2nd September 1946: The Interim Government of India is formed


On 2nd September 1946 the Interim Government of India was formed. This temporary government was formed from the Constituent Assembly of India (which was then newly elected).


This government was entrusted the task of helping the transition of India and Pakistan from British rule to Independence as two separate nations. The Interim Government was in place till 15th August 1947, when the nations of Indian and Pakistan received Independence from colonial rule.


As the World War II ended, all political prisoners in India who had taken part in the Quit India Movement were released by the British. The Indian National Congress, India’s largest political party and a party which had taken part in the freedom movement decided to participate in the elections for a Constituent Assembly. Even the Muslim League decided to take part. The Constituent Assembly elections were not regarded as direct elections. The members of the Assembly were elected from each of the provincial legislative assemblies. Owing to this, the Indian National Congress won most of the seats, including seats in areas with a Hindu majority. The Muslim League on the other hand won seats in areas where there was a Muslim majority.


Clement Attlee, the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom sent across the 1946 Cabinet Mission to help the formation of a government which would lead to an Independent India. The Executive branch of this Interim Government was the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Initially, headed by the Viceroy of India, it was changed to a council of ministers. Jawaharlal Nehru was the Vice President of the council and he held powers of a Prime Minister.


It was decided that after Independence, all members of this council would be Indian, except the Viceroy, would go on to become the First Governor General of India after Independence.


Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel held the position of the Department of Home Affairs. Baldev Singh, a prominent Sikh leader was appointed as the leader of the Department of Defense. John Mathai, an economist headed Industries and Supplies and C. Rajagopalachari was head of the Department of Education and Arts. The Department of Railways and Transport was headed by Congress leader Asaf Ali, Jagjivan Ram leader of the Scheduled Castes headed the Labour Department and Rajendra Prasad headed the Food and Agriculture Department.


With the Muslim League part of the Interim Government as well, the Department of Finance was headed by Liaquat Ali Khan. The Departments of Posts and Air as headed by Abdur Rab Nishtar and the Department of Commerce was headed by Ibrahim Ishmail Chundrigar, the Department of Law was headed by a Scheduled Caste Hindu politician Jogendra Nath Mandal.


Until August 15th 1947, India remained under the rule of the United Kingdom and the Interim Government set out to establish diplomatic relations with other countries, such as the United States of America. In the meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly, from which the Interim Government was created, had the challenging task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India.


India received Independence on 15th August 1947 and Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of Independent India. The Constituent Assembly completed drafting the Constitution of India on 26th November 1949 and India was declared a Republic on 26th January 1950.


Also on This Day:


1573: Akbar won a decisive battle near Ahmedabad and captured Gujarat.


1970: The Vivekanand Rock Memorial at Kanyakumari was inaugurated by President V.V Giri.


1998: Pilotless training aircraft Nishant was successfully flown.

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