Gandhiji withdraw from Civil Disobedience Movement

12-16-32-mi-647-x-404_100115061838Background :-

  • Gandhi described his 11 points as being very simple but vital needs of India which would fill out the word Independence and give it meaning to ordinary people.
  • The 11 points combined such issues of general interest as 50% cuts in army expenses and civil service salaries, total prohibition, release of political prisoners with specific bourgeois demands such as the lowering of the rupee-sterling exchange ratio ,textile protection and reservation of coastal shipping for Indians and basically agrarian themes  including a 50% cut in land revenue and abolition of the salt tax and government salt monopoly.
  • This came as a surprise to many and was considered as acting under bourgeoise pressure and even some of the leaders of congress were not entirely supportive of this move.


Why was withdrawing of the movement controversial:-

  • The philosophical content of his civil disobedience movement was anathema not only to the British authorities but also to the majority of the Congress who were taken by surprise, for instance, by his formulation of 11 points before the mass campaign was launched.
  • Bourgeoise pressure-
    • Subhash Bose felt that Gandhi’s formulation was intended to placate some of the big business groups who might have been alarmed by some of the Lahore resolutions.
    • Gandhi had indeed assured businessmen that he would take no hasty step in inaugurating the civil disobedience movement.
    • Also the proposal gave Gandhi the basis on which he could sound the Government later on compromise possibilities. Nehru felt exasperated that Gandhi’s list of obvious social and political reforms had taken the place of independence.
  • Congress leaders reactions:-
    • Gandhi’s peace talks with Irwin leading to the truce took the left wing and the conservatives within the Congress equally by surprise. The abrupt brake applied on the increasing momentum of the norevenue/no-tax campaigns in Gujarat and UP caused dismay to both Patel and Nehru and both had to be persuaded by Gandhi to accept the terms of the truce.
  • Seeing the angry reaction of the people against the arrest of Congress leaders, Lord Irwin made a pact with Gandhiji that if the Civil Disobedience movement would be called off, then the political prisoners would be released. Hence Gandhiji decided to call off the movement.
  • The sudden withdrawal of movement was similar to Chauri Chaura incident of non cooperation movement as masses were mobilised well and were actively participating in movements .
  • Gandhi was of the idea that continuous moss movement cannot be sustainable.



Reasons why Gandhi went to second round table conference:-

  • After the conclusion of the First Round Table Conference, the British government realized that the cooperation of the Indian National Congress was necessary for further advancement in the making of the Indian constitution. Thus Lord Irwin extended an invitation to Gandhi for talks.
  • Gandhi agreed to end the Civil Disobedience Movement without laying down any preconditions.
  • The agreement between Gandhi and Irwin was signed in1931. Following are the salient points of this agreement:
    • The Congress would discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement.
    • The Congress would participate in the Round Table Conference.
  • In return British accepted the following:-
    • Political prisoners not convicted for violence should be immediately released
    • The Government expressed its approval of the encouragement of Indian’s industries.

What are the controversies that arose as a result of the Delhi pact?

  • Many felt unhappy that Gandhi stopped his movement when the people were in high spirit of victory and while the Government stood demoralized. Gandhi gave his logic that the nation had suffered to a great extent and needed an interval to fight the next phase of the struggle with more vigour and vitality.
  • Lord Irwin was succeeded by Willington who was unlike Irwin very rigid and ignored many provisions of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact.
    • The Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, in the absence of Gandhiji, adopted the policy of repression, the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was violated and the Viceroy took to the suppression of the INC.
  • Gandhiji failed to convince the Governmentthat Bhagat Singh,Rajguru and Sukhdev also should be considered as the political prisoners and must be released
  • The Second Round Table Conference in London which Gandhiji attended with Sarojini Naidu, proved to be futile as the British did not honour their demands.


  • Despite criticism Delhi pact is one of the important landmark moment in Indian history as it was for the first time that Indians were put on an equal front with Britishers.

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