Thursday, March 1, 2012

The government of India Act 1919

Secretary of state, Edwin S.Montagu and the viceroy of India Lord Chelmsford wrote an inquiry report regarding participation of Indians and responsible government in India, this report was published in 1918, Report on Indian constitutional Reform.

This report served as the basis for the creation of the legislation.

The government of India Act 1919 was passed by the British Parliament

·         To increase participation of the Indians in the government of India.The Act embodied the reforms recommended in the report of the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, and the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford.
·         The Act covered ten years, from 1919 to 1929.
·         The Act provided a dual form of government (a "dyarchy") for provinces.
·         Matters of administration were first divided between the centre and the provinces and then the provincial subjects were further bifurcated into transferred and reserved subjects.

The transferred subjects were to be administered by the governor with the help of ministers responsible to the legislative council composed mainly of elected members.

The Transferred subjects are:

(1) Education, (2) Libraries, (3) Museums, (4) Local Self-Government, (5) Medical Relief, (6) Public Health and Sanitation, (7) Agriculture, (8) Cooperative Societies, (9) Public Works, (10) Veterinary, (11) Fisheries, (12) Excise, (13) Industries, (14) Weights and Measure, (15) Public Entertainment, (16) Religion and Charitable Endowments, etc.

The reserved subjects were to remain the responsibility of the governor and his executive council which was not responsible to the legislature.

Governor got the power to override ministers and executive council.

The Reserved Subjects are:

(1) Land Revenue, (2) Famine Relief, (3) Justice, (4) Police, (5) Pensions, (6) Criminal Tribes, (7) Printing Presses, (8) Irrigation and Waterways, (9) Mines, (10) Factories, (11) Electricity, (12) Labour Welfare and Industrial Disputes, (13) Motor Vehicles, (14) Minor Ports, etc.

The effect of government of India Act 1919 –

(1) To introduce the bicameral or two chamber system in the Indian legislative council
(2) To increase the size of the provincial legislative council , to increase number of the elected members in each
(3) To substitute direct for indirect election
(4) To enlarge the electorate

This act applied the principal of communal representation to Muslims, Sikhs, Anglo-Indians, and Indian Christians etc.

The Indian legislature council was to be called as the Indian legislature.
·         The Indian legislature consisted of governor general and two chambers, the council of state and the legislative assembly.
·         The council of state consisted of 60 members nominated or elected under the rules, of whom not more than twenty were to be official members.
·         Thus council got 33 elected members and 27 nominated by the governor general of whom not more than 20 could of officials.
·         The legislative assembly consisted of 143 members.
·         The number of non elected members was 40 of whom 25 were official members and 15 non officials.
·         The number of elected member was 103.
·         To pass a law, including financial bills consent of both houses was required.
·         The power of both houses were same exception was power to vote supply was allowed only to the Legislative assembly.
·         The duration of council was fixed at 5 and of the assembly at three years.
·         The governor general got the power to dissolve either house or to extend its existence if necessary.
·         The members were elected by a process of direct election, in hope that the people will choose people to represent them.

Thus Hindus started to elect Hindus and Muslims elected Muslims and also there was communal representation.

The act of 1919 did not introduce federalism in India.

Governor General in council got the power and authority to decide whether a particular subject was central or provincial subject.

World War I was important for India’s nationalist movement. Indians of all persuasions overwhelmingly supported Great Britain and the Allied cause during the war. Nearly 800,000 Indian soldiers plus 500,000 noncombatants served in Europe and the Middle East.
Communal relations between Hindus and Muslims took several turns between the passage of the India Councils Act in 1909 and 1919. The reunion of Bengal in 1911 (which canceled its partition into two provinces) pleased the Hindus but antagonized the Muslims. The All-India Muslim League began to attract younger and bolder leaders, most notably a brilliant lawyer named Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1946). Similarly Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) and Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1967) emerged as leaders of the Indian National Congress. Many in India’s Muslim minority became concerned with the ultimate fate of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, which fought in the opposing Central Powers camp. World War I also aroused both the congress and the league to demand significant constitutional reforms from Britain. In 1916 they concluded a Congress- League Scheme of Reforms, known as the Lucknow Pact. It made wide-ranging demands for greater self-government, equality of Indians with other races throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth (in response to racial discrimination in South Africa and Canada), and greater opportunities for Indians in the armed forces of India.
In response, the new secretary of state for India, Edwin Montagu, officially announced the British government’s commitment to “the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India” in August 1917. He then toured India, met with Indian leaders, and together with Viceroy Lord Chelmsford drafted a Report for Indian Constitutional Reform in 1918, popularly called the Montagu-Chelmsford Report. A modified version of the report was embodied in the Government of India Act of 1919. It introduced partial self-government to India’s nine provinces in a system called dyarchy, whereby elected representatives controlled the departments of agriculture, sanitation, education, and so on, while the British-appointed governor and his advisers retained control of finance, the police, prisons, and relief. This was intended as a step toward complete responsible government. The viceroy, however, retained control of the central government, and the role of the mostly elected bicameral legislature remained advisory. The electorate was expanded, and separate electorates (Muslims elected their own representatives) were kept in place, on Muslim insistence.
The Government of India Act was a significant advance in India’s freedom movement. Others included a separate Indian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, in the same manner as the self governing dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa). India also became a member of the League of Nations. But these advances did not satisfy Indian nationalists, who were inflamed by the continuation of wartime laws that abridged civil freedoms, and acts of peaceful and violent resistance continued. Hindu-Muslim accord continued during the Khalifat movement, when Indians supported the Ottoman emperor’s religious leadership as caliph of Islam. The cooperation collapsed when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk established a republic in Turkey and abolished the caliphate in 1923 and also due to increasing competition between the two communal groups for power in a future independent India.

Indus valley language and script (Ancient History)

The Indus Valley Civilization was the first major urban culture of South Asia. It reached its peak from 2600 BC to 1900 BC roughly, a period called by some archaeologists "Mature Harappan" as distinguished from the earlier Neolithic "Early Harappan" regional cultures.Spatially, it is huge, comprising of about 1000 settlements of varying sizes, and geographically includes almost all of modern Pakistan, parts of India as far east as Delhi and as far south as Bombay, and parts of Afghanistan.

The main corpus of writing dated from the Indus Civilization is in the form of some two thousand inscribed seals in good, legible conditions. (In case you don't know what seals are, they are used to make impressions on malleable material like clay.)

Although these seals and samples of Indus writing have been floating around the scholastic world for close to 70 years, little progress has been made on deciphering this elegant script. However, we should not blame scholars for their lack of progress, for there are some major impediments to decipherment:

1. Very short and brief texts. The average number of symbols on the seals is 5, and the longest is only 26.
2. The language underneath is unknown.
3. Lack of bilingual texts.

For instance, consider Champollion, who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs with all of these 3 important clues: there were very long Egyptian texts; he knew Coptic, a descendant of Egyptian; and the Rosetta Stone, a bilingual text between Greek and two written forms of Egyptian.

But the script isn't as bad as undecipherable. For one, even though scholars don't have long texts and bilingual texts, they can still theorize about the language underneath the writing system. There are several competing theories about the language that the Indus script represent:
  1. The language is completely unrelated to anything else, meaning an isolate. Well, this doesn't get us anywhere.
  2. The language is "Aryan" (some form of Indian-Iranian Indo-European). The historical languages spoken in Northern India and Pakistan all belong to the Indic branch of Indo-European, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Punjabi, etc., so maybe the people of the Indus valley spoke a very old Indo-European language?
The major problem with this model is the fact that horses played a very important role in all Indo-European cultures, being a people constantly on the move. "There is no escape from the fact that the horse played a central role in the Vedic and Iranian cultures..." (Parpola, 1986) Sidenote: "Vedic" means from the time of the Vedas, the earliest text in India, and the Vedic culture is from around 1500 to 500 BC. However, no depiction of horses on seals nor any remains of horses have been found so far before 2000 BC. They only appear after 2000 BC. Very likely there were no Aryan speakers present before 2000 BC in the Indus Valley.
  1. The language belongs to the Munda family of languages. The Munda family is spoken largely in eastern India, and related to some Southeast Asian languages. Like Aryan, the reconstructed vocabulary of early Munda does not reflect the Harappan culture. So its candidacy for being the language of the Indus Civilization is dim.
  2. The language is Dravidian. The Dravidian family of languages is spoken in Southern Indian, but Brahui is spoken in modern Pakistan. So far this is the most promising model, as in the following points:
    • There are many Dravidian influences visible in the Vedic texts. If the Aryan language gradually replaced the Dravidian, features from Dravidian would form a "substratum" in Aryan. One of these features is the appearance of retroflex consonants in Indian languages, both Indo-European and Dravidian. In contrast, retroflex consonants do not appear in any other Indo-European language, not even Iranian ones which are closest to Indic. (For more information on retroflex consonants please visit my Phonetics page).
    • Another possible indication of Dravidian in the Indus texts is from structural analysis of the texts which suggests that the language underneath is possibly agglutinative, from the fact that sign groups often have the same initial signs but different final signs. The number of these final signs range between 1 to 3. The final signs possibly represent grammatical suffixes that modify the word (represented by the initial signs). Each suffix would represent one specific modification, and the entire cluster of suffixes would therefore put the word through a series of modifications. This suffix system can be found in Dravidian, but not Indo-European. Indo-European tongues tend to change the final sounds to modify the meaning of a word (a process called inflection), but repeated addition of sounds to the end of word is extremely rare. Often many suffixes in an agglutinative language correspond to a single inflectional ending in an inflectional language.
The Dravidian model isn't just an unapplicable theory...But first we have to know what kind of writing system is the Indus script.

A count of the number of signs reveal a lot about the type of system being used. Alphabetic systems rarely have more than 40 symbols. Syllabic systems like Linear B or Cherokee typically have 40 to 100 or so symbols. The third ranges from logophonetic to logographic, running upwards of hundreds of signs (like 500 signs in Hieroglyphic Luwian, and 5000 symbols in modern Chinese).

It appears that the maximum number of Indus script symbols is 400, although there are 200 basic signs (ie signs that are not combined from others). This means that the Indus script is probably logophonetic, in that it has both signs used for their meanings, and signs used for their phonetic values.

Many signs start off as pictorial representation of a physical object, often misleadingly called pictograms. They really are should be called logograms because they represent words in the language. However, it's next to impossible to write out a word with abstract meaning pictorially. What all early writers figured out was to use a logogram not for the object or idea it was originally supposed to stand for, but for all words sounding similar to the original word for that object or idea. For example, in English to write "leave" we can use a picture of a "leaf". This is called rebus writing, and is a tremendously common pattern in all early writing systems. We could also then use the same "leaf" symbol to stand for the sound in "relief", adding another symbol in front of the "leaf" symbol in order to indicate the "re" sound. So the logogram gained a phonetic value as well.

Testing the theory

How can we take the theoretical framework so far and apply it to archaeological data?

Numerals seem to represented by vertical lines (represented by number of lines in the glyph), but they only go up to 7. Analysis reveal 4 more signs that appear in the same context as these numerals, and so they likely represent numbers higher than 7.

The fact that no vertical-line numeral sign denotes 8 very likely means the Harappan language is based 8. (For example, the Arabic numerals that we use has symbols from 0 to 9, and to write "ten" we have to combined the symbols 1 and 0, which identify our number system as based ten.)

Base 8 languages are rare in the world, but it does appear that early Dravidian is base 8, but later changed to base 10 (possibly under Indo-European influence). When translated, the count from 1 to 7 is familiar to us: "one", "two", "three", "four", "five", "six", "seven". However, above seven, the number's etymologies become non-numerical: 8 is "number", 9 is "many minus one", and 10 is "many". (Fairservis 1983)

But can we actually read (not interpret) any symbol on the seals? We should start with "pictograms", as this one:

Many scholars (Knorozov, Parpola, Mahadevan, etc) see this sign as a fish. Fish in reconstructed Proto-Dravidian is *mîn. Coincidentally, *mîn is also the word for star. On many pots from Mohenjo Daro, an Indus site, there are drawings of fish and stars together, and so affirming this linguistic association.

Going further, often the numeral six appears before the fish. Either it means 6 fish, or 6 stars. Old Tamil (a Dravidian language still spoken today) texts from just around the 1st century AD recorded the name of the Pleiades, a star cluster visible during autumn and winter just above Orion, as "Six-Stars", or aru-mîn

.Throughout the world, titles with celestial connotations are very common, and the clause Six Stars forming part or whole of a Harappan title is not unreasonable. (Parpola, 1986)

Sometimes symbols are added to the basic sign to make new signs. Of these, the one that looks like a circumflex accent placed on top of the fish is quite interesting. It is theorized to mean "roof", and in Proto-Dravidian it is *vêy/mêy. This is phonetically similar to Proto-Dravidian word for "black", *may. Together with fish, it spells out mai-m-mîn, or "black star", which in Old Tamil means the planet Saturn. In Sanskrit texts, Saturn is associate the color black. The god of death, Yama, is the presiding of this planet, and is usually depicted as riding on a dark buffalo.

But the "fish" reading isn't accepted by all scholars. William Fairservis saw it as a combination of a loom twist and a human sign, and form a honorific title pertaining to rulership (Fairservis, 1983). I, however, am more inclined to accept the fish identification.

Monday, August 29, 2011



Round Table Conference, Gandhi- Irwin Pact, Karachi Congress, MacDonald Award & Poona Pact

UPSC –Mains-General –Studies-History of Modern India

·         In what way did the Civil Disobedience Movement affect the different provinces of India?
·         How did it foster peasant movement in India? (1995/30)
·         What was the Macdonald Award? How was it modified? (1996/15)
·         What were the salient features of Gandhi-Irwin Pact? (1997/15)
·         Write short notes: Communal Award (1998/2)
·         Why did Gandhi launch the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 and with what results? (2001/15)
·         Write short notes: Dandi March (2002/2)

What is Civil Disobedience ?

Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is a symbolic or ritualistic violation of the law, rather than a rejection of the system as a whole.

A variety of criticisms has been directed against the philosophy and practice of civil disobedience. The radical critique of the philosophy of civil disobedience condemns its acceptance of the existing political structure; conservative schools of thought, on the other hand, see the logical extension of civil disobedience as anarchy and the right of the individual to break any law he chooses, at any time.

The philosophical roots of civil disobedience lie deep in Western thought: Cicero, Saint Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and Henry David Thoreau all sought to justify conduct by virtue of its harmony with some antecedent superhuman moral law.

The principle of civil disobedience has achieved some standing in international law through the war crime trials at Nürnberg after World War II, which affirmed the principle that an individual may, under certain circumstances, be held accountable for failure to break the laws of his country.

The man who most clearly formulated the concept of civil disobedience for the modern world was Mohandas Gandhi. Drawing from Eastern and Western thought, Gandhi developed the philosophy of satyāgraha . First in the Transvaal of South Africa in 1906 and later in India, Gandhi led his people in satyagrahas to obtain equal rights and freedom.

Faces of a Civil Disobedience Movement at various points of time

  Mohandas Gandhi (Satyagraha)
  Dr Martin Luther King, Jr
  John Lennon
  Rosa Parks, "mother of the civil rights movement"
  James Bevel, the Strategist of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement
  Dalai Lama
  Henry David Thoreau
  Lech Wałęsa
  Dorothy Day co-founder of Catholic Worker Movement
  Philip Berrigan former Josephite priest and nonviolent activist
  Daniel Berrigan Jesuit priest and nonviolent activist
  Sousveillance, passive campaign against surveillance
  Václav Havel
  Anna Hazare, 2011 Civil Disobedience in India for Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen's ombudsman Bill)
The Magic of the very concept of  Civil Disobedience around the world !

One of its earliest massive implementations was brought about by Egyptians against the British occupation in the 1919 Revolution. Civil disobedience is one of the many ways people have rebelled against what they deem to be unfair laws. It has been used in many nonviolent resistance movements in India (Gandhi's campaigns for independence from the British Empire), in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution and in East Germany to oust their communist governments, in South Africa in the fight against apartheid, in the American Civil Rights Movement, in the Singing Revolution to bring independence to the Baltic countries from the Soviet Union, recently with the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia and the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine, among other various movements worldwide.

Various theories behind this Idea of Civil Disobedience movement!


·        Violent vs. nonviolent

·        Revolutionary vs. nonrevolutionary

·        Collective vs. solitary

Round Table Conference, Gandhi- Irwin Pact, Karachi Congress, MacDonald Award & Poona Pact

year 1930

Factors Leading to the Civil Disobedience Movement

·         The prevalent political and social circumstances played a vital role in the launching of the Civil Disobedience Movement. The Simon Commission was formed by the British Government that included solely the members of the British Parliament, in November 1927, to draft and formalize a constitution for India. The chairmanship of the commission rested with Sir John Simon, who was a well known lawyer and an English statesman.
·         Accused of being an 'All-White Commission', the Simon Commission was rejected by all political and social segments of the country. In Bengal, the opposition to the Simon Commission assumed a massive scale, with a hartal being observed in all corners of the province on February 3rd, 1928. On the occasion of Simon's arrival in the city, demonstrations were conducted in Calcutta.
·         In the wake of the boycott of the recommendations proposed by Simon Commission, an All-Party Conference was organized in Bombay in May of 1928. Dr MA Ansari was the president of the conference. Motilal Nehru was given the responsibility to preside over the drafting committee, appointed at the conference to prepare a constitution for India. 
·         Barring the Indian Muslims, The Nehru Report was endorsed by all segments of the Indian society. The Indian National Congress pressurized the British government to accept all the parts the Nehru Report, in December 1928. At the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress held in December, 1928, the British government was warned that if India was not granted the status of a dominion, a Civil Disobedience Movement would be initiated in the entire country. Lord Irwin, the Governor General, after a few months, declared that the final objective of the constitutional reforms was to grant the status of a dominion to India. Following this declaration, Gandhi along with other national leaders requested the Governor General to adopt a more liberal attitude in solving the constitutional crisis. A demand was made for the release of the political prisoners and for holding the suggested Round Table Conference for reflecting on the problems regarding the constitution of the country. 
·         None of the efforts made by the Congress received any favorable response from the British government. The patience of the Indian masses were wearing out. The political intelligentsia of the country was sure that the technique of persuasion would not be effective with the British government. The Congress had no other recourse but to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement. In Bardoli, the peasants had already taken to satyagraha under the guidance of Sardar Patel in the year 1928. Their non tax agitations were partially successful. The Congress took the decision to use the non violent weapon of satyagraha on a nation wide scale against the government. 

The Launch of the Civil Disobedience Movement


·       Why did Gandhi launch the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 and with what results? (2001/15)
·       Write short notes: Dandi March (2002/2)

'Like the historic march of Ram Chandra to Lanka, the march of Dandi would be memorable' exclaimed Motilal Nehru in a message.

P.C. Ray called it the 'exodus of Israelites under Moses.'

Jawaharlal Nehru called Gandhi, '.... the pilgrim on his quest of truth, quiet, peaceful, determined and fearless who would continue that quiet pilgrimage regardless of consequences.'

The satyagrahis were to face a fatiguing journey through heat and dust of the Kheda villages. Thousands of men, women and children accompanied the marching column for a few miles and thousands lined the route and showered flowers, coins, currency notes and kum kum at the satyagrahis.
MK Gandhi was urged by the Congress to render his much needed leadership to the Civil Disobedience Movement. On the historic day of 12th March 1930, Gandhi inaugurated The Civil Disobedience Movement by conducting the historic Dandi Salt March, where he broke the Salt Laws imposed by the British Government.

On 12 March 1930 at 6-10 A.M. Gandhi came out of his room, calm and composed, accompanied by Prabhashankar Patani, Mahadev Desai and Pyarelal, his secretary. He offered prayers, looked at his watch and exactly at 6.30 A.M. commenced his march with seventy-eight volunteers.With his usual gentle smile, betokening his unifying faith in the justice of the cause he was pursuing and in the success of the great campaign he had embarked upon, he headed the procession with quick and unfaltering steps.. 

Dandi Salt March had an immense impact on the entire nation.

13 March, Gandhi and his satyagrahis reached a small village, Aslali, where they were received well by the villagers. Gandhi emphasised the importance of salt and criticised the salt tax levied by the government. He stated, 'The poor destitute villagers do not have the strength to get this tax repealed. We want to develop this strength... We should make a resolve that we shall prepare salt, eat it, sell it to the people and, while doing so, court imprisonment, if necessary. If, out of Gujarat's Population of 90 lakhs, we leave out women and children, and the remaining 30 lakhs get ready to violate the salt tax, the Government does not have enough accommodation in jails to house so many people.

The second halt of the Dandi marchers was at Bareja, a village with a Population of 2,500. He emphasised the importance of khadi, its production and use by the villagers. 'Khadi is the foundation of our freedom struggle.... I request you to renounce luxuries and buy khadi from this heap before you'.

As the march proceeded, so the pressure of publicity and social boycott was built up and resignations began to occur in large numbers. By 22 March, approximate number of resignations were four from Ahmedabad district: twenty-seven from Kaira (of whom sixteen were from Borsad taluka) seventeen from Broach, and two from Surat. But Surat soon became the most affected district by 5 April. One hundred and forty headmen had resigned and ten clays later, the figure had risen to two hundred and twenty seven.Gandhi warned them, 'It will be regarded as cowardice to hand in one's resignation and then to withdraw it. There is no compulsion to resign. It is advisable to give up the post of Headman, looking upon it as something base, dirty and filthy.'

Each and every corner of the country was gripped in a unique fervor of nationalism. Soon this act of violation of the Salt Laws assumed an all India character. The entire nation amalgamated under the call of a single man, Mahatma Gandhi. There were reports of satyagrahas and instances of law violation from Bombay, Central and United Provinces, Bengal and Gujarat. The program of the Civil Disobedience Movement incorporated besides the breaking of the Salt Laws, picketing of shops selling foreign goods and liquor, bonfire of cloth, refusal to pay taxes and avoidance of offices by the public officers and schools by the students. Even the women joined forces against the British. Those from orthodox families did not hesitate to respond to the call of the Mahatma. They took active part in the picketing exercises. Perturbed by the growing popularity of the movement, the British government imprisoned Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, in a bid to thwart it. Thus, the second struggle for attaining Swaraj launched by the Congress, under the able guidance of Mahatma, served the critical function of mobilizing the masses on a large scale against the British. 

The Salt Satyagraha campaign was based upon Gandhi's principles of nonviolent protest called satyagraha, which he loosely translated as "truth-force.”In early 1930 the Indian National Congress chose satyagraha as their main tactic for winning Indian independence from British rule and appointed Gandhi to organize the campaign. Gandhi chose the 1882 British Salt Act as the first target of satyagraha. The Salt March to Dandi, and the beating by British police of hundreds of nonviolent protesters in Dharasana, which received worldwide news coverage, demonstrated the effective use of civil disobedience as a technique for fighting social and political injustice

May 4-5 midnight…Gandhiji was arrested !

Dharasana Satyagraha

United Press correspondent Webb Miller reported that:
Not one of the marchers even raised an arm to fend off the blows. They went down like ten-pins. From where I stood I heard the sickening whacks of the clubs on unprotected skulls. The waiting crowd of watchers groaned and sucked in their breaths in sympathetic pain at every blow. Those struck down fell sprawling, unconscious or writhing in pain with fractured skulls or broken shoulders. In two or three minutes the ground was quilted with bodies. Great patches of blood widened on their white clothes. The survivors without breaking ranks silently and doggedly marched on until struck down. ... Finally the police became enraged by the non-resistance....They commenced savagely kicking the seated men in the abdomen and testicles. The injured men writhed and squealed in agony, which seemed to inflame the fury of the police....The police then began dragging the sitting men by the arms or feet, sometimes for a hundred yards, and throwing them into ditches. 

The Dharasana Satyagraha went ahead as planned, with Abbas Tyabji, a seventy-six year old retired judge, leading the march with Gandhi's wife Kasturba at his side. Both were arrested before reaching Dharasana and sentenced to three months in prison. After their arrests, the march continued under the leadership of Sarojini Naidu, a woman poet and freedom fighter, who warned the satyagrahis, "You must not use any violence under any circumstances. You will be beaten, but you must not resist: you must not even raise a hand to ward off blows." Soldiers began clubbing the satyagrahis with steel tipped lathis in an incident that attracted international attention.

Gandhi-Irwin Pact

1.   What were the salient features of Gandhi-Irwin Pact? (1997/15)
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. 

·       Second Round Table Conference

The second session (September–December 1931) was attended by Mahatma Gandhi as the Congress representative; it failed to reach agreement, either constitutionally or on communal representation.


·        Reasons for Renewal of the Civil Disobedience Movement

Gandhi attended The Second Round Table Conference in London accompanied by Smt. Sarojini Naidu.

At this Conference, it was claimed by Mahatma Gandhi that the Congress represented more than eighty five percent of the Indian population. Gandhi's claim was not endorsed by the British and also the Muslim representative.

The Second Round Table Conference proved to be futile for the Indians and Gandhi returned to the country without any positive result. The political scene in India thereafter assumed an acute dimension. The Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, in the absence of Gandhi, adopted the policy of repression. The Gandhi-Irwin Pact was violated and the Viceroy took to the suppression of the Congress. The Conservative party, which was in power in England, complied with the decision to assume a repressive stance against the Congress and the Indians. The Congress was held responsible by the government to have instigated the 'Red Shirts' to participate in The Civil Disobedience Movement, led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar and provoking the cultivators of U.P to refuse to pay land revenue. Adding to this was the serious economic crisis that took hold of the country

What was communal award 1932?

Communal Award in Bengal

·        What was the Macdonald Award? How was it modified? (1996/15)

Poona Pact


When the Indian leadership failed to come up with a constitutional solution of the communal issue, the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald announced his own formula for solving the problem. He said that he was not only a Prime Minister of Britain but was also a friend of the Indians and thus wanted to solve the problems of his friends. 

After the failure of the Second Round Table conference, Mr. MacDonald announced the 'Communal Award' on August 16, 1932.

According to the Award, the right of separate electorate was not only given to the Muslims of India but also to all the minority communities in the country. The Award also declared untouchables as a minority and thus the Hindu depressed classes were given a number of special seats, to be filled from special depressed class electorates in the area where their voters were concentrated.

Under the Communal Award, the principle of weightage was also maintained with some modifications in the Muslim minority provinces. Principle of weightage was also applied for Europeans in Bengal and Assam, Sikhs in the Punjab and North West Frontier Province, and Hindus in Sindh and North West Frontier Province. 

Though the Muslims constituted almost 56 percent of the total population of Punjab, they were given only 86 out of 175 seats in the Punjab Assembly. The Muslim majority of 54.8 percent in Punjab was thus reduced to a minority.

The formula favored the Sikhs of Punjab, and the Europeans of Bengal the most. 

The Award was not popular with any Indian party. Muslims were not happy with the Communal Award, as it has reduced their majority in Punjab and Bengal to a minority.
Yet they were prepared to accept it. In its annual session held in November 1933, the All India Muslim League passed a resolution that reads; "Though the decision falls far short of the Muslim demands, the Muslims have accepted it in the best interest of the country, reserving to themselves the right to press for the acceptance of all their demands.

(Sept. 24, 1932), agreement between Hindu leaders in India granting new rights to untouchables. The pact resulted from the communal award of Aug. 4, 1932, made by the British government on the failure of the India parties to agree, which allotted seats in the various legislatures of India to the different communities.
Mahatma Gandhi objected to the provision of separate electorates for the “scheduled castes” (untouchables), which in his view separated them from the whole Hindu community. Though in prison, Gandhi announced a fast unto death, which he began on September 18.
B.R. Ambedkar, the untouchable leader, who felt that his group's special interests might be advanced by the government's system, resisted concessions until Gandhi was near death. He and the Hindu leaders then agreed to the pact, which withdrew separate electorates but gave increased representation to the scheduled castes for a 10-year period. Ambedkar complained of blackmail, but the pact marked the start of movement against untouchability within the Indian nationalist movement.

Renewal of the Civil Disobedience Movement

Under such circumstances, the resumption of The Civil Disobedience Movement was inevitable. 

The Congress Working Committee took the decision to restart The Civil Disobedience Movement, as the British government was not prepared to relent. Gandhi resumed the movement in January 1932 and appealed to the entire nation to join in. The Viceroy was also informed of the stance assumed by the Congress. Four ordinances were promulgated by the government to deal with the situation. The police was given the power to arrest any person, even on the basis of mere suspicion. Sardar Patel, the President of Congress and Gandhi were arrested, along with other Congressmen. The second phase of The Civil Disobedience Movement lacked the organization that marked its first phase. Nonetheless the entire nation put up a tough fight and the movement continued for six months
. Gandhi commenced his twenty one days of fast on May 8th, 1933, to make amends for the sins committed against the untouchables by the caste Hindus.

Spread of the movement !

In what way did the Civil Disobedience Movement affect the different provinces of India?

The movement spread and salt laws were challenged in other parts of the country. Salt became the symbol of people’s defiance of the government.

In Tamil Nadu, C Rajagopalchari led a similar march from Trichinopoly to Vedaranyam.

In Gujarat, Sarojini Naidu protested in front of the salt depots. Lakhs of people including a large number of women participated actively in these protests.

The Civil Disobedience Movement carried forward the unfinished work of the Non-Cooperation Movement. Practically the whole country became involved in it. Hartals put life at a standstill. There were large-scale boycotts of schools, colleges and offices. Foreign goods were burnt in bonfires.

People stopped paying taxes. In the North-West Frontier Province, the movement was led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as ‘Frontier Gandhi’.

For a few days, British control over Peshawar and Sholapur ended.

Allahabad, the nerve centre of U. P. politics, witnessed scenes of enthusiasm in connection with the celebration of the commencement of the satyagraha campaign. Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the national flag over the building occupied by the offices of the A.I.C.C., the City Congress Committee and the All-India Spinners' Association, U.P. branch. 

People faced the batons and bullets of the police with supreme courage. No one retaliated or said anything to the police. As reports and photographs of this extraordinary protest began to appear in newspapers across the world, there was a growing tide of support for India’s freedom struggle.
·      How did it foster peasant movement in India? (1995/30)


In 1930s nation wide awakening of peasants was largely the result of the combination of particular economic and political developments.
  • The great depression that began to hit India from 1920-30 and
  • The new phase of mass struggle launched by the Indian National Congress in 1930.
The depression brought agricultural prices crashing down to half of less of their normal levels dealt a severe blow to the already impoverished peasants burdened with high taxes and rents. Therefore the peasants were placed in a situation where they had to continue to pay taxes, rents and debts at pre-depression rates while their incomes continued to spiral steadily downward. The civil disobedience movement was launched in this atmosphere of discontent in 1930s and in many parts of the country it soon took on the form of no-tax and no-rent campaign. Peasants emboldened by the recent success of the Bardoli Satyagraha (1928) joined the protest in large numbers. In Bihar and Bengal powerful movements were launched against the hated chowkidar tax by which villages were made to pay for the upkeep of their own oppressors.
In Punjab a no-revenue campaign was accompanied by the emergence of Kisan Sabhas that demanded a reduction in land revenue and water rates and the scaling down of debts. The consolidation of left after the formation of the Congress Socialist Party in 1934 acted as a spur to the formation of an all India body to coordinate the Kisan Movement a process that was already underway through the efforts of N.G Ranga and other Kisan leaders.

The culmination was the establishment of the all India Kisan Congress in the Lucknow in April 1936 which later changed its name to All India Kisan Sabha.Swami Sahajanand was elected secretary. The first session was greeted in person by Jawaharlal Nehru.

A Kisan Manifesto was finalized at the All India Kisan Committee session in Bombay and formally presented to the Congress Working Committee to be incorporated into its forthcoming manifesto for the 1937 elections. The Kisan Manifesto considerably influenced the agrarian programme adopted by the congress at its Faizpur session. The formation of Congress ministries in a majority of the provinces in early 1937 marked the beginning of a new phase in the growth of the peasant movement.

The political atmosphere in the country underwent a marked change: increased civil liberties, a new sense of freedom born of the feeling that our own people are in power a heightened sense of expectation that the ministries would bring a pro-people measures- all combine to make the years 1937-39 the high water mar k of the peasant movement. The chief form of mobilization was through the holding of Kisan Conferences or meetings at the Thana, taluqa, district and provincials levels at which peasant demands would be aired and resolutions passed. These conferences would be addressed by local, provincial and All India leaders.

During Second World War years the Kisan Sabha continued to play an important role in arranging relief works during Bengal famine of 1943.It also continued its organizational work despite being severally handicapped by its taking the unpopular pro-war stance which alienated it from various sections of the peasantry.

End of the Civil Disobedience Movement
The Civil Disobedience Movement was suspended, when Mahatma Gandi withdrew mass satyagraha on July 14th 1933.

 The movement ceased completely on April 7th 1934. 

Although The Civil Disobedience Movement failed to achieve any positive outcome, it was an important juncture in the history of Indian independence. The leadership of Mahatma Gandhi had a beneficial impact. The warring factions within the Congress united under the aegis of The Civil Disobedience Movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi. Satyagraha was put on a firm footing through its large scale usage in the movement. Last but not the least India rediscovered its inherent strength and confidence to crusade against the British for its freedom. 

Detailed Timeline

November 1927

The Simon Commission was formed by the British Government that included solely the members of the British Parliament to draft and formalize a constitution for India.
February 3rd, 1928

In Bengal, the opposition to the Simon Commission assumed a massive scale, with a hartal being observed in all corners of the province

1st of March, 1928

meetings were held simultaneously in all 32 wards of the city Calcutta, spurring people to restore the movement for boycott of British goods.

All-Party Conference was organized in Bombay in May of 1928.

December 1928
The Indian National Congress pressurized the British government to accept all the parts the Nehru Report

In Bardoli, the peasants had already taken to satyagraha under the guidance of Sardar Patel in the year 1928.

8th of April,1929
members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association exploded two bombs and fired revolvers in the assembly chamber of the Imperial Legislative Council in Delhi. In response, Lord Irwin published a Public Safety Bill which addressed the menace of the Communist Party by deporting the Englishmen involved and taking legal action against the Indian membership.

31st of October,1929
Lord Irwin announced on behalf of the British Government that the natural constitutional progress of India was the attainment of Dominion Status.

23rd of December 1929
 Indian nationalists failed in an attempt to blow up Irwin`s train. Lord Irwin met with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Tel Bahadur Sapru in New Delhi. Erwin however, could not arrive at an agreement for framing a constitution under `Dominion Status`. Indian National Congress also refused to attend the London Round Table Conference due to communal division and the lack of British support for Indian freedom.

December 31, 1929
The Indian National Congress raised the tricolour flag of India on the banks of the Ravi at Lahore. 

January 26, 1930
The Indian National Congress, led by Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, publicly issued the Declaration of Independence, or Purna Swaraj .First Independence Day observed.

Feb 14 ,1930
The Working Committee of the INC meets at Sabarmati and passes the Civil Disobedience resolution

12th March 1930
Gandhi inaugurated The Civil Disobedience Movement by conducting the historic Dandi Salt March. First Phase of Civil Disobedience Movement: March 12, 1930 to March 5, 1931

13 March 1930
The Viceroy informed the Secretary of State 'Most of my thought at the moment is concentrated upon Gandhi. I wish I felt sure what the right way to deal with him is.'

13 March 1930
Gandhi and his satyagrahis reached a small village, Aslali, where they were received well by the villagers.

6th April 1930
 Gandhi with the accompaniment of seventy nine satyagrahis, violated the Salt Law by picking up a fistful of salt lying on the sea shore. They manually made salt on the shores of Dandi. 

May 4–5, 1930
 Gandhi was arrested on the midnight

Nov 30, 1930
First Round Table Conference begins in London to consider the report of the Simon Commission
March 5,1931
Gandhi -Irwin Talks

 March 23,1931
Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Rajguru executed
Sept 7,1931
Chronology: Indian National Movement ~ UPSC EXAMS
 Dec 28,1931
Mahatma Gandhi returns from London after the deadlock in Second Round Table Conference. Launches Civil Disobedience Movement. Indian National Congress (INC) declared illegal

January 1932
Gandhi resumed the movement  and appealed to the entire nation to join in it

Jan 4, 1932
Mahatma Gandhi arrested and imprisoned without trial
16 August 1932
Macdonald Ramsay announced Communal Award

Sept 20,1932
Mahatma Gandhi begins his epic "Fast unto Death" in jail against the Communal Award and ends the fast on Sept 26 after the Poona Pact
Sept. 24, 1932
agreement between Hindu leaders in India granting new rights to untouchables.

Nov 17,1932
The Third Round Table Conference begins in London (Nov 17 to Dec 24)
July 14th 1933.

Mahatma Gandhi released from prison as he begins fast for self-purification. Mahatma Gandi withdrew mass satyagraha . INC suspends Civil Disobedience Movement but authorises Satyagraha by individuals

April 7th 1934
The movement ceased completely. 
Mahatma Gandhi withdraws from active politics and devotes himself to "Constructive Programmes" (1934-39)

 Aug 4,1935
The Government of India Act, 1935 passed

Additional Reading (as per Wikipedia) ----

Partial re-enactment in 2005

To commemorate the Great Salt March, the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation proposed a partial re-enactment of first few kilometers on the 75th anniversary. The event was known as the "International Walk for Justice and Freedom". Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhiand several hundred fellow marchers followed the same route to Dandi. The start of the march on March 12, 2005 in Ahmedabad was attended by Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, as well as several Indian Cabinet Ministers, many of whom walked for the first few kilometres. The participants halted at Dandi on the night of April 5, with the commemoration ending on April 7.
A series of commemorative stamps were issued on the 75th anniversary of the Dandi March—denomination INR 5, Date of Issue: April 5, 2005.

Dandi March II

A massive protest of 240 miles walk, Dandi March II was organised in California, USA, from March 12 to March 26, 2011 to protest against corruption in India and to support Jan Lokpal bill. The march started at Martin Luther King park at San Diego, proceeded to Los Angeles and culminated at Gandhi statue in San Francisco in USA. The walk was organised by People for Lok Satta, India Against Corruption and volunteers from similar organisations. Six Indians walked all 240 miles while several individuals and members of various organizations joined them to walk different stretches across different towns and cities along the way in California.
Indians in more than 50 cities across the world walked in their respective place on March 26, 2011 to express solidarity to Dandi March II.