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Simon Commission

Background: Indian nationalists had declared the constitutional reforms of 1919


as inadequate. They had been demanding for an early reconsideration of the
constitutional question.

Formation of Simon Commission: So, the British government appointed the Simon
Commission in 1927 for enquiry into the working of the Montagu-Chelmsford
Reforms (Mont-Ford Reforms).

No Indian Member: The commission headed by Sir John Simon, had no Indian
member. It was a shock to India.

Boycott of Simon Commission

The response in India was immediate and unanimous.

Congress decision to boycott Simon Commission: At the Madras session in 1927,


the Congress decided to boycott the Commission. The ground was that it had
been appointed without any Indian. Indians were not thought fit to be included in
the Commission.

Call for boycott supported by other parties: Resentment and suspicion were not
confined to the Congress circles alone. The call for boycott of the Commission
was supported by the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League. Muhammad Ali
Jinnah said, Jalianwalabag was a physical butcher. The Simon Commission is the
butchery of our soul.

Boycott turned into popular movement: The action began as soon as Simon and
other members of the Commission landed at Bombay on 3 February 1928. That
day, complete strike was observed in all the major cities and towns. People
participated in processing and black flag demonstration. The popular slogan Go
back Simon was raised everywhere.

Police action: The police dealt with the protesters severely. Lathi-charges were
frequent. In Lahore, Lal Lajpat Rai was hit on the chest and ultimately died a few
days after the incident. Jawaharlal Nehru and Govind Ballabh Panth were not
spared. In Lucknow, they were beaten by the police.

Simon Commission was a commission consisting of seven people who were asked
to do a study on the reforms necessary to be made in the largest and the most
important colony of the British. And its called Simon commission as it was headed
by a person known as JOHN SIMON. It was sent to INDIA in 1928.

Almost immediately with its arrival in Bombay on 3 February 1928, the Simon
Commission was confronted by throngs of protesters. A strike began and many
people turned out to greet the Commission with black flags. Similar protests
occurred in every major Indian city that the seven British MPs visited.

One protest against the Simon Commission became infamous. On 30 October


1928, the Commission arrived in Lahore where it was met by protesters waving
black flags.

The protest was led by Indian nationalist Lala Lajpat Rai, who had moved a
resolution against the Commission in the Legislative Assembly of Punjab in
February 1928. In order to make way for the Commission, the local police force
began beating protestors with their sticks. The police were particularly brutal
towards Lala Lajpat Rai, who died later on 17 November 1928.

His death was widely believed to have been caused by the mental trauma of the
beating.

This is the most important impact and other being the reports of this commission
is one of the reason, of rise in tension between the Indian on the basis of religion.
As the report mentioned that it is advice-able to retain the communal electorates
till the tension is brought down,but it was never brought down and as a result the
of which GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT 1935 came into effect.

The Simon Commission (1927)


The British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, announced in the House of Commons
in November 1927 that a commission would be sent to India to look into the
political situation of India and suggest reforms. This commission would inquire
into the working of the Indian constitution and consider the desirability of
establishing, extending, modifying or restricting the degree of responsible
government. The Simon commission was to be headed by Sir John Simon and
would have six other members which included Clement Atlee who was to preside
over Indian independence as Prime Minister in 1947.

Simon Commission had no Indian members

When the composition of the commission was announced, it was found that it
included only British members and no Indian. This was greeted with strong
protest from all parts of India and all assurances that the government would
consider the Indian viewpoint in all matters was rejected. Complete equality with
the British members of the commission was demanded and no one was satisfied
with the status of just being petitioners.

Jinnah and many Hindu and Muslim leaders signed a manifesto which declared
that unless Indian members were included in the commission, it was not possible
for them to conscientiously share in its work or take any part in it. Jinnah felt that
by not allowing Indians to participate in the commission, the British have tried to
show that Indians are not capable of making any decisions regarding the
constitution of India.

Jinnah protested against this commission along with the Congress and other
leaders of the subcontinent. He tried to unite the Muslims to see how this
commission would not be beneficial for them, but at this point the Muslim League
split into two; Jinnah who opposed the Simon Commission headed one faction
known as the Jinnah Group while Sir Mohammed Shafi who was in favor of
cooperating with the Simon Commission headed the other known as the Shafi
Group.

Jinnah strongly criticized the commission calling it a butchery of our souls. As


president of the Muslim League he said:

a constitutional war has been declared on Great Britain. Negotiations for a


settlement are not to come from our sideWe are denied equal partnership. We
will resist the new doctrine to the best of our powersI welcome Pandit Malaviya,
and I welcome the hand of fellowship extended to us by Hindu leaders from the
platform of the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha.this offer is more valuable
than any concession which the British Government can make.

The Quaid moved a resolution that was accepted by the Jinnah group. The
resolution was as follows:

This public meeting of the citizens of Bombay empathetically declare that the
statutory commission which has been announced is unacceptable to the people
of India as it most flagrantly denies the right of the people of India to participate
on equal terms in framing the future constitution of the country. This meeting
further resolves that under the circumstances Indians throughout the country
should have nothing to do with the commission at any state or in any form.

Jinnah was distressed at this point. He had worked so hard for Hindu-Muslim unity
and than had to face the problem of the Muslims being divided amongst
themselves.

After reading the statements of Sir John Simon and the Viceroy, Jinnah issued a
statement in which he said that no equality of status was given to the Indian
Committee. Indians were not allowed to vote at the proceedings of the
Commission. This made the Jinnah that the Indians were left to play a subordinate
role.

Lala Lajput Rai passed a resolution in the Legislative Assembly on the 16th of
February 1928, which was strongly supported by Jinnah. This resolution declared
that the Indians had no confidence in the Simon Commission. The Simon
Commission arrived in Bombay on the 3rd of February and was greeted by black
flags and loud slogans saying Simon go back. Wherever the Commission went it
was meeted out hostile treatment. The Simon Commission left India on the 31st
of March.

The recommendations of the Simon Commission were published in May 1930.


They were as follows:

Dyarchy in the provinces should be abolished and ministers should be made


responsible to the provincial legislatures in all departments, including the
department of law and order.

The Governor was to retain the special powers for the safety and tranquility of
the province and for the protection of the minorities.
He would also have full powers of intervention in the event of breakdown of the
constitution.

The Franchise was to be extended and legislatures were to be enlarged.

At the centre, a Federal assembly would be constituted on the basis of


representation of the provinces and other areas as per the population.

The council of state would continue as the Upper House but its members would
be chosen not on the basis of direct election but on the basis of indirect election
by the Provincial councils.

No change in the central executive.

The all India federation was not considered practical idea for immediate
execution.

Burma should be separated from the British India and should be provided a
constitution of its own.

non-cooperation meant not following the rules of govt.......it didn 't deal with
violation of laws civil disobedience movement dealt with breakink of the laws
formed by british govt.

was carried out by peaceful demonstrations and picketing foreign shops the
main aim being violation of laws....it was carried out by breaking salt laws and
forest laws besides demonstrations.....

the main cause of its withdrawl was the inorganised lot of satyagrahis and
violence the main cause of withdrawl of movement was the chaos spread due
to arrest of abdul ghaffar khan and then mahatma gandhi

non-cooperation movement was launched in order to unify hindu and muslims


and to attain swaraj civil disobedience movement was launched basically to
attain purna swaraj and because the 11 demands of congress were denied

It should also be noted that there existed a basic difference between the politics
of the nationalists and the politics of the communalists.

The nationalists carried on a political struggle against the alien government to


win political rights and freedom for the country. This was not the case with the
communalists, Hindu or Muslim.

Their demands were made on the nationalists; on the other hand, they usually
looked to the foreign government for support and favors. They frequently
struggled against the Congress and cooperated with the government.