Sunday, September 11, 2016

Impact of Simon Commission on Indian National Movement

Secretary of State, Lord Birkenhead appointed a 7 member all white Indian Statutory Commission or Simon Commission to decide on the readiness of India for constitutional reforms and on what lines. 

Following are the development post appointment of Simon Commission and the impact it had on Indian Freedom Struggle 

a) The constitution of an all white Simon Commission was detested. The Commission was boycotted by almost all major political parties including Congress, Muslim League and liberals of Hindu Mahasabha who thought it took away the right of self determination of Indians. There were widespread protests and the youth got involved who then started playing a big role in subsequent mass movements 

b) It also gave opportunity to young leaders with Socialist leanings like Jawaharlal Nehru and Subash Chandra Bose to come to the forefront. They demanded not just constitutional reforms but also socio economic reforms on socialist lines. 

c) Appointment of the Commission came along with the challenge thrown by Lord Birkenhead who doubted the ability of Indians to formulate a constitution by consensus. This led to an All Party Meet which formed a committee under Motilal Nehru to decide the constitutional framework of India. The prospect for Indian unity therefore seemed bright at the time. 

d) The report of Nehru Commission led to two major conflicts.

The conflicts are listed as under -

1. Conflict between the Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League over the question of separate electorates for Muslims and formation of Muslim majority provinces. Nehru Report tried the policy of double appeasement which failed to satisfy Jinnah who went back to the Shafi faction of Muslim League and from there onwards there was no scope of reconciliation between Congress and Muslim League 

2. The majority of members of the subcommittee supported the idea of Dominion status which was not agreeable to the young leaders JL Nehru and SC Bose who formed Independence for India League. The goal of Poorna Swaraj at Karachi session can be traced back to this opposition 

Thus the appointment of Simon Commission played a pivotal role in India’s Independence Struggle.

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