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Non Cooperation Movement
Causes of the Non Cooperation Movement
Annulment of the Rowlatt Act, and remedying the Punjab Wrong, ie., the British Government should express its regret on the happenings in the Punjab particularly in Amritsar. Remedying the "Khilafat Wrong", i.e. the British should adopt a lenient attitude towards Turkey, which was one of the defeated countries in the First World War. Satisfying the nationalist urge for "Swaraj" by offering a new scheme of meaningful and substantial reforms.
When the British refused to meet any one of the main demands of the Congress, an All-Party conference was held at Allahabad in June, 1920 and a program of boycott of Government Schools, Colleges and Law Courts was approved. The Congress met in a special session in September, 1920 at Calcutta and agreed to start the non-cooperation movement unless the British meet its demands. This decision was further endorsed at its Nagpur session held in December, 1920. The Congress, therefore, under the leadership of Gandhi started the Non-cooperation Movement in right earnest in January, 1921.
Programs taken-up in the Non Cooperation Movement
Boycott of Government or semi-government schools and Colleges of British Courts, of elections to be held for the councils as suggested by the Reforms of 1919, and finally of foreign goods. Surrender of titles and honorary offices and resignation from nominated seats in local bodies. Refusal to attend Government or semi-Govt. functions. Refusal by the military, clerical and labouring classes to offer themselves as recruits in Mesopotamia.
Through these negative program, the Indians sought to refuse to cooperate with the British in administering and exploiting their motherland.
Establishment of national schools and Colleges and private arbitration courts, known as Panchayats all over India. Popularization of "Swadeshi" and "Khadi" by reviving hand-spinning and hand-weaving. Development of unity between Hindus and Muslims. Removal of un-touchability, and other measures for Harijan welfare. Emancipation and upliftment of women.
Course of the Non Cooperation Movement
Jan-March, 1921 was marked by the boycott of Government schools and colleges by teachers and students, and of courts of. the lawyers.
April-June, 1921 witnessed concentration on raising funds (Rs. 1 crore) for the Tilak Swaraj Fund, enrolling common people as members of the Congress, and installing charkas (Spinning Wheels) on a large scale.
On July-November, 1921 saw the concentration on the boycott of foreign goods and on organisation of volunteer bands to organize a nation wide hartal on the eve of the visit of the the prince of Wales (17th November).
Nov, 1921 - Feb, 1922 witnessed certain developments which nearly brought the Government to its knees. Some militant sections, angered by the repressive policy of the British, were demanding complete independence and were in favor of giving up the non-violence dogma. The general mood of the people also was quite rebellious. But unfortunately the whole movement was abruptly called off on 11th Feb, 1922, at Gandhi's insistence, following the news of the burning alive of 22 policemen by angry peasants at Chauri Chaura in Gorakhpur district of UP. on 5th February, 1922.
The Indian Nationalist Movement, for the first time in the history, acquired a real mass base with the participation of the different sections of Indian society such as peasants, workers, students, and teachers, women, merchants, etc, However the big industrialists, capitalists, Zamindars, etc, still remained hostile.
The movement witnessed the spread of nationalism to the remotest corners of the Country. It transformed the Indian National Congress from a deliberative assembly to an organisation for action, as evident from the various programmes of the movement. It marked the height of Hindu-Muslim-unity which could be seen in the merger of the Khilafat Movement with this movement. The movement demonstrated to a remarkable degree the willingness and ability of the masses to endure hardships and make sacrifices in the cause of national independence. Thus, though the movement failed to achieve any one of its three main demands, it was, nevertheless, a great step forward in the course of the Indian Nationalist Movement.