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Nehru Report (1928)

Last Updated : 13 Feb, 2024
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The Nehru Report of 1928 is an important document in India’s struggle for independence, representing the goals of a country seeking independence within the British colonial system. Under Motilal Nehru’s leadership, the report promoted major constitutional changes to create a foundation for self-governance across the British Empire.

Nehru Report is still regarded as an essential document in the development of India’s constitutional path, even though it was criticized for apparently lacking sufficient focus on minority rights. It determined the course of India’s desire for sovereignty and provided the parameters for future discussions.

In this article, we will look into the meaning, background, members, recommendations, and impact of the Nehru Report 1928. We will also look into the reaction of the Muslim League to the Nehru Report and criticism against the Nehru Report.

What is the Nehru Report 1928?

The Nehru Report was a report prepared in 1928 by an All Parties Conference in British India. It suggested a federal system of government for India’s constitution along with a new dominion status. Motilal Nehru served as the report’s chair, and Jawaharlal Nehru served as its secretary. It presented the concept of shared electorates and legislative seats allocated exclusively for minorities. Several committee members signed the report. Among them were Jawaharlal and Motilal Nehru, as well as other prominent politicians. It demanded important changes to the constitution. The goal was to give India dominion status within the British Commonwealth.

Historical Background of Nehru Report

The Nehru Report of 1928 was created out of disappointment with British colonial practices in India, which was aggravated by the Simon Commission’s exclusion of Indian representation. The report, which was presented before the All Parties Conference led by Motilal Nehru, aimed to define a common Indian viewpoint on constitutional reform. Despite their different beliefs and interests, Indian leaders came together in a rare consensus that represented years of political agitation and aspirations for greater self-governance.

This historic document not only gave a comprehensive plan for India’s future governance, but it also represented the growing aggression of Indian nationalism. Even though the British government did not completely support the Nehru Report, it did start important conversations and talks that resulted in the Government of India Act of 1935, which was an important milestone toward India’s eventual independence.

Also Read: Simon Commission – History and Significance

Nehru Report Members

Several well-known Indian figures from several political backgrounds worked together to draft the 1928 Nehru Report, which was presided over by Motilal Nehru. Some prominent members of the committee included:

  • Motilal Nehru: Father of the Nehru-Gandhi family and a well-known lawyer, Motilal Nehru was a prominent member of the Indian National Congress and served as the chair of the committee that wrote the report.
  • Tej Bahadur Sapru: Tej Bahadur Sapru is a well-known politician and attorney who supports constitutional changes and Hindu-Muslim unification.
  • Subhas Chandra Bose: Bold nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose, later gained prominence for his service in the Indian National Army.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru: The first Prime Minister of independent India and the son of Motilal Nehru, he was heavily involved in the report’s development and helped decide its overall direction.
  • Madan Mohan Malaviya: He was a well-known social reformer, politician, and educationist. He was also a prominent figure in the Indian National Congress and one of the founders of Banaras Hindu University.
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah: A well-known politician and lawyer who eventually founded Pakistan, he was first connected to the Indian National Congress and helped write the report.

Also Read: Motilal Nehru biography: History, Death, Religion

Recommendations of the Nehru Report

The Nehru Report outlines the following fundamental features of the Constitution:

  • Dominion Status: Argued in favor of giving India considerable autonomy and the status of a dominion inside the British Empire.
  • Federal Structure: Proposed a federal system with a central government handling national matters and provincial governments responsible for local affairs.
  • Parliamentary System: Recommended a parliamentary form of government, with ministers accountable to the legislature and the electorate.
  • Adult Suffrage: Suggested the implementation of universal adult suffrage, allowing all adult citizens to participate in the electoral process.
  • Fundamental Rights: Called for the protection of fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, assembly, and religion.
  • Protection for Minorities: Proposed measures to protect the political, cultural, and religious rights of minority communities.
  • Provincial Autonomy: Promoted major autonomy for provinces to rule themselves in matters of local significance.
  • Decentralization: Emphasized decentralization of power to ensure effective governance at the grassroots level.
  • Rejection of Separate Electorates: Opposed the continuation of separate electorates based on religion, advocating instead for joint electorates to promote national unity.

Impact of the Nehru Report

The following are the impacts of the Nehru Report:

  • Indian nationalists were united by the Nehru Report, which brought together leaders from many political backgrounds to work together on a shared vision for India’s future administration.
  • The study enhanced Indian aspirations for autonomy by boldly arguing for constitutional reforms and self-governance within the context of British colonialism.
  • The conversation on the protection of political, cultural, and religious interests of minority communities was started by the recommendations made in the Nehru Report addressing protections for minority rights.
  • The growing hatred between Indian nationalists and colonial administrators was clarified by the British authorities’ rejection of the Nehru Report, which also pointed out the challenges facing Indian self-determination.
  • Though it was not entirely accepted, the Nehru Report influenced the course of India’s independence struggle by impacting later conversations and negotiations over constitutional reforms.
  • The Nehru Report, which served as a foundational document that influenced later discussions and changes leading up to India’s independence in 1947, created the stage for future constitutional developments in India.

Reaction of Muslim League on Nehru Report

The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, responded to the Nehru Report with a set of demands known as the “Jinnah’s 14 Points.” These points were formulated to address the concerns of Muslims in India, particularly regarding their political representation and safeguarding their rights within the proposed constitutional framework. The key features of Jinnah’s 14 Points included:

  1. Separate Electorates: Insistence on separate electorates for Muslims to ensure adequate representation in legislative bodies.
  2. Weightage in Representation: Allocation of seats in legislative bodies based on population proportions to protect Muslim interests.
  3. Muslim Majority Provinces: Recognition of Muslim-majority provinces and ensuring their autonomy within the federal structure.
  4. Religious Freedom: Guarantee of religious freedom and protection of Muslim culture, language, and educational institutions.
  5. Protection of Minorities: Protection for the rights and interests of religious and other minorities.
  6. Muslim Representation in Central Government: Ensuring adequate representation of Muslims in the central government and civil services.
  7. Land Reforms: Implementation of land reforms to protect the rights of Muslim landowners.
  8. Provincial Autonomy: Granting autonomy to provinces to manage their affairs, including fiscal matters and legislation.
  9. Separate Judiciary: Establishment of separate Muslim courts to administer Muslim personal law.
  10. Protection of Language: Recognition and promotion of regional languages, including Urdu, as official languages in Muslim-majority areas.
  11. Economic Protection: Implementation of economic safeguards to ensure Muslim participation in government employment and economic development.
  12. Rejection of Uniform Civil Code: Opposition to the establishment of a uniform civil code and support for the preservation of separate personal laws for various religious communities
  13. Representation in Services: Fair representation of Muslims in the armed forces, police, and public services.
  14. Cultural and Educational Rights: Protection of Muslim cultural and educational rights, including the establishment of Muslim educational institutions.

Criticism Against the Nehru Report

The Nehru Report of 1928 was criticized for several reasons:

Minority Concerns

The report’s inadequate approach to the issues facing minority communities, especially Muslims, was one of the main critiques raised against it. The political, cultural, and religious rights of minority groups were not sufficiently protected, according to critics, by the minority protection proposals.

Rejection of Separate Electorates

The Nehru Report promoted joint electorates in place of the continuation of separate electorates based on religion. Some criticized this move for failing to sufficiently acknowledge the unique political interests of minority populations, especially Muslims, who had traditionally relied on their own electorates for political representation.

Dominion Status

Although the report suggested giving India dominion status inside the British Empire, some people thought this wasn’t as bold as it could be. They argued that their goals for total independence from British domination were not fully met by the fight for dominion status.

Centralized Governance

A few opponents expressed worry over the report’s suggested centralized form of governance. They claimed that the centralization of authority could compromise provinces’ independence and give some areas an advantage over others.

Exclusion of Untouchables

The Nehru Report failed to sufficiently address the issues raised by marginalized groups, especially the Untouchables (Dalits). Opponents claimed that insufficient protections for these communities’ political and social rights were included in the report.

Failure to Reflect Public Sentiment

According to some opponents, the Nehru Report failed to accurately capture the hopes and feelings of the Indian people. They said that the report, which was written by a group of powerful individuals, did not adequately take into account the opinions and worries of the general public.

Conclusion – Nehru Report 1928

In conclusion, the 1928 Nehru Report represents an important turning point in India’s struggle for independence within the context of British colonialism. While it recommended constitutional amendments and autonomous government, its report was criticized for failing to address minority community issues and for its perceived limits. Despite these objections, the Nehru Report greatly influenced the course of India’s independence movement and established the foundation for subsequent constitutional developments in the nation. Its suggestions led to significant conversations and agreements, which eventually helped India gain independence in 1947.

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FAQs on Nehru Report 1928

What is the Nehru Report?

The Nehru Report of 1928 was a document drafted by a committee chaired by Motilal Nehru, proposing constitutional reforms for India within the British Empire.

What were the key recommendations of the Nehru Report?

The report demanded for dominion status, federal structure, parliamentary system, adult suffrage, and protection for minority rights.

Why was the Nehru Report drafted?

It was drafted in response to the exclusion of Indian representation in the Simon Commission and aimed to articulate Indian aspirations for self-governance.

Who were the prominent members involved in drafting the Nehru Report?

Motilal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malaviya, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, among others were the prominent members in drafting Nehru report.

What was the reaction of the Muslim League to the Nehru Report?

The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, responded with the formulation of the 14 Points, which emphasized Muslim interests and representation.

Did the Nehru Report adequately address minority concerns?

The report faced criticism for not fully addressing the concerns of minority communities, particularly Muslims, regarding political representation and safeguards.

How did the British government respond to the Nehru Report?

The British government did not fully accept the Nehru Report’s recommendations, leading to further negotiations and discussions.

What was the significance of the Nehru Report in India’s independence movement?

The Nehru Report laid the groundwork for future constitutional developments in India and contributed to the eventual attainment of independence in 1947.

Was the Nehru Report implemented in its entirety?

No, the Nehru Report’s recommendations were not fully implemented, but they influenced subsequent constitutional discussions and reforms.

What is the legacy of the Nehru Report?

The Nehru Report remains an important document in India’s constitutional history, symbolizing the aspirations of Indians for self-governance and autonomy within the British colonial system.

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