India Gains Independence Class 8 History Notes Maharashtra State Board
During the Second World War, the Indian freedom struggle had become more extensive. The demand for independence of India was gaining its strength. The British rulers realized that it was necessary to take a serious note of it. Accordingly, the British government started preparing various plans for granting Independence to India. The Indian National Congress was founded on the principle of secularism. People of all castes and religions had taken part in the national struggle. To weaken this movement the British adopted the policy of ‘divide and rule’. Its consequence was the establishment of the ‘Muslim League’.
In 1930, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, a well-known poet, put forth the thought of an independent Muslim state. Later Chaudhary Rahmat Ali put up the idea of Pakistan. Barrister Muhammad Ali Jinnah put forth the two nations theory and demanded a separate Muslim nation named Pakistan. Indian National Congress was only a Hindu organization, the Muslims had no benefit from it; such kind of propaganda was started by Barrister Jinnah and the Muslim League.
In June 1945, Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India drew up a plan. There were different provisions in this plan. Accordingly, some of its provisions were that in central and provincial legislatures Muslims, Dalits, and minorities should be given proper representation and there will be an equal number of Hindu and Muslim members in the Viceroy’s Executive Council. A meeting of all major political parties in India was organized at Simla to consider the Wavell Plan. Barrister Jinnah insisted that only the Muslim League should have the right to suggest the names of Muslim representatives to the Viceroy’s Executive Council. But the Congress opposed it. Therefore the Wavell plan could not be successful.
After the end of the Second World War, the British rulers were in favor of granting freedom to India. In the Parliament, British Prime Minister Attlee clarified the British policy regarding India. According to it, the right of Indian people to draft their own Constitution was recognized. It was also made clear that the issue of minorities will not come in the way of India’s Independence. In March 1946, a delegation of British ministers namely Pethick Lawrence, Stafford Cripps, and A.V. Alexander put forth England’s plan regarding India in front of the Indian leaders. This is called ‘Cabinet Mission’. Some of the provisions in the plan were not acceptable to Congress. Similarly, there was no provision for an independent state for the Muslims, so the Muslim League was unsatisfied. Therefore Cabinet Mission was not fully accepted.
Direct Action Day:
Since the demand for Pakistan was not being fulfilled, the Muslim League decided to direct action. Accordingly, 16 August 1946, was declared to be observed as ‘Direct Action Day’ by the Muslim League. The followers of the Muslim League resorted to violent ways. There were Hindu-Muslim riots in various parts of the country. There were massacres in the Noakhali region in the province of Bengal. To stop this violence Gandhiji went there without giving any thought to his own life. He tried his best to establish peace there.
Establishment of Interim Government:
While the blaze of violence had arisen in the country, Viceroy Wavell established the Interim Government. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the head of this government. The Muslim League initially refused to participate in the Interim Government, but later, participated in it. However since the leaders of the Muslim League adopted the policy of obstruction, the Interim Government could not work smoothly.
England’s Prime Minister Atlee had announced that England would leave its dominion on India before June 1948. In the background of the transfer of power in India, Lord Mountbatten was appointed as Viceroy of India. Mountbatten held discussions with prominent leaders of India. Thereafter, he prepared a plan for the creation of India and Pakistan as two independent nations. Indian National Congress opposed the plan of partition. Unity of the nation was the basic stand of the Indian National Congress, but the Muslim League remained adamant about the creation of Pakistan. National Congress was left with no option but to accept the decision of partition with complete helplessness.
Indian Independence Act:
On 18 July 1947, based on the Mountbatten Plan, the Indian Independence Act was passed in the British Parliament. On 15 August 1947, the two independent nations India and Pakistan will come into existence. Thereafter the British Parliament will not have any control over them. The British supremacy over the princely states will also come to an end. The Act provided them the right to either join India or Pakistan or remain independent.
India Gains Independence:
As per the Indian Independence Act, India was granted independence on 15 August 1947. A meeting of the Constituent Assembly was going on in the hall of Parliament House in Delhi at midnight on 14 August 1947. At the stroke of midnight hour, India’s dependence came to an end. The Union Jack of Britain was lowered and in its place, the Indian tricolor flag was unfurled. India attained Independence from the 150 years of slavery.
The joy of attainment of freedom was not untinted. Indian people were grieved due to the partition of the country and the terrible violence during that period. Instead of joining the celebration of Independence, Gandhiji was striving hard in Bengal. Within six months of the attainment of freedom in India, Gandhiji was brutally assassinated by Nathuram Godse on 30 January 1948. Gandhiji strove day and night to preserve Hindu-Muslim unity and laid down his life for the same.
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