Gandhiji came back to active politics and attended the Calcutta session of the Congress in December 1928.
Jawaharlal Nehru was now made the President of the Congress at the historic Lahore session of 1929. This event had its romantic side, as son had succeeded his father (i.e. Motilal Nehru, father of Jawaharlal Nehru was President of the Congress in 1928).
The Lahore session of the Congress gave voice to the new, militant spirit. It passed a resolution declaring Poorna Swaraj (Full Independence) to be the Congress objective.
On December 31, 1929, a newly adopted tri-color flag of freedom hoisted and 26 January, 1930 was fixed as the first Independence Day, which was to be so celebrated every year with the people taking the pledge that it was “a crime against man and God to submit any longer” to British rule.
Second Civil Disobedience Movement
The Second Civil Disobedience Movement was started by Gandhiji on March 12, 1930 with his famous Dandi March.
Together with 78 chosen followers, Gandhiji walked nearly 200 miles from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, a village on the Gujarat sea-coast. Here Gandhiji and his followers made salt in violation of the salt laws.
The act of making salt was a symbol of the Indian people’s refusal to live under British-made laws or under the British rule.
The movement now spread rapidly. Everywhere in the country, people joined strikes, demonstrations, and the campaign to boycott foreign goods and to refuse to pay taxes.
The movement reached the extreme north-western corner of India and stirred the brave and hardy Pathans.
Under the leadership of Khan Abdul Ghaffer Khan, popularly known as “the Frontier Gandhi“, the Pathans organized the society of Khudai Khidmatgars (or Servants of God), known popularly as Red Shirts.
Nagaland produced a brave heroine i.e. Rani Gaidinliu who at the age of 13 responded to the call of Gandhiji and the Congress and raised the banner of rebellion against foreign rule.
The young Rani was captured in 1932 and sentenced to life imprisonment. She wasted her bright youthful years in the dark cells of various Assam jails, to be released only in 1947 by the Government of free India.
The British Government summoned in London in 1930, the first Round Table Conference of Indian leaders and spokesmen of the British Government to discuss the Simon Commission Report. But the National Congress boycotted the Conference and its proceedings proved abortive.
Lord Irwin and Gandhi negotiated a settlement in March 1931. The Government agreed to release those political prisoners who had remained non-violent, while the Congress suspended the Civil Disobedience Movement and agreed to take part in the Second Round Table Conference.
The Karachi Session of Congress is also notable for a resolution on Fundamental Rights and the National Economic Program. The resolution guaranteed basic civil and political rights to the people.
Gandhiji went to England in September 1931 to attend the Second Round Table Conference. But in spite of his powerful advocacy, the British Government refused to concede the basic nationalist demand for freedom on the basis of the immediate grant of Dominion Status. On his return, the Congress resumed the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Just after the signing of the Gandhi-lrwin Pact, a crowd had been fired in East Godavari, in Andhra Pradesh, and four persons were killed simply because the people had put up Gandhi’s portrait.
After the failure of the Round Table Conference, Gandhiji and other (cadets of the Congress were again arrested and the Congress declared illegal.
The Civil Disobedience Movement gradually waned and political enthusiasm and exhilaration gave way to frustration and depression.
The Congress officially suspended the movement in May 1933 and withdrew it in May 1934. Gandhi once again withdrew from active politics.
The Third Round Table Conference met in London in November 1932, without the leaders of the Congress.