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Updated: Aug 11, 2021


The Second World War created a demand in Britain for new declaration of policy towards India. This was discussed by the British sent Sir Stafford Cripps, a War-Cabinet Minister to try for a settlement through direct negotiations with the Indian Political Parties.

Cripps arrived in India on 22 March, 1942 and presented his proposals for consideration.

The main provisions :

(i) The object was the creation of a New Indian Union as part of the Dominion in the British Common Wealth. This was not to be subordinate to Britain.

(ii) Steps shall be taken to set up in India an Elected Body charged with the duty to frame a New Constitution for India.

(iii) Provision should be made for the participation of Indian States in the Constitution Making Body.

(iv) The British Government was to accept and implement forthwith the Constitution so framed, subject only to certain conditions.

(v) Until these are achieved the British Government must bear the responsibility to defend India. This scheme satisfied none.The I.N.C. criticised the manner of selecting the States Representatives. The Muslim League criticised it as it had ignored Muslim interests. Gandhiji branded it as a 'post dated cheque on a crashing Bank'.

The Quit India Resolution :

The All India Congress Committee which met at Bombay in August 1942 was convinced that nothing but positive action could bring a change of Gandhiji demanded the British to "Quit India" and allow the Indians to solve their problems themselves. Among other things the resolution said 'The Committee is of the opinion that the immediate ending of the British Rule in India is an urgent necessity.

The continuation of that rule is degrading and enfeebling India'. Gandhiji had piloted this resolution. The British Government reacted by arresting all the Congress Leaders and banning Congress Organisation throughout India . The arrest of the leaders provoked a widespread revolution in India called, the 'August Revolution'. Thousands were arrested and put in Jail. The Revolution, was suppressed with an Iron hand, by the Govt.

The Simla Conference and Wavell Plan :

Lord Wavell, the Governor-General announced in June 1946 his proposals to advance India towards her goal of full Self Government. He called for an All Party Conference at Simla to discuss the Wavell Plan on 25th June, which included Gandhiji and Jinnah, representatives

of Provincial Governments of various political parties and minority groups.

The main purpose was the formation of a New Executive Council representing the organised political opinion in the country. The conference made a sincere attempt. Mr.Jinnah, claimed that the muslim league was the sole representative of the muslims in India .He objected to the Indian National Congress nominating a muslim to the Viceroy's Executive Council. The Congress refused to agree on this. Thus the Wavell plan failed.


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