The Nehru Report, named after the chairman of the All Parties Conference (APC) Motilal Nehru, stands as an essential document in the Indian struggle for independence. Created in the year 1928, it highlighted a new vision for India’s political structure and future self-governance. It also highlighted numerous political and administrative recommendations as the need of the hour. However, this significant effort of the key Indian leaders met with various objections and counterblasts.
This Blog Includes:
What was the Nehru Report?
- The Nehru Report for 15 August 1928 refers to a memorandum issued by the All Parties Conference (APC).
- It proposed numerous key recommendations among which the dominion status of India and an appeal for a federal system of government for the Indian constitution remain the most important ones.
- Additionally, this report is one of the most essential documents in the history of Indian independence. This is because it was the first time that an Indian political party took such an initiative.
Also Read: Poona Pact: A Historical Agreement
Nehru Report Historical Background
Here is a historical overview of the Nehru Report.
The Simon Commission
- The Simon Commission was appointed by the British Conservative government in the year 1927.
- It was headed by Sir John Simon and consisted of only seven British members. Accordingly, this led to numerous nationwide protests led by Indian citizens.
- The sole purpose behind this appointment was to review the working of the Government of India Act 1919. Moreover, it also aimed to propose new and effective constitutional reforms for the Indian subcontinent.
- The Commission also received backlash from the Indian National Congress (INC) who insisted the All Parties Conference (APC) to take matters into their own hands.
The All Parties Conference
- The All Parties Conference appointed the Nehru Committee to draft the constitution of India.
- It was headed by Motilal Nehru and included eight members such as Mangal Singh, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, etc.
- The committee submitted its report in August 1928.
Recommendations of the Nehru Report
The Nehru Report made numerous recommendations such as:
- Dominion status of India: It appealed that India, from now on, would have its own government and would be completely responsible for handling its internal affairs.
- 19 fundamental rights: The Report put forward 19 fundamental rights for all citizens of India. Also, it appealed for voting rights for men and women above 21 years of age.
- Equal rights to all men and women
- Federal government: It appealed for a federal form of government with residual powers in the hands of the central government. Also, a bicameral legislature was also mentioned.
- Rejection of separate electorates: The Nehru Report wanted to substitute separate electorates with joint electorates.
- Reservation for minorities: It wanted to reserve seats for the Muslim minority to ensure equal political representation for all communities.
- Bill of Rights: It proposed the concept of the Bill of Rights by stating that the government had powers because of its people. This move ultimately guaranteed the freedom of speech, religion, and press.
- Official Language: The language of India would be primarily Indian, either in Devanagari (Sanskrit/Hindi). It also allowed the usage of multiple other languages such as English, Telugu, Bengali, Maratha, Gujarati, etc.
Why was the Nehru Report Rejected?
Despite the massive support, the Nehru Report ultimately faced backlash from the Muslim League which was headed by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In 1929, he put forward his set of demands from the makers of the Nehru Report, which were later renamed as the Fourteen Points.
Jinnah’s Fourteen Points
Before moving on, it should be noted that the exact nature and meaning of Jinnah’s fourteen points is still a matter of debate. This is because of the difference in the way in which people interpreted his demands. Nonetheless, they still provide insight into Jinnah’s vision for India.
- Muslim Representation: One-third representation to Muslims in central legislature.
- Adequate Representation: Representation to Muslims in Punjab and Bengal which would be in accordance with their population in the regions.
- Separation of Sindh: It was put forward that Sindh should be separated from Bombay to make a separate province.
- Separation of Sindh from Punjab: Sindh should also be separated from the region of Punjab.
- Creation of NWFP: Jinnah also wanted the separation of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) from Punjab.
- Separate electorates: Separate electorates for Muslims in all legislatures.
- Federalism: Jinnah wanted India to divide into numerous autonomous states that would have complete control over their internal affairs.
- Provincial autonomy: Provinces across India should have maximum autonomy in their legislative and administrative matters.
- Constitutional reforms: The consent of the provinces should be considered to make changes to the Constitution.
- Protection of Muslim culture: Emphasis should be placed on protecting Muslim religion, culture, laws, and charitable institutions.
- Religious freedom: Communities, irrespective of their religious beliefs, must be allowed to enjoy similar advantages and freedom.
- Protection of Muslim majorities: Any necessary territorial distribution should not affect the prevailing Muslim majority in Punjab, Bengal, and NWFP provinces.
- Consent of the minorities: No constitutional reforms should be introduced without the consent of the three-fourth members of any community opposing that bill.
- Adequate share in services: The Muslim community should be granted an adequate share in all services.
What were the Failures of the Nehru Report?
There were numerous reasons behind and rejection of the failure of the Nehru Report such as:
- The Nehru Report failed to gain the favor of the Muslim League as it did not include adequate safeguards for the minority community.
- The British government was unwilling to grant India its dominion status which led to its ultimate rejection.
- The Committee which drafted the Nehru Report was not constituted with representatives from all sections of the society.
- Rather than discussing the economic issues of the country, the Report emphasized political and administrative reforms.
Significance of the Nehru Report
The Nehru Report essentially reflected that Indian leaders were capable of self-governance.
- It showed that Indian leaders could discuss important issues such as running a democracy and providing a constitutional framework to unite a country with diversity.
- The Report united leaders from different religions across India to unite and work towards a common national goal.
- It provided numerous essential ideas for the original Constitution of India such as the bicameral legislature, fundamental rights, autonomy of states, etc.
- The Nehru Report and its key provisions highlighted the importance of having a constitution for the country.
- The country’s leaders gained the opportunity to learn from the shortcomings of the Nehru Report which prepared them for drafting the Constitution later on.
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|Morley-Minto Reforms||Gandhi Irwin Pact (1931)|
|Bengal Partition||Chalukya Dynasty|