The Political Crisis in India

March 28, 1930

Report Outline
Present Political Situation in India
The Present Constitution of India
The Nationalist Movement in India
Investigation of the Simon Commission
India's Political Future

Present Political Situation in India

Forthcoming Report of the Civil Disobedience

Two developments, one current and the other anticipated, are again focusing world attention upon India. The first is the resumption by Mahatma Gandhi of his campaign of civil disobedience against the British government. The second is the report of the Simon Commission which has been inquiring into the working of the Indian constitution of 1919 and whose findings are soon to be submitted to the British Parliament.

Gandhi is one of the leaders of the National Indian (or Congress) Party which, in turn, is one of the nine groups or parties now at work in British India. At the annual meeting of the National Congress in December, 1928, Gandhi's group by a vote of 1358 to 973 adopted a program favoring dominion status for India by January 1, 1930. The year 1929 was to be a period of preparation of the Indian and British peoples to agree upon this status. In ease dominion status should not be achieved by 1929, the Congress would pursue a policy of non-violent non-coöperation. Having failed to obtain dominion status within the Empire by the first of this year, Gandhi and the leaders of the Congress proclaimed complete independence at Lahore on January 1, to be attained by the revolutionary methods of civil disobedience and boycott, January and February were spent in preparing the ground, and early in March Gandhi issued an ultimatum to Lord Irwin, British Viceroy and Governor-General, calling upon the Government of India (the Governor-General in Council) to cease from governing. Upon its inevitable refusal to do so, Gandhi launched his campaign of civil disobedience.

Nationalist Campaign of Civil Disobedience

Gandhi's campaign is directed in the first instance against the government's salt monopoly. Later it will be extended to include a boycott against foreign cloth and a refusal to pay taxes. On March 12 Gandhi with a band of followers began a march from the city of Ahmadabad in the province of Bombay to Jalalpur on the gulf of Cambay, 150 miles distant, to make salt from sea water. They plan to reach the coast on April 6. Along the line of march Gandhi is preaching his doctrine of civil disobedience and persuading village headmen to resign. Well-informed quarters in London regard his arrest as imminent.

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