Main Events during the Gandhian Era

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Main Events during the Gandhian Era

The Communal Award / Mac Donald Award (Aug. 16, 1932)

While Gandhi was arrested on his return from London after the Second Round Table Conference, British Prime Minister Ramsay Mac Donald announced his Award on communal representation in Aug. 16,1932. Besides containing provisions for representation of Muslims, Sikhs and Europeans, it envisaged communal representation of Depressed Classes also. Gandhi was deeply grieved by this and underwent a fast in protest against this Award since it aimed to divide India on a communal basis. While many political Indians saw the fast as a diversion from the ongoing political movement, all were deeply concerned and emotionally shaken. Almost everywhere in India mass meetings took place, political leaders of different persuasions, like Madan Mohan Malviya, B. R. Ambedkar and M. C. Raja became active. In the end the succeeded in hammering out an agreement, known as the Poona Pact.

Poona Pact/Gandhi - Ambedkar Pact (Sep. 24, 1932*)

As discussed, the Communal Award created immense dissatisfaction among Hindus. Gandhi who was on fast in protest staked his life to get the Award repudiated. According to the pact, the idea of separate electorate for the Depressed Classes was abandoned but seats reserved for them in the provincial legislatures were increased from 71 in the Award to 148, and in the central legislature to 18% of the total. Ultimately the fast ended with the Poona Pact which annulled the Award. The leaders of the various groups and parties among Hindus, and B.R. Ambedkar on behalf of the harijarts, signed the pact. The Poona Pact between caste Hindus and the Depressed Classes agreed upon a joint electorate.

The Third Round Table Conference (Nov. 17-Dec. 24, 1932)

It was held in 1932 but again proved fruitless since the national leaders were in prison.

The Government of India Act,1935

The Simon Commission report submitted in 1930 formed the basis for the Government of India Act, 1935. The new Government of India Act received the royal assent on Aug. 41935. The Act continued and extended all the existing features of earlier constitutional reforms. But in addition there were certain new principle introduced. It provided for a federal type of government. Thus, the act:
1. Introduced provincial autonomy
2. Abolished dyarchy in provinces
3. (iii) Made ministers responsible to the legislative and federation at the centre. The Act of 1935 was condemned by nearly all sections of Indian, public opinion md was unanimously rejected by the Congress. The Congress demanded itself the convening of a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise to frame a constitution for an independent India. Regarding the Government of In Act, 1935 J. L. Nehru remarks, 'It was a new charter of Slavery.
The Muslim League was however, not happy with the Congress rule, esp. Mr. Jinnah, who described it in those in those words : Congress was drunk with power and was oppressive against Muslims.

Congress Ministries Resign (Dec. 22,1939)

The Second World war broken out in Europe on Sep.3, 1939 that brought Britain also within its fold. Without consulting the Indian leaders, the Viceroy declared India also as a belligerent country. This evoked sharp criticism from Indians and the congress took the stand that India could not associate herself in a war said to be for dem ocratic freedom when the very freedom was denied to her. The Congress demanded that India should be declared an independent nation. Then only would the country help Britain in the war. The Viceroy in his reply dated Oct. 17,1939 rejected the Congress demand as impracticable and took the stand that the Government could think over to entire constitutional scheme after war. The Congress condemned the Viceroy’s reply and the Congress ministries everywhere resigned on Dec. 22 1939 Jinnah was happy over this and he called upon the Indian Muslims to celebrate the "Signing day of Congress ministries as ‘the day of deliverance'.

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