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India wins Independence and Partition

In February 1946, the British Government sent the Cabinet Mission to India to hold discussions with Indian leaders. The British Prime Minister announced his government’s willingness to grant independence to India. The Cabinet Mission proposed the formation of a Union of India in which provinces would be grouped in four zones with their own constitutions and enjoying autonomy except in matters of foreign policy, defence and communication. It also proposed the formation of a constitution making body not elected by the people but by the provincial legislatures on the basis of communal electorates.

The members from the Indian states were proposed to be appointed by the rulers of Indian states. The Congress accepted the Cabinet Mission proposal regarding the constitution making body, although the Congress had earlier insisted on a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise, it agreed to the Cabinet Mission proposal in order to avoid any delay in the achievement of Independence. The Congress had won 201 out of 210 general seats and the Muslim League won 73 out of 78 seats reserved for Muslims. The Muslim League boycotted the Assembly and pressed on with its demand for a separate state of Pakistan. The Princes also boycotted the Assmebly.The people of the states pressed for the integration of the states into a united India. On 2 September 1946 the Congress formed the Interim Government which was headed by Jawahar Lal Nehru. Later the Muslim League also joined the Interim Government.

On 24 March 1947, Lord Mountbatten was appointed the Viceroy of India and the British government announced that it would transfer power to Indian hands not later than June 1948.On 3 June 1947 Mountbatten presented a plan for the division of India into two independent states-the Indian Union and Pakistan. The Indian states were given the right to decide their own future. Partition was completed and power was transferred to the two states of India and Pakistan. Pakistan comprised West Punjab, East Bengal, Sind and the NWFP. On 15 August 1947, India became independent. But millions of people lost their homes and several thousand lost their lives. The country was ravaged by communal rioting and Gandhiji began touring the country to bring comfort to the people. He was shot dead by Nathu Ram Godse in 1948.