Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

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Unsung Heroes Detail

P.J. Murzban

Bombay, Maharashtra

June 30, 2022

P.J. Murzban (information regarding his birth and early life is not known) carried a strong political voice as a council member of the Bombay legislative council. In a socially responsible role, he acted as the secretary of the Young Ladies High School, Bombay.

The Indian Statutory Commission, quite popularly known as Simon Commission, was a group of seven British Members of Parliament under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon. The commission arrived in British India in 1927 to examine the constitutional reform after the passing of the Government of India act 1919. The Commission was strongly opposed by all the national leaders and it faced national discontent due to the lack of Indian representation in it. Murzban too joined the flow and pitched a charging speech in the Bombay legislative council against the Simon Commission.

In August 1928, a resolution for electing a committee of members to cooperate with the Simon Commission was tabled in the Bombay Legislative assembly. Murzban, being a member of the council, strongly opposed this notion through a speech in the assembly meeting. He questioned the plausibility of having the Hindus and Muslims in the council elect a committee to coordinate with the Simon commission. Given the fact that the members of the Bombay legislative council justified the non-participation of Indians in the Simon Commission on the grounds of giving it a secular outlook. Thus, he brought into light the questionable nature of the Simon commission, which deliberately neglected any Indian participation in it.

Through his rhetorical oratory, he exposed the British duplicitous representation. He articulated that the empire had done a favour by excluding Indians from the Commission, for they considered Indians as lower to them who could not be fit to sit near the English gentlemen. He concluded by saying that the British do not allow Indians to participate in their political matters, therefore any Indian with a traces of self-respect should reject the notion of a Britsh dominated governance.

Murzban though a lost voice in the history of freedom struggle, features in his speech, which he made in the Bombay Legislative Assembly. As a bold and fearless voice. He happens to be one of those distinct government functionaries who fought to rectify injustice and negotiate self-respect.
In just three years of Simon Commission deliberations, P.J. Murzban passed away in 1930.