Round Table Conferences of India

First Round Table Conferences

There are 3 round table conferences conducted by the Labour Party-led British government to deliberate upon and bring about constitutional reforms in British India during 1930-32. There were three such conferences. The First Round Table Conference was held between November 1930 and January 1931 in London.

Participants in the First Round Table Conference

  • 58 political leaders from British India.
  • 16 delegates from the native princely states.
  • 16 delegates from the three British political parties.
  • The Indian National Congress decided not to participate in the conference. Many of the INC leaders were imprisoned due to their involvement in the civil disobedience movement.
  • Among the British-Indians, the following representatives attended the conference: Muslim League, Hindus, Justice Party, Sikhs, liberals, Parsis, Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans, landlords, labor, women, universities, Sindh, Burma, other provinces, and the representatives from the Government of India.

Issues Discussed in First Round Table Conferences

  • Federal structure
  • Provincial constitution
  • Provinces of Sindh and NWFP
  • Minorities
  • Defense services
  • Franchise
  • Executive responsibility to the legislature
  • Dr. B R Ambedkar demanded separate electorates for the ‘untouchables’.
  • Tej Bahadur Sapru moved the idea of an All-India Federation. This was supported by the Muslim League. The princely states also supported this on the condition that their internal sovereignty is maintained.

Round table conference

Second Round Table Conference

The Second Round Table Conference was held in London from September 7, 1931, to 1 December 1931 with the participation of Gandhi and the Indian National Congress.

Participants of the Second Round Table Conference

  • British delegates belonging to various political parties including the British Prime
    Minister, James Ramsay Macdonald.
  • Indian princely states are represented by Maharajas, princes, and divans.
  • British Indians represented by:
    Indian National Congress (INC) – Mahatma Gandhi, Rangaswami Iyengar, Madan
    Mohan Malaviya
  • Muslims – Md. Ali Jinnah, Aga Khan III, Muhammad Iqbal, etc.
  • Hindus – M R Jayakar, etc.
  • Depressed classes – Dr. B R Ambedkar
  • Women – Sarojini Naidu, etc.
  • Liberals, Justice Party, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Parsis, Europeans, Anglo-Indians,
    industry, labor, landlords, Burma, Sindh, and other provinces.

Third Round Table Conference

The third Round Table Conference was held in London on 17 November 1932 and 24 December 1932. This was just a nominal conference, Congress refused to attend it and in Britain, the Labor party also refused not to attend it. So, only 46 people reached out there. The key outcome of the Third Round Table conference was the “White Paper” issued by the Government. Based on this paper, the Government of India Act 1935 was to be passed. In this conference, a college student Chaudhary Rahmat Ali proposed the name of the new land specially carved out from India for the Muslims. The name of this “holy” land was – Pakistan. Muslim leaders who attended the conference were Muhammad Ali, Agha Khan, Fazlul Haq, Jinnah.

Participants of the Third Round Table Conference

  • Only 46 delegates in total took part in this conference.
  • The INC and the Labour Party decided not to attend it. (The INC wasn’t invited).
  • Indian princely states were represented by princes and divans.
  • British Indians were represented by the Aga Khan (Muslims),
  • Depressed classes
  • women, Europeans, Anglo-Indians, and labor groups.

Outcome

Not much was achieved at this conference also. The recommendations of this conference were published in a White Paper in 1933 and later discussed in the British Parliament. The recommendations were analyzed and the Government of India Act of 1935 was passed on its basis.

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