Indian Freedom Struggle 1930-1935: After the historic Lahore session of the Congress in 1929, Mahatma Gandhi put forth an 11-point demand to Lord Irwin. The British government failed to acknowledge or act on his demands. This led Mahatma Gandhi to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Simon Commission (1927)
- The Indian Statutory Commission, commonly referred to as the 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 1928
- Objective: the British government appointed the Simon Commission to report on India’s constitutional progress for introducing constitutional reforms.
- The Commission was strongly opposed by many in India for a number of reasons. The commission was seen as racist and colonialist as it had seven British members of the British Parliament and no Indian members.
- Recommendations of Simon Commission:
- It proposed the abolition of dyarchy and the establishment of representative government in the provinces.It rejected parliamentary responsibility at the center.The governor-general was to have complete power to appoint the members of the cabinet.It recommended that separate communal electorates be retained.It accepted the idea of federalism but not in the near future.It suggested that a Consultative Council of Greater India should be established which should include representatives of both the British provinces as well as princely states.
- It also suggested that the Indian army should be Indianized though British forces must be retained.
Parties’ Responses on Simon Commission
|Congress||Opposed the Commission.|
|Hindu Mahasabha||Opposed the Commission, siding with Congress.|
|Muslim League||One faction under Jinnah (at Calcutta, 1927) opposed the Commission, and another faction under Muhammad Shafi (at Lahore, 1927) supported the Government/ Commission.|
|Unionists (Punjab)||Supported the Commission.|
|Justice Party||Supported the Commission.|
|Ambedkar||On behalf of the Bahishkrita Hitakarini Sabha, he submitted a memorandum on the rights and safeguards he felt was required for the depressed classes. He argued for a ‘universal adult franchise’ for both males.|
Nehru Report (1928)
An answer to Lord Birkenhead’s challenge, prepared by a committee headed by Motilal Nehru, the committee included Tej Bahadur Sapru, Subhash Bose, M.S. Aney, Mangal Singh, Ali Imam, Shuab Qureshi and G.R. Pradhan as its members.
Recomandations of Nehru Report (1928)
- Dominion status on lines of self-governing dominions.
- Rejection of separate electorates. Joint electorates with reservation of seats for Muslims at the Centre and in provinces where they were in minority.
- Linguistic provinces.
- Nineteen fundamental rights included equal rights for women, the right to form unions, and universal adult suffrage.
- Responsible government at the Centre and in provinces.
- Full protection to the cultural and religious interests of Muslims.
- Complete dissociation of State from religion.
- The Nehru Report, along with that of the Simon Commission was available to participants in the three Indian Round Table Conferences (1930–1932)
- Nehru and Subash Bose rejected the Congress goal and set up Independence for the Indian league.
Muslim’s league reaction to the Report
In 1927, 4 proposals of the Muslim League which were accepted by the madras congress:
- Joint electorate.
- 1/3 rd representation to Muslims in the central legislative assembly.
- Formation of three Muslim-majority provinces.
- Representation of Muslims in Punjab and Bengal in proportion to their population.
Jinnah Fourteen Points-1929
Federal constitution with residual powers to provinces, provincial autonomy, no constitutional amendment without state concurrence, adequate representation in assembly and services, 1/3rd representation in the central legislative assembly, 1/3rd representation in cabinet, separate electorates, no bills without 3/4th minority consideration, territorial distribution not to affect Muslim majority, full religious freedom, protection of Muslim rights, etc.
|DEC,1928- Calcutta Session of Congress||President- Motilal Nehru||Formation of All India Youth Congress|
Nehru Report was approved.
One year ultimatum to the government to accept dominion status or else civil disobedience to be launched for complete independence.
|During 1929||Gandhi traveled extensively and organized constructive work on the lines of the Bardoli Agitation, in 1928.|
|October 31, 1929||Lord Irwin was the Viceroy||Irwin’s Declaration– the intention of the British government was to facilitate India attaining dominion status in the future.|
However, there was no mention of any timeline.
He also promised a Round Table Conference after the Simon Commission (1927) submitted its report.
|November 2, 1929||Delhi Manifesto – National leaders put forward certain conditions for attending the round table conferenceViceroy Irwin rejected the demands.|
|December 1929 Lahore Session of Congress||President- Jawaharlal Nehru (Gandhi backing)||Round Table Conference was to be boycotted.|
The Congress decided to boycott the First Round Table Conference because it wanted the summoning of a Constituent Assembly to draft a Constitution for India which the British Government refused.
Passed the resolution on ‘Poorna Swaraj.’Civil Disobedience Movement for complete independence to be launched.
26 January is to be observed as ‘Independence Day’/ Swarajya Day.
Calcutta Session of Congress (1928):
- Nehru’s report was approved at this session.
- Younger leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Satya Murthy expresses dissatisfaction at the goal of dominion status
- The government was given one year period to accept this goal.
- If the government did not accept a constitution based on dominion status by the end of the year, Congress would not only demand complete independence but would also launch a civil disobedience movement to attain its goal.
Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-1934)
- In the prevailing environment of restlessness, the annual session of the Congress was conducted at Lahore in December 1929.
- During this session headed over by J.L. Nehru, Congress came up with the Poorna Swaraj resolution.
- Moreover, as the Government remained unsuccessful in accepting the Nehru Report, Congress gave a call to initiate the Civil Disobedience Movement.
- At the beginning of 1930, the Congress working committee invested Gandhiji with all powers to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement.
- The Congress had also observed 26th January 1930, as the Day of Independence for the country.
- The equivalent date later became Republic Day when the Indian Constitution came into effect in 1950.
- On 12th March 1930, Gandhi called his famous March to Dandi with his chosen seventy-nine followers to unleash the salt laws.
- Gandhiji decided to make salt the central formula for the movement as it impacted every Indian.
- He then reached the coast of Dandi on 5th April 1930 after marching a distance of approximately 200 miles.
- On 6th April, he formally launched the Civil Disobedience Movement by breaking the salt laws.
- On 9th April, Mahatma Gandhi initiated the program of the Movement which imparted the making of salt in each individual village in infringement of the existing salt laws.
|Dandi March (March 12- April 6, 1930):||Salt Satyagraha began with the Dandi March on March 12, 1930, and was part of the first phase of the Civil Disobedience Movement.|
Gandhi led the Dandi march from Sabarmati Ashram to the sea coast near the village of Dandi.
He reached Dandi on April 6, 1930, and broke the salt law by collecting salt from the beach.
|Satyagraha at Different Places:||Tamil Nadu– C Rajagopalachari organized a march from Tiruchirapalli to Vedaranniyam on the Tanjore coast.|
Malabar– K. Kelappan known for Vailkom Satyagraha organized salt marches.
Orissa– Gopal Bandhu Chaudhuri organized in Balasore, Cuttack, etc.
Bihar– Non-chowkidar tax was imposed.
Peshawar– Badshah Khan/Khan Abdulgaffar Khan who organized Khudaikhidmatgars (red shirts) organized the powerful march.
Dharasana– Sarojini Naidu led the campaign.
Manipur and Nagaland- Rani Gaidinliu at age of 13 years raised the banner against the British. Rani Gaidinliu was associated with Heraka Cult (the 1930s; Manipur). Nehru gave her the title of “Rani” (“Queen”), and she gained local popularity as Rani Gaidinliu.
|The Extent of Participation:||Muslim participation was very less as compared to the 1920-22 level.|
Women and students participated, as the active participation of tribals, workers, and peasants.
Government’s Response to Dandi March
- The government came down heavily upon the movement and sent Gandhiji to prison and declared the Congress illegal.
- Meanwhile, the British Government summoned the first Round Table Conference in 1930.
- However, Congress decided to boycott it.
- To induce Congress to join the second RTC, the government released Gandhiji.
Gandhi-Irwin Pact 1931 / Delhi Pact
- Signed by Gandhi and the British Indian Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin on 5 March 1931.
- The pact was signed before the start of the second round table conference in London.
- Irwin declined two of Gandhi’s demands:
- The public inquiry into police excesses,
- Commutation of Bhagat Singh and his comrade’s death sentence to life sentence.
- Gandhi Agreed– To suspend the civil disobedience movement and participate in the next Round Table Conference
|GANDHI’S ELEVEN DEMANDS- |
to the government/Lord Irwin gave
an ultimatum of January 31, 1930,
to accept or reject these demands:
|– Introduce total prohibition of intoxicants,|
– Change the ratio between the rupee and the sterling,
– Reduce the rate of land revenue
– Abolition of salt tax,
– Reduce the military expenditure,
– Reduce expenditure on civil administration,
– Impose custom duty on foreign cloth,
– Accept the Postal Reservation Bill,
– Abolish the CID Department,
– Release all Political prisoners, and
– Issue licenses of arms to citizens for self-protection.
Karachi Congress Session-1931
- President– Vallabhbhai Patel
- Resolutions on Fundamental Rights and National Economic Programme
- The goal of “Purna Swaraj” was reiterated.
- Endorsement of the Gandhi-Irwin pact
- Gandhi was nominated to represent INC in the Second Round Table Conference to be held in London.
Round Table Conferences
|FIRST Round Table Conferences||Held in London between November 1930 to January 1931.|
The Indian National Congress decided not to participate in the conference.
Muslim League sent Aga Khan III, Maulana Mohammad Jinnah, etc.
Some Indian princely states were also represented along with Hindu Mahasabha, Sikhs, and Parsis.
Depressed classes represented by B. R. Ambedkar etc.
Women were represented by Begum Jahanara Shahnawaz and Radhabhai Subbaranyan.
Lord Irwin was the viceroy of IndiaNo major outcome
|SECOND Round Table Conferences||In London between September 7, 1931, to December 1, 1931.|
Result of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact.
Gandhi was the sole representative of the INC.
Madan Mohan Malviya and A. Rangaswami Iyengar also there.
Muslim league represented by Aga Khan III, Maulana Mohammad Jinnah.
Depressed classes by B. R. Ambedkar, Rettamalai Srinivasan, Sardar Sampuran Singh, etc.
Sarojini Naidu participated to represent women.
Lord Willingdon was the viceroy of India.
A Communal Award for representing minorities in India by providing separate electorates for minority communities. Gandhi was against this.
The government refused Indian demands and talks failed.
|Communal Award||The Communal Award was declared by the then-British Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, in August 1932.|
This was yet another expression of the British policy of divide and rule.
The Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians had already been recognized as minorities.
The Communal Award declared the depressed classes also to be minorities and entitled them to separate electorates.
|Poona Pact (1932)||By 1930, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had become a leader of the national stature advocating the misery of the depressed people of the country.|
While presenting the actual picture of the condition of these people in the 1st Round Table Conference, he had called for separate electorates for them.
On 16th August 1932, British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald made a declaration, which came to be known as the Communal Award.
Mahatma Gandhi objected to the Communal Award and went on a fast unto death in the Yerawada jail on 20th September 1932.
Lastly, an agreement was reached between Dr. Ambedkar and Gandhi.
This agreement came to be known as the Poona Pact. The British Government also approved of it.
Accordingly, one hundred and forty-eight seats in different Provincial Legislatures were reserved for the Depressed Classes in place of seventy-one as provided in the Communal Award.
|THIRD Round Table Conferences||Between November 1932 to December 1932|
Was not attended by Indian National Congress and Gandhi.
In Britain, Labour Party decided not to attend it.
Only 46 delegates in total took part in this conference.
Lord Willingdon was the viceroy of India.
Not much was achieved at this conference also.
To undo the divisive intentions of divide and rule of policy Gandhi started a campaign against untouchability in September 1932- All India Anti-Untouchability League/ Harijan Sevak Sangh was started. In January 1933- started weekly Harijan.
Civil Disobedience was resumed after the failure of the Round Table Conferences. In January 1932, Gandhi was arrested.
- A series of repressive ordinances were issued like ‘Civil Martial Law’.
- Congress organizations at all levels were banned.
- Repression was particularly harsh on women.
- Press was gagged and nationalist literature was banned.
- In April 1934, Gandhi decided to withdraw from the civil disobedience movement:
- Gandhi and other leaders had no time to build up the tempo.
- The masses were not prepared.
Congress Socialist Party
The move towards the formation of a socialist party was made in the jails during 1930-31 and 1932-34 by a group of young Congressmen who were disenchanted with Gandhian strategy and leadership and attracted by socialist ideology. They came together and formed the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) in Bombay in October 1934 under the leadership of Jayaprakash Narayan, Acharya Narendra Dev, and Minoo Masani. The four basic propositions of the CSP were:
- The primary struggle in India was the national struggle for freedom and nationalism was a necessary stage on the way to socialism.
- Socialists must work inside the National Congress because it was the primary body leading the national struggle and it would be a suicidal policy for them to cut themselves off from the national movement.
- They must give Congress and the national movement a socialist direction.
- To achieve this objective they must organize the workers and peasants in their class organizations, wage struggles for their economic demands, and make them the social base of the national struggle.
Work Programme of Congress Socialist Party:
- Transfer of all power to the masses.
- The development of the economy is to be planned and controlled by the state.
- Socialization of key Industries such as railways, steel, cotton, jute, etc.
- Abolition of titles.
- Redistribution of land among the peasants.