Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India, Signs the Gandhi-Irwin Pact
Gandhi–Irwin Pact refers to a political agreement signed by Mahatma Gandhi and the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin on 5th March 1931.
before this, the viceroy. Lord Irwin announced in October 1929,a vague offer of 'dominion status' for India in an unspecified future.and a Round Table Conference to discuss a future constitution. It was signed after meetings between Gandhi and the Viceroy that spanned over a three week time period. Many Indian citizens were originally unsatisfied with the conditions of this truce. The agreement spelled out certain specific action points, to be initiated by the colonial Government of India as well as the Indian National Congress. Important action points of the Pact included:
* Discontinuation of the civil disobedience movement by the Indian National Congress * Participation by the Indian National Congress in the Round Table Conference
* Withdrawal of all ordinances issued by the British Government imposing curbs on the activities of the Indian National Congress
* Withdrawal of all prosecutions relating to several types of offenses except those involving violence
* Release of prisoners arrested for participating in the civil disobedience movement
* The removal of the tax on salt, which allowed the Indians to produce, trade, and sell salt legally and for their own private use.
The Viceroy, Lord Irwin, was at this time directing the sternest repression which Indian nationalism had known, but he did not really relish the role. The British civil service and the commercial community were in favour of even harsher measures. But Premier Ramsay MacDonald and Secretary of State Benn were eager for peace, if they could secure it without weakening the position of the Labour Government; they wanted to make a success of t6he Round Table Conference and they knew that this body without the presence of Gandhi and the Congress could not carry much weight. In January 1931, at the closing session of the Round Table Conference, Ramsay MacDonald went so far as to express the hope that the Congress would be represented at the next session. The Viceroy took the hint and promptly ordered the unconditional release of Gandhi and all members of the Congress Working Committee. To this gesture Gandhi responded by agreeing to meet the Viceroy.
Gandhi's Life, Part Twelve