The C.R. Formula of 1944: Study Notes on the Rajaji Formula

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C R Formula

C. Rajagopalachari’s proposal is commonly referred to as the Rajaji Formula or the C. R. formula. It aimed to address the political stalemate between the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League concerning the independence of British India. Moreover, the Muslim League asserted that Hindus and Muslims were distinct nations, hence advocating for the outcome of an independent Muslim nation. In contrast, the Indian National Congress, comprising both Muslim as well as Hindu members, resisted the partition of India. As World War 2 unfolded, the British authority sought to split the Indian political leadership to hinder the progress of the independence movement during the conflict.

The Sind Observer,  a newspaper, with the headlines Rajaji's Pact Bid With Jinnah
The Sind Observer, a newspaper published in 1944 with the headline “Rajaji’s Pact Bid With Jinnah” and the subheading, Formula Approved by Gandhiji. 

What is the C.R. Formula?

Rajgopalachari held various significant roles in Indian politics, serving as the Governor of West Bengal from 1947 to 1948, the Governor-General of India from 1948 to 1950, the Union Home Minister from 1951 to 1952, and the Chief Minister of Madras from 1952 to 1954. Later on, he distanced himself from the INC and had a key role in founding the Swatantra Party. His party actively contested against the Congress from the 1960s to the early 1970s. 

Furthermore, on the 9th of September, C Rajagopalachari suggested specific measures which included the determination of a precise boundary between Pakistan and India after World War 2 and allowing voluntary settlements by the populace in either of the two countries. Additionally, he proposed the formation of a coalition administration involving major parties like the Muslim League and the Congress. However, the Muslim League opposed these ideas.

Fun Fact

Rajgopalachari was also a composer and composed a song in Carnatic called “Kurai Ondrum Illai.”

What were the Objectives of the C.R. Formula?

In addition, the Objectives of the C.R. Formula were as follows:

  1. The C.R. Formula aimed to reconcile the differences between the Muslim League and the INC, stemming from conflicting views on the two-nation theory and the quest for India’s independence from British rule. 
  2. C. Rajagopalachari, an experienced Congress leader, crafted this formula as a means of fostering cooperation between the two political entities and resolving the existing political impasse.
  3. Gandhi expressed his support for the C.R. Formula, basically providing an implied backing of the Muslim League’s insistence on the creation of Pakistan.

Also Read – What was the Lucknow Pact?

The Proposals of the C.R. Formula

Additionally, the proposals of the C.R. Formula were as follows:

  • The League collaborated with Congress to establish provisional interim governance during India’s pursuit of independence. 
  • Post-war, a committee will be instituted to delineate regions with a Muslim majority, hence conducting a vote with universal adult suffrage, encompassing all as well as non-Muslims.
  • Every political party was allowed to present their perspectives on partition before the vote. 
  • The proposal included the formation of an interim government at the centre, thus incorporating both the League and Congress.
  • Following the Indian Independence, a committee would be appointed to define boundaries in regions with a Muslim majority and oversee a vote to determine whether Muslims desired their nation.
  • In the event of a division, the governance will need to protect the communication, trade and military domains.
  • However, these propositions hinged on the condition that the British granted complete authority to the nation’s governance. 
  • A contingency plan would be devised in the possibility of disintegration, hence securing the protection of vital interests such as communication, trade, defence and essential services through mutual agreement.
Governor-General of India, C. Rajagopalachari visited V. A. Sundaram in his house ‘Krishnakutir’ in 1948. 

What were the Provisions of the C.R. Formula?

The fundamental concept behind the Rajaji Formula involved a proposition for the INC to concede Muslim Pakistan to the League through a referendum involving all residents in neighborhoods where Muslims constituted a greater number. The key components were as follows:

  1. The League would endorse the call for liberation for the customary term, implying their support for Congress’s quest for full freedom. Subsequently, the majority of provinces, especially those in the northeastern regions, would participate in a vote.
  2. A committee would delineate the bordering regions in NEI and NWFP where Muslims held a prevalence after the conclusion of the war.
  3. Additionally, agreements would function for a crucial purpose in case of a separation.
  4. The binding nature of these agreements would only come into effect if Britain relinquished absolute responsibility and power for the administration of India.

Also Read: What was the Mountbatten Plan?

What were the Reactions to the C.R. Formula?

In the year 1944, Jinnah and Gandhi entered into discussions centred around the C.R. Formula. Unfortunately, these negotiations concluded as a letdown primarily because of the objections of Jinnah which were:

  • Jinnah was determined that the INC must acknowledge the Two-Nation Theory.
  • Furthermore, he suggested that instead of all the residents, just the Muslim residents in Muslim-majority areas must partake in the vote.
  • Jinnah refused the idea of a shared centre and supported independent powers even before the exit of the British from India.
  • Additionally, the Sikhs disliked the Rajaji Formula, since they were foreseeing the division of Punjab, regardless of their powerful existence.
  • Consequently, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, V D Savarkar of the Hindu Mahasabha, as well as  Srinivas Sastri of the National Liberal Federation also resisted the C. R. Formula.

Although the INC initially opposed partition, it made concessions in an attempt to include the Muslim League during the talks related to independence. However, the League’s fixation inclined additionally towards the creation of Pakistan. 

Also Read: What was the Wavell Plan and the Shimla Conference?

What were the Causes of the Failure of the C.R. Formula?

The Causes of the Failure of the Rajaji formula are as follows:

  • The proposals primarily aimed at setting up a separate nation, namely Pakistan, despite the fact that the population in these areas consisted predominantly of non-Muslims. 
  • Moreover, Jinnah was apprehensive that conducting a vote might compel him to partition Bengal and Punjab.
  • The proposed plebiscite was intended for the total population, potentially leading to disputes over the nation’s partition. 
  • Consequently, Jinnah raised objections, asserting that the vote must solely include the Muslim population.
  • Jinnah emphasised that the formulas were mainly interested in services, whilst his preference was for a complete separation. 
  • Additionally, the proposals specifically addressed the partition of Punjab, which implied the separation of the Sikhs in Punjab, leaving Sikhs without a majority in any of the regions.

Also Read: Heroic Role of Women in India’s Freedom Struggle

What were the Talks of Gandhi-Jinnah in 1944 About?

The meetings between Gandhi and Jinnah held great significance as they delved into India’s political crises and the League’s two-nation ideology. 

  1. Initiated to address the public’s yearning for a peaceful solution to the Muslim-Hindu dispute, the dialogue began with a letter from Gandhi to Jinnah on the 17th of July 1944, conveying his earnest desire to meet.
  2. The formal discussions commenced in Mumbai on the 19th of September 1944, extending until the 24th of September 1944. 
  3. These deliberations occurred not only face to face but even through correspondence via electronic mail. 
  4. Gandhi explicitly told Jinnah that he had traversed unassisted to meet him, also emphasising that he was not representing anyone else.
  5. The primary objective of Gandhi’s talks with Jinnah was to help him recognize the impracticality of Pakistan’s entire proposition.


Who gave C. R. formula?

C Rajagopalachari gave the C.R. Formula. It is also known as the Rajaji formula.

What is the main objective of CR?

The main objective of the CR formula was to dispel the political standoff between the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League. Moreover, the standoff stemmed from conflicting views on the two-nation theory and the quest for India’s independence from British rule. 

What were the proposals of the Rajagopalachari formula?

The proposals of the Rajagopalachari formula stated that the League would collaborate with Congress to establish a provisional interim government during India’s pursuit of independence. The proposal included the formation of a transitional administration at the centre, incorporating both the League and Congress.

Who condemned the CR plan?

The CR plan was condemned by the Sikh community since they were foreseeing the division of Punjab, despite their significant presence. Additionally, V D Savarkar, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee of the Hindu Mahasabha, and Srinivas Sastri of the National Liberal Federation also opposed the C R Formula.

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Indo-Pak War: Bangladesh LiberationSalient Features of the Indian Constitution
Dadabhai NaorojiIndian National Movement 
Surat SplitCivil Disobedience Movement 
August OfferHistory of Indian Art

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