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India Nationalism: Gandhian Phase - Non-Cooperation Movement and Its Fallout | 10th Social Science : History : Chapter 8 : Nationalism: Gandhian Phase

Chapter: 10th Social Science : History : Chapter 8 : Nationalism: Gandhian Phase

Non-Cooperation Movement and Its Fallout

The Indian National Congress approved the non-cooperation movement in a special session held in Calcutta on September 1920. (a) No-Tax Campaign and Chauri Chaura Incident (b) Swarajists (c) Constructive Programme of Gandhi (d) Boycott of Simon Commission (e) Nehru Report

Non-Cooperation Movement and Its Fallout

The Indian National Congress approved the non-cooperation movement in a special session held in Calcutta on September 1920. It was subsequently passed in the Nagpur Session held on December 1920, Chaired by Salem C.Vijayaraghavachariar. The programme of non-cooperation included:

1. Surrender of all titles of honours and honorary offices.

2. Non-participation in government functions.

3. Suspension of practice by lawyers, and settlement of court disputes by private arbitration.

4. Boycott of government schools by children and parents.

5. Boycott of the legislature created under the 1919 Act.

6. Non-participation in government parties and other official functions.

7. Refusal to accept any civil or military post.

8. Boycott of foreign goods and spreading the doctrine of Swadeshi.


(a) No-Tax Campaign and Chauri Chaura Incident

Gandhi announced a no-tax campaign in Bardoli in February 1922. These movements greatly enhanced Gandhi’s reputation as a national leader, especially the peasants. Gandhi made a nation-wide tour. Wherever he visited there was a bonfire of foreign cloth. Thousands left government jobs, students gave up their studies in large numbers and the lawyers gave up thriving practices. Boycott of British goods and institutions were effective. The boycott of the Prince of Wales’ visit to India was successful.

On 5 February 1922 a procession of the nationalists in Chauri Chaura, a village near Gorakhpur in present-day Uttar Pradesh provoked by the police turned violent. The police finding themselves outnumbered shut themselves inside the police station. The mob burnt the police station 22 policemen lost their lives. Gandhi immediately withdrew the movement.


(b) Swarajists

Meanwhile Congress was divided into two groups viz. pro-changers and no-changers. Some of the Congressmen led by Motilal Nehru and C.R. Das wanted to contest the elections and enter the legislature. They argued that the national interest could be promoted by working in the Legislative Councils under Dyarchy and wrecking the colonial government within. They were called the pro -changers. Staunch followers of Gandhi like Vallabhbhai Patel, C. Rajaji and others, known as no-changers, wanted to continue non-cooperation with the government. Despite the opposition C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru formed the Swaraj Party on 1 January 1923, which was later approved by a special session of the Congress. Swaraj Party members were elected in large numbers to the Imperial Legislative Assembly and the various Provincial Legislative Councils. They effectively used the legislature as a platform for propagation of nationalist ideas. In Bengal, they refused to take charge of transferred subjects, as they did not want to cooperate with the government. They exposed the true nature of the colonial government. However, the Swaraj Party began to decline after the death of its leader C.R. Das in 1925.

Dyarchy, a system of dual government introduced under the Government of India Act 1919, divided the powers of the provincial government into Reserved and Transferred subjects. The Reserved Subjects comprising finance, defence, the police, justice, land revenue, and irrigation were in the hands of the British. The Transferred Subjects that included local self-government, education, public health, public works, agriculture, forests and fisheries were left under the control of Indian ministers. The system ended with the introduction of provincial autonomy in 1935.


(c) Constructive Programme of Gandhi

After the Chauri Chaura incident, Gandhi felt that the volunteers and the people had to be trained for a non-violent struggle. As a part of this effort he focused on promoting Khadi, Hindu-Muslim unity and the abolition of untouchability. He exhorted the Congressmen, “Go throughout your districts and spread the message of Khaddar, the message of Hindu-Muslim unity, the message of anti-untouchability and take up in hand the youth of the country and make them the real soldiers of Swaraj.” He made it compulsory for all Congress members to wear khaddar. The All India Spinner’s Association was formed.


(d) Boycott of Simon Commission

On 8 November 1927, the British Government announced the appointment of the Indian Statutory Commission. Composed of seven members headed by Sir John Simon it came to be widely known as the Simon Commission. It was an all-white commission with no Indian member. Indians were angered that they had been denied the right to decide their own constitution. All sections of India including the Congress and the Muslim League decided to boycott the commission. Wherever the Commission went there were protests, and black flag marches with the slogan ‘Go Back Simon’. The protesters were brutally assaulted by the police. In one such assault in Lahore, Lal Lajpat Rai was seriously injured and died a few days later.


(e) Nehru Report

The Simon boycott united the different political parties in India. An all party conference was held in 1928 with the objective to frame a constitution for India as an alternative to the Simon Commission proposals. A committee under the leadership of Motilal Nehru was formed to outline the principles on the basis of which the constitution was to be drafted. The committee’s report, known as the Nehru Report, recommended,

• Dominion status for India.

• Elections of the Central Legislature and the Provincial Legislatures on the basis of joint and mixed electorates.

• Reservation of seats for Muslims in the Central Legislature and in provinces where they are in a minority and for the Hindus in North-West Frontier Province where they were in a minority.

• Provision of fundamental rights, and universal adult franchise.

Jinnah proposed an amendment to the reservation of seats in the Central Legislature. He demanded that one-third of the seats be reserved for Muslims. Tej Bahadur Sapru supported him and pleaded that it would make no big difference. However, it was defeated in the All Party Conference. Later he proposed a resolution which came to be known as Jinnah’s Fourteen Points. However, it was also rejected. Jinnah who was hailed as Ambassador of Hindu–Muslim Unity thereafter changed his stand and began to espouse the cause of a separate nation for Muslims.

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