UPSC : Second World War, August Offer and Individual Satyagraha Notes | EduRev
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- World War II broke out on 1 Sept., 1939. Congress explained her stance in regard to the World War as follow:
- It was opposed to Fascism, Nazism and Japanese militarism.
- It demanded freedom for India.
- It insisted that India be not involved in any war without the consent of Indian people.
- Congress Working Commit-tee’s statement on 15 Sept., 1939 said:
(i) Indian people alone should decide on questions of war and peace.
(ii) India could not cooperate in a war effort for consolidation of imperialism.
(iii) Britain called upon to declare her war aims.
- Britain’s Prime Minister explained Britain’s war aim was self-preservation. A British Cabinet Minister explained her war aim to win the war. To placate Indian opinion, the Viceroy Lintithgow announced on 17 Oct., 1939 that:Viceroy Lintithgow
- Dominion Status was the goal of British policy in India.
- Indian Constitution to be reviewed after the end of war.
- Minorities interests to be properly safeguarded.
- Viceroy to set up a Consultative Committee of Indians to advise him on war effort.
- In protest against Government’s policies, the Congress ministries resigned in 8 provinces during Oct.-Nov. 1939. Muslim League celebrated resignation of Congress government as ‘Day of Deliverance and Thanks-giving’.
- In order to placate Indian political opinion, which was angry at the involvement of India in the War without India’s consent, in August 1940, the Viceroy made a constitutional offer a reformist type. The main points of the August Offer were:
- Dominion Status the objective for India.
- Expansion of Viceroy’s Executive Council.
- Setting up of an Advisory War Council.
- Minorities assured of full weightage in any revision of Indian Constitution.
- After the war a Constituent Assembly of Indians to be called to frame a constitution for India.
- Peace and defence to continue to be British responsibility.
- Congress demand for a Constituent Assembly conceded.
- Jinnah and Muslim League given a veto on constitutional advance.
- Congress rejected the August Offer.
- Muslim League put up its demand for partition of India.
- The Secretary of State explained that Indian constitutional deadlock was the outcome of differences between Indian political parties.
- Both the Congress and the Muslim League rejected the Offer; the Congress because the substance of independence was not contained in it and the League because it was silent about the demand for Pakistan.
- The ‘August Offer’ was, however, notable for one point and that was that the post-war constitution was to be drafted by an Indian Constituent Assembly which was to have a binding character. After the failure of the ‘August Offer’ to receive the Congress response, the latter turned to the Gandhian formula of civil disobedience as was laid down in the Ramgarh Congress resolution of 1940.
- England’s political misfortune was regarded by some sections of political India, as for example, Subhas Chandra Bose, as an opportunity to demand independence. But in the Gandhian philosophy of Satyagraha, it is not considered moral to take advantage of the adversary. However, the right of freedom of expression had to be asserted. During the War, the repression of the imperialist power on India increased and freedom of speech and expression was curbed. Hence, Gandhiji started the Individual Satyagraha movement on October 17, 1940 with Vinoba Bhave, a Sanskrit scholar and social worker in his Ashram, being chosen as the first Satyagrahi. Jawaharlal, Vallabhabhai Patel and other leaders, activists and workers were arrested. Nearly thirty thousand people were imprisoned by June 1941.Vallabh Bhai Patel
- By the end of November 1941, the individual Satyagraha campaign was suspended. The Japanese threat was increasing and there were air raids on Assam and Bengal. Naturally, it was not thought expedient that, at such a critical time the Congress leaders should be, again, in prison. Hence the Individual Satyagraha movement was suspended. It had been carried on for fourteen months and although it did not put any great political pressure on the Government, it had psychological and symbolical effect on the people.