MAHATMA : the life of Gandhi (reel 27) [Main Title]
Reel 27 of the 33-reel biography of Gandhi: cabinet mission; communal violence; setting up of interim government.
In March 1946 the Labour government sent a delegation consisting of Lord Pethwick-Lawrence, A V Alexander and Sir Stafford Cripps to India to discuss the transfer of power. The delegation began its work by interviewing in Delhi members of leading political parties, including Gandhi, and then moved to Simla for further talks. From the beginning Gandhi declared he was opposed to the division of India. Again, because of disagreement between Congress and the Moslem League, no decisions were reached and the conference broke up on 12 May. On 16 May the cabinet mission put forward its own plan rejecting partition and recommending the setting up of an interim government to be followed by a constituent assembly. Gandhi saw in this 'the germs of the realisation of a land without sorrow and profit' and urged the All India Congress Committee to agree to join the proposed assembly. The Moslem League decided to observe 16 August as a direct action day to protest against the proposed interim government. In Calcutta 'madness seized a section of humanity which killed, maimed and burned'. The violence spread through East Bengal into Bihar. On 2 September an interim government was formed with Nehru as de facto Prime Minister. Gandhi travelled to Bengal in an attempt to stem the violence.