Congress Rule In Provinces

o   Congress ministries were formed in Bombay, Madras, Central Provinces, Orissa, United Provinces, Bihar, NWFP, and Assam. 

v  Gandhi’s Advice

§  He advised congressmen to hold these offices lightly and not tightly.

§  He advised that these offices should be used in a way not expected or intended by the British.

§  He urged congressmen to prove that the congress could rule with least assistance from the police and the Army.

v  Work under congress ministries

In the 28 months of congress rule in the provinces, there were some efforts made for people’s welfare.

Ø  Civil Liberties

o   The congress ministries did much to ease curbs on civil liberties –

§  Laws giving emergency power was repealed.

§  Ban in illegal organisations, such as Hindustan Seva Dal and Youth Leagues, and on certain books and journals was lifted.

§  Press restrictions were lifted.

§  Newspapers were taken out of black list.

§  Confiscated arms and arms licences were resorted.

§  Police powers were curbed and the CID stopped shadowing politicians.

§  Political prisoners and revolutionaries were released.

§  Deportation and internment orders were revoked.

§  In Bombay, lands confiscated by the govt. during the CDM were resorted.

§  Prisons of officials associated with the CDM were resorted. 

o   There were certain blemishes in  the performance of the congress ministries regarding civil liberties –

§  Yusuf Maherally, a socialist, was arrested by the Madras govt. for inflammatory speeches and later released.

§  S. S. Batliwala, a socialist, was arrested by the Madras govt. for seditious speech and given a six months’ sentence.

§  K. M. Munshi, the Bombay home minister, used the CID against communists and leftists. 

Ø  Agrarian Reforms

§  There were certain basic constraints due to which the congress ministries could not undertake agrarian structure by completely abolishing Zamindari.

§  These constraints were: -

                          i.         The ministries did not have adequate powers.

                         ii.          There were inadequate financial resources.

                       iii.         Strategy of class adjustments was another hurdle since Zamindars, etc., had to be conciliated and neutralised.

                        iv.          There were constraint of time.

                         v.         War clouds had started hovering around 1938.

                        vi.          The reactionary second chamber (legislative council) dominated by landlords, moneylenders, and capitalists in United Provinces, Bihar, Bombay, Madras, and Assam.

                      vii.         The agrarian structure was too complex. 

Ø  Attitude Towards Labour

§  The basic approach was to advance worker’s interests which promoting industrial peace.

§  This was sought to be achieved by reducing strikes as far as possible and by advocating compulsory arbitration prior to striking before the established conciliation machinery.

§  Goodwill was sought to be created between labour an capital with mediation of ministries.

§    Efforts were made to improve worker’s condition and secure wage increases for them.

§  The ministries treated militant trade union protests as law and order problems, and acted as mediators as far as possible.

§  This approach was largely successful except in Bombay.

§  Leftist critics were not satisfied by this approach and were arrested.

§  Nehru and Gandhi was unhappy with this. They were against militant and violent methods. 

Ø  Social Welfare Reforms

§  These included the following: -

                       i.         Prohibition imposed in certain areas.

                     ii.         Measures for welfare.

                    iii.         Attention given to primary, technical, and higher education and to public health and sanitation.

                    iv.         Encouragement given to indigenous enterprises.

                      v.         Encouragement given to Khadi through subsidies and other measures.

                    vi.         Prison reforms undertaken.

                   vii.         Efforts taken to develop planning through National Planning Committee set up under congress president Subhas Chandra Bose in 1938.

§  Extra – parliamentary mass activity of congress such as –

                   i.         Launching of mass literacy campaigns.

                  ii.         Setting up of congress police stations and panchayats.

                iii.         Congress grievance committees presenting mass petitions to government.

                 iv.         State people’s movement. 

v  Evaluation

§  The 28 month congress rule was also significant for following reasons –

                   i.         The contention that Indian Self-government was necessary for radical social transformation got confirmed.

                  ii.         The ministries were able to control communal riots.

                iii.         The morale of the bureaucracy came down.

                 iv.         Council work helped neutralise many erstwhile hostile elements(landlords, etc..).

                  v.         People were able to perceive the shape of things to come if independence was won.

                 vi.         Administrative work by Indians further weakened the myth that Indians were not fit to rule.

§  the congress ministries resigned in October, 1939 after the outbreak of the second world war.

§  The huge congress victory in the election had aroused the hopes of the industrial working class.

§  The All India Muslim League, annoyed with the congress for not sharing power with them established the Pirpur committee in 1938.

§   This committee was to prepare a detailed report on the atrocities supposedly committed by the congress ministries.

§   In its report the committee charged the congress with interference in the religious rites, suppression of Urdu in favour of Hindi, denial of proper representation and if the oppression of Muslims in the Economic sphere.

§  The congress was forced to realise that being in power and actually running administration was not easy.

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