Simon Commission 1927: Simon Commission was arrived in India in 1928. It was treated with the slogan “Go Back Simon”. All parties including Muslim league and Congress jointly participated in this movement. However there were different in opinions between Muslims. Thus, they divided into two sessions: One was led by Jinnah (Calcutta) and another was led by Mohammad Shafi (Lahore). Jinnah opposed the commission.
Background: In 1928, seven British members arrived to study constitution reforms in India. The Simon commission consisted of Sir John Simon and Six other members. Not a single Indian included in this commission. This partial decision disappointed Indians and they insulted and boycotted Commission with a slogan “Go Back Simon”.
Objective of Simon commission was to delay the power from British to the Indian. By doing constitution reforms, they tried to show the Indians that they were sincere in the effort in giving people self rule. It was just like giving political autonomy without economic autonomy. In an effort to win over them, Lord Irwin announced a vague offer of Dominions State in India. However they did not satisfy the congress leaders. The radicals within the congress became more assertive. It was led by Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose.
Death of Lala Lajpat Rai: Simon Commission
In 1928, Simon Commission was opposed by troop of protesters. A strike began and crazy Indians boycotted the commission with Black flag. Similar protest organized in other parts of the country. On 30 October 1928, Simon commission arrived in Lahore. In Lahore it was insulted by protester led by Lal Lajpat Rai. He was injured and later died on 17 November 1928.
Outcome of Simon commission:
Government of India Act 1935 established. It proposed representative at provincial level in India. This act ended the system of diarchy introduced under Government of India Act 1919. Direct election introduced to establish “federation of India.” Beside these, partial reorganization of state took place. These states are as follow: Sindh was separated from Bombay, Division of Bihar and Orissa, Burma was separated from India. Aden was separated from India.
Limitation of Commission:
- No Indian members appointed in commission.
- Universal franchise was not introduced.
- The position of governor General continued to exist.
- No term to remove separate electorate but preferably expanded to other communities.
- No financial distribution was proposed by Government.
The role of B.R Ambedkar in Simon Commission:
After the arrival of Simon Commission in India, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar demanded separate electorate representative for the depressed classes (Dalits). Later in round table conference he played a major role. He criticized Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle for separate electorate ended with Poona pact. It shielded the constitution rights of schedule castes.