The Simon Commission was launched in India in 1928 by Sir John Simon. However, before we go into the depth of the Simon Commission UPSC, let’s first understand a little background story behind this act.
Simon Commission: Purpose
Every move had a purpose. The purpose of the Simon Commission was to check the government administration in India.
In November 1927, the British government declared the application of the Indian Statutory Commission. The aim of this commission was to examine the Government of India act of 1919. The commission was supposed to investigate the working of the 1919 act and suggested improvements in the system. In 1930, the commission gave in its report.
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Arrival of Simon Commission
The arrival of the Simon commission faced many challenges. Simon Commission stated that:
- The arrival of the Simon Commission marked the abolishment of the dyarchy.
- The Simon Commission extended the timeline of government governing in the provinces.
- It suggested the establishment of the federation of British India and the princely states.
- The communal electorate continued in the pact of the Simon Commission.
- The British government announced the conduction of Three Round Table Conferences to approve the proposals raised in the Simon Commission. Then, the British government published the White Paper on the agreed constitutional reforms.
- All these processes helped in laying the foundation for the next Government of India Act in 1935.
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Simon Commission Boycotted by Indians
The Indians did not swiftly accept the Simon Commission act. The Simon Commission was boycotted furiously.
The congress session was conducted in Madras in December 1927, under the chair of M. A. Ansari. They completely boycotted the Simon Commission. The Muslim League under Jinnah’s leadership, as well as the Hindu Mahasabha liberals, backed Congress’ decision to boycott the Simon Commission.
Meanwhile, groups such as the Justice Party in the south and the Punjab Unionists have chosen not to boycott the commission.
The Simon Commission arrived in Bombay on the 3rd of February 1928. On the same day, the entire country continued to boycott the commission. Massive protests against the Simon Commission were held in a number of locations. The commission was welcomed with a black flag as a sign of protest, and slogans of “Simon, go back” were chanted among protestors.
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Result of the Protest
The protestors were in full swing to boycott the Simon Commission. However, the police brought protestors and demonstrators down with a lathi charge.
In Lucknow, leaders like G.B. Pant and Jawaharlal Nehru were beaten up by the authorities in charge. In October 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai became the victim and got severe and fatal hits on the chest. Due to the cruel attacks, on 17th November 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai took his last breath.
It was just the start for Indians to unite and fight for their rights together. They now showed their dedication and anger towards one bigger goal – complete independence from the British government.
As a result, the congress session passed a resolution that announced the achievement of complete freedom from the British government. It was held in Madras under the leadership of Dr M.A. Ansari. This idea, then, had the full-fledged support of Jawaharlal Nehru and S.Satyamurthy. They carried the great initiative forward. The Indian Independence League was formed, whose main goal was to attain complete freedom from the British government.
Many consider the Simon Commission as a blessing in disguise. This is because before the Simon Commission matter came to light, Congress was agenda-less. India’s opposition to the Simon Commission led Lord Birkenhead to throw an open challenge to the Indian leaders to frame a constitution that would unify the Indian opinion.
This challenge was accepted and came out in the form of the Nehru Report, and even though it was not accepted by the younger faction, it was India’s first attempt to frame a constitution for its people by its people. The Simon Commission also became the basis of the Government of India Act of 1935.