Jawaharlal Nehru, industrialist Jamnalal Bajaj, Sarojini Naidu, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and Maulana Azad at the 1940 Ramgarh Session of the Indian National Congress in which Azad was elected president for the second time
The year 1939 was a period of international tension. The future of Europe as well as India was extremely perilous. Moreover, on 11th August, 1939 Congress Working Committee passed a resolution and declared that it opposed any kind of imperialist war. Furthermore, the working committee was also determined to oppose any attempt of forcing a war on India. Other issues which were condemned by the Working Committee included the sending of troops to Egypt and Singapore and it also protested against the extended life of the central Legislative Assembly. The main aim of the Congress was to condemn the British Administration during Second World War. Thus, a resolution was passed in which all Congress members of the Central Assembly refrained from attending its next session. In spite of the resolution passed, certain prominent Congressmen supported the British Policy and were prepared to co-operate in the war effort.
According to the British Administration during World War II, Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy, wanted that the Government of India should be vested with certain authorities so that it can co-coordinate the activities of the central and provincial governments. Thus, a Bill through Parliament was passed to the His Majesty`s Government. As a result, under the Government of India (Amendments) Act of 1939, the Central Government was empowered to make laws conferring executive authority in respect of provincial subjects on the central Government and its officers. However, in 1939, the Viceroy announced that India had declared war. The Indian Assembly had not been consulted. Although, according to the Government Act of India the Viceroy should have consulted the Executive Committee before making decisions about defence or foreign affairs. On the other hand Congress and the Muslim League fell out regarding this issue and it further deteriorated their relation.
The Congress did not support the war and various divergent views prevailed within the party. Gandhiji desired that whatever co-operation was given should be given unconditionally. At the other end, notably, Subhas Chandra Bose openly declared that the difficulty faced by Britain during this war would bring opportunity to India and improve its chances for independence. As a result the Congress members did not support the policy of the British. In fact all the Congress leaders resigned from the Assembly in protest.
On the other hand, the Muslim League supported the British Administration during Second World War. It backed Britain concerning the war on Germany. Thus, during the war the Muslim League became increasingly powerful in India. The resignation of the Congress ministries became a preferred issue for Jinnah. In the month of December, Jinnah and the Muslim League observed 22 December 1939 as a day of deliverance and thanksgiving. He marked the day as deliverance from the `tyranny, oppression and injustice` of the Congress regime in the provinces.
In 1940 the Muslim League held its annual session in Lahore towards the end of March. Jinnah declared in this session that democracy was unsuited to India and the Muslims must have own their homeland, their territory and their State. The resolution which was passed came to be known as the `Pakistan Resolution`. The session held by the Muslim League at Lahore aroused widespread concern. Its proceedings shocked many sections of public opinion and even angered the Hindus and other minorities were displeased as well.
The Congress laid down a condition in the year 1940 that Indian support for the war would come with a National Government. The Viceroy however refused, and a movement, known as, Civil Disobedience was launched by the Congress. About 1700 Congress members were arrested in 1940. Thus, the position of Congress was weakened as many Congress members were imprisoned between 1940 and 1945. The Congress also held an open session in Ramgarh.
On 23rd November, the All-India Congress Committee met in Allahabad. They passed a resolution and declared that neither the claims of the minorities nor those of the Princes were a genuine obstacle for the Congress`s demand of national independence. It also declared that it was the British Administration, forming irrelevant issues in order to maintain imperialist domination in India. The resolution put the Constituent Assembly in a position of the Congress programme which would be only a democratic method of determining the constitution of a free country. Moreover, the Constituent Assembly should be the only adequate instrument for solving the communal and other difficulties. The Congress laid down that the Assembly should be elected on the basis of adult suffrage.
After the Congress passed the Ramgarh resolution and with its threat of civil disobedience, the Viceroy turned its back on the Congress. On the other hand, the Muslim League gained confidence of the Viceroy. According to the Viceroy, there was no possibility of cooperating with the divergent claims of the Congress, the Muslim League, the Depressed Classes and the Princes. However, in this regard the policy according to the British Administration during World War II was to adopt the principle of wait and watch.
On 10 April, a detailed report on `India and the War` was issued. It featured the events leading to the resignation of the Congress ministries and the resolutions of the Congress, the Muslim League and the Chamber of Princes. The report concluded that, in view of the deadlock, the Government had no option but to seek the approval of Parliament for the continuance of the Section 93 proclamations in the seven provinces. On 18 April Parliament approved their continuance. The Secretary of State concluded that a substantial measure of agreement amongst the communities in India should come. Accordingly, the Viceroy sent a letter to Jinnah on 19 April 1940 where he assured Jinnah that no declaration would be made and that no constitution would be enforced by His Majesty`s Government, or enacted by Parliament, without the approval and consent of the Musalmans of India. Thus, the British Administration during World War II was formulated with a far- sighted view by the British.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The session was held between 22 March and 24 March, 1940, at Manto Park (now Iqbal Park), Lahore. The welcome address was made by Nawab Sir Shah Nawaz Mamdot. In his speech, Jinnah recounted the contemporary situation, stressing that the problem of India was no more of an inter-communal nature, but manifestly an international. He criticised the Congress and the nationalist Muslims, and espoused the Two-Nation Theory and the reasons for the demand for separate Muslim homelands. According to Stanley Wolpert, this was the moment when Jinnah, the former ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, totally transformed himself into Pakistan's great leader.
Sikandar Hayat Khan, the Chief Minister of the Punjab, drafted the original Lahore Resolution, which was placed before the Subject Committee of the All India Muslim League for discussion and amendments. The Resolution text unanimously rejected the concept of a United India on the grounds of growing inter-communal violence and recommended the creation of an independent Muslim state.
After the presentation of the annual report by Liaquat Ali Khan, the Resolution was moved in the general session by A.K. Fazlul Huq, the Chief Minister of undivided Bengal and was seconded by Choudhury Khaliquzzaman who explained his views on the causes which led to the demand of a separate state. Subsequently, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan from Punjab, Sardar Aurangzeb from the NWFP, Sir Abdullah Haroon from Sindh, and Qazi Esa from Baluchistan, and other leaders announced their support. In the same session, Jinnah also presented a resolution to condemn the Khaksar massacre of 19 March, owing to a clash between the Khaksars and the police, that had resulted in the loss of lives.
The principle text of the Lahore Resolution was passed on 24 March. In 1941 it became part of the Muslim League's constitution. In 1946, it formed the basis for the decision of Muslim League to struggle for one state for the Muslims
GANDHI & JINNAH
The Round Table Conference of 1929 was Gandhi’s Waterloo. He erred in going to London as the sole spokesperson of the Congress, pinning hopes on the appeals from British statesmen. There he was cornered by the chosen few from among the Muslims who asked him to justify how he could speak on behalf of their community, while Mauna Shasta Ali, former Khilafat leader, warned the Hindus: "If the Hindus don’t meet our demands this time, we’re going to make war on them. We ruled the Hindus once. We at least don’t intend to be ruled by them now." The British Government planned to announce the Communal Award B this time the Scheduled Castes were to be favored, as were the Muslims in 1909. In disgust, Gandhi returned home empty-handed, while the government armed itself for letting loose repression.
Gandhi failed to checkmate Jinnah’s dangerous moves. Jinnah had no influence with the Muslim Premiers of Punjab, Sind and Bengal. Even when Fall Hue from Bengal had proposed the Pakistan resolution, he had later turned anti-Jinnah; while Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullaha, Sind Premier, had opposed the resolution. Gandhi did not capture an opportunity to form an anti-Jinnah front along with them. That was against his spirit of compromise as against confrontation. He ploughed his lonely furrow. The landed Gandhi in a complex situation in 1942, which exerted pressure on him for action. There were the Communists and other Leftists who favored support for the war in view of Russia and Britain having become allies. On the other hand, there were lurking fears that Japan might occupy India. In April 1942, the first Japanese bombing of India took place and there was seizure of the Andaman Islands.
On his release from prison in 1944, Gandhi committed a great blunder in his talks with Jinnah, when all his colleagues were in jail. This boosted Jinnah’s prestige amongst the Muslims in two ways: as a wrecker, and as the Quaid-e Azam, Jinnah came on level with Gandhi, the Mahatma. The Gandhi-Jinnah talks had serious repercussions. Immediately Jinnah acquired the status of sole spokesmanship.
THE INA TRIALS - 1945
Whilst during the war the Indian National Army (hereafter INA) could be charged with having been the ‘puppet army’ of a fascist regime, the INA was brought firmly into the realms of anti-colonial and nationalist discourse after the war. Despite its earlier very distanced position, the Congress chose in 1945 to appropriate the trials of the INA soldiers to its own political advantage. Due to its emotive value, the INA became a symbol of national pride and anti-colonial resistance. Political engineering of the Congress can largely explain why the INA men had their biggest impact as prisoners of war, rather than as actual soldiers. Whilst the Congress dominated the perception and portrayal of the INA, the issue also helped to reinforce the ‘secular’ and ‘nationalist’ image of the Congress itself. The cause of the INA, the Congress and even the Indian ‘nation’ began to merge. The Congress by appropriating the perception and portrayal of the INA also managed to champion the very meaning of ‘nationalism’ itself.
The Rowlatt Act
Itwas a law passed by the British in colonial India in March 1919, indefinitely extending "emergency measures" (of the Defence of India Regulations Act) enacted during the First World War in order to control public unrest and root out conspiracy. Passed on the recommendations of the Rowlatt commission, named for its chairman, British judge Sir Sidney Rowlatt, this act effectively authorized the government to imprison, without trial, any person suspected of terrorism living in the Raj. The Rowlatt Acts gave British imperial authorities power to deal with revolutionary activities.
Mahatma Gandhi, among other Indian leaders, was extremely critical of the Act and argued that not everyone should be punished in response to isolated political crimes. The Act led to indignation from Indian leaders and the public, which caused the government to implement repressive measures. Gandhi and others found that constitutional opposition to the measure was fruitless, so on April 6, a "hartal" was organized where Indians would suspend all business and fast as a sign of their hatred for the legislation. This event is known as the Rowlatt satyagraha.
However, the success of the hartal in Delhi, on 30 March, was overshadowed by tensions running high, which resulted in rioting in the Punjab and other provinces. Deciding that Indians were not ready to make a stand in consistence with the principle of ahimsa (non-violence), an integral part of satyagraha, Gandhi suspended the resistance.
The Rowlatt Act came into effect in March 1919. In the Punjab the protest movement was very strong, and on April 10, two outstanding leaders of the congress Dr. Satya Pal and Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew, were arrested and taken to an unknown place.
A protest was held in Amritsar, which led to the Massacre of 1919.
सुजलां सुफलां मलयजशीतलाम्
शस्यशामलां मातरम् ।
सुहासिनीं सुमधुर भाषिणीं
सुखदां वरदां मातरम् ।। १ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
अबला केन मा एत बले ।
बहुबलधारिणीं नमामि तारिणीं
रिपुदलवारिणीं मातरम् ।। २ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
तुमि विद्या, तुमि धर्म
तुमि हृदि, तुमि मर्म
त्वं हि प्राणा: शरीरे
बाहुते तुमि मा शक्ति,
हृदये तुमि मा भक्ति,
तोमारई प्रतिमा गडि
मन्दिरे-मन्दिरे मातरम् ।। ३ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
त्वं हि दुर्गा दशप्रहरणधारिणी
वाणी विद्यादायिनी, नमामि त्वाम्
नमामि कमलां अमलां अतुलां
सुजलां सुफलां मातरम् ।। ४ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।
श्यामलां सरलां सुस्मितां भूषितां
धरणीं भरणीं मातरम् ।। ५ ।। वन्दे मातरम् ।।