First Round Table Conference Date: 12 Nov 1930 – 13 Jan 1931
Location: London, United Kingdom
The First Round Table Conference officially inaugurated by His Majesty George V on November 12, 1930 in Royal Gallery House of Lords at London, and chaired by the British Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald.
The three British political parties were represented by sixteen delegates. There were fifty-eight political leaders from British India and sixteen delegates from the princely states. In total 74 delegates from India attended the Conference. However, the Indian National Congress, along with Indian business leaders, kept away from the conference. Many of them were in jail for their participation in Civil Disobedience Movement.
Participants of the First Round Table conference included
- Total 16 delegates from three British Political Parties.
- Total 74 delegates from India comprising.
- 58 delegates from political parties in India.
- 16 delegates from princely states.
Proceeding of First Round Table Conference
The conference started with 6 plenary meetings where delegates put forward their issues 9 sub committees were formed to deal with several different matters including federal structure, provincial constitution, province of Sindh and NWFP, defense services and minorities etc. These were followed by discussions on the reports of the sub-committees on Federal Structure, Provincial Constitution, Minorities, Burma, North West Frontier Province, Franchise, Defense services and Sindh. These were followed by 2 more plenary meetings and a final concluding session. It was difficult for progress to be made in the absence of the Indian National Congress but some advances were made.
The idea of an All-India Federation was moved to the centre of discussion by Tej Bahadur Sapru. All the groups attending the conference supported this concept. The princely states agreed to the proposed federation provided that their internal sovereignty was guaranteed. The Muslim League also supported the federation as it had always been opposed to a strong Centre. The British agreed that representative government should be introduced on provincial level. Other important discussions were the responsibility of the executive to the legislature and a separate electorate for the Untouchables as demanded by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
Demand of Separate Electorates by B.R Ambedkar A demand for separate electorates for the Untouchables was put forward by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. In fact, there was a firm agreement and recommendation of the first Round Table Conference to the representation of Muslims, Indian Christians, Sikhs, Depressed Classes (dalits), Anglo-Indians and Europeans.