Family remembers Sir Sultan Ahmed"s participation in Round Table Conference with Gandhi

  • | Sunday | 2nd October, 2022

Patna, Oct 2 (PTI) Renowned barrister Sir Sultan Ahmed had taken part in the second Round Table Conference in 1931 along with Mahatma Gandhi and a host of other top leaders, a historic event that was held in London to consider the future government of India.On Gandhi"s 153rd anniversary on Sunday, family members of Sir Sultan, as he was fondly known, recalled his association with the Mahatma during India"s struggle for freedom and self-rule.  They also heaved a sigh a relief after the Patna High Court recently granted a stay on the proposed demolition of the iconic 100-year-old Sultan Palace in Patna by the Bihar government for constructing a five-star hotel.  The grand palace with Indo-Saracenic architecture, was built by Ahmed in 1922 as his residence."We were all under great stress since the demolition decision was announced by the government a few months ago. This place is not just an ornate building erected by a well-known barrister, but it stands as a tangible memories of the history gone by."Sir Sultan"s life was extraordinary and he was part of so many historic events till his death in 1960s. Today being Gandhi Jayanti, it reminds us of his participation in the Round Table Conference in London," his great-grandson Alamdar Hussain said."We have old, black and whites pictures of him sitting at the second Round Table Conference, and Gandhiji, Pt Madan Mohan Malviya and other leaders sitting across him during the conference," he said, with pride in his voice.Hussain, a lawyer at the Patna High Court where Ahmed had a stint as a judge before becoming a member of the Viceroy"s Executive Council, said he brought his legal acumen and clarity of thinking to the table during the 1931 conference. Prior to that he was also the first Indian vice chancellor of Patna University from 1923-30.Salman Hussain, another great-grandson of Sir Sultan Ahmed also expressed relief over the high court stay on the demolition of Sultan Palace and recalled Ahmed"s association with Gandhi and other leaders during the freedom struggle."The palace represents not just a heritage of Patna but whole of India, and it should be preserved as a priceless heritage associated with a personality like Sir Sultan Ahmed," he said.Salman said, in the book "Freedom and Partition:The Seasons Changed: Life and Times of Sir Sultan Ahmed" authored by Ahmed"s grandson Tanvirul Hasan, his visit to London to attend the Round Table Conference and his contribution to it is aptly described."Between 1930 and 1932, the British government called a series of conferences to consider the future government of India. The first session was opened by King George V in the Royal Gallery in the House of Lords and chaired by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. Representatives of several Indian political parties attended the meeting alongside British politicians," according to official website of UK Parliament.However, members of the Indian National Congress, including Mahatma Gandhi, did not participate (in the first session), because they initiated the Civil Disobedience Movement in India, and many members were subsequently incarcerated, it said.Three sessions were held as part of the Round Table Conference, and Gandhi who represented the Indian National Congress, only took part in the second conference after the Gandhi-Irwin Pact of 1931."On August 29, 1931, Gandhi sailed for England in the SS Rajputana to attend the second Round Table Conference. He went as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress. All the delegates were nominees of the British Government," according to website.  Gandhi had pleaded for an honourable and equal partnership between Britain and India, held not by force but "by the silken cord of love", it said.The Round Table Conference resulted from a review of the Government of India Act of 1919, undertaken in 1927 by the Simon Commission, whose report was published in 1930.Little was resolved at the first conference. Again, the second and third conferences did not succeed in determining the future of Indian rule, "although the concluding recommendations of the meetings influenced the passing of the Government of India Act, 1935 which granted partial autonomy to India", the UK Parliament website said. PTI KND TDS TDS

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