The non-cooperation movement failed.
Therefore there was a lull in political activities. In 1927 the British
Government wanted a report on political reforms in India and on amending
the Government of India Act. So it appointed a commission. The commission
consisted of Sir John Simon and six other members. All of them were members
of the British Parliament. There was not a single Indian as member. It
was composed solely of White people. The commission was an insult to Indians.
These White men were to shape the future of India. The people of India
rose as one man against this step. Under Lalaji's leadership, it was resolved
to boycott the Simon Commission.
Lajpat Rai moved a resolution in the
Central Legislative Assembly in February 1928. "The present constitution
of the Commission and its terms of reference are unworthy of acceptance
by this House; therefore, this House advises the Government that it should
have nothing to do with the Commission." He made an impassioned speech
on that occasion. There were several English men and government officers
in the Legislative
Assembly. It was known that they would
vote against the resolution. Lalaji appealed to the Indian members thus:
"Let the members understand that they are slaves in the eyes of the British
Government and of the world. When they vote on the resolution let them
remember that in 1919, because of a single epidemic, six crores of people
died in our country. Let them remember that in this country ten crores
of people do not have even one meal a day."
What right did the British Parliament
have to frame a constitution for India? That was Lalaji's fearless question.
Only Indians had the right to decide about their future. They were determined
about it. The report of Motilal Nehru and his colleagues was ready. It
had protested against the British attitude. Lalaji toured the whole of
India to give publicity to the Nehru report. He asserted: "Those who oppose
the report are the enemies of Swaraj and enemies of India."