Differing Strands within the Non-Cooperation Movement - Chapter 2 Nationalism in India Class 10 History

Here you will read about Differing Strands within the Movement is a part of Chapter 2 Nationalism in India Class 10 History will help the students to recall information with more precision and faster. You will be able to understand the subject in a more advanced way and also in a simpler way. Through topic explain a student will be able to frame good answers in the examinations.

Differing Strands within the Non-Cooperation Movement - Chapter 2 Nationalism in India Class 10 History

Differing Strands within the Non-Cooperation Movement - Chapter 2 Nationalism in India Class 10 History

• The Non-Cooperation-Khilafat Movement began in January 1921. Various social groups participated in this movement, each with its own specific aspiration. All of them responded to the call of Swaraj, but the term meant different things to different people.

The Movement in the Towns

• The movement started with middle-class participation in the cities. Thousands of students left government-controlled schools and colleges, headmasters and teachers resigned, and lawyers gave up their legal practices.

• The council elections were boycotted in most provinces except Madras, where the Justice Party, the party of the non-Brahmans, felt that entering the council was one way of gaining some power, something that usually only Brahmans had access to.

• Foreign goods were boycotted, liquor shops picketed, and foreign cloth burnt in huge bonfires.

• The import of foreign cloth halved between 1921 and 1922, its value dropping from Rs 102 crore to Rs 57 crore. In many places merchants and traders refused to trade in foreign goods or finance foreign trade.

• As the boycott movement spread, and people began discarding imported clothes and wearing only Indian ones, production of Indian textile mills and handlooms went up.

• The Non-Cooperation movement in the cities gradually slowed down for a variety of reasons.

→ Khadi cloth was often more expensive than mass-produced mill cloth and poor people could not afford to buy it.

→ The boycott of British institutions posed a problem. For the movement to be successful, alternative Indian institutions had to be set up so that they could be used in place of the British ones. These were slow to come up. So students and teachers began trickling back to government schools and lawyers joined back work in government courts.

Rebellion in the Countryside

• From the cities, the Non-Cooperation Movement spread to the countryside. It drew into its fold the struggles of peasants and tribals which were developing in different parts of India in the years after the war.

• In Awadh, peasants were led by Baba Ramchandra, a sanyasi who had earlier been to Fiji as an indentured labourer. The movement here was against talukdars and landlords who demanded from peasants excessive high rents and a variety of other cesses. Peasants had to do begar and work at landlords’ farms without any payment.

→ As tenants they had no security of tenure, being regularly evicted so that they could acquire no right over the leased land.

→ The peasant movement demanded reduction of revenue, abolition of begar, and social boycott of oppressive landlords.

→ In many places nai–dhobi bandhs were organised by panchayats to deprive landlords of the services of even barbers and washermen.

→ In June 1920, Jawaharlal Nehru began going around the villages in Awadh, talking to the villagers, and trying to understand their grievances.

→ By October, the Oudh Kisan Sabha was set up headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Baba Ramchandra and a few others. Within a month, over 300 branches had been set up in the villages around the region.

→ So when the Non-Cooperation Movement began the following year, the effort of the Congress was to integrate the Awadh peasant struggle into the wider struggle.

→ The peasant movement, however, developed in forms that the Congress leadership was unhappy with. As the movement spread in 1921, the houses of talukdars and merchants were attacked,
bazaars were looted, and grain hoards were taken over.

→ In many places local leaders told peasants that Gandhiji had declared that no taxes were to be paid and land was to be redistributed among the poor.

→ The name of the Mahatma was being invoked to sanction all action and aspirations.


• Tribal peasants interpreted the message of Mahatma Gandhi and the idea of swaraj in yet another way.

• In the Gudem Hills of Andhra Pradesh, a militant guerrilla movement spread in the early 1920s in a violent way that the Congress could approve.

→ In other forest regions, the colonial government had closed large forest areas, preventing people from entering the forests to graze their cattle, or to collect fuelwood and fruits which enraged the hill people.

→ Due to this, their livelihoods were affected and they also felt that their traditional rights were being denied.

→ When the government began forcing them to contribute begar for road building, the hill people revolted.

→ Alluri Sitaram Raju came to lead tribal people who claimed that he had a variety of special powers: he could make correct astrological predictions and heal people, and he could survive even bullet shots.

→ Attracted by Raju, the rebels proclaimed that he was an incarnation of God. 

→ Raju talked of the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi, said he was inspired by the Non-Cooperation Movement, and persuaded people to wear khadi and give up drinking. But at the same time he asserted that India could be liberated only by the use of force, not non-violence.

→ The Gudem rebels attacked police stations, attempted to kill British officials and carried on guerrilla warfare for achieving swaraj.

→ Raju was captured and executed in 1924, and over time became a folk hero.

Swaraj in the Plantations

• For plantation workers in Assam, freedom meant the right to move freely in and out of the confined space in which they were enclosed, and it meant retaining a link with the village from which they had come.

• Under the Inland Emigration Act of 1859, plantation workers were not permitted to leave the tea gardens without permission, and in fact they were rarely given such permission.

• When they heard of the Non-Cooperation Movement, thousands of workers defied the authorities, left the plantations and headed home. They believed that Gandhi Raj was coming and everyone would be given land in their own villages.

• However, they, never reached their destination. Stranded on the way by a railway and steamer strike, they were caught by the police and brutally beaten up.

• The visions of these movements were not defined by the Congress programme. They interpreted the term swaraj in their own ways, imagining it to be a time when all suffering and all troubles would be over.

• But when they acted in the name of Mahatma Gandhi, or linked their movement to that of the Congress, they were identifying with a movement which went beyond the limits of their immediate locality.

Calling off Non-Cooperation

• The Non-Cooperation movement was gaining momentum. In the mean time, it took a violent turn after the police fired at Chauri Chaura incident at Chauri Chaura in Uttar Pradesh on 4 Februrary, 1922. In a sudden burst of anger, the demonstrators set fire to a nearby police station, burning 22 policemen to death.

• Seeing this, Gandhiji immediately called off the movement. He felt that people have to be trained in non-violence before they could be ready for mass struggle.
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