Download pdf (right click and 'save as target') or Continue Reading Online
Here we will be covering seven major developments and these developments are as under,
- The Constituent Assembly of 1946
- Civil Disobedience-Movement. In the beginning of 1947
- British Announcement of February 20, 1947
- Appointment of Mountbatten as the last Viceroy of India, March, 1947
- The June 3rd Plan
- Indian Independence Act of July, 1947 and the last is the
- The Partition Process
The Constituent Assembly of 1946:
Let, s take up the first development the Constituent Assembly of 1946. You would recall that in the previous lecture we talked about the cabinet mission plan and the setting up of the interim govt. and the politics around the setting up of the interim govt. One of the recommendations of the cabinet mission plan was that a constituent assembly will be set up in
The first session of the CA was convened on 9th December 1946 and the ML boycotted the session , the reason was that the ML demanded two constituent assemblies rather than one assembly. One for
Now coming to the developments since the beginning of the 1947 and the first development is the
Civil Disobedience-Movement in the beginning of 1947:
If you look at the tack record of the ML you will find that it struggled for the protection and promotion of the Muslim rights and then for the establishment of a separate state, was essentially a constitutional struggle and within the frame of law. However in Aug, 1946 when the Congress Party did not accept all the provisions of the Cabinet mission plan while the ML accepted the cabinet mission plan with reservations but the Congress Party said that it would go only into the CA but then it is free to frame any type of constitution and then the question of interim govt because of that the ML decided to withdraw its approval from the Cabinet Mission Plan and then it decided to go to the people to explain its point of view to the common people, so it was for the first time that the ML was officially adopting a policy of mass or popular protest in the streets and that kind of movement or explanation was made on 16th August 1946 when the ML held meetings and protest marches in different provinces and unfortunately in Bengal and in Calcutta those movements or activity resulted in a lot of violence, as the Hindus attacked on the Muslims and there was great violence in Bengal and in Calcutta. So it was the first ML, s effort at the mass level to mobilize the ordinary people to its point of view relating to the Cabinet Mission Plan,
The ML decided to confront the political situation through the protesting means for the first time. The Congress had been working on these lines but the Muslim leaders considered politics a gentle man’s game. Now when the British government joined hands to oust the Muslims from the constitutional and moral position they decided to launch ‘Direct Action.’ The ML revised its decision rejecting the Cabinet Mission Plan. Direct Action Day (August 16, 1946) was a protest against the British policy of injustice towards the Muslims. The Hindu attacks transmuted the course of the protests and concluded huge life casualties. The
Wavell tried to prepare Nehru and Gandhi to coordinate the ML. It was imperative to do because Muslim League (95% seats) refused to join the Legislative Assembly. Congress rejected all the possible offers even from the government. Churchill snubbed the Labour government on the
ML had bagged 79 out of 86 seats in
In the beginning of the 1947, it launched popular movements at the provincial level. In January and February 1947 it launched agitation and street protest against the govt of the Khizar Hayat Tiwana in Punjab and for about two months ML was holding processions meetings and protests in different parts of the
In view of this popular upsurge on the 2nd March 1947 the Khizar ministry resigned and the governor imposed governor rule in the province that is instead of establishing a new govt led by the ML the governor was directly ruling and this was in the beginning of March, 1947.
In case of the NWFP, the Khudai Khidmatgars supported by Congress were ruling. In Feb, the ML started movement, protest marches and agitations and this movement against the frontier govt went on until the beginning of June. On June 3rd when the British announced the plan for partition of India and this movement was called off but there were confrontation between frontier govt and the ML for one or two months
In case of
The impact of these movements whether in Punjab, NWFP or in
Announcement of February 20, 1947
This announcement of February 20 was a very important announcement because that announcement showed that the British govt showed that the British govt in due course of time would withdraw from India and India would become an independent state, therefore it was a very significant statement by the British govt and this statement was made by the Prime Minister Attlee who declared that his govt and that was the labor govt in London and that his govt was working for the self government in India. And by June 1948 all powers in
Another point made in this statement was that if constitution was framed the British govt will have to think that whether certain powers were to be given to the provincial govt or any alternative is to be found that is in interest of the people of
Here the issue was clear that ultimately
Mountbatten as Viceroy
He was given this assignment through the announcement of Feb; 1947 and Mountbatten arrived in
Third June Plan:
What were the significant points of the June 3rd plan?
- The British govt declared that it will not impose a constitution in
but the Constituent Assembly will frame a constitution. India
- The constitution will not be imposed on the areas that do not accept it. Opinion will be sought from them if they want to set up a separate CA (Constituent Assembly). So there would be a separate CA for the regions or the provinces that do not want to be part of one constitution.
Punjab and Bengal assemblies:
- Punjab & Bengal Assemblies will meet in two parts, members from Muslim majority areas and other districts separately to decide if the province be partitioned.
- If any part of the assembly decides for partition, then the assembly will also decide that whether it wants to be a part of the new CA or the old CA, each group will decide which CA they wish to join.
- For the
the Plan provided Sindh Assembly will decide about joining either side. provinceof Sindh
- Situation in NWFP was somewhat complicated, here a non ML govt was functioning which was not supportive of the partition of India, and establishing a separate Muslim state, therefore the June 3rd plan provided that a Referendum would be held in NWFP.
- For Baluchistan: it was provided that an appropriate method would be adopted to know the opinion there. I may mention here that the Baluchistan was not a full province at that time
- A Boundary Commission would be appointed for demarcation in the Punjab and
Bengalthat the boundaries of these two provinces would be determined by a boundary commission
- The last significant provision of the June 3rd plan was about the princely states Princely states will have to decide for themselves whether they want to join
Pakistanor keeping in view their geographical contiguity where they are located and then they will have to decide about their political future. India
So this was the June 3rd plan whose main points are highlighted here, we can say that the June 3rd plan was a kind of decision which the British made about the political future of India and it envisaged partition. In a way it was an indirect acceptance of
To give legal shape to the June 3 Plan, the Indian Independence Act was promulgated (July 1947). In other words to give legal shape to the June 3rd plan this law which is called as the Indian independence Act was promulgated. The British were winding up their rule in
Two independent dominion states:
- The first and the most significant provision of this Act was that two independent dominion states would be established in
on August 15, 1947. Here two things are important for our understanding, first the date for independence for Pakistan and India was given 15th August 1947, if we go back to Feb., announcement we find that Lord Attlee said that there would be self govt in India by June 1948, In other words the date was advanced. India
The dominion status:
- The 2nd point here is the dominion state or the dominion status, this means practically an independent state, the only difference is the dominion which is the British common wealth system, the state owe their allegiance to the British Crown although the British Crown cannot interfere in day to day affairs of the states, therefore the grant of the status of the dominion state both to India and Pakistan meant that they will be fully independent and sovereign states.
- 3rd important provision of this act was that their legislatures will have all powers to make laws for the respective states that is Indian legislature for India Pakistani legislature for
The government of India act 1935:
- The 4th important provision of this act was that the Government of India Act, 1935, to be interim constitution of these states, subject to changes due to Indian Independence Act 1947.
The Governor General:
- Another provision was that the Governor Generals can amend the Interim Constitution until March 31, 1948. to deal with difficult and emergency situations.
- It said that All arrangements between the British and the Princely states to come to an end and they are free to have new arrangements with the new states or the successor states which are
Indiaand . Pakistan
The king of India:
- The provision of this Act was that the British King will no longer use the title of the King of India.
The interim constitution:
Now if we look at the provisions of this Act on the bases of which
The first Interim constitution of Pakistan:
It also provided that the GG can also bring some changes in the Govt of India Act in order to deal with the situation as it existed at that time. In other words the 1st interim constitution of
The Partition Process
In the case of Punjab, The Punjab Legislative Assembly held its session in
Same procedure applied to the Bengal Assembly the Muslim members favoured joining new CA while non-Muslims favoured partitioning and joining
In case of Sindh the Sindh Assembly voted to join
Here the Indian Independence Act provided for a referendum and the registered voters wanted to join
Baluchistan was not a full province at that time so the procedures adopted for the other provinces could not be adopted for
For Sylhet district a Referendum was held to join East Bengal and East Bengal had already opted to join
If you look at the procedure which I have explained to you it becomes very clear that differences that opted through a democratic process for
Governor General’s Issue:
Mountbatten wanted to be joint GG (Governor General) of
Transfer of Power:
Now let me say few words about the transfer of Power. Q.A. reached
1st meeting of the Constituent Assembly was held on August 11, 1947 and the CA comprised the members from the districts. Q>A. addressed the CA and was elected as the president of the CA the ceremonies for transfer of power were held on August 14. Since Mountbatten was in both ceremonies in
Boundaries determined on August 17:
Boundaries Commission award declared many controversial decisions about certain areas like Gurdaspur, Zira Tehsil etc, but the ML accepted it with protest.