Short essay on the Non Co-operation Movement

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a. Introduction:

Suspension of the Rowlatt Satyagraha by Gandhiji caused much resentment among some of the national leaders. The repressive measures adopted by the British were also responsible for the slow pace of the national movement.

Meanwhile rise in the price level following the First World War was also causing much hardship to the people. All these factors combined together to inaugurate a new chapter in the freedom movement.

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Here was the beginning of the Non-violent Non Co-operation movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

b. Causes and Objectives of the Movement:

The four underlying causes of the Non Co-operation were: a. People’s resentment against the Rowlatt Act b. People’s reaction to the ghastly massacre at the Jallianwalabag c. the demand for Swaraj jointly raised by the Moderates under the Extremists and d. The possibility of a Hindu- Muslim joint movement on the Khilafat question. The Non Co­operation movement launched on the basis of the above had three clear objectives in view, namely: a. Remedy of the Punjab wrongs done by the British, b. Vindication of the prestige of the Calipnate and c. Fulfillment of the demand for Swaraj.

c. Beginning of the Movement:

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Gandhiji’s programme of Non Co­operation had two distinct aspects. One was non co-operation with the British in a non-violent way and this included renunciation of the titles conferred by the British government, boycott of British courts, legislatures, etc.

The constructive or positive aspect of the Non Co-operation included establishment of National School, promotion of Swadeshi and hand-spinning, to do away with untouchability, promotion of communal harmony, etc. Gandhiji formally launched the Non Co-operation movement by renouncing the honorific title ‘Kaiser-i-Hind’ conferred upon him by the British government.

d. Participation of the Peasantry:

During the Movement the Indian peasantry also started voicing protests against their various grievances.

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The first peasant’s movement had begun at Rae Bareili and Faizabad (in present Uttar Pradesh) where the tenant farmers burst into revolt and stopped paying illegal taxes.

e. The Chauri Chaura Incident:

Intensity of the Non Co-operation movement alarmed the British government so much that they took recourse to repressive measures to suppress the peaceful volunteers.

Despite Gandhiji’s appeal to the Satyagrahis to remain peaceful there had been clashes between the police and the people in some places following police action beyond endurance.

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However, a violent incident that took place at Chauri Chaura ultimately led to the suspension of the Non Co-operation Movement by Gandhiji.

The incident was that in the village Chauri Chaura, near Gorakhpur in U P., an infuriated mob set the Police Station on fire and as a result a number of constables were burnt to death. This incident took place on 4 February, 1922.

f. Withdrawal of the Movement:

Gandhiji’s movement was a nonviolent movement. There was no scope of violence in it Realizing that his movement was drifting towards violence Gandhiji immediately declared its withdrawal (1922).

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Though Gandhiji’s decision was later on duly ratified by the Indian National Congress yet at least to some the suspension of the movement appeared as a bolt from the blue.

This was how the first phase of the Non co­operation movement came to an end.

g. An Assessment:

The Non Co-operation Movement of 1920 failed to achieve its immediate goal of establishing Swaraj in India.

But this apparent failure must not blind us about the immense impacts the movement had on India and her people.

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