Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi grew up in the small princely states of Porbandar and then Rajkot, where his father served as Diwan. In 1888 he travelled to study Law at University College, London, where he was called to the Bar in 1891. After briefly returning to India, in 1893 Gandhi travelled to South Africa, where he established himself both as a lawyer and as a political activist fighting anti-Indian discrimination via ‘passive resistance’. He returned to India in 1915 and devoted himself to pursuing a moral politics of swaraj, encompassing opposition to British rule and radical socio-economic change, through non-violent means.
Gandhi acted as Congress’s sole representative at the second session, though with support from Madan Mohan Malaviya and Sarojini Naidu.
For additional biographical information, see the official delegate Who's Who for the Second Session. See also Emery Kelen's caricature, from his portfolio of delegates at the Round Table Conference.
- 1-2nd November 1929 Gandhi joined dozens of other nationalists in Delhi where Irwin’s declaration regarding the RTC was welcomed, and the Delhi manifesto signed, on the presumption that Dominion Status was the object of the conference. (Moore, 1974:95)
- 14th November 1929: Gandhi wrote to Fenner Brockway that he doubted British sincerity of purpose over the conference. (Moore, 1974:98)
- 23rd December 1929: Gandhi, along with Motilal Nehru, Patel, Jinnah and Sapru, met Irwin at the Viceroy’s House in New Delhi. Gandhi insisted that the conference work directly towards Dominion Status and that India would be ill served by attending a foreign conference in (communal) disunity. Irwin repeated that the conference aim could not be set in advance. (Moore, 1974:99)
- 31st December 1929: Gandhi encouraged the Congress at Lahore to reject the RTC initiative and resort to civil disobedience for the achievement of complete independence. (Moore, 1974:102)
- 26th January 1930: Congress declared Independence Day and started preparations for civil disobedience. Gandhi framed 11 demands, which the Viceroy rejected. (Moore, 1974:166-167)
- 12th March – 5th April 1930: Gandhi’s “salt march” to Dandi. His arrival marked the beginning of civil disobedience.
- 6th – 13th April 1930: a “National Week” of protests spread over India.
- 5th May 1930: Gandhi was arrested and imprisoned.
- June 1930: negotiations between liberal politicians, Jayakar, Jinnah and Bikaner took place to frame a RTC that Gandhi could be willing to attend (Moore, 1974:175)
- 23-24th July 1930: Jayakar and Sapru met Gandhi in jail, but he required Jawaharlal Nehru’s support for his attendance at the RTC. (Moore, 1974:177)
- 13-15th August 1930: Gandhi met the Nehrus, Patel, Naidu, Jayakar and Sapri in jail, demands in excess of Gandhi’s 11 points were conditions for conference attendance. (Moore, 1974:179)
- Gandhi was imprisoned
- 22nd January 1931: Irwin withdraw notification declaring the Congress Working Committee illegal and released committee members from jail. Gandhi released on 26th (Moore, 1974:182)
- 7th February 1931: Gandhi and other leaders met at Sapru’s home in Allahabad. (Moore, 1974:183)
- 5th March 1931: Gandhi and Irwin agreed the Delhi Pact, suspending civil disobedience.
- 12th September 1931: Gandhi arrived in London, was received publicly at Euston’s Friends House, and spent his first night at Muriel Lester’s Kingsley Hall.
- 13th September 1931: broadcast speech on American radio, met MacDonald and Sankey.
- 15th September 1931: presented demand of complete independence to the Federal Structure Committee (Gandhi Heritage Portal)
- 16th September 1931: RJ Stopford, Secretary of the Conservative delegation, wrote to Lord Zetland of the previous day’s activities: “Gandhi yesterday spoke for about three quarters of an hour. From the point of view of manner, he could not have done it better. He spoke very simply and very gently, as if he were thinking out each word. His matter was extreme, as he claimed that Congress represented All India, and proceeded to read his Mandate from Congress as laid down in the Karachi Resolution, which practically amounts to complete independence but the right to him of introducing modifications if necessary in the interests of India.”
- 21st September 1931: 88 Knightsbridge office opened in central London. (Gandhi Heritage Portal)
- 25th September 1931: Gandhi visited textile workers in Darwen, Lancashire where he was warmly received despite the effect of Indian boycotts.
- 28th September 1931: Minorities Committee met and adjourned until 1st Gandhi rejected special representation for groups other than Muslims or Sikhs. (Moore, 1974:220)
- 8th October 1931: Gandhi reported failure of informal negotiations on the communal question. (Moore, 1974:221)
- October: Gandhi held continual informal meetings with Muslim delegates but refused to concede special representation for other minorities. (Moore, 1974:223)
- October 17th 1931: spoke at Nottingham University College. (Gandhi Heritage Portal)
- October 20th 1931: gave talk at Chatham House on “India of Today and Tomorrow”
- 5th November 1931: along with other delegates, Gandhi attended a reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by King George V.
- 7-9th November 1931: Attended discussions over the possible staging of constitutional development (provincial autonomy first, federation second) at Balliol College, Oxford. In attendance were the Master of Balliol, AD Lindsay, the Prime Minister’s son and advisor, Malcolm MacDonald, the Beit Professor of the History of the British Empire, Reginald Coupland, HS Polak, Lothian, Sir Geoffrey Corbett, and Datta. Though Gandhi formally opposed constitutional advance in two stages (provincial reform first) he was felt to by sympathetic. (Moore, 1974:234-6)
- 1st December 1931: gave concluding address at plenary session. (Gandhi Heritage Portal)
- 5th December 1931: Gandhi left London, passing through Paris, Geneva and Rome (taking in an interview with Mussolini), departing Brindisi for India on 14th (Guha, 2018:417)
- 28th December 1931: Gandhi landed at Bombay. He requested a meeting with Viceroy Willingdon, which was refused on the ground of mounting Congress disruptions on the ground.
- 4th January 1932: Gandhi was arrested, dozens of leading Congress activists being arrested over the following week. (Moore, 1974:248)
- 16th August 1932: the Communal Award was issued. (Moore, 1974:262)
- 18th August 1932: Gandhi informed Hoare that his fast to the death against ‘untouchable’ separate electorates would begin on 20th
- 24th September 1932: Poona Pact signed between Gandhi and Ambedkar, instating reserved seats not separate electorates for ‘untouchables’.
- 1933: Again imprisoned and released on declaring a fast for getting facilities to carry on the Anti-Untouchability campaign from prison
- 1934: Retired from active leadership of the Indian National Congress
- August 1942-44: Led the Quit India campaign from
- Unsuccessfully sought communal unity in the run up to independence
- 30th January 1948: Gandhi was assassinated by Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse
- Gandhi National Museum and Library, New Delhi, India
- Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmadabad, India
- National Archives of India, New Delhi, Home Department MSS, government of India
- Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, Nehru and Indian National Congress MSS
- R.J. Moore, The Crisis of Indian Unity, 1917-1940 (Oxford: Clarendon Press; 1974)
- Guha, Gandhi: The Years that Changed the World, 1914-1948 (London: Allen Lane; 2018)
- Gandhi Heritage Portal: https://www.gandhiheritageportal.org/chronology/event-chronology-listing/MzQ=/NzQyMQ==
- Judith M. Brown, ODNB entry: https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/33318
- Who Was Who entry: https://doi.org/10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U225699
- Muriel Lester, Entertaining Gandhi (London: Ivor Nicholson & Watson: London; 1932), https://archive.org/details/Hind.Entertaining.Gandhi/page/n9/mode/2up
- Gandhiji in England: and the Proceedings of the Second Round Table Conference. (B.G. Paul & Co: Madras; 1932): https://www.gandhiheritageportal.org/ghp_booksection_detail/MTcyNC0yNTM2LTI=
- The Times, “Mr. Gandhi”, Issue Number 50983 (31 Jan 1948), p. 6
- Times of India, “Unique Indian Dictator Who Ruled By Love” (31 Jan 1948), p.6
- New York Times, “Millions Esteemed Gandhi As A Saint” (31 Jan 1948), p.3
- Mahatma Gandhi (Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India; 1954): https://archive.org/details/Gandhi1954
- J.D. Hunt, Gandhi in London. (London: Promilla; 2012 )