Official briefing document for perusal by committee, on 'the establishment of provincial autonomy in British India', titled 'Memorandum on federalism with particular reference to the suggestion that Provincial Autonomy should be introduced in India.'

Author: 
H. Tonkinson [ Harry Tonkinson (1880-1937), Secretary, Government of India Act Inquiry, 1924; 'the establishment of provincial autonomy in British India' ]
Publication details: 
[ Home Department of the Government of India; Australian, Canadian, S. African and USA State autonomy. ] 'GCP [ Government Central Printing? ], Delhi - III-357 - 12-11-24 [ i.e. 12 November 1924 ] - 30'.
£750.00
SKU: 20075

An interesting item in the transition to Indian independence, with analysis of Australian and American State Autonomy. It is a briefing document by Tonkinson, writing as secretary, to the committee of the Government of India Act Inquiry, providing information on the subject of federalism, with reference to 'the constitutions of the English-speaking federations, the United States of America, the Dominion of Canada and the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Union of South Africa'. The Times, 20 June 1924, reported that the Committee, chaired by Sir Alexander Muddiman, with Tonkinson as secretary, was being set up 'to report on the feasibility of remedying defects' and 'administrative imperfections'. It would not be until 1935 that more autonomy would be granted to Indian provinces in line with the committee's recommendations. Extremely scarce: no copy traced on OCLC WorldCat or COPAC. 85pp., foolscap 8vo. Unbound, on 43 leaves. Text intact and complete, on heavily aged and worn, with closed tears, rusted staples and damaged last leaf. Signed in type at end of report (p.53): 'H. TONKINSON. | 10th November 1924.' (At the time of composition Tonkinson was Joint Secretary in the Home Department of the Government of India.) A few pencil annotations, mostly underlining but including the comment 'A federation is an evil & should only be resorted to faute de mieux'. The report (pp.1-53) is divided into 48 sections, followed by a 'List of Authorities'. It is followed (pp.55-85) by an 'Appendix. | Selection from constitutions'. The report's headings are: Introduction; The English-speaking federations; General principles of federal constitutions; General features of federations. Begins: 'The Committee will perhaps desire to explore the implications underlying the establishment of provincial autonomy in British India andn this note has been prepared with the object of elucidating, if possible, some points in regard to this question. In some respects however the scope of the memorandum extends beyond this as it has been thought advisable to refer to certain connected points which have been touched upon in the Committee.' Tonkinson's entry in Who Was Who describes his career as follows: 'Entered ICS 1904; Under Secretary to Government of Burma, 1910; Deputy-Commissioner, 1917 MLC 1919; Secretary to Government, 1919; Joint Secretary to Government of India, Home Department, 1922; MLA 1922; Commissioner, Burma, 1927; retired, 1936'. See also his obituary in The Times, 27 September 1937.