Significance of Non-Cooperation Movement 1920 and Swaraj Party 1923
Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922)
- On 1 August 1920 Mahatma Gandhi announced his plan to begin Non-Cooperation with the government as a sequel to the Rowlatt Act, Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Khilafat Movement.
- It was approved by the Indian National Congress at the Nagpur session in December, 1920.
- The main aim of this movement was to attain Swaraj through non–violent and peaceful means.
- The movement began with Mahatma Gandhi renouncing the titles, which were given by the British.
The movement was observed in three stages.
- Stage 1: Indians who received titles and honours from the British renounced them in protest.
- Stage 2: There were large scale demonstrations including hartals. All government institutions including schools, colleges, offices and legislatures were boycotted.
- About 30,000 patriots including Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, C.R. Das, Rajaji and E.V. Ramasami (Thanthai Periyar) were arrested and imprisoned.
- Stage 3: Nonpayment of taxes. The Congress session held in 1921 at Ahmedabad called upon the people not to pay taxes to the Government till their demands were met.
The programmes of the Non-Cooperation Movement were:
- Surrender of titles and honorary positions.
- Resignation of membership from the local bodies.
- Boycott of elections held under the provisions of the 1919 Act.
- Boycott of government functions.
- Boycott of courts, government schools and colleges.
- Boycott of foreign goods.
- Establishment of national schools, colleges and private panchayat courts.
- Popularizing swadeshi goods and khadi
Significance of the Non-Cooperation Movement
- It was the real mass movement with the participation of different sections of Indian society such as peasants, workers, students, teachers and women.
- It witnessed the spread of nationalism to the remote corners of India.
- It also marked the height of Hindu-Muslim unity as a result of the merger of Khilafat movement.
- It demonstrated the willingness and ability of the masses to endure hardships and make sacrifices.
Chauri Chaura Incident - 1922
When the Non-Co-operation movement was observed at Chauri Chaura in Utter Pradesh the peasants set fire to the police station in response to police firing.
About 22 police men were killed in that incident. This is known as the Chauri Chaura incident.
Gandhiji was upset with the violent incidents. It was against his policy of non-violence.
Gandhi realized that the people were not yet ready for a non-violent – Non-Cooperation Movement.
Therefore he suspended the Non-Co-operation Movement immediately.
The British Government arrested Gandhiji.
Swaraj Party 1923 – 1925
- After Gandhiji’s arrest, there was no proper leader to guide the freedom fighters.
- The suspension of the Non-Cooperation Movement led to a split within Congress in the Gaya session of the Congress in December 1922.
- Leaders like Motilal Nehru and Chittranjan Das formed a separate group within the Congress known as the Swaraj Party on 1 January 1923.
- The aim of this party was to contest and win the elections. It advocated council entry and fight against the British Government from within.
- Elections to Legislative Councils were held in November 1923. In this, the Swaraj Party gained impressive successes.
- They demanded the setting up of responsible government in India with the necessary changes in the Government of India Act of 1919.
- They also appealed for a Round Table Conference to consider their demands and needs.
- After the passing away of C.R. Das in June 1925, the Swaraj Party started weakening
- Gandhi-Nehru-Das pact,1924
- To end the infighting within the Congress, a pact was signed between Gandhiji on one hand and Motilal Nehru and C.R. Das on the other whereby the Congress accepted that the Swarajists were in the Councils on the Congress's behalf.