which highlighted the clashing powers of both Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. Though the terms of the Government of India Act was not acceptable to both the parties yet both chose to contest the election which would help them to assess the view of the common mass and the popular acceptance of the parties. As such the parties depended on the outcome of the election to read the reaction of the common man towards the prevailing political upheaval.

Provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935

The provincial elections came as a result of the provision made in the Government of India Act of 1935 which stated that an electorate of nearly 36 million as compared to 7 million in 1920, representing 30 percent of the adult population, would elect 1585 representatives for the provincial legislature. This created excitement among all the Indian political parties who considered it to be the first constitutionally responsible effort made by the British government towards India making India constitutionally more responsible .The Act envisaged that the party which will win the majority of seats in the legislature will form the ministry that will function on collective responsibility.

The Outcome of the Provincial Election in 1936-1937

The Provincial Elections which came as an outcome of the Government of India Act of 1935 was contested by both the parties with an expectation to have a chance for creating one`s own government with their own representatives. In spite of their personal contentions over the provisions of Government of India Act, 1935 these parties decided to prepare the agenda for elections and contest it with utmost sincerity. The election manifesto of both the parties showed a lot of differences. While the manifesto of Muslim League was vague and could hardly impress its community with any particular promise except the concern showed towards the Muslim community for their religious rights which it claims to protect, further asks for the repeal of all the repressive laws, reduction of cost of administration, social, economic as well as political upliftment of the Muslim communities.

The election manifesto of the Congress, on the other hand, had been quite clear. As drafted by Jawaharlal Nehru it was more specific in which it rejected `the new constitution to its entirety`. It further presented the growing mass support of the people and the role played by them in participating in the freedom struggle. The election showed the popular strength of Indian National Congress all over the country. Out of 1161 seats it won 716 seats and secured a clear majority in almost six provinces out of eleven provinces in British India. It emerged as one of the largest party winning the majority of three large states of India. Congress fared best in the state of Uttar Pradesh where it secured 133 out of 288 seats, in Bihar 95 out of 152, in Bombay (now Mumbai) 88 out of 175 ,in Central Province 71 out of 112, in Madras (now Chennai) and Orissa it gained 150 out of 215 seats and 36 out of 60 seats respectively. The success of Congress in North West Frontier Province shattered the Muslim League. The League also fared badly in Muslim majority provinces like Bengal. Out of 117 seats it won 38, in Punjab 2 out of 84 and in Sindh 3 out of 33. Thus the election results exhibited the popularity of the Congress where the Muslim League could stand in no competition. However, even after winning popularity none of the parties could claim the Muslim representation as in case of Congress the election results could only show its popularity but not popular representation.

SECOND WORLD WAR AND INDIAN NATIONALISTS

In September 1939, the Second World War broke out. Indian opinion was not sought but the British government dragged India in the war as a party. Britain which claimed to be fighting for freedom had destroyed the freedom of the Indian people and had dragged India into the war. But India cannot associate herself in a war said to be for democratic freedom, when that very freedom is denied to her. The Congress demanded the establishment of an Indian government responsible to the Central Legislative Assembly. The British government did not agree even to this.

In November 1939, the Congress resigned in protest. In October 1940, the Individual Satyagraha was launched by Gandhiji. Vinoba Bhave was chosen as the first person to offer the Satyagraha. Within six months about 25,000 persons were in jail. At this time Germany attacked U.S.S.R and Japan attacked the U.S. naval station at Pearl Harbor, and started advancing in South East Asia. These developments led to the widening of the war into a world war.

Indian national leaders were opposed to fascism and condemned it as the enemy of the freedom. Many countries, allies against fascism, put pressure on the British government to concede the demand of the Indian people. In March 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps came to India to hold talks with the Indian leaders, which failed because the British were not willing to promise independence to India. At last, in August, 1942, Gandhiji  gave forth the slogan ‘Quit India’. The Congress passed a resolution on 8th August 1942, which mentioned the ‘immediate ending of British rule in India’. The day after the resolution was passed, the Congress was banned and all the important leaders were pushed behind the bars.

After the arrest of the leaders, there were spontaneous demonstrations all over India. The government tried to suppress the demonstrations. Hundreds of people were killed and over 70,000 persons arrested. In 1941, Subhash Chandra Bose had escaped from India and had reached Germany. In July 1943 he came to Singapore. The Indian National Army was organised from among the Indian soldiers who had been taken prisoner by the Japanese. In 1944, three units of Indian National Army along with Japanese troops moved into the Imphal Kohima. Though the attempt to liberate India failed, the activities of Subhash Chandra Bose and the INA served to strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle in India.

Quit India Movement

Quit India Movement which took place in the month of August has been one of the most popular mass movements during the freedom struggle of India. With the failure of Cripps Mission the political situation had worsened leaving every individual with full of frustration and disgust. People in total frustration eagerly waited for one such popular movement which could bring a complete end to Imperialism in India. It was at this moment when Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi called for Quit India Movement which turned out to be the most popular mass movement engulfing every section of the society. Quit India Movement was one of the active actions taken by the Indian National Congress passed through the resolutions of July and August 1942 insisting for an immediate independence for India. Against the background of Cripps Mission and the compulsive inclusion of India in the war the political scenario in India had worsened .As such if Congress was to keep its promises for an independent India , the time has come when Congress was to give a final blow to British paramount in India.

In July, Congress passed a resolution demanding immediate end of British rule in India. The resolution gave a brief account of the efforts made by the congress to convince the British Rulers of the necessity to make India free not only for the benefit for India but for the safety of the world as well as the end of Nazism, Fascism, militarism and other forms of imperialism all over the world. It further claimed that it had no intentions to humiliate the Allied Powers and so appealed the British Rule to withdraw its rule from India as soon as possible. It further reiterated its efforts to solve the ever existing the communal drifts and cooperate with the efforts of United Nations to create a peaceful world .As such if the government fails to grant the demands of the Congress then it will compel the party to go for a mass movement on the non violence basis which will gather all its non violent strength as collected since 1920 and organize a mass civil disobedience movement.

The July Resolution was purposely neglected by the government who now blamed the demands as wrong timed. This forced the Indian National Congress to pass another resolution in August 1942, which took the July resolution as the basis for the new resolution. The Resolution for Quit India was made in the Bombay (now Mumbai) session of Congress held in 8th August, 1942 .The agenda of the resolution declared that the committee resolves to sanction for the vindication of India`s alienable right to freedom and independence, the starting of a mass struggle on the non – violent lines on the widest possible scale so that the country must utilize all non violent strength which it has gathered since last twenty years. The committee placed the entire movement under Gandhi`s leadership and it was expected that with launching of the movement every man and woman who will be participating the movement must function within four general instruction of the party. In his famous `Do or Die` speech Gandhi declared four parameters of the Quit India Movement – firstly forget the differences between the Hindus and the Muslims and think yourself as an Indian only; secondly realize that our quarrel is not with the British people but with Imperialism under which they function; thirdly feel from today that you are a free man and not a dependent; and fourthly Do or Die, either free India or in the attempt.

In spite of his passing of the resolution he declared that the struggle has yet not started and it will commence only after he meets the Viceroy with these demands.  He appealed to all the journalists, civil servants, princes, soldiers and students to realize their responsibility towards the nation and participate if they wish to see India free on the non – violent means.

Reaction of British to the Movement

The attitude of the British Government had also changed which now wanted to suppress every movement which will hamper its war image .As a result the quit India resolution was passed on 8th August and by 24 hours on 9 August Gandhi and all prominent leaders were arrested. Congress was declared an illegal party and simultaneous arrests took place all over the country. Quit India Movement has been popularly divided into three phases .The first phase started from the day of Gandhi`s arrest. The news of Quit India Movement and Gandhi`s arrest took the people unaware but the reaction was spontaneous. All the major cities of India which included Bombay (now Mumbai), Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Patna and many more cities faced hartals and the entire nation came to a standstill. Government`s reaction was repressive which began with indiscriminate firing and mass arrest.

The second phase began from the middle of August when the, focus shifted from the center to the out skirts where mobs began to attack the court buildings. Places like Eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Midnapore in West Bengal , parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Orissa where infuriated mobs tried to set up parallel governments though short lived and unsuccessful. The large suppressions executed by the government helped the people to organize the third phase of the movement which entered its longest and most formidable phase. This was characterized by the terrorist activities of the educated youth and was directed against communications and police confrontations, occasionally rising to the level of guerrilla warfare. In Bombay (now Mumbai), Poona, Satara, Baroda, parts of Kerela, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh underground organizations became active. Government atrocities crossed all limits but failed to restrict the movement from reaching its climax.

On the other side the war also came in favour of Allied powers .This made the secretary of State to condemn the Congress as growing revolutionary under Gandhi which aimed at crippling the government. As the government continued to blame Mahatma Gandhi for the violence taking place after the declaration of Quit India Movement, Gandhi gave an ultimatum with a 21 days fasting which began in 10th February 1943 and ended in 3rd March. Its main purpose was to draw world`s attention towards India cause.

Overall the Quit India Movement was successful in breaking the myth o f the government that it was the most popularly accepted government and that it was run by the majority of people who were loyal to the crown. Turning out to be the most popular movement in the freedom struggle for India this movement saw participation from all sections of people.

Indian National Army

Indian National Army, also known as the Azad Hind Fauj, was formed for the liberation of India from the British rule. It was formed in South-East Asia in the year 1942 by pioneering Indian Nationalists and prisoners who wanted to throw off the yoke of foreign domination and liberate the country. The INA was initially formed under Mohan Singh, after the fall of Singapore, the captain in the 1/14th Punjab Regiment in the British Army. However, the first INA under Mohan Singh collapsed and finally it was revived under the leadership of Subash Chandra Bose in 1943. Bose`s army was declared as the Azri Hukumat e Azad Hind. Indian National Army emerged along with Mahatma Gandhi`s peaceful resistance movement within India. In contrast to Mahatma Gandhi, Bose advocated a more aggressive confrontation with the British authorities.

Origin of Indian National Army

INA was formed during the first world war when the Ghadar Party and the emergence form of the Indian Independence League planned to rebel in the British Indian Army from the Punjab through Bengal to Hong Kong. However, this plan met with failure after the information was leaked to British Intelligence. During the Second World War, the plan to fight the British found revival and a number of leaders and movements were initiated. These included the various “liberation armies” which were formed in as well as with the help of Italy, Germany as well as in South-east Asia. Thus in South East Asia the concept of the Indian National Army emerged. It was supported by the Japanese 15th army and led by Bose.

Composition of the Indian National Army

Indian National Army had many valued freedom fighters that helped in the battles. They all had a brilliant background and fought for a similar cause, freedom of India. The INA freedom fighters were from every sphere ranging from barristers to plantation workers. The revival of the Indian National Army was done by Subhash Chandra Bose. Most of the people who joined the army had no prior military experience and thus to ensure a well-trained army, Bose established an Officers Training School for INA officers and the Azad School for the civilian volunteers Many youth were also sent to the Imperial Military Academy in Japan for advanced training. Every soldier was required to spend about six to eight hours of training daily. The training included physical training, army drill and handling arms such as rifles, pistols, hand grenades and bayonets. The soldiers also attended lectures of Indian and world history and military subjects like map reading as well as signaling.

Battles of Indian National Army

The battles that were fought by the Indian National Army during World War II were fought in the South-East Asian region. The operations include Malayan Campaign in 1942 as well as Burma Campaign. The operations of the INA involved the battle of Imphal, Kohima, Pokoku and Irrawady River operations. It began a long march over land and on foot towards Bangkok, along with Subash Chandra Bose. At the time of Japan`s surrender in September 1945, Bose left for Manchuria to attempt to contact the advancing Soviet troops, and was reported to have died in an air crash near Taiwan. On the other hand the INA fighters were imprisoned. The prisoners faced the death penalty, life imprisonment or a fine as punishment if found guilty.

Women in Indian National Army

Indian National Army was structured in a way that lodged active participation from women. A women regiment was formed in 1943. INA had John Thivy, Dr. Lakhsmi Sehgal, Narayan Karruppiah as well as Janaki Thevar as its members. Among the masses attending Bose`s rally on 9 July, Dr.Lakshmi, responded immediately to his appeal to form a Women`s Regiment. She visited many families to persuade the women to join the INA. Many were reluctant; however, she managed to gather twenty enthusiastic girls who were willing to break the traditional barriers. The girls presented the guard-of-honour to Bose. He was impressed and invited Dr. Lakshmi to lead the Women`s Regiment. On 12 July 1943, Bose announced the formation of the Women`s Regiment, naming it “Rani of Jhansi Regiment” which in later years was considered to be a special characteristic of the INA. INA fighters were not invited to join the Indian Army after India`s independence. However, a few ex-INA members later have seen prominent public life or held important positions in independent India. The Indian National Army thus rose to power under the able leadership of Bose. Though it was ultimately disbanded, its heroic attempts at forming an army and taking a radical step towards Indian Independence marked a significant step in the Indian Independence Movement.

Cripps Mission

Cripps Mission was deputed by British parliament in early 1942 to contain the political crisis obtained in India. The mission was headed by Sir Stafford Cripps, a Cabinet Minister. Cripps, a radical member of the Labour Party and the then Leader of the House of Commons, was known as a strong supporter of Indian national movement. Cripps Mission was prompted by two considerations. First, Gandhi’s call for the Satyagraha (literally ‘insistence on truth’, generally rendered ‘soul force’) movement in October 1940 was designed to embarrass Britain’s war efforts by a mass upheaval in India and needed to be ended in the British interest. Secondly, the fall of Singapore (15 February 1942), Rangoon (8 March), and the Andamans (23 March) to the Japanese was threatening the entire fabric of British colonial empire. In the face of these crises, the British felt obliged to make some gestures to win over Indian public support.

The Cripps offer reiterated the intention of the British government to set up an Indian Union within the British Commonwealth as soon as possible after the war, and proposed specific steps towards that end. A constituent assembly would be elected by the provincial legislatures acting as an Electoral College. This body would then negotiate a treaty with the British government. The future right of secession from the Commonwealth was explicitly stated. The Indian states would be free to join, and in any case their treaty arrangements would be revised to meet the new situation.

The offer dominated Indian politics for the rest of the war. Although the British official circles claimed that the Cripps offer marked a great advance for its frankness and precision, it was plagued throughout, and ultimately torpedoed, by numerous ambiguities and misunderstandings. The Congress was very critical of the clauses regarding nomination of the states’ representatives by the rulers and the provincial option Jawaharlal Nehru had desperately sought a settlement largely because of his desire to mobilize Indian support in the anti-fascist war, while most Congress working Committee members and Gandhi himself had been apathetic. This embittered Congress-British relations and things were then rapidly moving towards a total confrontation in the form of quit India movement. But Cripps blamed the Congress for the failure of the Plan, while the Congress held the British government responsible for it. A chance of establishing a united independent India was thus lost.

The Royal Indian Navy Mutiny (RIN Mutiny)

The Royal Indian Navy Mutiny or the Bombay Mutiny was the revolt of the Indian sailors. The sailors who belonged to the Royal Indian Navy on board ship and shore establishments at Bombay harbour went for a strike and organised a mutiny on 18th February 1946.The whole mutiny involved 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20,000 sailors. This revolt subsequently came to be known as the RIN revolt. It started as a protest against their general conditions. The immediate reason for the outbreak of the mutiny was their pay and food. In addition to that there were more elementary matters such as racist behaviour by Royal Navy personnel towards Indian sailors, and disciplinary measures taken against the sailors who demonstrated nationalist sympathy. The R.I.N revolt started electing a Naval Central Strike committee, Signalman M.S Khan and Telegraphist Madan Singh were elected as the President and Vice-President respectively.

The Royal Indian Navy Mutiny was widely supported by the Indian population. The one day strike spread to other cities from Bombay and the Royal Indian Air Force and local police forces also joined this mutiny. Furthermore, in Madras and Pune, the British garrisons had to face revolts within the ranks of the Indian Army. The mutinying ships hoisted three flags which were tied together those of the Congress, Muslim League, and the Red Flag of the Communist Party of India (CPI). The flags signified the unity and demarginalisation of communal issues among the mutineers. The Royal Indian Navy Mutiny was called off following a meeting between the President of the Naval Central Strike Committee (NCSC), M. S. Khan, and Vallab Bhai Patel of the Congress. Vallab Bhai Patel was sent to Bombay to settle the crisis. Thus; Patel put forth a statement calling on the strikers to end their action. Mohammed Ali Jinnah on behalf of the Muslim League also supported the statement of Patel. As a result, the strike ended and in spite of assurances of the good services there were widespread arrests of the Congress and the Muslim League. Furthermore, there were incidents of courts martial and large scale dismissals from the service. However, after independence none of the dismissed returned into either of the Indian or Pakistani navies.

INA Trials

The INA trials or the Red Fort Trials refer to the courts martial of a number of officers of the Indian National Army between November 1945 and May 1946 variously for treason, torture, murder and abetment to murder. The first, and most famous, of the approximately ten trials was held in the Red Fort in Delhi, hence deriving the name. In total, approximately ten courts-martial were held. The first of these, and the most celebrated one, was the joint court-martial of Colonel Prem Sahgal, Colonel Gurubaksh Singh Dhillon and Major General Shah Nawaz Khan. The three had been officers in the British Indian Army and taken POW in Malaya or Singapore. They had, like a large number of other troops and officers of the British Indian Army, joined the Indian National Army and later fought in Imphal and Burma alongside the Japanese forces in allegiance to Azad Hind. These three came to be the only defendants in the INA trials who were charged of “Waging War against the King Emperor” (The Indian Army act of 1911 did not have a separate charge for treason) as well as Murder and abetment of Murder. Those charged later only faced trial for torture and murder or abetment of murder. The trials covered arguments based on Military Law, Constitutional Law, International Law, and Politics. These trials attracted much publicity, and public sympathy for the defendants who were perceived as patriots in India, and outcry over the grounds of the trial, as well as general emerging unease and unrest within the troops of the Raj ultimately forced the then Army Chief Claude Auchinleck to commute the sentences of the three defendants in the first trial.

Cabinet Mission

Cabinet Mission which arrived on 24th March 1946 was mainly aimed at devolution of power from the British crown to India giving India independence under Dominion Status in the Commonwealth of Nations. On 28th January 1946, the Viceroy, announced in the legislative Assembly, his intention to establish a new executive council with political leaders and to create a constitution -making body in India. Plans were finalised and devised with the sole enterprise of Clement Attlee, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. On 19th February 1946, in Parliament, the British Government announced the forwarding of a team of three Cabinet Ministers to India to seek agreement on how to enact self-determination and Independence with the Indian political leaders. The Cabinet Mission included Lord Pethick Lawrence (1871-1961) the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Cripps (1889- 1952), President of the Board of Trade and A.V.Alexander (1885-1965), First Lord of the Admiralty. Cabinet Mission also received the boost of Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India during the time.

Meetings held by the Cabinet

On its arrival on 24th march 1946 the mission aimed at having talks with all the major parties of India who had marked themselves on the political canvas of Indian politics. This included parties like Indian National Congress, Muslim League, The Sikhs, scheduled Casts and liberal leader Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru. All the members surrounded around 472 members in total. The cabinet began its discussion on 16th to 18th April when it met Muslim League leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah to outline two plans, comprising a small Pakistan with sovereignty or a big Pakistan in an All India Union. Jinnah avoided making a choice. Further, in the days of 5th to 12th May 1946, in Shimla, the Cabinet Mission convened a conference, including four members each from the Congress Party and Muslim League. They included for the Congress: Nehru, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Abdul Ghaffar Khan and for the Muslim League: Jinnah, Liaqat Ali Khan, Ismail Khan and Abdur Rab Nishtar. The Government of India invited Mahatma Gandhi to come and stand by if needed for consultation. The agenda treated the grouping of provinces, nature of a union and the constitution making process. Cripps` Union of All-India Plan failed to win the acceptance of either the Congress or Muslim League. On May 12th, it became evident that no solution was possible and the Mission announced the failure of the conference.

Proposals made by Cabinet Mission

Cabinet Mission, on its arrival in India, aimed at fulfilling three wide spectrum issues. Firstly, it came to hold a preparatory discussion with the elected members of British India and the Indian states in ordered to secure maximum agreement over the issue of framing a new constitution; secondly, to set up a constitution -making body; and thirdly, to establish a full self-government in India. Along with this regarding the minorities it claimed that they had full knowledge of the minorities but could not allow the minorities to place veto on the advance of majority party. The cabinet then sought to answer some of the vital questions which were engulfing Indian politics for long. On the issue of accepting an independent Pakistan, the Cabinet Mission completely rejected the idea on communal grounds and claimed that it would not solve the problem. As the committee estimated that the Hindu and Muslim population on the western zone were at a ratio of 62:38 and on the eastern zone it was 51.7:48.3.On the basis of these calculations the Cabinet came to a conclusion that a separate state of Pakistan was not viable. Secondly, the mission also raised question regarding the level of communication to be established with the new state falling under Pakistan .Even in case of distribution of Army also it will turn out to be a trouble. On a positive side the mission suggested creation of a federal Union consisting of British India and Indian states. The union will deal with the foreign affairs, defense and communication and authority to raise finances for these subjects

Reaction of the All India Parties to Cabinet Mission

The Cabinet Mission was received with a multiple reaction. As the Mission announced on16th May its three tier scheme for forming a Union of All-India consisting of Hindu-majority provinces, Muslim majority Provinces and the Indian States. On 25th June, the Congress Working Committee passed a resolution to accept the Cabinet Mission`s plan and to enter the Constituency Assembly. The Sikhs on other side were in favour of a united India. The scheduled castes were against the partition and wanted to guarantees of their human rights. The Hindu Mahasabha insisted on the favour of immediate transfer of power and indivisible India. Thus, the Cabinet Mission can be regarded as the most effective step adopted by the British government to reach India towards Independence. The mission for the first time made a public declaration of its intension to grant India free from subjugation. Though this mission only talked of an interim government with a dominion status it was later on condemned for this. Nevertheless it paved the way for the Indian leaders to experience the running of a nation as a whole.

The interim government of India

The interim government of India, formed on 2 September 1946 from the newly elected Constituent Assembly of India, had the task of assisting the transition of India and Pakistan from British rule to independence. It remained in place until 15 August 1947, the date of the independence of the two new nations of India and Pakistan.

Formation

After the end of the Second World War, the British authorities in India released all political prisoners who had participated in the Quit India movement. The Indian National Congress, the largest Indian political party, which had long fought for national independence, agreed to participate in elections for a constituent assembly, as did the Muslim League. The newly elected government of Clement Attlee dispatched the 1946 Cabinet Mission to India to India to formulate proposals for the formation of a government that would lead an independent India.

The elections for the Constituent Assembly were not direct elections, as the members were elected from each of the provincial legislative assemblies. In the event, the Indian National Congress won a majority of the seats, some 69 per cent, including almost every seat in areas with a majority Hindu electorate. The Congress had clear majorities in eight of the eleven provinces of British India. The Muslim League won the seats allocated to the Muslim electorate.

Viceroy’s Executive Council

The Viceroy’s Executive Council became the executive branch of the interim government. Originally headed by the Viceroy of India, it was transformed into a council of ministers, with the powers of a prime minister bestowed on the vice president of the Council, a position held by the Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru. After independence all members would be Indians, apart from the Viceroy, in August to become the Governor-General, Lord Mountbatten, who would hold only a ceremonial position, and the Commander-in-Chief, India, Sir Claude Auchinleck, replaced after independence by General Sir Rob Lockhart. The senior Congress leader Vallabhbhai Patel held the second-most powerful position in the Council, heading the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Information and Broadcasting. The Sikh leader Baldev Singh was responsible for the Department of Defence and Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari was named to head the Department of Education and arts. Asaf Ali, a Muslim Congress leader, headed the Department of Railways and Transport. Scheduled Caste leader Jagjivan Ram headed the Department of Labour, while Rajendra Prasad headed the Department of Food and Agriculture and John Mathai headed the Department of Industries and Supplies.

Upon the Muslim League joining the interim government, the second highest-ranking League politician, Liaquat Ali Khan, became the head of the Department of Finance. Abdur Rab Nishtar headed the Departments of Posts and Air and Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar headed the Department of Commerce. The League nominated a Scheduled Caste Hindu politician, Jogendra Nath Mandal, to lead the Department of Law.

Activities

Although until August 1947 British India remained under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, the interim government proceeded to establish diplomatic relations with other countries, including the United States. Meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly, from which the Interim Government was drawn, struggled with the challenging task of drafting a constitution for independent India.

Wavell Plan, 1945

In October, 1943 Lord Wavell who had succeeded Lord Linlithgow as Governor General, made an attempt resolve the stalemate the deadlock in India. He went to England for consultations in March 1945.The result of Governor`s consultations was soon revealed. He broadcast to the people of Indian the proposals of the British Government to resolve the deadlock in India on 14th June.

Mr. Amery, he was the Secretary of State for India. On 14th June made a similar statement in the House of Commons: “The offer of March 1942 stands in it’s entirely without change and qualification.” He also proposed the renovation of the Governor General`s Executive Council pending the preparation of a new constitution. With the expectation of the Governor-General and the Commander-in-chief all other member of the Executive Council would be nominated from amongst leaders of Indian Political life. This Council would have “a balanced representation of the main communities, including equal proportions of Muslims and caste Hindus. It would work, if formed, under the existing constitution. Though the Governor-General`s veto would not be abolished, it would not be used unnecessarily. The portfolio of external Affairs was to be transferred from the Governor-General to an Indian member of Council. A Conference of representatives chosen by the Viceroy was to be convened with a view to obtaining from the leaders of the various parties a joint list or failing it, separate lists of worthy people to constitute the new Executive Council”. It was also expected “that provincial ministers in Section 93 Province would resume office and that there would be coalition.”

The Congress Working Committee members were let out of jail. Their high hopes prevailed on all sides as invitations for the planned Simla Conference went out to the leaders including Gandhiji. The conference was adjourned after three days of discussion and the meeting was held on June 25, 1945. Mr. Jinnah had a short interview with the Viceroy on 11th July. In this interview he seems to have made it clear to the latter that the league, wishing to be regarded as the sole representative of Indian Muslims. That was firmly opposed to the inclusion of any long league Muslims in the Viceroy`s list. But the Viceroy could not agree to this point of view. Lord Wavell wound up the Conference by declaring a failure of the talks. The responsibilities for the failure lie partly on Lord Wavell himself and partly on Mr.Jinnah. Mr. Maulana Azad, the Congress President put the blame for the break down directly on the shoulders of Mr. Jinnah. Lord Wavell should have taken the leaders into confidence as regards the composition of his own list of members of the Executive Council. Possibly the Congress leaders might have been persuaded to accept that list either as a whole, or with minor modifications mutually agreed upon. He should not have allowed the league practically to veto the whole plan and thus alone to block the path of progress.

It must be noted in this connections that the Viceroy had assured the Congress President that “no party to the conference could be allowed to obstruct settlement out of wilfulness”, but it seems that as in the parallel case of Cripps, Wavell`s hands were stayed at the last moment. The tangible result of the failure of the Simla Conference was to strengthen the position of Mr.Jinnah and the Muslim League Which was clearly manifested in the elections of 1945-46.

Direct Action Day (1946)

Direct Action Day hartal called by the Muslim League on August 16, 1946 to get rid of ‘British slavery and contemplated future caste-Hindu domination’. The  backdrop of the Direct Action Day was not only the Muslim League’s acceptance of the cabinet mission plan, but also the loss of face it had to experience because of the plan’s rejection by the Congress. The ‘British betrayal’, as the Muslim League branded the Cabinet Mission’s successive failed proposals to placate the obstinate Congress, made Jinnah bid good-bye to constitutional methods and resort to a programme of ‘direct action for the achievement of Pakistan’, to quote a resolution of the Muslim League Council meeting (27-29 July 1946) in Bombay.

On the heels of this resolution the League Working Committee declared 16 August as ‘Direct Action Day’. Directives were issued to League leaders and the Muslim masses of the provinces to suspend all business on the 16 August and observe complete hartal on that day. As the architect of the reorganised Muslim League in Bengal, huseyn shaheed suhrawardy, the Chief Minister, felt that the Bengal hartal of the Day ought to be the most effective one. His immense preparations to make the Day a success led to communal carnage, something that he perhaps never intended to happen. But things went beyond his control and brutal communal violence ensued. A great portion of Calcutta was on fire for a couple of days. ‘The Direct Action’ riot in Calcutta soon spread throughout the country, and was particularly destructively in Bihar and Noakhali. Both Hindus and Muslims fought each other more or less evenly in Calcutta, but the encounter was mostly one sided elsewhere. In Bihar, mostly Muslims were killed and in Noakhali, Hindus. But on the whole Muslim casualties were heavier. Ironically ‘Direct Action Day’ had a direct result. The fate of India was decided on that day, and on that day was sealed the fate of the united Bengal. Direct Action Day made the partition of Bengal inevitable.

Inshort, following continued rejection by the Indian Congress of the proposal to divide India, the Muslim League planned a protest which began with a “Day of Direct Action”(16th August 1946) to assert the right of the Muslims to a separate homeland. The protests triggered riots in Calcutta in which 4,000 people lost their lives (known as the “great Calcutta Riots”).

Mountbatten plan

The British government sent a Cabinet Mission to India in March 1946 to negotiate with Indian leaders and agree to the terms of the transfer of power. After difficult negotiations a federal solution was proposed. Despite initial agreement, both sides eventually rejected the plan. An interim government with representatives of all the Indian parties was proposed and implemented. However, it soon collapsed through lack of agreement. While the Muslim League consented to join the interim government the Indian National Congress refused. By the end of 1946 communal violence was escalating and the British began to fear that India would descend into civil war. The British government’s representative, Lord Wavell, put forward a breakdown plan as a safeguard in the event of political deadlock. Wavell, however, believed that once the disadvantages of the Pakistan scheme were exposed, Jinnah would see the advantages of working for the best possible terms inside a united India. He wrote:  ‘Unfortunately the fact that Pakistan, when soberly and realistically examined, is found to be a very unattractive proposition, will place the Moslems in a very disadvantageous position for making satisfactory terms with India for a Federal Union.’ This view was based on a report, which claimed that a future Pakistan would have no manufacturing or industrial areas of importance: no ports, except Karachi, or rail centres. It was also argued that the connection between East and West Pakistan would be difficult to defend and maintain. The report concluded: ‘It is hard to resist the conclusion that taking all considerations into account the splitting up of India will be the reverse of beneficial as far as the livelihood of its people is concerned’.

Lord Mountbatten replaced Lord Wavell as Viceroy of India in 1947. Mountbatten’s first proposed solution for the Indian subcontinent, known as the ‘May Plan’, was rejected by Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru on the grounds it would cause the ‘balkanisation of India’. The following month the ‘May Plan’ was substituted for the ‘June Plan’, in which provinces would have to choose between India and Pakistan. Bengal and Punjab both voted for partition. On 3 June 1947, Lord Mountbatten announced his plan. The salient features were:- Mountbatten’s formula was to divide India but retain maximum unity. The country would be partitioned but so would Punjab and Bengal, so that the limited Pakistan that emerged would meet both the Congress and League’s position to some extent. The League’s position on Pakistan was conceded to the extent that it would be created, but the Congress position on unity would be taken into account to make Pakistan as small as possible. Whether it was ruling out independence for the princes or unity for Bengal or Hyderabad’s joining up with Pakistan instead of India, Mountbatten firmly supported Congress on these issues. The Mountbatten Plan sought to affect an early transfer of power on the basis of Dominion status to two successor states, India and Pakistan. For Britain, Dominion Status offered a chance of keeping India in the commonwealth for India’s economic strength and defense potential were deemed sounder and Britain had a greater value of trade and investment there.

The rationale for the early date for transfer of power was securing Congress agreement to Dominion status. The additional benefit was that the British could escape responsibility for the rapidly deteriorating communal situation. A referendum was to be held in NWEP to ascertain whether the people in the area wanted to join India or not. The princely states would have the option of joining either of the two dominions or to remain independent. The Provinces of Assam, Punjab and Bengal were also to be divided. A boundary commission was to be set up to determine the boundaries of these states.

Reasons for the acceptance of “Partition” by the Congress

By accepting the Mountbatten Plan/Partition, the Congress was only accepting what had become inevitable because of the long-term failure of the Congress to draw in the Muslim masses into the national movement and stem the surging waves of Muslim communalism, which, especially since 1937, had been beating with increasing fury. The Congress leaders felt by June, 1947 that only an immediate transfer of power could forestall the spread of Direct Action and communal disturbances. Sardar Patel rightly said, “a united India even if it was smaller in size was better than a disorganised and troubled and weak bigger India.” Difficulties created by the obstructionist policies and tactics of the League proved to the Congress that the leaders of the Muslim League were concerned only with their own interests and the future of India would not be safe with them in the government. They would act as a stumbling block in the path of India’s progress. The Congress leaders also felt that the continuance of British rule never was and never could be in the good interest of Indians. Sooner they quit, the better it would be.

Partition of India

Partition of India was one of the historical steps taken on the basis of religion dividing the nation into two parts namely Union of India (also known as Republic of India) and Dominion of Pakistan (further divided into Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Peoples` Republic of Bangladesh) on 14th and 15th of August 1947. With the dissolution of British India the Partition of India was incorporated through the division of two provinces of Bengal and Punjab as Bengal was divided into East Pakistan and West Bengal and Punjab was further divided into West Punjab and East Punjab.

Origin of Partition of India

The partition of India had been the real instance of peoples` demand through their representatives. The initial demand for a separate state was made by an eminent writer and philosopher Allama Iqbal who raised his voice for a separate electorate for the less represented group of Muslim Communities. With the passage of time this claim became the base of the newly emerging state of Pakistan. Among other reasons division of Indian subcontinent was important for various reasons. One such reason had been the old British policy of divide and rule which came into action in case of division of India and Pakistan. Also with the communal awards the hatred rather differences increased on both sides which could only be pacified through division of state. It was further claimed that the British wanted to make the Muslims their allies to oppose the apparent threat of the Hindu educated class. In order to gain support from the Muslims, the British supported the All-India Muslim Conference. They infused the notion that the Muslims were a separate political entity. In addition to that the Muslims were given separate electorates in local government all over British India by 1900s. With such moves the British followed a divide-and-rule policy in India. Hindus and Muslims were two separate identities which needed to be separated. All this growing anxiety only brought India closer to division. As a result such demand got its shape in the 1935 session when a formal resolution was passed claiming the separation.

The partition took place at the midnight of 14th and 15th August 1947. Mainly based on Famous Mountbatten Plan, the partition included division of geographical areas, population exchange, administrative structure and army, navy and air force as well. The main affected areas were Bengal, Punjab, Sindh and Jammu & Kashmir. Geographically the division included the division of rivers as well as land areas; the exchange of population meant movement of 14.5 million people crossing the borders with a total of 7,226,000 Muslims and 7,249,000 Hindus from each side. At the midnight of 14th august the ceremony of independence was organized a day after the birth of new state of Pakistan with New Delhi as India`s capital.

Impact of Partition of India

On 7th August Mohammad Ali Jinnah along with his old associations went to Karachi. The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan met on 11th August and elected Jinnah as its President. Lord Mountbatten went to Karachi on 13 August and on the following day addressed the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. He attended the inauguration ceremony at Karachi. The birth of Pakistan was an eventful occasion in history. Officially, Pakistan became a Dominion on 15 August 1947, Jinnah was sworn in as Governor-General and Liaqat Ali Khan was sworn in as the new Pakistan Cabinet. The effect of Partition was deep rooted which raised some major issues of the day. One such issue had been the issue of refugees which remained the most painful result of Partition for both the nations. The city of Delhi received the maximum numbers of refugees and overall 35000 refugees landed up in the northern part of India including areas of Panipat and Kurukhshetra which were further used as camps for them. Huge expansion of cities took place which brought new areas in every city of northern India. Thus, the Partition of India did not remain a historical event only but came out as the most painful event of passed history. It affected not only the physical location of people but their psychology as well. Ending up into brutal riots all over the country the partition of India is regarded the bitterest experience of modern India.

Indian Independence Act, 1947

The Indian Independence Act 1947 was the legislation passed and enacted by the British Parliament that officially announced the Independence of India and the partition of India. The legislation of Indian Independence Act was designed by the Prime Minister Clement Attlee as Indian Political Parties agreed on the transfer of power from the British Government to the independent Indian Government and the Partition of India. This act received royal assent on 18th July, 1947.The Agreement was made with Lord Mountbatten, which was known as the 3 June Plan or Mountbatten Plan. Indian Independence Act was passed in June 1947, which specified the follows:

* The British rule of India should be over on the midnight of August 15, 1947.

* An independent dominion of India shall be created out of the United Provinces, Central Provinces, Bombay Presidency, Madras Presidency, the Carnatic, East Punjab, West Bengal, Assam and the Northeast Frontier Agency. The territories of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep Islands are also turned over to the Indian Dominion.

* An independent dominion of Pakistan shall be created out of the provinces of West Punjab, North West Frontier Province, Sindh and East Bengal.

* The all Princely states that were officially related to British Empire were made free from all the treaties and relationships and they could decide which dominion to join. Lord Mountbatten thought that if the princely state remained independent within the dominion that may lead to chaos and thus made their accession a necessity of the Indian Independence Act.

* Both the Indian and Pakistan Dominions would be members of the British Commonwealth and was allowed to leave whenever they pleased.

* Both Dominions of India and Pakistan were completely self-governing in their internal affairs, foreign affairs and national security but the British monarch will continue to be their head of state, represented by the Governor-General of India and a new Governor-General of Pakistan. Both Dominions shall convene their Constituent Assemblies and write their respective constitutions.

* The British monarch shall be permitted to remove the title of Emperor of India from the Royal Style and Titles. King George VI subsequently removed the title by Order in council on June 22, 1948.

Lord Mountbatten was the last Viceroy of India under British rules and became the Governor General of Independent India. Jawaharlal Nehru became the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the President and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the Deputy Prime minister of India. Five hundred and sixty princely states were annexed with India, among which Junagadh and Hyderabad was took over after military action.

After-effects of Indian Independence Act

After passing the act some religion based riots were there. The situation was much violent. The Muslims had to migrate from the `Would be India` and Hindus had to migrate from the `Would be Pakistan`. All of their possessions and properties were left behind.

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