Modern History Simplified: Turns and twists in the politics of Partition in 1940s – Cripps Mission (1942)

Cripps Mission (1942)
Because of the reverses suffered by Britain in South- East Asia, the Japanese threat to invade India seemed real now and Indian support became crucial. Also, there was pressure on Britain from the Allies (USA, USSR, China) to seek Indian cooperation.
In March 1942, a mission headed by Stafford Cripps was sent to India with constitutional proposals to seek Indian support for the war.
Proposals of Cripps Mission
  1. An Indian Union with a dominion status would be set up. 
  2. The Indian Union would be free to decide its relations with the Commonwealth and free to participate in the United Nations and other international bodies.
  3. After the end of the war, a constituent assembly would be convened to frame a new constitution.
    1. Members of this assembly would be partly elected by the provincial assemblies through proportional representation and partly nominated by the princes.
  4. The British government would accept the new constitution subject to two conditions:
    1. Any province not willing to join the Union could have a separate constitution and form a separate Union.
    2. The new constitution making body and the British government would negotiate a treaty to effect the transfer of power and to safeguard racial and religious minorities.
  5. Defence of India would remain in British hands and the Governor-General’s powers would remain intact.
The Analysis of Cripps Mission: 
  1. The making of the constitution was to be solely in Indian hands now (and not ‘mainly’ in Indian hands—as contained in the August Offer).
  2. A concrete plan was provided for the constituent assembly.
  3. Option was available to any province to have a separate constitution—a blueprint for India’s partition.
The Congress objected to the proposals of Cripps Mission because:

1. The offer of dominion status instead of a provision for complete independence.
2. The right to provinces to secede as this went against the principle of national unity. 
3. Absence of any plan for immediate transfer of power.
4. Representation of the princely states by nominees and not by elected representatives.
Gandhi described the scheme as “a post-dated cheque”. 

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