Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922)

Mahatma Gandhi announced his plan to begin Non-Cooperation with the government as a sequel to the Rowlatt Act, Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Khilafat Movement. It was approved by the Indian National Congress at the Nagpur session in December, 1920.

Programmes

  • The programmes of the Non-Cooperation Movement were:
  • Surrender of titles and honorary positions.
  • Resignation of membership from the local bodies.
  • Boycott of elections held under the provisions of the 1919 Act.
  • Boycott of government functions.
  • Boycott of courts, government schools and colleges.
  • Boycott of foreign goods.
  • Establishment of national schools, colleges and private panchayat courts.
  • Popularizing swadeshi goods and khadi (Home spun cloth).

The movement began with Mahatma Gandhi renouncing the titles, which were given by the British. Other leaders and influential persons also followed him by surrendering their honorary posts and titles. Students came out of the government educational institutions.

National schools such as the Kashi Vidyapeeth, the Bihar Vidyapeeth and the Jamia Millia Islamia were set up. All the prominent leaders of the country gave up their lucrative legal practice. Legislatures were boycotted. 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. The government resorted to strong measures of repression. Many leaders were arrested. The Congress and the Khilafat Committees were proclaimed as illegal. At several places, bonfires of foreign clothes were organised.

The message of Swadeshi spread everywhere. Most of the households took to weaving cloths with the help of charkhas. But the whole movement was abruptly called off on 11th February 1922 by Gandhi following the Churi Chaura incident in the Gorakpur district of U.P.

Earlier on 5th February an angry mob set fire to the police station at Churi Chaura and twenty two police men were burnt to death. Many top leaders of the country were stunned at this sudden suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement. Mahatma Gandhi was arrested on 10 March 1922.

Significance of the Non-Cooperation Movement

1. It was the real mass movement with the participation of different sections of Indian society such as peasants, workers, students, teachers and women.

2. It witnessed the spread of nationalism to the remote corners of India.

3. It also marked the height of Hindu-Muslim unity as a result of the merger of Khilafat movement.

4. It demonstrated the willingness and ability of the masses to endure hardships and make sacrifices.

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