Essay on Non-Cooperation Movement

INTRODUCTION

The ‘Indian Experiment’ or ‘Non Cooperation Movement’ of 1920-22 was undertaken by Indian National Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi believed that the Government of India functioned on the basis of cooperation of Indians. Moreover it was the duty of government to pay heed to the demands of the people.

But when the government refuses to do so then Indians have right to withdraw that cooperation and in the absence of such cooperation, the government is bound to fall. This movement was responsible for bringing Gandhi within the folds of Congress and also for bringing Congress to national platform.

REASONS

Every segment of Indian society was itching due to the following reasons:

  1. ROWLATT ACT:- According to this Act, the government had right to detente without trail for a maximum period of 2 years. One could not appeal against the orders of court. Thus it outraged the Indians for their freedom was at stake.
  2. JALLIANWALLA BAGH MASSACRE (1919):-A crowd of young and old had gathered for a fair at Jallainwalla Bagh on April 13, 1919. General Dyer took the gathering as a sign of opposition and ordered firing. As a result, hundred were killed. This outraged the whole country against the British.
  3. MARTIAL LAW:-British government witnessed oppositions against her particularly in Punjab and implemented martial law. Indians were further outraged.
  4. NEGLECT OF KHILAFAT COMMITTEE:-British government neglected the demands of Khilafat Committee which made Indian Muslims angry over the British government.
  5. RISING PRICES:-High prices of commodities, droughts and epidemics were some other reasons which were responsible for the uprising of Non-cooperation Movement.

LAUNCH

The Non-cooperation Movement was launched formally on August 1, 1920, the day on which Lokmanya Tilak breathed his last.

MAIN AIMS

The programme of the Non-cooperation Movement had two main aspects

  1. CONSTRUCTIVE PROGRAMMES
    1. The nationalisation of education.
    2. The promotion of indigenous goods.
    3. The popularisation of Charkha and
    4. Enrolment of voluntary corps.
  2. DESTRUCTIVE PROGRAMMES
    1. Boycott of law courts.
    2. Boycott of educational institutions.
    3. Boycott of election to the legislatures.
    4. Boycott of official functions.
    5. Boycott of British goods as well as surrender of honours and titles conferred by British.
    6. Refusal of military recruitments.

EVENTS

The campaign for Non-cooperation and boycott started with great enthusiasm from early 1921. However some changes in the central emphasis of the movement were noticed from one phase to other during the course of the movement.

  1. In the first phase the main emphasis was on the boycott of schools, colleges, law courts and use of Charkha. There was unrest among students. Many lawyers gave up their legal practice.
  2. In the 2nd phase, there was collection of 10 million rupees for Tilak Swaraj Fund. 10 million Congress members were enrolled. 2 million Charkhas were installed.
  3. In the 3rd phase, stress was on boycott of foreign clothes, boycott of forthcoming visit of Prince of Wales, popularisation of Charkha and Khadi and Jail Bharo by Congress volunteers.
  4. In the last phase, there was a shift towards radicalism. The Congress volunteers rallied the people and the country was on the verge of revolt.

WITHDRAWAL OF THE MOVEMENT

Following reasons forced Gandhi to withdraw the Non-cooperation Movement.

  1. An encounter took place at Chauri Chaura in Bihar on 5th February 1922 A.D. before the beginning of Civil Disobedience Movement between the Satyagrahis and the police.

When the police opened fire on the mob and killed some persons, the angry mob set the police station on fire. As a result 22 policemen were burnt alive. Mahatma Gandhi decided to withdraw the movement.

  1. He felt that the movement was turning violent in many places and this was against his non-violence principles.
  2. Within the Congress, some leaders were tired of mass struggles and they now wanted to participate in elections.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  1. There was a progress in the development of communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims.
  2. A lot of national institutions were established throughout the country e.g. Jamia Milia Islamia, Bengal National University etc.
  3. Swadeshi concept became a household world.
  4. Tilak Swaraj Fund was established.
  5. Hartals were organised at the arrival of Prince of Wales in 1921 A.D. etc.

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