The Cabinet Mission

by Ben Alford

The Cabinet Mission. In 1946 the Labour government sent the Cabinet Mission to India to report on the situation and recommend a structure for an independent India. It recommended a united India with protection for Muslims.

• The provinces would be grouped together so that some areas had a Hindu majority and some had a Muslim majority. These groups would be responsible for all day to day affairs. The central government would only be responsible for foreign affairs, defence and communications.

• Nehru and Congress were still hoping for a united India, but appeared to be ready to accept the Cabinet plan. Gandhi stated that it was ‘the best the British government could have produced’.

• The Muslim League also accepted the Cabinet Mission’s proposals, even though it did not allow for an independent Pakistan.

What went wrong with the Cabinet Mission’s plan?

• Elections for the new Assembly took place, in which Congress won 205 seats and the Muslim League won 73, but after the results were announced Congress went back on its decision and rejected the plan.

• After Congress’s refusal to accept the Cabinet plan, the Muslim League also withdrew support.

• Jinnah was angry that Congress had turned down the Cabinet Mission’s proposals. On 16 August 1946, he called for Direct Action. This was meant to be a series of peaceful demonstrations to put pressure on the British and Congress.


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