Karachi Congress Session—1931

The Karachi Congress Session 1931 was presided over by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It was a special session of Indian National Congress held at Karachi from March 26 to 31 in 1931 to endorse the Gandhi Irwin Pact. Mahatma Gandhi was nominated to represent the Indian National Congress in the Second Round Table Conference. Just 6 days before the Karachi session of congress 1931, the British had executed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. So there was widespread anger among the masses for the failure of Gandhi to secure commutation of the death sentence for Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru. When Mahatma Gandhi was on his way to attend the Karachi session of Congress 1931, he was greeted with black flags demonstrations as a protest over the fact that why Gandhi did not refuse to sign the pact over the issue of commutation of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. The protest was led by Punjab Naujawan Bharat Sabha.

Resolutions at Indian National Congress Karachi Session in 1931

At the Indian National Congress Karachi session in 1931, Congress passed resolution dissociating itself and disapproving the policy of political violence in any form. The resolution was drafted by Mahatma Gandhi which admired the bravery and sacrifice of the 3 Martyrs- Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru. The Congress also endorsed the Gandhi Irwin pact and also reiterated its goal of Purna Swaraj or complete Independence from the British.

Resolution on fundamental rights at Indian National Congress Karachi Session in 1931

In the Karachi Session 1931, Indian National Congress adopted two resolutions one on fundamental rights and other on the national economic programme which made the Karachi resolution memorable. The resolution on fundamental rights had following features:

  • Freedom of speech and expression of opinion, right to free association and right to assemble peacefully without arms.
  • Freedom of conscience and propagation of religion, subject to public order and morality.
  • Protection of language, culture and script of minorities.
  • Equality before law irrespective of religion, caste, creed or gender.
  • Equality of opportunity in public employment, office of power, honour etc.
  • Right to keep arms in accordance with the regulations and reservation made in that behalf.
  • Universal adult franchise.
  • Freedom of movement, stay and settle in any part of the country and follow any occupation, and acquire property.
  • Provision of free and compulsory education by the state.

Resolution on National Economic Programme at Karachi Congress Session 1931

At the Karachi Congress Session 1931 a resolution on a national economic programme also adopted. The main features of the national economic programme included:

  • Reform in the land revenue and rent on land to give relief to small peasantry and exemption of revenue in case of uneconomic land holdings.
  • Reduction in military expenditure by at least one half of the present scale.
  • Relief from the agricultural indebtedness.
  • Control on usury and money lending.
  • Improvements in the working conditions, improvement in the living wage, limited hours of work and protection for women workers.
  • Right to form unions for workers and peasants.
  • Government ownership and control of key industries, mines, and means of transport.
  • Regulation of currency and exchange rate in the National interest.

The Karachi Congress Session 1931 spelled out for the first time what Swaraj would mean for the masses. The Karachi Session of Congress 1931 remained an important aspect of the basic political and economic programme of Indian National Congress in the later years.

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