After the first war of independence or sepoy mutiny of 1857, the power of the victorious East India Company was transferred to the British government under the Government of India Act 1858 whereby the Viceroy and Governor-General was to head the government in India with an advisory council consisting of four members.
The Indian Councils Act 1861 transformed the advisory council of the Viceroy into a cabinet run on the portfolio system and was called the Imperial Legislative Council. The Sovereign appointed two and the Secretary of State for India three, who took charge of home, revenue, military, law and finance. The Governor General also appointed six to twelve members, who debated and voted on legislation. The Commander-in-chief also sat in the council. The Viceroy was entitled to overrule the council.
The Indian Councils Act 1909 increased the number of members of the Imperial Legislative Council to 60, of whom 27 were elected.
The Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms under the Government of India Act 1919 introduced the system of Dyarchy, also spelled diarchy, a system of double government in the provinces divided between the councilors appointed by the crown and ministers from elected members, having control over reserved and transferred subjects, respectively. It also converted the Imperial Legislative Assembly into a bicameral legislature with the Central Legislative Assembly as lower House and the Council of State as the upper house. The Governor General appointed the President of the Council of State, while the Central Legislative Assembly elected its own President with the approval of the Governor-General. It was also declared that a commission would be sent to India after ten years to examine the effects of constitutional reforms and to suggest further reforms.
An Oxford educated Muslim journalist, Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar with his brother Maulana Shaukat Ali formed the All India Khilafat Committee, which comprised Pir Ghulam Mujaddid Sarhandi, Sheikh Shaukat Ali Siddiqui, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Raees-Ul-Muhajireen Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo, Hasrat Mohani, Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Dr. Hakim Ajmal Khan. They published the Khilafat Manifesto in 1920, which asked Muslims to unite to protect the Ottoman Caliph and hold the British accountable for this purpose.
The Khilafat leaders joined the Congress leader Mohandas Gandhi to fight together for Khilafat and Swaraj. They launched a nationwide campaign of mass, peaceful civil disobedience, starting with boycott of legislative councils, government schools, colleges, foreign goods, and surrender of government functions, titles and distinctions. Massive protests, strikes and acts of civil disobedience spread across India. Hindus and Muslims collectively offered resistance, which was largely peaceful.
Gandhi, the Ali brothers and others were imprisoned by the British, which lead to violence. Gandhi suspended all non-cooperation movement when 22 policemen were killed at Chauri Chaura in 1922. The Ali brothers did not agree with Gandhi's action and severed their ties with him. The final blow came when Mustafa Kemal abolished the caliphate and established a secular republic in independent Turkey. Dr. Ansari, Maulana Azad and Hakim Ajmal Khan remained with Gandhi and the Congress, and the Ali brothers joined Muslim League. Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari created Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam.
In November 1927, the British government appointed as promised a commission to report on India's constitutional progress for introducing constitutional reforms. In December 1927, at its Madras session, the Indian National Congress decided not to cooperate with the Commission for not having an Indian member and set up an All Parties Conference to draft a Constitution for India.
The Simon Commission arrived in Bombay on 3 February 1928, to meet with protesters. On 30 October 1928, the Commission was met by protesters at Lahore, in which Lala Lajpat Rai was critically injured and died a fortnight later.
The Commission published a 2-volume report in May 1930. It proposed the abolition of dyarchy and the establishment of representative government in the provinces. It also recommended that separate communal electorates be retained until tensions between Hindus and Muslims had died down. Lord Birkenhead, Secretary of State for Indian Affairs, challenged the Indians, “If they have any political capability and competence then they should form a unanimous constitution and present it to us and we will implement It.”.
Indian political parties accepted the challenge and during the third session of the All Parties Conference held at Bombay on 19 May 1928 formed a seven members committee under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru to determine the basic features of the future constitution of India with his son Jawaharlal as secretary to assist him. The main features of the Nehru Report was as under:
“India should be given the status of a dominion.
There should be federal form of government with residuary powers vested in the center.
India should have a parliamentary form of government headed by a Prime Minister and six ministers appointed by the Governor General.
There should be a bi-cameral legislature.
There should be no separate electorate for any community.
System of weightage for minorities was as bad as that of separate electorates.
Reservation of Muslim seats could be possible in the provinces where Muslim population was at least 10 percent, but this was to be in strict proportion to the size of the community.
Muslims should enjoy one/fourth representation in the Central Legislature.
Sindh should be separated from Bombay only if the certified that it was financially self-sufficient.
The N.W.F.P should be given full provincial status.
A new Kanarese-speaking province Karnatik should be established in South India.
Hindi should be made the official language of India”.
In the fourth session of the All Parties Conference convened in December 1928 to review the Nehru Report, the Congress got the majority vote in favour of the Report, and asked the Government to make a constitution by December 31 according to the recommendations of Nehru Report otherwise they would start a mass movement for the attainment of Swaraj.
After Baldwin was defeated at the 1929 British parliamentary election and Ramsay MacDonald of the Labour Party became prime minister. MacDonald convened a conference of Indian and British leaders in London to discuss India's future. Three Round Table Conferences followed but none resulted in a settlement.
Hitler invaded Poland on 1st September 1939 and France, UK, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. The following day, the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, without consulting Indian political leaders, announced that India had entered the war along with Britain.
On 14 September 1939, the Congress demanded immediate independence with a constituent assembly to decide a constitution. After meeting with Jinnah and Gandhi, Linlithgow announced that negotiations on self-government were suspended for the duration of the war.
The Congress Working Committee met on 22nd October 1939 at Wardha, and decided, ‘In the circumstances the Committee cannot possibly give any support to Great Britain for it would amount to an endorsement of the imperialistic policy which Congress has always sought to end. As a first step in this direction, the Committee called upon the Congress Ministries in eight provinces to tender their resignation’.
In the presidential address to 53rd session of congress on Tuesday 19th March 1940 at Ramgarh, Maulana Azad said, India cannot endure the prospect of Nazism and Fascism, but she is even more tired of British imperialism … If India remains deprived of her natural right to freedom, India would on no account be prepared to lend a helping hand for the triumph of British Imperialism … The government of India Act was imposed upon India by the British Government. So far as the War was concerned, India had clearly condemned Nazi Germany. Her sympathies were with the democratic nations, and this was a point in Britain’s favour. Under such circumstances, it was natural to expect that if the Government had changed the old imperialistic mentality in the slightest degree, it would, even though as a measure of expediency, change its old method at this juncture … It’s policy was dictated exactly in accordance with the habits of an imperialism a hundred and fifty years old. It decided its course of action and, without India being afforded in any manner and in the slightest degree an opportunity to declare freely her opinion, her participation in the War was announced. It was not even considered necessary to give those representative assemblies, imposed upon us by British diplomacy for purposes of show, an opportunity of expressing their opinion … When the War began, a war which will probably one of the greatest in the world. India was pushed into it suddenly without her even realizing that she was entering it … War was declared on the 3rd of September and on 7th September the All India Congress Working Committee met at Wardha to deliberate upon the situation … The Congress postponed its final decision and asked the British government to state its war aims, for on this depended peace and justice for India, but for the whole world … if it was really being fought to safeguard Freedom, Democracy and Peace and to bring a new order to the world, then. In all conscience, India had a right to know, what would be the effect of these aims on her own destiny.’
On 23rd March 1940, All India Muslim League passed what is now known as Pakistan Resolution at Lahore.
On 1 April 1940, Quaid-i-Azam defended partition. He said in the first place a wrong idea and false propaganda appear to have been set in to frighten the Muslim minorities that they would have to migrate en bloc. Secondly the Muslim minorities are wrongly made to believe that they would be worse off and be left in any scheme of partition. Mussaalmans under one government would remain no more than a minority in perpetuity. The question is whether the entire Muslim of nine crores should be subjected to a Hindu majority raj or whether at least six crore of Mussalmans residing in the areas where they form a majority should have their own homeland … I am sure that Sikhs would be much better off in the north-west Muslim zone than they would be in a united India or under one central govt. For under one Central Government their voice would be negligible. Referring to parable of King Solomon and the baby by Rajgopalacharia. If the real mother were to be discovered, it would be Dravidians and still further the aboriginese. It would be neither the Aryans nor the Muslims except that they were earlier arrivals in point of time.
On 6th April 1940, Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Harijan under the caption ‘A Baffling Situation’ that the two-nation theory is an untruth as the Hindus and Muslims are not two nations. The vast majority of Muslims of India are converts to Islam or descendants of converts. They do not become a separate nation as soon as they became converts…. I have often found it difficult to distinguish by outward sign between a Bengali Hindu and a Bengali Muslim. Name Jinnah could be that of a Hindu. When I first met him, I did not know that he was a Muslim. I came to know of his religion when I had his full name given to me. His nationality was written in his face and manner. Sir Muhammad Iqbal used to speak with pride of his Brahmanical descent. Iqbal and Kitchlew are names common to Hindus and Muslims. Those whom God has made one man will never be able to divide.
On 11th April 1940 Quaid-i-Azam replying to Mahatma Gandhis’s article, said that no honest Mussalman could subscribe to his cult and his conception of Indian culture. Mr. Gandhi begins his work by prayer and recital of Bhagvat Gita. Mr. Gandhi believes in Ashrams and Samitis, Ahimsa, spinning wheel, khaddar, Bande Matram, Sanskritised Hindi, Vidya Mandir and the Wardha Scheme. No Mussalman can honestly subscribe to the cult and culture of this kind.
Quaid-i-Azam called AIML to hold public meetings throughout the country on 19 the April 1940 to explain and confirm the Lahore Resolution.
The celeberation on 19th April as Muslim Independence day was described by the Ahrar Youth Council as ill-advised and ill-conceived designed to strengthen foreign domination in India. The Pakistan scheme was condemned as absurd, impracticable and un-Islamic.
Sikhs brought forth their own scheme of dividing India into Hindustan, Pakistan and Khalistan in the territory between the river Jamuna and Jamrud, including the port of Karachi, and state of Kashmir, should form Khalistan … in addition small states be carved out around Patna and Nanded - two sacred places of the Sikh … Pakistan would consist of Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Arab, Sham, Turkey and Egypt. Hindustan would include Madras, Bombay, Hyderabad, UP, CP, Bihar Bengal, China, Burma and Japan were Hindu culture and religion is prominent.
Churchill replaced Chamberlain on 10 May and same day German Blitzkrieg began. Belgium and Holland fell by end of May. Italy joined Germany and declared war against UK and France on 10th June 1940. German troops marched into Paris on 14th June 1940.
On Tuesday 2 July 1940 Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose, twice President of the Indian National Congress and Founder-President of All India forward Bloc, was arrested.
A meeting of the Congress Executive Committee commenced on Tuesday 2nd July 1940, at 2 pm at Birla house in Delhi under the presidency of Azad. It decided that acknowledgement by Great Britain of the complete independence of India is the only solution of the problem facing both India and Britain and are therefore of the opinion that such an unequivocal declaration should be immediately made and that an immediate step in giving effect to it, a Provisional National Government should be constituted at the Centre … it will enable the Congress to throw its full weight in the efforts for the effective organization of the defense of the country ….
On 14 July 1940, Azad explained that for nine days the committee discussed the two main problems. One achievement of political independence. Two the recent situation. India’s independence will enable her to play her part effectively in the defense of the country. India’s obligation to her defense cannot wait. The Congress is anxious to avoid the experience of Malaya, Singapore and Burma. Only possible if India feels the glow of freedom.
On 30 October 1940 Nehru was arrested for alleged objectionable speeches under Defence of India Rules.
On 6 November 1940, Roosevelt was reelected President of USA.
On 23 November fifteen prisoners led by Subhas Chandra Bose started hunger strike in Presidency jail in Calcutta.
On Friday night 29 November 1940, Mian Iftikharuddin initiated the Satyagraha movement at Lahore.
On Sunday 1 December 1940 Mrs. Sarojni Naidu, Mr. Bhulabhai Desai and Mr. Mangaldas Pakvasa, President of the Bombay Legislative Council were arrested at 4 o’clock in the morning under Defence of India Act as were many others for offering Satyagraha and raising anti war slogans.
On Monday 2 December 1940 Gandhi plan that until all Congress MLA and member of the Congress working Committee and AICC have offered satyagraha Gandhi will not give permission to others to court arrest. Later the elected office bearer of the Provincial District Taluka and Town Committees may offer satyagraha.
On 3rd December 1940 morning Rajgopalacharia was arrested and taken to the court to be tried and sentenced to one years simple imprisonment for making an appeal to India to be neutral in the war. His defence was that as Prime Minister of the province he had led the legislative Assembly in October 1939 to pass by 153 against 22 a resolution claiming the right of India to be neutral. While sentencing him the Chief Presidency Magistrate Mr. Abbas Ali quoted verses from Bhagvat Gila and said that he has to do his duty however unpleasant it was and hoped that he will soon come back and hold the exalted position as before. Mr. Rajgopalacharia thanked the Magistrate and regretted that he had caused some embarrassment to him. Mr. Rajgopalacharia was offered a seat during the trial and asked whether he was suffering from low blood pressure.
On Wednesday 4th December 1940 ex premier of Orissa was arrested, ex Minister of Bombay was taken into custody, and Speaker of Madras Assembly was jailed as congress MLA’s offered Satyagraha.
On Thursday 5th December Subhas Bose was released and Mrs. Pandit was arrested.
On Monday 9 December 1940, Mrs. Pandit was sentenced to four months and Mr. Asif Ali for one year.
On 7th January 1941 thirty-one ex-ministers arrested and 42,645 rupees were recovered as fine.
According to the Congress, upto 20 December 1940, eleven Working Committee members, 22 central legislative Assembly members, 398 provincial MLA’s, 174 AICC members were arrested.
On Sunday 26 January 1941 morning Bose was found missing from his room to which he was confined since his release from jail in the first week of December 1940.
In April 1941, the Madras Congress Legislature Party’s resolution conceding Mr. Jinnah’s demand for the vivisection of India was universally condemned. It was said that Rajaji has stabbed the congress in the back.
On 8 August 1941, the Viceroy Lord Linlithgow expanded the Executive Council to include more Indians. For the first time Indians outnumbered Britons in Viceroy Executive Council. In addition Viceroy announced 30-member National Defence Council intended to coordinate the war effort between the central government, provincial governments (four of which had elected governments) and the princely states.
On Thursday 4th December 1941, Nehru was released at 4.30 pm from Naini Central jail. Maulana Azad, who was arrested on the morning of 3rd January 1940, also came out and proceeded to Anand Bhawan with RS Pandit in his car to attend tea party to celebrate Indira’s birthday. So far about 500 civil disobedience prisoners have been released.
The Japanese attacked American base in Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941 and advanced in Southeast Asia. The British Cabinet sent a mission led by Sir Stafford Cripps to try to conciliate the Indians and cause them to fully back the war. Cripps proposed giving some provinces what was dubbed the "local option" to remain outside of an Indian central government either for a period of time or permanently, to become dominions on their own or be part of another confederation. Jinnah rejected the proposals as not sufficiently recognising Pakistan's right to exist. The Congress also rejected the Cripps plan, demanding immediate concessions, which Cripps was not prepared to give. Gandhiji’s warned Cripps that India could be vivisected only over my dead body. So long there is a single breath in me. I would fight vivisection of India, even any indirect suggestion of it.
Gandhi and Patel advocated an all-out rebellion demanding immediate independence. Azad and Nehru warned that such a campaign would divide India and would not force a British exit. In the Congress Working Committee's meetings in May and June 1942, Azad became convinced that the Congress had to provide leadership to India's people and would lose its standing if it did not.
On 10 February 1942, two procession of Satyagrahis were taken out in Lahore cantonment and Ramgarh (Moghulpura) and subjected to lathi charge … 301 arrests were effected in the province.
On 15 February 1942, Singapur surrendered to Japanese. It was the largest capitulation of its army in the British history. Bose forged 40,000 men from captured Punjabi Indian units into INA men from loyalist background. Therefore Cripps was sent to India in March 1942 to sell dominion status after the war with no part of India would be forced to join.
On 2 May 1942, All India Congress Committee met in the morning with Azad presiding. It rejected by 120 votes against 15, Rajgopalacharia’s resolution acknowledging the Muslim League’s claim for separation. He told the story of churning of the ocean to get Amrit (nectar) and Lakshmi. We have to first rouse a lot of poison. He did not presume to be Mahadev who swallowed the poison it was the Congress which could do so, which could stand the bitterness and burn the poison with its third eye. Did he not have precedents in which Congress had faced bitterness … Did he not in Madras, ask the people to accept a change in their customs and allow the untouchables into temples? Friends told him at that time with the same degree of smartness as now that he was being hasty. Nevertheless, temple entry was now largely accepted as good. During the Khilafat agitation also, people suffered a great deal in a matter, which did not concern us at all. Yet it was the beginning of strength of Mussalmans in this country. If any section of our people become strong it was matter of congratulation. If today this proposal added strength to Muslims and to their consciousness and political organization, it was no matter of sorrow or regret. Let us make each other as strong as possible … Rajgopalacharia said he had arrived at his decision after mature consideration and could not resile from it … Azad under the circumstances regretfully accepted his resignation from the Working Committee.
On 2 May 1942, All India Congress Committee passed by 92 votes to 17 Jagat Narain Lal’s counter resolution opposing any proposal to disintegrate India, which said, ‘The All India Congress Committee is of the opinion that any proposal to disintegrate India by giving liberty to any component state or territorial unit to secede from the Indian Union or Federation will be highly detrimental to the best interest of the people of the different states and provinces and country as a whole and the Congress, therefore, cannot agree to any such proposal’.
On 6 May 1942, Gandhi wrote in Harijan, Pakistan cannot be worse than foreign domination. I have lived under the latter, though not willingly … he would any day prefer Muslim Rule to British rule, Muslim rule is equal to Indian rule that Maratha, Bengali, Sikh, Dravidian, Christian (Indian), Muslim all will be Indian rule.
On 28 June 1942, Dr. B. S. Moonjee said, we are pained and humiliated at the insistent propaganda in favour of Pakistan of Mr. Jinnah. He must not forget that he is a Brahmin and for a Brahmin to talk of vivisecting our holy land and motherland is blasphemy and in the words of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru a black treachery. Raj speaks of preferring vivisection to slavery in unity, he is only repeating what is called His Master’s Voice i.e. voice of Mr. Amery … if India were allowed to be separated and consolidated in Muslim blocks and if, further, as Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman says, federated or brought into some kind of union with Muslim countries outside India. We will pave the way for an invasion of India and we may be indirectly be instrumental in helping them in realizing their old ambition of reestablishing the Muslim power in India. Raj has not read Muslim history properly when he says that there is no fear of such invasion. If the Muslims would still persist in regarding themselves as aliens or a separate nation having nothing in common with Hindus or Hindustan then Hindus will be driven to take them at their words and to treat them as really aliens deserve to be treated ... If they want to take possession of part of India they should be resisted … Raj appears to be terribly afraid and unnerved at the Japanese menace. The Hindu Mahasabha has suggested to the government to organize bands of guerillas in cooperation with and under the guidance of the organized army of the British government behind the lines of invasion of Japanese … we would be mistaken if we suppose that British are a rotten or broken reed … If a Japanese invasion is a real danger, it must be a real danger both to Hindus and Mussalmans. Why Rajaji alone is panicky. Why should Jinnah remain calm and unconcerned … contrary phenomenon of Jinnah not loosing his balance of mind and Rajaji being totally unnerved …
On 28 June 1942, Rajaji speaking at Bombay said … It was certain that India would achieve independence in a short time. Therefore Muslims are afraid that a strong Central government dominated by Hindus would be injurious to their interests. That might be wrong fear but the fear remained … Today the main issue before the country was the Japanese menace. The communal issue has to be squarely faced. There was no chance in a reasonable time that Muslim League or Jinnah would vanish … a combined attempt on the part of the League and the Congress could not but lead to a success. Britain would much rather surrender India to Indians rather than Japanese. There were others who doubted whether it would be possible for Indians at this stage to assume responsibility and fight the Japanese. While essentially it was a defeatist argument he had no hesitation that India would throw back the invaders … India was a beehive … it would not be possible for anyone even though he was well armed to capture a bee-hive. The bee would sting him to death.
On 2 July 1942 the Viceroy’s Council was again enlarged from 12 to 15. Sir Malik Feroz Khan Noon (ICS officer and High Commissioner in London) appointed Defence member, the first Indian to hold the post (key Congress demand). Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar, a Tamil politician and Maharaja Jam Saheb Sri Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji of Jamnagar were appointed to newly elevated positions as representatives of the Government of India to the Imperial War Cabinet in London and to Pacific War Council in Washington DC.
On 14 July 1942, Jinnah issued the statement that in his article in Harijan dated July 12, Mr. Gandhi has spread his latest bait that he is open to conviction. He asks the Pakistanists if they have attempted to convert the oppositionists in a friendly way, although at the same time he is rattling the sword of launching a big movement, I suppose a mass civil disobedience, asking the British to quit India … Now let us examine the facts … Even the remote and veiled recognition of Pakistan in draft declaration of His Majesty’s Government brought to India by Sir Stafford Cripps was characterized by Mr. Gandhi as wicked and he for one had nothing to do with it … The All-India Congress Committee, at its meeting at Allahabad, not only rejected the proposal of Mr. Rajgopalacharia favouring Pakistan, but on the contrary passed a resolution by Mr. Jagatnarain Lal completely turning down any idea of Pakistan and declared itself definitely and emphatically for Akhand Hindustan … What we want is the independence of Hindus and Mussalmans and others. Mr. Gandhi by independence means the Congress Raj … I ask Mr. Gandhi to give up the game of fooling the Mussalmans by insinuating that we depend upon the British for the achievement of our goal of Pakistan. I ask him to drop what he calls the few Muslim friends that are still left.
On Monday 20 July 1942, Nehru speaking at a public meeting at Delhi under the presidency of Asaf Ali, said that recent resolution of the Congress Working Committee passed at Wardha is not yet final and will be placed before A-ICC for final decision.
On 20th July 1942 at Peshawar, on return from Wardha Abdul Ghaffar Khan said that the British will be strengthening their position by acting on our advice with an independent India fighting whole heatedly as an ally of the United nations, the chances of effectively resisting and overpowering the Japanese will considerably increase. … If the appeal were turned down, India will be compelled to launch a mass struggle for the vindication of their political rights and liberty.
On Wednesday 29 July 1942, Dr. BR Ambedkar statement to Press, ‘No one can expect consistency from Mr. Gandhi. But everybody did and had a right to expect a sense of responsibility from him. There can be no doubt that Mr. Gandhi’s present move is both irresponsible and insane. It is difficult to understand why Mr. Gandhi should think it necessary to enter upon so hazardous a plan of action at so perilous a time in the history of India … No one can deny that the transfer of power from the British to the hands of Indians has been continuous and of late rapid except for those who effect a certain passion for independence … Cripps proposal are there. They conceded (1) independence and (2) constituent Assembly, both of which have been the demands, which the Congress has been making. After the Cripps proposals it is hard to believe Mr. Gandhi when he says that the British do not intend to transfer power to the hands of Indians. It is a positive and deliberate untruth … we are living in such perilous times that our duty cannot end in merely expressing our disagreement with Mr. Gandhi. Duty requires that those who do not believe in Mr. Gandhi’s movement must take steps to prevent it from taking shape … It would be madness to weaken law and order at a time when the barbarians are at our gates, intending not merely to defeat the British but to enslave us for ever … I wish Indians to realize two things. First, that their destiny is bound up with the victory of democracy against Nazism. Second, that once democracy wins, nothing in the world can stop India from gaining her freedom.
On Wednesday 29 July 1942, Sir Abdul Halim Ghaznavi, President of the Central National Mohamaden Association, issued the statement, ‘To choose the present time, when a ruthless power is waiting for opportunity to invade India, for a mass civil disobedience movement stamps Mr. Gandhi as a pedant, with a pedant’s love of theories and a pedants inability to bring his theories into any relation with actual facts ... I feel that India has never been in greater danger, and that in India’s interests all patriotic men, to whatever community they belong must join together to save the country from the effects of Mr. Gandhi’s folly.’
On 7th August 1942, Jinnah stated that the recent Congress resolution of its working Committee is substantially the same as passed in September 1939, the demand was for declaration of immediate independence and freedom of India with a provisional National Government, transferring all power of the Government of India, and secondly the right of people to frame their own constitution through a constituent assembly to be elected by means of adult franchise … We turned it down because it would have meant Hindu Raj or Hindu Majority Government. Second election on the basis of adult franchise Muslims would have not even secured 25 percent. Constitution should be on the basis of an All India Federal Government which clearly meant that even those zones were Muslims are in majority, would have been entirely under the Central government with Hindu majority even in those parts of India were they are in a majority of 75 percent as in NWFP and more than 70% in the eastern zones. They will willingly accept the Muslim Raj rather than the British Raj … Congress is willing to come to a settlement with League on the basis of unitary federal government
On 8 August 1942, All-India Congress Committee ratified the resolution passed by the Working Committee of the Indian National Congress on August 5. The resolution demands the immediate withdrawal of British power from India and sanctions the starting of a mass struggle on non-violent lines on a widest possible scale … Only 13 members voted against it … Nehru said that the resolution is not a threat … It is an offer of cooperation on condition of Indian Independence … Mr. Gandhi declared that we shall make every effort to see the Viceroy before starting the struggle … Maulana Azad said that Congress has been trying to bring about Unity, but every time an effort was made the door was closed from the other side …
On the night of 8th August 1942, The Government of India response was published, which stated that the Governor-General-in-Council has been aware for some days past of dangerous preparations by the Congress party for unlawful and, in some cases, violent activities, directed, among other things, to the interruption of communications and public utility services, the organization of strikes, tampering with loyalty of Government servants, and interference with defense measures, including recruitment. The Government of India have waited patiently in the hope that wiser counsels might prevail. They have been disappointed in that hope. To a challenge such as the present there can only be one answer. The Government of India would regard it as wholly incompatible with their responsibilities to the people of India and their obligation to the Allies, that a demand should be discussed the acceptance of which would plunge India into confusion and anarchy internally and would paralyze her effort in the common cause of human freedom.
On Sunday 9 August 1942, The Congress Working Committee, the All India Congress Committee, Provincial Congress Committees and other subsidiary organizations were all declared unlawful bodies under the Criminal Law Amendment Act. Congress offices were sealed and workers arrested all over India … Among the first to be arrested in Bombay were Gandhi, Azad, Nehru, Patel, Mrs. Naidu and other members of the Congress Working Committee, the President and Secretary of the Provincial Congress Committee and 20 other local Congressmen. They were arrested between 5 am and 6 am and were taken by special train to Poona.
On 10 August 1942, The Secretary of State for India, Mr. LS Amery broadcast that All India Committee of the Indian Congress committed itself to mass struggle on the widest possible scale against the existing Government of India unless the Government is prepared to bow to Mr. Gandhi’s demand that British rule in India should cease immediately … if the congress campaigned succeeded it would be worst stab in the back that should be devised to all the gallant men, Indian or British, American or Chinese, now engaged on Indian soil in the task of defending and preparing India as their base to strike at the enemy … The negotiation broke down mainly due to the intransigent all or nothing attitude of the Congress leaders who demanded that the Government of India should be handed over to a group of Indian politicians, responsible to nobody. This would have been a negation of democracy and would have been acceptable to neither the 95 million Muslims of India nor to many other elements in India’s national life … The rejection of the British proposal profoundly disappointed public opinion in India and has seriously shaken the of Congress Leadership. In this situation, Mr. Gandhi has determined upon a kind of open clash with the government, which is calculated to arouse mass emotion, and so regain prestige for himself and his associates and focus attention upon themselves as the champions of India against British oppression. That is the sum and substance and real meaning of this latest move … The real concern is not the demand, which cannot be taken seriously, but the action, which the Congress is resolved upon and for which preparation has been for sometime in progress. This includes the fomenting of strikes in industry, commerce, administration, law courts, schools and colleges, interruption of traffic and public utility services, cutting of telegraph and telephone wires and picketing of troops and recruiting stations … All this has to be done non-violently, but bitter experience has shown us how easily non-violent activities of excited crowds can lead to terrorism, riots and bloodshed. The success of the proposed campaign would paralyze India’s entire war effort by stopping the flow of munitions, the constriction of aerodromes and actually immobilizing the army. It would mean the betrayal of China and Russia. It would mean the enslavement of India herself to the Japanese. That is what in their recklessness and irresponsible desire for party dominance; the Congress leaders are and prepared to bring about. In face of this challenge and menace, the Indian Government must take swift and firm action before the campaign gathers momentum. This has been done. There has been abundant ground for punitive action, but the government of India confined themselves to action, which is essential preventive.
On Monday 10 August 1942, Jinnah said in a Press statement, I deeply regret that the Congress has finally declared war and has launched a most dangerous mass movement in spite of numerous warnings and advice from various individuals, parties and organizations in this country. It is impossible to believe that the Congress leaders were not fully alive to the facts that such a movement will result not only violence but bloodshed and destruction of innocent peoples. It is to be deplored all the more that this movement is launched at this critical juncture and with the object of forcing their demands at the point of bayonet, which if conceded, with a view to pacify the Congress arrogant attitude and avert the challenge thrown so wantonly by that organization, will mean complete surrender and sacrifice of all other interests and particularly those of Muslim India … I appeal to Mussalmans to be completely aloof from this movement and not to surrender to the threats and intimidations of Congress workers, but to continue their normal life peacefully … I also solemnly warn the Congress and the Congress workers not to interfere, molest, harass or picket the Mussalmans in order to make them carry out their behests or orders. An attempt to force the Mussalmans will lead to a very grave situation and the Congress and Congress workers will be held wholly responsible for the consequences that may ensue.
On 10 August 1942, Mr. C Rajgopalacharia stated that my words have fallen on deaf ears, both on my colleagues and on the British Government. Repression of Congress even if successful does not solve the problem of the defense of India. Without a united people and co-operation behind the state, the defense of the country is very slippery. The present Congress demand is very different from the position first taken by Mr. Gandhi … my earnest desire to the Congress would be to ask the Muslim League to dictate its terms for cooperation.
On Sunday 16 August 1942, Mr. C Rajgopalacharia appealed to Jinnah to find a way to save the country from triple curse that hangs over it – internal disorder, foreign rule and rapidly approaching external aggression … A provisional government can and must be formed which can truly claim to speak on behalf of the whole nation and which can peremptorily demand of Britain the transfer of full power, making it impossible for any false plea or procrastination to be made on the part of British imperialism … The Muslim League stands quite as much as the Congress does for the complete termination of British power in India. The League can take it for granted that the right of self-determination for the federating units is agreed by the Congress and that any such areas may choose to be sovereign and separate when the time comes, and be bound with the rest of India only for the purposes of mutual defense against foreign aggression. I have tried hard to get from the Congress an explicit settlement of this question and admit that I have failed so far.
A swift patriotic drive is what is wanted now to save the country from disorder. The League should proceed to nominate its representatives to serve on the government and declare how many others may be nominated by the Congress and ask the British Government forthwith to accept the scheme and put in action. If the Congress or the British fail, let the blame be theirs. It would be a noble and glorious thing for the League to take the initiative on these lines and once for all wipe out the page of misunderstanding and start the chapter of full fledged freedom of India.
On 19th August 1942 Gandhi on eve of his arrest gave the assurance that Maulana Azad’s offer to Muslim League was made in all seriousness and that Congress will have no objection to the British Government transferring all the powers it today exercised to the Muslim League and that Congress would not only not obstruct any Government that Muslim League might form on behalf of people but would join the government in running the machinery of the free state, provided the Muslim League cooperated fully with the Congress demand for immediate independence without slightest reservation.
On Thursday 20th August 1942, a resolution released by the Working Committee of the All India Muslim League, said, The Muslim League has been, and is, ready and willing to consider any proposals and to negotiate with any party on a footing of equality for setting up a provisional government of India in order to mobilize the resources of the country for the purpose of the defense of India and the successful prosecution of the war, provided the demand of Muslim India is conceded unequivocally … The Muslim League, therefore, calls upon the British Government to come forward, without any further delay and with an unequivocal declaration guaranteeing to Muslims the right of self-determination, and pledge themselves that they will abide by the verdict of a plebiscite of Muslims and give effect to Pakistan scheme in consonance with basic principles laid down by the Lahore Resolution of the League passed in March 1940 ... Having regard to the oft repeated declaration of United Nations to secure and guarantee the freedom and independence of smaller nations of the world, the working Committee invites the immediate attention of United Nations to the demand of the 100 million Muslims of India to establish sovereign states in the zones in which they have their homelands and where they are in majority.
On 10th September 1942, Churchill speaking in the House of Commons said that, ‘The Indian congress party does not represent all India (cheers). It does not represent the majority of the people of India (cheers). It does not even represent the Hindu masses (cheers). It is a political organization built around a party machine and sustained by certain manufacturing and financial interests (cheers and laughter) … Outside that party and fundamentally opposed to it are 90 million Moslems in British India who have their rights of self-expression, 50 million depressed classes or untouchables as they are called, because they are supposed to defile their Hindu co-religionists by their presence or by their shadow, and 95 million subjects of the Princes of India with whom we are bound by treaty. In all there are 233 millions in these three large groups alone out of 390 millions in all India. This takes no account of the large elements among Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in British India who deplore the present policy of the Congress party … It is fortunate, indeed, that the congress party has no influence whatever with the martial races on whom the defense of India, apart from the British forces, largely depends. Many of these races are divided by the unbridgeable religious gulfs from the Hindu Congress and would never consent to be ruled by them nor shall they ever be against their will so subjugated (prolonged cheers) … There is no compulsory service in India but upwards of one million Indians have volunteered to serve the cause of United Nations in this world struggle … in these last two months when Congress has been measuring its strength against the government of India over 140,000 new volunteers for the army have come forward in loyal allegiance to the King-Emperor, thus surpassing all records in order to defend their native land.… they have revealed the impotence of the Congress Party, either to seduce or sway the Indian Army, to draw from their duty the enormous body of Indian officials or still less, to stir the vast Indian masses. India is a continent almost as large and actually more populous than Europe and divided by racial and, above all by religious differences far deeper than any that have separated Europeans. The whole administration of the government of 390 millions who live in India carried on by Indians there being under 600 British members of Indian Civil Service. All Public services are working. In five provinces including two of the greatest and comprising 110 million people, provincial ministers responsible to their Legislatures stand at their posts … The Congress conspiracy against communication is breaking down. Acts of pillage and arson are being repressed and punished with an incredibly small loss of life. Less than 500 persons have been killed over this mighty area of territory and population and it has been necessary to move a few brigades of British troops here and there in support of civil power. In most cases, rioters have been successfully dealt with by Indian police. To sum up, the outstanding fact which has so far emerged from the violent action of the Congress Party has been its non-representative character and powerlessness to throw into confusion the normal peaceful life of India. … I may add that large reinforcement has reached India and the number of white soldiers now in that country although very small compared with its size and population are larger than at any time in the British connection. I, therefore, feel entitled to report to the House that the situation in India at this moment give no occasion for undue despondency or alarm.
The Leader of the Labour Party, Arthur Greenwood, amid cheers and cries of no, said in Commons on 11 September 1942, Mr. Churchill’s speech was couched in language not calculated to improve Anglo-Indian relation.
On Saturday 12th September 1942, The Secretary of State for India, Mr. Amery said: At the elections held some six years ago a considerable number of Muslims voted for the Congress. After experience of Congress governments in the following years the whole position of Muslim community has changed entirely. The whole problem is that India contains many elements, among which the congress has not even a clear majority and which are not agreed as to what India demands. … India’s destiny to be determined after the war by Indians themselves.
Gandhi's arrest lasted two years, as he was held in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. During this period, his long time secretary Mahadev Desai died of a heart attack, his wife Kasturba died after 18 months' imprisonment on 22 February 1944; and Gandhi suffered a severe malaria attack.
In early 1945, Liaquat and the Congress leader Bhulabhai Desai met, with Jinnah's approval, and agreed that after the war, the Congress and the League should form an interim government with the members of the Executive Council of the Viceroy to be nominated by the Congress and the League in equal numbers. When the Congress leadership were released from prison in June 1945, they repudiated the agreement and censured Desai for it.
Hitler committed suicide on 7th May 1945. Germany surrendered. Armistice came in effect on 8th May 1945.
The British people returned Clement Attlee and his Labour Party in July 1945 in a landslide victory. The Labour Party Prime Minister Attlee and his Secretary of State for India, Lord Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, immediately ordered a review of the Indian situation. Wavell returned to India in September after consultation with his new masters in London; elections, both for the centre and for the provinces, were announced soon after. The British indicated that formation of a constitution-making body would follow the votes. Gandhi called off the struggle, and around 100,000 political prisoners were released, including the Congress's leadership. Azad led the Congress in the elections for the new Constituent Assembly of India, which would draft India's constitution.
The Congress public meeting at Peshawar Cantonment on 1st October 1945 was held under the president ship of Gopaldas Khera. Dr. Khan Sahib Premier of NWFP speaking said that communal organization like the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha want to draw you down towards depth of slavery. Qazi Attaullah Khan Minister for Education said that communal organization were tightening the chains of slavery and difficulties of the Congress which was only body fighting for freedom … middle class intelligentsia was responsible for the question of Pakistan for their selfish motives and diverting nations attention from their final goal of independence. All our difficulties can be solved if we rally round the Congress banner and stand united under it.
On 2 November 1945, Jinnah predicted a sweeping victory ... Hindu leaders speak of unity and brotherhood with Muslims in a united India but they would not eat our food and if a Hindu shook hands with a Muslim he would wash his hands thereafter … we differ in our religion our civilization and culture, our history, our language, our architecture, music, jurisprudence and laws, our food our society, our dress – in every way we are different…. Hindus want a unitary government because in that case they would have a perpetual majority of three to one and Muslims would always be in a minority.
On 11 December 1945, Jinnah stated that Pakistan is the only hope for a fair and lasting hope for a fair and lasting settlement of the Indian problem. The deadlock in this country is not so much between India and the British. It is between the Hindu Congress and the Muslim League … The British Government are putting the cart before the horse in proposing an all India constitution making body before settlement of the Pakistan issue. First we must get agreement on Pakistan then and only then, can we proceed to the next step. But there will have to be not one but two constitution making bodies, one to frame and decide the constitution of Hindustan and the other to frame and decide the constitution of Pakistan…. We could settle the Indian problem in ten minutes if Mr. Gandhi would say: I agree that one fourth of India, composed of six provinces - Sind, Baluchistan, the Punjab the NWFP, Bengal and Assam – with their present boundaries should constitute the Pakistan State.
The Muslim League declared that they would campaign on a single issue: Pakistan. Jinnah said, "Pakistan is a matter of life or death for us." In the December 1945 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India, the League won every seat reserved for Muslims. In the provincial elections in January 1946, the League took 75% of the Muslim vote, an increase from 4.4% in 1937. The Congress dominated the central assembly nevertheless, though it lost four seats from its previous strength.
In February 1946, the British Cabinet resolved to send a delegation to India to negotiate with leaders there. The British in May released a plan for a united Indian state comprising substantially autonomous provinces, and called for "groups" of provinces formed on the basis of religion. Matters such as defence, external relations and communications would be handled by a central authority. Provinces would have the option of leaving the union entirely, and there would be an interim government with representation from the Congress and the League. Jinnah and his Working Committee accepted this plan in June, but it fell apart over the question of how many members of the interim government the Congress and the League would have, and over the Congress's desire to include a Muslim member in its representation. Before leaving India, the British ministers stated that they intended to inaugurate an interim government even if one of the major groups was unwilling to participate.
As per the mid-June 1946 Cabinet Mission Plan, the Executive Council was expanded to consist of only Indian members except the Viceroy and the Commander-in-Chief intended to form the Interim Government of India until the transfer of power. The Viceroy, Viscount Wavell extended invitations for 14 members.
The Congress soon joined the new Indian ministry. The League not entering until October 1946. In agreeing to have the League join the government, Jinnah abandoned his demands for parity with the Congress and a veto on matters concerning Muslims. The new ministry met amid a backdrop of rioting, especially in Calcutta. Wavell attempted to save the situation by flying leaders such as Jinnah, Liaquat, and Jawaharlal Nehru to London in December 1946. At the end of the talks, participants issued a statement that the constitution would not be forced on any unwilling parts of India.
Amidst more incidences of violence in early 1947, the Congress-League coalition struggled to function. The British announced a proposal to partition India on religious lines, with the princely states free to choose between either dominions. The proposal was hotly debated in the All India Congress Committee, with Muslim leaders Saifuddin Kitchlew and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan expressing fierce opposition.
The Attlee ministry desired a rapid British departure from the subcontinent, but had little confidence in Wavell to achieve that end. On 20 February 1947, Attlee announced Mountbatten's appointment, and that Britain would transfer power in India not later than June 1948. By then, the Congress had come around to the idea of partition. However, the Congress insisted that if Pakistan were to become independent, Bengal and Punjab would have to be divided.
On 2 June, the final plan was given by the Viceroy to Indian leaders that on 15 August, the British would turn over power to two dominions. The provinces would vote on whether to continue in the existing constituent assembly or to have a new one, that is, to join Pakistan. Bengal and Punjab would also vote, both on the question of which assembly to join, and on the partition. A boundary commission would determine the final lines in the partitioned provinces. Plebiscites would take place in the North-West Frontier Province (which did not have a League government despite an overwhelmingly Muslim population), and in the majority-Muslim Sylhet district of Assam, adjacent to eastern Bengal.
On 3 June, Mountbatten, Nehru, Jinnah and Sikh leader Baldev Singh made the formal announcement by radio. In the weeks which followed Punjab and Bengal cast the votes which resulted in partition. Sylhet and the N.W.F.P. voted to cast their lots with Pakistan, a decision joined by the assemblies in Sind and Baluchistan.
On 4 July 1947, Liaquat asked Mountbatten on Jinnah's behalf to recommend to the British king, George VI, that Jinnah be appointed Pakistan's first governor-general. This request angered Mountbatten, who had hoped to have that position in both dominions—he would be India's first post-independence governor-general—but Jinnah felt that Mountbatten would be likely to favour the new Hindu-majority state because of his closeness to Nehru. In addition, the governor-general would initially be a powerful figure, and Jinnah did not trust anyone else to take that office.
On 7 August, Jinnah, with his sister and close staff, flew from Delhi to Karachi in Mountbatten's plane. On 11 August, he presided over the new constituent assembly for Pakistan at Karachi, and addressed them, "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan ... You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State ... I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State."
The Radcliffe Commission, dividing Bengal and Punjab, completed its work and reported to Mountbatten on 12 August; the last Viceroy held the maps until the 17th, not wanting to spoil the independence celebrations in both nations. There had already been ethnically charged violence and movement of populations; publication of the Radcliffe Line dividing the new nations sparked mass migration, murder, and ethnic cleansing. Many on the "wrong side" of the lines fled or were murdered, or murdered others, hoping to make facts on the ground, which would reverse the commission's verdict. Radcliffe wrote in his report that he knew that neither side would be happy with his award; he declined his fee for the work.HYPERLINK "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali_Jinnah#cite_note-FOOTNOTEKhan124%E2%80%93127-172#cite_note-FOOTNOTEKhan124%E2%80%93127-172" Christopher Beaumont, Radcliffe's private secretary, later wrote that Mountbatten "must take the blame—though not the sole blame—for the massacres in the Punjab in which between 500,000 to a million men, women and children perished". As many as 14,500,000 people relocated between India and Pakistan during and after partition.
Under the Indian Independence Act 1947, the Imperial Legislative Council and its houses were dissolved on 14th August 1947 and were replaced by the Constituent Assembly of India and the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.