Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Morely- Minto Reforms of 1909

Morely- Minto Reforms of 1909

The British Government played the game of Divide and Rule. While suppressing the militant nationalists it tried to win over the moderates so that the militant nationalists could be isolated and suppressed. To placate the moderate nationalists, it announced constitutional reforms through the Indian Councils Act of 1909 which are known as the Morely- Minto Reforms of 1909.

The Morely-Minto reforms increased the number of elected members in the Imperial Legislative Council and the provincial councils. But most of the elected members were elected indirectly. Some of the elected seats were reserved for landlords and British capitalists in India. Moreover the reformed councils still enjoyed no real power, being merely an advisory bodies. The reforms in no way changed the undemocratic and foreign character of British rule or the fact of foreign economic exploitation of the country. They were, in fact, not designed to democratise Indian administration. The real purpose of the Reforms of 1909 was to confuse the moderate nationalists, to divide the nationalist ranks and to check the growth of unity among Indians.

The Reforms introduced the system of separate electorates under which all Muslims were grouped in separate constituencies from which Muslims alone could be elected. This was done in the name of protecting the Muslim minority. But in reality this was a part of the policy of dividing Hindus and Muslims and thus maintaining British supremacy in India. It checked the progress of India’s unification, which had been a continuous historical process. It became a potent factor in the growth of communalism. The system of separate electorates tended to perpetuate their isolation from the developing nationalist movement. It encouraged separatist tendencies. It prevented people from concentrating on economic and political problems, which were common to all Indians.

The moderate nationalists did not fully support the Morely-Minto Reforms. They soon realized that the Reforms had not really granted much. But they decided to cooperate with the government in working the reforms.

Bipan Chandra :India's Struggle for Independence
Bipan Chandra edtd : Freedom Struggle
Tara Chand : Freedom Movement
NCERT Text book

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