Gandhian era (1917-1947) Part II

Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922)

Gandhi announced his plan to begin Non-Cooperation with the government as a sequel to the Rowlatt Act, Jallianwala Bagh massacre & the Khilafat Movement & was approved by the I.N.C at the Nagpur session (not Calcutta session) in December, 1920.


  • Surrender of titles & honorary positions.

  • Resignation of membership from the local bodies.

  • Boycott of elections held under the provisions of the 1919 Act.

  • Boycott of government functions, courts, government schools, colleges.

  • Boycott of foreign goods.

  • Establishment of national schools, colleges & private panchayat courts.

  • Popularizing swadeshi goods & khadi.


  • Movement began with Mahatma Gandhi renouncing the titles, which were given by the British.• C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru gave up their legal practice and Subash Chandra Bose resigned from the Civil Service.
  • Students came out of the government educational institutions.
  • National schools such as the Kashi Vidyapeeth, the Bihar Vidyapeeth & the Jamia Millia Islamia were set up.

  • All the prominent leaders of the country gave up their lucrative legal practice.

  • No leader of the Congress came forward to contest the elections for the Legislatures.

  • In 1921, mass demonstrations were held against the Prince of Wales during his tour of India.

  • Many leaders were arrested & The Congress & the Khilafat Committees were proclaimed as illegal.

  • At several places, firing of foreign clothes were organised.

  • The message of Swadeshi spread everywhere & most of the households took to weaving cloths with the help of charkhas.

Suspension of the Non – Cooperation Movement

Chauri-Chaura Incident, 1922

  • A mob of people at Chauri Chaura in Gorakhpur, clashed with the police & burnt 22 policemen on 5th Feb, 1922.

  • Non-Cooperation Movement was abruptly called off on 11th February 1922 by Gandhi following the Churi Chaura incident in the Gorakpur district of U.P.

  • Many top leaders of the country were stunned at this sudden suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement.

  • Gandhi was arrested on 10 March 1922.

Significance of the Non-Cooperation Movement

  • First real mass movement with the participation of different sections of Indian society such as peasants, workers, students, teachers & women.

  • Spread of nationalism to the remote corners of India & marked the height of Hindu-Muslim unity as a result of the merger of Khilafat movement.

  • Demonstrated the willingness & ability of the masses to endure hardships & make sacrifices.

Swaraj Party, 1923

  • The suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement led to a split within Congress in the Gaya session of the Congress in December 1922.

  • Leaders like Motilal Nehru & Chittranjan Das formed the Swaraj Party on 1 Jan 1923 & Contested the elections.

  • In the Central Legislative Council Motilal Nehru became the leader of the party whereas in Bengal the party was headed by C.R. Das.

  • The Party did several significant things in the Legislative Council.

  • After the passing away of C.R. Das in June 1925, the Swaraj Party started weakening.

Simon Commission, 1927

  • In 1927, the British government appointed a Commission under John Simon to look into the working of the Government of India Act, 1919.

  • Indian leaders opposed the Commission as there were no Indian in it & the Congress turned the boycott into a movement.

  • Simon & his colleagues landed in Bombay on 3 February, 1928.

  • They were greeted with hartals & black flag demonstrations.

  • The government used brutal repression & police attacks to break the popular opposition.

  • At Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai was severely beaten in lathi charge & he succumbed to his injuries on 17 November, 1928.

  • There is no doubt that the Simon Commission’s Report became the basis for enacting the Government of India Act of 1935.

Butler Committee, 1927

  • Along with the Simon Commission the British Government also announced the setting up of a 3 member committee consisting of Harcourt Butler, W.S. Holdsworth & S.C. Peel.

  • To inquire into the relationship between the Indian states & paramount power.

  • To suggest ways & means for a more satisfactory adjustment of the existing economic relations between Britain and British India.

  • Officially called the Indian States Committee, it visited 16 Indian states & submitted its report in 1929.

Nehru Report, 1928

  • The Secretary of State, Lord Birkenhead, challenged the Indians to produce a Constitution that would be acceptable to all.

  • The challenge was accepted by the Congress, which convened an all party meeting on 28 Feb 1928.

  • A committee consisting of 8 (Tej Bahadur Sapru, Ali Imam, M.S. Aney, Mangal Singh, Shoaib Querishi, G.R. Pradhan and Subash Chandra Bose) was constituted to draw up a blueprint for the future Constitution of India. It was headed by Motilal Nehru.

  • The Report published by this Committee came to be known as the Nehru Report.

  • It remains memorable as the first major Indian effort to draft a constitutional framework.

  • Dominion Status as the next immediate step.

Fourteen Points, 1929

  • At a meeting of the Muslim League in Delhi on March 28, 1929, Jinnah announced the Fourteen Points.

  • Rejecting the Nehru Report he maintained that no scheme for the future government of India would be acceptable to Muslims until & unless the fourteen points were given effect to.

Dandi March, 1930

  • Gandhi submitted the Eleven Point Ultimatum to the British but after no response from the latter he launched the Civil Disobedience Movement with the Dandi March also called the Salt Satyagraha.

  • Along with 78 followers, Gandhiji started his march from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 1930 from the small village Dandi to break the salt law. He reached the sea shore on 6 April, 1930, picked up a handful of salt and inaugurated the Civil Disobedience Movement.

  • The salt satyagraha movement was taken up by C. Rajagopalachari in Tamil Nadu and the Vaikon Satyagraha by K. Kalappan in Malabar.

  • The salt satyagraha sparked off other forms of defiance. In the north east, the Pathans under Khan Abdul Gafar Khan, popularly known as Frontier Gandhi, organized the society of ‘Khudai Khidmadgars’ which was also known as Red Shirts.

  • This movement even sparked off patriotism among the Indian soldiers in the British army.

  • The Gharwal soldiers refused to fire on the people at Peshawar.

  • In Bengal, the Chittagong army raid was carried out in April 1930.

  • In Bihar there was a protest against Chowkidari tax in Saran, Bhagalpur and Monghyr.

Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-1934)

  • In the prevailing atmosphere of restlessness, the annual session of the Congress was held at Lahore in December 1929.

  • During this session presided over by Jawaharlal Nehru the Congress passed the Poorna Swaraj resolution.

  • Moreover, as the government failed to accept the Nehru Report, the Congress gave a call to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement.

  • Congress had also observed January 26, 1930 as the Day of Independence.

  • Since then Jan 26th had been observed as a day of independence every year.

  • Same date later became the Republic Day when the Indian Constitution was enforced in 1950.

First Round Table Conference, 1930

  • First conference arranged between the British & the Indians as equals.

  • It was held on 12 November, 1930 in London to discuss the Simon Commission recommendations.

  • Conference was boycotted by the INC, but the Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, Liberals & other groups were present.

  • Conference was postponed to 2 January, 1931 in the absence of any major political party.

Gandhi-Irwin Pact, 1931

  • Moderate statesmen Sapru, Jaikar and Srinivas Shastri initiated efforts to break the ice between Gandhiji & the government & Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed on 5 March, 1931.

  • In this the INC called off the Civil Disobedience Movement & agreed to join the second Round Table Conference.

  • Released political prisoners & conceded the right to make salt for consumption for villages along the coast.

  • Karachi session of 1931 endorsed the Pact and is also memorable for its resolution on Fundamental Rights & the National Economic Programme.

Second Round Table Conference, 1931

  • Gandhiji represented the INC & went to London to meet the British PM Ramsay Macdonald.

  • Gandhi demanded immediate establishment of a full responsible government at the Centre as well as in the provinces with complete control over defense, external affairs & finance.

  • Separate electorates were demanded not only by the Muslims but also by the depressed classes, Indian Christians & Anglo-Indians.

  • MacDonald announced the creation of two new Muslim majority provinces, North West Frontier Province and Sindh, set up a committee on franchise, finance and states & Communal Award.

  • Famous leaders in this conference M.K.Gandhi, Ambedkar, Sapru, Jayakar, Sarojini Naidu, Malaviya, etc.

  • On Gandhiji’s arrival in Bombay, the Congress Working Committee decided to resume the Civil Disobedience Movement.

  • In 1932, INC was declared an illegal organization & all its leaders arrested.

  • Gandhiji was sent to the Yeravada jail in Poona.

  • The Civil Disobedience Movement was withdrawn in 1934, as after that Gandhiji decided to make Harijan work the central plank of his new rural constructive program.

Communal Award, 1932
  • Announced by Ramsay MacDonald it showcased the Divide & Rule policy of the British by envisaging representation of Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, women and backward classes.

  • Gandhiji who was in Yeravada jail in Poona at the time started a fast unto death against it.

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