Cripps Proposals 1942:
Cripps Mission- Background:
|The deadlock in Indian politics continued. While the British Government refused to come to terms with the Congress, the latter refused to co-operate with the former. During this period, the Second World War was proceeding. The international situation began to deteriorate. After Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), the U.S. had joined the Allied Powers in the war. The Japanese armies advanced swiftly all over the North-East Asian countries. The tide of their conquest rolled at a tremendous pace towards Burma and India. When Singapore fell in February 1942, the security of India was threatened. Rangoon fell on March 7. Four days after the fall of Rangoon, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Britian announced, “The crisis in the affairs of India arising out of the Japanese advance has made us all to rally our forces of Indian life to guard their land from the menace of the invader”. The anticipated Japanese threat made the British realize the need to seek the cooperation of the Indians. But the attitude of the Indian leaders did not change. The Congress was as hostile as ever. It was not prepared to help the British against anybody. It could help only if India was given Independence. The Muslim League was more concerned with the partition of India than its immediate salvation from the Japanese conquest.|
Proposals of Cripps Mission:
|In March 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps, the leader of the House of Commons, came to Delhi with proposals on behalf of the British Government. Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad represented the Congress side to negotiate with Stafford Cripps, who offered-|
(I) India would be given Dominion Status immediately after the end of the war.
(II) A Constitution-making body, consisting of the elected representatives from the British Provinces and the Princely States was to be set up immediately after the war.
(III) The provinces and the Indian states would have the freedom to accept the new constitution or frame one of their own choosing.
(IV) Racial and religious minorities would be protected.
(V) Until a new constitution was framed, the British Government was to remain responsible for the defence of India.
Political Reaction to the Cripps Proposals:
|Both the Congress and the League rejected the offer. The objections made by the Congress were-|
(I) Cripps did not bring with him the promise of independence in the near future. Gandhi described the Cripps plan as ‘a postdated cheque upon a crashing bank’.
(II) It offered Dominion Status and at the same time, granted provinces the right to secede from the Union. This provision was made as a concession to the League’s demand for partition. But this arrangement would go against the unity of the nation. Mahatma Gandhi rightly described it as “an invitation to the Muslim League to create Pakistan”.
(III) A growing sense of fear that the Germans would defeat the British and that the future freedom of India would be uncertain.
(IV) Cripps did not talk about the immediate transfer of power, and it retained the supremacy of the governor-general’s council. The Indians were given no real share in the defence of India.
The Muslim League rejected the Cripps proposals on two grounds-
(I) It did not recognise a separate electorate for the Constitution-making body.
(II) The demand for the partition of India had not been conceded.