The Gandhi Irwin Pact was endorsed by the Congress in the Karachi Session of 1931, that was held from March 26-31. Gandhi was nominated to represent Congress in the Second Round Table Conference. Just a week back, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru had been executed. So, there was anger in the public whose point was that why Gandhi did accept to sign the pact.
So, when Gandhi was on the way to attend the Karachi session, all over the route, he was greeted with the Black flags. In the Karachi session, congress passed a resolution to dissociate itself from and disapprove the political violence in any shape. The resolution which was drafted by Gandhi, admired the bravery and sacrifice of the three martyrs. In the same line, the Congress endorsed the Gandhi-Irwin Pact and reiterated the goal of “Poorna Swaraj“.
Resolution on Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy
The Karachi session was presided by Sardar Patel. The congress adopted a resolution on Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy which represented the Party’s Social, Economic and Political programme. It was later known as Karachi Resolution. Nehru had originally drafted it, but some Congress leaders thought it was too radical and it was redrafted. We have been told that MN Roy also played a role in drafting this resolution, but Nehru himself later said that MN Roy had nothing to do with it. In any case, the redrafted resolution made the Karachi Session memorable, because for the first time, the resolution tried to define what would be the meaning of Swaraj for common people.
Some important aspects of these resolutions were:
- Basic civil rights of freedom of speech, Freedom of Press, Freedom of assembly, Freedom of association,
- Equality before law
- Elections on the basis of Universal Adult Franchise
- Free and compulsory primary education.
- Substantial reduction in rent and taxes
- Better conditions for workers including a living wage, limited hours of work.
- Protection of women and peasants
- Government ownership or control of key industries, mines, and transport.
- Protection of Minorities.
Thus, the Congress which was agenda less a few years back had the most impressive agenda in hand now and made this agenda- the basis of its political programme for the next many years to come.