Main Events during the Gandhian Era

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Main Events during the Gandhian Era

C.R. Formula (1944)

In 1994, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (C.R.) proposed to appoint a commission to demarcate the districts in North-West and East where Muslims were in majority. In such areas, a plebiscite was proposed to be held on the basis of adult suffrage to decide the issue of separation. They would be given freedom if they favoured a sovereign state. In case of acceptance of partition, agreement was to be made jointly for safeguarding defence, commerce, communications etc. Muslim League was to endorse Congress demand for independence and cooperate in the formation of provisional government. Jinnah objected, as he wanted Congress to accept two-nation theory and wanted only Muslims of the North-West and East of India to vote in the plebiscite. Hindu Leaders led by V.D. Savarkar condemned the plan.

Wavell Plan and Shimla Conference (June 14-July 14, 1945)

The war situation in Europe improved in the beginning of the year 1945. India s good will was, however, needed as the war against Japan was expected to last for a about two years. The situation within the country was worsening day by day as a result of deteriorating economic situation and famines. The British Government was compelled to come forward with some sort of plan to satisfy the Indians. After consultations with the British Government on the Indian problem, Lord Wavell the Viceroy of India, issued a statement known as Wavell Plan. The Plan, which chiefly concerned Viceroy's Executive Council, proposed certain changes in the structure of the council. One of the main proposals was that the Executive Council would be constituted giving a balanced representation to the main communities in it, including equal representation to Muslims and Hindus.

INA Trial (Nov., 1945)

P. K. Sehgal, Shah Nawaj Khan and Gurubaksh Singh | Dhillon were put on trial at the Red Fort in Nov., 1945. To elucidate, despite the best efforts of the Congress to win the legal battle the trial of INA prisoners led to their outright conviction on the charge of waging war against the King Emperor. j The pressure of the Indian public opinion against this conviction however, soon mounted high. This shook the British Government and it was compelled to suspend the sentences imposed on the INA convicts. Further, disaffection spread fast among the soldiers. The chief defence advocate during the INA trial was Bhulabhai Desai. Other defence lawyers were Tej Bahadur Sapru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Asaf Ali and Md.. Ali Jinnah.

Royal Indian Navy (RIN)/Ratings Mutiny (Feb. 18,1946)

On Feb., 18,1946, Bombay Ratings of HMS Talwar struck work due to flagrant racial discrimination, unpalatable food and abuse after the arrest of B .C. Dutt who had scrawled Quit India on the ship. On Feb. 19, HMS Hindustan, in Karachi also mutinied. Vallabh Bhai Patel and Jinnah jointly persuaded the Ratings to surrender on Feb. 23,1946. The Britishers for the first time seriously realized that with this awakening among the Indians and revolt in armed forces, it could not perpetuate its hold on India any more.

Cabinet Mission (March - June, 1946)

The British Prime Minister, Lord Attlee, made a declaration on March 15, 1946, that British Cabinet Mission would visit V India to make recommendations regarding constitutional reforms to be introduced in India. The Cabinet Mission which included of Lord Patliick Lawrence, Stafford Cripps and A. V. Alexander visited India and met the representative of different J political parties, but a satisfactory solution to the constitutional difficulties could not be found. The mission envisaged the establishment of a Constituent Assembly to frame the constitution as well as an interim government. The Muslim League accepted the plan on June 6, 1946, while maintaining its rights of striving for a separate Muslim state. The Congress also partially accepted the plan.

Direct Action Campaign (Aug. 16, 1946)

Provoked by the success of the Congress (in the voting for Constituent Assembly), the Muslim League launched a 'direct action' campaign on Aug. 16,1946, which resulted in wide spread communal riots in the country.

Interim Government ( Sep. 2, 1946 )

On Sep. 2,1946, an interim government was formed. Congress members led by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru joined it but the Muslim League did not, on the contrary it withdrew its earlier acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan.

Formation of Constituent Assembly (Dec. 9,1946)

The Constituent Assembly met on Dec. 9,1946, and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected its President. The Muslim League did not join the Assembly.

Attlee's Announcement (Feb. 20,1947)

On Feb. 20,1947, British Prime Minister Attlee announced that the British would withdraw from India by June 30,1948 and that Lord Mountbatten would replace Wavell.

Mountbatten Plan (June 3,1947)

In March, 1947, Lord Mountbatten replaced Lord Wavell. He announced his plan on June 3,1947. His earlier Plan Balkan was abandoned for this June 3, Plan. It offered a key to the political and constitutional deadlock created by the refusal of Muslim League to join the Constituent Assembly formed to frame the constitution of India. Mountbatten's formula was to divide India but retain maximum unity. The country would be partitioned but so would be Punjab and Bengal, so that the limited Pakistan that emerged would meet both the Congress and the League's position to some extent. The League's position on Pakistan was conceded in that it would be created, but the Congress position on unity would be taken into account to make Pakistan as small as possible. He laid down detailed principles for the partition of the country and speedy transfer of political powers in the form of dominion status to the newly formed dominions of India and Pakistan. Its acceptance by the Congress and the Muslim League resulted in the birth of Pakistan.

The Indian Independence Act, 1947

The Bill containing the provisions of the Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947, was introduced in the British Parliament and passed as the Indian Independence Act, 1947. The Act laid down detailed measures for the partition of India and speedy transfer of political powers to the new governments of India and Pakistan.

Integration of States

By Aug. 15, 1947, all states except Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad had signed the Instrument of Accession with India. The Maharaja of Kashmir acceded to India in Oct., 1947 when irregular Pakistani troops invaded his state. The Nawab of Junagadh was a Muslim whereas most of its people were Hindus. In Feb. 1948, through a referendum the people of this state decided to join India. The Nawab of Junagadh, therefore, left for Pakistan. The Nizam of Hyderabad was forced to accede to the Indian Union under the pressure of internal anarchy and military action against him in Sep., 1948.

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