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Non-Cooperation Movement

Non-Cooperation Movement: On September 5, 1920, the non-cooperation movement was founded. The party launched the Non-Cooperation Movement during a Congress session in Calcutta in September 1920. The non-cooperation movement was active from September 1920 to February 1922. It marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the Indian liberation fight.

The Non-Cooperation Movement was begun in the aftermath of a number of incidents, notably the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, and was put on hold due to the Chauri Chaura incident in 1922.

It was the transformation of an individual movement into a mass movement. The goal of non-cooperation was to achieve full independence, also known as Purna Swaraj.  It marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the Indian Independence Struggle.

Timeline of Non-Cooperation Movement

Causes of Non-Cooperation Movement

  • Resentment at the British after the war: Indians believed that they would be rewarded with autonomy at the end of the war in exchange for their significant contribution of people and resources to Britain during the First World War. However, the Government of Indian Act of 1919 proved unsatisfactory. Furthermore, the British enacted harsh legislation such as the Rowlatt Act, which enraged many Indians who felt deceived by the rulers despite their wartime assistance.
  • Home Rule Movement: Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Home Rule Movement laid the groundwork for the non-cooperation movement. The INC’s radicals and moderates were unified, and the Lucknow Pact also witnessed cooperation between the Muslim League and the Congress Party. With the restoration of the radicals, the INC took on a more militant tone.
  • Economic troubles as a result of World War I: India’s participation in the war resulted in significant economic sufferings for the people. Prices of products began to rise, affecting the average person. Peasants suffered as well since agricultural commodity prices did not rise. All of this fueled anger of the government.
  • The Rowlatt Act and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre: The restrictive Rowlatt Act, as well as the horrible slaughter at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, had a tremendous impact on Indian politicians and the people. Their confidence in the British legal system had been shaken, and the entire country rallied behind its leaders, who were advocating for a more aggressive and uncompromising approach against the government.
  • The Khilafat Movement: During World War I, Turkey, as one of the Central Powers, fought against the British. Following Turkey’s defeat, the Ottoman caliphate was recommended to be abolished. Muslims revered Turkey’s Sultan as their Caliph (religious head of the Muslims). The Ali Brothers (Maulana Mohammed Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali), Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, and Hasrat Mohani led the Khilafat movement. It received Mahatma Gandhi’s help in convincing the British administration not to dismantle the caliphate. The leaders of this movement supported Gandhiji’s non-cooperation campaign and organized a unified protest against the British.

Features of Non-Cooperation Movement

  • The movement was mostly a nonviolent and peaceful protest against British rule in India.
  • As a form of protest, Indians were requested to forfeit their titles and resign from appointed positions in local authorities.
  • People were requested to resign from their positions in the administration.
  • People were told to take their children out of government-controlled or assisted schools and universities.
  • People were encouraged to reject foreign items in favour of Indian-made ones.
  • People were asked to boycott the legislative council elections.
  • Individuals were requested not to serve in the British army.
  • It was also envisaged that if the preceding procedures failed to produce results, individuals would refuse to pay their taxes.
  • Swarajya, or self-government, was also desired by the INC.
  • To have the requests met, only fully nonviolent tactics would be used.
  • The non-cooperation campaign was a watershed moment in the independence movement because it demonstrated that the INC was willing to sacrifice constitutional measures to attain self-rule for the first time.
  • Gandhiji had promised that if the movement was carried out to its conclusion, Swaraj would be attained within a year.

Reasons for Suspension of Non-Cooperation Movement

  • In the aftermath of the Chauri Chaura tragedy, Gandhiji called off the campaign in February 1922.
  • During a conflict between police and demonstrators of the movement in Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, a violent crowd set fire to a police station, killing 22 officers.
  • Gandhiji halted the campaign, claiming that the people were not prepared to rise against the government via ahimsa. Several leaders, like Motilal Nehru and C R Das, were opposed to the campaign being suspended just because of isolated acts of violence.

Effects of Non-Cooperation Movement

The non-cooperation movement was not a success, although it had a small influence. Here are all of the consequences of this movement:

  • Individuals formed an anti-British feeling as a result of the movement, which led to people attempting to overthrow British control and leaders.
  • When the Khilafat movement fused with the non-cooperation movement, it drew Hindus and Muslims together.
  • Boycotting British items and promoting khadi products
  • This was the first movement in which huge numbers of people participated; it drew individuals of many classes together in the protest, such as peasants, merchants, and so on.
  • The British administration was taken aback by the magnitude of the movement.
  • It drew participation from both Hindus and Muslims, demonstrating the country’s communal unity.
  • The Congress Party’s appeal among the people was built as a result of this movement. People were aware of their political rights as a result of this campaign. They had no fear of the authorities.
  • Throngs of individuals flocked to prisons willingly.
  • As a result of the boycott of British products, Indian merchants and mill owners made a lot of money at this time. Khadi was given a raise.
  • During this time, sugar imports from the United Kingdom fell dramatically.
  • This campaign also positioned Gandhiji as a leader of the masses.

Role of Famous Personalities in Non-Cooperation Movement

Personalities Associated with Non-Cooperation Movement Role in the Non-Cooperation Movement
Mahatma Gandhi
  • The main force behind the movement
  • In 1920, he issued a manifesto.
C.R. Das
  • In the annual session of the Congress in Nagpur in 1920, he introduced the primary resolution on non-cooperation.
  • His three subordinates and allies, Birendranath Samsal in Midnapore, J.M. Sengupta in Chittagong, and Subhash Bose in Calcutta, were instrumental in bringing Hindus and Muslims together.
Jawaharlal Nehru
  • Supported the formation of Kisan Sabhas.
  • Was opposed to Gandhi’s decision to call off the movement.
Subhash Chandra Bose
  • Resigned from government service
  • Appointed as Principal of Calcutta’s National College
Ali brothers (Shaukat Ali and Muhammad Ali)
  • Muhammed Ali proclaimed at the All India Khilafat Conference that “it was spiritually forbidden for Muslims to stay in the British Army.”
Motilal Nehru
  • Renounced his legal practice
Lala Lajpat Rai
  • Initially did not support the movement
  • Later, he was against its withdrawal
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
  • Spread the movement in Gujarat


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