Non-Cooperation Movement 1920

On 1 August 1920, Non-Cooperation Movement was announced formally. This was a bereaved day when early in the morning, the news of death of Bal Gangadhar Tilak arrived. Gandhi and a crowd of around 2 Lakh people paid its respect to this “Maker of Modern India”, The Movement started with strikes and processions all over India.

On 4 September 1920, Congress met at Calcutta in a special session. This special session was presided by Lala Lajpat Rai. In this session Gandhi wrongly projected that if the Non-cooperation movement gets successful, Swaraj could be attained in One year. This was something immediately repudiated by CR Das.

In December 1920, Congress met once again in the Nagpur Session. This time the differences of CR das had melted away. He moved the main resolution of Non-cooperation. A programme of surrender of titles, the boycott of schools, courts and councils, the boycott of foreign goods, the promotion maintenance of a Hindu-Muslim unity and strict non-violence was adopted. Nagpur Session 1920 At the Nagpur session in December 1920, some crucial changes were made in the organization of the Congress, so that it becomes a real political party. These changes were actually mooted by Gandhi, but they confused Jinnah and Jinnah left the party, a beginning of the division that later would make him Qaide-i-azam of Pakistan.

Important Changes in Congress

Earlier the object of the Congress was to attain self Government by constitutional and legal means. The new aim of congress was attainment of Swaraj by legitimate and peaceful means. Here, was confusion. Jinnah and Madan Mohan Malviya were confused whether this object of Swaraj is to make any connection with the British Empire or any other way out.

  • Jinnah was still not convinced because the objective was still not clear. Thus Jinnah said adieu to the Congress and left it after his association for 15 years with the party.
  • A 4 anna membership was launched so that more and more poor people could join the Congress
  • A hierarchy of village, taluka and district level committees was to be created so that Congress reaches to the Grassroots.
  • Reorganization of the Provincial Congress Committees so that now they would be organized on linguistic basis. The idea was to bring it close to the masses by using the vernacular languages.

The numbers of delegates were to be fixed in proportion to the population.

The above changes in Nagpur session paid the party dividends when it walked away with independence in 1947 and elections were held later on. Congress is still the largest political party in the country, though, now it is not of the same character and value

The Spread of Non-Cooperation Movement 1920-21

The Noncooperation movement was the first nationwide mass movement. The year 1921-22 witnessed an unprecedented movement in the nation’s history, when there was a widespread unrest among students. Here are some important points related to its spread in all over India:

A nationwide tour was taken up by Mahatma Gandhi and Ali Brothers of Khilafat movement C R Das. Moti Lal Nehru, M.R Jayakar. Saifuddin Kitchlew (Punjab), Vallabhai Patel, C.Rajagopalachari. T. Prakasam and Asaf Ali left their legal practice and jumped in the full-fledged politics of congress. Thousands of students left government schools and colleges and joined the movement. Maulana Mehrnud Hasan, laid the foundation stone of Jamia Millia lslamia at Aligarh on Friday, October 29, 1920, during the meeting of the Foundation Committee of Jamia Millia lslamia.

  • Bihar Vidyapeeth came into existence. The leaders of Indian movement started teaching in the pure Indian educational institutions. In some provinces such as Bengal and Punjab, there was a complete boycott of education by the Firangies.
  • The shops which sold foreign clothes were picketed. Khadi and Charkha became the symbol of national movement.
  • In Bengal, Someshwar Prasad Chaudhary led the peasants in a anti-indigo cultivation.
  • The Tana-Bhagat sect of Bihar boycotted the liquor.
  • In Punjab , Akali Movement that was originally for reforms in the Gurudwaras got linked with the noncooperation movement.

On 13 December 1920 after the formation of Shiromani Curudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), to secure Sikh Gurdwaras from corrupt priests, Akali Dal was formed. The prominent founders were Kartar Singh Jabbar, Master Tara Singh, Baba Kharak Singh.

Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee provided a focal point for the movement for the reformation of Sikh religious places. The Committee began to take over management of gurdwaras one by one, and were resisted by incumbent mahants of Udasi sect. The movement was weak in the Presidency of Bombay, where, the people were mourning on the demise of Tiiak. The Gandhi magic did not work there. In Andhra Pradesh, Alluri Sitaram Raju organized the tribals and linked with the Noncooperation movement. In March 1921, there was a Congress session at Vijayawada, in which the congress rookies were directed to collect funds, enroll more and more members and distribute charkhas. On July 21, 1921, All India Khilafat Conference was called in Karachi. Here, Maulana Mohammad Ali initiated a resolution that no Muslim should serve in the British Indian army. So, the Ali brothers were arrested for sedition. But, later congress also passed similar resolution and the Government had to ignore the whole episode. In Midnapore of Bengal, a movement was led by Birendranath Sasmal against the union board of taxes. People in various parts of the country happily joined the No-tax to Government movement. It was successful in the Andhra region.

Volunteer Corps

In November 1921, the Prince of Wales arrived in India. He was welcomed with strike in Bombay. The cup of Congress was full when the volunteers created a parallel unofficial police force, which was called Volunteer Corps. In December 1921. the Government declared this corps illegal and banned all the public meetings, assemblies and all kinds of noise.

The government took actions by declaring the activities of Congress and the Khilafat volunteers illegal. By December 1921 all main leaders of the movement were arrested and lodged in jails. The newspapers offices were raided.

The Congress wanted to start mass civil disobedience movement. A letter was written by Gandhi to Viceroy Lord Reading to lift a ban on the civil liberties and release the political prisoners. The viceroy did not try to oblige. So, with this Gandhi announced that mass Civil Disobedience would begin from the Bardoli in Surat of the Bombay Presidency, the place where later, a Satyagraha would be launched in 1928.

Factbox: Dar-al-Harb

In November 1920 the Muslim theologians had issued a joint pronouncement wherein, India was declared Dar-al-Harb (House of war). This pronouncement issued two options for the Muslims:

  1. Wage a Holy war against the infidels
  2. Hijrat (migration)

Some 20 thousand Muslims adopted the second option and left India to Afghanistan. The Emir of Kabul refused to accept these people and this there was a chaos and misery among these poor Muslims.

Major Events of Non-Cooperation Movement

The visit of the Prince of Wales in November 1921 was marked with demonstrations, hartals and political meetings marred by scenes of mob violence and Police atrocities in Bombay. It was in December 1921, when some leaders such as Madan Mohan Malviya and Mohammad Ali Jinnah interceded with the viceroy to find some solutions to the deteriorating situation. The Viceroy agreed for a Round Table Conference but here, Gandhi demanded to release all the prisoners associated with the Khilafat Movement as a precondition. The Viceroy refused it.

In 1921, at the Allahabad Session of the Indian National Congress, it was decided to launch Non-cooperation movement at both individual and Mass levels. An appeal was made to all men over the age of 18 to join the Volunteer Corps. At this Allahabad Session, Gandhi was declared as sole of this movement. In February 1922, Gandhi wrote to the viceroy and said that he had the intention to launch the movement in Bardoli in Gujarat, if the government fails to solve the Khilafat question and Punjab issue.

Outcome of Non-cooperation movement

The most significant impact of the NCM was that it brought Gandhi on the front seat of National Politics in India. He was regarded as a logical heir of Balgangadhar Tilak. There was a mass imprisonment and the sense of terror of the jails was removed and “going to jail” became a badge of honor.

Negative Outcomes
  • Gandhi’s decision had given a sudden jolt to the Congress. The reasons for which it was started were the Jallianwallah Bagh tragedy, Swaraj, problems of Khilafat volunteers etc. But none of them got a remedy. Gandhi’s idea of Swaraj in one year proved to be a bubble.
  • The boycott of the educational institutions was not accepted by many of the leaders such as Lala Lajpat Rai. Some leaders did not like they way it was started, many other did not like the way it was conducted and most of them could digest the sudden withdrawal.
  • There shock was for the people of Punjab who were waiting some wonders to happen that would punish the guilty of the Jallianwala massacre. Nothing happened and the revolutionary activities in Punjab again got a setback in Punjab. Some new outfits were born parallel to congress, because Congress was left without any political programme.
Positive Outcomes
  • Congress became the party of common man. Now it was with widespread support of the average peasants, workers and the intellectuals.
  • Charkha and Khadi became symbol of Indian Nationalism.
  • Gandhi was able to see the real picture of India. He realized that the real power of India lies in the rural areas and not in urban area.
  • There was a need for general awakening the masses to their political rights and privileges, and further there was a total loss of faith in the system of government. People could realize that it was only through their own efforts that India could hope to be free.
  • It revealed that the congress was the only organization while could properly direct national effort to gain freedom. The movement also revealed that communal problem is going to be a big problem and this problem of communalism is absolutely state sponsored.


  1. nisha

    August 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

    lot of extra stuff which is not needed put imp pts

  2. nihal bhardwaj

    October 30, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    good work

  3. eaumesh

    October 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Nice article

  4. Lakshmi Narayana

    January 18, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Reduce unwanted matter

  5. saransh

    February 28, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    very informative


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