The Third Round Table Conference...

TThird Round Table Conference Third Round Table Conference 1932 : Proved fruitless as most of the national leaders were in prison. The discussions led to the passing of the Government of India Act, 1935. Note : The meeting of All – India Kisan Congress was held in 1934 in Lucknow under the Presidentship of Sahajanand Saraswati. The Government of India Act 1935 : ·Based on the Simon commission report. (The recommendations are mentioned separately in the Charter Acts at the end). The Congress rejected the 1935 Act and demanded the convening of a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise to frame a constitution for an independent India.

J. L. Nehru described it as “we are provided with a car, all breaks and no engine”. ·Yet, INC fought the election in 1937, when the constitution was introduced and formed ministries in seven out of eleven provinces. Later, Congress formed coalition governments in two others, only Bengal and Punjab[->0] had non – Congress ministries. Punjab[->1] was under the Unionist Party and Bengal under the Krishak Praja Party-Muslim League coalition.

Second World War History and The National Movement in India : ·The Congress ministries coming to power did wonders to the morale of the people. They continued to function till the coming of the Second World War in 1939. When the war broke out, Lord Linlithgow declared India to be at war without prior assent of the Central Legislature. ·The Congress agreed to support Britain only in return of independence being granted. The Viceroy could promise this only after the war.

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In October – November 1939, the Congress ministries resigned in protest. The Muslim League observed this as the Deliverance Day (Dec 22, 1939). INC was willing to help the forces of democracy in their struggle against fascism, but asked how it was possible for an enslaved nation to aid others in their fight of democracy. They declared that India must be declared free or at least effective power put in Indian hands before it could actively participate in the war. ·The Viceroy refused to accept preconditions set by the Congress – Constituent Assembly for establishment of genuine responsible government at the Centre. Eventually, however, the British Government was eager for the INC to support their war efforts.

Subsequently, it tried to pacify the Congress and the Indian leaders by a series of offers through August Offer and Cripps Mission. The Demand for Pakistan : ·In 1930, Iqbal suggested that the Frontier Province, Baluchistan, Sindh and Kashmir be made the Muslims state within the federation. ·Chaudhary Rehmat Ali gave the term Pakistan[->2] in 1933. ·Mohd. Ali Jinnah of Bombay gave it practicality. ·Muslim League first passed the proposal of separate Pakistan in its Lahore session in 1940 (called Jinnah’s Two – Nation Theory). It was drafted by Sikandar Hayat Khan, moved by Fazlul Haq and seconded by Khaliquzzaman. In December, 1943, the Karachi session of the Muslim League adopted the slogan – ‘Divide and Quit’. The August Offer 1940 Aug 8 : It offered : ·Dominion status in the unspecified future. ·A post – war body to enact the constitution. ·to expand the Governor – General’s Executive Council to give full weightage to minority opinion. ·Rejected by the INC because there was no suggestion of the national government and because the demand for the dominion status was already discarded in favour of Poorna Swaraj. It was accepted by the Muslim League. The Cripps Mission 1942 : In Dec 1941, Japan[->3] entered the World War – II and advanced towards Indian borders. By Mar 7, 1942, Rangoon fell and Japan occupied the entire S E Asia. ·The British govt, with a view to get co-operation from Indians sent Sir Stafford Cripps, leader of the House of Commons to settle terms with the India leaders. ·He offered a draft which contained the following proposals: 1. Dominion status to be granted after the war. 2. Setting up a constitution – making body for India after the war whose members would be elected by the Provincial assemblies and nominated by the rulers in case of the Princely States[->4]. . The British govt, under took to accept and implement the constitution so framed subject to two conditions : ·First, Any province(s) not willing to accept the new constitution could form a separate union and a separate constitution. Second, The new constitution making body and the British Government would negotiate a treaty to sort out matters arising out of transfer of power to Indian hands. ·Rejected by the Congress as it didn’t want to rely upon future promises. ·Gandhiji termed it as a post dated cheque in a crashing bank. The Revolt of 1942 & The Quit India Movement 1942 : Called the Vardha Proposal and Leaderless Revolt. ·The resolution was passed on Aug 8, 1942, at Bombay. Gandhiji gave the slogan ‘Do or die’. ·On Aug 9, the Congress was banned and its important leaders were arrested. Gandhiji was kept at the Aga Khan Palace, Pune. ·The arrests provoked indignation among the masses and, there being no program of action, the movement became spontaneous and violent. Violence spread throughout the country. Several govt, offices were destroyed, telegraph wires were cut and communication paralyzed. ·The trend of underground revolutionary activities also started during the phase.

J. P. Narayan, R. M. Lohia and Aruna Asaf Ali started consolidating underground networks. The most daring act of the underground movement was the establishment of Congress Radio with Usha Mehta as its announcer. ·Parallel govts, were set – up at various places. The first one was in Ballia in eastern UP under the leadership of Chittu Pande. Others were in Satara, Talcher, parts of eastern UP and Bihar[->5]. ·The Muslim League kept aloof and the Hindu Mahasabha condemned the movement. The Communist Party of India also didn’t support the movement. ·The movement was however crushed. Naval Mutiny 1945 : A revolt took place in HMS Talwar on Feb 18, 1945 in Bombay due to racial discrimination, unpalatable food and abuse after the arrest of B C Dutta who had written ‘British Quit India’ on the wall. ·Next day, HMS Hindustan in Karachi also revolted. ·Soon the revolt spread to other places also. In Bombay, the mutineers hoisted the tricolour on their ship masts together with a portrait of S. C. Bose and shouted Jai Hind in the barracks. Their demands included release of all political prisoners including those belonging to the Indian National Army. ·It was suppressed after persuasion by the Indian leaders.

Rajagopalachari Formula 1945 : ·He proposed that plebiscite should be held in contiguous districts of North West and East where Muslims were in absolute majority. ·If the majority decides in favour of forming a separate sovereign state, such decision could be accepted. ·Jinnah objected as he wanted only Muslims of North West and East of India to vote in the plebiscite. The first Round Table Conference convened from 12 November 1930 to 19 January 1931. Prior to the Conference, M. K. Gandhi[->6] had initiated the Civil Disobedience Movement on behalf of the Indian National Congress[->7].

Consequently, since many of the Congress’ leaders were in jail, Congress did not participate in the first conference, but representatives from all other Indian parties and a number of Princes did. The outcomes of the first Round Table Conference were minimal: India was to develop into a federation, safeguards regarding defence and finance were agreed and other departments were to be transferred. However, little was done to implement these recommendations and civil disobedience continued in India. The British Government realized that the Indian National Congress needed to be part of deciding the future of constitutional government in India.

Lord Irwin, the Viceroy, met with Gandhi[-;8] to reach a compromise. On 5 March 1931 they agreed the folowing to pave the way for the Congress’ participation in the second Round Table Conference: Congress[->9] would discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement, it would participate in the second Round Table Conference, the Government would withdraw all ordinances issued to curb the Congress, the Government would withdraw all prosecutions relating to offenses not involving violence and the Government would release all persons undergoing sentences of imprisonment for their activities in the Civil Disobedience Movement.

The second Round Table Conference was held in London from 7 September 1931 to 1 December 1931 with the participation of Gandhi[->10] and the Indian National Congress[->11]. Two weeks before the Conference convened, the Labour government had been replaced by the Conservatives. At the conference, Gandhi claimed to represent all people of India. This view, however, was not shared by other delegates. In fact, the division between the many attending groups was one of the reasons why the outcomes of the second Round Table Conference were again no substantial results regarding India’s constitutional future.

Meanwhile, civil unrest had spread throughout India again, and upon return to India Gandhi was arrested along with other Congress leaders. A separate province of Sind was created and the interests of minorities were safeguarded by MacDonald’s Communal Award. The third Round Table Conference (17 November 1932 – 24 December 1932) was not attended by the Indian National Congress[->12] and Gandhi[->13]. Many other Indian leaders were also absent. Like the two first conferences, little was achieved.

The recommendations were published in a White Paper in March 1933 and debated in Parliament afterwards. A Joint Select Committee was formed to analyse the recommendations and formulate a new Act for India. The Committee produced a draft Bill in February 1935 which was enforced as the Government of India Act of 1935 in July 1935. Why were three Round Table Conferences held between 1930 and 1932? [7] (Past Paper, November 2001: Q4/b) [Failure of Simon Commission] Simon Commission arrived in India in 1927 for discussing further constitutional reforms with Indian political leaders.

The commission was openly rejected as there was no Indian member in it and obviously it could not address the Indian concerns. The Indians thought it as part of delaying tactics towards self-rule. When Simon published his report in 1930, he suggested that a Round Table Conference should be organized in London to discuss the constitutional reforms with Indian political leaders. [Failure of Nehru Committee] Nehru Committee was set up by the All-Parties Conference in 1928 to formulate constitutional proposals that would be acceptable to all political stakeholders.

But the committee completely ignored the Muslim views. The two big parties could not develop consensus on constitutional reforms that could jointly be forwarded to the British for implementation in India. For the two parties to resolve their differences and reach a compromise, the British arranged a series of three Round Table Conferences in London. [Threat of violence] Mr. Gandhi launched another non-cooperation movement in 1930 which created the danger of widespread violence and disorder. This situation was disturbing for the British.

They wanted to pacify the Indians by introducing new reforms in India. In order to make some progress in the direction of constitutional reforms, the British invited Indian political leaders and the princes in London to negotiate their issues in a Round Table Conference. The first conference failed due to Congress boycott and therefore a second one was scheduled. Since consensus could not be developed on constitutional reforms in the second conference also, therefore third one was organized which also ended in fiasco. Who was Allama Iqbal? 4][->14] Allama Iqbal, born in Sialkot on 11 November 1877, was a distinguished Muslim Leader. He is known as the architect of Pakistan because he was the first person who gave the idea of an independent Muslim state during his presidential address to Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930. He got degrees in philosophy from Punjab and Cambridge Universities and doctorate degree from the University of Munich, Germany. He wrote poetry in Urdu and Persian. In 1922, he was awarded the title of “Sir” by the British in recognition of his poetry.

He was an active politician and contributed significantly in making the Muslim League a mass political party. He died on April 21, 1938. Why was Allama Iqbal important to the Pakistan Movement? [7][->15] Allama Iqbal is known as the architect of Pakistan because he was the first person to address the partition of India and gave the idea of an independent Muslim state. During his presidential address to Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930, he demanded for an independent Muslim state in the north-west India. This idea of Iqbal became the policy of Muslim League just after 10 years.

He was an active politician. He was a member of the Punjab Assembly and attended the Round Table Conferences in London to defend the Muslim community in India. He made significant contributions in making the Muslim League as a mass political party. He wrote many poetry books, writing in Urdu and Persian. Through his poetry, he recalled the Muslims their past glory. He kindled the candle of freedom and provoked their desire for having a separate state. Furthermore, he instructed the Muslims to work hard in order to improve their status in the society. His work was around the Two-Nation Theory.

He said that there were different races in India, speaking different languages and practicing different religions. He, therefore, argued that partition was necessary to preserve Islamic Faith in their culture. Nehru Report: The Britishers claimed that the Indians were not included in the Simon Commission on account of discord among the various groups in India. The Secretary of State, Lord Birkenhead challenged the Indian leaders to draft a constitution to which all parties would agree. An all parties’ conference was held in May, 1928 which appointed a committee to draft a constitutional scheme.

The committee was headed by Moti Lal Nehru and its report came to be known as the Nehru Report. Its other members were Subhash Chander Bose, Sir Ali Iman, Sir Tej Bhadur Sapru, G. R. Pradhan, M. S. Aney, Shuab Qureshi and Sardar Mangal Singh. The report was placed in the annual session of the Congress held at Lucknow on 10th August, 1928 where it was adopted unanimously. The report favoured dominion status in which India would be a federation of linguistic provinces. As regards the communal problem, the report recommended joint electorates with reservation of seats for minorities.

Moreover, it emphasised the necessity of giving much autonomy to the provinces. Powers to be divided between the centre and provinces was on the basis of federal structure. The report, however, failed to be passed as Muhammad Ali Jinnah put forth his fourteen point demands and the Hindu Mahasabha also had reservations. The Congress accepted the report only under pressure from Gandhiji. The younger members led by Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru felt that acceptance of dominion status was a step from complete independence demanded at Madras in 1927.

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The Third Round Table Conference...
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