The Congress at its Calcutta session in 1928 wanted to pass a resolution declaring complete independence as its goal. Mahatma Gandhi intervened and a resolution was passed declaring Dominion Status as the goal. Mahatma Gandhi gave an assurance that he would himself lead the movement for independence, if the British Government did not confer Dominion status by the end of 1929.
Lord Irwin declared in October 1919 that Dominion Status was the goal of the British Government in India but no time limit was set. A session of the Congress was held at Lahore in December 1919 under the President ship of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and a resolution Was passed declaring complete independence as the goal of the Congress. 26th of January, 1930, was declared as Independence Day.
It was decided to launch Disobedience Movement. It started with Mahatma Gandhi’s famous march of Dandi Beach to violate Salt Laws. Thousands of Congress volunteers were sent behind the bars. The Government used every kind of repression but the movement could not be crushed. The Congress boycotted the First Round Table Conference held in 1930.
Gandhi-Irwin Pact was made at last in 1931. Its terms were the following:
1. The safeguard to be embodied in the new constitutional set-up were to be in the interest of India.
2. Civil Disobedience prisoners, not guilty of violence, were to be released.
3. Fines, which had not been realised, were to be remitted. The fines already realised were not to be refunded.
4. Immovable property confiscated by the Government was to be returned. Where it has been solid, the transaction was to be considered final.
5. Where the posts rendered vacant by resignation had been permanently filled, the Government was not bound to reinstate their former employees. Other cases of resignations were to be in the deliberations of the Second Round Table Conference.
It has been said in defence of the Pact that the Congress saved the people from a lot of suffering and repression. On the other hand, it has been condemned on the ground that Mahatma Gandhi was not able to save the lives of Sardar Bhagat Singh’ and his comrades.
Mahatma Gandhi attended the Second Round Table Conference as the sole representative of the Congress but it yielded no results due to the attitude of Jinnah. It could not arrive at any agreed formula regarding the representation of different communities. Mahatma Gandhi expressed his intention of starting civil disobedience and was arrested immediately on reaching India under the orders of Lord Willingdon.