British Policy in India in 1945

British Policy in India in 1945


British ruling circles. in an attempt to sustain their colonial regime in India continued to pin their hopes on the growing differences between the main political parties-the National Congress and the Muslim League. In May 1945 Wavell announced, after making a trip to London, the plan to set up an Executive Council under the Viceroy consisting of representatives from the Indian political parties. In June he held talks with representatives of the National Congress and the Muslim League in the town of Simla (where the Viceroy had his summer residence). Congress leaders-Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel. Maulana Azad-were released from prison before the conference in which they and Gandhi then took part.

Wavell put forward his plan for the formation of an Executive Council, which did not appear to differ from the formula for an agreement proposed by Liaquat Ali Khan and B. Desai. However, the proposals with which Wavell had come forward provided that seats in the Council would be reserved not for political parties as such but for the religious communities. This was unacceptable for both parties. The National Congress did not see itself as a Hindu organisation, but rather as a nation-wide secular organisation; the Muslim League, on the other hand, claimed that it alone represented Indian Moslems and could therefore not accept that Moslem members of the Congress be admitted to the Council. Moreover, it had also been suggested that the proposed Executive Council should be responsible only to the British Crown and Parliament.

The negotiations in Simla ended in failure; however, the colonial administration placed the blame for this failure at the door of the Indian political parties, who had participated in the talks. The British imperialists were hoping that a further worsening of the differences between the Congress and the League and also the overall deterioration of Hindu-Moslem relations in the country would make it possible to retain the colonial regime in India.

The Labour victory at the first post-war elections in Britain in 1945 did not at first give rise to any major changes in British policy in India. In July Wavell was called to Britain and after his return the first announcement from Attlee's Government relating to its Indian policy was made known simultaneously in London and Delhi (September 19, 1945). It was stated that the Labour Government would implement the measures outlined in the Cripps proposals of 1942. It was also announced that elections would be held to the Central and provincial legislatures in the winter of 1945/46. However, major amendments to the plans of the British Government were soon made by mass anti-colonial action.

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