In November 1917, first Gujarat Political Conference took place in Godhra in Pachmahal district. It was historical because of few reasons one of which was, Gandhi being it’s president.
It was for the first time that Gandhi, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Sardar Patel, Lokmanya Tilak, Dadabhai Naoroji, and Indulal Yagnik shared a common platform demanding dominion status for India. And it was during this conference that the Grand Old Man from Gujarat, barrister Abbas Ali Tayyabji, became a key member in aiding Bapu in his fight against untouchability.
The conference had also resolved on a joint Congress-Muslim League deputation, led by Jinnah, to meet British liberal and secretary of state for India, Edwin Samuel Montagu, to discuss the dominion status. The conference had begun with the song ‘Jay Jay Garvi Gujarat’ followed by a song on Jinnah called “Han Re Aavo Jinnah, Padharo priya Jinnah; Shri Ram-Rehman Ek Manta, Muslim-Hindu Ek Jaani..”, and a song dedicated to Tilak called, “Bharat Bhuv Ne Tilak Saman, LokManya Nu Kare Samman…”
During the three day conference which began from November 3, Bapu’s trusted associate Mahadev Desai and his wife Durgaben finally decided to accompany Mahatma and thus began a relationship that would last for the quarter of a century.
It’s also known that during this conference, Gandhi insisted Jinnah to speak in Gujarati while addressing the people, which upset Jinaah. Tilak too was requested to speak in Hindi, but the leader admitted that he will be more comfortable talking in Marathi.”
Twenty-seven years after the Gujarat Political Conference, in 1944 when the ‘two nation theory’ was the only way out, Gandhi remembered the incident and said: “Jinnah has hated me since the day I asked him to give up English and speak in Gujarati.”
238. First Gujarat Political Conference