This pact was signed between Mahatma Gandhi and the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin on 5 March 1931.
Salient features of this act were as following:
1. The Congress would participate in the Round Table Conference.
2. The Congress would discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement.
3. The Government would withdraw all ordinances issued to curb the Congress.
4. The Government would withdraw all prosecutions relating to offenses other than violent one. The Government would release all persons undergoing sentences of imprisonment for their activities in the civil disobedience movement.
Salt Satyagraha succeeded in drawing the attention of the world. Millions saw the newsreels showing the march. Time magazine declared Gandhi its 1930 Man of the Year, comparing Gandhi’s march to the sea “to defy Britain’s salt tax as some New Englanders once defied a British tea tax.” Civil disobedience continued until early 1931, when Gandhi was finally released from prison to hold talks with Irwin. It was the first time the two held talks on equal terms, and resulted in the Gandhi–Irwin Pact. The talks would lead to the Second Round Table Conference at the end of 1931.
In the March of 1930, Gandhi met with the Viceroy, Lord Irwin and signed an agreement known as the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The two main clauses of the pact entailed; Congress participation in the Round Table Conference and cessation of The Civil Disobedience Movement. The Government of India released all satyagrahis from prison.
Round Table Conferences
The Simon Commissions in India induced the dissatisfaction throughout India. It met a violent resistance in India and later the British Government organized for the Rounds Table conferences in order to take into consideration the demands and grievances of the Indians directly. Demands for Swaraj, or self-rule, in India had been growing increasingly strong. By the year 1930, many British politicians believed that India needed to move towards dominion status. As announced by the viceroy on behalf of the Government of England on October 31, 1929, Round Table Conference was convened in London. After lengthy discussions, three basic principles were agreed in the Conference and the British Government was made to accept those principles.
Three basic principles were put forwards in the Round Table Conference. According to the agreement, it was demanded that form of the new government of India was to be an All India federation. The federal government, subject to some reservations would be responsible to the federal Legislature, according to the agreement. The provincial autonomy was also demanded by the Congress in the Round Table Conference. However, Ramsay MacDonald, the British Prime Minister, made a momentous declaration on behalf of His Majesty`s Government. According to the view of His Majesty`s government it was declared that the responsibility of the government should be placed upon legislatures, Central and Provincial with certain provisions as was considered necessary.
The absence of the Congress representations in Round Table conference led to a second session of the Round Table conference, where the Congress representatives would participate. Several efforts were made in that direction by Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and Sir M.R. Jayakar, which led to the famous Gandhi-Irwin Pact, which was signed in March 1931. According to the Poona Pact, all political prisoners were released and the Civil Disobedience Movement was called off.
In the second Round Table Conference, Gandhiji was appointed as the representative of the Congress, which was convened from 1st September to 1st December in the year1931.But the significant issue of the Second Round Table conference was to solve the communal problem, which was not solved. This was because; Mr.Jinnah inflexibility was secretly supported by the British statesman like the Secretary of State for India; Sir Samuel Hoare. Disappointed by the result of the session of the Second Round Table Conference, Gandhiji returned to India and subsequently arrested on his arrival in the country.
Ramsay Macdonald announced that in default of an agreed settlement as regards the respective quanta of representation of different communities, the British Government would have to arbitrate their claims. Subsequently, on August 4, 1932, Macdonald`s infamous “Communal Award” came into existence. The concept of Communal Award was related to the representation of different communities in the provincial legislatures. However the “Communal Award” declared by Ramsay Macdonald was partially modified by the Poona Pact. This was accepted by the Hindu rulers due to Gandhiji, who wanted to prevent a political breach between the so-called caste Hindus and the Scheduled Castes.
Consequently the third Round Table Conference was again convened in London on November 17th to December 24th in the years 1932. A White paper was issued in the year March 1933. The details of the working basis of the new constitution of India were enumerated in the White Paper. It was declared that according to the new constitution, there would be dyarchy at the Center and the responsible governments in the center. In February 1935, a bill was introduced in the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for India, which subsequently passed and enacted as the government of India Act, 1935.
Thus the Government of India Act came into existence in the Third Round Table Conference. The Government of India Act drew its materials from the Simon Commission, the report of the All-Parties conference i.e. the Nehru Report, the discussions at the three successive Round Table Conferences, the detail enumerated in the White Paper and the reports of the Joint Select Committees.
Gandhian Methods of Struggles-Strategies
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was ‘a man of millennium’ who imparts the lesson of truth, Non- violence and peace. The philosophy and ideology is relevant still today.The philosophy of Gandhi was based on truth, sacrifice, non- violence selfless service and cooperation. In modern times, nonviolent methods of action have been a powerful tool for social protest. According to Gandhi one should be brave and not a coward. He should present his views, suggestions and thoughts without being violent. One should fight a war with the weapons of truth and non violence. Gandhi said that ‘There is no god higher than truth’. According to Gandhi’s thoughts nonviolence is ultimate solution of every kind of problem in the world. Gandhi was single person who fought against the British with the weapons of truth and Non-violence by persuading countrymen to walk on the path of non-violence. Gandhi leading a decades-long nonviolent struggle against British rule in India, which eventually helped India, wins its independence in 1947. By the efforts of Gandhi India became independent. Gandhi initiated non violence activities like Quit India movement and non-operation movement. Gandhi could never have done what he did alone, but with his ability to identify a seed here, a seed there and nurture it, he was able to create a forest of human change. He understood that it was not enough to be a leader, but to create leaders.
In quite simple and clear words, Gandhism consists of the ideas, which Mahatma Gandhi put forth before human world. Along with that, to the maximum possible extent, Mahatma Gandhi treated his individual life in accordance with these ideas. Clearly; Gandhism is a mixture of Gandhi’s concepts and practices. The basic ground ship of Gandhism happens to be non-violence. The non-violence is the most ancient eternal value. This non-violence is the ground of ancient-most civilization and culture of India.Mahatma Gandhi said on this very account while making his concepts and practices based on non-violence: ‘I have nothing new to teach you’ Truth and non-violence are as old as hill. As we know, non-violence and truth are two sides of the same coin. After knowing Gandhism, it is imperative for us to know clearly the concept of non-violence also as it accords the ground for Gandhism. Gandhi’s importance in the political world scenario is twofold. First, he retrieved non-violence as a powerful political tool and secondly manifestation of a higher spiritual goal, culmination in world peace. For Gandhi, means were as important as the end and there could be only one means – that of non-violence.
As a situation opposite to violence is non-violence, we can firmly state, total nonviolence consists in not hurting some other one’s intellect, speech or action per own thought, utterance or deeds and not to deprive some one of his life. Mahatma Gandhi fully agrees with above-mentioned derivation of non-violence. He himself has said, Non-violence is not a concrete thing as it has generally been enunciated. Undoubtedly, it is a part of non-violence to abstain from hurting some living being, but it is only an iota pertaining to its identity. The principle of nonviolence is shattered by every evil thought, false utterance, hate or wishing something bad unto someone. It is also shattered per possession of necessary worldly things. In this chain Mahatma Gandhi clarified in an edition of Young India: ‘To hurt someone, to think of some evil unto someone or to snatch one’s life under anger or selfishness, is violence. In contrast, purest non-violence involves a tendency and presuming towards spiritual or physical benefit unto every one without selfishness and with pure thought after cool and clear deliberations’. The ultimate yardstick of violence or non-violence is the spirit behind the action. There are many examples of their use like resistance, non-violent resistance, and civil revolution. Mahatma Gandhi had to struggle in his whole life, but he never disappointed, he continued his innate faith in non-violence and his belief in the methods of Satyagraha. The significance of Satyagraha was soon accepted worldwide. Martin Luther King adopted the methods of Satyagraha in his fight against the racial discrimination of the American authorities in 1950. Gandhism is very much contextual today on this accord. It is significant. We should grasp importance of Gandhism while analyzing it.
Presently a big portion of the world happens to be under Democratic system of Government. Theoretically, this system stands out to be the best up to now. This is a truth. It is the best because people are connected with it directly or indirectly at every level. Not only this, it is this very system, which provides maximum opportunities of public progress and development. People can themselves decide in this system the mode of their welfare. However, even though being theoretically the best system of government, if we peruse the democratic nations, we first of all find that there is non-equal development of the citizens. We subsequently find that these nations are more or less victimized by regionalism. They have problem relating to language. They are under clutches of terrorism and communalism. There is also the problem of negation of human rights in these nations. There are other vivid problems akin to mention above and peace is far away so long as these problems exist. All citizens must have equal development and they should have communal harmony towards making all citizens collective and unified partners in progress. But, in reality, it is not so. It is essential that the nations of democratic system of government should be free from above-mentioned problems, must be capable of ensuring equal development of their all citizens and the citizens concerned must march forward on path of progress in unified way along with rendering contribution to world peace.
Gandhi demonstrated to a world, weary with wars and continuing destruction that adherence to Truth and Non-violence is not meant for individuals alone but can be applied in global affairs too. Gandhi’s vision for the country and his dreams for the community as a whole still hold good for India. He got the community to absorb and reflect true values of humanity and to participate in tasks that would promote the greater good. These issues are still relevant to what free India is and represents. The main cause of worry today is intolerance and hatred leading to violence and it is here the values of Gandhi need to be adhered to with more passion.
Gandhian strategy is mainly comprised with:
Truth and honesty
Peace and love