Cripps Mission was deputed by British parliament in early 1942 to contain the political crisis obtained in India. The mission was headed by Sir Stafford Cripps, a Cabinet Minister. Cripps, a radical member of the Labour Party and the then Leader of the House of Commons, was known as a strong supporter of Indian national movement. Cripps Mission was prompted by two considerations. First, Gandhi's call for the Satyagraha (literally 'insistence on truth', generally rendered 'soul force') movement in October 1940 was designed to embarrass Britain's war efforts by a mass upheaval in India and needed to be ended in the British interest. Secondly, the fall of Singapore (15 February 1942), Rangoon (8 March), and the Andamans (23 March) to the Japanese was threatening the entire fabric of British colonial empire. In the face of these crises, the British felt obliged to make some gestures to win over Indian public support.
The Cripps offer reiterated the intention of the British government to set up an Indian Union within the British Commonwealth as soon as possible after the war, and proposed specific steps towards that end. A constituent assembly would be elected by the provincial legislatures acting as an Electoral College. This body would then negotiate a treaty with the British government. The future right of secession from the Commonwealth was explicitly stated. The Indian states would be free to join, and in any case their treaty arrangements would be revised to meet the new situation.
The offer dominated Indian politics for the rest of the war. Although the British official circles claimed that the Cripps offer marked a great advance for its frankness and precision, it was plagued throughout, and ultimately torpedoed, by numerous ambiguities and misunderstandings. The Congress was very critical of the clauses regarding nomination of the states' representatives by the rulers and the provincial option Jawaharlal Nehru had desperately sought a settlement largely because of his desire to mobilise Indian support in the anti-fascist war, while most Congress working Committee members and Gandhi himself had been apathetic. This embittered Congress-British relations, and things were then rapidly moving towards a total confrontation in the form of quit india movement. But Cripps blamed the Congress for the failure of the Plan, while the Congress held the British government responsible for it. A chance of establishing a united independent India was thus lost. [Mohammad Shah]