LONDON, Sept. 14, 1931 (UP) The federal structure committee of the Indian round table conference met today to consider a constitution for India, holding one-fifth of the population of the world.
The constitutional problem is one of the most difficult of many difficult problems facing the British government. Against the primary purpose of the government of retaining the authority of the crown over India is the ardent wish of Indian politicians, heightened by almost religious zeal, for complete freedom from the British yoke. Both in Britain and India, there is extreme difficulty in finding a program that a majority can agree to.
The meeting convened at 11 a.m. at St. James Palace. Mahatma M. K. Gandhi, leader of the Indian Nationalists, arrived 12 minutes later. He was observing his regular weekly day of silence.
Gandhi was accompanied by Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, popularly known as India's Joan of Arc and the only woman ever chosen president of the Nationalist Congress, and his secretary, Madaheo Desai. He rode to the palace in the back seat of a small car.
Mrs. Naidu carried a thermos flask of goat's milk and Desai a package, apparently containing nuts and fruit, indicating that Gandhi felt that he had insufficient time to ride from the palace to Kingsley Hall, the welfare center in the east end where he is living, to have his lunch.
Gandhi, wearing his usual costume of loin cloth, shawls, and sandals, saw that escape was impossible. He hurried thru the crowd as rapidly as possible.
In contrast with the mahatma's small auto, most of the Indian delegates arrived in huge Daimlers or Rolls-Royces.
The delegates met at a rectangular table in an ante-room between the throne room and Queen Anne's drawing room. Gandhi sat at the immediate left of the chairman of the Federal Structure Committee, Lord Sankey.
The Federal Structure Committee adjourned after an hour's session, unable to complete the general discussions on account of Gandhi's observance of his "day of silence." Delegates said they hoped the preliminary discussions would be completed tomorrow.