First Round Table Conference

Gandhi, in or out of jail, had become the greatest engine, giving dynamism to the movement.

The First Round Table Conference that met in November 1930 ended as a failure, if not a non-event. The participants from India in this London meet were certain princes, their advisors, a couple of millionaires, a number of rich landlords, and the like of them. And also some British officers the government nominated. 

The inaugural session was presided over by none other than George V, the king of England – a very rare spectacle in such meetings. 

Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald wished that the Indian Congress leaders would participate in the next round of the conference. 

Gandhi and some other Congress leaders of India were released from jails on 26th of January, the same day the previous year they took the first Indian independence pledge. And talks began between Gandhi and the Viceroy on how the India problem can be resolved. 

Winston Churchill pooh-poohed the talks and he qualified it as “nauseating” and “humiliating”. He called it so because he could not stand the “spectacle of this one-time Inner Temple Lawyer, now seditious fakir, striding half-naked up the steps of the Viceroy’s palace”. He could not tolerate such an ill-dressed fakir, “negotiating a parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor”.