The government started negotiations with Gandhi (who was in jail) to bring an end to the Civil Disobedience Movement. This resulted in signing a pact between Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India, and Gandhi which came to be known as the ‘Gandhi Irwin Pact’.
Gandhi Irwin Pact
Terms-the government agreed to
- To withdraw all ordinances and end prosecutions
- To release all political prisoners except those who were guilty of violence
- To allow peaceful picketing of shops selling liquor and foreign clothes
- To restore confiscated properties of the Satyagrahis
- To allow people living near the coast to make and manufacture salt
Terms-the Congress agreed to
- To suspend the Civil Disobedience Movement
- To participate in the Second Round Table Conference
- Not to press for investigations into police excesses
Second Round Table Conference
It took place between 7 September and December 1931. It was attended by Gandhi. The British government refused to grant Dominion Status to India. The Conference saw the demand for separate electorates was raised not only by Muslims but also by people of depressed classes, Anglo Indians, Indian Christians, and Europeans.
Continuation of the Civil Disobedience Movement
As the Second Round Table Conference disappointed and failed, Gandhi returned to India. Further, the Great Depression of 1929–30 also hit the Indian farmers hard. Gandhi demanded talks with Viceroy Willingdon which was refused. Congress passed a resolution in January 1932 for the renewal of the Civil Disobedience Movement. Gandhi was arrested, Congress was declared illegal and ordinances were passed giving the government special powers. The government brutally suppressed the movement. Gradually, the movement died down.
Impact of the Civil Disobedience Movement
Though the movement did not bring freedom to the country, it played an important role in deepening the freedom struggle of the people. The movement instilled patriotism among the people in the country which did not die down till the country became independent. The movement widened the base of the freedom struggle as people from different classes including workers, merchants, tribals, and women participated in it. The movement popularized new methods of propaganda. For example, the ‘Prabhat Pheris’ (groups of men and women who roamed in the village and town singing patriotic songs) became popular.
Many social reforms were initiated as part of the movement. Depressed classes were now given entry into temples and access to wells. Women participated in the movement in large numbers, and they became equal partners in the freedom struggle. The Government realized the need for passing the constitutional reforms and thus passed the Government of India Act, 1935, which introduced the principles of the federation and provincial autonomy. The Congress achieved good results in elections to Legislative Assemblies in the following year and to Provincial Legislative Assemblies in 1937. In short, the Civil Disobedience Movement ignited national feelings among the people and trained them for launching new movements against British rule.
Also, Read Civil Disobedience Movement