The Round Table Conferences
Commission had submitted the report to the government. The Congress, Muslim
league and Hindu Mahasabha had boycotted it. The British regime went ahead with
the consideration of the report. But in the absence of consultations with
Indian leaders it would have been useless. In order to secure some legitimacy
and credibility to the report, the government announced that it would convene a
Round Table Conference (RTC) in London with leaders of different shades of
Indian opinion. But the Congress decided to boycott it, on the issue of
granting independence. Everyone knew, more so the government, that it would be
an exercise in futility if the Congress did not participate.
negotiations with Congress were started and the Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed on
March 5, 1931. It marked the end of civil disobedience in India. The movement
had generated worldwide publicity, and Viceroy Irwin was looking for a way to
end it. Gandhi was released from custody in January 1931, and the two men began
negotiating the terms of the pact. In the end, Gandhi pledged to give up the satyagraha campaign, and Irwin agreed to
release tens of thousands of Indians who had been jailed during the movement.
Gandhi attended the Second Round Table Conference in London as the sole
representative of the Congress. The government agreed to allow people to make
salt for their consumption, release political prisoners who had not indulged in
violence, and permitted the picketing of liquor and foreign cloth shops. The
Karachi Congress ratified the Gandhiâ€“Irwin pact. However the Viceroy refused to
commute the death sentence of Bhagat Singh and his comrades.
attended the Second RTC but the government was adamant and declined to concede
his demands. He returned empty handed and the Congress resolved on renewing the
civil disobedience movement. The economic depression had worsened the condition
of the people in general and of the peasants in particular. There were peasant
protests all over the country. The leftists were in the forefront of the
struggles of the workers and peasants. The government was determined to crush
the movement. All key leaders including Nehru, Khan Abdul Gafar Khan and
finally Gandhi were all arrested. The Congress was banned. Special laws were
enacted to crush the agitations. Over a lakh of protesters were arrested and
literature relating to nationalism was also declared illegal and confiscated.
It was a reign of terror that was unleashed on the unarmed masses participating
in the movement.
movement started waning and it was officially suspended in May 1933 and
withdrawn in May 1934.