Discuss the Circumstances Leading to the Morely-Minto Reforms? What were the main features of the morely-minto reforms?

In 1909 Lord Morley, a liberal came to power as Secretary of State for India. At the same time Lord Minto took over as Governor General. Both the officials had similar views as regards the policy in India. Moderates in Congress at that time were demanding reform of Councils and appointment of at least three Indians to the Secretary State’s Council and they were very, hopeful when Morley and Minto came to the power.

This demand was accepted in order to win over moderates and raise pillars of support for their regime in India of which they had started feeling insecure due to several nationalist movements. On similar lines Muslims were demanding their representation in the State which should be proportionate to their strength and political importance. British who had always been encouraging communal separatism as a means of continuity their rule, created a hold over a considerable section of population and accepted their demands. They not only gave them representation, but also separate electorate.

Thus the reforms after much deliberations were passed in May, 1909.

The main features of Morley-Minto reforms were:

The Strength of the Councils was Increased:

The number of members of both Central and Provincial Councils were increased. At the centre, the official member’s were to be in majority and in the provincial legislatures non-official majorities. This was a deliberate attempt in order to avoid any joint stand by the non-official members.

Muslims were given Separate Electorate:

Muslims were not only given weight age that more seats than the proportion of their population, but also they were elected by separate electorates. These consists of Muslim voters only. This was done in order to bind the Muslim leadership with the Government with silken chains of gratitude.

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