Essay on The Civil Disobedience Movement, 1930-34

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The Non-Cooperation Movement exerted tremendous pressure on the British Government to look into Indian affairs with more attention. So Simon Commission was appointed by the British Government to look into Indian affairs in 1927. It was boycotted by Indian leaders and greeted with black flags everywhere in the country.

In 1928, a small committee, appointed under the Chairmanship of Motilal Nehru, prepared a report. The Nehru Report demanded Dominion status for India. However, in the Lahore session of Indian National Congress in 1829, Nehru report was reviewed and in place of Dominion status “Purna Swaraj” was demanded. The working committee of the Congress authorized Mahatma Gandhi to launch Civil Disobedience Movement against the British.

Gandhiji wrote a letter to the Viceroy Irwin to abolish salt tax, reduce military expenditure, and issue licenses of arms to Indian citizens for self-protection, release of political prisoners etc. on 2 March, 1930. The Viceroy did not pay any heed to it. This prompted Mahatma Gandhi to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement against the British.

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On 12 March, 1930, he started his journey from the Sabarmati Ashram and reached the seashore of Dandy on 5 April, 1930. He broke the Salt Law by touching the water and establishing the claim of India over it for its manufacturing. He was arrested and thrown into the prison. This created uproar in the mind of the Indians. Lakhs of Satyagrahi throughout the country protested against it. The Government issued ordinance and resorted to repressive measures.

Basing on the report of the Simon Commission, the British Government arranged the First Round Table Conference at London in 1930. The Congress boycotted it and the conference ended in a fiasco. After Gandhi-Irwin Pact on 26 January 1931, Gandhi represented the Second Round Table Conference’ at London in 1931 after the suspension of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Gandhi tried his best to convince the conservative Government of England to grant some administrative concession to the people of India but it fell in deaf ears. So Gandhi returned hopeless.

Back home, Gandhiji wanted to revive the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Congress ordered for it. Now, the British Government resorted to action and imprisoned the Indian National Congress leaders. Meanwhile Mac Donald, the British Prime Minister, announced Communal Award.by assigning separate electorate for the depressed classes.

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Gandhi boycotted the Third Round Table Conference and in protest against the Mac Donald Award, he carried on fasting for long 21 days. In 1933, Gandhiji advised for the suspension of mass Civil Disobedience Movement.

However, he suggested for the individual Satyagraha. As this movement could not exert any lasting influence over the people, it was suspended by the Congress in 1934. The Civil Disobedience Movement was unique in many ways. It increased among Indians a spirit of fearlessness, self-reliance, toleration, sacrifice and boldness. It was the second great national movement which brought the Indian mass into the forefront of India’s struggle for freedom.

The people now became bold enough to face the British Government. This movement created dissension among the Hindus. The Mac Donald Award led B. R. Ambedkar to organize the depressed classes and wanted them to alienate from Congress for the fulfillment of their goal. The Muslims did not show their sympathy towards this movement, still then; Gandhi was able to mobilize the mass by this Civil Disobedience Movement.

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