Thursday, 29 September 2016

Creation of Pakistan out of India and Viceregal Lodge, Shimla

Quaid-i-Azam M. Ali Jinnah with Jawaharlal Nehru at Simla Conference of 1945. www.quaid-e-azam.net
Viceregal Lodge - Shimla -www.expedia.co.in
  The Shimla Conference 1945  was historically an important political meeting between the Viceroy Lord Wavell and the major political leaders of British India at Shimla, India. The venue was the summer residence of the Viceroy of India -Viceregal Lodge, 2 kilometer from Shimla on the picturesque Observatory Hill.  The main purpose of the meeting was  to agree on and approve the Wavell plan  by the Indian Congress  and Muslim League, mainly representing  Muslims. It was a plan for Indian self-government by Lord Wavell with certain strings. 

Shimla conference, 1945 www.indianetzone.com
Replacing Lord Linlithgow as the Viceroy of India, Wavell  was not new to India and had been head of the army for sometime and had perfect understanding of the Indian situation. It was his good intention to come up with an amicable solution to the political situation in India. The Muslim League, misguided by some irresponsible radical elements had pitted Mohd. Ali Jinnah against the Congress leaders and the Muslim League wanted nothing short of a separate homeland for Muslims - formation of a country purely on the basis of religion. Further, the Muslim League became the sole representative of the Muslim population in India and their aspirations. Broken-hearted, as he was, Gandhiji tried his level best to convince Jinnah to give up his two nation theory. It was simply a futile attempt.  Wavell's  proposal (June 14, 1945) was  a potential agreement for the self-rule of India that provided separate representation for Muslims and reduced majority powers for both communities in their majority regions. All portfolios would be held by the Indians except defense and the traded matters would be headed by the British commissioner.
 
Viceregal Lodge. Gandhiji arriving at the Shimla conference 1945 www.mkgandhi.org

The idea of the Wavell plan was complete Indianization of the Executive Council, but instead of asking all the parties to nominate members to the Executive Council from all the communities, seats were reserved for members  based on religion and caste, with the caste Hindus and Muslims being represented on it on the basis of parity. Even Mahatma Gandhi  objected to  the use of the words “Caste Hindu". Though new proposals were made regrading composition of the executive Council, there was no guarantee of India's Independence. Further, there was no mention of the future constituent assembly or division of powers among various parties of India.

Talks stalled,  and ultimately became a failure for two reasons. The Muslim League said that no part  has any right to nominate Muslim members except the Muslim League. Congress party insisted that being national  party it has the right to nominate any representative from any  of the communities. So, Muslim representation became a bottle neck  and a big thorn and the Wavell plan was a failure. 

Meanwhile back in England, when the labor party came to power in July 1945, headed by Atlee, the Wavell plan finally heard the death  knell tolled.  However, on the issue of selection of Muslim representatives there was a stalemate. Asserting  itself and its claim to be the sole representative of Indian Muslims, the All-India Muslim League's refusal to back any plan in which the Indian National Congress, the dominant party in the talks, has the legitimate rights to appoint Muslim representatives became an eye sore. This reduced the scope of the conference to come up with a balanced proposal so that India would remain united. That was not to be.
Jinnah and Rajaji. www.quaid-e-azam.net
The historical Shimla Conference 1945  that was held at the Viceregal Lodge  had assumed  political importance. Had the conference gone well with give and take polices on the part of the Congress and Muslim League, it would have prevented the bifurcation of the Indian subcontinent. The Shimla conference was the last opportunity to plug the holes  and save united India; a solid opportunity was lost for good. When the Indian National Congress and All India Muslim League reconvened under the Cabinet Mission the next year, this time, the Indian National Congress was far less sympathetic to the Muslim League's requests despite Jinnah's approval of the British plan.
Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simla_Conference