Interim Government of India

The Interim Government of India, also known as the Provisional Government of India, formed on 2 September 1946[1] from the newly elected Constituent Assembly of India, had the task of assisting the transition of British India to independence. It remained in place until 15 August 1947, the date of the independence (and partition) of India, and the creation of Pakistan.[2][3][4]

Interim Government of India
British Raj Red Ensign.svg
Cabinet of British India
Nehru with members of Interim gov't faction leaving Viceroy's home after Swearing in.jpg
Nehru with members of the Interim government faction leaving Viceroy's House after swearing in on 2 September 1946
Date formed2 September 1946 (1946-09-02)
Date dissolved15 August 1947 (1947-08-15)
People and organisations
EmperorGeorge VI
Viceroy and
Governor-General
Head of GovernmentJawaharlal Nehru (as Vice President of Executive Council)
No. of ministers15
Member parties
Status in legislatureCoalition
History
Successor

FormationEdit

After the end of the Second World War, the British authorities in India released all political prisoners who had participated in the Quit India movement. The Indian National Congress, which had long fought for self rule, agreed to participate in elections for a constituent assembly, as did the Muslim League. The newly elected government of Clement Attlee dispatched the 1946 Cabinet Mission to India to formulate proposals for the formation of a government that would lead to an independent India.[4]

The elections for the Constituent Assembly were not direct elections, as the members were elected from each of the provincial legislative assemblies. In the event, the Indian National Congress won a majority of the seats, some 69 per cent, including almost every seat in areas with a majority Hindu electorate. The Congress had clear majorities in eight of the eleven provinces of British India.[5] The Muslim League won the seats allocated to the Muslim electorate.

Viceroy's Executive CouncilEdit

The Viceroy's Executive Council became the executive branch of the interim government. Originally headed by the Viceroy of India, it was transformed into a council of ministers, with the powers of a prime minister bestowed on the vice-president of the Council, a position held by the Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru. After independence, all members would be Indians, apart from the Viceroy, in August to become the Governor-General, Lord Mountbatten, who would hold only a ceremonial position, and the Commander-in-Chief, India,[4] Sir Claude Auchinleck, replaced after independence by General Sir Rob Lockhart.

The senior Congress leader Vallabhbhai Patel held the second-most powerful position in the Council, heading the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Information and Broadcasting.[6] The Sikh leader Baldev Singh was responsible for the Department of Defence and Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari was named to head the Department of Education and arts.[6] Asaf Ali, a Muslim Congress leader, headed the Department of Railways and Transport. Scheduled Caste leader Jagjivan Ram headed the Department of Labour, while Rajendra Prasad headed the Department of Food and Agriculture and John Mathai headed the Department of Industries and Supplies.[6]

Upon the Muslim League joining the interim government, the second highest-ranking League politician, Liaquat Ali Khan, became the head of the Department of Finance. Abdur Rab Nishtar headed the Departments of Posts and Air and Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar headed the Department of Commerce.[6] The League nominated a Scheduled Caste Hindu politician, Jogendra Nath Mandal, to lead the Department of Law.[6]

Cabinet of the Interim Government of IndiaEdit

First Interim CabinetEdit

Office Name Party
Viceroy and Governor-General of India
President of the Executive Council
The Viscount Wavell Indian Empire
Commander-in-Chief Sir Claude Auchinleck
Vice President of the Executive Council
External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations
Jawaharlal Nehru Indian National Congress
Home Affairs
Information and Broadcasting
Vallabhbhai Patel Indian National Congress
Agriculture and Food Rajendra Prasad Indian National Congress
Arts, Education and Health C. Rajagopalachari Indian National Congress
Commerce C.H. Bhabha Indian National Congress
Defence Baldev Singh Indian National Congress
Finance John Matthai Indian National Congress
Industries and Supplies C. Rajagopalachari Indian National Congress
Labour Jagjivan Ram Indian National Congress
Law Syed Ali Zaheer Indian National Congress
Railways and Communications
Post and Air
Asaf Ali Indian National Congress
Works, Mines and Power Sarat Bose Indian National Congress

Reconstituted CabinetEdit

Office Name Party
Viceroy and Governor-General of India
President of the Executive Council
The Viscount Wavell (15 October 1946 – 20 February 1947) British Raj
The Viscount Mountbatten of Burma (21 February 1947 -)
Commander-in-Chief Sir Claude Auchinleck
Vice President of the Executive Council
External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations
Jawaharlal Nehru Indian National Congress
Home Affairs
Information and Broadcasting
Vallabhbhai Patel Indian National Congress
Agriculture and Food Rajendra Prasad Indian National Congress
Commerce Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar All-India Muslim League
Defence Baldev Singh Indian National Congress
Finance Liaquat Ali Khan All-India Muslim League
Industries & Supplies John Mathai Indian National Congress
Education C. Rajagopalachari Indian National Congress
Health Ghazanfar Ali Khan All-India Muslim League
Labour Jagjivan Ram Indian National Congress
Law Jogendra Nath Mandal All-India Muslim League
Railways and Communications
Post and Air
Abdur Rab Nishtar All-India Muslim League
Works, Mines and Power C.H. Bhabha Indian National Congress

The above is the reconstituted cabinet of 15 October 1946, when Muslim League called off its boycott of participation in the interim government.[7]

ActivitiesEdit

Although until August 1947 British India remained under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, the interim government proceeded to establish diplomatic relations with other countries, including the United States.[3] Meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly, from which the Interim Government was drawn, began the task of drafting a constitution for independent India.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "India's first government was formed today: All you need to know".
  2. ^ Vidya Dhar Mahajan (1971). Constitutional history of India, including the nationalist movement. S. Chand. pp. 200–10.
  3. ^ a b "Office of the Historian – Countries – India". U.S. State Department. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  4. ^ a b c Radhey Shyam Chaurasia (2002). History of Modern India, 1707 A. D. to 2000 A. D. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. pp. 300–400. ISBN 978-81-269-0085-5.
  5. ^ (Judd 2004, p. 172)
  6. ^ a b c d e John F. Riddick (2006). The History of British India: A Chronology. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 100–150. ISBN 978-0-313-32280-8.
  7. ^ V. Krishna Ananth. India Since Independence: Making Sense of Indian Politics. Pearson Education India. 2010. pp 28–30.

External linksEdit