C R Plan and Desai Liaquat Pact: Overview, Objectives and Failure
C R Plan and Desai Liaquat Pact are attempts of Indian nationalists to solve the internal problems between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League that had grown, escalated and indefinitely multiplied and intensified by Britishers during colonial rule through their policy of “Divide and Rule.” This article critically delineates the recommendations proposed in the national schemes like C R Plan & Desai Liaquat Pact for resolving the communal deadlock between Muslim League and Congress.
Background of C R Plan & Desai Liaquat Pact:
With the inception of the devastating World War II, not merely the nationwide demand for complete independence accumulated an uncontrollable acceleration in India but also the probabilities for its achievement had maximized due to the sociopolitical immobility of British administration. Yet, what hindered the nationalist approach for the creation of a sovereign India during that time was the continuance of complex communal apprehensions between Hindus and Muslims despite considerable ventures for negotiations. Amidst the global catastrophe and intensified communal mistrust, Mr Jinnah proclaimed the “Pakistan Resolution” on 23 March 1940 in Lahore Session of Muslim League that insisted on “territorial readjustments” for the making of a separate dominion for the Muslim population called “PAKISTAN”, as highlighted below:
“the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North-Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.“
For Congressmen who envisioned the Swaraj for an integrated India, How can Jinnah’s separatist demand for “Pakistan” can be acceptable? How can even the “Partition of India” into two dominions- Hindustan and Pakistan in terms of religious differences be envisaged? Besieged by bewildering questions, neither Congress nor League could resolve the communal impasse amongst themselves which proved increasingly problematic to colonizers who aspired to hurriedly quit India at the earliest. To solve this deadlock, many negotiations were plans, two of them are described below.
Comprehensively Understanding “PARTITION AND COMMUNALISM IN INDIA“
C R PLAN OR C. RAJAGOPALACHARI FORMULA 1944:
Composed by Gandhi’s Conscience Keeper- Chakravarti Rajagopalachari during the destructive World War-II in 1944, the C R Plan endeavoured to resolve the political and constitutional deadlock between Indian National Congress and All-India Muslim League by suggesting to decide whether on not to carve out Pakistan based on the results of plebiscite conducted in Muslim majority areas which were predicted to be the parts of future Pakistan. According to Mr C. Rajagopalachari, Congressmen should concede to the League’s demand of Pakistan if the Muslims of the Indian provinces approves Partition of India and therefore, he devised the following proposals on 10 March 1944 to compromise with the Muslim League that proved objectionable to Congress as it confirmed the demand of “Pakistan”:
- The Muslim League will support the national demand of Indian Independence and will also provide the utmost support to Congress in forming a provisional interim government at the centre in the transition period.
- Aftermath the global war, a commission will be assigned to enlist the Muslim-majority districts in the North-East and North-West of India in which a plebiscite will be organized on basis of Universal Adult Franchise to determine if these states intend to separate from India or not.
- If the Muslim majority area consented to partition India, then there will be an alliance between the two dominions considering the subjects of defence, communication and commerce.
- These conditions will be applicable only if Britain bestows full sovereignty on India.
Not only within Congress but also from the Muslim League, C R Plan suffered scathing criticism. Muslims protested because it hadn’t explicitly acknowledged the demand of “PAKISTAN” and Jinnah argued that only Muslims irrespective of adult suffrage should be involved to vote in the plebiscite and not the total population of the provinces. Serious complaints from Akali-Dal, Hindu Mahasabha, V.D. Savarkar etc. led to its failure.
DESAI LIAQUAT PACT 1944:
In the aftermath of the failure of the C R Plan, the second scheme for unravelling the constitutional crisis between the All-India Muslim League and the Indian National Congress was made by two pre-eminent leaders in late 1944- Bhulabhai Desai and Liaquat Ali Khan on behalf of Congress and League respectively. They secretly proposed to formulate an interim provisional government at the centre that would consist of 1. Equal nominated members from Congress and League in Central Legislature; and 2. 20% of seats reserved for minorities. However, this effort for negotiation took place without the knowledge of Patel, Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah and hence, this pact remained crucially insignificant and unexplored.
In short, C R Plan and Desai Liaquat Pact couldn’t manage to figure out the solutions for the communal impasse between the Indian National Congress and Muslim League. Next attempts for negotiation taken in this direction were by colonizers like Wavell under Wavell Plan, Patheik Lawrence, A.V. Alexander and Stafford Cripps under Cabinet Mission and Lord Mountbatten under Mountbatten Plan, that shall be continued in the series, so stay connected with “Laws of Nature.”