In 1946 – Full of action

The United Kingdom Cabinet Mission of 1946 to India aimed to discuss the transfer of power from the British government to the Indian leadership, with the aim of preserving India’s unity and granting it independence. Formulated at the initiative of Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the mission had Lord Pethick – Lawrence, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade, and A. V. Alexander, the First Lord of the Admiralty. Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India, did not participate in every step but was present.
Purposes and proposal
The British wanted to keep India and its Army united so as to keep it in their system of ‘imperial defence’ even after granting it independence. To preserve India’s unity[ the British formulated the Cabinet Mission Plan. The Cabinet Mission’s role was to hold preparatory discussions with the elected representatives of British India and the Indian states so as to secure agreement to the method of framing the constitution, to set up a constitution body and to set up an Executive Council with the support of the main Indian parties.
The Mission held talks with the representatives of the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League, the two largest political parties in the Constituent Assembly of India. The two parties planned to determine a power-sharing arrangement between Hindus and Muslims to prevent a communal dispute. The Congress, under Gandhi and Nehru, wanted to obtain a strong central government, with more powers than state governments.
The All India Muslim League, under Jinnah, wanted to keep India united but with political safeguards provided to Muslims like parity in the legislatures because of the wide belief of Muslims that the British Raj was simply going to be turned into a Hindu Raj once the British departed, and since the Muslim League regarded itself as the sole spokesman party of Indian Muslims, it was incumbent upon it to take the matter up with the Crown. After initial dialogue, the Mission proposed its plan over the composition of the new government on 16 May 1946. In its proposals, the creation of a separate Muslim Pakistan was rejected.
Plan of 16 May
1. A united Dominion of India would be given independence.
2. The Muslim-majority provinces would be grouped, with Sind, Punjab, Baluchistan and North-West Frontier Province forming one group, and Bengal and Assam would form another.
3. The Hindu-majority provinces in central and southern India would form another group.
4. The central government, stationed in Delhi, would be empowered to handle nationwide affairs, such as defence, currency, and diplomacy, and the rest of powers and responsibility would belong to the provinces, coordinated by groups.
An interim Government at the Centre representing all communities would be installed on the basis of parity between the representatives of the Hindus and the Muslims
Plan of 16 June
The plan of 16 May 1946 had a united India, in line with Congress and Muslim League aspirations, but that was where the consensus between the two parties ended since Congress abhorred the idea of having the groupings of Muslim-majority provinces and that of Hindu-majority provinces with the intention of balancing one another at the central legislature. The Muslim League could not accept any changes to this plan since they wanted to keep the safeguards of British Indian laws to prevent absolute rule of Hindus over Muslims.
Reaching an impasse, the British proposed a second plan on 16 June 1946 to arrange for India to be divided into Hindu-majority India and a Muslim-majority India that would later be renamed Pakistan since Congress had vehemently rejected ‘parity’ at the centre. A list of princely states of India, which would be permitted to accede to the dominion or attain independence, was also drawn up. The Cabinet Mission arrived in India on 23 March 1946 and in Delhi on 2 April 1946. The announcement of the Plan on 16 May 1946 had been preceded by the Simla Conference in the first week of May.
Reactions
The approval of the plans determined the composition of the new government. The Congress Working Committee officially did not accept either plan. The resolution of the committee dated 24 May 1946 concluded that the Working Committee consider that the connected problems involved in the establishment of a Provisional Government and a Constituent Assembly should be viewed together… In absence of a full picture, the Committee are unable to give a final opinion at this stage.
And the resolution of 25 June 1946, in response to the June plan concluded. In the formation of a Provisional or other governance, Congressmen can never give up the national character of Congress, or accept an artificial and unjust parity, or agree to a veto of a communal group. The Committee are unable to accept the proposals for formation of an Interim Government as contained in the statement of June 16. The United Kingdom Cabinet Mission of 1946 to India aimed to discuss the transfer of power from the British government to the Indian leadership, with the aim of preserving India’s unity and granting it independence. Formulated at the initiative of Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the mission had Lord Pethick – Lawrence, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade, and A. V. Alexander, the First Lord of the Admiralty. Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India, did not participate in every step but was present.
Purposes and proposal
The British wanted to keep India and its Army united so as to keep it in their system of ‘imperial defence’ even after granting it independence. To preserve India’s unity[ the British formulated the Cabinet Mission Plan. The Cabinet Mission’s role was to hold preparatory discussions with the elected representatives of British India and the Indian states so as to secure agreement to the method of framing the constitution, to set up a constitution body and to set up an Executive Council with the support of the main Indian parties.
The Mission held talks with the representatives of the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League, the two largest political parties in the Constituent Assembly of India. The two parties planned to determine a power-sharing arrangement between Hindus and Muslims to prevent a communal dispute. The Congress, under Gandhi and Nehru, wanted to obtain a strong central government, with more powers than state governments.
The All India Muslim League, under Jinnah, wanted to keep India united but with political safeguards provided to Muslims like parity in the legislatures because of the wide belief of Muslims that the British Raj was simply going to be turned into a Hindu Raj once the British departed, and since the Muslim League regarded itself as the sole spokesman party of Indian Muslims, it was incumbent upon it to take the matter up with the Crown. After initial dialogue, the Mission

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *