Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2nd Round Table Conference

Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1931) at a party meeting during 2nd Round Table Conference :
There were three major differences between the first and second Round Table Conferences. By the second :
  1. Congress representation
The Gandhi-Irwin pact opened the way for Congress participation in this Conference. Mahatma Gandhi was invited from India and attended as the sole official representative accompanied by Smt Sarojini Naidu. Gandhi claimed that the Congress alone represented political India ; that the untouchables were Hindus and that there should be no separate electorates or safeguards for Muslims or  other minorities.These claims were rejected by the other participants. According to this pact, Gandhi was asked to call off the Civil Disobedience Movement(CDM) and if he did so the prisoners of British Government would be freed excepting the criminal prisoners, i.e., those who had killed British officials. He returned to India, disapppointed with the results and empty handed.
  2. British Government ;   Two weeks earlier the Labour Govt in London had fallen. Ramsay MacDonald now headed a National Govt dominated by the Conservative Party.
  3. Financial Crisis :    During the conference, Britain went off the Gold Standard further distracting the national Govt.
During the conference Gandhi could not reach agreement with the Muslims on Muslim representation and safeguards.At the end of the conference Ramsay MacDonald undertook to produce a Communal Award for minority representation, with the provision that any free agreement between the parties could be substituted for his award.
Gandhi took particular exception to the treatment of untouchables as a minority, separate from the rest of the Hindu community.he clashed with the untouchable leader, B.R.Ambedkar, over this issue; the two eventually resolved the situation with the Poona Pact of 1933.