Congress Ministries (1937-1939)

Government of India Act 1935
April 29, 2020
The Pakistan Resolution
April 29, 2020
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Congress Ministries (1937-1939)

Introduction

The Government of India Act of 1935 was practically implemented in 1937. The provincial elections were held within the winter of 1936-37. There were two major political parties within the Sub-continent at that point , the Congress and therefore the Muslim League. Both parties did their best to influence the masses before these elections and put before them their manifesto. The political manifestos of both parties were almost identical, although there were two major differences. Congress stood for joint electorate and therefore the League for separate electorates; Congress Ministries wanted Hindi as official language with Deva Nagri script of writing while the League wanted Urdu with Persian script.

Elections 1937

Both the Congress and therefore the Muslim League were critical of the govt of India Act, 1935, but decided to participate within the elections, which were held thereunder during the first weeks of 1937. After the elections, Congress was ready to form ministries in eight out of 11 provinces.

The result of elections came as a huge shock to both the parties. Congress, who claimed to be representing 95% of the entire Indian population, couldn’t even secure 40% of the seats. It won almost 750 seats out of 1,771 in 8 out of 11 provinces. Its success was restricted to Hindu-majority provinces only. As for the results for the Muslim League, they were greatly disappointing. Out of 491 Muslim seats, it could only capture 106 and 26 of them were taken by Congress. Hence, the eventual success of the elections was named within the favour of Congress, which gained majority in Bihar, Orissa, Madras and U.P and other regions.

Congress Rule

The Congress refused to line up its government until British agreed to their demand that the Governor wouldn’t use his powers in legislative affairs. Many discussions happened between the Congress and therefore the British Government and eventually British Government consented, although it had been only a verbal commitment and no amendment was made in the Act of 1935. Eventually, after a four-month delay, Congress formed their ministries in July 1937.

One of the primary controversies to arise was the singing of Congress Anthem, Band-e-Mataram with which opened each day’s events in Legislative Assemblies within the Congress run provinces. The schools also made singing of Bande Mataram a permanent feature of school curriculum. The song appeared in Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s novel Ananda Matha. It’s theme was a sanyasi rebellion against the Muslim conqueror.

Another issue was of Warda Education scheme or Vidya Mandar scheme started in Central province and Bihar. The purpose of the scheme was to obliterate the cultural traditions of the Muslims and to instruct into the minds of Muslim children the prevalence of the Hindu culture.

Muslim League Response

As a result, Muslim League formed, under the chairmanship of Raja Syed Muhammad Mahdi of Pirpur, the “Pirpur Report”, to research Muslim grievances. Other reports concerning Muslim grievances in Congress run provinces were A. K. Fazlul Haque’s “Muslim sufferings under Congress rule”, and “The Shareef Report”.

Aftermaths

When war II started in 1939, British were fighting against the Axis Powers. The Viceroy of India announced India’s involvement without consulting its representative political leaders. Congress asked for transfer of power in repayment of their cooperation in war, which British government denied. As a result, Congress ministries resigned. Thus came to an end the nightmarish rule which had terrorized Muslim community beyond imagination. Quaid-i-Azam asked the Muslims to watch it as a ‘Day of Deliverance’ with peace and with none harmful intent towards the other nation. Prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude were offered and Muslims took a sigh of relief from the atrocities committed against them within the two-year Congress rule.

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