During the course of the Second World War in order to secure the cooperation of the Indians, the British Government made an announcement on 8 August 1940, which came to be known as the ‘August Offer’. The August Offer envisaged that after the War a representative body of Indians would be set up to frame the new Constitution.
Gandhi was not satisfied with this offer and decided to launch Individual Satyagraha. Individual Satyagraha was limited, symbolic and non-violent in nature and it was left to Mahatma Gandhi to choose the Satyagrahis. Acharya Vinoba Bhave was the first to offer Satyagraha and he was sentenced to three months imprisonment.
Jawaharlal Nehru was the second Satyagrahi and imprisoned for four months. The individual Satyagraha continued for nearly 15 months.
Cripps Mission (1942)
In the meantime, the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow expanded his Executive Council by including five more Indians into it in July 1941. However, in the midst of worsening wartime international situation, the British Government in its continued effort to secure Indian cooperation sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India on 23 March 1942.
This is known as Cripps Mission. The main recommendations of Cripps were:
- The promise of Dominion Status to India,
- Protection of minorities
- Setting up of a Constituent Assembly in which there would be representatives from the Princely States along with those of the British Provinces,
- There would be provision for any Province of British India not prepared to accept this Constitution, either to retain its present constitutional position or frame a constitution of its own.
The major political parties of the country rejected the Cripps proposals. Gandhi called Cripp’s proposals as a “Post-dated Cheque”. They did not like the rights of the Princely States either to send their representatives to the Constituent Assembly or to stay out of the Indian Union.
The Muslim League was also dissatisfied as its demand for Pakistan had not been conceded in the proposal.