Gandhi Irwin Pact: Date, When was Gandhi Irwin Pact Signed

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed between Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India, and Mahatma Gandhi. The agreement was signed on March 5th, 1931, before the Second Round Table Conference held in London. Gandhiji made eleven requests as a part of the civil disobedience movement and issued a deadline of 31st January 1930 to approve or refuse them. Lord Irwin reiterated the pursuit of dominion status and proposed a round table discussion in July 1930. Several CWC members were unconditionally released from prison on January 25, 1931. They gave Gandhi permission to approach Viceroy Lord Irwin and start a conversation. Following this, the Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed in Delhi.

The Gandhi Irwin Pact UPSC is an important topic for the Civil Services exam as it covers under the History syllabus. To understand the background, significance, formation and demands of the Gandhi Irwin Pact, we have provided thorough UPSC notes below for better learning and understanding.

What was Gandhi Irwin Pact?

Before the 2nd Round Table Conference held in London on March 5, 1931, Mahatma Gandhi & Lord Irwin formed a political pact known as the Gandhi Irwin Pact. Earlier, Irwin had announced another Round Table Conference to consider a future constitution and an ambiguous proposal of “dominion status” for Indian territory in an undefined future in October 1929. In 1931, from September to December, London served as the location for the 2nd Round Table Conference. The Civil Disobedience Campaign in India came to an end as a result of the Gandhi Irwin Pact.

Gandhi Irwin Pact PDF

Eight meetings between Gandhi and Lord Irwin took up 24 hours. Gandhi was moved by Irwin’s earnestness, but the parameters of the Gandhi Irwin Pact were lower than what Gandhi had set as the bar for a truce.

When was Gandhi Irwin Pact Signed?

The Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed in London on 5th March 1931. Lord Irwin intended to put an end to the civil disobedience movement in India in order to reclaim control of the country, so he agreed to meet with Gandhi Ji at the second round table conference. Gandhi was freed from Yerevan Jail on January 26, 1931, to talk with Irwin. In total, Gandhi & Lord Irwin met eight times in twenty-four hours. Gandhi wasn’t convinced by Irwin’s sincerity. When Gandhi met with the Viceroy, he presented six demands, which were agreed upon but never executed.

Significance of Gandhi Irwin Pact

The Gandhi Irwin Pact was a treaty or a political pact signed in March 1931 between Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin, who was the Viceroy of India. The main objective of this pact was to make the British Colonial government concede some demands. This happened after Gandhi’s arrest for the famous Salt Satyagraha movement that showed the true image of the British to the world.

Since Lord Irwin was unhappy with all the Civil disobedience movements organised by MK Gandhi, he decided it was time for a pact that would stop them. Hence, the Gandhi Irwin pact is seen as a turning point in India’s struggle for independence. Another reason the agreement was pivotal is that it demonstrated Gandhi’s willingness to negotiate and that peaceful resistance could also be effective.

Background of Gandhi Irwin Pact

As the Salt Satyagraha campaign gained prominence, Lord Irwin quickly considered firing Mahatma Gandhi. One reason for this is that the movement acquired popularity not just in India but also in other countries. As a result, the world saw the negative side of the British and started to understand the Indians. There were a number of factors that led to the Gandhi Irwin Pact being signed.

  • In 1931, London was supposed to host the Second Round Table.
  • The Salt Satyagraha, in 1930, catapulted Gandhi & India to the notice of the global community. British rule in India was criticized for its discriminatory treatment of Indians.
  • As a result, Gandhiji and other leaders were locked up in Jail along with hundreds of Indians.
  • Lord Irwin wished for the problem to be resolved.
  • Thus, in January 1931, Gandhi was allowed to leave prison.
  • Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the former president of the Congress, gave Mahatma Gandhi permission to communicate with Lord Irwin.
  • Gandhi consequently met Irwin and had talks with him. The two were finally speaking as “equals” for the first time.

Objectives of Gandhi Irwin Pact

Due to the salt satyagraha, the world saw the negative aspects of the British and started to understand the Indians. Lord Irwin was upset and wished to put a stop to these movements. The failure of the first round table conference, however, allowed Lord Irwin to add INC as the representative. The Gandhi Irwin Pact was then signed with the following objectives when he freed Gandhi and called him for factual meetings.

  • INC accepted the Round Table Conference.
  • The civil disobedience campaign would be stopped by the INC.
  • Dismissal of any laws restricting Congress’s activities.
  • Withdrawal of all cases, with the exception of those involving violent offences.
  • Release of people detained for participating in the civil disobedience campaign.
  • Dissolution of the salt tax.

Agreements made in Gandhi Irwin Pact

In 1930, as part of the civil disobedience campaign, Mahatma Gandhi proposed a list of 11 requests to the colonial government and asked them to reject or accept the demands until midnight. This led to the formation of the Gandhi Irwin Pact in 1931. Also, the dandi march conducted in India also garnered worldwide attention.

Indians under British authority were subjected to unfair treatment, which drew criticism. Gandhiji was jailed along with numerous other campaigners. Viceroy Lord Irwin requested a round table discussion in order to put a stop to the problem.

The Congressmen were released from jail in January 1931. Gandhi was allowed to speak with the viceroy by then-Congress President Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Gandhi Irwin Pact was an agreement reached between the two after extensive negotiations on the subject. The following demands were made and accepted in the Gandhi Irwin Pact:

  • All ordinances are agreed to be withdrawn by the government.
  • It decided to free all political prisoners to spare those involved in brutality.
  • It decided to allow nonviolent protesting outside liquor stores and international clothing stores.
  • It agreed to lift the restriction on the INC.
  • It consented to return the Satyagrahis’ seized property.
  • Through the Gandhi Irwin Pact, it was consented to let residents living close to seacoasts to collect salt.
  • It consented to forgo fines that had not yet been paid.
  • It consented to the compassionate treatment of all government employees who had quit their jobs during the civil disobedience action.

Demand Not Agreed in Gandhi Irwin Pact

  • A public investigation into police violence committed during the movement’s suppression.
  • Giving Bhagat Singh & his associates life sentences instead of the death penalty.

Gandhi Irwin Pact UPSC

The Gandhi Irwin Pact was an agreement formed on March 5, 1931, signed by Lord Irwin, the British viceroy of India, and M.K. Gandhi. The Salt March, which Gandhi and his supporters had started, came at the end of civil disobedience against British rule in India. Gandhi Irwin Pact UPSC notes are very important from the point of view of IAS preparation. Studying the following important points will certainly help and further improve your knowledge about the Gandhi Irwin Pact UPSC notes.

  • In Delhi, Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin, the British Viceroy, signed the Gandhi Irwin Pact.
  • Mahatma Gandhi made 11 demands, with a deadline of 31 January 1930, to either accept or deny them.
  • To revoke all laws and prosecutions, to free all political prisoners, to return the satyagarhis’ seized property, to allow for the unrestricted production or gathering of salt, etc. These are some demands in Gandhi Irwin Pact.
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