Prelimsverse: Learn about “Cripps Mission”

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.

Cripps mission was sent to India because of the following reasons: 

1. 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.
2. There was pressure on Britain from the Allies (USA, USSR, and China) to seek Indian cooperation.
3. Indian nationalists had agreed to support the Allied on a condition that substantial power was transferred immediately and complete independence would be given after the war.

Proposals of the Cripps Mission

1. During the war, the British would retain their hold on India. Once the war finished, India would be granted dominion status. It would, however, be associated with the United Kingdom and other Dominions by a common allegiance to the Crown.
2. At the end of the war, a Constituent Assembly would be set up with the power to frame the future constitution of India. The members of the assembly were to be elected based on proportional representation by the provincial assemblies. The Princely States would also be given representation in the Constituent Assembly.
3. The provinces not agreeing to the new constitution would have the right to keep themselves out of the proposed Union. Such provinces would also be entitled to create their own separate Union. The British government would also invite them to join the commonwealth.
4. During the war, an interim government composed of different parties of India would be constituted. However, defence and external affairs would be the sole responsibility of the viceroy.

Reasons for its failure: 

The Congress objected to:
  1. The offer of dominion status instead of a provision for complete independence;
  2. Representation of the princely states by nominees and not by elected representatives;
  3. Right to provinces to secede as this went against the principle of national unity; and
  4. Absence of any plan for immediate transfer of power and absence of any real share in defence; the Governor-General’s supremacy had been retained, and the demand that the Governor-General be only the constitutional head had not been accepted.
The Muslim League objected to: 
  1. Criticised the idea of a single Indian Union;
  2. Did not like the machinery for the creation of a constituent assembly and the procedure to decide on the accession of provinces to the Union; and
  3. Thought that the proposals denied the Muslims the right to self-determination and the creation of Pakistan
Also, It was not clear as to who would implement and interpret the treaty affecting the transfer of power. The incapacity of Cripps to go beyond the Draft Declaration and the adoption of a rigid “take it or leave it” attitude added to the deadlock. Further, Gandhi seized upon the failure of the Mission and called for voluntary British withdrawal from India, which resulted in the ‘Quit India’ Movement.

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