Sample essay on Non-co-operation movement (India)


The next important step in the development of the National Movement was the starting of Non-Co-operation Movement by the Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. It was a revolutionary step because the Congress for the first time decided to follow a policy of direct action.

Several factors were responsible for this change. Firstly, Mahatma Gandhi had lost faith in good sense of the English due to Jallianwala Bagh tragedy, Martial Law in the Punjab and the Report of the Hunter Committee. He felt that the old methods must be given up. Secondly, the Liberals had withdrawn from the Congress over the question of the acceptance of the Reforms of 1919 and the Extremists were in control of the Congress. This enabled the Congress to adopt a revolutionary programme. Thirdly, the Indian Muslims resented the harsh terms imposed by the Treaty of Seves in Turkey.

They were further irritated by the fact that the British Government was doing nothing for the preservation of the office of the Khilafat. They started Khilafat Movement to agitate for the preservation of the religious office of the Khalifa. Mahatma Gandhi thought that Hindu-Muslim unity could be achieved by taking up the causc of Khilafat.


A special session of the Congress was held at Calcutta in September 1920 under the Presidentship of Lala Lajpat Rai. The Non-operation Resolution moved by Mahatma Gandhi was carried by a majority. It clearly started the programme of non-co-operation.

Titles were to be surrendered. Non-cooperators were to resign from honorary offices and nominated posts. They were not to attend Government functions and were to withdraw their children gradually frorn schools and colleges. Law courts were to be boycotted and private arbitration courts were to be set up.

They were neither to contest the election nor to vote. Swadeshi cloth was to be used. They were to follow non-violence strictly The Non-co-operation Movement became widespread. Many Hindus and Muslims joined it. Foreign goods were burnt. Many student left schools and colleges, and national institution like Kashi Vidyapith and Jamia Millia were started. About 20,000 Charkhas were manufactured. Many surrendered their titles. Hartals were observed in Bombay and Calcutta when Prince of Wales visited these place in 1921.

The Government retaliated by following the policy of repression. Non- co-operator were mercilessly beaten and their meetings were dispersed with force.


All Congress leaders except Mahatma Gandhi were imprisoned. He was not arrested because the Government feared trouble from his arrest. About 25,000 persons were sent behind the bars. Mahatma Gandhi now decided to start mass Civil Disobedience Movement and gave seven days notice to the Governor- General. It could be postponed only it all non-violent non-co-operators were released and the Government announced the absolute non-interference with all non-violent activities.

Before the notice period of seven days expired, the Chauri Chaura tragedy occurred. The mob of about 3,300 person killed 21 policemen and one inspector, some of whom were burnt alive in a police station. It was too much for the non-violent Mahatma Gandhi to tolerate and he gave orders for the suspension of Non-cooperation Movement. Mahatma Gandhi was bitterly criticised for this The Government finding his popularit waning, prosecuted and sentenced hi^ to imprisonment for six years. He was however, released in 1924 on health grounds.

Mahatma Gandhi was bitterly criticised by Pt. Moti Lai Nehru, Lala Lajpat Rai, Subhash Chandra Bose and C.R. Das for suspending Non-co­operation movement. It was, however, justified later on by Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru on grounds of practical politics. Chauri Chaura incident was not solitary one. Thertr ^as no discipline among Congress except Mahatma Gandhi were imprisoned, and it was difficult to himto control the movement single handed.

The Non-cooperation Movement failed in its objects, Firstly, it failed to secure the redress of Punjab wrongs. Secondly, the objects of saving the office 0f Khilafat was not achieved. The Turks themselves exiled the Khalifa and abolished the Khilafat in 1922. Thirdly, the sudden suspension of the movement adversely affected Hindu-Muslim relations.


simon commission

The British Government appointed Simon Commission in 1927 to report about the constitutional progress in India since the inauguration of Reforms of 1919. All its members were Englishmen and it was boycotted by all the parties in India. Hartals were observed and it was welcomed with black flags. Its members were a’sked by the people everywhere to go back. Still it completed its work and submitted its report in 1930 which was made the basis for the Government of Indian Act of 1935.

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