Quit India

Cripps Mission

22 Mar 1942
Event location: 

Delhi, India


From 22 March to 11 April 1942, Stafford Cripps, a member of the War Cabinet, was dispatched to India to discuss the British Government’s Draft Declaration on the Constitution of India with representative Indian leaders from all parties. The Cripps Mission failed and the issue of India’s constitution was postponed until the end of the war.

By early 1942, Japan had made advances in South-East Asia and they were on the border of India. The British Government was keen to secure the full cooperation of India in the effort against the Japanese. China and the United States, who had entered the war at this point, were also keen on India’s full participation in the war. Mounting pressure from China and the United States, as well as from the Labour Party in Britain, led Prime Minister Winston Churchill to send Stafford Cripps to India to discuss the Draft Declaration, as settled by the War Cabinet and its Committee between 28 February to 9 March 1942, containing proposals to resolve the Indian question of a new constitution and self-government.

Cripps arrived in Delhi on 22 March 1942 where he first met with Viceroy Linlithgow and later discussed the Draft Declaration with a great number of Indian leaders. Whether Cripps was there to negotiate the Declaration or to persuade the Indian leaders to accept it is unclear and, in fact, a reflection of the different attitudes between Cripps and Clement Attlee on the one side and Viceroy Linlithgow, Winston Churchill and Lord Amery on the other.

According to the preamble of the Draft Declaration, the object was ‘the creation of a new Indian Union which shall constitute a Dominion associated with the United Kingdom and other Dominions by a common allegiance to the Crown but equal to them in every respect, in no way subordinate in any aspects of its domestic and external affairs’. The Declaration also stated that any province not willing to accept the constitution would be given ‘the same full status as the Indian Union’, designed to appeased the Muslim League’s call for Pakistan. The Indian National Congress, however, was not satisfied with the fact that its demand for immediate complete independence had been rejected. Furthermore, Congress did not accept the provision that ‘His Majesty’s Government must inevitably bear the responsibility for and retain the control and direction of the Defence of India as part of their world war effort’. The Congress Working Committee rejected the Declaration on 7 April 1942. On 9 April, Cripps made one last effort to persuade the Indian leaders to accept the Declaration, but once again Congress declined. United States President Roosevelt tried to persuade Cripps to renew his efforts, but Cripps had already left India.

The failure of the Cripps Mission is generally attributed to a variety of factors, especially  the constraints within which Cripps had to operate. Some analysts see the Mission merely as an appeasement of Chinese and American concerns with British imperialism. Gandhi seized upon the failure of the Mission and called for voluntary British withdrawal from India. It resulted in the 'Quit India' Movement.

Sir Richard Stafford Cripps
People involved: 

Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Aiyar, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Leopold S. Amery (Secretary of State for India), Madav Shrihari Aney, Clement Attlee, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Allah Bakhsh, Winston Churchill, Stafford Cripps, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Fazlul Huq, Dr. Mukund Ramrao Jayakar, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Colonel Louis Johnson (US representative in India), Narayan Malhar Joshi, Dr. Khan Sahib, Bal Gangadhar Kher, V. T. Krishnamachari, Viceroy Linlithgow, Jamnadas Mehta, Sir Homi Peroshaw Mody, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerji, Ramaswami Mudaliar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Khwaja Nazimuddin, Firoz Khan Noon, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah, Chakravrti Rajagopalachari, Theodore Roosevelt, Manabendra Nath Roy, Syed Mohammad Saadullah, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Sir Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad, ChiangKai-Shek.

Published works: 

India Office, Great Britain, and The Right Hon. Sir Richard Stafford Cripps, India-Lord Privy Seal's (Sir Stafford Cripps') Mission: Statement and Draft Declaration by His Majesty's Government with Correspondence and Resolutions Connected Therewith, Etc. [Parliamentary Papers, Session 1941-42, vol. 8] (London, 1942)

Secondary works: 

Bakshi, S. R., Congress and Quit India Movement (New Delhi: Criterion Publications, 1986)

Baume, Eric, India! We Call on the People of Britain!! (London: India League, 1942)

Bryant, Christopher, The First Modern Chancellor (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997)

Burgess, Simon, Stafford Cripps: A Political Life (London: Gollancz, 1999)

Chakravarty, Shachi, Quit India Movement: A Study (Delhi: New Century Publications, 2002)

Chatterji, Prashanto K., The Cripps Mission, 22 March-11 April 1942: An In-Depth Study (Kolkata: Minerva Associates (Publications), 2004) 

Clarke, Peter, The Cripps Version: The Life of Sir Stafford Cripps (London: Allen Lane, 2002)

Coupland, Reginald, Sir, The Cripps Mission (London: Oxford University Press, 1942)

Goyal, P. K., Battle of India's Freedom Movement (Delhi: Vista International Publishing House, 2005)

Harrison, Agatha, and Bailey, Gerald, India, 1939-1942: A Summary of Events Leading Up To and Including the Cripps Mission (London: National Peace Council, 1942)

India League Executive Committee, India and the British Proposals (London: India League, 1942)

Mansergh, Nicholas, and Lumly, E. W. R., The Transfer of Power, 1942-7: Constitutional Relations between Britain and India (London: H. M. S. O., 1970)

Mishra, B. K., The Cripps Mission: A Reappraisal (New Delhi: Concept, 1982)

Nehru, Jawaharlal, Jawaharlal Nehru on the Cripps Mission: An Authoritative Statement on the Breakdown of the Negotiations at New Delhi (London: India League, 1942)

Panigrahi, D. N., Quit India and the Struggle for Freedom (New Delhi: Vikas, 1984)

Patel, Harbans, Cripps Mission: The Whole Truth (New Delhi: Indus Pub. Co., 1990)

Patil, V. T., Jawaharlal Nehru and the Cripps Mission (Delhi: BR Pub. Corp., 1984)

Singh, Bhim Sen, The Cripps Mission: A Handiwork of British Imperialism (New Delhi: Usha, 1979)

Subrahmanyam, M., Why Cripps Failed, 2nd ed. edn (New Delhi: Hindustan Times Press, 1943)

Weigold, Auriol, Churchill, Roosevelt, and India: Propaganda during World War II (London: Routledge, 2008)

Wolpert, Stanley A., Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Tags for Making Britain: 

Second World War (1939-1945)

01 Sep 1939
End date: 
15 Aug 1945
Event location: 

Italy, Greece, Sicily, France, Britain, Germany, Middle East, North Africa, Burma, Malaya, India, Far East, Pacific


As in the First World War, Indian soldiers were called upon by Britain to help in the war effort. Despite the constitutional fall-out from Britain’s declaration of war on behalf of India, without prior consultation of Indian representatives, Britain could nevertheless rely on India’s support. The massive involvement of men and women from India in Britain's war effort and her allies has remained a marginalized story of the Second World War. Indian soldiers provided manpower, equipment and auxiliary support in theatres of war throughout the world. Their contribution was vital to keep the supply lines to Britain open and to defend her borders at home and in the empire.

An Indian contingent provided vital backup to the British Expeditionary Force in France in 1940 and these mule transport companies were evacuated at Dunkirk and received praise from British officers for their discipline and exemplary conduct in the midst of chaos. They were stationed in Britain until 1943 to provide vital back-up on the home front. South Asians in Britain such as Cedric Dover and Sudhindra Nath Ghose worked as ARP Wardens in Civil Defence. Indian pilots such as Mahinder Singh Pujji, one of seven fighter pilots chosen to join the RAF, flew Hurricanes, engaging German aircraft in dogfights over the English Channel. He was one of 24 Indian Air Force pilots sent to Britain in September 1940 to fly with the RAF (including four other Sikh pilots: Shivdev Singh, Gurbachan Singh, Tirlochan Singh and Manmohan Singh). Tirlochan Singh and Air Marshal Shivdev Singh flew bombers, the latter making twenty-two operational flights over Germany and later commanding an Indian Air Force squadron in Burma. The Royal Air Force needed to make up a shortage in pilots by actively recruiting personnel from across the Commonwealth. It dispensed with the colour bar of the armed forces that stipulated that only ‘British subjects of pure European descent’ could join. After October 1939 people from across the Commonwealth, regardless of nationality or race became eligible to join the RAF. By the end of the Second World War, over 17,500 such men and women had been recruited, serving in a variety of roles. A further 25,000 served in the Royal Indian Air Force.

In addition to meeting her own requirements, India’s new factories maintained a regular supply of vital war materials to her Allies. Textiles were sent to 15 countries. India would supply 37,000 of the 50,000 different textile articles required by the United Nations in the war. India was the third largest consignor of supplies to Australia for the Pacific war. Russia and China also received much war material from India.

South Asian merchant seamen living around the ports of London, Cardiff, Liverpool and South Shields also played a significant role. These sailors helped to ensure that the supply lines to Britain remained open and provided vital manpower often working under atrocious conditions for less pay than their white counterparts.

The Indian Army played a major part in the operations in Italy, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, East Africa and the Far East. The Fourteenth Army in Burma was the largest single army in the world. Its battle front of 700 miles was approximately as long as the Russian front against Germany. Of the total force of 1,000,000 men employed in Burma ( S.E.A.C.), 700,000 were Indians. By the end of the war, the Indian Army won 31 Victoria Crosses. In all, 4,028 awards for gallantry were made. In WWII the Indian Army suffered 24,338 killed, 64,354 wounded and 11,754 missing.

Secondary works: 

Bance, Peter, The Sikhs in Britain: 150 Years of Photographs (Stroud: Sutton, 2007)

Menezes, S. L., Fidelity and Honour: The Indian Army from the Seventeenth to the Twenty-first Century, rev. ed. (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Prasad, Bisheshwar (general ed.), Official History of the Indian Armed Forces in the Second World War (Combined Inter-Services Historical Section (India & Pakistan))

Somerville, Christopher, Our War: How the British Commonwealth Fought the Second World War (London: Cassell Military, 2005)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto, 2002)


Oral Archives No. 2/6, British Library, St Pancras


This recording from the British Library oral archive contains an interview with General Auchinleck, who was Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, 1943-5. He also commanded Indian troops during the campaign in North Africa.


I think the English never cared; the English who lived in England, the politicians especially, I think they never took any interest in India at all. I think they used it…They couldn’t have come through both wars if the hadn’t had the Indian Army...I think they never really understood it.


Auchinleck's remarks sum up the British attitude towards the Indian contributions during the war. While there was much propaganda material available during the war, explaining and highlighting the Indian contributions to the allied war effort, their contributions were soon forgotten after the war and the myth that 'England stood alone' was perpetuated in historical accounts of the Second World War.

Archive source: 

L/PJ/8 series, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras:

L/PJ/8/503-536 India and the War, constitutional crisis arising from Governor General’s declaration, 17 October 1939

L/PJ/8/639 Subhas Chandra Bose disappearance and Death

L/PJ/12 series, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras:

L/PJ/12/630 Indian seamen, reports of unrest, welfare and union activities, November 1939 - January 1945

L/PJ/12/643 Indian industrial trainees under the Bevin scheme at Letchworth, Herefordshire, political influence by activists in UK, May 1941 - August 1943

L/PJ/12/659 Indian civilians and prisoners of war suspected of collaboration with Nazis; treatment and welfare, January 1944-1945

L/PJ/12/762 Indian prisoners of war in Europe, 1942-1943

L/PJ/12/763 Indian prisoners of war in Europe, January - December 1945

L/PJ/12/764 Treatment of Indian collaborators, October 1945 - April 1947

L/PJ/12/765 Collaborators in Germany: arrangements for repatriation and passport facilities, August - December 1946

L/PJ/12/766 Collaborators in Germany: arrangements for repatriation and passport facilities, January 1947 - January 1949

L/PJ/12/ 768 Indian collaborators: passport facilities for the UK, March 1947 - January 1948

L/PJ/12/769 Reports of interrogations of Indian prisoners of war and civilians captured in Europe and Far East, August 1945 - April 1946

L/PJ/12/770 Formation and activities of Indian National Army Defence Committee in the UK, October - November 1945

L/PJ/12/771 DIB report and proposal on treatment of members of Indian National Army, November - December 1945

L/I/1 series, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras:

L/I/1/1142 War history prepared by Bureau of Public Information

L/I/1/1122 Treatment of Indian news by the BBC 1942

L/I/1/1075 India’s representatives at the imperial war cabinet and pacific war council

L/I/1/1047 Prime Minister’s message to the Viceroy on the 4th Indian division and visit of a contingent to the UK, 1943-44

L/I/1/1048 Imperial War Graves Commission; publication of important announcements

L/I/1/1039 Broadcasting by Indian Army Officers: arrangements for liaison with War Office, 1944

L/I/1/1034 Honours, 1941-44

L/I/1/1035 Indian Army 1939-47

L/I/1/1036 Formation of Indian Army medical corps, 1943

L/I/1/1005 Suggestion that Mrs K. Bhatia visit UK to speak to women’s organizations

L/I/1/990 Question of bringing an Indian officer from Tunis to UK to lecture, 1943

L/I/1/1000 Proposal to bring Indian speakers to the UK, 1942-44

L/I/1/1001 Press cuttings on Indian speakers in UK, 1943-44

L/I/1/978 Bevin Trainee Scheme

L/I/1/48 Indian societies in the UK, 1933-46

L/I/1/50 India League, 1932-39

L/I/1/122Teaching of Indian history in British schools, 1941-45

L/I/1/124 Education about India in England

L/I/1/198 military (general and misc), 1938-41

L/I/1/540 Royal Indian Navy, 1934-39

L/I/1/542 Bibliography relating to India, 1942-48

L/I/1/836 India’s War Effort, 1941-42

L/I/1/837 India’s War effort, 1943-46

L/I/1/840 Indian Seamen, 1941-45

L/I/1/842 national war front 1943-46

L/I/1/843 Pamphlets, 1940-43

L/I/1/854 India and the war, 1945-47

L/I/1/857 MOI illustrated pamphlet on India’s war effort, 1943-48

L/I/1/858 Military pamphlets,1944-45

L/I/1/877 Muslim attitude to the war, 1940-41

L/I/1/903 Illustrated booklet ‘India at War’, 1941-42

L/I/1/904 France and the war, 1940-48

L/I/1/905 photographs (general), 1939-48

L/I/1/907-911 War Publicity in India by Photography

L/Mil series, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras:

L/Mil/17/5/4247-4285 India and WWII

L/Mil/17/5/4263 (Microfilm Misc 742) Pamphlet: India and the War 1939-1945, The Facts

L/Mil/17/5/4267 info on demobilisation of the Indian Army after WWII

L/Mil/17/5/4272 Pamphlet: Defence head quarters

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, Kanthiawar, India, to father Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi and his fourth wife Putlibai. In 1882 he married Kasturbai Makanji, with whom he had five children. Gandhi enrolled at Samaldas College, Bhaunagar, in 1887 but left after one term. However, he was encouraged to go to London to study law and he left for London on 4 September 1888.

Arriving on 29 September 1888, Gandhi immediately went to the Victoria Hotel before relocating briefly to the suburb of Richmond and eventually settling in a room in West Kensington for a year. At first, he tried to become an 'English gentleman' but after a few months realized that he had to cut his expenditures and gave up most of his new habits. Besides his law studies he passed the University of London matriculation examination in June 1890. Gandhi did not participate in the newly established British Committee of the Indian National Congress but did attend meetings of the London Indian Society. He also attended meetings of the Anjuman-e-Islam (after 1903 called the Pan-Islamic Society), the National Indian Association, and the Northbrook Indian Society. He passed his Roman law examination in March 1890 and passed the Bar finals in January 1891. Before leaving for London, Gandhi had promised his mother not to eat meat. He found it difficult at first but soon discovered vegetarian restaurants and joined the London Vegetarian Society. He often wrote for their journal the Vegetarian and became a member of the Executive Committee on 19 September 1890. Gandhi had also come into contact with the Theosophical Society in 1889, and was introduced to Annie Besant before he left London on 12 June 1891.

He lived in India until 1893 when he left for South Africa to practice law. It was here he raised his family, established himself as a lawyer and then a political activist fighting the discrimination of Asians in Africa. By 1906, he had emerged as the spokesman of Indians in Natal and Transvaal and in October that year he was once again in London to speak on behalf of the Indian community. In London he met with Lord Elgin to discuss the rights of Indians in South Africa, but upon his return in December 1906, Gandhi was disappointed. Imperial politics brought Gandhi to London again in July 1909. However, what concerned Gandhi the most this time was the status of highly educated Indians. In August, he visited Louth with his friend Pranjivan Mehta; later in August he visited George Allen in the Cotswolds, and on 7 November he spoke to the Indian students at Cambridge.  On his voyage back to South Africa, he wrote his powerful book Hind Swaraj, or Indian Home Rule, in which he wrote about his increasing discontent with the West, the power of non-violence and the vision of self-rule.

Between 1909 and 1914, Gandhi received several invitations to return to India, but before doing so he visited London again in August 1914, two days after the outbreak of the First World War. The purpose of his trip was to visit his friend and mentor G. K. Gokhale but he had already left for Paris. With Gokhale gone, Gandhi met the poetess Sarojini Naidu instead. On 8 August, a reception was held for him at the Hotel Cecil. In attendance were, among others, Charlotte Despard, Albert Cartwright, Bhupendranath Basu, Sacchidanand Sinha, Lala Lajpat Rai, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Amir Ali and J. M. Parikh. While in London he established the Indian Volunteer Corps before he left on 19 December 1914.

From 1919 Gandhi became highly politically active in India. It was his belief in satyagraha that made him the leader of the nationalist movement against the Raj. By 1931 he had become integral to Indian national life and the sole representative of the Indian National Congress at the second Round Table Conference (Gandhi was in prison during the first Conference in 1930). He arrived in September 1931 and gave his first speech at the Conference on 15 September. The Second Round Table Conference failed to yield independence for India, and Gandhi left London on 5 December 1931. Back in India Gandhi continued to promote satyagraha and led the Quit India Movement in 1942. On 30 January 1948, Gandhi was walking through the grounds of Birla House, New Delhi, when he was shot at point blank range by Nathuram Godse.

Published works: 

Hind Swaraj (1909)

Discourses on the 'Gita' (1926)

An Autobiography, or, the Story of My Experiments with Truth, trans. from the original in Gujarati by Mahadev Desai (Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1927)

Satyagraha in South Africa ... Translated ... By Valji Govindji Desai (Madras: S. Ganesan, 1928)

The Constructive Programme (1941)

(with Krishna Kripalani) All Men are Brothers: Life and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi as Told in His Own Words (Paris; Unesco, 1969)

The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, 90 vols (New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt of India, 1958-84)

Date of birth: 
02 Oct 1869

H. O. Ally, B. R. Ambedkar, C. F. Andrews, Annie Besant, Sir Mancherjee Bhownagree, Subhas Chandra Bose, Sir Henry Cotton, Charlotte Despard, G. K. Gokhale, Sir William W. Hunter, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Aga Khan, Shyamaji Krishnavarma, George Lansbury, T. T. Mazmudar, Dr Pranjivan Mehta, Sarojini Naidu, Dadabhai Naoroji, Mansukhlal H. Nazar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Josiah Oldfield, V. D. Savarkar, Dalpatram Shukla, Rabindranath Tagore, E. J. Thompson, Sir William Wedderburn, Marquess of Zetland.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Indian Opinion

Secondary works: 

There are more than two thousand critical works on Gandhi. Below is a small selection of those: 

Arnold, David, Gandhi (Harlow: Longman, 2001) 

Bakshi, S. R., Gandhi and Concept of Swaraj (New Delhi: Criterion Publications, 1988)

Brown, Judith M., Gandhi's Rise to Power: Indian Politics, 1915-1922 (London: Cambridge University Press, 1972)

Brown, Judith M., Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: The Mahatma in Indian Politics, 1928-34 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1977)

Brown, Judith M., Gandhi: Prisoner of Hope (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989)

Brown, Judith M., 'Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand [Mahatma Gandhi] (1869–1948)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33318]

Chandra, Bipan, Essays on Indian Nationalism (New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications, 1993) 

Chatterjee, Margaret, Gandhi's Religious Thought (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, 1983)

Chakrabarti, Atulananda, Gandhi and Birla (Calcutta: General Printers and Publishers, 1955)

Dhar, Niranjan, Aurobindo, Gandhi and Roy: A Yogi, a Mahatman and a Rationalist (India: Minerva, 1986)

Gandhi, Mahatma, and Iyer, Raghavan, The Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, 3 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986-87)

Gupta, Manmath Nath, Gandhi and His Times (New Delhi: Lipi Prakashan, 1982)

Herman, Arthur, Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age (New York: Bantam Books, 2008)

Hunt, James D., Gandhi in London (New Delhi: Promilla, 1978)

Krishnan, Asha, Ambedkar and Gandhi: Emancipators of Untouchables in Modern India (Mumbai: Himalaya Publishing House, 1997)

Majeed, Javed, Autobiography, Travel and Postnational Identity: Gandhi, Nehru and Iqbal (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

Malhotra, S. L., From Civil Disobedience to Quit India: Gandhi and the Freedom Movement in Punjab and Haryana, 1932-1942 (Chandigarh: Punjab University Publication Bureau, 1979)

Mathur, D. B., Gandhi, Congress and Apartheid (Jaipur: Aalekh Publishers, 1986)

Mehrotra, S. R., Gandhi and the British Commonwealth (New Delhi: Indian Council of World Affairs, 1961)

Nanda, Bal Ram, Gandhi and His Critics (Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)

Nehru, Jawaharlal, Jawaharlal Nehru: An Autobiography. With Musings on Recent Events in India, Etc. [with Plates, Including Portraits.] (London: John Lane: London, 1936)

Parekh, Bhikhu C., Colonialism, Tradition and Reform: An Analysis of Gandhi's Political Discourse (New Delhi; London: Sage, 1989)

Parekh, Bhikhu C., Gandhi's Political Philosophy: A Critical Examination (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1989)

Patil, V. T., Gandhi, Nehru and the Quit India Movement (Delhi: B. R. Pub. Corp., 1984)

Ramakrishnan, Padma, Gandhi and Indian Independence (New Delhi: Blaze Publishers and Distributors, 1994)

Roberts, Elizabeth, Gandhi, Nehru and Modern India (London: Methuen, 1974)

Sharma, Shri Ram, Gandhi: The Man and the Mahatma (Chandigarh: Rajan, 1985)

Singh, G. B., Gandhi: Behind the Mask of Divinity (Lahore: Vanguard Books, 2005)

Swan, Maureen, Gandhi: The South African Experience (Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1985)

Tidrick, Kathryn, Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life (London: I. B. Taurus, 2006)

Wadhwa, Madhuri, Gandhi Between Tradition and Modernity (New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications, 1991)

Zakaria, Rafiq, Gandhi and the Break-Up of India (Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1999)

Archive source: 

Gandhi National Museum and Library, New Delhi, India

Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmadabad, India

Home Department Mss, Government of India, National Archives of India, New Delhi

Nehru and Indian National Congress Mss, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi

Current affairs footage and documentaries, National Film and Television Archive, British Film Institute, London

News and documentary footage, Film and Video Archive, Imperial War Museum, London

Oral history interview and recorded talk, Sound Archive, Imperial War Museum, London

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Mahatma Gandhi


Store Street
London, WC1E 7PL
United Kingdom
51° 31' 10.9056" N, 0° 7' 54.8688" W
60 Talbot Road
Bayswater, London, W2 5LJ
United Kingdom
51° 31' 2.208" N, 0° 11' 49.0848" W
20 Barons Court Road
West Kensington, London, W14 9DU
United Kingdom
51° 29' 23.3556" N, 0° 12' 30.4308" W
Date of death: 
30 Jan 1948
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
29 Sep 1888
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1888-91, 1906, 1909, 1914, 1931


20 Baron's Court Road, West Kensington

Store Street, London

Tavistock Street, London

52 St. Stephen's Gardens, Bayswater, London

88 Knightsbridge

60 Talbot Road, Bayswater, London

16 Trebobir Road, West Kensington, London

Stafford Cripps


Stafford Cripps was born in 1889 in London to Charles Alfred Cripps and his wife Theresa. His father was a Conservative MP and later a Labour cabinet minister.

After turning down a scholarship to New College, Oxford, in 1907 he studied for an MSc degree at University College, London. In 1911, he married Isobel Cripps (née Swithinbank), whom he had met a year earlier when helping out with his father's campaign. When war broke out in 1914, Cripps, still recovering from a breakdown, did not join the forces. Instead, he became a lorry driver for the Red Cross. In 1929, Cripps joined the Labour Party and became a minister in Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government the year after. His campaign to become an MP was supported by Sukhsagar Datta. In 1933 he became chairman of the Socialist League, which he dissolved in 1937. Cripps was also heavily involved with the Left Book Club.

At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Cripps went on a tour of India, China, Russia and the United States. Cripps' first visit to India was intended to explore the possibility of self-government; he was warmly received by Jawaharlal Nehru. After India he went to China where he befriended Chiang Kai-shek, then he went to Russia where he met Foreign Minister Molotov. From June 1940 to January 1942 he served as the British Ambassador to the Soviet Union. Cripps succeeded in bringing Russia and Britain together as allies during the war, and consequently, in February 1942, Churchill brought Cripps into the government as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons. Only a month later, on 22 March, Cripps would fly to Delhi on the so-called Cripps Mission, which was intended to secure Indian self-government after the war in return for support in the British war effort. The Cripps Mission failed and the Indian National Congress and the British Government became further estranged. The failure of the mission was the catalyst for Gandhi  to launch the Quit India movement in August 1942. After his return to Britain, Cripps' status within the Government had diminished and in the autumn of that year he resigned from the War Cabinet and took up the post of Minister of Aircraft Production.

After Clement Attlee's Labour victory in 1945, Cripps remained interested in the question of Indian independence, and from March to June 1946 Cripps travelled to India for the third time, along with Secretary of State, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, and Lord of the Admiralty, A. V. Alexander. The Cabinet Mission's offer of a three-tier structure was accepted by Jinnah and the Muslim League but Gandhi and the Congress turned it down. Cripps realized that the future government of India lay in the hands of the Indian leaders. By the end of 1946, at the behest of Cripps, Attlee appointed Lord Mountbatten the last Viceroy of India and set a date for British withdrawal. This paved the way to Independence and Partition in 1947.

In 1947, Cripps was appointed Minister for Economic Affairs but took over the post of Chancellor of Exchequer six weeks later. He fought hard to restore the British economy in the post-war years. At this point, Cripps was also seriously ill and was reconvalescing at the Bircher Benner clinic in Zürich. Cripps resigned as Chancellor and as MP on 20 October 1950 on grounds of ill health. He died at the Bircher Benner Clinic on 21 April 1952.

Published works: 

The Choice for Britain: Capitalism in Crisis, vol. 4 (London: Socialist League, 1934)

Why This Socialism? (London: Victor Gollancz, 1934)

'National' Fascism in Britain (London: Socialist League, 1935)

(with Michael Foot) The Struggle for Peace (London: Victor Gollancz, 1936)

(with James Maxton and Harry Pollitt), The Unity Campaign (London: National Unity Campaign Committee, 1937)

Empire (Speech Delivered at the Conference on Peace and Empire Organised by the India League and the London Federation of Peace Councils (London: India League, 1938)

Democracy Up-to-Date: Some Practical Suggestions for the Reorganization of the Politcal and Parliamentary System (London: Allen & Unwin, 1939)

The Petition: The Speech (London, 1939)

Shall the Spell be Broken? Rectorial Address the the University of Aberdeen Delivered on 6 February 1943 (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1943)

Britain and Austria (London: Anglo-Austrian Democratic Society, 1945)

Towards Christian Democracy (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1945)

Democracy Alive: A Selection from Recent Speeches ([S. I.]: Sidgwich and Jackson, 1946)

The Church and the World Economic Crisis (Westminster: Industrial Christian Fellowship, 1948)

The Survival of Christianity (London: World's Evangelical Alliance, 1948)

God in Our Work Religious Addresses ([S. I.]: Thomas Nelson and sons, 1949)

The Spiritual Crisis: A Sermon Preached in St. Paul's Cathedral (London: A. R. Mowbray & Co, 1950)

Stafford Cripps in Moscow, 1940-1942: Diaries and Papers, ed. by Gabriel Gorodetsky (Edgware: Vallentine Mitchell, 2007)

Are You a Worker? Where the Middle Class Stands ([S. I.]: Labour Party, n.d.)

Can Socialism Come by Constitutional Methods? (The Socialist League, n.d.)

Parliamentary Institutions and the Transition to Socialism (n.d.)

The Ultimate Aims of the Labour Party (Labour Party, n.d.)

Date of birth: 
24 Apr 1889

 Albert Alexander, Clement Attlee, Claude Auchinleck, Abul Kalam Azad, Barbara Castle, Winston Churchill, Sukhsagar Datta, Michael FootMohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Agatha Harrison, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Louis Johnson, Chiang Kai-shek, Harold Laski, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Lord Linlithgow, Krishna Menon, Naomi Mitchison, Lord Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru, George Padmore, Vallabhbhai Patel, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Paul Robeson, Lord Wavell, Lord Zetland.

Contributions to periodicals: 
Secondary works: 

Addison, Christopher, Problems of a Socialist Government (London: Gollancz, 1933) 

Baume, Eric, India! We Call on the People of Britain!! (London: India League, 1942)

Bryant, Christopher, Stafford Cripps: The First Modern Chancellor (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997) 

Burgess, Simon, Stafford Cripps: A Political Life (London: Gollancz, 1999)

Chatterji, Prashanto K., The Cripps Mission, 22 March-11 April 1942: An In-Depth Study (Kolkata: Minerva Associates, 2004)

Clarke, Peter, The Cripps Version: The Life of Sir Stafford Cripps (London: Allen Lane, 2002)

Clarke, Peter, and Toye, Richard, 'Cripps, Sir (Richard) Stafford (1889-1952)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32630]

Cooke, Colin Arthur, The Life of Richard Stafford Cripps (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1957)

Coupland, Reginald, The Cripps Mission (London: Oxford University Press, 1942)

Economic Survey for 1947 (1947)

Estorick, Eric, Stafford Cripps: A Biography (London: William Heinemann, 1949)

Gorodetsky, Gabriel, Stafford Cripps' Mission to Moscow, 1940-42 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984)

Hall, Robert Lowe, The Robert Hall Diaries, 1947-1953, ed. by Alec Cairncross (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989)

Harrison, Agatha, and Bailey, George William, India, 1939-1942: A Summary of Events up to and Including the Cripps Mission (London: National Peace Council, 1942)

India League Executive Committee, India and the British Proposals (London: India League, 1942)

Labour Party Annual Conference Report (1935)

Mishra, B. K., The Cripps Mission: A Reappraisal (New Delhi: Concept Pub. Co., 1982)

Nehru, Jawaharlal, Jawaharlal Nehru on the Cripps Mission: An Authoritative Statement on the Breakdown of the Negotiations at New Delhi (London: India League, 1942)

Patel, Harbans, Cripps Mission: The Whole Truth (New Delhi: Indus Pub. Co., 1990)

Patil, V. T., Jawaharlal Nehru and the Cripps Mission (Delhi: BR Pub. Corp., 1984)

Singh, Bhim Sen, The Cripps Mission: A Handiwork of British Imperialism (New Delhi: Usha, 1979)

Strauss, Patricia, Cripps: Advocate and Rebel (London: Victor Gollancz, 1943)

Subrahmanyam, M., Why Cripps Failed, 2nd edn (New Delhi: Hindustan Times Press, 1943)

Tyler, Froom, Cripps: A Portrait and a Prospect (London: G. G. Harrap & Co., 1942)

Weigold, Auriol, Churchill, Roosevelt, and India: Propaganda during World War II (London: Routledge, 2008)

Archive source: 

Private papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Private papers, Nuffield College, Oxford

CAB 127/57-154, Correspondence and papers, National Archives, Kew

Beatrice Webb Diary, Passfield MSS, British Library of Political and Economic Science, London School of Economics

Corespondence with Clement Attlee,  Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with Lord Monckton,  Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with Arthur Creech Jones, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies, Rhodes House, Oxford

Correspondence with Bristol South East Labour Party and Its Secretary H. E. Rogers, Bristol Record Office

Correspondence with A. V. Alexander, Churchill College, Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge

Correspondence with Dame Caroline Haslett, Institution of Electrical Engineers, London

Correspondence with Sir B. H. Liddell Hart, Liddell Hart Centre, King's College, London

Correspondence with Huw T. Edwards, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

Correspondence with Thomas Jones, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

Correspondence with Lord Cherwell, Nuffield College, Oxford

Current affairs footage, British Film Institute, National Film and Television Archive, London

Documentary footage, British Film Institute, National Film and Television Archive, London

News footage, British Film Institute, National Film and Television Archive, London

Propaganda film footage (Ministry of Information), British Film Institute, National Film and Television Archive, London

Actuality footage, Film and Video Archive, Imperial War Museum

Documentary footage, Film and Video Archive, Imperial War Museum

News footage, Film and Video Archive, Imperial War Museum London

Current affairs recording, Sound Archive, British Library, St Pancras

15271, 'What Has Become of Us?', Channel 4, November 1994, Sound Archive, Imperial War Museum, London

Oral history interview, Sound Archive, Imperial War Museum, London

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Sir Richard Stafford Cripps

Date of death: 
21 Apr 1952
Location of death: 
Bircher Benner Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland

Indira Priyadarshini Nehru


Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamala Nehru. As Nehru’s daughter, she became actively involved in the struggle for India’s independence. Indira Gandhi was educated at a number of schools and colleges in India and abroad. She first visited Europe in 1926, accompanying her parents to Switzerland for her mother’s convalescence. She visited Paris and London with her parents in 1927 and returned to India in December 1927. In April 1930 she formed the youth wing of the Indian National Congress, the ‘Vanar Sena’. She attended the Ecole de Bex in Switzerland, December 1927; St Mary’s Convent School in Allahabad, May 1931; and The Pupil’s Own School in Pune (Poona), May 1931 - April 1934. She passed her matriculation examination in April 1934 and in July 1934 was admitted to Rabindranath Tagore’s Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan, Bengal.

In April 1935 Indira moved to Europe with her mother. In 1936 she joined the Indian National Congress. In February 1936 she attended Badminton School near Bristol and then in 1938 she joined Somerville College, Oxford. In the same year she became a member of the India League and through the contacts of her father was introduced to many figures involved with the Indian struggle for independence in the UK. Krishna Menon persuaded Indira to give speeches at meetings. She was involved with the India League's campaigns especially in support of Spanish Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. While in England she met with her future husband Feroze Gandhi, who was also a member of the India League and studying in London. Plagued by ill-health, she was attended to by C. L. Katial and she made repeated trips to convalesce in Switzerland.

Indira returned to India in 1941 together with Feroze Gandhi, whom she married in 1942. She took an active part in the Quit India movement and was imprisoned in Naini Central Jail from September 1942 to March 1943. Indira Gandhi served twice as India's Prime Minister and was assassinated on 31 October 1984.

Date of birth: 
19 Nov 1917

Miss B. M. Baker (headmistress of Badminton School), P. C. Bhandari (Dr), M. K. Gandhi, Agatha Harrison, Carl Heath (President of the India conciliation group), Naoroji Jal, C. L. Katial, Kailas Nath Kaul and Sheila Kaul (maternal uncle and aunt who lived in London), Parvati Kumaramangalam, George Lansbury (Labour leader of the 1930s), Harold J. Laski, Muriel Lester (social worker in London, who was host to M. K. Gandhi during his 1931 visit), Krishna Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lailamani Naidu and Padmaja Naidu (daughters of Sarojini Naidu), Sarojini Naidu, P. Subbarayan (barrister and political leader of Tamil Nadu), Edward John Thompson, Rabindranath Tagore.

University Labour Club


Secondary works: 

Brass, Paul R., ‘Gandhi, Indira Priyadarshini (1917–1984)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford University Press, 2007) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31136]

Frank, Katherine, Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi (London: Harper Collins, 2002) 

Gandhi, Sonia (ed.), Freedom's Daughter: Letters between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, 1922-1939 (London: Hodder & Staughton, 1989)

Gandhi, Sonia (ed.) Two Alone, Two Together: Letters between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, 1922-1964 (New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2004)

Vadgama, Kusoom, India in Britain: The Indian Contribution to the British Way of Life (London: Robert Royce, 1984)

Involved in events: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Indira Nehru, Indira Gandhi


Somerville College
Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HD
United Kingdom
51° 47' 16.224" N, 1° 16' 50.1636" W
Badminton School Bristol, BS9 3BA
United Kingdom
51° 29' 35.25" N, 2° 38' 44.484" W
Date of death: 
31 Oct 1984
Location of death: 
Delhi, India
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1936
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1927 (short visit), 1936 - Spring 1937 (Badminton School), September 1937 - November 1938 (Oxford University), April 1939 - December 1939, January 1941.

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