With the advent of Gandhi Indian national Movement assumed a kind of dynamism which was never seen before. A special session of the congress was held at Calcutta in September 1920 and this session marks the beginning of the Gandhian era. The congress supported Gandhi’s plan for non-cooperation with the Government till the Punjab and Khilafat wrongs were removed and swaraj established. The people were asked to boycott government educational institutions, law courts and legislatures and to practise hand-spinning. This decision was endorsed at the annual session of the congress held at Nagpur in December 1920. There Gandhi declared,” The British people will have to beware that if they do not want to do justice, it will be the bounden duty of every Indian to destroy the Empire”.
He said that ‘non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good’. He combined his Non co-operation Movement with the Khilafat Movement. He believed in the ideal of Hindu-Muslim unity. This was the first experiment of direct action in Indian politics, As a result the people of India acquired a feeling of self-reliance and the courage to challenge the might of the British Government.
On 1st February 1922, Mahatma Gandhi announced that he would start mass civil disobedience including non-payment of taxes unless within seven days the political prisoners were released and the press freed from government control. On 5th February there took place serious rioting at Chauri-chaura near Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. The mob set fire to a police station as a result of which 22 policemen were burnt alive. Gandhiji took a very serious view of this incident. He realised that the countrymen were not yet ready for a non-violent movement.
So he withdrew the Non cooperation movement Mahatma Gandhi had the courage to withdraw the movement when it was at its height. He was arrested and sentenced to six years’ simple imprisonment. At his trial, he pleaded guilty to the charge and invited the court to award him “the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen”.
Mahatma Gandhi continued to dominate the politics of the country from that time. In 1929 the Lahore session of the congress passed the resolution of ‘Poorna Swaraj’ and Gandhi decided to start the civil Disobedience Movement. It ushered in another phase of Gandhian mass movement.