Gandhi launched the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1931. One of the main factors which led to the launching of the Civil Disobedience Movement was Simon Commission.
- The British Government appointed a committee of seven people popularly known as the Simon Commission to look into the need for further constitutional reforms in India.
- The Commission was opposed by the Indians as it had all British and no Indian members in it.
- The Congress in the 1927 session held at Chennai decided to boycott the Commission at every stage. The Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha supported the decision of Congress.
- Where ever the Commission went, it was greeted with protests and hartals. Brutal repression measures were used by the government to suppress the popular opposition. At Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai was mercilessly beaten up by the police while opposing the Commission. He died as a result of wounds received because of the police lathi charge.
Recommendations of the Simon Commission
The recommendations of the Simon Commission were
- To abolish dyarchy and to give autonomy to the Provincial governments. However, the government should be given unlimited powers in certain matters like internal security.
- The number of members in the Provincial Legislative Council should be increased.
- Princely states should also become part of the federal government at the center.
- The Governor-General should have the power to select and appoint the members of his own cabinet.
- British soldiers and officers should remain in Indian regiments.
- High Courts should work under the control of the Central Government.
Impact of the Civil Disobedience Movement
Though the movement did not bring freedom to the country, it played an important role in deepening the freedom struggle of the people. The movement instilled patriotism among the people in the country which did not die down till the country became independent. The movement widened the base of the freedom struggle as people from different classes including workers, merchants, tribals, and women participated in it. The movement popularized new methods of propaganda. For example, the ‘Prabhat Pheris’ (groups of men and women who roamed in the village and town singing patriotic songs) became popular.
Many social reforms were initiated as part of the movement. Depressed classes were now given entry into temples and access to wells. Women participated in the movement in large numbers, and they became equal partners in the freedom struggle. The Government realized the need for passing the constitutional reforms and thus passed the Government of India Act, 1935, which introduced the principles of the federation and provincial autonomy. The Congress achieved good results in elections to Legislative Assemblies in the following year and to Provincial Legislative Assemblies in 1937. In short, the Civil Disobedience Movement ignited national feelings among the people and trained them for launching new movements against British rule.
Also, Read Civil Disobedience Movement