1st august 1920: The day which shook the foundation of British Government for the first time

The non-cooperation movement was launched formally on 1 August 1920, the day on which Lokamanya Tilak breathed his last.
The non-cooperation movement was launched formally on 1 August 1920, the day on which Lokamanya Tilak breathed his last.

The Non-Cooperation Movement was pitched in under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress from September 1920 to February 1922, marking a new awakening in the Indian Independence Movement.

After a series of events including the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Gandhiji realised that there was no prospect of getting any fair treatment at the hands of British, so he planned to withdraw the nation’s co-operation from the British Government, thus launching the Non-Cooperation Movement and thereby marring the administrative set up of the country. This movement was a great success as it got massive encouragement to millions of Indians. This movement almost shook the British authorities.

The non-cooperation movement was launched formally on 1 August 1920, the day on which Lokamanya Tilak breathed his last.

The Congress gave a call to the people to:

(a) Surrender all titles and honorary offices and resign from nominated seats in local bodies,

(b) Refuse to attend government of semi-government functions,

(c) Withdraw slowly step by stepchildren from schools and colleges, aided or controlled by the government

(d) A boycott of British courts by lawyers and litigants,

(e) Refusal for recruitment for military and other services in Mesopotamia,

(f) Boycott the elections to be held for councils as per the reforms of 1919, and

(g) A boycott of foreign goods.

Besides the above-mentioned measures of non-cooperation with the government, it was decided to establish native educational institutions and native arbitration centres all over India and also to establish harmonious relations between the Hindus and the Muslims. In 1921-22, the movement continued with unabated zeal by the participation of masses. National institutions like Gujarat Vidyapith, Bihar Vidyapith, Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapith, Kasi Vidyapith, the Bengal National University, and the Jamia Milia of Delhi were established.

The Swadeshi concept became a household word. Khadi became a symbol of freedom. In order to finance the non-cooperation movement, Tilak Swaraj Fund was started to which money poured and within six months, nearly a crore of rupees was subscribed. When Prince of Wales visited India in 1921, a successful hartal was organized against his visit.

The significance of the Non-Cooperation Movement

1. It was the real mass movement with the participation of different sections of Indian society such as peasants, workers, students, teachers and women.

2. It witnessed the spread of nationalism to the remote corners of India.

3. It also marked the height of Hindu-Muslim unity as a result of the merger of the Khilafat movement.

4. It demonstrated the willingness and ability of the masses to endure hardships and make sacrifices.

Mahatma Gandhi led the Civil Disobedience Movement that was launched in the Congress Session of December 1929. The aim of this movement was a complete disobedience of the orders of the British Government. During this movement, it was decided that India would celebrate 26th January as Independence Day all over the country.

On 26th January 1930, meetings were held all over the country and the Congress tricolour was hoisted. The British Government tried to repress the movement and resorted to brutal firing, killing hundreds of people.

Thousands were arrested along with Gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru. But the movement spread to all the four corners of the country Following this, Round Table Conferences were arranged by the British and Gandhiji attended the second Round Table Conference at London. But nothing came out of the conference and the Civil Disobedience Movement was revived.

During this time, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were arrested on the charges of throwing a bomb in the Central Assembly Hall (which is now Lok Sabha) in Delhi, to demonstrate against the autocratic alien rule. They were hanged to death on March 23, 1931.


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