The Cripps Mission was a failed attempt in late March 1942 by the British government to secure full Indian cooperation and support for their efforts in World War II. The mission was headed by a senior minister Sir Stafford Cripps, Lord Privy Seal and leader of the House of Commons. Cripps belonged to the left-wing Labour Party, traditionally sympathetic to Indian self-rule, but was also a member of the coalition War Cabinet led by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who had long been the leader of the movement to block Indian independence.
Cripps was sent to negotiate an agreement with the nationalist Congress leaders, who spoke for the majority Indians, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League, who spoke for the minority Muslim population. Cripps worked to keep India loyal to the British war effort in exchange for a promise of elections and full self-government (Dominion status) once the war was over. Cripps discussed the proposals, which he had drafted himself, with the Indian leaders and published them. Both the major parties rejected his proposals, and they were also unacceptable to Churchill; no middle way was found and the mission failed. Congress moved towards the Quit India movement whereby it refused to cooperate in the war effort; in response, the British imprisoned practically the entire Congress leadership for the duration of the war. Jinnah and the Muslims, to whom Cripps had offered the right to opt out of a future Union, supported the war effort and gained in status in British eyes. He was surprised to see that the right to opt out of a future Union was included.
The Government of India Act 1935 - building on the Round Table Conferences, Simon Commission and the previous Government of India Act of 1919 - required the establishment of an All-India Federation, which would allow Indians to take a larger share of governance at the highest level. However deep difference between the princely states and the Congress, as well as between the Muslim League and Congress, had delayed progress. Instead, only the provincial portion of the Act was carried out.
Following Britain's declaration of war on Germany in September 1939, the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, responded by declaring India a belligerent state on the side of Britain without consulting Indian political leaders or the elected provincial representatives, sharply underlying the failure of progress to self-rule. This caused considerable resentment in the Congress Party, producing demands for an immediate transfer of power. The resulting standoff led to the en masse resignation of Congress Provincial Governments, giving rise to the prospect of public revolt and political disorder in India. The All India Muslim League, the Hindu Mahasabha as well as regional parties, gave their support to Britain and the war effort in exchange for various concessions. Negotiations continued between the Viceroy, Congress and Muslim League but their failure led to a political stalemate.
The Japanese declaration of war on the Dutch and British empires as well as the United States in December 1941 altered the political situation. Confidence in Britain was particularly low after the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942, Britain's greatest single defeat in the war, as fell as the retreat from Rangoon, with large numbers of Indian Army troops captured. The threat of an invasion of India was real, and there was anxiety about 'fifth columnists,' particularly Congress radicals working with Japan.
The British war cabinet, a coalition government of national unity, was divided on the question of compromise with the Congress. The Labour Party ministers and moderate Conservatives were keen to advance Indian progress to self-government in a way that would not endanger the war effort. Churchill was deeply opposed to any dismantling of the British Empire, regarding its non-white subjects as incapable of self-rule; in fact the stridency of his views, and his opposition to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin's agreement to work with parties such as the Indian National Congress towards self-rule had contributed to his isolation within the Conservative Party for a decade. He was supported in his views by the Conservative Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery.
However, the United States, as Britain's principal ally saw things in even more urgent terms. The chief American strategic objective was aiding Chiang Kai Shek's physically isolated Nationalist China against the expanding Japanese Empire. The Japanese conquest of China's coastal areas meant that the US needed India to serve as a major logistical hub to funnel aid to China, and needed Indian military manpower to secure routes for supplies through Burma. American as well as Chinese leadership was convinced that this would not be possible without the full support of a mobilised Indian population, requiring a breakthrough with the Indian National Congress. In addition the Roosevelt administration which was busy formulating its vision for the post-war world order saw the decolonisation of Asia as a matter of US national interest for both ideological as well as commercial reasons.
Despite these conflicts of interests, Britain's reliance on the United States for Lend-Lease supplies for the war effort meant that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's pressure had to at least appear to be taken seriously, especially in light of the military disasters in South East Asia. As a result, the British cabinet by 9 March 1942 agreed to despatch a mission to India to discuss its offer, and Cripps' plane landed in Delhi on 22 March. By that time the British were willing to grant Indian independence at the conclusion of the war. Incidentally the next day was the second anniversary of the Lahore Resolution of 1940, so Cripps saw Muslims marching in the streets with green flags. Cripps stated that while he had been closer to the Congress he was open to other perspectives. Jinnah waited to find out what the proposals were and stated that the League would reject them if they were not in the interests of Muslims.
The Congress was divided upon its response to India's entry into World War II. Angry over the decision made by the Viceroy, some Congress leaders favoured launching a revolt against the British despite the gravity of the war in Europe, which threatened Britain's own freedom. Others, such as Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, advocated offering an olive branch to the British, supporting them in this crucial time in the hope that the gesture would be reciprocated with independence after the war. The major leader, Mohandas Gandhi, was opposed to Indian involvement in the war as he would not morally endorse a war and also suspected British intentions, believing that the British were not sincere about Indian aspirations for independence. But Rajagopalachari, backed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Azad and Jawaharlal Nehru held talks with Cripps and offered full support in return for immediate self-government, and eventual independence.
The British anxiously tried to gain Muslim support during the war and for this purpose they included a clause that no province would be compelled to join the post war India. Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, supported the war effort and condemned the Congress policy. Insisting on a Pakistan, a separate Muslim state, he resisted Congress's calls for pan-Indian cooperation and immediate independence.
Upon his arrival in India, Cripps held talks with Indian leaders. Cripps attempted to satisfy all communities through his proposals. He was a friend of Nehru and did his utmost to arrange an agreement. However, the distrust was too high and many people of influence did not want a settlement to be reached. There is some confusion over what Cripps had been authorised to offer India's nationalist politicians by Churchill and Leo Amery (His Majesty's Secretary of State for India), and he also faced hostility from the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow. He began by offering India full dominion status at the end of the war, with the chance to secede from the Commonwealth and go for total independence. Privately, Cripps also promised to get rid of Linlithgow and grant India Dominion Status with immediate effect, insisting only that the Indian Defence Ministry be reserved for the British.
However, in public, he failed to present any concrete proposals for greater self-government in the short term, other than a vague commitment to increase the number of Indian members of the Viceroy's Executive Council. Cripps spent much of his time in encouraging Congress leaders and Jinnah to come to a common, public arrangement in support of the war and government.
There was little trust between the British and Congress by this stage, and both sides felt that the other was concealing its true plans. The Congress stopped talks with Cripps and, guided by Gandhi, the national leadership demanded immediate self-government in return for war support. Gandhi said that Cripps' offer of Dominion Status after the war was a "post-dated cheque drawn on a failing bank".
The Muslim League rejected the Cripps proposal. Jinnah argued that the proposals were merely a draft declaration and did not meet the demand for Pakistan sufficiently and preferred a scheme of United India. At a press conference on April he argued that there was no clear concession for Pakistan in the proposals and he further expressed concern that the Muslim right to self-determination had been ignored. He also expressed criticism for the exclusion of the Muslim League from the later stage of negotiations.
When the British remained unresponsive, Gandhi and the Indian National Congress began planning a major public revolt, the Quit India movement, which demanded immediate British withdrawal from India. As the Imperial Japanese Army advanced closer to India with the conquest of Burma, Indians perceived an inability upon the part of the British to defend Indian soil. The invasion force contained elements of the Indian National Army, founded and led by Subhas Chandra Bose to end British control of India. It was composed of Indians, most being prisoners captured with the fall of Singapore in early 1942. The British response to the Quit India movement was to jail most of the Congress leadership.
Jinnah's Muslim League condemned the Quit India movement and participated in provincial governments as well as the legislative councils of the Raj. It encouraged Muslims to participate in the war. With this cooperation, the British were able to continue administering India for the duration of the war using officials and military personnel where Indian politicians could not be found. This would not prove to be feasible in the long term, however.
There are three main reasons behind the causes of the failure of the Cripps' mission. They are listed as follows:
Gupta concludes that documents released in 1970 support the third interpretation. Messages between Viceroy Lord Linlithgow and Secretary of State L. S. S. Amery reveal that both opposed the Cripps Mission and that they deliberately undercut Cripps. While the British government used the Cripps Mission as evidence of its liberal colonial policy, personal and private correspondence reveals contempt for the mission and elation over its failure.
The long-term significance of the Cripps Mission really became apparent only in the aftermath of the war, as troops were demobilised and sent back home. Even Churchill recognised that there could be no retraction of the offer of independence which Cripps had made, but by the end of the war, Churchill was out of power and could do nothing but watch as the new Labour government gave India independence. This confidence that the British would soon leave was reflected in the readiness with which Congress politicians stood in the elections of 1945–1946 and formed provincial governments.
Cripps' proposals also included a proviso that no part of India would be forced to join the post-war arrangements, and though the mission ended in failure, the Muslim League emerged with its prestige and standing further enhanced. Indeed, Jinnah at the time of his interview with Cripps had been 'rather surprised' to see how far his declaration went 'to meeting the Pakistan case'.
By the time of the flying visit of Sir Stafford Cripps to Delhi in April 1942, the British were willing to offer India independence, by the convening of a constituent assembly, at the end of the war, but with the important proviso that no unwilling portion of the country should be forced to join the new state.
Sir Stafford arrived in India on 23 March 1942 and gave a statement saying that he had been more associated with his friends in the Congress party but also indicating that he was opened to all other points of view. In the meantime, the Muslim League was celebrating its Pakistan day celebrations. Jinnah in his speech, referred to the Cripps mission advising Muslims to be patient until his proposals were put forward officially. He indicated that the League will not accept his proposals if it were detrimental to Muslim interest; he also mentioned that he will resist and if needed, the Muslims would die fighting for the creation of Pakistan.
The British, in their anxiety to secure Muslim support during the war, helped it along by such acts as the provision in the Cripps proposals that allowed provinces to 'opt out' of any independent India.
Cripps tried to accommodate all the communities in his proposals.
A leftist member of the Labour Party and a friend of Nehru, Cripps did his best to contrive an agreement. But the level of suspicion was simply too high, and too many influential figures did not want the negotiations to succeed.
The Congress on 2 April 1942 signalled its opposition to the Cripps Proposals. The Congress and Sikhs rejected these proposals due to the possibility of the India's partition with the provision that provinces could opt out of a future Indian Constituent Assembly while the League rejected it finding no clear-cut acceptance of Pakistan. Quaid-i-Azam expressed his dismay at the refusal to recognise the right of Muslim self determination while addressing the annual session of the All India Muslim League at Allahabad: '...the Musalmans feel deeply disappointed that the entity ad integrity of the Muslim nation has not been expressly recognised...Muslim India will not be satisfied unless the right of national self determination is unequivocally recognised. It must be realised that India was never a country or a nation....It has roused our deepest anxieties and grave apprehensions, especially with reference to the Pakistan scheme, which is a matter of life and death for Muslim India...'
On 29 March, Cripps released his documents and held a press conference. On 4 April, in his presidential address to the Muslim League, Jinnah pointed out that Cripps proposals were only a draft declaration. He also said that creation of Pakistan was a remote possibility and there was a definite preference for a new Indian Union which was the main objective and suggestion and the draft declaration interviews and explanations of Sir Stafford were going against Muslim interests and the League was called upon to play the game with a loaded dice. He asked Cripps to make adjustments in order to give real effect to the Pakistan demand. On 13 April 1942, at a press conference, he pointed out that Pakistan demand was not conceded clearly and the right of Muslims to self determination was also denied. These proposals were therefore rejected by the Muslim League. Jinnah criticized the British Government and Congress party for another round of negotiations, ignoring the Muslim League at a later stage.
Provincial option, he argued, was clearly an insufficient security. An explicit acceptance of the principle of Pakistan offered the only safeguard for Muslim interests throughout India and had to be the precondition for any advance at the centre. So he exhorted all Indian Muslims to unite under his leadership to force the British and the Congress to concede 'Pakistan'. If the real reasons for Jinnah's rejection of the offer were rather different, it was not Jinnah but his rivals who had failed to make the point publicly.
Events in the year 1942 in India.Anandacharlu
Sir Panapakkam Anandacharlu CIE (1843–1908) was an Indian advocate, freedom fighter and one of the early doyens of the Indian National Congress. He was the President of the Nagpur session of the Indian National Congress held in 1891.Baldev Singh
Baldev Singh (Punjabi: ਬਲਦੇਵ ਸਿਂਘ,Hindi: बलदेव सिंह) was an Indian Sikh political leader, he was an Indian independence movement leader and the first Defence Minister of India. Moreover, he represented the Punjabi Sikh community in the processes of negotiations that resulted in the independence of India, as well as the Partition of India in 1947.
After independence, Baldev Singh was chosen to become the first Minister of Defence, hence becoming the "First Sikh Defence Minister" of any country in the world, and served in this post during the first Kashmir war between India and Pakistan. He is addressed often with the title of Sardar, which in Punjabi and Hindi means Leader or Chief.Bardoli Satyagraha
The Bardoli Satyagraha of 1928, in the state of Gujarat, India during the period of the British Raj, was a major episode of civil disobedience and revolt in the Indian Independence Movement. The movement was eventually led by Vallabhbhai Patel, and its success gave rise to Patel becoming one of the main leaders of the independence movement.British Raj
The British Raj (; from rāj, literally, "rule" in Hindustani) was the rule by the British Crown in the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called British India or simply India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also informally called the Indian Empire.
As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.This system of governance was instituted on 28 June 1858, when, after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the rule of the British East India Company was transferred to the Crown in the person of Queen Victoria (who, in 1876, was proclaimed Empress of India). It lasted until 1947, when it was partitioned into two sovereign dominion states: the Dominion of India (later the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the eastern part of which, still later, became the People's Republic of Bangladesh). At the inception of the Raj in 1858, Lower Burma was already a part of British India; Upper Burma was added in 1886, and the resulting union, Burma, was administered as an autonomous province until 1937, when it became a separate British colony, gaining its own independence in 1948.C. R. formula
C. Rajagopalachari's formula (or C. R. formula or Rajaji formula) was a proposal formulated by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari to solve the political deadlock between the All India Muslim League and the Indian National Congress on the independence of British India. The League's position was that the Muslims and Hindus of British India were of two separate nations and hence the Muslims had the right to their own nation. The Congress, which included both Hindu and Muslim members, was opposed to the idea of partitioning India. With the advent of the Second World War the British administration required both parties to agree so that Indian help could be sought for the war effort.
C. Rajagopalachari, a Congress leader from Madras, devised a proposal for the Congress to offer the League, the predominantly Muslim region that became Pakistan based on a plebiscite of all the people in those regions where Muslims were in the majority. Although the formula was opposed, even within the Congress party, Gandhi used it as the basis of his proposal in talks with Jinnah in 1944. However, Jinnah rejected the proposal and the talks failed.Dada Dharmadhikari
Shankar Trimbak Dharmadhikari (18 June 1899 – 1 December 1985), better known Dada Dharmadhikari, was an Indian freedom fighter, and a leader of social reform movements in India. He was a strong adherent of Mahatma Gandhi's principles.
He died in Sevagram, Wardha on 1 December 1985.Dukkipati Nageswara Rao
Dukkipati Nageswara Rao was an Indian independence movement activist from Krishna District.Rao was sent to prison 16 times. He also met Mahatma Gandhi in his home town Peyyeri about 30 miles from his village Nandamuru during the Quit India Movement in 1942. The Government of Andhra Pradesh posthumously gave him 10 acres of land and a Tamra Patra (Certificate) which was given in accordance with the struggle that he fought for the freedom against the British. Apart from serving in several prisons in Andhra Pradesh he also had the privilege of meeting Late Sarvepalli Radhakrishna during the independence struggle. He was also in many noteworthy prisons like Bellary Jail, Tiruchirapalli Jail, and Vellore prisons during the freedom struggle.Flag Satyagraha
In India, Flag Satyagraha (Hindi: झंडा सत्याग्रह) is a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience during the Indian independence movement that focused on exercising the right and freedom to hoist the nationalist flag and challenge the legitimacy of the British Rule in India through the defiance of laws prohibiting the hoisting of nationalist flags and restricting civil freedoms. Flag Satyagrahas were conducted most notably in the city of Nagpur in 1923 but also in many other parts of India.Jogendra Singh
Sardar Sir Jogendra Singh, KCSI (25 May 1877 – 3 December 1946) was a member of the Viceroy's Executive Council in India. He served as Chairman of the Department of Health, Education and Lands. He was a figure in the Sikh community and one of several delegates chosen to represent the Sikh community before the Cripps' mission of 1942. He is also considered responsible for setting up a committee in 1946 that led to the formation of Indian Institutes of Technology.
He was knighted a second time with the KCSI in the 1946 Birthday Honours List.Sir Jogendra Singh died of a paralytic stroke at Iqbal Nagar, district Montgomery, now in Pakistan, on 3 December 1946. He was succeeded by his second wife Winifred May Singh (née O'Donoghue) and his six children and twenty grandchildren some of whom still reside at the Aira Holme Estate, Shimla.Kesari (newspaper)
Kesari (Marathi: केसरी Sanskrit for Lion) is a Marathi newspaper which was founded in 1881 by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a prominent leader of the Indian Independence movement. The newspaper was used as a spokes piece for the Indian national freedom movement, and continues to be published by the Kesari Maratha Trust and Tilak's descendants.Bal Gangadhar Tilak used to run his two newspapers, Kesari, in Marathi and Mahratta (Run by Kesari-Maratha Trust)'' in English from Kesari Wada, Narayan Peth, Pune. The newspapers were originally started as a co-operative by Chiplunkar, Agarkar and Tilak.Kochrab Ashram
The Kochrab Ashram was the first ashram in India organized by Mohandas Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement, and was gifted to him by his friend Barrister Jivanlal Desai. Founded on 25 May 1915, Gandhi's Kochrab Ashram was located near the city of Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat.
This ashram was a major centre for students of Gandhian ideas to practise satyagraha, self-sufficiency, Swadeshi, work for the upliftment of the poor, women and untouchables, and to promote better public education and sanitation. The ashram was organised on a basis of human equality, self-help and simplicity. However, as Kochrab became infested with plague after two years, Gandhi had to relocate his ashram, this time to the bank of the Sabarmati River. During his time at the Sabarmati Ashram Gandhi's reputation as the voice of the masses and as the leader of the nation would further increase.Mohanlal Pandya
Mohanlal Pandya was an Indian freedom fighter, social reformer and one of the earliest followers of Mahatma Gandhi. Along with fellow Gandhians like Narhari Parikh and Ravi Shankar Vyas, Pandya was a key organizer of nationalist revolts in Gujarat, and a leading figure in the fight against alcoholism, illiteracy, untouchability, and a major proponent of women's freedoms and Gandhian values.Pandya was a close associate of both Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel during the Indian Independence Movement.Mohanlal Pandya was nicknamed as "Onion Thief" ("Dungli Chor") by Gandhi because he had harvested onion from the land which was taken away by the British Government.Quit India Movement
The Quit India Movement, or the 'August Movement', was a movement launched at the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi on 8
August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British Rule of India.The Cripps Mission had failed, and on 8 August 1942, Gandhi made a call to Do or Die in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan.
The All-India Congress Committee launched a mass protest demanding what Gandhi called "An Orderly British Withdrawal" from India.
Even though it was wartime, the British were prepared to act. Almost the entire leadership of the Indian National Congress was imprisoned without trial within hours of Gandhi's speech. Most spent the rest of the war in prison and out of contact with the masses. The British had the support of the Viceroy's Council (which had a majority of Indians), of the All India Muslim League, the princely states, the Indian Imperial Police, the British Indian Army and the Indian Civil Service. Many Indian businessmen profiting from heavy wartime spending did not support the Quit India Movement. Many students paid more attention to Subhas Chandra Bose, who was in exile and supporting the Axis Powers. The only outside support came from the Americans, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressured Prime Minister Winston Churchill to give in to some of the Indian demands. The Quit India campaign was effectively crushed. The British refused to grant immediate independence, saying it could happen only after the war had ended.
Sporadic small-scale violence took place around the country and the British arrested tens of thousands of leaders, keeping them imprisoned until 1945. In terms of immediate objectives, Quit India failed because of heavy-handed suppression, weak co-ordination and the lack of a clear-cut programme of action. However, the British government realized that India was ungovernable in the long run due to the cost of World War II, and the question for postwar became how to exit gracefully and peacefully.
In 1992 Reserve Bank of India issued a 1 rupee commemorative coin to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Quit India Movement.Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.Samaldas Gandhi
Samaldas Gandhi was an Indian freedom fighter who headed the Aarzi Hukumat or Temporary Government of the erstwhile princely state of Junagadh.Stafford Cripps
Sir Richard Stafford Cripps, (24 April 1889 – 21 April 1952) was a British Labour politician of the first half of the twentieth century.
A wealthy barrister by background, he entered Parliament at a by-election in 1931, and was one of a handful of Labour front-benchers to retain his seat in the general election that autumn. He became a leading spokesman for the left-wing and cooperation in a Popular Front with Communists before 1939, in which year he was expelled from the Labour Party. During World War II he served as Ambassador to the USSR (1940–42), during which time he grew wary of the Soviet Union, but achieved great public popularity because of the entry of the USSR into the war, causing him to be seen in 1942 as a potential rival to Winston Churchill for the premiership. He became a member of the War Cabinet of the wartime coalition, but failed in his efforts (the "Cripps Mission") to resolve the wartime crisis in India, where his proposals were too radical for Churchill and the cabinet, and too conservative for Gandhi and other Indian leaders. He later served as Minister of Aircraft Production, an important post but outside the inner War Cabinet.Rejoining the Labour Party in 1945, after the war he served in the Attlee Ministry, firstly as President of the Board of Trade and between 1947-50 as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the latter position, Cripps was responsible for laying the foundations of Britain's post-war economic prosperity, and was, according to historian Kenneth O. Morgan, "the real architect of the rapidly improving economic picture and growing affluence from 1952 onwards". The economy improved after 1947, benefiting from American money given through grants from the Marshall Plan as well as loans. However it was hurt by the devaluation of the pound in 1949. He kept rationing in place to hold down consumption during an "age of austerity", promoted exports and maintained full employment with static wages. The public especially respected "his integrity, competence, and Christian principles".Subramaniya Siva
Subramaniya Siva (4 October 1884 – 23 July 1925) was an Indian writer and activist during the Indian independence movement.Tara Rani Srivastava
Tara Rani Srivastava was an Indian freedom fighter, and part of Mahatma Gandhi's Quit India Movement. She and her husband, Phulendu Babu, lived in the Saran district of Bihar. In 1942, she and her husband were leading a march in Siwan towards the police station when he was shot by police. She nonetheless continued the march, returning later to find that he had died. She remained part of the struggle for freedom until the country's independence five years later.