Non Co-operation and Khilafat Movement

  • Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms 1919: Dyarchy
  • In a system called “dyarchy,” the nation-building departments of government — agriculture, education, public works, and the like — were placed under ministers who were individually responsible to the legislature. The departments that made up the “steel frame” of British rule — finance, revenue, and home affairs — were retained by executive councillors who were nominated by the Governor.
  • The Hunter Committee report praised the actions of general Dyer.
  • Khilafat Movement
    • For support of Turkey
    • Khilafat Committee formed under the leadership of Ali Brothers, Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Hasrat Mohani
    • The promises made to the Khilafat Committee were not kept after the World War.
    • The All-India Khilafat Conference held at Delhi in November 1919 decided to withdraw all cooperation from the government if their demands were not met.
    • On June 9 1920, the Khilafat Committee at Allahabad unanimously accepted the suggestion of non-cooperation and asked Gandhiji to lead the movement.
  • Khilafat movement cemented Hindu-Muslim unity
    • Gandhiji looked upon the Khilafat agitation as “an opportunity of uniting Hindus and Mohammedans as would not arise in a hundred years”
  • The non-cooperation movement was launched on August 1, 1920. Lokmanya Tilak passed away on the same day.
  • People countrywide observed hartal and took out processions.
  • The congress met in September at Calcutta and accepted non-co-operation as its own.
  • The programme of non-cooperation included:
    • Surrender of titles and honors
    • Boycott of government affiliated schools and colleges, law courts, foreign cloth and could be extended to resignation from government services.
    • Mass civil disobedience including the non-payment of taxes.
    • National schools and colleges were to be set up
    • Panchayats were to be established to settle disputes
    • Hand-spinning and weaving was encouraged
    • People were asked to maintain Hindu-Muslim unity, give up untouchability and observe strict non-violence.
  • Changes in Congress to attain the new objective:
    • At the Nagpur session in 1920 changes in the Constitution of Congress were made.
    • The goal of congress was changed from the attainment of self-government by constitutional and legal means to the attainment of Swaraj by peaceful and legitimate means.
    • The Congress now had a Working Committee of fifteen members to look after its day to day affairs.
    • Provincial congress committees were now organized on a linguistic basis.
    • Mahalla and ward committees were formed.
    • The membership fee was reduced to 4 annas a years to enable poor to become members.
    • This was not without opposition however. Some members still believed in the traditional methods. Leaders like Jinnah, GS Khaparde, Bipin Chandra Pal and Annie Besant left congress during this time.
  • Gandhiji, along with the Ali brother, undertook a nationwide tour to address people.
  • Thousands of students left government schools and joined national schools.
  • The most successful item of the programme was the boycott of foreign cloth.
  • Picketing of toddy shops was also very popular.
  • Students let government schools and colleges. IT was during this time that Jamia Milia Islamia of Aligarh, the Bihar Vidyapith, the Kashi Vidyapith and the Gujarat Vidyapith came into existence.
  • Lawyers such as  Deshbandhu CR Das, Motilal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Saifudiin Kitchlew, C Rajagopalachari, Sardar Patel, T Prakasam and Asaf Ali gave up their legal practice.
  • Tilak Swarajya Fund was started to finance the NCM.
  • In 1921, Khilafat Committee issued a resolution that no muslim should serve in the British Indian army.
  • The visit of the Prince of Wales on 17th November 1921 was observed as a day of hartal all over the country.
  • The Congress Volunteer Corps emerged as a powerful parallel police.
  • By December 1921, the government felt that things were going too far and announced a change of policy by declaring the volunteer corps illegal and arresting all those who claimed to be its members.
  • Thousands of peasants and tenants participated in the movement.
  • In Punjab, the Akali movement to remove corrupt mahants from the Gurudwaras was started.
  • Assam: Tea plantation workers went on strike. Midnapore: peasants refused to pay Union Board taxes.                 Guntur (Chirala): Agitation led by Duggirala Gopalakrishayya                       Malabar: Mohlahs (muslim peasants) created a powerful anti-zamindari movement.
  • As the government refused to yield, Gandhiji announced that mass civil disobedience would begin in Bardoli taluqa of Surat.
  • However, in Chauri Chaura, Gorakhpur on 5 February 1922 crowd set fire on a police station and killed some policemen. On hearing this, Gandhiji decided to withdraw the movement.
  • The congress working committee ratified his decision. Thus, on February 12, 1922, the non-cooperation movement came to an end.
  • Assessing the Withdrawal:
    • Some scholars say that Gandhiji withdrew the movement because he wanted to protect the interests of the propertied class.
    • Some argue that there was no logic why a small incident should lead to withdrawal of the movement itself.
    • However, government could use Chauri Chaura to justify its repression of the movement.
    • If movement was started at that time, it would have been defeated due to the repression of the government.
    • Gandhiji was protecting the movement from likely repression, and the people from demoralization.
    • Mass movements tend to ebb in some time. Hence, withdrawal is a part of the strategy of mass movements.
  • Gandhiji was tried in 1922 and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
    • He invited the court to award him “the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is a deliberate crime, and what appears to be the highest duty of a citizen”.
  • Positives out of the non-cooperation movement:
    • Congress started commanding the support and sympathy of vast sections of the Indian people.
    • Millions of Indians became politically involved. Women were drawn into the movement.
    • Muslims participated heavily and communal unity was maintained.
    • Strengthened the national movement. Nationalist sentiments and the national movement had reached the remotest corners of the land.
    • People gained tremendous self-confidence and self-esteem.


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