20 Mar


Japan joined the war against the Allies in 1941, and her success in conquering one country after another disturbed the pleasure of the British statesmen. The armies of Japan occupied Burma and threatened India. Both England and the U.S.A began to feel the necessity of changing their policy towards India.

Cripps Mission

The Britain Government appointed a delegation under the chairmanship of Sir Stafford Cripps, a prominent member of the War Cabinet of England. The Cripps Mission reached New Delhi on March 23, 1942 to hold discussions with the Indian leaders. The Cripps Mission could not hold talks with the Indian leaders and left after a fortnight. The Cripps Mission, however, submitted its own suggestions to the Government in April 1942 for constitutional reforms.

Important terms of the Proposal 

Important terms of the proposal were as follows:

  • A Constitution-making Body would be set up immediately after the war.
  • There would be provisions for the participation of Indian States in the Constitution-making Body.
  • If any province did not like to accept the new constitution, it could later retain its existing constitutional position.
  • There would be provision in the constitution for the protection of racial and religious minorities.
  • The members of the Constitution-making Body were to be elected by an electoral college consisting of the entire membership of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies.
  • His majesty’s Government would retain control of Defense during the critical period of the war.
  • The suggestions are to be accepted or rejected as a whole and there shall be no amendments.
  • The recommendations would be implemented only if both Muslim League and Congress accept them unanimously.

Reaction of Muslim League

The scheme was opposed by the Muslim League because the proposals held out the prospects of a single Union of India.

Reaction of Congress

The Congress rejected the Cripps’s proposals because he did not give assurance that the Governor-General would act as a constitutional head in case of all the departments except Defense. Moreover, the Congress was opposed to the principle of non-accession of the provinces, because it virtually meant acceptance of the idea of Pakistan.

Quit India Movement

The Congress, in order to put more pressure on the Government, launched Quit India Movement against the British Government. The Congress had decided on 8th August 1942, to get independence from the British and to capture political power in India at all cost with a view of stopping the creation of Pakistan. Violent agitation was launched to press the British to quit India.

The Quaid-e-Azam considered Quit India Movement as anti-Muslim action of the Congress and declared it as political Blackmailing. The Muslim League, in reply to ‘Quit India’ slogans by the Congress, demanded ‘Divide India and go’. Quaid-e-Azam said,

“The Quit India Movement, in fact is a conspiracy to establish Hindu Raj and to finish Muslim demands.”

The Government took stern action against Quit India Movement. The prominent leaders of this movement including Gandhi, were arrested and put in jails. The movement lost its momentum and very soon failed.

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