NATIONAL MOVEMENT-POST FIRST WORLD WAR SCENARIO
After the First World War the Indian National Movement entered into a new phase. With the emergence of Gandhi, the element of mass mobilisation was introduced. Till the coming of independence three major mass movements were launched; Non-Cooperation (1920-22), Civil disobedience (1930-34) and Quit India(1942).Besides these mass movements the revolutionary movement, peasants and working class movements and state people’s movements also played a vital role in the struggle for freedom. In this period sufficient emphasis was laid on the socioeconomic content of Swaraj. The Communist Party of India and the Socialist groups within the Congress pointed out towards economic emancipation of the masses along with the importance of the struggle for independence.
Impact of First World War on the National Movement.
The First World War (1914-1918) had a great impact on the National Movement in India:
a) Resentment among the Indians:
The British government declared India as an ally and a belligerent. Indian people and resources were used in this war.It created great resentment among the Indians especially when they were not even consulted before joining the war.
b) Anguish among the Muslims:
The British were fighting against the Turkish Empire which was ruled by the Caliph (Khalifa).The Muslims had great respect for the Caliph.The Indian Muslims joined the Caliphate (Khilafat) Movement for the defence of Turkey against the British.
c) Peasant’s unrest:
During the war, the peasant’s unrest also grew. These movements helped prepare the ground for mass movement.
d) Home Rule Movement:
Annie Besant joined the Congress in 1914. In 1916 she along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the Home Rule Movement. The Home Rule League demanded self government to the Indians.
e) The Lucknow Pact (1916):
In 1916, at the Lucknow Session, the ‘moderates’ and the ‘extremists’ were united. Besides; a pact was made between the Congress and the Muslim League to work unitedly for their demands of greater share and power for Indians in the Executive Council and election of members of the Legislative Councils.
f) Emergence of Gandhiji:
Gandhiji emerged as the leader of the nationalist movement in India during the First World War.
In the year 1919, the British Government passed a new rule called Rowlatt Act, under which the Government had the authority and power to arrest people and keep them in prisons without any trial if they are suspected with the charge of terrorism.The government also earned the power to refrain the newspapers from reporting and printing news.The Act was ill famed as `Black Act` by the people and Indians revolt in protest against the Rowlatt Act.
The positive aspect of reform by British Government was subjected to severe sabotage by the Rowlatt act of 1919.The act was named after the recommendations made in the previous year to the Imperial Legislative Council by the Rowlatt Commission.The Rowlatt Commission was appointed to investigate the `seditious conspiracy` of the Indian people.The Law passed empowered the Viceroy
Government with extraordinary power to stop all violations by silencing the press, confining political activists without trial and arresting any individual suspected of sedition and treachery and arresting individuals without any warrant. A nationwide protest was raised by calling a Hartal.
Mahatma Gandhi was extremely agitated by enactment of Rowlatt Act. He was extremely critical about the act and argued that everyone cannot be punished for isolated political crime. The Act resulted in extensive outrage of political leaders as well as the common public and Government adapted more repressive measures to dominate the Native people. Gandhi and other leaders of national Congress found it futile to take the measure of constitutional opposition and thereby called a `hartal` where Indians suspended all the business and fasted to show their hatred for the British legislation.
However, the success of the Hartal in Delhi was dominated as the tension raise high and resulted in riot in Punjab and other provinces. Gandhi found that Indians were not ready yet for the protest in the path of `Ahimsa` (non-violence), which was integral part of Satyagraha and the Hartal, was suspended.
The agitation reached the pinnacle in Amritsar of Punjab. The Rowlatt act was effective from 10th March, 1919. In Punjab the protest movement was vast and strong. On 10th April, two renowned leaders of the Congress, Dr. Satya Pal and Dr. Saifuddin Kithlew were arrested and were taken to unknown place.A public meeting was held on 13th April at Jallianwala Bagh in a small park enclosed by buildings on all sides to protest against the arrest.
The meeting was absolutely peaceful and was also attended by women and children.Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer with his British troops entered the park, closed the entrance of the park and commanded his army to fire on the gathered people without any warning. The firing lasted for ten minutes and sixteen hundred rounds, killing about thousand people and more than two thousand people were left wounded and unattended. This massacre of Jaliwanwalabagh was the worst incidence of British rule and people lost their trust on British Government.
The role of Mahatma Gandhi in Indian Freedom Struggle is considered the most significant as he single-handedly spearheaded the movement for Indian independence. The peaceful and non-violent techniques of Mahatma Gandhi formed the basis of freedom struggle against the British yoke. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869. After he came back to India from South Africa, where he worked as a barrister, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who led the Congress party, introduced Mahatma Gandhi to the concerns in India and the struggle of the people. The Indian independence movement came to a head between the years 1918 and 1922.A series of non-violence campaigns of Civil Disobedience Movement was launched by the Indian National Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The focus was to weaken the British government through non cooperation. The protests were mainly against abolition of salt tax, land revenue, reducing military expenses etc.
Champaran and Kheda Agitations.
The Kheda Satyagraha and Champaran agitation in 1918 was one of Gandhi`s first significant steps to achieve Indian independence. Mahatma Gandhi went to Champaran (Bihar) in 1917 at the request of the poor peasants to enquire about the situation as they were compelled by British indigo planters to grow indigo on 15% of their land and part with the whole crop for rent. In the sufferings of a devastating famine, the British levied an oppressive tax which they insisted on increasing. At the same time, Kheda in Gujarat was also experiencing the same problem. Hence, Mahatma Gandhi started reforming the villages, building of schools, clean-up of villages, construction of hospitals and encouraging the village leadership to denounce many social tribulations. The British police arrested him on the charge of creating unrest.
However, the impact of reformation changed after this act and hundreds of people protested and rallied outside the police stations and courts. They demanded his release, which the court unwillingly granted. Gandhi led planned protests against all the landlords, who were exploiting the poor farmers. Finally Mahatma Gandhi became successful in forcing the British to agree with his demands of reforming the farmers. During this agitation people addressed Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as
Bapu. Rabindranath Tagore accorded Mahatma (Great Soul) title to Gandhi in the year 1920.
Non Cooperation Movement.
The Gandhi Era in the Indian Freedom Struggle took place with the Non Cooperation Movement.This movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. This was the first-ever series of nationwide movement of nonviolent resistance. The movement took place from September 1920 until February 1922.In the fight against injustice, Gandhi`s weapons were non-cooperation and peaceful resistance. But after the massacre and related violence, Gandhi focused his
mind upon obtaining complete self-government. This soon transformed into Swaraj or complete political independence. Thus, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress Party was re-organised with a new constitution, with the aim of Swaraj. Mahatma Gandhi further extended his non-violence policy to include the Swadeshi Policy, which meant the rejection of foreign-made goods.
Mahatma Gandhi addressed all the Indians to wear Khadi (homespun cloth) instead of British-made textiles. He strongly appealed to all Indians to spend some time spinning khadi for supporting the independence movement of India. This was a policy to include women in the movement, as this was not considered a respectable activity. Moreover; Gandhi also urged to boycott the British educational institutions, to resign from government jobs, and to leave British titles.
Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore resigned the title knight from the British soon after the Jalianwalabagh Massacre as a protest. When the movement reached great success, it ended unexpectedly after the violent clash in Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh. Following this, Mahatma Gandhi was also arrested and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. Indian National Congress was divided into two segments. Furthermore, support among the Hindu and Muslim people was also breaking down. However; Mahatma Gandhi only served around 2 years and was released.
Mahatma Gandhi returned to the forefront again in 1928. On March 12, 1930 Gandhi launched a new Satyagraha against the tax on salt. He started the historic Dandi March, by walking from Ahmedabad to Dandi, to break the law that had deprived the poor of his right to make his own salt. Gandhi broke the Salt law at the sea beach at Dandi. This movement stimulated the entire nation and it came to be known as Civil Disobedience Movement. On 8th May, 1933, he started a 21-day fast of self-purification in order to help the Harijan movement.
Quit India Movement
Mahatma Gandhi again became active in the political arena after the outburst of World War II in 1939. On August 8, 1942 Gandhi gave the call for Quit India Movement or Bharat Chhodo Andolan. Soon after the arrest of Gandhi, disorders broke out immediately through out the country and many violent demonstrations took place.Quit India became the most powerful movement in the freedom struggle. Thousands of freedom fighters were killed or injured by police gunfire, and hundreds
of thousands were arrested. He called on all Congressmen and Indians to maintain discipline via non violence and Karo Ya Maro (Do or Die) in order to achieve ultimate freedom.
On 9th of August, 1942, Mahatma Gandhi and the entire Congress Working Committee were arrested in Mumbai. In view of his deteriorating health, he was released from the jail in May 1944 because the British did not want him to die in prison and enrage the nation. The cruel restraint of the Quit India movement brought order to India by the end of 1943 although the movement had modest success in its aim. After the British gave clear signs of transferring power to the Indians, Gandhi called off the fight and all the prisoners were released.
Partition and Indian Independence.
In 1946, upon persuasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi reluctantly accepted the proposal of partition and independence offered by the British cabinet, in order to evade a civil war.After independence, Gandhi`s focus shifted to peace and communal harmony. He fasted for abolition of communal violence and demanded that the Partition Council compensated Pakistan. His demands were fulfilled and he broke his fast. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was, thus, able to bring the whole nation under one umbrella to fight the British.Gandhi developed and improved his techniques gradually to assure that his efforts made significant impact.
During the First World War, Turkey joined the central powers against Britain. The symapathy of Indian Muslims, who regarded the Sultan of Turkey as their spiritual leader or Khalifa, was naturally with Turkey. After the war with defeat of Turkey, the Allied power removed the Khalifa from power in Turkey which aggrieved the Indian Muslims against the British Government. Hence the Muslims started the Khilafat movement in India for the resumption of Khalifa’s position. A Khilafat Committee was formed under the leadership of Mahammad Ali, Shaukat Ali, Maulana Azad and Hasrat Mohini to organise a country-wide agitation. The main object of Khilafat Movement was to force the British Government to change its attitude towards Turkey and to restore the Sultan. October 17, 1919 was observed as Khilafat Day, when the Hindus alongwith Muslims in fasting observed hartal on that day. An All India Khilafat Conference was held at Delhi on November 23, 1919 with Gandhi as its president. The Conference resolved to withdraw all cooperation from the Government, if the Khalifat demands were not met. Congress leaders, like Lokamanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, viewed the Khalifat Movement as an opportunity to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity against British. A joint Hindu- Muslim deputation met the Viceroy on the Khalifat issue, but it failed to yeild any
result.The central Khalifat Commettee met at Allahabad from 1st to 3rd June, 1920 which was attended by a number of congress leaders. In this meeting a programme of Non-Cooperation towards the Government was declared. It was to include boycott of titles, can oferred by the Government, boycott of civil services, army and police and non-payment of taxes to the Government. Gandhi insisted that unless the Punjab and Khilafat wrongs were undone, there was to be non-cooperation with the Government.
The non – co – operation movement was in full swing during this period of time. It was particularly strong in Malabar, where the Moppilas were agitated over the Khilafat issue. The Gandhian movement had a tremendous impact in Kerala, with large numbers joining the satyagrapha campaign. Gandhiji visited Malabar in 1921, giving a further impetus to the movement. Khilafat Committees sprang up in large numbers and the fraternity between the Hindus and Muslims, through the work in Congress-Khilafat Committees, was a truly remarkable feature of the non-cooperation movement in Kerala, in its early stages. The speed with which the Khilafat agitation spread, especially in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks, created alarm in official circles. A perplexed officialdom clamped down prohibitory orders in the two taluks. Meetings were banned and many people were arrested in the name of law and order. A tragic episode then ensued, namely the Moppila Rebellion or the Malabar Rebellion of 1921.Police attempted to arrest the secretary of the Khilafat Committee of Pokottur in Eranad on a charge of having stolen a pistol.A crowd of 2000 Moppilas from the neighbourhood foiled the attempt. The next day, a police party in search of Khilafat rebels entered the famous Mambaram mosque at Tirurangadi. They seized some records and arrested a few Khilafat volunteers. A rumour spread that the mosque was desecrated.Hundreds of rustic Moppilas converged on Tirurangadi and besieged the local police station. The police opened fire. The mob reacted in a mad fury. Violence spread and engulfed Eranad and Valluvanad taluks and neighbouring areas for over two months. Congress leaders tried in vain to check the violence. Towards the later stages of the rebellion, owing to unfounded rumour of Hindus having helped the police or sought police help, there were instances of atrocities perpetrated on Hindus. This marred the relations between the two communities. Meanwhile British and Gurkha regiments were rushed to the area. Martial law was clamped. A series of repressive measures followed and by November, the rebellion was practically crushed. Relief operations in the ravaged areas, undertaken mostly by voluntary agencies which received help and funds from Gandhiji, lasted for over six months.
The epilogue (in the sense that it came to be known only later) was the “Wagon Tragedy” in which 61 of the 70 Moppila prisoners packed in a closed railway goods wagon and carried to Coimbatore jails, died of suffocation on November 10, 1921.In the wake of the suppression of the Malabar Rebellion and until almost the end of the decade, struggle purely for political freedom was on a low key.
Non-Cooperation was a movement of passive resistance against British rule, which was initiated by Mahatma Gandhi.To resist the dominance of the British Government and advance the Indian nationalist cause, the non-cooperation movement was a non-violent movement that prevailed nationwide by Indian National Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. This movement took place from September 1920 to February 1922 and initiated Gandhi era in the Independence
Movement of India.
The Rowlatt Act, Jaliwanwala Bagh massacre and Martial Law in Punjab caused the native people not to trust the British Government anymore. The Montagu- Chelmesford Report with its diarchy could satisfy a few only. Until then Gandhi believed the justice and fair-play of the British Government, but after this incidences he felt that Non-cooperation with the Government in a non-violent way must be started. In the meantime the Muslims in India also revolted against the harsh terms of the Treaty of severes between Allies and Turkey and they started Khilafat movement. Gandhi also decided to stand beside them. Gandhiji`s idea of winning over Muslim support also helped in Non-Cooperation Movement of India. Gandhi had given a notice to the Viceroy in his letter of 22nd June in which he had affirmed the right recognized `from time immemorial of the subject to refuse to assist a ruler who misrules. After the notice had expired the Non-Cooperation movement was launched formally on 1st August of 1920. At the Calcutta Session on September, 1920 the program of the movement was stated. The programs of Non-cooperation involved the surrender of titles and offices and resignation from the nominated posts in the government body. It included not attending Government duties, Durbars and other functions, withdrawing children from government schools and colleges and establishment of national schools and colleges. The people of India were instructed to boycott the British courts and establish the private judicial courts. The Indians should use Swadeshi cloth and boycott the foreign clothes and other things. Gandhiji strictly advised the Non-Cooperators to observe truth and non-violence. The decision taken in Calcutta Session was supported in the Nagpur Session of the Congress on December; 1920. The decision was also taken for the betterment of the party organization. Any adult man or woman could take Congress membership for 4 annas as subscription. This adoption of new rules gave a new energy to the Non-
Cooperation movement and from January of 1921 the movement gained a new momentum. Gandhi along with Ali Brothers went to a nationwide tour during which he addressed the Indians in hundreds of meetings. In the first month of the movement, about nine thousand students left schools and colleges and joined the national institutions. During this period about eight hundred national institutions were established all over the country. The educational boycott was most successful in Bengal under the leadership of Chitta Ranjan Das and Subhas Chandra Bose. In Punjab also the educational boycott was extensive under the leadership of Lala Lajpat Rai.The other active areas were Bombay, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Uttar Pradesh. The movement also affected Madras. The boycott of lawcorts by the lawyears was not as successful as the educational boycott was. The leading lawyers like, Motilal Nehru, CR Das, Mr Jayakar, V Patel, Asaf Ali Khan, S Kitchlew and many others gave up their lucrative practices and many followed their path inspired by their sacrifice. Bengal again led in this matter and Andhra, UP, Karnataka and Punjab followed the state.However the most successful item of the Non-Cooperation was the boycott of foreign clothes. It took such an extensive form that value of import of the foreign clothes reduced from hundred and two crores in 1920-21 to fifty-seven crores in 1921-22. Although some of the veteran political leaders like the Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Annie Besant opposed Gandhiji`s plan but the younger generation supported him fully. Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Abbas Tyabji, Maulana Mohammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali also supported him.
In the month of July 1921, the Government had to face a new challenge. Mohammad Ali and other leaders believed that it was `religiously unlawful for the Muslims to continue in the British army` and they were arrested for their view. Gandhi and other Congress leaders supported Mahammad Ali and issued a manifesto. The next dramatic event was visit of Prince of Wales on 17th November, 1921. The day on which Prince boarded on Bombay Port the day was observed as a `Hartal Divas` all over India. The Prince was greeted with empty streets and closed shops wherever he went. The Non-Cooperators gained more and more energy at their success and became more aggressive. The congress volunteer corps turned into a powerful parallel police. They used to march in formation and dressed in uniform. Congress had already granted permission to the Provincial Congress Committees to sanction total disobedience including non-payment of taxes. The Non-Co operational movement had other effects also which are not very direct. In UP it became difficult to distinguish between a Non-Co operational meeting and a peasant meeting. In Malabar and Kerala the Muslim tenants roused against their landlords. In Assam the labors of tea-plantation went with strike. In Punjab the Akali Movement was considered as a part of Non-Cooperation movement. The Non-Cooperation movement particularly strengthened in Bengal. The movement was not only seen in Kolkata but it also agitated the rural Bengal and an elemental awakening was observed. The movement reached a climax after the Gurkha assault on coolies on the river port of Chandpur (20-21st May).The whole Eastern Bengal was under the lash of the movement under the leadership of JM Sengupta. The other example was the Anti-Union Board agitation in Midnapur led by Birendranath Sashmal.
As the Non-Cooperation movement proceeded the woman of India, especially from Bengal wanted to take active part in the protest movement. The women nationalists were assembled under the Mahila Karma Samaj or the Ladies organization Board of the Pradesh Congress Committee of Bengal. The ladies members of that organization arranged meeting and circularized the spirit of Non-Cooperation. Women volunteers were enlisted to take part in the movement. The ladies from many respected families led them.CR Das`s wife Basanti Devi and sister Urmila Devi, JM Sengupta`s wife Nellie Sengupta, Mohini Devi, Labanya Prabha Chanda played significant role in this movement. Picketing of foreign wine and cloth shops and selling of Khaddar in the streets were the point of attention of this movement.
The Government proclaimed Sections 108 and 144 of the code of criminal procedure at various centers of agitation. The Congress Volunteer Corpse was declared illegal. By December 1921 More than thirty thousand people were arrested from all over the India. Except Gandhiji, most of the prominent leaders were inside jail. In mid-December Malaviya initiated a negotiation, which was futile. The conditions were like that it offered sacrifice of Khilafat leaders, which Gandhiji could never accept.
At that time Gandhiji was also under a pressure from the higher leaders of Congress to start the mass civil disobedience. Gandhiji gave an ultimatum to the Government but the British Government paid no attention to it. In response, Gandhiji initiated a civil disobedience movement in Bardoli Taluqa of Surat district of Gujrat. Unfortunately at this time the tragedy of Chauri Chaura occurred that change the course of the movement, where a mob of three thousand people killed twenty-five policemen and one inspector. Gandhi was in support of complete nonviolence and this incident was too much for him to bear. He ordered to suspend the movement at once. Thus, on February 12th, 1922 the Non-Cooperation movement totally stopped.
There were limitations in achievements of Non-Cooperation Movement as it apparently failed to achieve its object of securing the Khilafat and changing the misdeeds of Punjab. The Swaraj could not be achieved in a year as it was promised. The retreat of the February 1922 was only temporary. The movement slowed down gradually. The part of Battle was over but the war continued.
Swaraj Party was established to fight the mighty force of British head-on. Mahatma Gandhi was released from jail in 1924.He and his close followers, such as Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Rajendra Prasad, occupied themselves with the constructive programme, such as hand-spinning on the charkha, uplift of the harijans or members of the depressed class. But not all the congressmen were willing to abandon political action. In 1922 a group had formed around Motilal Nehru and C. R. Das that wished to enter the government`s legislative councils and wreck them front within. They were opposed by the `no-changers` who insisted that the 1920 programme, which called for the boycott of council elections, should not be altered. At the Gaya congress in December 1922, matters came to a head. The `nochangers` prevailed, but early the next year the `pro-changers` formed their own party. This party was at first known as the congress-Khilafat Swaraj Party and later simply the swarajya or swaraj party. The new councils were inaugurated in 1921.The non-congress parties which had entered them had not been successful in influencing government policy. And eventually diarchy proved to be a failure. Provincial minister could not act effectively even in `transferred` subjects because the new safeguards made the governors more autocratic even than before. Only the Montford reform showed that the British were still unwilling to grant responsible government.
Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru decided that the way to combat this situation was to enter the provincial legislative councils. Central legislative assembly carries out a policy of uniform, continuous and consistent obstruction, with a view to make government through the assembly and councils impossible would force the British to grant real reforms. In a special session of congress held in Delhi in September 1923, a compromise between no-changers and pro-changers was reached. The former would continue with the constructive programme, whereas the latter could contest
the upcoming elections. Gandhiji gave his blessings to this arrangement. Although they had little time for campaigning, the swarajists did well in the elections. They became the largest party in the central assembly and the dominant party in two provinces. For the next few years swarajist politicians obstructed official business in the assembly and the councils as well. But there were positive gains too.
In 1925 the swarajist leader Vithalbhai Patel was elected president of the central legislative assembly. C. R. Das, who had refused to form a ministry in Bengal, was elected mayor of Calcutta (now Kolkata). In this position `Deshbandhu` did much valuable service for his countrymen. The tragic death of C. R. Das in 1925 removed a great patriot from the scene at a critical moment. The Swaraj Party, which had already begun to break up, disintegrated quickly. As usual, the people of discord were religion. Communalminded Muslims isolated themselves, while the so-called social activist began to cooperate with the government with a desire to safeguard Hindu interests. By March end the swarajists day in the sun had ended. Block in their attempt to effect change; they walked out of the legislative assembly.It has become a history in and out of India.
MONTAGUE- CHELMSFORD REFORMS (Act of 1919)
The Home Rule movement and the rise of revolutionary terrorism mainly led the British authority to pacify the rising tide in India. Chelmsford, the Viceroy of India and Montague; the Secretary of Indian Council submitted a proposal in 1918 to the British Parliament. As a result, the Act of 1919 was passed. Accordingly; the number of members of the Council of the Secretary of State (Indian Council) was fixed at 12. Among them 3 were to be Indians and half of its total members were to be chosen from among those who must have resided in India at least for ten years. It limited the powers of the Secretary of States. The Viceroy was empowered to nominate as many members to his Executive Council as· he wished. The Councilors were nominated for five years.
The Central Legislature consisted of the Council of States and Legislative Assembly. The Upper House or Council of States consisted of 60 members. Among them 33 were to be elected and 27 were to be nominated by the Viceroy. Each province in India was allotted a fixed number of representatives to represent in the Council of States for 5 years. The Legislature Assembly or the Lower House consisted of 144 members out of which 103 were to be elected and the rest of the members were to be nominated. The life of the Legislative Assembly was for 3 years. The franchise of both the Houses was restricted which differed in different provinces. The Viceroy was empowered to summon, prorogue and dissolve the Chambers. The first Speaker was to be nominated by the Viceroy and after that the speakers would be elected. The provincial Legislature consisted of only one House known as the Legislative Council. The number increased now what was a beforehand. The power of the Councils also increased a little.
However, the Viceroy had control over the Councils. The communal electorate system was further enhanced. It created provision for ‘separate electorates for Sikhs, Anglo-Indians, Christians and Europeans.
The Act of 1919 introduced Diarchy in the provinces. Accordingly, the Rights of the Central and Provincial Governments were divided in clear-cut terms. The central list included rights over defence, foreign affairs, telegraphs, railways, postal and foreign trade. The provincial list dealt with the affairs like health, sanitation, education, public work, irrigation, jail, police and justice. The powers which were not included in the state list vested in the hands of the Centre. In case of any conflict between the ‘reserved’ and ‘unreserved’ powers of the State (the former included finance, police, revenue and publication of books and the latter included health, sanitation and local-self government).The Governor had its final say. The Diarchy was introduced in 1921 in Bengal, Madras, Bombay, U.P., M.P., Punjab, Bihar, Orissa and Assam. In 1932, it was extended to the North-West Frontier Province.
No doubt, the Act of 1919 reformed some of the maladies of the Morley-Minot Reforms of 1909, and introduced .Diarchy. Still it was not free from short- comings. Limited franchise, no clear-cut division of powers between the Centre and the States, Viceroy’s authority over every matter etc. were some of the defects of the Act of 19.19 which brought dissatisfaction among the Indians.
The Indian Statutory Commission was a group of seven British Members of Parliament that had been dispatched to India in 1927 to study constitutional reform. The Commission was named Simon Commission, following the name of the chairperson of the Commission Sir John Simon. The Government of India Act 1919 had introduced the system of dyarchy to govern the provinces of British India. However, the Indian public demanded for revision of the difficult dyarchy form of government. Moreover the Government of India Act 1919 itself stated that a commission would be appointed after ten years to investigate the progress of the governance scheme and suggest new steps for reform.In the late 1920, the Conservative government, which was in power in Britain feared imminent electoral defeat at the hands of the Labour Party. They also feared the effects of the consequent transference of control of India to such an inexperienced body. Hence, in November of 1927, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin appointed seven MPs (including Chairman Simon) to constitute the commission.
The Simon Commission of 1919 was entrusted with the charge to look into the state of Indian constitutional affairs. The growth of the education and the development of the representative institution in British India were the significant responsibilities vested with the Simon commission. The Simon commission was to give report as to whether or what extent the principle of responsible government could be established in India. The Simon commission was also asked to enquire the fact that how far it was desirable to establish Second Chambers of the local legislature. During the enquiry, the Simon commissions did snot however taken into accounts the relation of the British Government with the Indian states and found the British Government extremely constitutional. The Simon Commission created extreme dissatisfaction throughout the whole India. This was so because no Indian Members were included in the Commission.
The Simon Commission was an all-White Composition. Lords Birkenhead justified the exclusion of the Indians members from the Simon Commission. He opined that since the Commission was composed by the Parliament, it was necessary that the members of the Commission should be from the parliament. The Simon Commission created enough disaffection allovers the country and everywhere it was hailed with black flags. A general hartal was observed throughout the Country on the day the commission landed in India. In such circumstance, the Central Assembly was invited to form a joint Committee to co-operate with the commission. But however it refused to do so. As a whole, Simon Commission in India was a complete failure.
Working Class Movement and the Formation of AITUC
The trade union movement in India forms a study of the working class, their demands, response of their owners and redressal measures of the government. In spite of the drain of wealth from India and British apathetic attitude, the factories grew on this soil. The cotton mills in Bombay, the jute mills and tea industry grewup. The poor Indian mass got employment in these factories as workers.Low wages, long working hours, unhygienic conditions, exploitation at the hands of native and foreign capitalists made their condition more miserable. The first Factory Act of 1881 and the Acts of 1891, 1909, 1911 etc. could not end the plights of the working class people
The Russian Revolution of 1917 exerted tremendous influence over the working class people of the world. By the efforts of the leaders like N.M. Joshi, Lala Lajpat Rai and Joseph, the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was established in 1920. Nationalist leaders like C.R. Das and V. V. Giri also joined their hands with this union. With the emergence of socialistic and communist ideas, the left wing within the Indian National Congress became active and leaders like Subhas Chandra Bose and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru also presided over the sessions of AITUC.With the recognition of the trade unions by the Trade Union Act of 1926, the trade union movements in India gained momentum. The fourth Congress of the Communist International sent a message to the AITUC to overthrow capitalism and imperialism. The left wing within the AITUC also became very active. The revolutionary of Muscovite group wanted to affiliate the AITUC with the Red Labour Union framed at Moscow. In the power struggle, the liberal leader N.M. Joshi left the AITUC and formed another organisation named’ Indian Trade Union Federation. Under the Leftist direction, the AITUC launched vigorous programmes against the capitalist class. It foreshadowed a socialist State in India with socialisation and nationalisation of the means of production. It organised meetings for protecting the freedom of speech, association, participation in national struggle etc.The Communist Party also flared up the flame. Though the government passed several Acts to satisfythe workers, still they carried on their programmes of strike and protest. The trade union activities were so rampant that in 1928 Viceroy Lord Irwin arrested the prominent leaders and brought them to Meerut for trial. After trial, S.A. Dange, Muzaffar Ahmed, Joglekar, Spratt etc. were given transportation or rigorous
imprisonment.It aroused worldwide sympathy for the union leaders. However, it hurled a terrible blow on the trade union activities in India. Now the Leftists and Rightists joined their hands and defended the case.
During the Non-Cooperation Movement, the British Government suppressed the trade union leaders with iron hand. The Socialist Party formed in 1934 wanted to cement coherence between the moderate and the radical trade unions. During the popular governments between 1937-1938 the trade unions increased to 296. During Quit India Movement, the Trade Union Movement went on as usual. The nationalist leaders failed to capture the AITUC but the Communists had their hold over it. After independence, the trade unions are performing their rule as usual.