|Gandhi With Sir Stafford Cripps, ..www.mkgandhi-sarvodaya.org|
|Sir Stafford Cripps..www.npgprints.com.|
|Sir Winston Churchill.www.mirror.co.uk|
Cripps had been a key figure and one of the pillars of the post-war Labour Government from 1945 to 1951. After 1947, his popularity had begun to shoot up because he was for economic recovery and to achieve it, he opted for public austerity. Slowly he became a possible rival to the wartime leadership of Churchill.
Cripps was a man with true Christian commitment and a socialist. More over, he had nagging health problems to take care of in spite of his political commitments. He had to suffer pain and discomfort because he was plagued by Colitis (inflammation of the inner lining of the colon) and consequently through out 1930s he was in poor health. The orthodox medicines did not give him relief. Ultimately he turned to natural cure as professed by Edmond Szekély, prophet of an 'oranges-only' diet - and fruits and vegetables, combined with cold baths and abstention from tobacco and alcohol. So, he became a strict vegetarian, gave up alcohol and smoking. He continued to follow vegetarian diet and his wife Isobel also became a vegetarian. Following the outbreak of WWII, Cripps went on a whirl-wind world tour, visiting India, Russia and China, returning via the USA. He admitted that India made a big impact on him. It was on 19th December, 1939 a great event took place. Accompanied by Nehru (who later became the first Prime Minister of India), he visited the ashram near Wardha. India to meet Mohandas Gandhi, yet another strict vegetarian and god-fearing person who was leading humble life. Just like Cripps he was concerned about poor people and their welfare.. The ashram was just a mud hut, simplicity personified, but a study in asceticism. A gentle man of very high order, as he was, he took off his shoes before entering the ashram. Several meetings followed and ultimately it was Gandhiji who was drawn to Cripps. For Cripps it was more of a private visit than official and he was much impressed by Gandhi's calm disposition and selflessness that propelled his creed and the sincerity with which he carried on his committed task.After his several visits to Gandhiji's Ashram, his strong belief in vegetarianism became more pronounced than before. Yet another well known Irish vegetarian was George Bernard Shaw, a great Irish-British satirist.
On his March, 1942, Cripps privately told that he would have given full independence to India right there, but Churchill would not accept it and Gandhiji would not accept nothing less and his peace mission to India was a complete failure.
On the other hand, Churchill was a sort of flamboyant personality and, as a leader of the conservative party, he was a staunch imperialist and nationalist. To him the British Crown should not loosen the strong grip on the British colonies, who were for the benefits of the British and wanted to keep the colonies under the British yoke. Further, with his aristocratic background, he had little concern for the poor labor classes in the British society where gender discrimination was also a moot problem in those days. He found solace in puffing cigar and enjoying his champagne or brandy. He was a perfect British gentleman having least concern for the thousands of poor British living in the ghetto.
Nor was he sympathetic towards millions of emancipated Indian natives living in abject poverty in British colonies across the globe. The major agenda of his post-war policy was to give the British people more red meat. The award of Nobel Literature Prize for his history of the second world war, put him at a higher pedestal than Cripps and almost wrote him out of history.However, in the Indian sub continent, Churchill lost his respect credibility among the well-educate Indian patriots. Every intemperate statement made by him public- ally was taken serious by the Indians. Churchill's public blabbering in a stylish manner and unpalatable actions,as a matter of fact, infuriated Indians and made them more resolute than ever before to drive out Churchill and his other down- to- earth conservative cronies out the Indian shores.
About independence to India, on 10 November, Churchill proclaimed his own unashamed and provocative statement of war aims: ''I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.'' It immediately became a widely quoted remark, not least in India. Churchill had become a WWII war hero by accident, but he was one among a few British politicians who saw to that the ''Sun had set in the west.'' In the WWII the real heroes were Americans and to, some extent, the Russians, not the British. The Labour Government under Stafford Cripps was instrumental in granting Independence to India and was in wide contrast with the earlier conservative party under the obdurate leadership of Churchill. In his March 1944 visit to India, a meeting was arranged with Gandhiji in the Harijan sweepers' quarter. Cripps had his initial informal meeting with Gandhi on 31 March, first joining over 3,000 people for prayers before retreating, shoe less, to the hut for forty minutes of private talk with Gandhi, the apostle of nonviolence.
Some facts about Cripps:
!. A brilliant and successful patent and corporation lawyer by profession; he joined the Labour party in 1929.
2. He became a solicitor general in 1930, having joined the Labor Party in 1929,
3. He was knighted in 1930 and in 1931 became a Parliamentarian. He became an active s spokesman of the left wing of the Labour party.
4. In 1939 he was expelled from the party for inclusion of Communists in the alliance.
5. After his stinct as an ambassador to the USSR he became the leader of the House of Commons.
6. In 1942, Cripps mission to India with a self government plan was rejected by the Indian leaders.
7. Cripps, as president of the Board of Trade in the new Labour government, again came to India in 1946 to negotiate independence. But, again his mission failed because the contentious issue of partition of India on communal lines was a thorn. However, partition of India became inevitable when India got her freedom in August 1947.
8. In 1947 Britain went through economic crisis. Cripps, as minister of economic affairs, managed to tackle it successfully by pursuing a policy of austerity - continuing rationing, imposing strict economic controls and continuing full employment. An important aspect of his unique approach was he never trimmed down the government's welfare programs, which otherwise would have affected the labor classes badly.
9. Britain's economic woes continued in the later period. Devaluation of Pound became inevitable. Cripps retired from politics and public life in 1950.