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Struggle of Independence-III Phase (AD 1927-1939)


The India’s struggle for freedom against despotic British rule took decisive turns towards a broad-based popular struggle under the M.K Gandhi’s leadership. This was the phase of real awakening against tyranny of minority and full-fledge movement for the getting Poorn Swaraj.

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Simon Commission

  • It was constituted under the leadership of Sir John Simon to look into the functioning of the constitutional system in India and suggest changes.
  • It was officially known as ‘Indian Statutory Commission’ and consists of four conservative, two laborites and one liberal member from the British Parliament.
  • Commission did not have a single Indian member. Hence, at their arrival they greeted with the slogan ‘Go back Simon’.
  • In order to overcome the protest, the viceroy, Lord Irwin announce an offer ‘dominion status’ for India in October AD 1929 and a Round Table Conference to discuss a future constitution.
  • Under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru, Congress formalised the demand of ‘Purna Swaraj’ or full independence for India in December 1929.
  • The proposals were not accepted by the major political parties in the country including Muslim League.

Nehru Report

  • On February 12, 1928, All Parties Conference called at Delhi attended by the representatives of 29 organizations in response to the appointment of Simon Commission and challenge given by Lord Birkenhead secretary of state for India. It was presided by M.A Ansari.
  • On May 19, 1928 at its meeting at Bombay, the All Parties Conference appointed a committee with Motilal Nehru as its chairman.
  • The purpose was to consider and determine the principles of the Constitution for India.

Recommendations of Nehru Report

  • India should be given Dominion Status with the Parliamentary form of Government with bi-cameral legislature that consists of senate and House of Representatives.
  • The senate will comprise of two hundred members elected for seven years, while the House of Representatives should consist of five hundred members elected for five years. Governor-General will act on the advice of executive council. It was to be collectively responsible to the parliament.
  • There should be Federal form of Government in India with Residuary powers to be vested in Centre. There will be no separate electorate for minorities because it awakens communal sentiments therefore it should be scrapped and joint electorate should be introduced”.
  • There will be no reserved seats for communities in Punjab and Bengal. However, reservation of Muslim seats could be possible in the provinces where Muslim population should be at least ten percent.
  • Judiciary should be independent from the Executive
  • There should be 1/4th Muslim Representation at Centre
  • Sind should be separated from Bombay provided it proves to be financially self sufficient.

Lahore Session of Congress

  • It was held under the presidentship of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in AD 1929.
  • In this session, the ‘swaraj’ set forth as the goal of the national movement.
  • Committee constituted at Central and Provincial boycotted, and Round table Conference should plan to boycott.
  • On December 31, 1929, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the president of the Congress unrolls the flag of the India’s Independence.
  • On that day M. K Gandhi drafted a ‘Poorn Swaraj Pledge’ and gave a call to the people that ‘it was a crime against the God and Man to submit to the Satanic British rule’.

Civil Disobedience Movement

The observance of the Independence Day in 1930 was followed by the launching of the civil disobedience movement under the leadership of Gandhi. It began with the famous Dandi March of Gandhi. On 12 March 1930, Gandhi left the Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad on foot with 78 other members of the Ashram for Dandi, a village on the western sea-coast of India, at a distance of about 385 km from Ahmedabad. They reached Dandi on 6 April 1930. There, Gandhi broke the salt law. It was illegal for anyone to make salt as it was a government monopoly. Gandhi defied the government by picking up a handful of salt which had been formed by the evaporation of sea. The defiance of the salt law was followed by the spread of civil disobedience movement all over the country. Making of salt spread throughout the country in the first phase of the civil disobedience movement, it became a symbol of the people’s defiance of the government.

Impact of Civil Disobedience Movement

  • It shattered people’s faith in the British Government and laid the social root for the freedom struggle, and popularised the new method of propaganda like the prabhat pheris, pamphlets etc.
  • It ended the exploitative salt policy of British was followed by the defiance of forest law in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Central province and the refusal to pay the rural ‘Chaukidari tax’ in Eastern India.

Gandhi-Irwin Pact

On 5 March 1931, pact was signed between M.K Gandhi and Lord Irwin the Viceroy of India. The pact made the British Government concede some demands, which were given below:

  • To withdraw all ordinances and prosecutions.
  • To release all the political prisoners.’
  • To restore the confiscated properties of the satyagarhis.
  • To permit the free collection or manufacture of salt.

Second Round Table Conference

  • It was held in London during Viceroyalty of Lord Willington during September to December, 1931 and Gandhi attended it to behalf of the Indian National Congress.
  • The conference was failed as Gandhi could not agree on the policy of Communal Representation and the refusal of the British Government for the basic Indian demand for freedom.

Conclusion

Hence, we can say this phase created alarming situation for the British that there will be no more the concept of ‘Might is right’. And India’s freedom fighters were ready to guide British towards Self-government or Swaraj.

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