The Biography of Famous Personalities of India will tell you about the controversies, the dark sides of a person that you may have never heard of.
The Simon Commission and Go Back Call of Lala Lajapat Rai
The Simon Commission
The Non-Cooperation Movement of Mahatma Gandhi had failed. Therefore there was a lull in political activities in India. In 1927, the British Government wanted a report on political reforms in India and on amending the Government of India Act. So, it appointed a Commission.
The Corn-mission consisted of Sir John Simon and six other members. All of them were members of the British Simon Commission Go Back Rally Parliament. There was not a single Indian as member. The Commission was an insult to Indians. These British men were to shape the future of India. The people of India rose united as one man against this step. Under Laiaji’s leadership, it was resolved to boycott the Simon Commission.
In February 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai moved a resolution in the Central Legislative Assembly. It said, “The present constitution of the Commission and its terms of reference are unworthy of acceptance by this House; therefore, this House advises the Government that it should have nothing to do with the Commission.” He made an impassioned speech on that occasion. There were several English men and government officers in the Legislative Assembly. It was known that they would vote against the resolution. Lalaji appealed to the Indian members thus:
“Let the members understand that they are slaves in the eyes of the British Government and of the world. When they vote on the resolution let them remember that in 1919, because of a single epidemic, six crores of people died in our country. Let them remember that in this country ten crores of people do not have even one meal a day.”
“What right did the British Parliament have to frame a constitution for India?” That was Lalaji’s fearless question. Only Indians had the right to decide about their future. They were determined about it. The report of Motilal Nehru and his colleagues was ready. It had protested against the British attitude. Lalaji toured the whole of India to give publicity to the Nehru report. He asserted. “Those who oppose the report are the enemies of Swaraj and enemies of India.”
Simon Go Back Call
The 30th of October 1928 was an evil day in India’s political history. The Simon Commission was expected to arrive in Lahore on that day. The rulers had taken precautions to prevent a public protest. Prohibitory orders were enforced. Lalaji was ill that day. Still he led the procession to protest against the Commission.
When the Simon Commission arrived, on one side there were traitors to welcome them. On another side the revolutionaries demonstrated against the Commission. In the protest march youths staged a tremendous show. A hartal was observed that day; there was a sea of black flags. Thousands and thousands of people shouted “Simon, go back!” The lion of Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai. led the procession. When the trains reached the station, the cry “Simon, go back!” hit the sky. Police security arrangements crumbled. The crowd was so thick that movement was impossible. The Police charged with their Lathis. The blood of innocent people began to flow. Lalaji’s friends
Sukhdev, Yashpal, Bhagavati Charan and others surrounded him, in order to protect him. Police officer Scot saw Lalaji and his friends. He ordered the police to target Lalaji. A police officer came forward to do the job. The police lathis rained blows on Lalaji—on the chest and all over the body. Lalaji realized this incident would lead to conflict and a bloodbath. He asked the huge crowd of revolutionary youths, “Leave this place.” The crowd dispersed on his call.
The same evening there was a mammoth public meeting. The brutal action of the police was severely condemned and the Simon Commission was boycotted. Police Deputy Superintendent Neal was present at the meeting. Lalaji turned to Neal and said in English so that he could understand him: “The blows, which fell on me today, are the last nails driven into the coffin of British Imperialism.”
Lalaji appealed to the people “I do not know whether I shall remain, but you should never worry. My spirit after me will go on exhorting you to make more sacrifices for liberty.”