ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE

v  Karachi Congress Session (1931)

§  In March 1931, a special session of the congress was held at Karachi to endorse the Gandhi-Irwin pact.

§  Six days before the session Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru were executed.

§  Throughout Gandhi’s route to Karachi, he was greeted with black flag demonstrations by the Punjab Naujawan Bharat Sabha, in protest against his failure to secure commutation of the death sentence for Bhagat Singh and his comrades.

§  Two resolutions were adopted in this session, one on Fundamental Rights and the other on National Economic Programme.

§  The resolution on Fundamental Rights guaranteed: -

1.      Freedom of speech and press.

2.     Right to form association.

3.     Right to assemble.

4.     Universal adult franchise.

5.     Equal legal rights irrespective to caste, creed, and sex.

6.     Neutrality of state in religious matters.

7.     Free and compulsory primary education.

8.     Protection to culture, language, script of minorities and linguistic groups.

§  The resolution on National Economic Programme included:-

1.      Substantial reduction in rent and revenue in the case of landholders and peasants.

2.     Exemption from rent for uneconomic holdings.

3.     Relief from agricultural indebtedness.

4.     Control on usury.

5.     Right to form union for workers and peasants.

6.     State ownership and control of key industries, mines, and means of transport. 

  • v  Round Table Conferences

The viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, and the prime minister of Britain, Ramsay MacDonald, agreed that a RTC should be held.

Ø  First Round Table Conference.

§  Held in London between November, 1930 and January, 1931.

§  Was opened officially by king George V on November 12, 1930 and chaired by Ramsay MacDonald.

§  Was the first conference arranged between the British and the Indians as equal.

§  INC refused to attend the RTC.

§  It was generally agreed that India was to develop into a federation, there were to be safeguards regarding defence and finance. 

Ø  Second Round Table Conference

§  Was held in London from September 7, 1931 to December 1, 1931.

§  The INC nominated Gandhi as its sole representative with A.Rangaswami Iyengar and Madan Mohan Malaviya.

§  The Right Wing or conservatives in Britain led by Churchill strongly objected to British Government negotiating with the congress on an equal basis.

§  The session ended with MacDonald announcement of: -

1.      Two Muslim majority provinces – NWFP and Sindh.

2.     Setting up of an Indian consultative committee.

3.     Setting up of three expert committees – finance, franchise, and states.

4.     The prospects of a unilateral British Communal Award if Indians failed to agree.

§  The Government refused to concede the basic Indian demand of freedom.

§  Gandhi returned to India on December 28, 1931.

Ø  Third Round Table Conference

§  Was held between November 17, 1932 and December 24, 1932.

§  Was not attended by INC and Gandhi and ignored by the most of the Indian leaders.

§  The recommendations were published in a White paper in March 1933 and debated in the British Parliament.

§  A Joint Select Committee was formed to analyse the recommendations and formulate a new Act for India.

§  This Committee produced a draft Bill in February 1935, which was enforced as the Government of India Act of 1935 in July 1935.

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