Direct Action India

by Ben Alford

Direct Action was Jinnah’s policy to try to force the pace in India after the Congress Party rejected the proposals of the Cabinet Mission in 1946.

• Jinnah wanted a separate country named Pakistan for Muslims, however he had been prepared to accept the Cabinet Mission’s new proposals of a united India with safe guards in place for Muslims.

• Nehru and Congress leaders rejected the idea, this made Jinnah decide to show how strong feelings were for a separate Muslim state. He called for nation-wide non violent demonstrations on the 16th of August 1946. The result was disaster.

• M.A Jinnah had banked on peaceful demonstrations, however local leaders interpreted his view as calling for violence.

• In Calcutta there extensive was fighting between the Muslims and Hindus, which unfortunately resulted in 5,100+ deaths. The British despite efforts were unable to stop it. This was repeated all over India.

• Jinnah was horrified by the devastating results of his actions, but the extensive damage had been done. Direct action had shown just how far apart the two religion really were.

• Gandhi attempted to stop the violence by visiting the worst hit areas and meeting with Muslim leaders. He fasted for weeks to force Hindus to stop attacking Muslims.

What were the effects of Direct Action?

• Both Congress and the Muslim League were devastated by the violence and decided to join the Viceroy’s interim government, however they were unable to work together. In the meantime violence spread all across northern India.

• The Viceroy at the time, Lord Wavell, told the British government that the situation in India was getting out of control.

• Clement Attlee, the prime minister at the time, decided to fix a date for Indian Independence. He announced that Britain would Withdraw no later than June 1948.

 

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