Democracy Divides, 1929–1939

  • B. N. Pandey
Part of the The Making of the Twentieth Century book series


The ball was now in the British court. But the British government, whether Labour, Liberal or Conservative, was then not prepared to grant self-government to India, which would have virtually meant the liquidation of the empire. The Labour party, however, when not in power, had always sympathised with Indian aspirations. Hence, when it came into power in June 1929 under Ramsay Mac-Donald, Congressmen looked hopefully towards London. Lord Irwin, the Viceroy (1926–31) took the initiative and visited London for consultations with the Labour ministers. The hands of the Labour government were not free for it depended for its survival on the support of sixty Liberal members, who were over-cautious. Besides, the recommendations of the Simon Commission were not yet published. It would be irregular to ignore the commission. But Irwin impressed upon the hesitant Labour ministers the gravity of the Indian situation and the urgency for the Indian government to make the next move. He succeeded in getting Cabinet approval for a scheme which he announced soon after his return to India in October:

I am authorised on behalf of His Majesty’s Government to state clearly that, in their judgement, it is implicit in the declaration of 1917 that the natural issue of India’s constitutional progress, as then contemplated, is the attainment of Dominion Status.1


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  1. 36.
    Jamil-ud-Din Ahmad, Speeches and Writings of Jinnah (1960–4), vol. i, p. 98.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© B. N. Pandey 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. N. Pandey
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonUK

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