Non Cooperation Movement

On 5 September 1920 Mahatma Gandhi began a non-cooperation movement to gain sovereignty and complete independence, with the withdrawal of the Indian National Congress (INC) for British reforms after the Rowlatt Act of 20 March 1919 and the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh of 13 April 1919.

In March 1919, the Rowlatt Act abolished the defendant’s rights in the course of sedition proceedings, was regarded by Indians as “a national revolution” and by the British as a “threat.” Though Gandhi had only a couple of years later never been quoted and declared void, it led him to think of the concept of satyagraha (truth), which he considered to be synonyms of freedom. Jawaharlal Nehru, for whom the massacre also shared “the conviction that nothing less than freedom is appropriate,” approved this idea in the following month.

Planning Gandhi’s anti-cooperation movement was that all Indians, including the UK industry and education institutions, should be convinced to withhold their labour from any practises that “sustained the British government and the economy in India.” Besides the “self-reliance,” the Gandhi movement demanded the restoration in Turkey of Khilafat and an end to its intouchability by spinning Khadi, the purchase of Indian-made products only and the abolition of English clothing. The public held meetings and protests, and on 6 December 1921, Jawaharlal Nehru and Motilal Nehru, his aunt, were first arrested.

As Nehru described in his autobiography, it ended “suddenly” in February of 1922 after the Chauri Chaura incident, one of the movements of Indian independence from British rule. The Civil Disobedience Movement and the Quit India Movement preceded independence movements.

The movement for non-cooperation was a response to British Indian government repressive actions, such as the Rowlatt Act and the Amritsar massacre of Jallianwala Bagh. There had come a huge crowd to protest at the arrest of Saifuddin Kitchlew and of Dr. Satyapal in Jallianwala Bagh, near the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The people were shot by soldiers under Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer and thousands of protestors were killed and wounded. Thousands of troubles and further deaths were triggered by the police by the uproar of the slaughter. In India, the massacre became Britain’s most notorious occurrence.

The uprising has stunned British authorities and has inspired millions of Indian nationalists to do so massively. Unity has been integrated and many Indian colleges and schools have been created. Indian commodities have been promoted. In Chauri Khaura, the small city of Gorakhpur District , Uttar Pradesh, a massacre took place on 4 February 1922. Some volunteers picketing a liquor store were targeted by a police officer. There went to the chowky police a whole crowd of farmers gathered there. The mob shot the police showki, and inside it about 22 police men.

Gandhi thought the rebellion was turning away and frustrated that the rebellion had lost its non-violent form. He did not want the protest to degenerate into a brutality contest, with police and wrathful groups fighting one another, victimising civilians amongst them. The Indian public was appealed by Gandhi to resist, spent 3 weeks and rejected the campaign against cooperation. He thought that there should be a resting time after a period of hardship in which they could regain their strength and grow stronger and stronger. This argument, though not stated, was withdrawn after a year or two from any movement led by Gandhi.

Owing to the Chauri Chaura incident, the non-cooperation campaign was withdrawn. Although the national uprising was stopped by himself, Gandhi was arrested on 10 March 1922. On 18 March 1922, for publishing seditious material, he was imprisoned for six years. This caused the movement to be suppressed and its leaders imprisoned.

Categories: News