Political movements since Autumn 1927(-1938) – Round Table conferences – and Sir John Simon to review the Government of India Act  1919, leading to the Government of India Act  of 1935, ( From recorded historical archives available) –

Professor Emeritus Dr Guru Balakrishnan, (on Constitutional histoty of India)


No Indian was associated with  with Sir John Simon Commission sent by British Government in England in 1927, – that erupted ‘Black flag demonstrations’; ‘Mobs shouted, full throat – ‘Simon go back’.


Muslim League also resolved and boycotted the Commission’ deliberations –

Also Indian National Congress joined with Muslim League.


The Simon Commission visited India of British Government  ‘to Review  the Working of  the Government of India Act 1919;


When Commission landed,  ‘in many places, the British Police had forcibly to disperse ‘mobs’; at one  such ‘melee’ in Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai  was injured. It was popularly  believed  that the ‘Lala ‘ had been  ‘assaulted’, by inspector Saunders of Punjab Police.


Later Saunders was shot dead. Thre young men -Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru, and Sukhdev , were convicted,  of the murder  and Executed on March 29, 1931.


Bhagat Singh  became the ‘Most famous Hero’ of all terrorists, in the annals of Indian Revolutionary History, Mahatma Gandhi wrote, ‘there has never been, within the living memory, so much ‘romance round any life, as has surrounded  any life , that of Bhagat Singh’.



Punjab Legislative Council nominated a committee  under chairmanship of Sikandar Hayat Khan   with ‘Ujjal Singh as Secretary ( an Arora  of Shapur district – owned large estates in Multan district); he was elected  to Punjab Legislative Council in 1926, was a ‘finance minister’ in Sachar government, and remained  in the ‘hub of ‘Sikh politics’ till 1955. He was also nominated as Governor of the Punjab, thereafter.


Ujjal Singh  was the secretary to Punjab Legislative Council, under chairmanship of Sikhandar Hayat Khan furnished ‘evidence’* to the Simon Commission that came to review the working of Government of India Act of 1919) ;


*‘A memorandum of Sikh representation, was presented to the Simon Commission, ( signatories – Shivdev  Singh Oberoi (president of of Chief Khalsa Diwan – , and a member of States; Harbans Singh Attari, secretary of Chief Khalsa Diwan), Raghbir Singh Sandhawalia, Sunder Singh Majithia,  and Mohan Singh Rais of Rawalpindi’.          


**submitted a report of evidence to the commission – it reads:


‘While  ‘anxious’ to maintain  their individuality, as a ‘separate community the Sikhs are always  ready  to cooperate  with

their sister communities for the development of a United Nation.


They would, therefore,  be first, to welcome a ‘Declaration that:


‘No considerations of castes and religion shall affect  the matter of organization of a ‘National Government’,in the country’.

They  are prepared to ‘stand  on Merit alone’;

provided they , in common with others, are permitted  to grow  ‘unhampered by any impediments’,- in the way  of Reservations for ‘any’ community’; (ibid).


If however, ‘separate  representation was to continue, the memorandum  demanded  that  in the Punjab  Legislative communal proportions should be fixed as follows :  40% Muslim,  30% Hindu 30% Sikh.’


‘Claim was made for  Sikh representation  in Sindh (if it was to made  into a separate province) , Delhi,, and NWFP.’


  • while, the commission  was at work, the Indian National Congress (INC)   tried once more  (as in 1916) to present   the  British Government,  with a ‘Draft Constitution’  ageeable  to Indians .


In February, 1928, , it called a conference,  of members of  all important political parties , ‘to consider  and determine  the’principles of  the constitution  for India’, .


The ‘major moving spirit’,  behind the conference was Mr. Motilal Nehru himself duly  assisted by Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru  as his Secretary –


Slkhs were represented  by Mangal Singh Gill .


Nehru report recommended, –  “the ‘abolition of separate electorates”; but ‘agreed  to reservation of seats’  for Muslims, at the center, and in the provinces. ‘- In which they (Muslims) were a minority’; the only other people to whom, ‘this concession’ was recommended  were ‘non – Muslims on NWFP.


Mangal Singh  did not ‘press’ for ‘special rights’ for his community  in his home state or at the centre.


(‘The committee met  for over two months. At first,  Mangal Singh, insisted, that, if the Muslims were given ‘separate rights’ , the Sikhs would ask (insist) for 1/3rd representation  in the Punjab  and 5% at the centre (union government).


And, ‘if weightage was abolished , he would accept representation,  ‘on the basis of, ‘of population’, with the right to contest  other seats.


The final  decision to ‘give up’  all ‘communal representation’ was taken  under the ‘inspiration of Dr. Ansari. ( Mangal was interviewed by Kushwant Singh Gill ).


Indeed, ‘The Nehru report’  was an impressive   exercise in political bargaining.


Muslims took scant notice of it;  and Sikhs rejected the report.


One group  led by Baba Kharak Singh was so angered  by Nehru report  that it severed its connection with Indian National Congress.


Others led by Master Tara Singh  though equally emphatic in their rejection of the proposals  but decided to continue their links with  Congress;  and so remained, in the mainstream of National politics.


Nehru report  went into the National Archives of Congress Party . (yet it is ‘vibrant’.)


[ (Mr. VP Singh ‘clever’ idea of ‘caste politics’, obviously  cannot surface; but it surfaced, just because after Nehrus he was after all wanted to show his face, as some ‘or’ else, (like Dr.B.R. Ambedkar who played in Poona Pact with Gandhiji, for ‘Dalits’;) his untenable ‘caste idea’ would have been buried like Nehru Report in Archives too.


He tried to revitalize the Mandal reports(full of make believe statistics relied) after PM Mr. Morarji Bhai’ shelved the Mandal Report when it is already over, by his covert methods of misusing the ‘most  reliable caste report statistics ’- ( Mondal managed to create, (perhaps covertly) though Morarji Bhai correctly shelved that most useless report, it again showed up; ‘none ever questioned’ but caste mongers  perpetuated, is a hard fact, one can never forgive – that led to ‘creamy layer’ idea when very poor brothers of the castes still suffer without any jobs or some meaningful income in the ever growing most unreliable economy, where day by day every commodity price zooms thanks to successive governments even today in the so called “Modiraj’ now; (people are followed time and again – people groaning under price pressure on essential commodities).]


Purposely, the ‘Devious’ ‘Simon  Commission’ was still then drafting  its ‘proposals’,when Lord Irwin  announced that  ‘in a conference of Representatives’ (specifically to defraud Indians) by the British India which wanted to keep Indians ever ‘divided’; and the conference for the Indian States would be convened in London to discuss  the question  of granting ‘Dominion Status  to Indians.


(part I)(two parts article)

Indian National Congress  asked for  a ‘Declaration – the conference would frame a  Constitution for India.; and not merely discuss , ‘when  or how? It was to be granted. But objective of conservative government under MacDonald to divide Indians in one way or the other,essentially.


No such ‘Declaration’, was forthcoming., then.


Congress decided to abstain from the conference deliberations, and its various sessions in  December 1929, at Lahore session (now in Pakistan) passed a ‘Resolution’ in favour of complete ‘Independence’ for India;


Political opinion  in England  hardened  against ‘Nationalists’-(after all  suddenly losing grip on India would be a very costly venture for England, besides disastrous for british revenue generation from India)


March 1930 saw the ‘Simon Commission’ made its Report (after Mahatma Gandhi  launched a campaign  to break  the law by getting into manufacture of ‘Salt’, which was government’s monopoly.


Gandhi and most others in National leadership were imprisoned.


Thus the situation led to ‘ the most important Indian Political party  was unrepresented at the Conference held at London.)


Report proposed  a ‘federal constitution’ with bicameral legislatures at the centre (Union government);

and autonomy is granted for the ‘constituent  provinces’ and the ‘princely states’;


The recommendations   were ‘by far’ a step forward in regard to the Provinces; and  where ‘Dyarchy’ was abolished,  and they became  obviously independent masters of their own homes; like – a  great beginnng of ‘Divide and Rule’ idea seed planted.


The said report  did not recommend ‘wider powers’ for central government.


It gave a certain measure of ‘reassurance’ to the Sikhs:


‘ they felt, ‘it would be ‘unfair’ for Mohameddans should retain  the ‘considerable weightage’  they ‘now enjoy’ (then too) in the  then six provinces; and that  they  should at the same time  be imposed;, in the face of  Hindu and Sikh  staunch opposition (for such concession),- ‘ a definite  ‘Muslim majority’  in the Punjab  and in Bengal’, unalterable by any appeal  to the electorate (Simon Report , Indian /statutory Commission Report.II, 71.)


Recommendations obviously disappointed  ‘progressive opinion’ , both in India and in England;


By September , the Viceroy  issued invitations’  to 66 Indians (50 from British India and 16 from the States to proceed to London  to ‘deliberate’  on ‘the Recommendations’ found in the report;


Two Sikh invitees  (in addition  Bhupendra Singh of Patiala, who was invited as he was ‘the Chancellor’ of  Chamber of Princess).


Sampuran  Sibgh  and UjjalSingh were also invitees.


The ‘Akalis’ (supposed to be some ‘Immortal men’ ) , the party  that really  mattered, consisted largely of ‘jathedars’ ; ‘incable of grasping’ nicities  of constitutional practice;

Akhalis  tacitly aquiciesied  in the selection.


First Round Table Conference:


British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in 1930 November his first ‘sinister motive to cause’- ‘divide and rule India’  surfaced by then obvious.


He outlined Simon  scheme  for a Federal India  – it provided a ‘divided – rule ‘ mechanism – one Federal and Provincial and Princely states – some kind of two independent entities;


Princes not led by Bhupendra  Singh of Patiala, expressed willingness to join Federation.


What is the biggest hurdle?


It was ‘communal representation’.


Sikh delegates agreed  to ‘joint  electorates’ with ‘reservation of seats for minorities’; but they strongly  opposed ‘communal majorities based on separate electorates’.(Sikhs demands were tabulated in 17 demands then)


[(what is the present J&K problem, based on separate electorates – POK, J&K),


(indeed Prices had a wide range thought – then too – see nothing is settling like a


‘square peg would not go in round hole’ –


hence we have today, 70 yrs war like skirmishes in  the J&K, several lost their lives;


Princes ‘never wanted people to die’, that to happen then, too, appears; Princess seem more intelligent than our today’s great  MPs of MLAs !) ]


Muslims  were unwilling  to accept  ‘joint electorates’, on any terms’, ;


‘Separate electorates’  won  the day – not only because for Muslims, but also for Sikhs, Indian christians, Anglo-Indians, and other ‘untouchables’    – a ploy played by Mr Ramsay MacDonald under the Simon report!


[First round table  achieved  more than  either the British Government,  or the Participants had  anticipated. Highly doubtful. Neither did. Even now after independence we did practically ‘Nothing’; after all we are just doing some very slow, a quality of democracy that is okay, if we want democracy has to perpetuate – after all Citizens level knowledge is yet to grow say even about ‘one century is over’ from ourselves getting Independence, since 1947].


This encouraged Lord Irwin  to extend  the hand  of ‘friendship’  to the Mahatma, being basically a man with a good heart had the occasion of Lord Irwin landed thanks to good time for Indians..In every century, every experience, our experience still is wanting in ‘Experience’ and yet we need to expect to have ‘Experience’ always.


On March 5, 1931,they  signed a ‘Gandhi -Irvin Pact’ WHEREBY  Nationalists  were released from goal , the ‘passive  resistance’  movement  was called off.


Mahatma accepted an invitation  for the Second Round Table conference;


He was the sole representative from Indian National Congress, accepted Invitation  to go to London for the Second R.T conference. The delehgates to the first  Round Table  were re-invited;


Second Round Table :


This met at ‘Adverse circumstances’. The Progressive  labour government   had been defeated in the elections; Mr Ramsay  MacDonald  now presided over a coalition, largely ‘conservative’.


Wedgewood Benn  had been replaced by ‘ reactionary ‘Samel Hoare’ as Secretary of State; and , at, home,  the gentle  Irwin had been succeeded  by the  blimpian Willington, as Viceroy.




The conference  bogged  down  on the question of ‘Communal Representation’(a very painful issue).


Mahatmaji  tried  to ‘resolve’  the issue by ‘private meetings with other delegates as also British officials – No success at all . His efforts proved abhortive because Mr Jinnah  outright ‘rejected’  to give up  ‘Separate Electorates’ (a very big bone of contention in later years too, that changed the couse of history for partition of India)


On behalf of Sikhs , Ujjal  Singh reiterated  their talks’ outside the conference  hall.

offer to accept ‘Joint Electorates’;


But,Ujjal Singh added, if ‘separate representation’ was conceded to any community, particularly Muslims, , the Sikhs  ‘would insist’ on getting  it  as well ( a condition precedent he has put before the conference, after all any concession is given to one others too shall have is his principle, else not needed to every one!);


He further added, ‘“Unless, the Communal Question’,which in the Punjab means  the ‘Muslim-Sikh Question’ is settled, it is not  possible  for the Sikhs  to commit themselves to the ‘federal scheme’  in which the Punjab  would  be an ‘autonomous body (province) (Second round table conference, Minorities Committee,I,89)’;


Ujjal Singh and Sampuran Singh  demnanded  for the Sikhs 30%  representation (In Bihar and Orissa , the Muslims constituted 11% of the population, had a representation of 25%, i.e 150% weightage; in the UP they had 14.8% (30% weightage given) i.e 100% weightage; in the Central Provinces (CP  they had 4.4% of population (hadc15% representation, ie., 250% weightage. Anglo indians  with .02% population of the Punjab(had 4000% weightage), . The Europeans  had even greater weightage) (read census then)


   And 5%  at the centre , with at least one Sikh member in the Central cabinet.


Ujjal Singh  presented an alternative a scheme  for territorial adjustment of the Punjab.


He proposed,  that Rawalpindi  and Multan Division  (excepting  the districts of Layallpur, and Montgomery) should be  separated  from the Punjab  and attached to the NWFP , that would be ‘communal proportions’   in the
Punjab  43.3% Muslims, 42.3% Hindu, and 14.4% Sikhs.


In this Punjab,, the Sikhs, wouldn’t ask for any weightage; and would ask for  it (territorial adjustment) in the NWFP and sindh if the ‘Muslims received  ‘it’ in other provinces;

This ‘eminently’  sensible’ and constructive  proposal received  little attention (‘details see the Second Round Table  conference, Minorities  committee, iii , pp1435-37) and consideration from the conference and ‘was rejected’, along with a similar , but from the Slkh  point of view, less satisfactory – proposal was  by AWG. Corbett, to ‘detach’   Ambala  division from the Punjab and join  it to the United Provinces.


In the absence, of  agreement amomg the ‘delegates’(everything depended on delegates), Ramsay MacDonald assumed the right,   to adjudicate on joint  verses separate  representation.


Second Rund Table indeed a dsmal failure.


Many leaders were arrested InIndia when Mahatmaji landed from London.


There in India was the Red short movement in NWFP; terrorists  had renewed their activities Willingdon ‘promptly clamped’   Mahatamaji as he too protested.


On April 16, 1932 MacDonald  made his award on ‘communal representation’; separate electorates given to mnorities Sikhs, Christians,  Muslims,aswell as ‘untouchables’ (this was later withdrawn  in ‘Poona Pact’ by Dr BA Ambedkar with Mahatma Gandhi,THE UNTOUCHABLES WERE GIVEN  HEAVY WEIGHTAGE in Mixed Hindu Seats’ (obviously unfair, but pressre worked on Mahatma Gandhi by by Dr.B.A Ambedkar).


Muslims got 33.⅓ %age weightage  in the centre  and 86  out of 175 seats in Punjab. Sikhs too got  weightage  but NOT in same proportion, as follows:


33 of 175 seats in Punjab Assembly;

3 of 50 in NWFP;

6 of 250 in Federal  Legislative Assembly;

4 of 150  in Council of States;


Sikhs got nothing  in United Provinces and Sindh; wherein it is said Sikhs were in by then ‘sizable numbers’.


Award was a bitter blow to the Sikhs. It gave Muslims  a permanent  ‘communal majority’.


(That Award (an eye sore) even today jolts BJP men against Muslims, when Congressmen talk on Secularism, if secularism why you need to give that Award by MacDonald then why we need to follow is the question RSS and BJP time and again raise.)


Remarks: (observations by author)

The other day, in the UP elections , BJP never gave tickets to Muslims but yet got 322 seats of 403 seats it netted;


BJP Amit Shah or Ravi Shankar Prasad say, ‘today we are concerned with over all development and jobs generation , no more castes or religions based perceptions


obviously ‘ caste and religion have  got the backseat, to be ‘edged out’ sooner than expected’


if BJP winning spree goes on in 2019 election is the great message one needs to know  –


-‘even Indian National Congress of Mahatma Gandhi times never liked MacDonald’s Award, but Jinnah forced for it  that made Jawaharlal accepting partition is better than granting ‘communal representation’ as such;


that way Government of India Act of 1935 was questioned by Indians, that is, it showed obviously MacDonald’s Award did, (a mischivous activity) in the absence of settlement by all concerned shareholders of the independent India,  


However, after ‘most painful’ Partition of  India in 1947, we drafted the Constitution of India, predominated by Dr. BR Ambedkar, and his speeches in the Constitutional Assembly, tillted in favor of so many clauses of the Government of India Act 1935.


Now all the governments feel the  ‘hard pinch of’  ‘caste politics’ and the very parties themselves day by day move to rectfy that means same situation that prevailed during Ramsay MacDonald’s Award was rejected by Indians is very obvious; after all None can withstand too much inroads on ‘Equality’ that cannot be over played by so called ‘Equity ‘ idea  touted under vert Art 14 of the constitution of India.


The Constitutional Courts have to pull u their socks while interpreting the Constitutional tenets, Part III, Part IV, Part IVA of the Constitution.


It is disturbing that could destabilize, that could mean even declaring several constitutional amendments as ‘ultra vires’ like the sch IX which was duly censored (declared ‘ultra vires’) in 2007 only, in the Constitutional bench in the Coelho v State of TN  headed by then CJI Mr. Y.K Sabharwal.


Now we, Judge Karnan of Calcutta High court misbehavior on very judiciary principles, as even, well-to-do today the Dalitmen think they can seek relief under ‘Atrocities Act, a far fetched thinking today, as all such things sooner or later might badly affect the “non creamy layer poor persons” of same set of communities;


after all citizens would not tolerate ‘creamy layers’ misusing concessions of reservarions ideas;


The Third Round Table was called to consider  the ‘Reports’ of the committees that were deliberating  during  the previous months then in 1932s.


Only 46 Indians  were invited. Sikh nominee Master Tara Singh of Ferozpur protested against provincial Autonomy underpermanent and dominant  Muslim majority in thepunjab. (in that way  only toda’s UP elections just not inducted any Muslims as MLAsin UP elections by the BJP, one needs to note.

Animosity is increasing againt Muslims as a religion here in India – ‘any over playing’ (if not properly mended) will have its own deleterious influences and results as is to be seen today).


Tara Singh supported safeguards  that would provide, such measures affect  minorities should not be passed without the consentbof 3/5ths  of the community concerned  –


( it is like ‘creamy layer’ issues cannot be passed without the concent of the 3/5th of poor very same castes persons, as they are equally important before allowing ‘creamy layers’ to perpetuate concessions.)



  • And be subject to  the ‘Veto’  of the Governor (then);



He pleaded for weightage in services, a 5%  representation, in the Federal Legislature, and Sikh representation  inthe Sindh (third round table conference, pp.99-100)


Results of the conferencewere published in the form of a White

Paper’ in March 1933;


A joint committee of the two Houses of the Btitish Parliament  was set up  under Lord Linlithgow (later viceroy of India)  to work  out the details of the future administration of India*,  


(*some Indians were invited  to collaborate with the committee‘s deliberations.   The Sikhs  were represented  by Buta Singh Virk  a lawyer of Shikarpura ,, who was a member of thePunjab Legislative Council.0     


On August 4 , 1935, the Governent of India Act of 1935 received the royal assent.


It provided, for the Federation of  Indian Provinces,  and Princely States with two houses of parliament in the centre  – Central Legislative Assembly, and Council  of States , Six  of the larger provinces,  were to have  two legislatures oftheir own.


Rest including the Punjab were to have, only one.


About 11.5%  of the populatiion was enfranchised; gob=ving 30 millions  the right to vote.

Provinces were msde Masters in their own homes (subject to  the reservation of special powers of intervention by Governors)

The central government   remained  as before underthe control of the governor general .


Dyarchy was reintroduced in the centre;


Subjects like defence,  and foreign affairs were reserved  and  so,  the prerogative of the  governor  general.


INC rejected the Governent of india Act 1935 because of the powers of ‘intervention’  given to governors in the provinces.


Itresolved to capture  the ‘power’ and then destroy  the Constitution.


The Muslim league  followed suit. But reserved the right  to try out  the ‘provincial  scheme’ for ‘whatever it is worth’; or ‘what it was worth it’;


Princes who had shown alacrity in accepting  federation;

‘developed cold feet’ when they realized , ‘it would mean  surrendering  of their  ‘sovereignty’.


Sikh political parties  had already condemned the ‘Communal award’; they added  their voice  to the chorus  of denunciation. Then Govt of India Act 1935 was a still born child then.


In 1936-37, forst elections were held; Sikhs  had a choice  of backing of Congress or the Unionists. Congress predominantly  anti-sikh Arya samajists led by swami Dayananda; Unionists , despite they championed agriculturists, they had ‘Mussalman Jats’ more rather less sikh agriculturists and Hindu Jats – Sikh and Hindu agriculturists were just second to Mussalman Jats.


They could have formed alliances with one  or other political parties;  but none  of the leaders  had the foresight  or the following  to do so ;


Instead they did split their forces into the Akali group Khalsa National Party; both of minor importance  in provincial matters, and  of none whatsoever on the national scene;


In all provinces, except Bengal, Sindh, and the Punjab,  it got a bare 10%  of vote;


Out  of 175 seats, the Unionists won 96 and the Khalsa  won 15-20 seats (some members constatly changed their allegiance); rest were  communists, and independents.


Sikander Hayat Khan  chose his three of  his muslim cabinet colleagues , twoo hindus,  and one Sikh ( Surinder Singh Majithia).


The rural Jat  bias was in evidence as before, of six ministers  only one  of the hindus  was an urban agriculturist .


The Unionist Ministry  did not have an easy time.  Rumours of impending war  wih Hitlerite  Germany  and the increased  tempo of  the nationalist  movement indicated a change  in the political barometer.


People  knew  India  would soon  be free.But who would  be masters of the  Punjab – the Muslims or the Sikhs.


(uncertainty indeed   breed suspicion and hate; occassionally ‘hate’  exploded  into violence. The most  serious  example  of this,  in 1938 over the possession of  ‘Shahidgan’) -martys market  (the notorious  ‘nakhas’ referred  to in volume  I – claimed by Muslims  to be a Mosque by the Sikhs to be in the Gurudwara.


The Sikhs won  their case  in the high court ; but  not before  many Muslims had been  ‘shot’,  by the police and a few thousand  imprisoned  for ‘defying the law’.)

( Part II – ends).