Conferencing the International


List of profiled attendees at the Round Table Conference. For a full list of delegates to each session, see the British Library's Round Table Conference records page.

Please enter a search term and click Search

Dr BS Moonje

Full nameDr Balakrishna Shivaram Moonje (aka Balkrishna Shivram Munje)
Born12 Dec 1872, Bilaspur, Central Provinces, India
Died03 Mar 1948, Nasik, India

The son of a Revenue Department administrator, Balakrishna Shivaram Moonje excelled academically, after early education in Bilaspur winning scholarships to attend Raipur High School, then Hislop College in Nagpur, then Grant Medical College in Bombay. After earning his Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery in 1898, he served in the Boer War, briefly staying with Gandhi in Durban, before in 1901 returning to start a medical practice in Nagpur. In 1904 he took up politics, becoming a disciple of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Moonje was elected President of the All-India Hindu Mahasabha in 1926 and elected to the Central Legislature the same year.

Moonje was a member of the British Indian delegation and represented the Hindu Mahasabha at the conference.

For additional biographical information, see the official delegate Who's Whos. See also Emery Kelen's caricature, from his portfolio of delegates at the Round Table Conference.


  • December 1924: appointed by Hindu Mahasabha President MM Malaviya to a committee to ascertain and formulate Hindu opinion on communal relations in relation to constitutional reform, alongside CY Chintamani and NC Kelkar. (Moore, 1974:18)
  • October 1925: Moonje came out in favour of “responsive cooperation” with the dyarchy reforms, against Gandhi’s non-cooperation. In the 1926 elections the Responsivist Party stood against the Swaraj party. (Moore, 1974:18-19)
  • November 1927: Moonje, Jayakar, Malaviya and others sided with Congress in protest at the announcement of the all-white Simon Commission. (Moore, 1974:34)
  • November 1-2nd 1929: Moonje joined Gandhi, Malaviya, Muhammad Ali, Sapru, Sastri and others in Delhi to sign the “Delhi Manifesto”, committing to a conference in London to frame a dominion constitution for India. Irwin was unable to accept its terms. (Moore, 1974:95-96)
  • Early 1930: Moonje resisted Sapru’s attempts to forge a united Indian fronts, based around a communal settlement. (Moore, 1974:105)

First Session

  • 4th October 1930 the RMS Viceroy of India departed Bombay, carrying Moonje, Sapru, Jayakar, Patro, Ambedkar, Jinnah and others. Constant debate took place between India and Europe. Moonje pushed for demanding dominion status before a communal settlement; Muslim delegates demanded the opposite. Moonje was dismayed at the disunity of Hindu delegates and the attention they paid to Muslim delegates. Speaking of the Maharaja of Alwar: (Legg, 2020) 
    • “A Hindu Raja showing reverence for a bigoted Muslim and none of them thinking of a counterpoise in me is a spectacle which points to the defeatist mentality which all Hindus have developed. They behave like they can’t do without Moslems who on their part aspire and conspire to swallow all into themselves from Maharajas to the lowest Hindu in the street.”
  • Early November: daily meetings took place in London working towards a united front, but Moonje blocked any agreement, opposing the separation of Sind, Muslim majority in the Punjab legislature, or weightage in provincial legislatures. (Moore, 1974:126)
  • November 19th 1931: Moonje aggressively countered the speech of Conservative delegate Lord Peel in his inaugural plenary address, who had insisted that Irwin had not promised immediate dominion status. Moonje accepted it, the British preferring to do things too late and when all the grace has gone out of it. India was said to want dominion status immediately and full responsible government. (Evening Standard)
  • December 10-11th 1930: at a Chequers meeting to push for a communal agreement a total deadlock was reached, causing Sapru to openly attack Moonje. (Moore, 1974:160)
  • December 19th 1930: Moonje campaigned against Hindu Liberals offer to the Aga Khan and Jinnah of the communal settlement proposed in London before the conference began. (Moore, 1974:161)
  • January 1st 1931: at an all-night meeting with MacDonald Hindu Liberals claimed they would yield to Muslim demands but Moonje refused. The result was MacDonald accepting the status quo on communal representation. (Moore, 1974:162)

Second Session

  • 25th September 1931: Jayakar described Moonje as “…a tactless and unpopular man whom nearly everybody dislikes.” (Moore, 1974:122)
  • 1st December 931: Moonje felt that the government had tempted Muslim delegates away from compromise with Gandhi by offering provincial autonomy. Federation with reservations would be a con, postponing central responsibility indefinitely. Federation was a trap that Sapru had fallen in to. (NMML Moonje Diary)
  • 5th December 1931: Moonje noted in his diary: “I left England with a heavy heart with the almost certain prospect of a Civil War with the Moslems as a result of the British machinations at the Round Table Conference. England is going to make a mess of India by dividing and sowing seeds of animosity between Hindus and Muslims and Hindus and Hindus by separating the depressed classes from the Hindus. England will not hand over power before causing the utmost of ruin to India. Hindus appear to be doomed unless another Shivaji is born.” (NMML Moonje Diary)
  • 1st January 1932: Moonje wrote, en route back to India, in his diary: “These Mosleims are so obsessed with their Communal interests that the can not discriminate right from wrong in considered the opposing views of the matter. This forms the chief virtue in their savage character which makes them fanatic and impervious to reason and logic. It’s this quality which makes them an aggressive bully. The Hindus by nature possess a contrary character and that’s why they, although in overwhelming majority of 3 to 1, are always pushed to the wall and dominated by them.” (NMML Moonje Diary)
  • 19th January 1932: on arriving back in India Moonje gave a speech at Poona, attended by Kelkar. He was despondent about the results of the second RTC session, blaming Gandhi for its failings. The CID reported the following from his speech: 
    • “Gandhi is decidedly a man of the century. He can create strength and manoeuvre in such a way that all the strength is centred at one point, but there ends all his skill and everything begins to fizzle out. He can never take advantage of the situation. He was never firm and his want of firm stand encouraged malcontents to aspire for more and more. What he promised to the Moslems, he could not concede to the Depressed Classes, which created bad blood and those who would not have dared to press for concessions on communal basis, began to do so – rightly and logically to do so. This only showed that a strong and determined minority without any just or reasonable claim can bend Gandhi to its will and Gandhi would go to any length to curry favour with that community. Dr Ambedkar and others would not have taken that extreme stand, if Gandhi would have declared that Congress would stand for nothing that smacks of Communalism. National Congress only recognises nationalism.” (National Archives)
  • February 1932: started work with the Consultative Committee at the Viceroy’s House in New Delhi (NMML Moonje Diary)
  • June 7th 1932: decided to go to London as Ambedkar, Jinnah and the Aga Khan are there. (NMML Moonje Diary)
  • August 19th 1932: read news of the Communal Award while returning to India, despaired that it strengthened Muslims and split Hindus. (NMML Moonje Diary)
  • August 31st 1932: joined others in resigning from the Consultative Committee.


  • June 1937: Founded the Bhonsala Military School in Nasik

Sources used


Secondary literature

  • V. Ketkar, “Moonje, Balakrishna Shivaram (Dr.)”, in Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. III (M-R), Ed. S.P. Sen (Calcutta: Institute of Historical Studies; 1974), pp. 143-144:
  • Times of India, “Dr. B.S. Moonje Dead: Hindu Mahasabha Leader” (5 Mar 1948), p. 8
  • D.E.U. Baker, “Politics in a bilingual province : the Central Provinces and Berar, India, 1919-1939”, PhD thesis, Australian National University (9 June 1969), pp. 28-31:
  • N.G. Dixit (ed.), Dharmaveer Dr. B. S. Moonje Commemoration Volume. Birth Centenary Celebration 1872-1972 (Nagpur: Centenary Celebration Committee; 1972)
  • D.E.U. Baker, Changing Political Leadership in an Indian Province: The Central Provinces and Berar 1919 -1939 (Delhi: Oxford University Press; 1979), pp. 40-44
ImagesPhotograph of Dr BS Moonje, from the published biographical guide to delegates at the second session of the Round Table Conference, 1931

"Dr. B. S. Moonje." From Indian Round Table Conference Second Session 1931: Biographical Notes and Photographs of the British and Indian Delegates (London: St. James's Palace). By permission of the British Library (shelfmark T 11187). Reproduced under Open Government Licence v3.0 (

Conferencing the International

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 84 68402