India – Glossary of Terms

Cabinet Mission (1946) – This mission to India was launched by the British Government in March 1946 to discuss plans for the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership. The members of the mission were:
Lord Pethick-Lawrence, the Secretary of State for India,
Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade,
A.V. Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty.

Congress Party – an Indian political party founded in 1885 as Indian National Congress. Founded by Allen Hume, a British colonist and, until World War I it was a moderate body. Later, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, it began a campaign of non-violent non-cooperation. It was declared illegal between 1932-34. It led the move to end British rule and was the government party after independence from 1947-77.

The Cripps Mission (1942) – The British Government sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India in March of 1942 to get cooperation for the war effort. Cripps offered full dominion status after the war with general elections to be held and minorities to be protected. The plan came to nothing because it was rejected by both the Congress and the Muslim League. Jinnah opposed it because it did not make provision for a separate Pakistan. Gandhi demanded immediate self -government in return for support in the war and began the “Quit India” movement.

Direct Action Day (1946) – 16t August 1946. Following continued rejection by the Indian Congress of the proposal to divide India, the Muslim League planned a protest which began with a “Day of Direct Action” to assert the right of the Muslims to a separate homeland. The protests triggered riots in Calcutta in which 4,000 people lost their lives (known as the “great Calcutta Riots”).

Lahore Resolution (1940) – also known as the Pakistan Resolution. This resolution, which demanded a separate state for Muslims, was passed at Minto Park in Lahore where the Muslim League held their annual meeting in 1940.

Muslim League – founded in 1906 as the All- India Muslim League under the leadership of Ali Khan. In 1940 the league led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah demanded an independent Muslim state. They boycotted the Assembly in 1946; it was the activities of the Muslim League that led to the establishment of Pakistan.

Princely States – These were semi -autonomous states within the Indian sub-continent that were nominally ruled by their own princes according to treaties which had been drawn up by the East India Company. The British could count on the cooperation and support of the princes and a British resident was appointed to each principality to act as a channel of communication.

Punjab Massacres (1947) – the violence that occurred after the partition of India, when over 1 million people died in the Punjab. The eastern section of Punjab went to India and the western section went to Pakistan. The violence occurred as Muslims fled from east Punjab, and Hindus and Sikhs moved to India.

Quit India (1942) – resolution passed by Congress in August 1942 in reaction to the Cripps Mission. This was a civil disobedience movement launched in August 1942 in response to Gandhi’s call for immediate independence. “We shall either free India or die in the attempt.” He hoped to bring the British government to the negotiating table.

The Red Fort Trials (1945/6) – These were trials for treason of officers in the Indian National Army (INA), which had been formed in 1942 with the aim of overthrowing the British Raj in India. They were initially composed of Indian prisoners of war captured by the Japanese, but then fought with the Japanese against the British and Commonwealth forces in Burma and elsewhere. After the war the Red Fort Trials (held in the Red Fort in Delhi) of captured INA officers provoked massive public outcry, eventually triggering the Bombay mutiny in British Indian forces.

Simla Conference (1945) – Simla in the Himalayas, was the summer residence of the British Viceroy in India. In 1945 the Viceroy convened a conference there of the Congress party and the Muslim League to discuss plans for the future of India.

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