Let me go back to the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms [of 1919]. Those
reforms, introduced by the British in India resulted in what they
called dyarchy, a system which meant that certain subjects were
controlled in the provinces by the British and certain were given
over to Indians who were introduced in the body politics of the
provincial governments. I will mainly concentrate on the Punjab
Province because that's my province and I know it better than any
other part of India, although I have lived in other parts of India
during my many years before us [Pakistan] became separate from India.
Now in the dyarchy which was introduced due to the Montagu Chelmsford
Reforms, the Education Minister was an Indian, the Revenue Minister
was an Indian, and I believe the local self-government interest
Minister was an Indian. Law and Order was not transferred to the
Indians, that was the responsibility of the British Governor of
the Province. The British Government sent the Constitutional Commission
which was to draw up a Constitution for India led by Lord Simon,
the Simon Commission which came in 1928 if I remember correctly.
I happened to hear the debates, which took place in the Indian
Legislative Assembly for 3 days where the opposition, which was
led by the Congress Party and other patriots like Mr. Jinnah or
Quaid-e-Azam [Father of he Nation, as he is known in Pakistan],
who was leader of the Indian party. The Resolution was introduced
that this House should non-cooperate with the Simon Commission.
It was introduced curiously enough by a Punjabi Hindu who was the
headmaster of a school at that time and became a very prominent
Congress leader by the name of Lala Rajpat Rai. He introduced the
Resolution, which was supported by the Congress Party. I attended
the debate and never heard such a galaxy of Indian leaders as then.
Pandit Malaviya was there, who spoke, then Pandit Motilal Nehru,
Jawaharlal Nehru's father was there, Diwan Chaman Lal from Punjab,
Mr. T.C. Goswami from Bengal and Mr. Srivastava from Madras and
many others, [including] Mr. Jinnah from Bombay and Mr. Jayakar
who was also a Hindu leader, a very fine speaker, and also from
Bombay. The Amendment was introduced by another Punjabi whose name
was Zulfikar Ali Khan and who originally came from Maleer Kotla
[a feudal state in East Punjab]. The amendment was that this House
non-cooperates with the Simon Commission.
The upshot of all this that I remember very vividly is that Chaman
Lal and T.C. Goswami who were then very young were very vociferous
in their speeches and extremely bright. Later on, Diwan Chaman Lal
became my colleague in the Punjab Legislative Assembly when it started
in 1937. The result was that the Opposition won, the resolution
was carried that they should not cooperate with the Simon Commission.
The general consensus was that the two best speeches for three days
were from Bombay, one by Mr. Jinnah and the other by Mr. Jayakar.
The Simon Commission then went back and reported to the British
Government. The British later prepared for the Round Table conferences
which met in 1930, then again in 1931 at the Second Round Table.
Then, at the end of 1932 a much smaller body than the first or the
second [met for the Third Round Table Conference]. From these the
Joint Select Committee [was formed] of both Houses of Parliament
in which Indians were of course included and where the British Government
gave the Communal Award because the Indians could not amongst themselves
agree on what should be the proportion of the various [religious]
communities [in elections], to the Prime Minister, Mr. Ramsay McDonald.
The Communal Award was made in 1932 if I remember correctly. All
this culminated in the Government of India Act [of 1935].
I had some part to play with the Round Tables, because when the
second Round Table met in 1931 I happened to be in London. The leader
of the Muslim delegation to the Round Table was His Highness the
Aga Khan, who also was the leader of Indian delegation. The Muslim
delegation wanted someone to work honourarily, and I became Joint
Secretary of the Muslim delegation to the Round Table in 1931 and
attended the sessions in St. James Palace. Mr. Gandhi also attended
the Second Round Table Conference. He was a member of the minority
committee which tried to settle the differences and come up with
an agreed formula of how the representation of the different [religious]
communities of India should be apportioned in the new set-up that
the British were envisaging. I also attended the Third Round Table
Conference, which as I said was much smaller. [Sir Mohammed] Iqbal
the great poet was a member. He was a member of this and Second
Round Table because I used to meet him in London as well. We traveled
together from Lahore to London and on the way we stopped for three
or four days in Paris. Then I became the Secretary of the of Muslim
Delegation, and at the Joint Select Committee, I was Joint Secretary
of the Indian delegation. I attended all the meetings of the Joint
Select Committee, and then came the Government of India Act 1935
under which the elections took place for the Provincial Assembly
at the end of 1936. I was also Member of Indian Legislature.