Beginning of the World War II (1939)

This brought in new variables on the Indian political scene. Accordingly, there were changes in the British policies towards India and there were changes in the strategies of the national leadership. On the eve of the 1939-war, the British government’s grip over the Indians was fairly loose. It could not expect the unconditional Indian’ support in the war as it had in the 1914-18 war. The League’s support and the support of certain Indian princes and splinter political group here and there constituted as not enough. The Britishers knew for certain that the Congress leadership would not extend its sympathies for the fascist forces against whom the Allied, the Britishers including, were fighting but that did not guarantee or imply that the Congress (whose help the Britishers wanted badly) would help them.

The Congress leadership also was not in any such mood to embarrass Britain. Taking advantage of the situation, the Congress indicated its willingness to support war efforts only if the British government gave some concessions on: (i) a post-war independence promise and (ii) an immediate national government at the centre. But viceroy’s reply fell very short of Congress’s conditions. Then followed the period of post-war negotiations between the British Government and the Congress. As the war progressed, and at times unfavourable to the British interests initially, pressure on the British leadership mounted heavily and so nearer India began approaching its independence. But still there was a difference between the tea cup and the lips.

The Congress President : 1920-1947

1920 Calcutta (Special Session) Lala Lajpat Rai

1920 Nagpur C. Vijayaraghavchariar

1921 Ahmedabad Hakim Ajmal Khan

1922 Gaya C.R. Dass

1923 Kakinanda Mohammad Ali Jonhar

1923 Delhi (Special Session) Adul Kalam Azad

1924 Belgaum Mohandas Gandhi

1925 Kanpur Sarojini Naidu

1926 Gauhati S. Srinivasa Iyengar

1927 Madras M.A. Ansari

1928 Calcutta Motilal Nehru

1929-30 Lahore Jawaharlal Nehru

1931 Karachi Vallabhai Patel

1932 Delhi Madan Mohan Malaviya

1933 Calcutta Madan Mohan Malaviya

1933 Calcutta Nellie Sengupta

1934-35 Bombay Rajendra Prasad

1936 Lucknow Jawahar Lal Nehru

1936-37 Faizpur Jawahar Lal Nehru

Haripura Subhash Chandra Bose

1939 Tripuri Subhash Chandra Bose

1940-46 Ramgarh and others Abul Kalam Azad

1947 Meerut J.B. Kripalani

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