Showing posts with label Azad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Azad. Show all posts

The Legend

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the voice of one hundred million Muslims, fought for their religious, social and economic freedom. Throughout history no single man yielded as much power as the Quaid-e-Azam, and yet remained uncorrupted by that power. Not many men in history can boast of creating a nation single handedly and altering the map of the world but Jinnah did so and thus became a legend.

"Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.", Stanley Wolpert

In the words of John Biggs-Davison, " Although without Ghandi, Hindustan would still have gained independence and without Lenin and Mao, Russia and China would still have endured Communist revolution, without Jinnah there would have been no Pakistan in 1947."

Lord Mountbatten had enormous confidence in his persuasive powers. But as far as Jinnah was concerned, he felt that though he tried every trick, he could not shake Jinnah’s resolve to have partition. Mountbatten said that Jinnah had a " consuming determination to realize the dream of Pakistan." And he remained focused on that till his death.

Lord Lothian had said that though Jinnah’s scheme of partition was good, it would take at least 25 years to take shape. But great wars and great men shorten history, and Jinnah was such a man who could alter the history of a nation.

The lessons he taught his countrymen were worth remembering for the life time, especially the lesson of equality. Always a worker for Hindu Muslim unity, he served a political apprenticeship in the Congress. He said: "Whatever you may be, and whatever you are, you are a Muslim , you have carved out a territory, a vast territory . It is all yours. It does not belong to a Punjabi or a Sindhi or a Pathan. There is white too in the lovely flag of Pakistan. The white signifies the non- Muslim minorities."

An upright man who always kept his word, he thought well before he spoke. If he made a promise he made sure he kept his word. In his last days when he was suffering from extreme illness, he went to the meetings and dinners he was invited to and made it to the inauguration of the State Bank of Pakistan because he had promised he would be there. He advised, " if ever you make a promise, think a hundred times, but once you make a promise, honor your promise."

Quttabuddin Aziz remarks that Muslim India was beset by socio-economic frustration. At such a time Jinnah guided a virtually rudderless Muslim League. Aziz refers to Jinnah as the greatest Muslim leader of the 20th century who was able to turn a dream state of Pakistan into a reality.

Saleem Qureshi refers to him as a messiah in the restricted sense, that he revived the spirit of nationhood among the Muslims of India and secured a homeland for them. He wanted partition to be a peaceful one because he believed in non-violence and practiced and preached it.

Director, Center of South Asian Studies, Gordon Johnson said rightly of Jinnah: "He set a great example to other statesmen to follow by his skill in negotiation, his integrity and his honesty."

In March 1940 after laborious attempts at Hindu-Muslim unity failed, Jinnah proposed the idea of an independent nation for the Muslims of India in areas where Muslims were numerically in majority. He was then given the title of Quaid-e-Azam (supreme leader) by the Muslims of India. Yet Jinnah was more than Quaid-e-Azam for the people who followed him and more than the architect of the Islamic nation he called into being. He commanded their imagination and their confidence. He was not bogged down by the daunting task of creating a home for Muslims in which they would be able to live in the glory of Islam. Few statesmen have shaped events to their policy more surely than Jinnah. He was a legend even in his lifetime.

The Last Year

Pakistan became constitutionally independent at midnight between the 14th and 15th August 1947. The Quaid assumed charge as the Governor General of Pakistan on August 15, 1947.

Soon after that Jinnah riveted himself to work. The colossal task of building Pakistan from scratch needed his immediate attention. Since the Lahore Resolution of 1940, he never rested even for a moment. But he surpassed himself after becoming the first head of the biggest Muslim State. From the day he arrived in Karachi on August 7, till he breathed his last, is a tale of self abnegation, exemplary devotion to duty and intense activity.

  Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with Liaquat Ali Khan

Even at the hour of triumph, Jinnah was sick and in pain. He had little or no appetite; he had lost his gift of being able to sleep at will and he passed many sleepless nights; also, his cough increased and with it his temperature. The harrowing tales of the sufferings of the refugees affected him deeply.

Of the numerous disputes with India and domestic worries,evidently the unsolved problem of Kashmir, his inability to complete the Constitution of the new state of Pakistan, and the plight of the millions of refugees who had arrived in their new homeland utterly destitute affected him the most.

The scale of the refugee problem and the depth of the tragedy were indeed heart rendering. For Pakistan the problem of coping with the refugees was proportionately far more serious than it was for India. Her territory and resources were much smaller and her administration was still in its infancy.

It was not only the plight of the Muslim refugees who had arrived from India that grieved the Quaid-i-Azam deeply. The sad condition of the Hindus in Pakistan hurt him no less.

Apart from Kashmir, there were two Princely states Junagarh and Hyderabad that formed the subject of disputes between India and Pakistan. All the states in the subcontinent except these three had acceded either to India or Pakistan by 14th August 1947. It so happened that all these three were ruled by princes whose own religion was different from that of the majority of their subjects.

The Governor General

Quaid-i-Azam and Fatima Jinnah drove on the morning of August 14th, from the government house to the Legislative Assembly hall along a carefully guarded route, lined with soldiers as well as police alerted to watch for possible assassins, since reports of a Sikh plan to assassinate Jinnah, had reached Mountbatten and Jinnah several days earlier. But only shouts of “Pakistan Zindabad” and “Quaid-i-Azam Zindabad” were hurled at his carriage. The Mountbattens followed in the crowded semicircular chamber of Pakistan’s parliament, which had been Sind’s Legislative Assembly.

Lord Mountbatten graciously felicitated Jinnah and read the message from his cousin, King George, welcoming Pakistan into the Commonwealth. Jinnah replied:

“Your Excellency, I thank His Majesty on behalf of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and myself. I once more thank you and Lady Mountbatten for your kindness and good wishes. Yes, we are parting as friends…and I assure you that we shall not be wanting in friendly spirit with our neighbors and with all nations of the world.”

A witness reported:
“If Jinnah’s personality is cold and remote, it also has a magnetic quality -- the sense of leadership is almost overpowering…here indeed is Pakistan’s King Emperor, Archbishop of Canterbury, Speaker and Prime Minister concentrated into one formidable Quaid-i-Azam.”

Pakistan, Birth of a Free Nation

On the morning of June 3, Mountbatten concluded the conference by announcing that an official announcement of the acceptance of the plan would be made by him and by the two leaders, Jinnah and Nehru, that evening in a radio broadcast.

The Delhi Station of All India Radio was agog with excitement. Mounbatten was there to announce, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, what Churchill in his inimitable style had termed, a few years back as the impending liquidation of the Bristish Empire in India. Mountbatten spoke with poise and dignity, and millions that heard him all over India, realized that the end of a long drawn-out struggle for independence was in sight, as he declared in unequivocal terms that power would be definitely transferred by the British to two successive sovereign States. The Viceroy concluded his broadcast with the words:
"I have faith in the future of India and I am proud to be with you all at this momentous time. May your decisions be wisely guided and may they be carried out in the peaceful and friendly spirit of the Gandhi-Jinnah appeal."

Then Nehru, in a solemn voice announced that the Congress had accepted the plan for India's independence, as set out in His Majesty's Plan announced by the Viceroy.

Then it was the Quaid-i-Azam, who was to address the Muslim Nation. His first sentence on that historic occasion was, "I am glad that I am offered an opportunity to speak to you directly through this Radio from Delhi." Regarding the Plan for the transfer of power to the peoples of India, he said: had to take momentous decisions and handle grave issues, "Therefore we must galvanize and concentrate all our energy to see that the transfer of power is affected in a peaceful and orderly manner." In this, his finest hour, he was meek and humble, "I pray to God that at this critical moment that He may guide us and enable us to discharge our responsibilities in a wise and statesmanlike manner." He did not forget to pay his tribute to those that had suffered and sacrificed in the struggle for Pakistan. "I cannot help but express my appreciation of the sufferings and sacrifices made by all classes of Muslims". He gave wholehearted credit for "the great part the women of the Frontier played in the fight for our civil liberties." He did not forget those who had died or suffered in the struggle for Pakistan, "I deeply sympathize with all those who have suffered and those who died or whose properties were subjected to destruction".

Quaid-i-Azam ended his memorable speech by saying, extemporaneously, "Pakistan Zindabad".

The Quaid-i-Azam and his sister Fatima Jinnah flew from New Delhi to Karachi on August 7, 1947. The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan elected Jinnah as its president at its inaugural session on August 11, 1947. In his presidential address to the Assembly, the Quaid said that the first duty of a government was to maintain law and order so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected. If Pakistanis wanted to make their country happy and prosperous they should "wholly and solely concentrate on the well being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor." In that historical address he remarked further:

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan…You may belong to any religion or caste or creed -- that has nothing to do with the business of the State…We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination between one caste or creed or another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.…My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest Nations of the world."

On the afternoon of August 13, Lord and Lady Mountbatten flew from Delhi to Karachi. The state procession on August 14 was staged in open cars with Jinnah and Mountbatten in the leading car and Miss Fatima Jinnah and Lady Mountbattten in the next car. Mountbatten addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan followed by Jinnah.

Pakistan became constitutionally independent at midnight between the 14th and 15th August 1947. The Quaid assumed charge as Governor General on August 15 and the Cabinet of Pakistan, with Liaquat Ali Khan as Prime Minister, was sworn in on the same day.

The Radcliffe Boundary Award

Two boundary commissions were set up by the Viceroy, one of them was to deal with the detailed partition of Bengal and separation of Sylhet from Assam and the other to deal similarly with the partition of the Punjab. Each of the commissions would have a chairman and four members, two appointed by the Congress and two by the Muslim League. Sir Cyril Radcliff, a leading member of the English Bar, was appointed the chairman of both the omissions.

Radcliff had never visited India before and there is no indication that he had any worthwhile knowledge of Indian affairs. He arrived in Delhi on July 8. Mountbatten disclosed the awards to the Indian leaders on August 17.

The awards satisfied no one. The Congress' criticism of the award relating to Bengal mainly related to the allotment of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to Pakistan. The major Pakistani criticism was the allotment of Calcutta to India.

Click on the image to enlarge (source: wikipedia)
With regard to the Ferozepore district, Pakistan pointed out that Muslim majority tahsils of Ferozepore and Zira, contiguous to Pakistan, were first allotted by Radcliff to Pakistan later on as the result of a last minute intervention by Mountbatten, were allotted to india.

The Quaid-i-Azam could do no more than to console his countrymen:
"we have been squeezed in as much as was possible and the latest blow that we have received is the Award of the Boundary Commission. It is an unjust, incomprehensible and even perverse Award. It may be wrong, unjust and perverse; and it may not be a judicial but a political Award, but we have agreed to abide by it and it is binding upon us. As honourable people we must abide by it. It may be our misfortune but we must bear up this one more blow with fortitude, courage and hope."

The Plan of June 3, 1947

The plan for the transfer of power to which all concerned had agreed, was authoritatively announced by the British Government in the form of a statement on June 3, by Prime Minister Attlee in the House of Commons and Secretary of State for India the Earl of Listowel in the House of Lords.

The existing Constituent Assembly would continue to function but any constitution framed by it could not apply to those parts of the country which were unwilling to accept it. The procedure outlined in the statement was designed to ascertain the wishes of such unwilling parts on the question whether their constitution was to be framed by the existing Constituent Assembly or by a new and separate Constituent Assembly. After this had been done, it would be possible to determine the authority or authorities to whom power should be transferred.

The Provincial Legislative Assemblies of Bengal and the Punjab (excluding the European members) will therefore each be asked to meet in two parts, one representing the Muslim majority districts and the other the rest of the Province.

The members of the two parts of each Legislative Assembly sitting separately will be empowered to vote whether or not the Province should be partitioned. If a simple majority of either part decides in favour of partition, division will take place and arrangements will be made accordingly.

For the immediate purpose of deciding on the issue of partition, the members of the Legislative Assemblies of Bengal and the Punjab will sit in two parts according to Muslim majority districts and non-Muslim majority districts. This is only a preliminary step of a purely temporary nature as it is evident that for the purposes of final partition of these Provinces a detailed investigation of boundary questions will be needed; and, as soon as a decision involving partition has been taken for either Province, a Boundary Commission will be set up by the Governor General, the membership and terms of reference of which will be settled in consultation with those concerned.

Moreover, it was stated that the Legislative Assembly of Sindh was similarly authorized to decide at a special meeting whether the province wished to participate in the existing Constituent Assembly or to join the new one. If the partition of the Punjab was decided , a referendum would be held in the North-West Frontier Province to ascertain which Constituent Assembly they wished to join. Baluchistan would also be given an opportunity to reconsider its position and the Governor General was examining how this could be most appropriately done.

In his broadcast, Mountbatten regretted that it had been impossible to obtain the agreement of Indian leaders either on the Cabinet Mission plan or any other plan that would have preserved the unity of India. But there could be no question of coercing any large area in which one community had a majority to live against their will under a government in which another community had a majority. The only alternative to coercion was partition.

On the morning of June 4, the Viceroy held a press conference and said for the first time publically that the transfer of power could take place on "about 15 August" 1947.

The Council of the All India Muslim League met in New Delhi on 9th and 10th of June 1947 and stated in its resolution that although it could not agree to the partition of Bengal and the Punjab to give its consent to such partition, it had to consider the plan for the transfer of power as a whole. It gave full authority to the Quaid-i-Azam to accept the fundamental principles of the plan as a compromise and left it to him to work out the details.

The All India Congress Committee passed a resolution on June 15 accepting the 3rd June plan. However, it expressed the hope that India would one day be reunited.

New Indian Policy and Mountbatten's Appointment as the Viceroy

The Muslim League's refusal to take part in the Constituent Assembly meant that the plan of the Cabinet Mission for the transfer of power in accordance with a Constitution framed cooperatively by the Indian political parties themselves had come to a deadlock. Accordingly, Prime Minister Attlee made the following statement on Indian policy in the House of Commons on February 20, 1947:

His Majesty's Government desire to hand over their responsibility to authorities established by a Constitution approved by all parties in India in accordance with the Cabinet Mission's plan, but unfortunately there is at present no clear prospect that such a Constitution and such authorities will emerge. The present state of uncertainty is fraught with danger and cannot be indefinitely prolonged. His Majesty's Government wish to make it clear that it is their definite intention to take the necessary steps to effect the transference of power into responsible Indian hands by a date not later than June 1948…if it should appear that such a Constitution will not have been worked out by a fully representative Assembly before the time mentioned, His Majesty's Government will have to consider to whom the powers of the Central Government in British India should be handed over, on the due date, whether as a whole to some form of Central Government for British India or in some areas to the existing Provincial Governments, or in such other way seem most reasonable and in the best interests of the Indian people.

In regard to the Indian States, as was explicitly stated by the Cabinet Mission, His Majesty's Government do not intend to hand over their powers and obligation under paramountcy to any government of British India. It is not intended to bring paramountcy, as a system, to a conclusion earlier than the date of the final transfer of power, but it is contemplated that for the intervening period the relations of the Crown with individual States may be adjusted by agreement.

It was announced at the same time that Rear-Admiral the Visount Mountbatten would succeed Lord Wavell as the Viceroy in March. Lord and Lady Mountbatten landed at Delhi on March 22, 1947 and he took over as the Viceroy two days later. He could very well have represented to the British Government that both the Congress and the Muslim League had already asked for the partition of India into Muslim-majority and non-Muslim majority areas and sought their permission to embark upon the process of partition straightaway. But he chose to follow the policy that first the attempt to transfer power in accordance with the Cabinet Mission plan must continue. It is to that end, therefore, that he first directed his endeavors.

Mountbatten's relations with the Congress party had a flying start. The foundation of Nehru's friendship with Lord and Lady Mountbatten had been laid in March 1946 when the Indian leader visited Singapore. The political conditions in India too had changed in favor of the Congress. In post-independence India the Congress party was expected to rule the country. Consequently, it was the Congress's friendship that had now to be cultivated. The fact that Mountbatten personally was bitterly opposed to partition, made it much easier for him to court the Congress leaders.

All these factors greatly increased the already formidable odds facing the Quaid-i-Azam in his fight for Pakistan. In his meetings with Mountbatten, he refused to budge from the position that Pakistan was the only solution acceptable to the Muslim League.

The Interim Government (1946)

Wavell wrote identical letters to Nehru and Jinnah on July 22, 1946 asking them whether the Congress and the Muslim League would be prepared to enter an interim government on the basis that six members(including one Scheduled Caste representative) would be nominated by the Congress and five by the Muslim League. Three representatives of the minorities would be nominated by the Viceroy. Jinnah replied that the proposal was not acceptable to the Muslim League because it destroyed the principal of parity. At Nehru's invitation, he and Jinnah conferred together on August 15 but could not come to an agreement on the question of the Congress joining the interim government.

The Working Committee of the Muslim League had decided in the meantime that Friday 16 August, 1946 would be marked as the 'Direct Action Day".There was serious trouble in Calcutta and some rioting in Sylhet on that day. The casualty figures in Calcutta during the period of 16-19 August were 4,000 dead and 10,000 injured. In his letter to Pethick-Lawrence, Wavell had reported that appreciably more Muslims than Hindus had been killed. The "Great Calcutta Killing" marked the start of the bloodiest phase of the "war of succession" between the Hindus and the Muslims and it became increasingly difficult for the British to retain control. Now, they had to cope with the Congress civil disobedience movement as well as furious Muslims that had also come out in the streets in thousands.

The negotiations with the League reached a deadlock and the Viceroy decided to form an interim government with the Congress alone, leaving the door open for the League to come in later. A communiqué was issued on August 24 which announced that the existing members of the Governor General's Executive Council had resigned and that on their places new persons had been appointed. It was stated that the interim government would be installed on September 2.

Jinnah declared two days later that the Viceroy had struck a severe blow to Indian Muslims and had added insult to injury by nominating three Muslims who did not command the confidence of Muslims of India. He reiterated that the only solution to Indian problem was the division of India into Pakistan and Hindustan. The formation of an interim government consisting only of the Congress nominees added further fuel to the communal fire. The Muslims regarded the formation of the interim government as an unconditional surrender of power to the Hindus, and feared that the Governor General would be unable to prevent the Hindus from using their newly acquired power of suppressing Muslims all over India.

After the Congress had taken the reins at the Center on September 2, Jinnah faced a desperate situation. The armed forces were predominantly Hindu and Sikh and the Indian members of the other services were also predominantly Hindu. The British were preparing to concede independence to India if they withdrew the Congress was to be in undisputed control, the Congress was to be free to deal with the Muslims as it wished. Wavell too, felt unhappy at the purely Congress interim government. He genuinely desired a Hindu-Muslim settlement and united India, and had worked hard for that end.

Wavell pleaded with Nehru and Gandhi, in separate interviews, that it would help him to persuade Jinnah to cooperate if they could give him an assurance that the Congress would not insist on nominating a Nationalist Muslim. Both of them refused to give way on that issue.Wavell informed Jinnah two days later that he had not succeeded in persuading the Congress leaders to make a gesture by not appointing a Nationalist Muslim. Jinnah realized that the Congress would not give up the right to nominate a Nationalist Muslim and that he would have to accept the position if he did not wish to leave the interim government solely in the hands of the Congress. On October 13, he wrote to Wavell that, though the Muslim League did not agree with much that had happened, "in the interests of the Muslims and other communities it will be fatal to leave the entire field of administration of the Central Government in the hands of the Congress". The League had therefore decided to nominate five members for the interim government. On October 15, he gave the Viceroy the following five names:

Liaquat Ali Khan, I.I Chundrigar, Abdur Rab Nishtar, Ghazanfar Ali Khan and Jogindar Nath Mandal. The last name was a Scheduled Caste Hindu and was obviously a tit-for-tat for the Congress insistence upon including a Nationalist Muslim in its own quota.

  • External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations:  Jawaharlal Nehru
  • Defence: Baldev Singh
  • Home (including Information and Broadcasting): Vallahbhai Patel
  • Finance: Liaquat Ali Khan
  • Posts and Air: Abdur Rab Nishtar
  • Food and Agriculture: Rajendra Parsad
  • Labor: Ragjivan Ram
  • Transport and Railways: M.Asaf Ali
  • Industries and Supplies: John Matthai
  • Education and Arts: C. Rajgopalacharia
  • Works, Mines and Power: C.H. Babha
  • Commerce: I.I. Chundrigar
  • Law: Jogindar Nath Mandal
  • Health: Ghazanfar Ali Khan

The Cabinet Mission (1946)

Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Secretary of State for India on February 19, 1946, announced in Parliament that a special mission consisting of three Cabinet ministers, in association with the Viceroy, would proceed to India, in order to hold discussions with the Indian leaders. The three Cabinet ministers would be Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander.

Cripps told the press conference on landing at Karachi on March 23 that the purpose of the mission was "to get machinery set up for framing the constitutional structure in which the Indians will have full control of their destiny and the formation of a new interim government." The Mission arrived in Delhi on March 24 and left on June 29.

Jinnah faced extreme difficulties in the three-month-long grueling negotiations with the Cabinet Mission. The first of these was the continued delicate state of his health. At a critical stage of the negotiations, he went down with bronchitis and ran temperature for ten days. But he never gave up the fight and battled till the end of the negotiations.

Secondly, the Congress was still much stronger than the Muslim League as a party. "They have the best organized -- in fact the only well organized -- political machine; and they command almost unlimited financial support…they can always raise mob passion and mob support…and could undoubtedly bring about a very serious revolt against British rule."-- Mountbatten's "Report on the Last Viceroyalty".

Thirdly, The Congress had several powerful spokesmen, while for the League Jinnah had to carry the entire burden of advocacy single-handedly.

Fourthly, the Mission was biased heavily in favor of the Congress. Secretary of State Pethick-Lawrence and Cripps, the sharpest brains among them, made no secret of their personal friendship for the Congress leaders.

Wavell was much perturbed by Pethick-Lawrence's and Cripps's private contacts with the Congress leaders and the deference they showed to Gandhi.

Finally, Jinnah suffered from the disadvantage that it was the Muslim League, a minority party, which alone demanded Pakistan. The Congress, the smaller minorities and the British Government including the comparatively fair-minded Wavell with whom the final decision lay, were all strongly opposed to the partition of British India.

Quaid-i-Azam the constitutionalist took appropriate steps to strengthen his hand as the spokesman of the Muslim League. He convened a meeting of the Muslim League Working Committee at Delhi (4-6 April 1946) which passed a resolution that "the President alone should meet the Cabinet Delegation and the Viceroy. This was immediately followed by an All India Muslim Legislator's Convention. Nearly 500 members of the Provincial and Central Legislatures who had recently been elected on the Muslim League ticket from all parts of India attended it. It was the first gathering of its kind in the history of Indian politics and was called by some "the Muslim Constituent Assembly". In his presidential address, Jinnah said that the Convention would lay down "once and for all in equivocal terms what we stand for".

A resolution passed unanimously by the Convention (the "Delhi Resolution") stated that no formula devised by the British Government for transferring power to the peoples of India would be acceptable to the Muslim nations unless it conformed to the following principles:

That the zones comprising Bengal and Assam in the North-East and the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan in the North-West of India, namely Pakistan, zones where the Muslims are in a dominant majority, be constituted into a sovereign independent State and that an unequivocal undertaking be given to implement the establishment of Pakistan without delay.

The two separate constitution-making bodies be set up by the people of Pakistan and Hindustan for the purpose of framing their respective Constitutions.

That the acceptance of the Muslim League demand of Pakistan and its implementation without delay are the sine qua non for Muslim League cooperation and participation in the formation of an Interim Government at the Center.

That any attempt to impose a Constitution on a united-India basis or to force any interim arrangement at the Center contrary to the Muslim League demand will leave the Muslims no alternative but to resist any such imposition by all possible means for their survival and national existence.

This impressive show of strength, staged in the very city where the members of the Cabinet Mission were quartered, demonstrated to the Mission and to all the others that the 100 million Muslims of India were solidly behind the demand for Pakistan and further that the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was their undisputed supreme leader.

The Mission began their talks by first informing themselves of the views of the different leaders and parties. When they found the view-points of the League and the Congress irreconcilable, they gave a chance to the parties to come to an agreement between themselves. This included a Conference at Simla (5-12 May), popularly known as the Second Simla Conference, to which the Congress and the League were each asked to nominate four delegates for discussions with one another as well as with the Mission. When it became clear that the parties would not be able to reach a concord, the Mission on May 16, 1946, put forward their own proposals in the form of a Statement.

Azad, the president of the Congress, conferred with the Mission on April 3 and stated that the picture that the Congress had of the form of government in future was that of a Federal Government with fully autonomous provinces with residuary powers vested in the units. Gandhi met the Mission later on the same day. He called Jinnah's Pakistan "a sin" which he, Gandhi, would not commit.

At the outset of his interview with the Mission on April 4 the Quaid was asked to give his reason why he thought Pakistan a must for the future of India.He replied that never in long history these was "any Government of India in the sense of a single government". He went on to explain the irreconcilable social and cultural differences between the Hindus and the Muslims and argued, "You cannot make a nation unless there are essential uniting forces. How are you to put 100 million Muslims together with 250 million people whose way of life is so different? No government can ever work on such a basis and if this is forced upon India it must lead us on to disaster."

The Second Simla Conference having failed to produce an agreed solution, on May 16, the Mission issued it's own statement.

The Cabinet Mission broadcast its plan worldwide from New Delhi on Thursday night, May 16, 1946. It was a last hope for a single Indian union to emerge peacefully in the wake of the British raj. The statement reviewed the "fully independent sovereign state of Pakistan" option, rejecting it for various reasons, among which were that it "would not solve the communal minority problem" but only raise more such problems. The basic form of the constitution recommended was a three-tier scheme with a minimal central union at the top for only foreign affairs, defense and communication, and Provinces at the bottom, which "should be free to form Groups with executive and legislatures," with each group being empowered to "determine the Provincial subjects to be taken in common". After ten years any Province could, by simple majority vote, "call for a reconsideration of the terms of the constitution". Details of the new constitution were to be worked out by an assembly representing "as broad based and accurate" a cross section of the population of India as possible. An elaborate method of assuring representation of all the communities in power structure was outlined with due consideration given to the representation of states as well as provinces.

The Quaid replied on the 19th , asking the Viceroy if the proposals were final or whether they were subject to change or modification, and he also sought some other clarification. The Viceroy promptly furnished the necessary explanations. It seemed as if the Quaid would accept the Viceroy's proposals. The Congress Working Committee met in Delhi on June 25 and by a resolution rejected the proposals, as "Congressmen can never give up the national character of the Congress or accept an artificial and unjust party, or agree to the veto of a communal group." Azad sent a copy of the resolution to the Viceroy and in his covering letter protested against the non-inclusion of a Muslim-Congressman from the Congress quota.

After the Congress stand had become known, the Working Committee of the Muslim League resolved to join the Interim Government, in accordance with the statement of the Viceroy dated 16th June. The interpretation of the Quaid-i-Azam was that if the Congress rejected the proposals, the League accepted them, or vice versa,the Viceroy would go ahead and form the interim Government without including the representatives of the party that decided to stand out. But the interpretation of the Viceroy and the Cabinet Mission was different from that of the Quaid-i-Azam.

It became clear that the protracted negotiations carried out for about three months by the Cabinet Mission did not materialize in a League-Congress understanding, or in the formation of an interim Government. Towards the end of June, the Cabinet Mission left for England, their task unfulfilled.

It had, however not been a complete failure. It was clear to the Indians that the acceptance of the demand for Pakistan would be an integral part of any future settlement of the Indian problem. In the meantime the League and the Congress were getting ready for elections to the Constituent Assembly.

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