Dominion status to India

Another development was Gandhi’s suggestion that India be given a dominion status when administrative reforms are brought in. This suggestion was first made in the report of the committee set up under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru for recommending the basic principles for a constitutional framework for India. 

This suggestion came under vehement criticism and attack from the leftists and the youth leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose and S. Sreenivasa Iyengar. These three founded an organization styled ‘India Independence League’ in order to gain support from the people for their views. 

When the All India Congress committee met in Calcutta in 1928 December, it was Gandhi himself who moved the resolution that the next goal of the Congress is securing Dominion status for India. 

This was stoutly questioned and opposed by both Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru pointing out that the last Congress session at Madras had declared Full Freedom as the goal and therefore diluting it by asking for just a dominion status was a degradation of the party’s goal. 

Gandhi replied that his suggestion was only an intermediate step towards full freedom for the country.

The Muslim organizations could not accept the Gandhi-sponsored resolution for a dominion status for India when the British Government would draw up the next administrative reforms for India. They pointed out that the demand for the so-called dominion status was a shameless acceptance of ‘slavery’. 

Mohamed Ali Jinnah tried to bring about some amendments, but he soon withdrew the move, sensing the uncompromising mood of his Muslim brethren.

The communal amity between the two – the Muslims and the Hindus – thus found its lowest ebb made the Congress endeavors to stand still. Coupled with this were the series of strikes, acts of violence in various parts of the country and the general atmosphere of unrest that prevailed made it all the more murky.