Glendevon (3) 1939-1942  Linlithgow, Congress, Jinnah,War-time Realignments,   John  Glendevon

Quotes included:

Also  see:
Glendevon (1) Governor's Powers and Office Acceptance after the 1937 Provincial Elections
Glendevon (2) 1937-1940 Federation, Jinnah,  Congress activism in Princely States

For this period, also see:
1939-1940 India and the War, Anita Inder Singh
John Glendevon quoted from The Viceroy At Bay Lord Linlithgow in India 1936-1943, Collins, 1971.

The excerpts from the book presented here cover the period between the British declaration of war on September 3, 1939 and the failure of the Cripps Mission in 1942.

In 1937, Congress won legislative majorities in six (ultimately in seven) of eleven Provinces of British India. So one may wonder how was it that by 1940, the Muslim League could demand a fifty percent share among all other Indians in national government (namely reduce Congress to a minority) and also refuse participation in a Constituent Assembly or any forum or representative body  where Congress would be in majority? The Muslim League on occasion even went further and demanded a majority share with respect to all other Indians.  From demanding to be accepted as the sole representative of all Muslims, by 1942, Jinnah had advanced to demanding to approve representatives of Sikhs and Depressed Classes in the the Executive Council.  How did Jinnah become so powerful?

One gets glimpses of the 'evolution' of Jinnah's demands in the following narration of Linlithgow's stewardship of British rule in India during the war. A complete picture can be obtained only by examination of primary sources such as British and Indian official records of that time.  The key factor was, in my opinion, the refusal of the British to consider granting power at national level to the Congress. This was because the Congress was powerful enough to dictate terms to the British and meanwhile, the British establishment, even though fighting a great war for their own national survival, were completely unwilling to commit to even an unspecified date after the war when they would give India independence.

By becoming the embodiment of the aggrieved Muslim minority denouncing the Congress and demanding from the British protection thereof, Jinnah helped the British stave off all the demands of the Congress, whether these demands were relatively minor in scope(such as  'a role for Congress in government and declaration of war aims'); or more significant  ('commitment that after the war  India would be granted responsible national government'); or were major demands ('total independence now'). 

Jinnah set the terms of Muslims' agreement with other Indians so high that the Congress could not agree to them. This enabled the British to cite their deep desire and commitment to the unity of India; to the protection of  minority rights and the importance of opinions of Muslims in Indian Army and in other (Muslim) countries; and thereby get off scot free from giving any commitments and concessions to the Congress.   After every failure to reach agreement between the British and the Congress,  Jinnah simply set his demands even higher than before. 
The often-cited "Muslim majority" in the Indian Army evidently played a large role in conferring Jinnah with this power. His only rival on this account was the Punjab Premier Sikander Hayat Khan, who was, however, forced on account of his Punjabi political constituency to be non-communal, at a time when Jinnah was rising in stature by being communal in the rest of India.

Linlithgow and Jinnah between them, with help from Churchill, made the terms Hindu and/or Congress "majority"  the synonym of "oppression". The act of acknowledging a Congress and/or Hindu majority in any constitutional arrangement was made  synonymous with "denying rights" to the Muslim minority and thus being a morally illegitimate arrangement which was outside any rational consideration of the issue.  The British became the only true hearted champions of the unity of India, frustrated in their sincere efforts by an intransigent Congress while Jinnah in demanding equality/majority/unconditional secession was only demanding the denied rights of an oppressed minority(who in particular suffered heinous oppression by the majority for two whole years from 1937-1939).

The concept of government responsible to legislature (in which Hindus and/or Congress would be in a majority) was made equivalent to "majority's hegemony and imminent threat to Muslim rights".  Whether such a characterisation was factually accurate or not, one can see the entrenchment of this characterisation in public discourse in this period.  (One is forced to note  in the year 2008, that via the current turmoil in Pakistan, the
97% Muslim-majority  political descendants of  Jinnah are paying a price for the collective enterprise before 1947, of systematic and deliberate demonisation of government responsible to legislature).

The tag-team method of imperial control and accompanying advance of the Muslim prerogative in Indian constitutional development  during the War was a natural progression from the Federation specified by the 1935 Government of India Act; in which the central legislatures and conditions imposed for responsible national government at centre had been explicitly designed to stave off  the  elected nationalist majority.

As for Congress and its various positions and actions during the War- I believe any Congress intent of co-operation at the start of war swiftly changed to hostility when it became clear in end-1939 that the British had no intention of committing to responsible national government for Indians, forget independence, even at the end of the war. If such a conclusion about British intentions was indeed reached by the Congress, then in hindsight they were right, as can be seen even in the limited coverage of that period provided in these excerpts.  Congress's subsequent campaigns and positions
and their successes and failures must be viewed in the light of this British determination not to commit in advance to handing over power to responsible national government nor to leaving India. [When the British professed that they were ready to commit, they made sure to include an official policy allowing provincial secession which the Congress was forced to refuse].

In this period Congress was fighting on two fronts, firstly using the war to carry forward the nationalist demand  and secondly contending with  Muslim League's demands for acceptance of partition and Pakistan as pre-condition for Indian constitutional advance and until the creation of Pakistan, a veto over and equal share with the majority party.

The Congress also had to contend with the mixed blessing of being a party encompassing multiple ideologies by which its members pursued their nationalist aims - from Gandhi urging pacifism and nonviolence as ideology and strategy both; to those taking up arms and joining Britain's enemies to free India with force; from those urging decisive widespread public resistance and revolution to take full advantage of British weakness during the War; to those urging pragmatic co-operation with British war aims in the hope of winning constitutional concessions at the national level as reward for good behaviour.

It appears to me that Congress tried every approach to achieve its aim of Indian self-rule except seizing national government by force.  It requires a thorough study of the Quit India movement of 1942-43 and allied activism to understand which approach was most effective or none were. It seems quite an achievement that the Congress Party did not split in this period (except for temporary estrangement of the Rajagopalachari faction).
(end comment)

1939: Gandhi offered co-operation in the war, Congress demanded declaration of war aims and role in national government, Jinnah denounced parliamentary democracy, Linlithgow activated the minority card

Glendevon writes:
Directly after the declaration of war [on September 3, 1939]Linlithgow asked Gandhi to come and see him. Gandhi did so on 4th September and the two men talked for nearly two hours.

Linlithgow asked Gandhi where he stood. The Mahatma told him that he himself was in favour of India giving full and unconditional support to Great Britain although he could not speak for his friends. He said that, although he stood for non-violence, he had in the past given moral support to recruitment and was ready to do so again in his individual capacity. Gandhi showed 'great emotion' when he spoke of the possibility of the bombing of Westminster Abbey or Westminster Hall and said that he contemplated the war 'with an English heart.'

The Viceroy made clear to Gandhi that he would do all he could to keep him in touch with the war situation and he made arrangements for a senior staff officer to visit him with maps and up-to-date information. Concerning the internal position he stressed his anxiety that the Congress ministries should stay in office.He could not hold out any prospect of statutory changes but that did not mean that there could not be the closed consultation such as the two of them were having at that moment; he told Gandhi of his strong wish for a link between Government and Indian leaders, particularly in the sphere of defence. . .

The Mahatma.. raised the communal problem and the Muslim fears of Hindu dominance. The Viceroy, he said, could make a very valuable contribution by moving the Muslims, who were impressed by his powers, towards greater co-operation with Congress. This ought to be done as it was the only direction of true advance. Gandhi then threw in the old canard that communal differences were the fault of the British. He said that it was impossible for Britain to work for a unified, self-governing India and at the same time to exploit Muslim anxieties and communal differences in order to stay in India.

Gandhi asked whether the British were sincere. Linlithgow replied that he could say at once that those who had had personal experience of these matters and had been associated with the Act of 1935 were entirely sincere. At the same time, he added, he was bound to recognise that there was a large group of conservative opinion both in India and at home which had not yet fully faced the issue as presented by Gandhi, and which had not fully realised that it was impossible to have it both ways. But one could not hope to move diehards by telling them not to be diehards. What was needed was patience.

They parted on the most friendly terms. Linlithgow had been deeply touched by the emotion which Gandhi had shown, even if the Mahatma evinced 'the same disinclination to trouble about minor or subsidiary issues as I have always noticed in him.'

On the same day the Viceroy saw Jinnah. Before the interview he had received a message from Sikander, who asked that nothing should be done to inflate Jinnah or to make him more difficult to deal with. Sikander also repeated what he had already said in public, that the Punjab and Bengal were wholly behind the Government in the prosecution of the war whatever Jinnah and his friends might say.

Linlithgow felt it wise to be patient with Jinnah and to try to lead him in the right direction. If he could help the Muslim leader get more Muslims together he was, he had said, determined to do so. He told Jinnah, as he had already told Gandhi, of the need to suspend federal negotiations. Jinnah said he regretted that Sikander had rushed in front of his colleagues in the Muslim League to pledge co-operation. He had no feelings against Sikander, but Sikander alone could not deliver the goods.

Jinnah asked the Viceroy to strengthen his hand. He wanted something positive to take back to his followers, preferably a complete re-shaping of the constitution. Linlithgow asked him if he wanted him to turn the Congress ministries out. 'Yes! Turn them out at once. Nothing else will bring them to their senses. Their object, though you may not believe it, and though I did not believe it till two years ago, is nothing less than to destroy both you British and us Muslims. They will never stand by you.'

The Viceroy asked Jinnah to explain a statement he had recently made in public that he no longer believed in democratic government for India. How was India to obtain self-government if not by democracy? Jinnah replied that the escape from this impasse lay in partition-which was not an answer to the question. This conversation too, had been friendly although Linlithgow got the impression that he had upset Jinnah's tactics by the decision to suspend Federation. He believed that Jinnah had planned to offer the co-operation of the Muslim League in return for the abandonment of the scheme. . .

In spite of Gandhi's own attitude the Working Committee of Congress lost no time in attacking the Government. The Viceroy's information was that Gandhi held fast to the view which he had expressed to him and that he urged the Working Committee to offer unconditional co-operation. But the Committee was less far-sighted than Gandhi. It announced that the British Government had flouted Indian opinion by declaring India a belligerent nation. The issues of war and peace must be decided by the Indian people, who could not permit their resources to be exploited for imperialist ends. Co-operation must be between equals by mutual consent. India could not associate herself in a war said to be for democratic freedom when that freedom was denied to her.

Linlithgow thought it 'a tragedy in many ways that we should have in so important a position a doctrinaire like Nehru with his amateur knowledge of foreign politics and of the international stage.' He did not propose to rush into any decision on tactics until the picture was clearer. He could see that the most common demand was for an assurance of Dominion Status at the end of the war and for the constitutional association of Indian politician in its conduct.  But he was surprised at the curious failure to realise, even in well-informed quarters in the Press and elsewhere in India, that they were tied by the Act and that anyhow they could not produce at a moment's notice some constitutional device within the Act's terms which would meet the contradictory demands put forward while avoiding all the thorny controversies which had bedeviled every effort at constitutional advance for the last thirty years. . .

On 21st of September 1939, he set out, in a telegram to the Secretary of State, his views of the developing situation as he saw it and the possible ways of meeting it. The pace, he began, was becoming a great deal faster than he had anticipated at the beginning of the month. The Muslim League was offering conditional co-operation, demanding that the Government retreat from the 1935 Act. Congress for its part had rejected Gandhi's plea for unconditional co-operation, and were now bargaining hard.

Swift decisions, the Viceroy warned Zetland, might have to be taken on issues of great importance and he was anxious to clear the ground. There were three possibilities. First, if Congress would not co-operate except on unacceptable terms the Government must face the situation and allow Ministers to leave office. Secondly the Government could pay the full price of co-operation whatever the cost. The third possibility was to aim at a middle course, enabling both Congress and the Muslim League to keep in line with the Government of India in an effort to secure their co-operation, or at least their friendly neutrality; the provisions and scheme of the Act would be maintained.

The second course they could rule out at once. There would be no chance of reconciling the claims of Congress, the Muslims and the Princes either in the matter of Dominion Status or that of defence. Apart from that Linlithgow felt strongly that Britain must not enter any commitment which she might not be able to honour in the event:'. . .this type of blackmail once started is apt to continue, and you are well aware of the fissures within the Congress itself and the difficulty of satisfying all parts even of that party.'

The first course might have to be faced but it might involve the collapse of the Act, international misunderstanding and the slowing down of the war effort owing to the strain on an undermanned machine. Moreover, large numbers of British troops might have to be kept in India against the possibility of civil disobedience. It would, however, be possible to carry on somehow and the Muslims would probably support the Government. Linlithgow recommended the third possibility. He suggested that he should meet Gandhi and propose the creation of a Defence Liaison Committee. If that were not accepted he would ask Congress for suggestions and would propose an all-party meeting which would at least bring out the obstacle in the way of conceding what Congress demanded. . .

On 16th of September the Viceroy saw Gandhi. He was the first of no fewer than fifty-two leaders of various kinds whom Linlithgow saw, the series being carried out without a pause. Linlithgow told Jinnah he had sent for Gandhi and asked the Muslim leader to come too. Jinnah replied that he was too busy to come until after 1st October. This haughty response much annoyed some of Jinnah's colleagues, including Sikander and Zafrullah. It was not untypical of his manners. He was, for instance, often late for his interviews with the Viceroy, whereas Gandhi was always meticulously punctual.

..[Gandhi] gave an account of what had happened at the Working Committee. The Committee had been very critical of his(Gandhi's) attitude after his last meeting with the Viceroy. In the light of the general feeling shown he had decided that he could not do without Nehru and that he must hand over to him completely the task of drafting the manifesto.

Gandhi then asked the Viceroy for a declaration by Government of what he called 'a really satisfying kind'. Congress were in a special position and could alone achieve results. He wanted a declaration of British intentions and an arrangement by which Congress could share power at the Centre with the Government. Linlithgow set out the position as he saw it. He could hold out no prospect of any amendment of the Act at this stage, nor could he accept that Congress alone spoke for India; he could not disregard the legitimate claims of the Muslims and the Princes. . .  He had thought of an All-Parties meeting. He was perfectly conscious, he explained, that by exposing the internal differences between the great Indian communities and by bringing to notice the bitterness of communal feeling and the incompatibility of the demands and policies of the Congress and the Muslim League he would save himself a great deal of trouble. But that was not the proper approach to such grave issues. The most real contribution that could be made to India's future lay in sparing no effort to remove communal differences.

'Whether one liked it or not those differences existed. They were deep and real; and I was bound to remind him that  to most thinking men they appeared to make the attainment of Dominion Status, or of complete self-government difficult to a degree, if not wholly impossible at this stage.'

About Gandhi's two specific demands, for a declaration and a share of power by Congress at the centre, Linlithgow felt he could not be encouraging. On the declaration point he said that it was just possible that His Majesty's Government might be persuaded to say that at the end of the war they would reconsider the position under the Act. As for the demand for a share of power now he felt that this presented serious constitutional difficulties and that they could not combine cabinet government  as in Britain with the departmental system as practised in India without putting an unacceptable strain on the administrative machine. He also pointed out the weakness of a Cabinet not responsible to legislature. At the first signs of internal stress there would be resignations. Good government must come first at this time. . .
Gandhi thought that an all-Parties conference should be avoided at all costs. He also felt that the idea of a broad-based consultative body would satisfy no one; there would be extreme difficulty over choice of members and discussion would almost certainly degenerate into communal wrangles. ..He saw violence arising all around. If the Viceroy could make the right sort of declaration in time then it was possible to scotch this danger, but it would be a very close-run thing. It was essential to secure for the Congress a proper share of responsibility at the Centre. Linlithgow asked what sort of body he was thinking of.. Did Gandhi contemplate  representation on such a body of the Muslims and the Princes? The Mahatma held out at first for representation being confined to Congress Muslims but abandoned that narrow position and reluctantly agreed to the wider scope including the Princes. Proceedings of this body would be open; it need neither meet often nor vote when it met. The Viceroy, whose Council would continue in being, would take its views and advice into serious consideration.

Such was Gandhi's brittle concept. What he was after was a way out for the Working Committee so that it could make a hopeful declaration on co-operation. Linlithgow saw what he had in mind but found his approach unconvincing. The Viceroy wanted to advance by experience; Gandhi agreed it would be unwise to go too far too fast but said that the Working Committee must be able to give their people some hope. . . Gandhi by way of a post-script begged Linlithgow not to consult the Muslim League over the declaration. . .

[The Viceroy] thought that the Mahatma no longer felt strong enough to hold his people together, that the pressure from the Congress Left was increasing and the Right might not be able to keep to an agreement with Government even if one were reached.
'It is clear too that the depth and reality of the communal fissure is more apparent to them than ever; and I should have said that they feel a growing doubt as to their capacity for holding the situation in that regard, or for achieving what is no doubt their objective of tying the Muslim community and the Princes tight in constitutional bonds imposed at the first instance with our authority and maintained thereafter in their original rigidity by the majority community.'

[The Viceroy] felt certain that the only wise course was to try to keep all parties and their different sections together as much as possible.
'There is no other way in which we can achieve the unity of India, and any suggestion that we were endeavouring to divide and rule, or that the Secretary of State, the Governor-General and the Government of India were taking sides in matters of this nature could only be . . .  damaging to a degree.'

Linlithgow saw Prasad and Nehru next, on 30th September. He repeated to them the gist of his conversation with Gandhi and then immediately stressed how strongly he felt that the great aim must be the ultimate unity of India. They must take the utmost care not to prejudice this prospect in whatever course they took in connection with the war. Dominion Status, therefore, must depend on the achievement of the federal stage. He could not contemplate any amendment of the controversial parts of the 1935 Act in wartime, nor could there be adjustments in government without the support of Congress, non-Congress Hindus, the Muslims and the Princes. He said that he could not, in this forthcoming declaration, promise Dominion Status after the war because this would at once provide the Muslims and the Princes to active opposition and bring open conflict between the communities. As for defence, which the Act left in British hands, neither the Muslims nor Prince would be prepared to see it in the hands of Congress.

Prasad ..said that India could put heart into the war only if a declaration were now made envisaging complete  freedom for her. The Princes should not be allowed to stand in the way with their out-of-date systems of government. The Muslim attitude could not be allowed to hold up the whole business of constitutional advance of India. He said that he did not suggest amendment of the 1935 Act. Congress was not really opposed to Federation as such, only Muslims were.  Nor did he consider that the Muslim League represented the mind of Islam. As for an All-Parties Conference, he was resolutely against the idea. . .

Now it was Nehru's turn. He dwelt at length upon the immense changes likely to follow the war. The Government must think in terms of sweeping changes, not of gradual steps.. The declaration should promise absolute freedom to India after the war and the right of India to draft her own constitution.. He wanted a general election now. . . They should then draw upon the new Legislature for a new Government. Its powers would be wielded by consent rather than by law. This popular body would then be combined with the existing Government at the Centre so as to provide a single machine.. The Viceroy's idea of a Defence Committee of the Legislature appealed to him as being all to the good. The Princes could join it, but otherwise they must be coerced by any popular government in India. Revolutionary action was needed in the States. . .

[The Viceroy]  told them that they were galloping ahead like two spirited chargers. His progress might seem to them more like that of an old gharry horse. . .  He thought Nehru was going to be 'the chief nuisance' in this business: 'I found him doctrinaire to a degree, with all the indifference of a man who had never had himself to carry the burden of administration to the importance of detail. . . '

Before he saw Jinnah the Viceroy sent for Gandhi again. . . [Gandhi said] he felt in growing degree, doubt as to whether his belief in nonviolence was compatible with his continued association with the Congress. Matters had come to a head only last evening in the Working Committee when Nehru said that India would need a first-class army if she did win her freedom. Gandhi had said 'If that is where Congress leading India, it is clear that I can go no further with you.'.. Gandhi said he had wished, since the Viceroy and he had come so close together, himself to tell him these things in advance. Meanwhile he had hoped the Viceroy would go quietly ahead on the line he had already taken. . .

The Viceroy saw Jinnah on 5th October[1939] and found him more friendly and co-operative than before. Jinnah began by thanking Linlithgow for helping to keep the Muslims together and Linlithgow replied that it was in the public interest for the Muslim point of view to be fully and competently expressed. The Viceroy said that he had not made much headway with Congress and that it would be difficult for any declaration to go further than to promise possible modifications in the existing constitutional scheme at the end of the war. But it was of no use to proclaim the intention of granting Dominion Status on the coming of peace if the essential preliminary, which was Federation, was not agreed in form by the two major communities.

Jinnah did not like the idea of a declaration as it would only increase communal tension. He saw no chance of unity unless Congress gave up the claim to speak on behalf of all parties and recognised the Muslim League as spokesman for the Muslims. ..Jinnah did not think that an expanded Council could be held together; he preferred a broadly based group of representatives, connected with Departments through the Viceroy.

The Muslim leader then pleaded for more protection for the Muslims. The Viceroy replied that he had examined the position carefully but could find no specific instances of oppression. Jinnah said that the Hindus had 'a subtle intention' to undermine the Muslim position, as for example in the instruction issued in the North-West Frontier Province for compulsory teaching of Hindi.

People often fail to corroborate others' statements whether these statements are dished out for purposes of politics or historical narration. For example, here is an alternative narrative on a small detail.

In  his book Facts Are Sacred (available online at, Khan Abdul Wali Khan, son of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan writes:
About one such meeting, the Viceroy writes on October 5, 1939:

"He thanked me with much graciousness for what I had done to assist him in keeping his party together and expressed great gratitude for this."

The party was Mr. Jinnah's but the responsibility for keeping it together seemed to have been assumed by the Viceroy. Another point touched on by the Viceroy in this letter is also interesting. He says that Mr. Jinnah complained about the Congress ministries having been very harsh on the Muslims. The Viceroy replied that his investigations showed that was not correct, and that the Muslim complaints arose only from an inferiority complex. Mr. Jinnah wasn't convinced. He cited the example of the Frontier Ministry which, according to him, had decided that Hindi would be made a compulsory subject in schools. He had to find some thing to back his complaint, so he picked on this allegation which he thought would be irrefutable.  What had actually happened was that Pushto, considered necessary for Pushtoon Children, had been declared compulsory. Mr. Jinnah apparently mistook that for Hindi."
(end quote)

Glendevon writes:
Linlithgow was still in the process of interviewing the fifty two when Mr. Attlee, Leader of the Opposition, launched an attack upon his policy in a debate in the House of Commons. ..The theme, couched in greatly over-simplified terms, was a plea for freedom from the imperialists with their diabolical invention of the myth of communal hatred in India. . . Linlithgow reacted by observing that.. he did think it unreasonable to a degree. He had kept in the closest touch with Gandhi.. Attlee might be reminded privately that Muslim opinion had to be considered and the Government had to weigh any proposal for changes in the system of government in India in the light of the fact that the army was largely  Muslim. Furthermore tribal areas and the Afghans were sure to react unfavourably to any increase in Hindu authority at the Centre, a consideration of the utmost significance in time of war and with the attitude of Russians so uncertain.

 1939-1940: Congress resigned office, Viceroy made the Muslim minority a national majority to forestall not only constitutional advance, but also national government and even Congress's return to provincial governments
[On the 17th of October 1939 the Viceroy] issued his awaited statement. . .  In the event the statement reasserted that Dominion Status for India was Britain's aim. The Viceroy added that at the end of the war the Government would be willing to consult with representatives of the several communities, parties and interests and with the Princes over the framing of such modifications in the 1935 Act as might seem desirable. Full weight would be given to the views of the minorities. .. As to Britain's war aims, the Viceroy said it would be unwise to give them precise definition at so early a stage. .. On the question of associating India more closely with the prosecution of the war, the Viceroy announced that it had been felt best to establish a consultative group which would be representative of all the major political parties and Princes. . .

Predictably the declaration was at once condemned by Congress. Gandhi.. showed he had rejoined them with a vengeance. The declaration, he said, made it clear that there was to be no democracy for India if Britain could help it and Congress would not be a partner with Britain in her war with Germany.. On 22nd October the Working Committee passed a resolution rejecting the declaration as 'an unequivocal reiteration of the old Imperialist policy' and calling upon the Congress Ministries to resign..

[The Muslim  League in their resolution] sought a clear answer to their previous demands that there should be no change in the constitution of India without agreement of the League. If their doubts could be removed they would then authorise Muslim support of the Government in the war.

On the day following this pronouncement the Chief Minister of Bengal (Fazlul Haq) refuted Gandhi's charge that the British Government wished to hold India; he said 'it is Indians themselves who by their internal dissensions and quarrels are forcing the British to remain in India as the paramount power.'. . .

By November, 1939, it seemed that all the Congress ministries would resign. . .  The Viceroy now suggested [that].. the Commander in Chief might be replaced in his Council by an Indian Defence Member. The Cabinet turned the idea down, but they agreed with his proposal to invite Gandhi, Prasad and Jinnah to come and see him together. ..The Viceroy proposed that.. they should try to reach a basis of agreement between themselves in the provincial field. If this were achieved they could then make proposals for representatives of their two organisations to participate in the Central Government as members of the Viceroy's Executive Council. One or more representatives of other groups would be added..Prasad rejected the proposal next day, using the same arguments as those employed against the declaration of 17th October. ..

The Viceroy published the relevant correspondence a few days later and said he would continue his efforts for agreement. This brought forth a statement from Gandhi that it was the Government's 'divide and rule' policy that had made agreement impossible. He and Prasad and Nehru then repeated the point that the communal question was unimportant and was used to deliberately conceal the main issue. At the same time the Mahatma sent a message to the News Chronicle that 'to fling the minorities question in India's face is to confuse the issue.'..

Shortly afterwards there was a further meeting in New Delhi, this time between Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah. Nehru stated later that the talks had removed many apprehensions and that he was unaware of any disagreement on fundamental issues such as had been referred to by the Viceroy. The Working Committee passed a long resolution which included an attempt to define a constituent assembly. There would be adult suffrage and the number of members of the Assembly should reflect the numerical strength of the communities, which mean there would be no 'weightage' as between the communities.

In reply to all this the Secretary of the Muslim League delivered  a rousing attack upon Congress on 6th December and Jinnah announced that 22nd December would be observed as a 'day of deliverance and thanksgiving as a mark of relief that the Congress Governments have at last ceased to function.' Again the Secretary of the League let fly, accusing for good measure British imperialism of combining with Congress to make life intolerable for the weak.

 [T]he Governors with one exception had reported to the Viceroy, in answer to his inquiries, that they had not found any examples of unfair treatment by their Governments. Lumley in Bombay, whilst acquitting his Ministers of oppressive action, considered that one of the causes of Muslim fears was the arrogance of the Congress, about which there had been complaints from many Hindus as well as Muslims. The arrogance was seen in the Legislature but its main impact came from the attitude of the Congress rank and file in the villages and towns, where the local Congress bosses had sometimes made it plain that they intended to make things uncomfortable for the Muslim minority.

Jinnah returned to the attack with a demand for a Royal Commission to be set up by the British Government consisting of High Court Judges to inquire into his complaints.

Linlithgow's patience in the face of disappointment was unshaken. On the failure of Gandhi, Prasad and Jinnah to agree to any provincial settlement whatever he wrote to Zetland:

'There remains today entire disagreement between the representatives of the major parties on fundamental issues. All I will say now I that I am not prepared to accept this failure. . .  During all the time I have been in India there is nothing I have been more anxious to secure than unity. And unity matters far more to India than is perhaps always realised. Unity, too, means that Indians, whatever their community or whatever their party allegiance, and whether they dwell in British India or in the Indian States, must work together in a common scheme. It is worth a great deal to try to bring that about. I may have been unsuccessful so far. But I will try again. And when I try again I would ask India to remember my difficulties and give me credit for an earnest goodwill and an earnest desire to assist.'

In other words, the Viceroy first made hay out of the Muslim League-Congress disagreement  over Muslim League' demand for sole spokesmanship of Muslims and (most probably) a communal veto in provincial elected governments. The Viceroy  set the condition that Congress must come to an agreement with Muslim League at provincial level before being allowed to enter government at national level.  Subsequently, the Viceroy went ahead and gave Muslim League a direct veto over the Congress(which at the time had legislative majorities in seven of total eleven Provinces) in the formation of the national government as well as stood himself against the creation of any Constituent Assembly in which the Congress would be in a majority.

A key quote left out by John Glendevon in his book while canvassing Linlithgow's great and strenuous labours to uphold Indian unity(blogger's sarcasm) is cited by Khan Abdul Wali Khan in his book. This helps explain some  statements and developments before and after the date.
(end comment)

In  his book Facts Are Sacred (available online at, Khan Abdul Wali Khan, son of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan writes:
The Viceroy writes as follows to the Secretary of State for India on December 4, 1939:
"I am fully alive, as my letters to you about Jinnah's questions will have shown, to the objection to allowing the Muslim minority to turn itself into a majority with right of veto, and that does seem to appear to be a position that we can accept."

This was in clarification of his policy with regard to the Muslim League Working Committee's demand that the British Government give an assurance that 'no declaration regarding the question of constitutional advance for India should be made without the consent and approval of the all-India Muslim League'.
(end quote from Wali Khan)

Glendevon writes:
By the middle of November all the Congress Ministries had resigned; it was known that most of them did so with real regret.. On 14th December there was a debate on India in the House of Lords. Zetland made a strong appeal for agreement between communities and stressed the very real problem of the minorities. ..

At the end of the month Linlithgow saw Cripps who had been in India for some weeks. Cripps had seen Zetland before leaving England and let him know his ideas for a constituent assembly. . .  Zetland was impressed at this stage but found the proposals less attractive when written down. The snag in the plan was that it rested simply upon a majority decision by the constituent assembly (it was in fact insistence upon this point by the Labour Party that had hardened Jinnah's suspicions so much). Cripps, however, hedged against rejection of his scheme by proposing that the Government should say that they were willing to accept any other plan agreed between the two communities subject to the rights of minorities being guaranteed for fifteen years, at the end of which period all British obligations would cease.

A few days before seeing Linlithgow, Cripps had a talk with Laithwaite (Private Secretary to the Viceroy). At this meeting he accepted the essential importance of the minority question but showed no sign of regarding it as weighing against the claim for majority decision. .. [Cripps] told the Viceroy that having seen Jinnah he had reached the conclusion that it was hopeless to get Congress and Muslims together. But he urged the Viceroy to 'go in at the right moment, try to get both sides together, and make them write down in so many words precisely what they wanted and in what terms they were prepared to reach an agreement' - which was in essence what the Viceroy had been trying his hardest to accomplish for the past four years. [The Viceroy felt that] Cripps was not blind to the weakness in the Congress make-up or to the complexity of the Indian situation:

'I regret the more, that being so, he should not have been a little easier to move, for I think he has gone away as wedded to his original proposition as he was when he came here.' . . .
Churchill had said in Cabinet, that all would be well if only firmness was shown and the beneficent effects of British rule made clear to the Indian masses. ..

Rafiq Zakaria in The Man Who Divided India quotes Zetland  on Churchill:
Lord Zetland, the then Secretary of State in India, had revealed in a Cabinet Memo dated January 31, 1940 that Churchill 'did not share the anxiety to encourage and promote unity between the Hindu and the Muslim communities. Such unity was, in fact, almost out of the realm of practical politics, while, if it were to be brought about, the immediate result would be that the united communities would join in showing us the door. He regarded the Hindu-Muslim feud as the bulwark of British rule in India.'
(end quote)

Glendevon writes:
[Gandhi] saw the Viceroy on 5th February [1940]. He merely reiterated the old argument. India must choose her own status, she was not like other dominions and her roots did not lie in England. He attacked the British concern for the minorities, including the European minority. These, including the Muslims and the Scheduled Castes, were India's business. As for the Princes, they should be regarded, not as a minority, but as a British problem created by the British. He would be content with a referendum of States' peoples on the form of government which they might want.

The Viceroy stuck to the point that Dominion Status for a unified India at the earliest possible moment was Britain's goal. Meanwhile his offer of an expanded Council still held good but he was convinced that any attempt to develop this into Cabinet Government at the centre with responsibility to the Legislature would fail. He told Gandhi that he had in mind the giving of four seats on his Council to the political parties and that he wanted to push on with Federation as the most practical means of achieving early unity. The Federal Legislature could then be used for purposes of consultation between the British Government and Indians on a revision of the constitution.

Gandhi replied that he felt there was not enough common ground to make further negotiations possible. . . .Birla wrote to the Viceroy to report Gandhi's view that.. [the] British Government must not be allowed to plead the minorities as a bar to right action on its part, but at the same time Indians must not blind themselves to the existence of this question which they themselves must solve. They could dismiss from their minds 'the impossible and utterly anti-national stand' taken by Jinnah. . .

It was not unreasonable in the circumstances for Linlithgow to feel that for the time being they must sit tight and let the situation develop. Recruiting was going well. Anti-war propaganda was decreasing; Congress would not attack recruiting as such tactics would only increase the hold of the Muslims over the army. . .

The Viceroy held to the objective of self-government for India at the earliest possible moment but he was becoming increasingly pessimistic as to the chances of Britain being in a position to hand over power. . .

[T]he events of the last six months had greatly changed the picture. The claims of the minorities had 'hardened beyond all belief.' ..On the Muslim side Jinnah himself had never been in the least constructive, but now even the Aga Khan, who had always been so helpful over Federation, was deeply apprehensive about the meaning of Dominion Status. He had assumed that there would be a ten to fifteen years' interval between Federation and Dominion Status and he did not favour a crash programme. The wise Zafrullah, too, although he thought Jinnah's idea of Pakistan demonstrably unsound with its cruel implications of mass movement of populations, understood the anxiety of his fellow Muslims.  Linlithgow, as near depression as he ever was, felt that the British need to have no qualms of conscience:

'We have never at any stage adopted, or tried to adopt, Machiavellian tactics or tried to play people off against one another, and our sincerity of purpose has been recognised even by our critics.'. . .

The minorities for their part were now realising the temporary nature of their safeguards with a clarity which events were putting into ever sharper focus. The nearer the moment of severance approached the less did they like the prospect. The only real hope was that the majority Hindu community would show the statesmanship to assuage the fears of the Muslims, but of this there was no sign.

The Viceroy felt reasonably enough that the Congress had only itself to blame for the position in which India now found itself but the reflection hardly lightened the burden he was carrying.. He now had to bear the added weight of holding together a divided country for the waging of war.

Congress returned to the attack on 1st March. The Working Committee adopted a resolution which was passed on 20th March at the annual session of Congress at Ramgarh. The resolution reiterated the refusal of Congress to participate in a war undertaken for imperialist ends and for the strengthening of the Empire which was based on the exploitation of India and other Asiatic and African countries. It strongly disapproved of Indian troops being made to fight for Britain, wholly rejected Dominion Status or any other status within the imperial structure; repeated the demand for a constituent assembly based on adult suffrage. Withdrawal of the Congress ministries must 'naturally' be followed by civil disobedience to which Congress would resort as soon as it was ready or as soon as circumstances precipitated it. . .

The reaction to this performance by Congress was inevitable. The Muslim League hardened its attitude still further and now threatened to cause serious trouble if the Congress Ministries were returned to office without some satisfaction of Muslim claims. The Viceroy called the Ramgarh resolution 'complete political folly.' He had had further hopes of reviving the federal scheme but Congress, he said, had now made this impossible by their claims.

A senior correspondent of The Hindu, Shiva Rao, saw the Viceroy after the Ramgarh session and begged him to try again to negotiate. . .  Get the Congress Ministries into office, said Rao. Linlithgow reminded him of the recent Muslim League statement. Shiva Rao then gave the Viceroy an interesting account of the origins of present Hindu-Muslim tension. These lay in an agreement reached in the United Provinces in 1936-37 between Congress and the Muslim League. The agreement was that, in the event of a Congress victory in the elections, representation would be found for the Muslim League in the provincial Cabinet. The agreement had not be honoured. Shiva Rao had challenged Nehru over this breach of faith and its fatal consequences. Nehru admitted breach of faith. His excuse was twofold, first that Congress had been taken aback by the very large majority which it had won, secondly that Congress had felt it would be in office for such a short time that it was not worth while  bringing in the Muslims. Shiva Rao thought that this decision had been a fatal mistake and that Congress had erred grievously everywhere in failing to recognise the importance of devoting their first few months in office to modifying the acerbities of communal strife.

A digression : another Viceroy, another conversation, on the same subject. This was Viceroy Wavell in conversation with Sir J.P. Srivastava, Food Member of the Viceroy's Executive Council.

From Wavell, the Viceroy's Journal, Ed. Penderel Moon.

Wavell writes:

November 30 1944
Srivastava  in a discussion with me today told me that, after the Congress success at the polls and assumptions of office in U.P. in 1937, the leading industrialists-all I think Hindu-got together and decided to finance Jinnah and the Muslim League and also the Mahasabha, as the extreme Communal parties to oppose Congress who they feared might threaten their financial profits. I said I considered it most immoral proceedings and Srivastava merely said:'but politics are immoral'.

Some other references to J.P. Srivastava by Wavell, elsewhere in his Journal:
February 7 1944
[During the discussion on the Budget] ..Srivastava was very concerned about his dividends but on the whole glad to get off lighter than he expected(he is a very rich man)..
April 27 1944
I got him[J.P. Srivastava] to talk of his previous career and achievements in science, business and politics; and I think this cheered him up. He dislikes democracy and Congress, and adjured me to get rid of this headcounting business as quite unsuitable for India. So it is. But will authority ever really have the courage to say so? I like Srivastava, he has some character and courage and independence, though I think his business is always at the top of his mind.
February 11 1946
Congress has its knife into J.P.Srivastava for some reason.
(end digression)

1940: Muslim League passed Lahore Resolution demanding Pakistan, Gandhi urged non-violence as defence in War, Congress renounced Gandhi's doctrine,
Jinnah demanded half share with Congress and a majority without Congress, Viceroy cited Muslim majority in Army as justification for his every position

Glendevon writes:
The Muslim League met at Lahore on 24th March[1940]. It was the first occasion on which the League staged a gathering at all comparable with the annual gathering of Congress. Its effect was greatly to enhance both the importance of the League as representative of Muslim India  and the prestige of Jinnah, who emerged as the unchallenged leader. Moreover for the first time a resolution was passed unanimously advocating the partition of India. The Governor of the Punjab (Craik) believed as a result that only an exceptionally courageous Muslim leader who would openly oppose or criticise this decision. If Sikander were to make the attempt it would mean a split in the League and possibly serious dissension among his own supporters in the Punjab. He was unlikely to take the risk.

The Governor saw the League's resolution as a very effective riposte to Congress as it torpedoed the Congress claim to speak for India. He doubted, however, whether the responsible Muslim leaders meant it as a seriously constructive proposal. He knew that Sikander had tried to secure that the resolution should provide for at least some form of central Government. The Governor added, with accurate foresight, that although he thought the Muslims would accept something less than partition at present, support for partition would grow as the interval lengthened without a concrete alternative being put forward.

With the Muslim League resolution fresh in his mind the Viceroy saw Birla at the latter's request. Birla said that Congress found it impossible to understand why, if the British Government was ready to force Federation on unwilling minorities and the Princes, they should not show equal readiness to force Dominion Status upon them. The Government's attitude seemed to indicate lack of good faith.

Birla's apparently awkward question gave Linlithgow the chance to explain the situation in the clearest terms which he had yet employed. To start with, he reminded Birla, the Muslims and the Princes had joined in the conferences and preparations for the 1935 Act and had accepted it because it gave to both of them the promise of mutual support at the Centre as a counter-weight to Congress and reserved defence for a considerable time to come to the Governor-General. Dominion Status did neither of these things. Moreover it would prevent the Governor-General and Provincial Governors from being in any position to protect the rights of minorities or the Princes. Given the attitude of Congress could it be wondered at, asked the Viceroy, that both groups had bolted?. . .

Zetland who only a month before had wanted Linlithgow to convene another conference of party leaders, now agreed that the Muslim League's attitude had destroyed the point of making any further proposals and told the War Cabinet so on 12th April. . . .

Jinnah and the Muslim League had in fact reached a position of strength which the Viceroy could not ignore him even if he had not entirely foreseen it. He must now give the League what support he properly could so that the Congress would realise that they could no longer treat the Muslim position with the disdain which they were only too ready to show. . .

[In May 1940] Winston Churchill succeeded Chamberlain as Prime Minister. Zetland resigned as Secretary of State for India. He wrote Linlithgow a letter in which he said that Churchill's approach to the Indian problem was so different from his own that his inclusion in the Government was scarcely possible. ..

[L.S. Amery became the new Secretary of State.] Amery made his first statement on India as Secretary of State on 23rd May in the House of Commons. ..The promise already given that the Act of 1935 and its context would be open to re-examination at the end of the war necessarily implied discussion and negotiation and not dictation. The Government had no desire to delay any of the steps that might lead to an agreed settlement which would take account of the legitimate claims of all communities and interests: the difficulty lay in the acute cleavage of opinion in India: he refused to regard that cleavage as unbridgeable. . . he could  not think that it was beyond the resources of Indian statesmanship to find at any rate a provisional accommodation which would admit of a resumption of office by Ministers in the Provinces and the appointment to the Governor-General' Executive Council of representative public men on the basis already offered. . . .

Congress immediately showed its resentment of any mention of the communal problem. [Nehru] said that the British Government must give up its conception of being the patronising overlord of India and must recognise India's complete independence to do what it like regarding its own future constitution and the problems arising from the war. . .

Sikander rallied to the support of the statement in the Punjab. . .  He hoped that Gandhi and Jinnah would join in reconsidering the Viceroy's suggestion that the provincial Ministries be reconstituted and the Executive Council enlarged: this would pave the way for agreement on the larger issues.. As a safeguard for the minorities it could be laid down that over vital differences no decision would be binding unless carried by a three-quarters majority concerned on religious and cultural matters. . .

[Meanwhile] the Viceroy told Amery that he was anxious, too, not to stir up Muslim apprehensions more than he could help. The Muslims alone were working the constitution in the Provinces and their support was essential both from the military standpoint (they were providing sixty per cent of the Army) and also because of possible reactions in other Muslim countries. The Muslim factor in the war context undoubtedly increased Linlithgow's difficulties vis-a-vis the Congress position but to ignore it would have been a flagrant dereliction of his duty to India at war.

Moreover he was confident that Congress, whatever it might do, could not now stop the war effort which was limited only by the availability of arms and equipment and training facilities. Men and money were coming in fast. . . .

Now came the moment of truth. France fell. Amery at once warned Linlithgow that the Mediterranean might have to be abandoned and Egypt and Palestine evacuated, and that he might have to face German and Italian air forces operating from Iraq, Arabia and Iran. That is why, wrote the Secretary of State, he had been anxious to get some sort of constitutional agreement, if at all possible, before they appeared to act from a position of despair. If no settlement could be found, he continued, Indian leaders might think the British Empire finished and strike out for themselves. If that happened, then they might see Pakistan declaring itself, Congress India doing the same, and the country disintegrating..

On 21st June the Working Committee passed a long resolution which in effect discarded Gandhi's leadership and doctrine in the sphere of self-defence. Nehru and others made a series of absurd statements trying to reconcile this with Ramgarh and explain that it did not mean they would cooperate with the Government. Gandhi was not deceived and felt deeply wounded, observing that the Committee had made a tremendous sacrifice in breaking with him. . .

The Viceroy saw Jinnah first on 28th June[1940]. The Muslim leader seemed anxious above all to get into the administration and urged that the November offer be put into operation even if Congress refused to join. He was indifferent to whatever declaration the Government might make as long as it did not compromise his Pakistan scheme. He would do nothing, he said, to risk the severance of the British connection; he was not prepared to consider any sort of constituent assembly. He accepted the need of the Executive Council for unity and for full co-operation in the war.

A few days later Jinnah followed up with a memorandum to the Viceroy in which he raised his terms. He made two new demands: first there should be a half-share for the Muslims in the central Government and in the War Council if Congress came in- they should in the majority if Congress stayed out: secondly all Muslim representatives in these two bodies should be nominated by the Muslim League. He was naturally told that each demand was unacceptable. . .

The Viceroy saw Gandhi on 29th June. . .  Gandhi was wholly opposed to any sort of exploratory process which he thought would merely bring out the differences between the two sides and embitter the situation still further. It would be regarded as a golden opportunity for staking out claims without the risk of awkward consequences; (Linlithgow agreed about this). . .

A few days after his interview Gandhi issued an appeal 'to every Briton, wherever he might be' to accept the method of non-violence instead of war. Britain should fight Nazism without arms and let Germany and Italy take what they wanted of her possessions and even occupy Britain if they wished. . .

The Working Committee passed a resolution on 7th July[1940].. [in which] it reiterated the demand for independence as before. As an interim step it demanded the setting up of a provisional National Government at the Centre, acceptable to the Provinces. This, it said, would enable Congress to throw its full weight into the effective organisation of the defence of the country..

1940-1941: Viceroy's August 1940 declaration, Jinnah demands decisive voice over appointments to Executive Council, Gandhi declares individual satyagraha as moral (as opposed to coercive) non-cooperation
[Linlithgow] felt that the time had come when he must now go forward with or without the support of Gandhi or Jinnah. Linlithgow also wanted to announce that the British Government would aim at Dominion Status within a year of the war's end. Amery put the new proposals to the Cabinet. Churchill reacted with a vehemence which surprised the Secretary of  State.. He refused to agree(and the Cabinet backed him) to any date for Dominion Status and otherwise hedged the draft round with more verbiage and equivocation than Amery or Linlithgow had wished.

In the event, the declaration.. announced the intention to expand the Executive Council while waiving the condition precedent of agreement in the Provinces. A War Advisory Council would be set up including 'representatives of the Indian States and other interests in the national life of India as a whole.' For the reassurance of the minorities it was repeated that no part of the 1935 Act would be excluded from re-examination. The Government would not transfer their responsibilities for peace and the welfare of India 'to any system of Government whose authority was directly denied by large and powerful elements in India's national life; nor could they be parties to the coercion of such elements into submission into such a system.'

On the future of the constitution the declaration watered down the Viceroy's suggested time-limit for the establishment of Dominion Status with these words:
'His Majesty's Government authorise me to declare that they will most readily assent to the setting up after the conclusion of the war with the least possible delay of a body representative of the principal elements in India's national life in order to devise the framework of the new constitution.'

Congress immediately rejected the August offer(as it came to be called). . .  The Working Committee of the Muslim League met at Bombay on 31st August[1940]. The Chief Ministers of Punjab(Sikander) and Bengal(Huq) were present. Each of them wanted co-operation with the Viceroy and Sikander in particular was active in supporting the offer immediately. In private he urged Gandhi and the other Congress leaders to accept it and he told the Governor of Punjab(Craik) that he and others would withdraw from the League if Jinnah persisted in his obstinacy. . . Jinnah persuaded a reluctant Committee not to accept the offer outright. . .  [They] recognised that the Viceroy's declaration had made a move towards the League's point of view, claiming optimistically that it met their demand that no future constitution should  be adopted without their consent..

Jinnah's tactics were to take his time with the Viceroy's invitation and progressively stiffen his terms.   For instance he showed himself in no hurry to supply names for the Viceroy's consideration of Muslim candidates for the Executive Council and the War Advisory Council. Instead he carried on, in arrogant tone, a correspondence with the Viceroy which crystallised in a demand that
'in the event of any other party deciding later on to be associated with your Executive Council to assist in the prosecution of the war, it should be allowed to do so on terms that may be approved of and consented to by the Muslim League party.'

The Viceroy had no doubt that Jinnah wished to find himself the only man who mattered in the Council and so in effect in the position of Prime Minister. He had no intention whatever of allowing that.

Linlithgow saw Jinnah on 24th September[1940]. He made it clear, as he had so often done, that he could not abdicate his responsibility to suit the Muslim leader. After the interview Jinnah wrote him a bad letter reminding him that he[the Viceroy] had appreciated and recognised that the Muslim League's terms were vital to them, as if that obliged the Viceroy to accept the terms. ..

On 29th September the League resolved to refuse their participation on the scheme of the August offer on the ground that their conditions had not been complied with..

The Viceroy saw Gandhi on 27th September[1940]; they talked for three and a half hours. He asked Gandhi whether he would be satisfied with the liberty allowed to conscientious objectors in Great Britain. Gandhi replied that this was not enough: nationalists should be allowed to object to India's whole part in the war. . .

 After the interview the Viceroy telegraphed to Amery:
'I must tell you that, knowing him as well as I do, I have now little doubt that he is bent on mischief and that relations may break down at the next talk..'

By the middle of October[1940] the Cabinet had agreed with the Viceroy's recommendation that he should put the plan for an expanded Council into cold storage for the time being. If he could have persuaded Sikander and Huq to ignore Jinnah's veto and to join the Council things might have gone differently. But without them there was no Muslim of comparable stature available. It was sad that Sikander had let himself be outflanked by Jinnah, who had always intended it, but he was in a very difficult position with the Muslims in his Province, who were by no means certain to support him if it came to a showdown with Jinnah, who had skillfully based his rejection of the August offer on communal ground certain to appeal to the Muslim electorate.

The Viceroy could see no possibility of a split in the Muslim League, nor was it the moment to hope for the break-up of the only organisation which could speak authoritatively for general Muslim opinion throughout India.. There was also the question of the Muslim majority in the army in terms of morale.

..Gandhi, now in undisputed command of Congress again planned his campaign of individual civil disobedience. He himself was to select the exponents and  he announced that direct action was to be begun by one Vinoba Bhave, a member of Gandhi's ashram, a  Sanskrit scholar and a devotee of spinning. He duly shouted the required anti-war slogans in public and on 21st October[1940] he was arrested.

..Gandhi explained that his second nominee for satyagraha would be Nehru and that he would not decide about his fast until this exercise was performed. Once again, however, the Mahatma's plans were frustrated. Nehru was arrested before he could play his allotted part. His arrest had nothing to do with his satyagraha but was ordered on the grounds of seditious speeches which he had made early in October in the United Provinces. . .  Nehru was convicted and sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

..[In February 1941] Gandhi launched the second phase of his satyagraha campaign. . . This second phase made no more of an impact than the first.. The third phase of satyagraha started in April. This time the privilege of serving was extended to the poorest members of the Congress Party, known as four-anna members, thus giving the rural masses a chance to show their faith in the Mahatma's leadership. There were few volunteers.

.. Gandhi's characteristic comment was that satyagraha had never been intended to affect the war effort but was a moral protest in the name of a free people against the conduct of the war effort. Whatever he meant by that, satyagraha had been a flop and by the end of the summer the campaign was dead. But the Mahatma remained committed to it and so, therefore, did Congress. The Viceroy discussed the point with one of India's most distinguished and respected lawyers, Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyyar. 'Sir C.P..,' as he was always known, analysed Gandhi's attitude by comparing his state of mind with one identified in the old writings as frequently afflicting persons devoted in a high degree to disciplines such as, for instance, yoga. It produced a form of arrogance based on the conviction of a close personal relationship with the Supreme Being, which led to a stiffening of outlook and serious loss of judgment. . .

1941: Jinnah consolidates  Pakistan campaign and his hold on Muslim League, British get to cite "Hindus demanding absolute independence and the Muslims a fifty per cent share of government at the Centre and a power of veto" as impediment to constitutional advance

On the Muslim side Jinnah's control was tightening fast. In early March[1941] he recommended Pakistan to a meeting of students at Lahore, the capital of the Punjab, and was given an ovation. This was on Sikander's home ground. The Punjab Premier was in an immensely difficult position. The integrity of the Province depended upon his holding together the coalition of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. This in turn meant that he could not accept Jinnah's Pakistan. On 11th March he made a speech of great courage in the Punjab Assembly. Neither of the major communities, he said, should seek to dominate the other. Muslims should accept the Hindu majority in seven or eight Provinces and Hindus should accept the Muslim majority in the others. Let there be full autonomy in the Provinces and a central agency to administer common subjects. If Pakistan meant Muslim raj in the Punjab he would have nothing to do with it; he wanted a free Punjab in which all communities would share self-government.

This brave speech marked openly the growing rupture between Sikander and Jinnah. But it was Jinnah who was playing from strength and the ring was closing round Sikander. Even the Sikhs, fearful of the prospect of Pakistan, were now talking of a State of their own. But Jinnah got the concept of Pakistan written into the Muslim League's policy.

Amery for his part was becoming increasingly worried by the situation. He had written to the Viceroy(25 January[1941]):
'Jinnah and his Pakistanis are beginning to be almost more of a menace[than Congress]and to have lost all sense of realities. . .  If there is to be a Pakistan, Kashmir will obviously have to belong to it and Hyderabad will obviously have to belong to Hindu India and the Nizam would probably have to clear out bag and baggage. The whole future of his State and dynasty, as in the complementary case of Kashmir, depends on India remaining united and on a basis of compromise between Hindu and Muslim.'. . .

The Secretary of State thought it important that the 'absurdity' of the concept of Pakistan should be exposed as early as possible and that Jinnah should be under no misapprehension as to where the British Government stood on this matter. But the Viceroy remained convinced that they could not properly pre-empt the future in that way..

On 20th February[1941] Linlithgow reported a development in the Assembly to which he attached the greatest significance. A member of the Congress National Party put down a motion urging Government to establish responsible government at the Centre and in the Provinces. The Muslim League made it clear that they would table an amendment demanding the division of India into independent Muslim and Hindu States and meanwhile the association of the Muslim League and other parties willing to co-operate with the Government in the war. In the absence of Congress, the League's amendment would obviously have been carried so the motion was withdrawn.
'I regard this incident as one of great importance, for it represents an anticipation of the position in which we shall find ourselves once the war is over. The Muslims will insist on their own terms, and there will be little if any prospect of harmonising their demands with those put forward by the Hindu majority. The Muslim attitude shows every sign of hardening. . .  they are now a very substantial and well-organised whole, and they have not the least intention of permitting progress to be made on lines that Congress and the Hindu parties might be prepared to consider.'

..The Viceroy decided in May[1941], with Amery's encouragement that he must now, at last, go over heads of the parties and accept the fact that they would not co-operate except upon impossible condition. . . It meant by-passing the Congress Party, which, after all, had a constitutional majority in seven Provinces. . .  He would go ahead and expand his Executive Council by including non-official Indians who would be chosen for their individual qualities and not as representatives of particular parties. He would also set up a National Defence Council which would represent communal, functional and territorial interests throughout India.

..First of all Churchill intervened personally with the Viceroy and questioned the need for action..Then there was serious difficulty with the Punjab Government which threatened to resign unless they got what they wanted by way of Punjabi representation in the Executive Council. . .  The formation of the new Executive was announced in July. It was  seen that for the first time there was a majority of Indians upon it-eight to five. . .

The National Defence Council was formed at the same time. . . There were twenty-two seats for British India and nine for the Princes. The Council would meet every second month when it would hear from the Commander-in-Chief a confidential account of the war situation and discuss it. Between meetings the members would assess the progress of the war effort in their Provinces or States. . .

Gandhi remained unmoved; Jinnah was furious-'mad with rage' as the Viceroy reported. What angered him particularly was that the Premiers of Bengal, Assam and the Punjab(all of them members of the Muslim League) had accepted the Viceroy's invitation to join the Defence Council without consulting him. They had, of course, been invited in their capacity as Premiers; each was also a member of his own Provincial War Committee. But Jinnah was not to be assuaged by that. . .  He was out for blood and he got it. After bitterly attacking the Viceroy and Amery for criticising (as he had) the concept of Pakistan, he forced the three Premiers to resign from the Defence Council in the following September.

[That autumn 1941]There were signs that an important section of the [Congress] party was anxious to return to office, and upon their own terms, to accept a proportion of seats on the [Executive] Council. But Gandhi made it clear that as long as the war lasted he would not allow Congress to resume any constitutional activity.

..Jinnah continuing his vendetta against the Muslim Premiers, not only forced their resignation from the Defence Council but also ejected Fazlul Haq, Premier of Bengal, from the Muslim League. He then threw his weight behind intrigue against Huq with the result that his Government fell. Huq, however, got his own back by succeeding in forming another administration in which he substituted Hindu ministers for the Muslim League representatives. This proved a setback for Jinnah but no more than that. .. The Viceroy admitted that he had proved stronger than one would have thought possible. Linlithgow's dilemma was that, much as he disliked Jinnah's dictatorial methods, he did not want to see the break-up of the Muslim League(Amery was not so sure about this) and find himself with only one side organised. . .

1942: American pressure on Churchill's government, British official concession to the Pakistan principle via introduction of provincial opt-out option, and Cripps' Mission in which he offered Congress more than Churchill authorized him to but Congress got blamed anyway. Meanwhile Jinnah demanded a majority in the Executive Council and a veto on its Sikh and Depressed Classes members.

The war in the east was going badly. The Japanese advances seemed for the moment irresistible. On 15th February[1942] Singapore fell; on 7th March Rangoon was abandoned. . . The failure in Malaya was thought by some in Britain and by many abroad -especially in the United States - to be largely due to the shortcomings of the colonial system, which had failed to rouse the peoples in threatened territories to active resistance against the invader. Let the situation in India be remedied, before it was too late. . .  So the pressure for action mounted. . .

At the end of January[1942] the Viceroy made it clear to Amery that this was emphatically not the time for constitutional disturbance. Neither of the major communities would retreat from its position, the Hindus demanding absolute independence and the Muslims a fifty per cent share of government at the Centre and a power of veto.

[However, Prime Minister Churchill now seemed hell bent on issuing a declaration against all advice]..On 1st March [1942] Linlithgow was confronted with a new declaration..[which contained] a statement that the future Indian Dominion could secede from the Commonwealth if it wished to. . . [A second element of the declaration] however, was crucial and unexpected; any Province could stay out of the new constitution if it so desired, but without sacrificing its own prospects of attaining Dominion status.

After [the Viceroy] had heard the views of the Commander-in-Chief(whose opinion he had rightly insisted on seeking), his own attitude developed into one of deep hostility to the proposal. The Commander-in-Chief saw that provincial option would be interpreted as acceptance of Pakistan. Its affect would be particularly bad in the Punjab. Muslims of all ranks in the army from Provinces not likely to accede would ask how non-acceding Provinces would be governed. Would they have an army of their own and if not how would they defend themselves from the rest of India, or against their own minorities like the Sikhs? In the result minds would be deflected from the task of fighting the enemy and recruiting would be imperiled. If widespread communal disturbances developed, the task of suppressing them with Indian troops would be impossible. Nor could the ultimate possibility of communal warfare in the Indian Army be excluded. The Governor of Punjab came up with the  criticism on the same lines as that of the Commander-in-Chief.

The Viceroy warned the Government on 7th March that he could not stand for a declaration containing local option in this form. He accepted that it might have to be resorted to after the war but that was  an entirely different matter from declaring it in terms while they were fighting the enemy..[On 10th March, under threat of the Viceroy's resignation] Churchill informed him that the Cabinet had themselves decided that the declaration might fall flat. . . [However] the Cabinet were not to be prevented from going ahead with their scheme. But they at least decided to advance it by negotiation rather than declaration..[Stafford Cripps] would arrive at New Delhi on 23rd March.
Cripps arrived in New Delhi on 23rd March [1942] with his declaration. This contained the following points:

As soon as hostilities ceased steps would be taken to set up an elected body charged with the task of framing a new constitution for India. This body would be elected by an electoral college consisting of the combined memberships of the Lower Houses of Provincial Legislatures. Election would be by proportional representation so that the new body would amount to one tenth of the electoral college. The States would be invited to appoint representatives in the same proportion to their population as in the case of British India. His Majesty's Government undertook to accept the Constitution so framed subject to two conditions, first, that of the provincial option (as previously defined) and, secondly that of signing of a treaty between His Majesty's Government and the body making the Constitution. The treaty would cover all necessary matters arising from the transfer of responsibility from British to Indian hands; this would include provision for the protection of racial and religious minorities.

During the critical period of the war and until the new Constitution could be framed His Majesty's Government must inevitably bear the responsibility for the defence of India as part of their world war effort, but the task of organising to the full the military, moral and material resources of India must be the responsibility of the Government of India with the co-operation of her peoples(this qualification was added after a few days of negotiations when Cripps saw that responsibility for defence was becoming a knotty point).

[On 25th March Cripps saw Congress President Maulana Azad who said]that they must have an Indian in charge of defence as the Indians must be made to feel that defence was their affair. . . This demand of Azad's on defence was in fact to be the focal point upon which Congress were to insist until breaking point. There was, of course, more to it than merely the defence of India. What they were asking for was nothing less than control of the Government of India now, as Linlithgow had always warned. . .

The Viceroy reminded Cripps of his (the Viceroy's) views on the necessity of his own control of his Executive Council including choice of Members. . .  Linlithgow followed up by saying that he would forgive Sir Stafford anything except stealing his cheese to bait his own trap, in other words offering control of the Executive Council as inducement to accept the declaration. Cripps remarked that the Viceroy's attitude was reasonable.

On 29th March Cripps released the declaration in a broadcast and held a press conference. This he handled responsibly and firmly until he made a most curious remark: 'You cannot change the constitution. All you can do is change the conventions of the constitution. You can turn the Executive Council into a cabinet.'

Cripps had no instructions to say anything of the kind. It was a rash and irresponsible suggestion and was naturally taken by Congress as a hint that he was holding up his sleeve the final concession of cabinet government responsible to legislature..

In the event [the Viceroy] felt sure he had been deceived..The evidence is supplied by Azad's published account of the Cripps mission which appeared in his book India Wins Freedom (Orient Longman Private Ltd. 1959). Azad reports that he saw Cripps on 29th March and that Cripps handed him a prepared statement:
'When I looked at the statement, I found it was a proposal for a new Executive Council of the Viceroy. All the existing members would resign. The Congress and other representative organisations would constitute the new Executive Council. This Council would function for the duration of the war. . . .I asked [Sir Stafford] to confirm that this would mean the Viceroy, as a constitutional head, would be bound by the advice of the Council. Sir Stafford said this was his intention.."

There was nothing in the authorised declaration which remotely suggested this uprooting of the Viceroy's present Executive Council. . . Cripps went well beyond his brief and was manifestly baiting his trap with the Viceroy's cheese just as Linlithgow feared. . .

The Working Committee of Congress discussed the declaration and Azad's conversation with Cripps for two days. As a result Azad saw Cripps again on 1st April in order to seek further clarification on the question of the powers of the Executive Council. He describes this meeting as decisive:

"I found that the position had undergone radical change since I last met him. His answers were now quite different in temper from his replies during the first interview. . . He would not categorically state that the Viceroy would have the final say but the purport of what he said was that the Council would not have full and unfettered freedom of decision.."

Azad tries to analyse the reasons for Cripp's change of position. He sums up the search by stating that he had heard in Moscow also Cripps had occasionally exceeded his instructions in a similar manner.

Cripps sent the following situation report to the Prime Minister on 4th April. The Muslim League were satisfied and would accept the scheme as it stood(Note below: It transpired that Jinnah's unacceptable price for co-operation was a majority on the Executive Council and approval of any representative from the Sikhs and the Depressed Classes).

In the Congress Party there were three sections of opinion. There was the Gandhi section of non-violence which was against the scheme altogether. They were indifferent as to what happened in the war and regarded Great Britain as defeated and unimportant as far as India's future was concerned. They were definitely a minority. The rest of the party was in favour of fighting the Japanese. There were two groups of them: those who considered provincial option and the States' nomination of representatives as fatal quite apart from the defence question, and those who would reluctantly accept the scheme if they could be satisfied about defence. The latter group might be able to swing the Working Committee.

Cripps was now aiming at a break-through over defence as a sort of last fling before acknowledging the failure which he felt to be imminent. The demand for responsibility in this field came, he reported, from all sides except the Muslims and the Sikhs(hardly adequate emphasis on such a vital exception).  If Congress refused to accept the scheme nobody else would. If they accepted, the non-violent group would probably retire from the Working Committee for the duration of the war and leave in charge Azad, Nehru and Rajagopalachari, who would resist the Japanese with courage and determination. . .

[After many days of negotiations]On 10th April Cripps assured the Viceroy that Congress would agree to the formula, which had now been amended so that the Commander-in-Chief's authority was not to be diluted, and that they would keep in abeyance for the duration their other objections to the main declaration. On the same day he received a long letter from Azad stating that Congress had decided to reject the declaration. The letter made it clear. . . .that their main ground of rejection concerned their wish for a National Government with full power now, the Viceroy acting as a constitutional head on the advice of ministers. This they claimed could have been assured by conventions without constitutional changes. Cripps was reminded that he himself had said as much in his earlier talks.

Cripps wrote a sharp reply in which he said that Congress had in fact demanded a change in the constitution, a new demand made only the previous evening through Azad himself. He also said that India had been offered the Home Department for an Indian as well as other portfolios. Azad wrote a further letter expressing pain and surprise at Sir Stafford's attitude. It was the end. Cripps told the Viceroy that Congress had refused a very good offer. He made a farewell broadcast and left for home. All the minority groups rejected the now discredited declaration within the next few days.

Amery wrote to the Viceroy on 11th April:
"..It does seem to me that the longer he stayed out there, the more his keenness on a settlement drew him away from the original plan, on which we had all agreed, and in the direction of something to which we were all opposed. . .  What puzzles me a little is that Cripps should have been prepared to go that far with Congress without realising  that this was the very thing against which Jinnah said the Muslims would rise in revolt.."

It was only through a casual reference, Amery went on, in Cripp's letter to Azad that the Cabinet had realised that the Home Affairs Department 'surely the most dangerous in many ways as well as the most contentious between the communities' had been offered. The Cabinet had certainly not intended a completely clean sweep of the existing Executive with only the Commander-in-Chief remaining.[Linlithgow in the margin: 'Done without consultation and protested against by me the moment C. told me he had done it']

..[W]e must note on the credit side that the fiasco went far to educate American opinion as to the true facts of the Indian situation. ..[W]hen the dust had settled the Congress Party was no longer persona grata in the United States as the innocent victim of British imperialism. This was a great help.

[Cripps] was, as public men often are, a prisoner of his own past. Congress knew of the left wing opinions he had held and expressed both in England and on his previous visit to India before he was a member of the Government. They then came to feel that he was not running straight with them in the final negotiations. The same charge must be leveled at him over his dealings with the Viceroy.. For good measure Cripps made, at a press conference on his return (22nd April), the indefensible suggestion that there was a crisis of confidence between the Indian leaders and the Viceroy.
(end quotes from 'The Viceroy At Bay')


Some relevant quotes from this period which were left out by Glendevon and some context for political positions espoused in that period are provided by the testimony of veteran Sindh politician G.M. Syed. Thanks to Venkatesh Jagannathan for the reference.

The following is quoted from

G. M. Syed on Jinnah, Sikander Hayat Khan, the Lahore Resolution and Churchill

Chaudhry Zafarullah, a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council, was asked to submit a map of two dominions. On that subject, on 12 March 1940, Viceroy Lord Linlithgow wrote to the Secretary of State for India:

‘Upon my instruction Zafarullah wrote a memorandum on the subject, Two Dominion States. I have already sent it for your attention. I have also asked him for further clarification, which, he says, is forthcoming. He is anxious, however, that no one should find out that he has prepared this plan. He has, however, given me the right to do with it what I like, including sending a copy to you. Copies have been passed on to Jinnah, and, I think, to Sir Akbar Hydiri. While he, Zafarullah, cannot admit its authorship, the Muslim League with a view to giving it the fullest publicity has prepared his document for adoption.’

The Viceroy explains this further. Since Zafarullah was a Qadiani he had to be cautious. The Muslims would become irritated if they found that a Qadiani prepared this scheme. The Viceroy said that Jinnah had been given a copy to make the Muslim League adopt it and publicize its contents. Sir Akbar was given a copy because he was responsible for fund-raising. The dates take on a special significance, The Viceroy’s letter to the Secretary of State was written on 12 April 1940. The Pakistan scheme had been dispatched earlier. Twelve days later the Muslim League adopted this very proposal at their Lahore Annual Meeting. It was called Pakistan Agreement,

Sir Zafarullah’s term on the Viceroy’s Executive Council was expiring in March. Due to his loyal service, however, the term was extended. Two days after the Muslim League had adopted this proposal, on 25 March 1940, the Viceroy wrote:

‘The Congress is putting forward a preposterous claim, which they know is incapable of being accepted. He (Jinnah) will put forward just as extreme a claim, of the impracticability of realizing which he is probably just well aware; but the existence of which, will, while reaffirming the Muslim attitude of hostility to the Congress scheme, take away some, at any rate, of the damaging charges which are hitherto being leveled against them [Muslim League] that they have no constructive ideas of their own.’

When the Muslim League accepted the Viceroy’s proposal [author, Sir Zafarullah], the British were convinced of their dependability. It was natural, then, for the British to refuse to recognize the existence of any party other than the Muslim League. During those days, a large representative gathering of nationalist Muslims was held in Delhi. The Chief Minister of Sindh, Allah Bux Soomro, chaired the Assembly. The Secretary of State, Lord Zetland, asked the Viceroy to report on this gathering. On 14 May, 1940, the Viceroy wrote:

‘I attach no particular importance to the Delhi Conference of the Muslims, which took place a few days ago. It has been well organized and the Congress press machine has written it up admirably. . . . We both are, of course, aware that there is a not unimportant Muslim element outside the Muslim League. . . . Indeed, I am sure that Jinnah remains the man to deal with on the Muslim side.’

The British deliberately ignored those Muslims, who, along with the Congress, were struggling for freedom. Their very faith was called 'questionable’. More than 100 representatives, who had gathered together under the leadership of an elected Chief Minister, were totally disregarded. The Viceroy did not mince his words when he wrote to the Secretary of State that ‘Jinnah is our man and we accept him as a representative of all Muslims.’

The Khaksars were in a peculiar position. The objection to other Muslims was that they were not assisting the British but the Khaksars, who, in all humility, had offered help! On 24 May 1940, the Viceroy wrote, "Meanwhile the Khaksars have formally renewed their offer to me of 50,000 men to help in the war."

Their offer to fight for the British in the war against Germany was rejected due to Jinnah’s negative attitude. ‘Jinnah accepts no responsibility for Khaksars or their activities since they have declined his advice.’ The Viceroy adopted the following stand:

‘Considering the present attitude of the Khaksars in Punjab, it would not be advisable for me to enter into any correspondence with them or their leaders, and I propose, accordingly, to leave the telegram unanswered.’

The British were trying to make it very clear to every Indian Muslim that except Jinnah and the Muslim League, they were not ready to accept any other party. To gain British support, the Muslims were obliged to join the Muslim League. Earlier, the British had severed relations with the Congress because they were not prepared to assist them in the war against Germany. Their inconsistency becomes evident in their refusing the help of 50,000 Khaksars, while at the same time, rejecting the Congress because they did not offer 50,000 men to fight the same war’

Second, in 1941, Ayub Khuhro told me that the Punjabi President Sir Sikander Hayat was in Karachi and that I should meet him. Accordingly, I called on Sir Sikander Hayat in the company of Ayub Khuhro, Allah Bux Soomro and Sheikh Abdul Majid Sindhi at the Carlton Hotel. Among other things, the Punjab Premier told us that it would be better if an all parties government was formed in Sindh under Allah Bux Soomro’s leadership, He told me that I had done well to work for the establishment of such a government in Sindh because it would enable us to get laws protecting the rights of the people such as debt relief, the tenancy act, etc., passed by the Assembly. During the course of our discussion, Sir Sikander Hayat advised Soomro to join the Muslim League at which the latter said that he would not do so because he considered the very existence of the League detrimental to the interests of the Muslims of India, to Sindh, to the rest of the sub-continent and to Islam itself.

Sir Sikander Hayat told Soomro: ‘Look, I am in League Myself ‘Allah Bux Soomro retorted by saying that Sir Sikander Hayat had criticized the Pakistan plan in the Punjab Assembly only a few days ago. How was it possible to be in the Muslim League and be opposed to the Pakistan scheme? he asked. ‘At least my conscience does not allow me to indulge in this kind of two-timingness," he added. He also said that in his view, Pakistan would be detrimental to Muslim interests and be deadly for Sindh. At this, Sir Sikander Hayat said even the central President of the League, Mr. Jinnah, was not in favor of Pakistan and the proceedings of the Round Table Conference were proof of that. He had opposed the Pakistan idea in the light of Jinnah’s views, he added. Allah Bux Soomro said he was not capable of that kind of hypocrisy. Only Sir Sikander and Mr. Jinnah could do it.

Later, Sir Sikander left for Cairo when Rommel was threatening to take over the Suez Canal for Germany. Gen. Montgomery who was leading Sikh and Muslim troops from the Punjab, was facing the Germans. Sir Sikander Hayat had gone to Egypt to boost the morale of the Indian troops. He performed this duty with great loyalty. Shortly afterwards, the German advance turned into retreat. At this, Winston Churchill met Sir Sikander in Cairo and personally thanked him for having helped the British in their hour of trial while the Congress had added to their problems Therefore; the Congress did not deserve British attention or friendship. He said that the British could not ‘ remain in India in the face of opposition from its 400 million people. He asked Sir Sikander Hayat to assure Mr. Jinnah that in order to teach the Congress a lesson, the British would quit the sub-continent soon after the War but only after having created a ‘Muslim India’ in India. Mr. Jinnah need not be afraid, and he could have this pledge verified by the Viceroy of India.

Sir Sikander Hayat left Cairo for Bombay where he met Mr. Jinnah and conveyed Mr. Churchill’s message to him Mr. Jinnah had the promise made by the British Prime Minister verified by the Viceroy through the Governor of Bombay. The Viceroy then summoned Mr. Jinnah to Delhi and told him that a framework for the division of India was already on the anvil and he could check on this from Sir Zafarullah Khan, on the condition that he would not enter into any settlement with the Congress. Jinnah agreed to do so and began to work against the Congress with renewed vigor.

It is possible that at this may yet be regarded as not fully established. Therefore, I am citing an excerpt from Syed Nor Ahmed’s book, "Martial Law Se Martial Law Tak" in which he says that even after the passage of the Lahore Resolution, Sir Sikander Hayat was not mentally prepared to accept the Pakistan plan because he believed in provincial autonomy. However, he was in favor of partition because of autonomy for the Muslim nation, which was the basis of the Lahore Resolution. However, he wanted that the Punjab should remain united. He wanted partition to take place in such a manner that the martial races of the Punjab should be free of the influence of the pundits and Brahmins of the majority party in the center. He probably thought that the Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs would agree with his point of view. He made a strange effort towards this end over and above the heads of the League leadership.

At the request ‘of the British Government, he visited the War theaters once again to buck up the Indians, which is to say, Punjabi soldiers. In the winter of 1941-42, he had the occasion to meet Churchill in Cairo. On his return home, he told some of his Cabinet colleagues, including Sir Chotu Ram and other friends that apart from other things, he had discussed India’s constitutional problem with the British Prime Minister and had tried to make two points clear to him.

1. He had tried to impress upon him the fact that only the martial races of the Punjab had contributed to the British War effort with loyalty and it would be a travesty of justice if they were made subservient to the Congress and the Brahmins who would be in majority at the center in a free India.
2. A loyal Punjab deserved to be the leader of a separate dominion, which should include Sindh, the NWFP and Baluchistan. This could be easily achieved provided the British statesmen were convinced of its advantages. Such a federation would be loyal to the British under all circumstances. The defense of the new dominion and the rest of India should for some time, be joined under British supervision. Later, a mutually agreed formula could be evolved for the purpose. The new dominion would be economically self-sufficient.
(end quotes from G.M.Syed)

On the evolution of Jinnah's demands, it is well to note that in 1945, during the first Simla Conference, Jinnah demanded that Muslims must get 50% of the Executive Council appointments and that no non-League (including Unionist  or Congress) Muslim be appointed. He was allowed by Viceroy Wavell to wreck the effort to reconstitute the Executive Council by refusing to yield on his demand. The Congress which had conceded parity with the League, found that even this  concession was deemed by Jinnah to be insufficient to allow national government and it appears that after this episode an embittered Congress lost all interest in compromise with Jinnah.   

In 1946, during the discussion over the June 16  plan for Interim Government, having already been granted all the Muslim appointments, Jinnah asked Wavell whether he, Jinnah,  would be consulted in appointments of Scheduled Castes, Sikhs and other minorities(thereby restricting Congress to appointment of Caste Hindus only, even within its own quota of seats). Viceroy Wavell said yes.  Congress's refusal to accept this arrangement and the Viceroy's unwillingness to enforce it on the Congress, culminated in Jinnah's accusations of betrayal, complaints to Prime Minister Attlee of Congress hegemony and ultimately, Direct Action Day.[CMP(12B), CMP(12C), CMP(19)]

One is forced to conclude that, as he himself stated, Jinnah was imposing all these conditions so as to stave off an anti-Pakistan majority in the executive and to keep the option of  sovereign Pakistan alive.  Given this intent, his obstructionist conditions for  national government can be seen to be  consistent from 1939 to 1947. Being a politician, he projected these conditions as the "just rights" of Muslims whose denial was equivalent to an act of aggression on Muslims. 

By implying that Muslims deserved 50% share, a veto over  government and a veto on all non-Caste Hindu members of government as their "just rights" he cast the just constitutional rights of 75%  of non-Muslim Indians and the almost three-to-one legislative majority of the Congress as inimical threats to his own community's rights.  Another point to be noted is that by labelling as "traitors" all Muslims who did not proclaim their allegiance to Muslim League's ideology and its sole platform of Pakistan, Jinnah also denied  the basic political prerogative and sovereign rights of all those Muslims who were to be left behind by the Muslim League in the partitioned Indian state.

Being a politician doing everything he could in order to attain his goal of sovereign Pakistan, even sinking the rights and political sovereignty of non-Muslim Indians in a sustained exercise of misrepresentation - that explains Jinnah. What explains  present-day historians who, while completely ignoring the fundamental implications of Jinnah's demands, in terms of relative populations,  legislative shares,  and political and sovereign rights of non-Muslim Indians, buy into Jinnah's demagoguery and wilful misrepresentations of the  issue and canvass them as facts to the credulous public?

Update in 08/09: is closing down in end-October 2009. The new location of this website is:


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Durga Das (1) 1919-1931,  Jallianwala Bagh to Bhagat Singh

Durga Das (2) 1931-1936,  Crescent Card: Jinnah in London to Fazli Husain in Punjab

Durga Das(3)  1937-1940 Provincial Autonomy to Jinnah gets the veto

Durga Das(4) 1940-1945 The War Years: India's War Effort-Pakistan on a platter

Durga Das(5)  1945-1947 The Cabinet Mission to Divide and Quit

1937-1940(2)  Congress and Jinnah fall out in U.P., Jinnah's anti-Congress campaign and the Viceroy gives Jinnah a Veto: Ayesha Jalal, Sarvepalli Gopal and Stanley Wolpert

1937: Congress-Jinnah tussle over coalition government in United Provinces, M.J. Akbar

1857-1938 Glimpses of British policy in Punjab: Ian Talbot and David Page

Glendevon (1) 1937  Congress's Office Acceptance Saga over Governor's Powers,   John  Glendevon

Glendevon (2) 1937-1940 Federation, Jinnah,  Congress activism in Princely States John  Glendevon

Glendevon (3) 1939-1942  Linlithgow, Congress, Jinnah,War-time Realignments,   John  Glendevon

1939-1940 India and the War, Anita Inder Singh

1945-1946: The Elections of 1945-46, Anita Inder Singh

1930-1939  Congress in Bengal, John Gallagher

1937 Nehru, Jinnah and Coalition Governments, Bimal Prasad

1939-1947 Jinnah and the Anglo-Muslim League Alliance, Narendra Singh Sarila

CMP(1) - From Ayesha Jalal's 'The Sole Spokesmann'

CMP(2) - The Congress League positions on 12 Mayy 19946

CMP(3) - The Cabinet Mission Plan 16 May 1946

CMP(4) - Jinnah's and Muslim League's responses to the Cabinet Mission Plan 22 May  and June 6 1946

CMP(5) - Jinnah's meeting with Mission Delegatioon oon 4 April 1946

CMP(6) -  Jinnah's meeting with Mission Dellegaation on 16 April 1946

CMP(7A) -  Maulana Azad's meeting with Missiion Delegation on 17 April 1946

CMP(7) - The Congress unease with parity- it's eexchhanges with the Mission  8-9 May 1946

CMP(7B) Jinnah and Azad's responses to the Cabinet Mission's preliminary proposals 8-9 May 1946

CMP(8A) Simla Conference meetings on 5 May 1946 on the powers of the Union

CMP(8) - More exchanges on parity during Simla CConfference meeting  11 May 1946

CMP(9)- Jinnah's Conversations with Major Wyatt(1) on Pakistan and the Cabinet Mission Plan , 8 January and 25 May 1946

CMP(10) - Jinnah's Conversations with Major Wyattt(2)) on the interim government, 11 June 1946

CMP(12)- Congress Working Committe resolutions, May-June 1946

CMP(12A) Congress and the Cabinet Mission's arguments over inclusion of a Congress Muslim in the Interim Government June 12 and June 23 1946

CMP(13)- Jawaharlal Nehru's press conference on the Plan, 10 July 1946

CMP(14) - League withdrew from Plan, called Direcct AAction, Viceroy Wavell talked to Nehru, July-August 1946

CMP(15) - The Viceroy tried to strong-arm Nehru aand Gandhi on compulsory grouping, Pethick Lawrence to Attlee, August-September 1946

CMP(16)- Intelligence assessment on Jinnah's options and threat of civil war, September 1946

CMP(17)- The League's boycott of the Constituent Assembly, Jinnah and Wavell, Mission insisting on compulsory grouping, etc October 1946-January 1947
CMP(17A) Congress "climbdown" on grouping and Jinnah's rejection, January 1947

CMP (A1) - Additional material - Some Plain speaking from Sir Khizr Hayat, Abell on the Breakdown plan, Viceroy to Jinnah

CMP(A2) North West Frontier Province, October-November 1946 and February-March 1947

CMP(A3) Bengal and Bihar, August - November 1946

CMP(A4) Punjab, February - March 1947

CMP (18) - My take

CMP (19) - What did parity and communal veto mean in numbers?

CMP(20) Another summary /take on the Cabinet Mission Plan-with links to the above reference material

CMP(21) Mountbatten discusses the Cabinet Mission Plan with Sardar Patel and M. A. Jinnah, 24-26 April 1947

CMP(22) A reply on the Cabinet Mission Plan

Extra(1) - Speech by Jinnah in March 1941 outlining the case for an independent sovereign Pakistan 

Extra(1A) Jinnah's Speeches and Statements from 1941-1942

Extra(1B) Jinnah's Speeches and Statements from 1938-1940

Extra(1C) Jinnah's speeches and Statements from 1943-45

Extra(2) -  Jinnah's letter to Gandhi during Ganndhi-Jinnah talks in 1944 on defining Pakistan

Extra(3)- B.R. Ambedkar quoted from his book 'Pakistan or the Partition of India'  

Extra(4) Congress and Muslim parties' positions on the Communal question 1927-1931

Extra(4A) Excerpts of Motilal Nehru Committee Report 1928

Extra(4B) Nehru, Bose, Jinnah Correspondence 1937-38

Extra(6) Gandhiji's scheme of offering the Prime Ministership to Jinnah in 1947

Extra(6A) Jinnah on Congress's offers of Prime Ministership 1940-43 and Gandhi's 1943 letter to Jinnah from jail

Extra (6B) April-July 1947  Negotiations on Pakistan between Mountbatten and Jinnah

Extra(7) M.A.Jinnah and Maulana Azad on two nation theory

Extra(8) Comments on Separate electorates, Joint electorates and Reserved constituencies

Extra(9) Links to a selection of cartoons on Indian constitutional parleys published in the Daily Mail, UK, in 1942 and 1946-1947, by L.G. Illingworth, from National Library of Wales' online Illingworth exhibition

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