India in the 1930s

  • Created by: lwilson23
  • Created on: 11-02-19 10:39

Viceroy Willingdon and the Poona Pact

- decade began with Raj flexing its muscles - reconstruction of Delhi to be capital of British India completed in 1931

- 1931 also saw Viceroy Willingdon replace Irwin - much less sympathetic towards nationalist cause. Only wished to work with those who cooperated with the Raj. Ended up imprisoning Gandhi and 80.000 Indian activists (1932) - also implemented emergency measures to quash nationalism. 

- 1932 Communal Award - Labour PM Ramsay MacDonald alters Indian constitution - stating that groups such as Sikhs, Anglo Indians and Untouchables are separate classes worthy of separate electorates. Negative Gandhi response - saw it as trying to create divide in INC - fasted. 

- to stop Gandhi's fast, B.R Ambedkar (Untouchable rep) traveled to Poona with proposed amendments to communal award in exchange for Gandhi stopping his fast - the Poona Pact declared that untouchables would abandon separate electorates in exchange for:

  • Untouchable government seats increased from 71 to 148
  • Untouchables guaranteed at least 18% of government seats (as long as general electorate). 
  • funds set aside for untouchable education. 
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The Third Government of India Act

- despite the PP being accepted by both the British and Indians - the British still believed that there was too much divergence in India, which made it harder to govern. Led to the final Government of India Act - drafted in 1935 but became implemented in 1937 - approved by two different SOSs - Samuel Hoare and Lord Zetland. 

- the Government of India Act stated that: 

  • India was divided into 11 provinces - each one self-governed. 
  • provinces were fully autonomous except for defense and foreign affairs. 
  • the dyarchy style of rule was abolished
  • separate electorates remained
  • Sindh and Orissa (two more provinces) created. 
  • the Viceroy had to listen to the Executive Committee (the majority Indian) when making decisions. 

- Stanley Baldwin (a Conservative PM) was crucial to passing the bill through commons, despite heavy opposition. 

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Opposition to the GOIA from Within Britain

- the India Defence League (of which Churchill was a member) tried to oppose the passing of the bill through commons - opposed every aspect of the GOIA.

- the press was also mostly against the act, with the Daily Mail publishing fake photos of Indians being violent so as to turn the public against the relatively progressive act. 

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Indian Opposition to the GOIA

- both the INC and ML disliked the act - only partly implemented by the start of WWII. 

- INC disliked it as they wanted purna swaraj and didn't like the idea of a Muslim-dominated province, which the act could bring. 

- the ML opposed it as they didn't think it would secure Muslim rights, they were worried about Hindu domination and Jinnah had also returned by the point of 1935 - revitalizing the ML and increasing support for it. 

- Jinnah had returned in 1934 and set about making the ML a single, powerful organisation. Wasn't able to do this to maximum effect before the 1937 elections however as not enough time. He visited Muslim communities 1935-39 in an effort to increase Muslim political consciousness. 

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The 1937 Nationwide Elections

- the GOIA triggered nationwide elections, in which both the ML and INC participated. 

- ML won Bengal, Punjab and North-West Frontier Province (Muslim-dominated). 

- Madras, Bombay, and pretty much everywhere else the INC domimated. 

- allowed the INC to tighten its grip on Indian nationalism.

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The Aftermath of the GOIA

- 1938 - Bose creates division in INC through his radical views, forced to resign and was replaced by Rajendra Prasad - key CWC member. Bose then went mental - returned to Bengal and formed the Forward Bloc Party - ended up joining the Japanese army and fighting to overthrow India. 

- the Raj experienced a burst of popularity in the 1930s (increased amount of Indians entering the Indian civil service etc.) - no alternative to the Raj. This was wrecked at the outbreak of WWII, where the Viceroy, LINLITHGOW, declared war on India on behalf of the Indian people - committing 300 mil Indians to fight without their consent. 

- India expected to volunteer 2.5 mil soldiers to fight. In response to this, the INC resigned from all councils. Left the way open for Jinnah and the ML. Called a meeting at Lahore in March 1940 which 100,000 Muslims attended - came up with the Lahore Resolution which stated:

  • areas where Muslims are in the majority should be separated into independent Muslim states. 
  • minorities in all states (whether Muslim or Hindu) should be protected

- the resolution sewed the seeds for the creation of Pakistan. 

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The Aftermath of the GOIA Continued

- Jinnah's declaration at Lahore sparked arguments between him and Gandhi, with conflict arising between Hindus and Muslims in Indian society. This also disrupted the British. Rapprochement was now pretty much an impossibility

- the August Offer of 1940 - Linlithgow agrees that the British would not form a new consitution for India without Muslim consent - made Jinnah feel like he was on top. 

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