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Non-Cooperation Movement

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Last updated date: 21st Jul 2024
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Non-Cooperation Movement in India

The Non-Cooperation movement led by Mahatma Gandhi was started in the year 1920 with a view to inducing the British Government of India to grant self-government, or Swaraj, to India. It was Gandhi's first mass movement of Civil Disobedience (Satyagraha). The aim of Gandhi's non-cooperation movement was to redress the wrong done to the people of Punjab and Turkey. It also aims to attain swaraj. 

What is Non-Cooperation Movement?

The Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22) led by Mahatma Gandhi challenged every aspect of British rule in India. The movement Non-Cooperation was supported by people from all levels of social hierarchy and united Hindus and Muslims in a way never attained by the Indian Nationalists. In all, the Non-Cooperation Movement in India was the major mass protest of the modern era. The movement was launched as per the resolution taken by the Indian National Congress at the Kolkata session but approved in the Nagpur session in December 1920.

What Were The Reasons For Gandhi Non-Cooperation Movement To Launch?

  • World War I added anxiety among the Indian people. Heavy taxes, high prices, famines, and epidemics made the life of the people miserable.

  • The Rowlatt act urged large-scale protests throughout the nation.

  • Jallianwala Bagh and brutality done to Punjab made Indians angry.

  • The Muslims started Khilafat Movement as they were unhappy due to the ill-treatment of Turkey.

  • Many parts of the Indian society suffered considerable economic discomfort. The middle class in the towns, workers, and artisans had been hit by high prices and a shortage of food and essential commodities.

  • The rural people and peasants were casualties of widespread drought and epidemics. The Britishers were clueless about this development.

  • The ideas of the Gandhi Non-Cooperation Movement were adopted at the Congress session at Nagpur.

How did the Non-Cooperation Movement Become a Mass Movement?

  • The movement Non-Cooperation was initiated under the leadership of Gandhiji in 1921.

  • It aimed to protect the injustice done to Punjab and Turkey and to attain Swaraj.

  • The educated middle class led the Non-Cooperation Movement in towns and cities. Foreign goods, educational institutions, and law courts were boycotted.

  • Contest elections were avoided in all provinces excluding Madras where the Justice party of Non-Brahmins debated.

  • Peasants organized movement was initiated against Landlords and Talukdars in villages under the leadership of Baba Ramchandra.

  • Tribal people initiated armed confrontation in the Gudden hills of Andhra Pradesh under the leadership of Alluri Sitaram Raju.

  • Workers in the plantation of Assam initiated a struggle to get a right to free movement.

  • Calling off Non-Cooperation Movement was due to the Chauri Chaura incident that took place on 05 February 1922 at Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Provinces in British India, when a big mob of defenders engaging in the non-cooperation movement, were fired upon by the police.

Why was the Non-Cooperation Movement Called Off?

In February 1922, at the peak of the Non-Cooperation Movement against the colonial administration, an incident at Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) changed the entire course of the Indian Independence Movement.

After a group of revolutionaries was knocked off by the police for mocking foreign cloth, meat, and liquor, a mass of people gathered outside the police station in protest. The policeman fired at the crowd killing three people, and in revenge, the large mass of people set the station on fire, killing 23 policemen.

Concerning this situation, Gandhi took steps to end the Non-Cooperation Movement, which was gaining a lot of energy, and powerfully condemned the violence in Chauri Chaura to strengthen the principle of non-violence.

What were the Impacts of the Non-Cooperation Movement?

Even though the Non-Cooperation Movement failed to accomplish its primary goal of Swaraj, it had succeeded on several other factors discussed below.

  • The Indian National Congress has shown that it represents the opinion of the majority in the country. It cannot be anymore charged with a Microscopic community.

  • The geographical spread of the Non-Cooperation movement was also worldwide. Whereas some areas were more active than others, few areas, if any remained, entirely submissive to call for the Non-Cooperation movement.

  • The Non-Cooperation Movement was the first opportunity for a large number of people to participate in politics and oppose injustice and economic deprivation by years of foreign rule.

  • Despite the incident of Malabar, which was not later observed during the Civil Disobedience Movement, there was substantial involvement of police in the movement and maintenance of social stability.

What is the Significance of the Non-Cooperation Movement?

  • The Non-Cooperation Movement completely changes the character of national struggle. 

  • The first time peasants participated in the national struggle. Students, women, and the working class also participated in large numbers.

  • The launching of the Non-Cooperation Movement immensely radicalized the anti-British struggles.

  • The launching of the Non-Cooperation Movement raised the hopes and aspirations of people immensely. In December 1920, when Gandhiji assured Swaraj within one year, the atmosphere of darkness prevailing in India transformed into an atmosphere of excitement of freedom.

  • The Non-Cooperation Movement issued new aims and objectives to the national struggle. Gandhiji defined the aim of swaraj at the Nagpur session of Congress in December 1920. He explained Swaraj as self-sufficiency within the British Empire if possible and outside if necessary.

  • New procedures of struggle also played a significant role during the non-cooperation movement (NCM). Resignation from government services, the boycott of hospitals, courts, and peaceful Court arrest were some of the new methods adopted by Nationalists during the Non-Cooperation Movement.

  • The Non-Cooperation Movement played a significant role in the liberation of women because a large number of Indian women came out of their houses to participate in the anti-British struggle at one call of Gandhiji. This active participation of women in the national struggle facilitated the change in the social outlook.

  • The terror of British rule got wiped out from the hearts and minds of the ordinary people when they came out to participate in the national struggle. They could observe the weakness of the British in front of Gandhiji with their own eyes. Every Indian felt encouraged.


Impact of Non-Cooperation Movement

  • The Non-Cooperation Movement had an immense impact on British India socially, politically, and economically.

  • Indians boycotted all the foreign goods during the Non-Cooperation Movement.

  • Indian merchants or traders were also not permitted to trade British goods.

  • Textile mills in India flourished as Indians started using more Swadeshi goods.

  • The untouchability of Dalits was lifted during this movement which India observed for hundreds of years.

  • Women were also uplifted during this period. They also started participating in protests against the British.

  •  The movement made Gandhi a national leader as everyone followed his path of Ahinsa (Non-Violence). 

  • People were no longer afraid of British rule as they realised that they could achieve independence.


Thus, in order to conclude, we can say that the Non - Cooperation Movement was said to have been launched against the oppressive policies of the British Government such as Rowlatt Act as well as to condemn the Jallianwala Massacre. The movement was called off because of the Chauri Chaura incident where Gandhi realized that the masses were not yet ready for the non-cooperation and didn't understand what Satyagraha actually was.

FAQs on Non-Cooperation Movement

1. What was the significant impact of the Non-Cooperation Movement?

The most significant impact of the Non-Cooperation Movement was :

  • Widening the base of Congress and National Government. The congress which was earlier a middle class organization became the first mass based organization.

  • Intensified the power and status of the British Government.

  • The movement enforced Hindu-Muslim community to come together for the first time to oppose the British Government under the leadership of Congress.

  • The movement proved that Gandhi's non-violent distress was largely successful in mobilizing large groups of people. 

2. Answer the following questions:

  • Why did Gandhiji stop the Non-Cooperation Movement?

  • Which leader died on the day the Non-Cooperation Movement was launched in 1920?

The answers are given below:

  • Gandhi stopped the Non-Cooperation Movement in February 1922 because of the initiation of the Chauri Chaura incident.

  • The renowned leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak died on the day the Non-Cooperation Movement was launched in 1920.

3. Answer the following questions:

  • What are the important factors that led to the Non-Cooperation Movement?

  • Where was the Non-Cooperation Movement called off?

The answers are given below:

  • The non-cooperation movement was a reaction towards the brutal policies of the British Indian government such as the Rowlatt Act which occurred on 18 March 1919, as well as towards the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which occurred on 13 April 1919.

  • The place where the non-cooperation movement was called off is known as Chauri Chaura. It is a village in eastern Uttar Pradesh state, northern India.