|1940 - Lahore
1941 - White
1942 - Cripps Mission
1946 - Elections
1947 - Historic
The twenty-seventh Session of the All-India Muslim League was held at Lahore under the presidentship of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The historic “Lahore Resolution:, also known as “Pakistan Resolution”, was presented by Moulvi Abul Kasim Fazlul Haq, Premier of Bengal. The resolution demanded that the Muslim-majority areas as in North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.
A “white Paper” on Indian affairs was published by the British Government which held out the assurance that in preparing the future constitution for India, the British Government would definitly accommodate the point of view of the Indian people.
With regard to the future constitution of India, Lord Linlithgow gave a statement known as “August Offer” which proposed to enlarge the Governor General’s Council so as to include a certain number of representatives of the political parties. In the statement, a War Advisory Committee was also proposed. Assurances were given that full weight would be given to the opinion of minorities and after the war representative bodies within tution. The Indian National Congress rejected the offer. The All India Muslim League considered the proposals as a step forward towards their goal. However, the British government included three Muslim representatives in the National Defence Council without consulting the All-India Muslim League. This led to the rejection of the “August Officer” by the All-India Muslim League also.
The twenty-eight Annual Session of the All-India
Muslim League was held at Madras and a resolution was adopted on the Civil
Disobedience Movement started by the Congress. This movement was aimed
at forcing the British Government to accept the Congress demands regarding
the future constitution of India. The Congress wanted that power should
be transferred to their hands so that the Muslim nation should become mere
subjects of Hindu Raj.
Sir Stafford Cripps arrived in New Delhi for talks with the Indian leaders on the future constitution of India. He stayed in India for two weeks and discussed the draft proposals for farming the future constitution of India. The proposals of the Cripps Mission were rejected by the Congress saying that it was a postdated cheque on a bank that was fast crashing. The All-India Muslim League also rejcted the proposals as there was no provision for amendments. The All-India Muslim League stood for separate independent states and demanded the formation of two constituent assemblies instead of one.
League Session at Allahabad.
The twenty-ninth Session of the All-India Muslim League was held at Allahabad. The Quaid-e-Azam told the audience that the proposals of the Cripps Mission envisaged an Indian Union and the All-India Muslim League was not going to accept anything less than Pakistan.
C. Rajagopalacharia’s Resolution on Pakistan Demand
The All-India Congress Committee in its resolution demanded that the Congress should accept the All-India Muslim League claim for separation as a “lesser evil” and should invite the All-India Muslim League for consultations so that an agreement could be reached for the formation of a National Government to meet the emergency. The resolution was rejected by a majority vote of the All-India Congress Committee.
Pandit Jagat Narayan’s Resolution on Pakistan Demand
The All-India Congress Committee in its resolution said that it could not agree to any proposal which aimed at disintegrating India by giving liberty to any territorial unit to secede from the Indian Union or Federation. This counter resolution was passed.
Quit India Movement
The Indian National congress decided to start “Quit India Movement” and demanded that the British should immediately withdraw from India. Mr.Gandhi advised his people to “do or die” to achieve their aim. This movement was termed an “open rebellion” against the British Government in India. As a result of the Movement 940 people were killed within a period of four months and state property worth rupees one crore and thirty-five lakhs was destroyed. In response to the Congress demand of Quiet India the League demanded “Divide and Quit. The League remained aloof from the movement since it was aimed as much against the Muslims as it was against the British.
League Working Committee meets at Bombay
The All-India Muslim League demanded that the right of self-determination should be guaranteed to the Indian Muslims and the British Government should give effect to Pakistan scheme keeping in view the basic principles laid down in the Lahore Resolution passed in March, 1940.
League Session at Delhi
The thirtieth Session of the All-India League
was held at Delhi on 24-16 April, 1943, under the chairmanship of Quaid-e-Azam
Mohammad Ali Jinnah. At the end of his presidential address he said that
the time had come to take up the constructive programme to build up the
nation so that it could march on the path of its goal of Pakistan.
League Session at Karachi
The thirty-first Session of the All-India Muslim League was held at Karachi under the chairmanship of Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. In his presidential address the Quaid said that the Muslims of India had amply proved not only to India but to the whole world that they were a nation. The Quaid-I-Azam expressed his determination that he will not rest unless he gets the territory that belongs to the Muslim nations. He advised the Indian Muslims to resist any constitutional scheme which stood for a united India.
Committee of Action
A Committee of Action was formed with the following composition:-
(i) Mr. Mohammad Ismail Khan (Chairman)
(ii) Mr. G.M.Syed
(iii) Haji Sattar Essak
(iv) Mr. Iftikhar Hussain Khan
(v) Qazi Mohammad Isa; and
(vi) Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan (Convener)
It aimed to prepare and organize the Muslims all over India to meet all contingencies and resist the imposition of an All-India federation or any other constitution for one united India and prepare the Muslims for the coming struggle for the achievement of Pakistan. On this occasion, a three-member Parliamentary Board was also appointed which included:-
(i) Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan
(ii) Mr. Khaliq-uz-Zaman and
(iii) Mr. Hussain Imam
Mr. C. Rajagopalacharia, former Congress Premier of Madras, presented his draft formula for a political settlement between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League. The formula stated that the Muslim League should co-operate with the Congress in its efforts to achieve independence for India. It provided that soon after the War, a commission should be constituted which will indicate the Muslim-majority areas. The people of these areas will decide whether they want a separate state or not. For ascertaining the desire of the people, arrangements will be made for a referendum and the political parties will be given a chance to propagate their point of view. In case of division, agreements will be concluded on matters like defence, finance, communications etc. The formula stated that the transfer of population will be on voluntary basis.
On the basis of C. Rajagopalacharia formula,
Gandhi-Jinnah talks were held at Bomaby to resolve the differences between
the Congress and the All-India Muslim League on the issue of Pakistan.
Mr. Gandhi was opposed to the two-nation theory which formed the basis
of the Pakistan demand and he refused the Muslims the right of self-determination.
These talks failed.
Through the Liaquat-Desai Pact, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan and Bhulabhai Desai agreed that the Congress and the League will join in forming an interim Government at the Centre with the following composition:
(a) An equal number of persons nominated
by the Congress and the League in the Central Executive(the persons nominated
need not be members of the Central legislature);
(b) Representatives of minorities (in particular lthe Scheduled Castes and the Sikhs);
(c) The Commander-in-Chief.
The Government will function within the framework of the Government of India Act, 1935. It was agreed between the Congress and the League that if such an interim Government is formed, their first step would be to release the Working Committee members of the Congress. The two leaders also agreed to try to get the withdrawal of Section 93 in the provinces and to form coalition governments.
The Wavell Plan was announced. It was “not an attempt to obtain or impose a constitutional settlement.” It proposed that the Viceroy would consult the Indian leaders in the formation of a new Executive Council. The Viceroy said that the proposed new Council would represent the main communities and would include equal number of Caste Hindus and Muslims. He also said that the portfolio of External Affairs so far held by the Viceroy, would also be placed in the charge of an Indian member of the Council. The formation of this Interim Government was in no way to prejudice the final constitutional settlement. The new Executive Council would have the following three functions:-
(i) prosecute the war against Japan with
the utmost energy till Japan was utterly defeated.
(ii) carry on the Government of British India, with all the manifold tasks of post-war development in front of it, until a new permanent constitution could be agreed upon and came into force; and
(iii) consider when the members of the government thought it possible the means by which such an agreement could be achieved.
The Viceroy called a conference at Simla, since known as the First Simla Conference, where the formation of an Executive Council was discussed. The Congress claimed that it represented all the communities in India and as such it could nominate Muslims as the members of the new Council. The All-India Muslim League did not accept the claim of the Congress and stated that only the All-India Muslim League had the right to nominate Muslim members in the Executive Council.
The All-India Muslim League was pledged to the formation of a separate homeland for the Indian Muslims, whereas Wavell Plan envisaged a united India. When the question of representation of various religious groups on the Executive Council came under discussion, a deadlock occurred. The All-India Muslim League claimed that no other political party had the right to nominate Muslim members for the Executive Council. The Congress was opposed to this claim. The Unionist Party in the Punjab was also pressing for representation on the Executive Council. Lord Wavell requested the two parties to send him a list giving the names of the members of their parties who could be included in the proposed Executive Council. The Congress immediately submitted a list of its members which also included the names of two Muslims. The All-India Muslim League did not submit the list and insisted that the Muslim members of the proposed Executive Council should be chosen from the All-India Muslim League. On 14 July, 1945, Viceroy Lord Wavell announced that the Simla Conference had failed and that the efforts to bring Hindus and Muslims together have proved fruitless.
Labour Party in Power
Prime Minister Clement Attlee, with the support of Labour Party, came to power.
Lord Wavell announced that General Elections in India will be held during winter (1945-46).
In his broadcast announcement, the Viceroy Lord Wavell said that the British Government intends to convene a meeting of the constitution-making body as soon as possible. He said that he will hold discussions with the representatives of the Legislative Assemblies and the Indian States. He also said that first, he would hold elections so that the will of the Indian electorate may be known. The Constituent Assembly that was to find the constitution for the new India would be elected by the Provincial Legislative Assemblies through proportional representation.
The second general elections in India were held in December 1945. The Congress, the All-INdia Muslim League and several other organisations participated in the elections. The All-India Muslim League captured all the thirty seats reserved for Muslims in the Central Legislative Assembly.
Elections in Provinces
Out of 495 seats reserved for Muslims in the provincial legislatures, Muslim League captured 440 seats. The break-up is as follows:
Province Muslim Seats Muslim League seats
Punjab 86 79
Bengal 119 113
Assam 34 31
Sindh 35 35
U.P. 66 55
N.W.F.P 36 17
Bombay 30 30
Madras 29 29
C.P. 14 13
Orissa 4 4
Cabinet Mission in India
The Cabinet Mission, headed by Lord Pethick Lawrence, Secretary of State, arrived in New Delhi. The other two members of the Mission were Sir Stafford Cripps and Mr. A.V. Alexander. The Mission’s aim was to help India to “attain her freedom as speedily and fully as possible.”
Muslim Members’ Convention
A convention of the elected Muslim members of the central and provincial legislatures was held at Delhi under the chairmanship of the Quaid-i-Azam. A resolution proposed by Mr. H.S. Suhrawardy, said, inter alia”… the Muslim nation will never participate in any single constitution for a united India and will never participate in any single constitution-making machinery set up for purpose…” It demanded that the Muslim majority zones in the north-east and north-west should be constituted into a sovereign state and two separate constitution-making bodies should be set up for Pakistan zones and the rest of Hindustan. It also said that the acceptance of the Muslim League demand for Pakistan and its implementation without delay are the sine qua non for the Muslim League co-operation and participation in the formation of an interim Government at the centre.
Cabinet Mission Plan
The Cabinet Mission Plan recommended that
there should be a Union of India consisting of the British India and the
Indian States, dealing with the subjects of foreign affairs, defence and
communications. All subjects other than the Union subjects and all residuary
powers shall rest in provinces. Provinces shall be free to form groups
with Executives and Legislatures and each group could determine the provincial
subjects to be taken in common. It was also recommended that the Union
and the groups should contain a provision whereby any province could, be
a majority vote of its Legislative Assembly, call for a reconsideration
of the terms of the constitution, after an initial period of ten years.
The Plan recommended that a constitution -making machinery will be set
up to frame the new constitution. This body will be elected by the members
of the Provincial Legislatures and after a preliminary meeting, the provincial
representatives will divide up into three groups. Group B would comprise
the north-western Muslim majority provinces of the Punjab, Sindh and N.W.F.P.
Group C the north-eastern Pakistan zone (comprising Bengal and Assam),
and Group A the Hindu majority provinces.
The Cabinet Mission declared that grouping formed an integral part of the Cabinet Mission Plan. This was meant to allay Muslim fears aroused by the Congress assertions to the contrary.
League Accepts Plan
The Muslim League accepts Cabinet Mission Plan.
The British Government desired that while the constitution-making plan proceeds, an Interim Government, having the support of major political parties, may be formed at the centre. In consultation with the members of the Cabinet Mission, the Viceroy announced the formation of a 14-member Executive Council. The Quaid-i-Azam objected to it as the Interim Government had been formed without calling a list from the Muslim League. Moreover, parity between the Congress and the Muslim League, which had been agreed to at Simla, had been abandoned and a fourteenth member belonging to Parsi community had been included in the Interim Government. According to the Quaid-I-Azam these modifications adversely affected the proportion of the Muslims in the Interim Government. The Quaid-I-Azam also objected to the inclusion of his name in the Interim Government as he had made it clear to the Viceroy that as long as he was the President of the All-India Muslim League, he would not accept any office. The Congress had accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan only so far as proposals for the formation of the Constituent Assembly were concerned. It contended that the Constituent Assembly when formed, would be a sovereign body and could, therefore, after the scheme of the Cabinet Mission. The Congress refused to partake in the Interim Government and the Viceroy decided not to form the Interim Government without the participation of the Congress.
The Cabinet Mission went back to London
but Lord Wavell continued his efforts to form an Interim Government with
the help of Congress leaders.
League Withdraws Acceptance
The Muslim League withdrew its acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan and decided to resort to Direct Action to achieve Pakistan.
The Viceroy invited the Congress to form the Interim Government, which it accepted on 8 August, 1946
Direct Action Day
Direct Action Day was observed throughout India. Public meetings were held and the day went peacefully everywhere except in Calcutta where riots broke out. Some 4, 750 persons were reportedly killed and 15,000 injured.
Interim Government Installed
The Interim Government was formed by the Congress members. The All-India Muslim League felt that political power should not be left entirely into the hands of the Hindus because it would be fatal for the Muslims. Therefore, the Muslim League decided to join the Executive Council and the League Councillors were sworn in on 26 October, 1946.
(i) Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan
(ii) Mr. I.I. Chundrigar
(iii) Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar
(iv) Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan
(v) Mr. Jogindar Nath Mandal(Scheduled Caste)
The total number of members of the Council was fourteen.
To obtain the participation and co-operation
of all parties in the Constituent Assembly, the British Government invited
four Indian leaders to London including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mr. M.A.
Jinnah, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan and Sardar Baldev Singh. Lord Wavell was also
present at the Conference which continued for four days.
The British Prime Minister, Lord C. Attlee, made the historic announcement saying that the British Government intends to transfer power into responsible Indian hands by the date not later than June, 1948.
Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan presented the budget for the financial year April 1947-March 1948. The budget affected adversely rich traders and factory-owners of Bombay, Calcutta and New Delhi. The traders were mostly Hindus and contributed heavy amounts to the funds of the Congress. The budget was a severe blow to the interests of the Hindu traders and money-lenders. The Congress expressed its anger on the budget whereas the poor classes of India welcomed this budget. The budget was hailed as the “Poor Man’s Budget.”
Muslim League Movement in the Punjab
In the elections of 1946, the Muslim League had captured 79 seats out of 175 seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Punjab. The Unionist Party of Sir Khizar Hayat Khan was in power and wanted to remain in power although it had been able to secure only twenty seas in the Assembly. Therefore, with the support of the Congress and the Akali Dal Sikh members, it tried to retain its hold on the Punjab Government. The Muslim League started its Civil Disobedience Movement against the Khizar Government. As a result of this movement the Khizar Government had to resign. However, the Muslim League was not invited to form the Government and “Governor Raj” was imposed on the Punjab.
Wavell leave for London
Lord Wavell left for London and Lord Louis Mountbatten came to India as the last Viceroy.
3rd June Plan
This was a plan for the partition of India prepared by Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, in consultation with the British Government. It was based on a fundamental principle that transfer of power should take place according to the wishes of the people. It provided for ascertaining the wishes of the people with regard to the framing of their constitution by:
(a) the existing constituent Assembly
(b) a new and separate Constituent Assembly consisting of the representatives of those areas which decide not to participate in the existing Constituent Assembly.
The members of the provincial legislatures
of Bengal and the Punjab were to decide on the issue of partition and as
soon as the decision involving partition had been taken, separate Boundary
Commissions would be set up which would demarcate the boundaries of the
two parts of the provinces. In North-West Frontier Province referendum
was to be held to ascertain the wishes of the people and in Sindh the Indian
members of the Legislative Assembly were to take their own decision. In
his broadcast statement the Quaid-e-Azam said that the Plan did not meet,
in some respects, our point of view. He, however, expressed his satisfaction
on some of the matters dealt within the Plan. But it is for us now to consider
whether the Plan should be accepted by us as a compromise or a settlement.
League Accepts 3rd June Plan
In a resolution adopted by the Council of the All-India Muslim League it was stated that although the Council could not agree to the partition of Bengal and the Punjab, it accepts the fundamental principles of the Plan as a compromise.
Indian Independence Act, 1947
A bill providing independence was introduced in the House of Commons on 4 July, 1947, and was passed on 15 July, 1947. On 16 July, 1947, it was passed by the House of Lords and received the Royal assent on 18 July, 1947. It provided that “from the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, two independent Dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as India and Pakistan”. the Act provided that for each new Dominion there would be a Governor-General. The Act also provided that as long as the Constituent Assembly does not prepare a constitution of its own, the new Dominions will be governed by the Government of India Act, 1935.
First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah arrived in Karachi on 7 August, 1947, and addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August, 1947, as its first President. He said that the Assembly had two main functions to perform. The first was to frame the future Constitution of Pakistan and the second was to act as a Federal Legislature of Pakistan.
The Boundary Commission appointed under the Indian Independence Act 1947, submitted its report commonly known as the Radcliffe Award. The Punjab Boundary Commission was constituted on 30 June, 1947, as under:
1. Lord Cyril Radcliffe (Chairman)
2. Mr. Justice Din Mohammad
3. Mr. Justice Mohammad Munir
4. Mr. Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan; and
5. Mr. Justice Teja Sindh.
It worked from 21 July, 1947, to 30 July, 1947, and produced the Award in which the Muslim majority areas of Gurdaspur, Batala, Ferozepur, Zira and Jullundhar were given to India. The Quaid-e-Azam said that it was an unjust, incomprehensible and even perverse Award. He further said that as he ahd agreed to abide by it, it was binding on us.
Transfer of Power
The trnasfer of power ceremony took place at Karachi. Lord Mountbatten and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.
On 15 August Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali
Jinnah was sworn in as the first Governor-General of Pakistan. Mr.
Liaquat Ali Khan was appointed as the first Prime Minister of Pakistan.