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  • Q. Discuss the achievements and failures of Non-cooperation movement of 1920. How did it impact the subsequent freedom movements in pre-independence India. (250 words)

    26 Mar, 2019 GS Paper 1 History

    Answer :

    Approach

    • Describe the Non-cooperation movement.
    • State its achievements and failures.
    • Give conclusion

    Answer

    Introduction:

    • At the Nagpur session of the Indian National Congress. The programme of Non-cooperation was endorsed.
    • An important change made was, until now Congress sought to attain self-government through constitutional means as its goal.
    • In Nagpur session the Congress decided to have the attainment of Swaraj through peaceful and legitimate means, thus committing itself to an extra constitutional mass struggle.
    • Gandhi declared that if the non-cooperation programme was implemented completely, swaraj would be ushered in within a year.

    Body

    Achievements:

    • The non-cooperation movement led by Gandhi was  a mass movement which had never been seen before and after the Great Rebellion of 1857.
    • With the Non-Cooperation Movement, nationalist sentiments reached every nook and corner of the country and politicised every strata of population—the artisans, peasants, students, urban poor, women, traders, etc.
    • This politicisation  of men and women which imparted a revolutionary character to the national movement.
    • The myth that British rule was invincible was challenged by satyagraha through mass struggle.
    • It gave push to indigenous products thereby helping indian producers and damaged Britain’s economic and commercial interests.

    Failures:

    • People from the middle classes led the movement at the beginning but later they showed a lot of reservations about Gandhi’s programme.
    • In places like Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, which were centres of elite politicians, the response to Gandhi’s call was very limited.
    • The response to the call for resignation from the government service, surrendering of titles, etc., was not taken seriously.
    • A section of the big business remained sceptical towards the movement. They seemed to be afraid of labour unrest in their factories.
    • People had not learnt or fully understood the method of non-violence. Violent incident in Chauri-Chaura in February 1922 marred the spirit of the movement. Gandhi responded by withdrawing Non-Cooperation movement arguing masses have not yet learned to practice non-violence.

    Conclusion

    • Even though the Non-Cooperation movement did not achieve its stated aims but the strategic and leadership role of Mahatma Gandhi gave India’s freedom struggle new dimensions.
    • The biggest gain of the movement was that it gave a new confidence to the common people and taught them to be fearless in their political pursuit and made Swarajya an important goal.

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