The era from 1940 to 1947 is the era of rapid changes. Many important events in the history of the Sub Continent took place. The demand of Pakistan is the most prominent among them. In the past, the demand of Pakistan was not raised clearly. It was due to Muslim achievements in this period that now we are living in a sovereign and independent state. The political events from Pakistan Resolution to the establishment of Pakistan are summarized under
1. Pakistan Resolution (March 1940)
The attitude of the Hindus made it clear that the Hindus and the Muslims were two separate nations. On March 23rd, at the annual session of Muslim League at Lahore, the famous resolution, commonly known as the Pakistan Resolution was passed. It was presented by Maulvi Fazlul Haq. Quaid-e-Azam said in the ever eloquent words
We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calender, history and tradition, aptitudes and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law, we are a nation.
2. August 1940’s Offer
It was proposed to enlarged governor general councils to include members from political parties. War Advisory Committee was also launched. Both League and Congress rejected the offer.
3. Civil Disobedience Movement (April 1942)
28th session of League was held at Madras in which a resolution was adopted on Civil Disobedience Movement launched by Congress.
4. Cripps Mission (March 1942)
Sir Stafford Cripps was sent by the British Government to India in March 1942, to discuss with Indian leaders, the future Indian Constitutions. His proposal was rejected by both the Congress and the League. The Congress characterized them as a post-dated cheque on a failing bank. Jinnah, in his presidential address to the Allahabad session of the League, analyzed the Cripps proposals and expressed the disappointment that if these were accepted. Muslims would become a minority in their majority provinces as well.
5. Quit India (August 1942)
The failure of the Cripps Mission, though unfortunate in many ways, resulted in strengthening of the Muslim League case for Pakistan. The Congress decided to launch its final assault on British imperialism in the movement that came to be known as the “Quit India” movement. It was “open rebellion” due to which many people were killed League raised a slogon of Divide and Quit India.
6. Action Committee (December 1943)
It was formed to prepare and organize Muslims of India for coming struggle for achievements of Pakistan.
7. Gandhi Jinnah Talks (September 1944)
Gandhi held talks with Jinnah to discuss about the future of India, but no fruitful results came out of it because Gandhi did not accept Muslims as a separate nation. Though the Gandhi-Jinnah negotiations failed to achieve the avowed goal of the Hindu-Muslim unity, they brought to Jinnah and the Muslim League two important political gains. Firstly, the leadership of the Congress had now offered to discuss the question of Pakistan seriously before that, the Congress and Mahatama had kept the door to that subject uncompromisingly shut. Secondly, the Congress could no longer justifiably claim that it stood for all the communities in India including the Muslims. Louis Feisher wrote
The wall between Jinnah and Gandhi was the Two Nation Theory.
8. Wavell’s Plan (June 1945)
Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India, announced his plan on 14th June 1945 to end the political ruin. As per the provisions of the Wavell Plan, the Executive Council would be reorganized and Hindus and Muslims would equally represent in the Viceroy’s Executive Council and the Council would work as Interim Government till the end of war.
9. Simla Conference (June 1945)
Lord Wavell called a conference at Simla in June 1945 to give a practical shape to this plan. The Quaid-e-Azam insisted that the right to appoint five Muslim Members in the Executive Council should entirely rest with the Muslim League. This was not acceptable to the Congress as the Congress claimed to represent both the Hindus and Muslims. The conference failed to achieve any purpose due to one-sided attitude of Lord Wavell. In this conference, Quaid-e-Azam made it cystal clear that only the Muslim League can represent Muslims of India.
10. General Elections (December 1945)
Elections for the central and provincial assemblies were held in 1945-1946. Muslim League managed to win all the 30 seats reserved for the Muslims in central legislative and 427 seats out of 495 Muslim seats in the provincial legislative. Elections results were enough to prove that Muslim League, under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam, was the sole representative of the Muslims of the region. Quaid-e-Azam said on this occasion
I have no doubt now in the acheivement of Pakistan. The Muslims of India told the world what they want. No power of world can topple the opinion of 10 crore Muslims of India.
11. Delhi Convention (1946)
On 19th April 1946, soon after the elections, Jinnah called a convention at Delhi of all the newly elected League members in the central and provincial legistatures. In this convention the word “States” of 1940’s Lahore Resolution is transformed into the word “State” and the legislators signed pledges solemnly declaring their firm conviction that the safety, security, salvation and destiny of the Muslims lay only in the achievement of Pakistan.
12. Cabinet Mission Plan (1946)
The most delicate as well as the most tortuous negotiations began with the arrival, in March 1946, of a three member British Cabinet Mission. The crucial task with which the Cabinet Mission was entrusted was that of devising in consultation with the various political parties, constitution making machinery, and of setting up a popular interim government. But, because the Congress-League gulf could not be bridged, despite the Mission’s prolonged efforts, the Mission had to make its own proposals in May 1946.
The Muslim League accepted the plan on June 6, 1946. The Congress accepted the plan on June 25, 1946, though it rejected the interim setup. The Viceroy should now have invited the Muslim League to form Government as it had accepted the interim setup; but he did not do so because he did not want to make Congress angry. So in this situation Cabinet Mission went back to England on June 29 without deciding anything.
13. Direct Action Day (16th August, 1946)
The Council of the All India Muslim League met in Bombay and on July 27, 1946 it finally sealed its rejection of the Cabinet Mission Plan, and decided to launch its famous “Direct Action” for the achievement of Pakistan, which it could not achieve by peaceful means due to the intransigence of Congress on the one hand and the breach of faith with the Muslim by the British Government on the other. Direct Action Day was observed peacefully throughout India, except in Calcutta, where riots broke out.
14. Interim Government (1946)
On 2nd September 1946 a Congress-dominated Interim Government headed by Nehru was established. The Muslim League refused to accept the proposal in the beginning and did not nominate its members on 5 reserved seats. Muslim League, afterwards, thought that Congress, being in power could harm the Muslim interests so it joined the Cabinet after two months on 26th October 1946. However, the basic attention of both the parties was to save their interests in the interim government.
15. London Conference (December 1946)
The British Government convened a conference of Hindu leader in December 1946 in London to resolve the constitutional problems. Prime Minister Attlee, Lord Wavell, Nehru, Quaid-e-Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan and Sardar Baldev Singh participated in this conference. This Conference also could not end political deadlock.
16. Poor man’s Budget (February 1947)
Congress Allocated the Finance Ministry to the League. This is effect placed the whole governmental setup under the Muslim League. On 28th February Liaquat Ali Khan as a minister of Finance presented a budget for 1947-48 which was called a poor man’s budget as it adversely affected the Hindu capitalists. The deadlock between the Congress and the League further worsened in this setup.
17. Attlee’s Statement (1947)
On 5th February 1947, harried by Muslim League’s tactics, nine members of the Interim Government wrote to the Viceroy demanding that League members resign. The League’s demand for the dissolution of the constituent assembly had proved to be the last straw. The developing crisis was temporarily defused by the statement made by Attlee in Parliament on 20th February, 1947. The date for British withdrawal from India was fixed as 30th June 1948 and the appointment of a new Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten (1900-1979), was announced.
18. 3rd June 1947 Plan
By the close of 1946, the communal riots had flared up to muderous heights, engulfing almost the entire subcontinent. The two people it seemed, were engaged in a fight to the finish. The time for a peaceful transfer of power was fast running out. Realizing the gravity of the situation, His Majesty’s Government sent down to India a new Viceroy – Lord Mountbatten. His protracted negotiations with the various political leaders resulted in 3 June (1947) Plan by which the British decided to partition the subcontinent, and hand over power to two successor States on 15 August, 1947. The plan was duly accepted by the three Indian parties to the dispute the Congress, the League and the Alkali Dal (representing the Sikhs).
19. Indian Independence Act (July 1947)
In July, the British parliament passed the Indian Independence act which was enforced promptly. The Muslims of the Sub Continent finally succeeded in carrying out an independent Islamic State for Muslims.
20. Transfer of Power (14th August 1947)
The transfer of power ceremony was held in Karachi and finally Pakistan came into being on 14th August 1947. Consequently, Quaid-e-Azam was sworn in as Governor General of Pakistan and Liaquat Ali Khan was appointed as Prime Minister of Pakistan on 15th August. That was the culmination of a long struggle which the Muslims of the South Asian Sub Continent has wedged for a separate homeland in the name of Islam.