Courtesy Reuters

The Progress of Constitutional Reform in India

THOSE all but insuperably difficult problems of India's future government and political status which have provided work for three successive sessions of the Round Table Conference during the past two and a half years have been thrust out of the prominent place in the world's attention which they occupied until the beginning of the great economic depression. But these problems have lost nothing of their intrinsic importance by being thus temporarily superseded, and some account of the genesis, the scope and certain possible lines of solution of the Indian problem may therefore be of interest to students of foreign affairs.

Future historians of India will undoubtedly give to November 1, 1929, importance as one of the turning points of Indian history. For it was on that date that Lord Irwin, then Viceroy of India, with the consent of the British Government of the day, issued an announcement to the Princes and peoples of India inviting them to the subsequent Round Table Conference. The significance of this invitation was twofold. First, it was addressed not only to British India but to what is now often referred to picturesquely as "Indian India." For the first time the leaders of these two portions of that immense territory were invited to confer between themselves and -- jointly or separately, just as they chose -- with representatives of Parliament and the British people regarding the political future of India. The enormous potential benefit to the country of such a political concordat between the two parts of India needs no description. But the point ought to be emphasized that the discussions preliminary to any such concordat, and the implementing of any agreements reached between the two parties, could not possibly take place except under the aegis of the British Government. Secondly, the announcement was epoch making -- in the literal sense of that much abused term -- because for the first time the accredited representatives of Indian political opinion were being invited to discuss the whole political future of

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