Brief Note on Simon Commission

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Brief Note on Simon Commission

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.

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