3. Nationalism in India
Towards Civil Disobedience
Towards Civil Disobedience
Formation of Swaraj Party :
In February 1922 Gandhiji decided to withdraw the Non-cooperation Movement. He felt the movement was running violent in many places and Satyagrahis needed to be properly trained before they would be ready for mass struggles. C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru formed the Swaraj Party with in the Congress to argue for a return to Council Politics. But younger leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose pressed for mass agitation and for full independence.
Demand for Purna Swaraj :
When the Simon Commission arrived in India in 1928. It was greeted with the slogan “Go back Simon.” The main cause of protest was that the commission had not a Single Indian member. They were all British. Lord Irwin announced in October 1929, a vague offer of dominion status for India in an unspecified future and a Round Table Conference to discuss a future constitution. This did not satisfy the Congress leaders.
In December 1929, under the Presidentship of Jawaharlal, the Lahore Congress formalised the demand of ‘Purna Swaraj’. It was declared that 26 January 1930, would be celebrated as the Independence Day, when people were to take a pledge to struggle for Complete Independence.
(i) The Salt March and the Civil Disobedience Movement : The most stirring demand was to remove salt tax. The tax on salt and government’s monopoly over its production, Gandhiji declared, revealed most oppressive face of British Rule.
Lord Irwin was unwilling to negotiate. So Gandhiji started his salt march accompanied by 78 of his trusted volunteers. The march was over 240 miles from Gandhiji’s ashram in Sabarmati to the Gujrati coastal town of Dandi. The volunteers walked for 24 days. On 6 April he reached Dandi and ceremonially violated the law. This marked the beginning of Civil Disobedience Movement.
The difference between the Non-cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. People were asked not only to refuse cooperation with the British, but also to break colonial laws. Gandhiji was arrested. Industrial workers in Sholapur attacked police stations, government buildings law courts and railways stations. Government responded with a policy of brutal repression. About 100,000 people were arrested.
On March 5th 1931, Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed. Gandhiji was willing to participate in a Round Table Conference in London and the government agreed to release the political prisoners. But the negotiation broke down and Gandhiji came back to India. Gandhiji relaunched the Civil Disobedience Movement. But by 1934 it lost its momentum.