As we know, the Reform Act of 1919 was not an effective step towards the establishment of responsible governance in India. There was great discontent among the nationalists of India and even after the suspension of the non-cooperation movement in 1925, there was constant pressure on the British government to achieve Swaraj. By passing a resolution in 1925, the Central Legislature demanded autonomy and responsible government in the provinces, but the British government immediately ignored such a demand.
Labor government in England and hopes of Indians
In England in 1924, the Labor Party won the elections, after which Indians started seeing a ray of hope because the Labor Party was in favor of self-government in India, but after coming to power, its attitude also remained to follow the old policy. .
Why was the Simon Commission formed?
No attention was paid to the formation of a royal commission to outline the future constitution for India. Meanwhile the situation was changing. After the new elections, the conservative party had returned to power in England.
Viceroy Reading was in favor of appointing a royal commission two years ahead of schedule to confuse the Swarajists. The views of the Secretary of India were also similar. The Labor Party’s victory in the ensuing election was almost certain and the Secretary of India did not want the Labor Party to be credited for the appointment of the Imperial Commission.
The Simon Commission was appointed by the British Prime Minister under the leadership of Sir John Simon. … Simon Commission was announced on November 8, 1927. The commission had to examine whether India was capable of giving constitutional rights to the people here.
What was the purpose of Simon Commission coming to India?
The main task of the Simon Commission was to study the constitutional progress of India i.e. government system, education and other issues and report on its improvements and suggestions. The Simon Commission had a total of 7 members (British MPs) including the Chairman. It consisted of representatives of all three major political parties of Britain – Conservative, Liberal and Labour.
The new Viceroy, Lord Irwin, was aware of the growing aspirations of the Indian nationalists and supported the appointment of the commission in 1926. At the same time, he laid special emphasis on the fact that none of the members of the commission should be Indian.
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When was the Simon Commission appointed?
Eventually the British Cabinet announced the appointment of a seven-member commission under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon on 8 November 1927. No Indian was included in this commission.
Which one of the members of the Simon Commission was from the Labor Party?
Of these seven members, 1 member was from the Liberal Party, 2 from the Labor Party and 4 from the Conservative Party. All the members of the Simon Commission were Englishmen and no Indian was a member of this commission. Therefore Indians opposed and boycotted it by calling it ‘White Commission’.
Why did Indians boycott the Simon Commission?
Thus all the members of this commission were British (hence it is also called White Commission) which was opposed by the Indians.
The Indians were still hurt by this deliberate humiliation ( and Birkenhead ‘s taunts added salt to the burn that the Indians were unable to agree on any viable political plan ) .
The decision to boycott the Simon Commission by the Congress
In December 1927, the Madras session of Congress decided to boycott the Simon Commission. After the decision of the Congress, the decision to boycott the commission was taken all over the country.
When did the Simon Commission reach India?
The Simon Commission reached Bombay on 3 February 1928. The commission was welcomed by a complete strike in Bombay. ‘Simon go back’ slogans were raised. On reaching Delhi, the commission was greeted with black flags and slogans of Simon Go Back.
Lathi charge on Lala Lajpat Rai
When the Simon Commission reached Lahore, a large mass of people led by Lala Lajparai, Magat Singh and Naujawan Sabha demonstrated against them. The police lathi-charged this procession. In this lathi charge, the famous revolutionary leader of Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai was injured and died a month later.
Thus the Simon Commission was abolished in the whole country. Along with this, the Kisan-Mazdoor Party, Liberal Federation, Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha also boycotted the commission. Although there was a split in the Muslim community in 1928. But Jinnah supported the Congress on commission boycott. But after the neglect of the Congress, Muhammad Ali Jinnah made a desperate attempt at unity in the last all-party conference in Calcutta in December 1928.He prayed for the immediate separation of Sindh, residuary powers to the provinces, one-third of the seats in the Central Assembly to the Muslims, and to reserve seats in Punjab and Bengal until adult suffrage was established. In the end, he concluded his speech by making a passionate appeal for unity.
“We are all sons of this motherland. We have to live together. ……. Believe me, India cannot progress unless Hindus and Muslims become one.”
Recommendations of Simon Commission
The Simon Commission published its report in 1930, in which the following suggestions were made ——
1- Responsible government should be formed in all areas including law and order in the provincial area.
2- The time has not yet come for the formation of a responsible government at the Centre.
3- The Central Legislature should be reconstituted, leaving the spirit of a unit and having a federal spirit and its members are indirectly elected by the provincial legislatures.
Thus all the recommendations of the Simon Commission were rejected by all the parties including the Congress. The reason for the resentment against the commission was that there was a feeling among all sections of the country that the future constitution of India should be made by the Indians, and since the British could not be neglected, the rulers were advised to follow this constitution. It should be made from and under their supervision.
But the absence of a single Indian in the Simon Commission was a sign that the British government did not consider Indians worthy of self-government. Therefore, on the one hand, there was a nationwide movement against the Simon Commission, on the other hand an all-party conference of leaders of different ideologies of the country was held in 1928 for the purpose of making a new constitution for India with the efforts of the Congressmen. After nearly three months of deliberations, a committee was formed under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru, which was entrusted with the responsibility of preparing the outline of the future constitution for India. This committee published its draft in July 1928. It is famous in history as Nehru Report.