The Limits of Civil Disobedience - Chapter 2 Nationalism in India Class 10 History

You will learn about The Limits of Civil Disobedience Movement a part of Chapter 2 Nationalism in India Class 10 History through which you will be able to understand the subject in a more advanced way and also in a simpler way. It will help in understanding the complex topics easily.  It will make you understand the various factors through which one can improve their efficiency.

The Limits of Civil Disobedience - Chapter 2 Nationalism in India Class 10 History

The Limits of Civil Disobedience - Chapter 2 Nationalism in India Class 10 History

• The abstract concept of swaraj did not move all social groups. One such group was the nation’s ‘untouchables’, who from around the 1930s had begun to call themselves dalit or oppressed.

• For a long time the Congress leaders had ignored the dalits, because they feared that the 'santanis,' the conservative high-caste Hindus would be offended. 

• Mahatma Gandhi declared that India would not attain Swaraj if untouchability was not eliminated. He believed that once untouchability is removed, it will be easy to bring all the Indians together. He called the 'untouchables' Harijans or the children of god.

→ He organised satyagraha to secure them entry into temples, and access to public wells, tanks, roads and schools.

→ He himself cleaned toilets to dignify the work of the bhangi (the sweepers), and persuaded upper castes to change their heart and give up ‘the sin of untouchability’.

Other Dalit Leaders

• Many dalit leaders were keen on a different political solution to the problems of the community. They demanded reserved seats in educational institutions and a separate electorates, that would elect a dalit member from legislative councils. They believed that political empowerment would resolve their problem of social disabilities.

• Dalit participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement was therefore limited, particularly in the Maharashtra and Nagpur region where their organisation was quite strong.

• Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who had organised the dalits into 'depressed classes association' in 1930, came into conflict with Mahatma Gandhi at the Second Round Table Conference by demanding separate electorates for his community.

→ When the British government conceded Ambedkar’s demand, Gandhiji began a fast unto death. He believed that separate electorates for dalits would slow down the process of their integration into society.

→ Ambedkar ultimately accepted Gandhiji’s position and the result was the Poona Pact of September 1932. It gave the Depressed Classes later to be known as the Schedule Castes reserved seats in provincial and central legislative councils but they were to be voted in by the general electorate.

→ The dalit movement, however, continued to be apprehensive of the Congress- led national movement.


• Some Muslim political organisations did not give their wholehearted support and cooperation to the Civil Disobedience Movement.

• After the decline of the Non-Cooperation-Khilafat movement, a large section of Muslims felt alienated from the Congress.

• From the mid-1920s the Congress came to be more visibly associated with openly Hindu religious nationalist groups like the Hindu Mahasabha.

→ As relations between Hindus and Muslims worsened, each community organised religious processions with militant fervour, provoking Hindu-Muslim communal clashes and riots in various cities. Every riot deepened the distance between the two communities.

The Muslim League

• The Congress and the Muslim League made efforts to renegotiate an alliance, and in 1927 it appeared that such a unity could be forged.

• The important differences were over the question of representation in the future assemblies that were to be elected.

→ Muhammad Ali Jinnah, one of the leaders of the Muslim League, was willing to give up the demand for separate electorates, if Muslims were assured reserved seats in the Central Assembly and representation in proportion to their population in the Muslim dominated provinces (Bengal and Punjab).

→ Negotiations over the question of representation continued. This challenge was taken up and meetings of the All Parties Conference were held in February, May and August 1928. Unfortunately, all hopes disappeared when M.R. Jayakar of the Hindu Mahasabha strongly opposed efforts at the compromise.

• Thus, when the Civil Disobedience Movement started, an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust between communities.

• Alienated from the Congress, large sections of Muslims could not respond to the call for a united struggle. Many Muslim leaders and intellectuals expressed their concern about the status of Muslims as a minority within India. They feared that the culture and identity of minorities would be submerged under the domination of a Hindu majority.
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