In 1927 British Government announced to send a seven-member commission under the Chairmanship of Sir John Simon to prepare the report for the new reforms. The commission had no Indian member, so Congress and a section of Muslim league announced to boycott the commission. But a section of Muslim League headed by Mian Mohammad Shafi stood for co- operation with the commission. The commission completed its work and these recommendations were published in 1930.
o Abolition of Diarchy
o Federal form of government with maximum powers for the provinces.
o Separate electorates for Muslims.
o Weightage for the Muslims in minority provinces.
o Muslims demanded for the separation on Sindh from Bombay and introduction of reforms in NWFP which was not rejected but postponed.
o Muslims should not be given one third of the seats in Central Legislature.
In reaction Congress launched Civil Disobedience Movement against the recommendation of Simon Commission, Gandhi and Nehru both were arrested. Whereas the Muslim league stayed away from the campaign.
The Congress and Muslim League had already rejected the recommendations of the Simon Commission. One of the British Parliament Member said that, ‘Indians mostly don’t get united. The Indian leaders accepted the challenge and convinced an ‘All parties conference’ at
Delhi in February1928, to prepare draft for the Constitutional reforms. A nine-member committee headed by Pundit Motilal Nehru (father of Jawaharlal Nehru) was established to draft the future Constitution of India. The representation of the Muslims in the committee was of an insignificant nature. Ali Imam and Shoaib Qureshi were the two Muslims representatives in the committee.
The report submitted by the committee is known as “Nehru Report” which contained the following major recommendations:
o Full dominion Status for India (that the meant India would become independent, but remain a member of Common Wealth accepting the British monarch as Head of State).
o Muslims demands… Separate electorates and weightage/quota for seats were rejected.
o The Muslims were to get proportional representative in Central legislature.
o Sindh should be separated from Bombay.
o Full provincial status to be given to NWFP and Baluchistan.
o India should have a unitary form of government with a strong center.
o Every adult men and women can give vote.
o India to be a federation with a two chamber parliament.
Muslims dislike the findings of the Nehru report as most of the Muslims demands were rejected.
The recommendations of Nehru report were place for the final approval. In all parties Convection held at Calcutta in December 1928. The Muslims leaders also attended the convection. At that occasion Quaid-e-Azam proposed three amendments in the Nehru report which were as follow:
One-third representations for the Muslims in the Central legislature.
Muslims representation in the Punjab and Bengal on the basis of population.
Federal form of government with maximum powers (autonomy) for the provinces. Hindu majority rejected all these amendments. It was last attempt M.A Jinnah to reconcile Congress with Muslim league. The Nehru report marked the end of any future cooperation between the Congress and the Muslim league. Leading Muslim figures were disillusioned with the Congress and were never trust it again. Jinnah described this as ‘THE PARTING OF WAYS’
Jinnah’s Fourteen Points
In 1929 Quaid-e-Azam decided to give its own formula for the constitutional reforms in reply for Nehru Report. He convinced the meeting of the Muslim league in Delhi and gave his famous
14 points formula:
1) The future constitution should be federal with powers resting with provinces.
2) All provinces should have same amount of autonomy.
3) Affective representation of all the minorities in all the legislatures and other elected bodies.
4) One-third Muslim representation in the Central Assembly.
5) All the minorities of India shall have the right to elect their members by separate or joint electorates.
6) Muslims majority shall not be converted to minority in the Punjab, Bengal, and NWFP.
7) Full liberty of belief and worship shall be granted to all communities.
8) No bill shall be passed in any passed in any elected body if 3/4 of any community in that body opposed it.
9) Sindh should be separated from Bombay.
10) Reforms in NWFP and Baluchistan should be introduced like other provinces.
11) Muslims should be given share in the services of state.
12) Safeguard for the protection of Muslim culture and promotion of Muslim education, language, religion and civilization.
13) One-third Muslims ministries in all the cabinets either central or provincial.
14) The federation of India must not change laws without consent of provinces
With the rejections of 14 points by the Congress and other Hindu leader, the Nehru report was also doomed and it created great deal of suspicion in the Muslims who were now seriously thinking for a separate homeland.
As it was warned, the non-cooperation movement was re-launched by Congress. Gandhi was in-charge for this campaign. Which began on 12th March from his famous ‘Salt March’. It widely showed up in newspapers. It was twenty-four day long. British forbade making of salt accept under British license. British clothes were burnt. Schools, colleges and other services were boycotted. In response British concerned newspapers and began widespread arrest. Jinnah disapproved the movement as he saw it as an attempt to get success among evil wishes against Muslims by Congress.
Allahabad Address (1930)
The fourteen point of Quaid-e-Azam created great confidence amongst the Muslims who gathered behind their leaders. The Muslims were now fully aware of their distinct national character and identity. They were convinced that the Hindus and the Muslims were two separate nations.
The annual session of the Muslim league was held at ALLAHBAD in 1930, which was presided over by Allama Iqbal. In the address Iqbal discussed the political situation of the Subcontinent. His address is regarded as a document on Islam being the system of life. He declared Islam as a complete code of life and gave very sound and strong arguments in support of his views. He
was fully convinced that the Muslims of India would ultimately have to establish a separate homeland, as they could not live with the Hindus in the united India. He viewed that Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP should be group together to make a separate state, which should be given a dominion status within or outside the British Empire. Iqbal’s address further clarified the
‘Two Nation Theory’ and demanded a separate homeland for the Muslims. It was the first
occasion when a demand for a separate homeland was made from the Muslim League platform.
IMPORTANCE OF ALLAMA IQBA’S ADDRESS TO THE PAKISTAN MOVEMENT:
o Allama Iqbal was the 1st Muslim leader to suggest partition of the subcontinent in keeping with the two-nation theory. He has, therefore been called ‘The father of the ideology of Pakistan’
o His views acted as an inspiration to many Muslims who were uncertain about how to defend their religion and culture. Iqbal gave them a clear cut objective, as he set out a goal for Muslims to work towards a separate homeland.
o Allama Iqbal was also the inspiration for other Muslims leaders. In 1934 Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s Pakistan scheme was built upon his ideas. They were also to be the basis of Jinnah’s Pakistan Resolution in 1940.
o Iqbal Poetry was source of inspiration for Muslims of India
ROUND TABLE CONFERENCES (1930-32)
Simon Commission report that was finally published in May 1930. Congress announced complete boycott and started civil disobedience movement under Gandhi’s command. Demonstrations and violence spread throughout the country. Gandhi and Jawaharal Nehru were arrested. The political situation had become tensed in the country. British Government realized that without
the cooperation of Indians it was not possible to introduced constitutional reforms in London. There were three sessions of Round Table Conference held at London during 1930 to 1932.
First Round Table Conference (12 Nov. 1930-19 Jan 1931)
In this conference all the parties were represented except Congress. Congress refused to attend unless there was a guarantee that anything agreed at the Conference would be implemented. British Government gave no such guarantee. Congress declared that Swaraj, self-rule. The
Muslim decided to attend the Congress in spite of Congress boycott. Muslim delegation included Sir Aga Khan, M.A Johar, Maulvi Fazaal-ul-Haq and M.A Jinnah. Important issues decided at the conference were:
o The princely States agreed to extend their cooperation in forming an All India Federation.
o The British agreed that representative government should be introduced at provincial
o Separation of Sindh from Bombay.
o To introduce Federal System of government in India.
No agreement was reached as to the question of Muslims weightage in future constitution.
Since congress was India’s largest party and absent from 1st Round Table Conference, it was difficult to take final decision.
Gandhi-Irwin Pact (17-19Feb. 1931)
The civil disobedience movement had failed and the Congress wanted to opt out of this situation while the government too was serious of Congress participation in the Second Round Table Conference because the government had realized that without Congress any solution for
Constitutional reforms would be difficult. Lord Irwin extended invitation to Gandhi for folks and an agreement between Gandhi and Irwin was signed with the following salient proposals:
1) The Congress will end its civil disobedience movement.
2) The Congress will attend the second Round Table Conference.
3) The government will withdraw all ordinances against Congress.
4) The government would withdraw all notification/ enactments relating to offences not involving violence.
5) The government should release all persons detained during Civil disobedience movement.
Second Round Table Conference (7 Sept- 1st Dec 1931)
Gandhi adopted a stubborn and unreasonable attitude on all matters and refused to accept any rights of minorities. After adopting the stiff attitude Gandhi sat back quietly observe the proceedings. He did his best to prove India as one nation and nationality so that he could claim to represent the Indian people alone. But the Quaid-e-Azam replied that Indian Muslims were also a separate nation of India which had its own interests. Non settlement of minorities issue could be reached and the second Conference ended without reaching at any conclusion mainly because of rigid attitude of Gandhi.
Third Round Table Conference (17 Nov – 24 Dec 1932)
Before the 3rd session of the Round Table Conference, British announced their own solution for the communal and constitutional problem of India known as ‘Communal Award’. British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald announced it on 16th August 1932. The Congress once again abstained from the conference because Gandhi had started his civil disobedience movement. Quaid-e-Azam did not take part in this conference and Sir Aga Khan led the Muslim delegation. The Conference could not solve the problems of Hindu Muslims and proved a formality. Gandhi and Nehru were in jail. The Conference ended after few meetings without achieving anything.
Communal Award: The British government gave enough time and chance to Indian leaders to come up with a workable constitutional setup, after vainly waiting. British government published their own scheme known as Communal Award in 1932. It retained separate electorate for the Muslims and all other minorities but the Muslims majority in Punjab and Bengal were reduced to minorities and due to this the Muslims rejected it while the Congress was not happy with this award.
Government of India Act (1935)
The roundtable Conference could not solve the constitutional problem of India but they enabled the government to understand the problems and to take some concrete steps to solve them. The recommendations of these conferences were contained in a white paper, which was published in 1933 and discussed in the British Parliament. The parliament passed the bill which was enforced in the country as “Government of India Act, 1935”. It was a last set of legislation provided by the government of India.
The act contained two parts, provincial; the provincial part of the Act of 1935 was enforced when general elections in the country was held in 1937 and it remained enforce till the transfer of power in 1947. Federal part of the act never brought into operation and the Central Government was remained under the act of 1919.
For the first time the provinces were given more authority and power and made them separate entities.
The system of “Diarchy” was dropped at the provincial level but introduced at central government level: Reserved (defense, foreign affairs, ecclesiastical affairs and administration of tribal areas) for Governor-General assisted by 3 appointed councilors.
The supremacy of the British Parliament reminded intact as no Indian Legislatures was authorized to notify or amend the Constitution.
Representatives and responsible government at Provincial level was introduced.
The provincial executive was handed over to representatives of the people who were accountable before the provincial legislature.
NWFP was given the full provincial status. Two new provinces of Sindh and Orissa were created, which increased the total number of province to eleven.
Parliamentary system was introduced and the provinces were given the full autonomy.
Every provinces was given a council of ministries whose advice was binding on the governor.
The property qualifications was lowered which gave 35 million Indians the right to vote (1/4 of Indian adult population).
Two house central parliament: Lower (Assembly) contained 250 members, elected from
‘British India’ and 125 nominated from princely states; Upper (Council of States) contained 156 members, elected from ‘British India’ and 104 nominated from princely states
Evaluation: This act of 1935 failed to win appreciation from various sector. The political leaders of
India rejected it for it failed to meet the demands of the different political faction. Quaid-e- Azam declared that it was a ‘Defective document’. The federal system was defective in many
ways. This act provided the basis for negotiations, which is finally resulted in British leaving India.
Parliamentary systems had been set up in which the Indian people were to gain increasing representation. The people were not given the rights. All authority was vested in the parliament which was a British institution.
o Nehru remembered it as ‘Act of Slavery’
o Gandhi called it ‘a car with strong brakes but no engine’
o Jinnah described it as ‘Thoroughly rotten, fundamentally bad and totally unacceptable’
The government announced to hold election to the provincial legislative assemblies in 1936-37. There was 1771 seats of provincial assemblies. Although both Muslim league and Congress had rejected the Act of 1935 but still they decided to contest the elections.
The results of the election were shocking for the Muslims of India and for the Muslims league, which could not get mentionable support from the voters. Congress achieved a big victory and managed to get clear majority in five provinces and formed coalition in few other provinces
(Bombay, Bengal and N.W.F.P) to form its ministries on the eight provinces.
Reasons for the defeat of Muslim League:
o It was the 1st major election of the Muslim League as a mass party.
o Congress was the oldest, richest and best organization political party where as Muslim
o League was middle class organization with insufficient funds.
o There was no link between the masses and the leaders of Muslims League who belonged
to the high class society so it was quite ‘image problem’.
o As the provincial autonomy was guaranteed according to the act of 1935, so this thing made Muslims League leaders overconfident and no fear or threat of Hindu domination in the
o Muslims majority provinces.
Formation of ministries: The Congress adapted a rigid attitude after winning the elections in majority. Congress leaders behaved in a dictatorial manner and imposed their own will. The Congress took offices in eight provinces. The congress was also reluctant in sharing the power with the Muslims League and laid down degrading conditions for the Muslim League to be included in the ministry. The Muslim League rejected these terms and pure Congress ministries were formed.
Rule of Congress 1937-39 (Known as Congress tyrannies)
The congress began it rule by imposing its will on the Muslim minorities in the provinces under its rule. The Muslims were forbidden to eat beef. Severe punishments were awarded to those who
slaughtered the ‘mother cow’. Every effort was made to humble and humiliate Islam. A policy was made by the Congress to erase the Muslim’s culture. Hindi was imposed as the official language in all the provinces. Azan was banned and organized attacks were made on the Muslims who were busy in worship in the mosques. Noisy processions were passed near the mosques at prayer times. Pigs were pushed into the mosques and Azan was interrupted. The
Muslims lodged complaints with the authorities but the decision were always against the Muslims.
Although it was not their official policy, but during this rule Muslims suffered ‘Congress Tynnaries’
Bande Matram: It was a song in which degrading remarks were used against the Muslims and Islam written by a Bengali novelist Bankim Chatterjee. The Congress insisted on commencing the day’s beginning by the recitation of this Song and also adapted it as the national anthem. Widdia Mander scheme: This educational policy aimed at converting the non-Hindus to Hinduism. It was introduced in educational institutes. The students were asked to pay respect and homage to Gandhi’s picture with folded arms in posture of Hindu worship and sing Hymns in his praise. Dr. Zakir Hussain a Congress Muslim was the author of this Scheme.
Wardha Scheme: A basic education scheme was launched by Gandhi as Wardha, later known as Wardha Scheme and was introduced in all Congress education ministries. Spinning Cotton by hand was made a part of the school curriculum and teachings was to be in Hindi. It aimed at creating at creating a high respect among the young minds about the Hindi heroes and religious leaders. It sought to isolate the young generation of the Muslims from their religion, culture and civilization. It also aimed at injecting the political ideas of the Congress into the minds of Muslim children. If completely ignored religion and favored Hindi at the cost of Urdu.
Hindu-Muslims riots: During the congress rule organized attempts were made on the honor, properties and lives of the Muslims. The Hindus were to assault the Muslims and the properties were set on fire. Muslims children and women were abducted.
Muslims mass contact campaign: The main objective of this campaign was to crush the popularity of the Muslims league amongst the Muslim. The campaign began by directly contacting the Muslims masses with a view to win them over to the Congress.