(UPSC GS Mains Question)
· Form a critical assessment of the Non-Cooperation Movement. (2004/30)
· “Non-Cooperation Movement gave new direction and energy to the National Movement.” Explain.
· Discuss the aims and objects of the Khilafat Movement. To what extent was it successful?
· Trace the formation of the Swaraj Party. What were its demands? (1999/15)
· What were the reasons that changed Gandhiji’s attitude of responsive cooperation to noncooperation in 1920? What were its consequences? (1996/35)
· The crisis of the colonial order during 1919 and 1939 was directly linked to the constitutional reforms, disillusionment and militant anti-colonial struggles. Elucidate. (2007/30)
The three important milestones of India's pre independence history
· Non-Cooperation Movement
· Civil Disobedience Movement
· Quit India Movement.
Analysing the scenario just before the movement in terms of Gandhi
What were the reasons that changed Gandhiji’s attitude of responsive cooperation to noncooperation in 1920? What were its consequences? (1996/35)
Before proceeding to an analysis of Gandhi's role in the Non-Cooperation Movement, it is pertinent to delineate the circumstances that shook Gandhi's confidence in the fairness of the British Government and transformed him into a non-co-operator. When Gandhi returned to India in the year 1915, he did not directly enter the political scenario, following the advice of his political mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhle. However, in the period between 1917 and 18, he rendered leadership to some local disputes and thus rose to prominence. He supported the cause of the oppressed cultivators of Champaran district of Bihar, associated himself with the campaign of the peasants of the Kheda district in Gujarat and also backed the textile workers of Ahmedabad, who were fighting for their wages.
During this phase, Gandhi was loyal to the colonial government and even volunteered for the recruitment of soldiers to fight on behalf of the English, during the First World War.
However, the Gandhi's role as a co-operator of the British government did not last long. The Rowlatt Act, followed by the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre and the Khilafat issue embittered Gandhi's feelings towards the British government. Gandhi stance changed to that of a non-co-operator of the British government and he soon after launched the Non-Cooperation Movement.
When Gandhi realized that there was no prospect of getting any fair treatment at the hands of British, he planned to withdraw the nation's co-operation from the government and thereby mar the administrative set up of the country. In this initiative, he expected to garner the support of the Muslims, who were nurturing anti British sentiments, on the Turkey-issue. Gandhi's main objective was to procure justice for the Muslims, through his method of passive resistance; satyagraha. In August, 1920, a hartal was organized in the entire country. The formal launch of the Non-Cooperation Movement in the August of 1920 followed the expiry of the notice that was sent to the Viceroy by Gandhi. He returned to the Viceroy, all the medals he had received in recognition of his war services from the British government.
Non-Cooperation Movement on the following issues
1. redressal of the wrongs committed in Punjab that entailed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the atrocities related to the marital laws.
2. the Khilafat wrong .
3. accomplishment of swaraj.
4.economic inequality due to Indian wealth being exported to Britain.
5.downturn of Indian artisans due to British factory-made goods replacing handmade goods.
6.strong resentment about Indian soldiers in the British army dying in World War I while fighting battles that otherwise had nothing to do with India.
December 1920, at the Nagpur Congress
Period - September 1920 to February 1922
The programme of Non-Cooperation Movement was multidimensional. It included the following fourteen-point programme:
The program and policies of the Non-Cooperation Movement that was adopted at the special session of the Congress in Calcutta and restated at the Nagpur session included; promotion of swadeshi and boycott of foreign made articles, surrender of honorary posts and titles, rejection of official Durbars, progressive rejection by lawyers of British courts, boycott of elections appointing new Councils, refusal by clerks and soldiers to serve in Mesopotamia and boycott of Government run and state assisted schools.
It aimed to resist British occupation of India through non-violent means. Protestors would refuse to buy British goods, adopt the use of local handicrafts, picket sex shops, and try to deterioate the values of Indian honor and knowledge of sex.
Who was against it ?
Veterans like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Annie Besant, CR Das opposed the idea outright. The All India Muslim League also criticized the idea.
They feared that large scale mass action against the British government would lead to violence on a wide scale, as occurred during Rowlatt satyagraha.
Who supported it ?
But the younger generation of Indian nationalists were thrilled, and backed Gandhi. The Congress Party adopted his plans, and he received extensive support from Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, Hakim Ajmal Khan,Abbas Tyabji, Maulana Mohammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali. Gandhi was elected President of the Indian National Congress in 1919 and 1920,
· This period also witnessed the coming into being of numerous national educational institutions for the benefit of the students. Noteworthy among them were Jamia Milia University, Aligarh University and National College, Lahore.
· An important program of The Non-Cooperation Movement was the promotion of khadi. Under the guidance of Gandhi, charkha and Indian handloom products gained back their glory. Many weavers were employed.
The most spectacular achievement of the boycott programme was seen during the visit of the Prince of Wales to India on 17 November, 1921. He was greeted by the Indians with black flags. A countrywide Harte was observed and more than 60,000 people were arrested.
Understanding the Khilafat Movement
1. Events in Turkey that gives you a background to Khilafat.
3. The non-cooperation is referred to briefly since it has its origin in the K movement
(UPSC GS Mains Question
1. ---- Do you think Mahatma Gandhi’s support to Khilafat Movement had diluted his secular credentials? Give your argument based on the assessment of events. (2007/15 )
2. Discuss the aims and objects of the Khilafat Movement. To what extent was it successful? (2001/15)
1. Events in Turkey that gives you a background to Khilafat.
Turkey’s entry into the WWI as an ally of Germany put the Indian M into a quandary. Their natural sympathy lie with the Sultan of Turkey as their Caliph or religious head but as British subjects they were to be loyal to the British throne. Realizing their predicament the British PM, Lloyd George declared on 05/01/1918, that the allies “were not fighting to deprive Turkey of the rich and renowned lands of Asia Minor and Thrace which are predominantly Turkish in race”. These assurances led the Indian M to believe that whatever happened, the territorial integrity and independence of Turkey, so far as her Asiatic dominions would be maintained. However, what happened was different. Thrace was presented to Greece while the Asiatic portions of Turkey passed to England and France. Thus Turkey was dispossessed of her homelands and the Sultan deprived of all real authority. Indian M regarded this as a great betrayal and carried on agitations through out 1919 but to no effect.
At the same time, Mustufa Kemal Pasha a highly gifted leader rose in Turkey brushed aside the weak regime of the Caliph and resolved to make a new, powerful Turkey on modern nationalistic lines. Aware that the Caliph was the religious leader of the Arab world he decided to get rid his country of Arabism and liberate it from the stronghold of the maulvis and mullahs.
2. The Khilafat movement.
Under the leadership of the Ali brothers they approached King Abdul Azeez of Arabia to become the new Caliph. The King had the Indians in a corner by asking them “If it is Islam that you are zealous about, why do not you join hands with Gandhi and free India of the Brit rule. That’s what Islam teaches. You come to me as a slave of the Brits and it seems to me that you have come to lead me into a Brit trap”. Next the leaders approached Reza Shah, the ruler of Iran. But Shah proud of his Aryan tradition, evinced little interest.
In 1921, Muhammad Ali had written a letter to the Amir of Afghanistan inviting him to invade India. The Brits got scent of this and arrested the Ali brothers. On his written assurance that he was no opponent of the Brits he was released. In 1921, when the Khilafat agitation was at its peak, Ali again sent a wire to the Amir urging him not to enter into any agreement with the Brits. When Ali was taken to task by the Congress leaders he showed Swami Shraddananada (renowned Arya Samaj leader) a hand written draft of the wire.
It was also the first time that the Muslims had remembered the Hindus. Said Maulana Abdul Bari at the Khilafat Conference “The Muslims honor would be at stake if they forget the co-operation of the Hindus. I for my part will say that we should stop cow-killing, because we are children of the same soil”.
----------------------------------------------------------Gandhiji into the picture !!
The Swami writes “What was my astonishment when I saw the draft of the same self-same telegram in the peculiar handwriting of the Father of the non-violent non-cooperation movement”. Writing in the Young India in May 1921 Gandhi said, “I would, in a sense, certainly assist the Amir of Afghanistan if he waged war against the British govt. It is no part of the duty of a non-violent non-cooperator to assist the govt against war made upon it by others. I would rather see India perish at the hands of the Afghans than purchase freedom from Afghan invasion at the cost of her honor. To have India defended by an unrepentant govt that keeps the Khilafat and Punjab wounds still bleeding is to sell India’s honor”. Gandhi was criticized by Lala Lajpat Rai and B C Pal for his statements. Thus it is interesting to note that the Hindu Congress leaders took up the case of the Caliph when the Muslim world itself had refused to do so.
· Gandhi had equated the Khilafat movement with India’s freedom movement.
· But ,Gandhi failed to realize that the Pan-Islamic idea, which inspired the K movement, cut at the very root of Indian nationality.
(Mohammed Ali Jinnah ---- opposed Mahatma Gandhi's association with the Khilafat movement )
3. The non-cooperation is referred to briefly since it has its origin in the K movement.
· It is proved beyond doubt that the reason for the 1920 Non Cooperation Movement was incidents in Turkey and not the massacre of Indians in Punjab.
· Remember that Gandhi had taken the Khilafat decision independent of the Congress before its session.
· Bottom line is – Khilafat was the reason for the Non-cooperation movement. It was ratified by the Congress after the movement had started. Swaraj was incorporated later. The term was not corned by Gandhi for which we need to go back to the Partition of Bengal in 1905. We owe the word to Bengalis for popularizing it although it was used by men like Swami Dayananda earlier.
4. The Moplah rebellion in Kerala is a result of the K movement.
The Moplahs are a band of fanatic Muslims who have descended from the Arabs who settled in the Malabar Coast in about the 8th or 9th century A.D and married mostly Indian wives. They had over the years acquired an unenviable notoriety for crimes perpetuated under the impulse of religious frenzy. They were responsible for 35 minor outbreaks during the Brit rule, the most terrible being the one that took place in August 1921.
Mrs Annie Besant, “Malabar has taught what Islamic rule means and we do not want to see another specimen of Khilafat Raj in India”.
At the annual session of the Khilafat Conference in 1923, Shaukat Ali, President of the session praised the Moplahs while conceding some Hindus had suffered at their hands, he said the while chapter was a closed book since they had a duty to the brave Moplahs.
The Khilafat Committee died a natural death after the abolition of the Caliphate by Kemal Pasha in 1924. The Hindu-Muslim unity brought about by Gandhi in 1920-21 was artificial in character and did not produce any real change of heart. It was based on common hatred for the Brits, for different reasons though, by the Muslims on account of the treatment meted out to the Caliphate, by the Hindus for Swaraj. The so-called Nationalists Muslims who had joined Gandhi in 1921 were really Pan-islamists who merely exploited Gandhi for securing redress of the Khilafat wrong. As soon as the Khilafat agitation came to an end, they showed their true colors.
Muhammad Ali, who was Gandhi’s trusted during the first Satyagraha campaign refused to join him in the second campaign in 1930. At a meeting of the All India Muslim Conference at Bombay held in April 1930, attended by over 20,000 Muslims he said “We refuse to join Mr Gandhi, because his movement is not a movement for the complete independence of India but for making the seventy million of Indian Musalmans dependants of the Hindu Mahasabha”.
On February 5, 1922, in the Chauri Chaura, after violent clashes between the local police and the protesters in which three protesters were killed by police firing, the police chowki (station) was set on fire by the mob, killing 22 of the police occupants.
Gandhi went on for a 3 days fast to appeal to the Indians to stop all resistance and the movement was called off.
Why Gandhiji suspended it ?
Gandhi felt that the revolt was veering off-course, and was disappointed that the revolt had lost its non-violent nature. He did not want the movement to degenerate into a contest of violence, with police and angry mobs attacking each other back and forth, victimizing civilians in between. Gandhi appealed to the Indian public for all resistance to end, went on a fast lasting 3 weeks, and called off the mass civil disobedience movement.
· Its immediate suspension diminished the public enthusiasm. The boycott of the educational institutions and law courts was not successful in the long run.
· At the A.I.C.C. meeting there was wide scale opposition to the calling off of the non-cooperation duly supported by nationalists all over India. There is no doubt that the suspension of the non-cooperation movement had the disastrous effect of developing a spirit of frustration, and this may be regarded as the main cause of political inertia that followed. As very often happens, pent-up energy found an outlet in the Hindu-Muslim riots that followed in the next few years. The Govt correctly gauged the situation, took full advantage of Gandhi’s unpopularity, was tried and sentenced to six years simple imprisonment.
· Failure of Non-Cooperation Movement yield Revolutionary movement by Youngsters
Why Swaraj Party ?
Gandhi and most of the Congress Party rejected the provincial and central legislative councils created by the British to offer some participation for Indians. They argued that the councils were rigged with un-elected allies of the British, and too un-democratic and simply of the Viceroy.
Historians take on the movement
· Contemporary historians and critics suggest that the movement was successful enough to break the back of British rule, and possibly even result in the independence most Indians strove for until 1947
· But many historians and Indian leaders of the time also defend Gandhi's judgment. If he had not stopped the revolts, India could have descended into a chaotic rebellion which would have alienated common Indians and impress only violent revolutionaries.