NCERT Textbook - Nationalism in India Class 10 Notes | EduRev

History(Prelims) by UPSC Toppers

Created by: C K Academy

Class 10 : NCERT Textbook - Nationalism in India Class 10 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


53
Nationalism  in  India
As you have seen, modern nationalism in Europe came to be
associated with the formation of nation-states. It also meant a change
in people’s understanding of who they were, and what defined their
identity and sense of belonging. New symbols and icons, new songs
and ideas forged new links and redefined the boundaries of
communities. In most countries the making of this new national
identity was a long process. How did this consciousness emerge
in India?
In India, as in Vietnam and many other colonies, the growth of
modern nationalism is intimately connected to the anti-colonial
movement. People began discovering their unity in the process of
their struggle with colonialism. The sense of being oppressed under
colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups
together. But each class and group felt the effects of colonialism
differently, their experiences were varied, and their notions of
freedom were not always the same.  The Congress under Mahatma
Gandhi tried to forge these groups together within one movement.
But the unity did not emerge without conflict.
In an earlier textbook you have read about the growth of nationalism
in India up to the first decade of the twentieth century . In this chapter
we will pick up the story from the 1920s and study the Non-
Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements. We will explore
how the Congress sought to develop the national movement, how
different social groups participated in the movement, and how
nationalism captured the imagination of people.
Nationalism  in  India
Chapter III
Nationalism in India
Fig. 1 – 6 April 1919.
Mass processions on
the streets became a
common feature during
the national movement.
Page 2


53
Nationalism  in  India
As you have seen, modern nationalism in Europe came to be
associated with the formation of nation-states. It also meant a change
in people’s understanding of who they were, and what defined their
identity and sense of belonging. New symbols and icons, new songs
and ideas forged new links and redefined the boundaries of
communities. In most countries the making of this new national
identity was a long process. How did this consciousness emerge
in India?
In India, as in Vietnam and many other colonies, the growth of
modern nationalism is intimately connected to the anti-colonial
movement. People began discovering their unity in the process of
their struggle with colonialism. The sense of being oppressed under
colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups
together. But each class and group felt the effects of colonialism
differently, their experiences were varied, and their notions of
freedom were not always the same.  The Congress under Mahatma
Gandhi tried to forge these groups together within one movement.
But the unity did not emerge without conflict.
In an earlier textbook you have read about the growth of nationalism
in India up to the first decade of the twentieth century . In this chapter
we will pick up the story from the 1920s and study the Non-
Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements. We will explore
how the Congress sought to develop the national movement, how
different social groups participated in the movement, and how
nationalism captured the imagination of people.
Nationalism  in  India
Chapter III
Nationalism in India
Fig. 1 – 6 April 1919.
Mass processions on
the streets became a
common feature during
the national movement.
India and the Contemporary World
54
1  The First World War, Khilafat and Non-Cooperation
In the years after 1919, we see the national movement spreading to
new areas, incorporating new social groups, and developing new
modes of struggle. How do we understand these developments?
What implications did they have?
First of all, the war created a new economic and political situation.
It led to a huge increase in defence expenditure which was financed
by war loans and increasing taxes: customs duties were raised and
income tax introduced. Through the war years prices increased –
doubling between 1913 and 1918 –  leading to extreme hardship
for the common people. Villages were called upon to supply soldiers,
and the forced recruitment in rural areas caused widespread anger.
Then in 1918-19 and 1920-21, crops failed in many parts of India,
resulting in acute shortages of food. This was accompanied by an
influenza epidemic. According to the census of 1921, 12 to 13 million
people perished as a result of famines and  the epidemic.
People hoped that their hardships would end after the war was
over. But that did not happen.
At this stage a new leader appeared and suggested a new mode
of struggle.
1.1 The Idea of Satyagraha
Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January 1915. As you know ,
he had come from South Africa where he had successfully fought
New words
Forced recruitment – A process by which the
colonial state forced people to join the army
Fig. 2 – Indian workers in South
Africa march through Volksrust, 6
November 1913.
Mahatma Gandhi was leading the
workers from Newcastle to
Transvaal. When the marchers were
stopped and Gandhiji arrested,
thousands of more workers joined
the satyagraha against racist laws
that denied rights  to non-whites.
Page 3


53
Nationalism  in  India
As you have seen, modern nationalism in Europe came to be
associated with the formation of nation-states. It also meant a change
in people’s understanding of who they were, and what defined their
identity and sense of belonging. New symbols and icons, new songs
and ideas forged new links and redefined the boundaries of
communities. In most countries the making of this new national
identity was a long process. How did this consciousness emerge
in India?
In India, as in Vietnam and many other colonies, the growth of
modern nationalism is intimately connected to the anti-colonial
movement. People began discovering their unity in the process of
their struggle with colonialism. The sense of being oppressed under
colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups
together. But each class and group felt the effects of colonialism
differently, their experiences were varied, and their notions of
freedom were not always the same.  The Congress under Mahatma
Gandhi tried to forge these groups together within one movement.
But the unity did not emerge without conflict.
In an earlier textbook you have read about the growth of nationalism
in India up to the first decade of the twentieth century . In this chapter
we will pick up the story from the 1920s and study the Non-
Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements. We will explore
how the Congress sought to develop the national movement, how
different social groups participated in the movement, and how
nationalism captured the imagination of people.
Nationalism  in  India
Chapter III
Nationalism in India
Fig. 1 – 6 April 1919.
Mass processions on
the streets became a
common feature during
the national movement.
India and the Contemporary World
54
1  The First World War, Khilafat and Non-Cooperation
In the years after 1919, we see the national movement spreading to
new areas, incorporating new social groups, and developing new
modes of struggle. How do we understand these developments?
What implications did they have?
First of all, the war created a new economic and political situation.
It led to a huge increase in defence expenditure which was financed
by war loans and increasing taxes: customs duties were raised and
income tax introduced. Through the war years prices increased –
doubling between 1913 and 1918 –  leading to extreme hardship
for the common people. Villages were called upon to supply soldiers,
and the forced recruitment in rural areas caused widespread anger.
Then in 1918-19 and 1920-21, crops failed in many parts of India,
resulting in acute shortages of food. This was accompanied by an
influenza epidemic. According to the census of 1921, 12 to 13 million
people perished as a result of famines and  the epidemic.
People hoped that their hardships would end after the war was
over. But that did not happen.
At this stage a new leader appeared and suggested a new mode
of struggle.
1.1 The Idea of Satyagraha
Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January 1915. As you know ,
he had come from South Africa where he had successfully fought
New words
Forced recruitment – A process by which the
colonial state forced people to join the army
Fig. 2 – Indian workers in South
Africa march through Volksrust, 6
November 1913.
Mahatma Gandhi was leading the
workers from Newcastle to
Transvaal. When the marchers were
stopped and Gandhiji arrested,
thousands of more workers joined
the satyagraha against racist laws
that denied rights  to non-whites.
55
Nationalism  in  India
the racist regime with a novel method of mass agitation, which he
called satyagraha. The idea of satyagraha emphasised the power of
truth and the need to search for truth. It suggested that if the cause
was true, if the struggle was against injustice, then physical force was
not necessary to fight the oppressor. Without seeking vengeance or
being aggressive, a satyagrahi could win the battle through non-
violence. This could be done by  appealing to the conscience of the
oppressor. People – including the oppressors – had to be persuaded
to see the truth, instead of being forced to accept truth through the
use of violence. By this struggle, truth was bound to ultimately
triumph. Mahatma Gandhi believed that this dharma of non-violence
could unite all Indians.
After arriving in India, Mahatma Gandhi successfully organised
satyagraha movements in various places. In 1916 he travelled to
Champaran in  Bihar to inspire the peasants to struggle against the
oppressive plantation system. Then in 1917,  he organised a satyagraha
to support the peasants of the Kheda district of Gujarat. Affected
by crop failure and a plague epidemic, the peasants of Kheda could
not pay the revenue, and were demanding that revenue collection be
relaxed. In 1918, Mahatma Gandhi went to Ahmedabad to organise
a satyagraha movement amongst cotton mill workers.
1.2 The Rowlatt Act
Emboldened with this success, Gandhiji in 1919 decided to launch a
nationwide satyagraha against the proposed Rowlatt Act (1919). This
Act had been hurriedly passed through the Imperial Legislative
Council despite the united opposition of the Indian members. It
gave the government enormous powers to repress political activities,
and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two
years. Mahatma Gandhi wanted non-violent civil disobedience against
such unjust laws, which would start with a hartal on 6 April.
Rallies were organised in various cities, workers went on strike in
railway workshops, and shops closed down. Alarmed by the popular
upsurge, and scared that lines of communication such as the railways
and telegraph would be disrupted, the British administration decided
to clamp down on nationalists. Local leaders were picked up from
Amritsar, and Mahatma Gandhi was barred from entering Delhi.
On 10 April, the police in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful procession,
provoking widespread attacks on banks, post offices and railway
stations. Martial law was imposed and General Dyer took command.
Mahatma Gandhi on Satyagraha
‘It is said of “passive resistance” that it is the
weapon of the weak, but the power which is
the subject of this article can be used only
by the strong. This power is not passive
resistance; indeed it calls for intense activity. The
movement in South Africa was not passive
but active  …
‘ Satyagraha is not physical force. A satyagrahi
does not inflict pain on the adversary; he does
not seek his destruction … In the use of
satyagraha, there is no ill-will whatever.
‘ Satyagraha is pure soul-force. Truth is the very
substance of the soul. That is why this force is
called satyagraha. The soul is informed with
knowledge. In it burns the flame of love. … Non-
violence is the supreme dharma …
‘It is certain that India cannot rival Britain or
Europe in force of arms. The British worship the
war-god and they can all of them become, as
they are becoming, bearers of arms. The
hundreds of millions in India can never carry arms.
They have made the religion of non-violence their
own ...’
Source
Source A
Read the text carefully. What did Mahatma
Gandhi mean when he said satyagraha is
active resistance?
Activity
Page 4


53
Nationalism  in  India
As you have seen, modern nationalism in Europe came to be
associated with the formation of nation-states. It also meant a change
in people’s understanding of who they were, and what defined their
identity and sense of belonging. New symbols and icons, new songs
and ideas forged new links and redefined the boundaries of
communities. In most countries the making of this new national
identity was a long process. How did this consciousness emerge
in India?
In India, as in Vietnam and many other colonies, the growth of
modern nationalism is intimately connected to the anti-colonial
movement. People began discovering their unity in the process of
their struggle with colonialism. The sense of being oppressed under
colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups
together. But each class and group felt the effects of colonialism
differently, their experiences were varied, and their notions of
freedom were not always the same.  The Congress under Mahatma
Gandhi tried to forge these groups together within one movement.
But the unity did not emerge without conflict.
In an earlier textbook you have read about the growth of nationalism
in India up to the first decade of the twentieth century . In this chapter
we will pick up the story from the 1920s and study the Non-
Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements. We will explore
how the Congress sought to develop the national movement, how
different social groups participated in the movement, and how
nationalism captured the imagination of people.
Nationalism  in  India
Chapter III
Nationalism in India
Fig. 1 – 6 April 1919.
Mass processions on
the streets became a
common feature during
the national movement.
India and the Contemporary World
54
1  The First World War, Khilafat and Non-Cooperation
In the years after 1919, we see the national movement spreading to
new areas, incorporating new social groups, and developing new
modes of struggle. How do we understand these developments?
What implications did they have?
First of all, the war created a new economic and political situation.
It led to a huge increase in defence expenditure which was financed
by war loans and increasing taxes: customs duties were raised and
income tax introduced. Through the war years prices increased –
doubling between 1913 and 1918 –  leading to extreme hardship
for the common people. Villages were called upon to supply soldiers,
and the forced recruitment in rural areas caused widespread anger.
Then in 1918-19 and 1920-21, crops failed in many parts of India,
resulting in acute shortages of food. This was accompanied by an
influenza epidemic. According to the census of 1921, 12 to 13 million
people perished as a result of famines and  the epidemic.
People hoped that their hardships would end after the war was
over. But that did not happen.
At this stage a new leader appeared and suggested a new mode
of struggle.
1.1 The Idea of Satyagraha
Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January 1915. As you know ,
he had come from South Africa where he had successfully fought
New words
Forced recruitment – A process by which the
colonial state forced people to join the army
Fig. 2 – Indian workers in South
Africa march through Volksrust, 6
November 1913.
Mahatma Gandhi was leading the
workers from Newcastle to
Transvaal. When the marchers were
stopped and Gandhiji arrested,
thousands of more workers joined
the satyagraha against racist laws
that denied rights  to non-whites.
55
Nationalism  in  India
the racist regime with a novel method of mass agitation, which he
called satyagraha. The idea of satyagraha emphasised the power of
truth and the need to search for truth. It suggested that if the cause
was true, if the struggle was against injustice, then physical force was
not necessary to fight the oppressor. Without seeking vengeance or
being aggressive, a satyagrahi could win the battle through non-
violence. This could be done by  appealing to the conscience of the
oppressor. People – including the oppressors – had to be persuaded
to see the truth, instead of being forced to accept truth through the
use of violence. By this struggle, truth was bound to ultimately
triumph. Mahatma Gandhi believed that this dharma of non-violence
could unite all Indians.
After arriving in India, Mahatma Gandhi successfully organised
satyagraha movements in various places. In 1916 he travelled to
Champaran in  Bihar to inspire the peasants to struggle against the
oppressive plantation system. Then in 1917,  he organised a satyagraha
to support the peasants of the Kheda district of Gujarat. Affected
by crop failure and a plague epidemic, the peasants of Kheda could
not pay the revenue, and were demanding that revenue collection be
relaxed. In 1918, Mahatma Gandhi went to Ahmedabad to organise
a satyagraha movement amongst cotton mill workers.
1.2 The Rowlatt Act
Emboldened with this success, Gandhiji in 1919 decided to launch a
nationwide satyagraha against the proposed Rowlatt Act (1919). This
Act had been hurriedly passed through the Imperial Legislative
Council despite the united opposition of the Indian members. It
gave the government enormous powers to repress political activities,
and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two
years. Mahatma Gandhi wanted non-violent civil disobedience against
such unjust laws, which would start with a hartal on 6 April.
Rallies were organised in various cities, workers went on strike in
railway workshops, and shops closed down. Alarmed by the popular
upsurge, and scared that lines of communication such as the railways
and telegraph would be disrupted, the British administration decided
to clamp down on nationalists. Local leaders were picked up from
Amritsar, and Mahatma Gandhi was barred from entering Delhi.
On 10 April, the police in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful procession,
provoking widespread attacks on banks, post offices and railway
stations. Martial law was imposed and General Dyer took command.
Mahatma Gandhi on Satyagraha
‘It is said of “passive resistance” that it is the
weapon of the weak, but the power which is
the subject of this article can be used only
by the strong. This power is not passive
resistance; indeed it calls for intense activity. The
movement in South Africa was not passive
but active  …
‘ Satyagraha is not physical force. A satyagrahi
does not inflict pain on the adversary; he does
not seek his destruction … In the use of
satyagraha, there is no ill-will whatever.
‘ Satyagraha is pure soul-force. Truth is the very
substance of the soul. That is why this force is
called satyagraha. The soul is informed with
knowledge. In it burns the flame of love. … Non-
violence is the supreme dharma …
‘It is certain that India cannot rival Britain or
Europe in force of arms. The British worship the
war-god and they can all of them become, as
they are becoming, bearers of arms. The
hundreds of millions in India can never carry arms.
They have made the religion of non-violence their
own ...’
Source
Source A
Read the text carefully. What did Mahatma
Gandhi mean when he said satyagraha is
active resistance?
Activity
India and the Contemporary World
56
On 13 April the infamous Jallianwalla Bagh incident took place. On
that day a large crowd gathered in the enclosed ground of Jallianwalla
Bagh. Some came to protest against the government’ s new repressive
measures. Others had come to attend the annual Baisakhi fair.  Being
from outside the city, many villagers were unaware of the martial
law that had been imposed. Dyer entered the area, blocked the exit
points, and opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. His object,
as he declared later, was to ‘produce a moral effect’, to create in the
minds of satyagrahis a feeling of terror and awe.
As the news of Jallianwalla Bagh spread, crowds took to the streets
in many north Indian towns. There were strikes, clashes with the
police and attacks on government buildings. The government
responded with brutal repression, seeking to humiliate and terrorise
people: satyagrahis were forced to rub their noses on the ground,
crawl on the streets, and do salaam (salute) to all sahibs; people were
flogged and villages (around Gujranwala in Punjab, now in Pakistan)
were bombed. Seeing violence spread, Mahatma Gandhi called off
the movement.
While the Rowlatt satyagraha had been a widespread movement, it
was still limited mostly to cities and towns. Mahatma Gandhi now felt
the need to launch a more broad-based movement in India.  But he
was certain that no such movement could be organised without
bringing the Hindus and Muslims closer together. One way of doing
this, he felt, was to take up the Khilafat issue. The First W orld W ar had
ended with the defeat of Ottoman Turkey . And there were rumours
that a harsh peace treaty was going to be imposed on the Ottoman
emperor –  the spiritual head of the Islamic world (the Khalifa). T o
defend the Khalifa’s temporal powers, a Khilafat Committee was
formed in Bombay in March 1919. A young generation of Muslim
leaders like the brothers Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali, began
discussing with Mahatma Gandhi about the possibility of a united
mass action on the issue. Gandhiji saw this as an opportunity to bring
Muslims under the umbrella of a unified national movement. At the
Calcutta session of the Congress in September 1920, he convinced
other leaders of the need to start a non-cooperation movement in
support of Khilafat as well as for swaraj.
1.3  Why Non-cooperation?
In his famous book Hind Swaraj (1909) Mahatma Gandhi declared
that British rule was established in India with the cooperation of
Fig. 3 – General Dyer’s ‘crawling orders’ being
administered by British soldiers, Amritsar,
Punjab, 1919.
Page 5


53
Nationalism  in  India
As you have seen, modern nationalism in Europe came to be
associated with the formation of nation-states. It also meant a change
in people’s understanding of who they were, and what defined their
identity and sense of belonging. New symbols and icons, new songs
and ideas forged new links and redefined the boundaries of
communities. In most countries the making of this new national
identity was a long process. How did this consciousness emerge
in India?
In India, as in Vietnam and many other colonies, the growth of
modern nationalism is intimately connected to the anti-colonial
movement. People began discovering their unity in the process of
their struggle with colonialism. The sense of being oppressed under
colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups
together. But each class and group felt the effects of colonialism
differently, their experiences were varied, and their notions of
freedom were not always the same.  The Congress under Mahatma
Gandhi tried to forge these groups together within one movement.
But the unity did not emerge without conflict.
In an earlier textbook you have read about the growth of nationalism
in India up to the first decade of the twentieth century . In this chapter
we will pick up the story from the 1920s and study the Non-
Cooperation and Civil Disobedience Movements. We will explore
how the Congress sought to develop the national movement, how
different social groups participated in the movement, and how
nationalism captured the imagination of people.
Nationalism  in  India
Chapter III
Nationalism in India
Fig. 1 – 6 April 1919.
Mass processions on
the streets became a
common feature during
the national movement.
India and the Contemporary World
54
1  The First World War, Khilafat and Non-Cooperation
In the years after 1919, we see the national movement spreading to
new areas, incorporating new social groups, and developing new
modes of struggle. How do we understand these developments?
What implications did they have?
First of all, the war created a new economic and political situation.
It led to a huge increase in defence expenditure which was financed
by war loans and increasing taxes: customs duties were raised and
income tax introduced. Through the war years prices increased –
doubling between 1913 and 1918 –  leading to extreme hardship
for the common people. Villages were called upon to supply soldiers,
and the forced recruitment in rural areas caused widespread anger.
Then in 1918-19 and 1920-21, crops failed in many parts of India,
resulting in acute shortages of food. This was accompanied by an
influenza epidemic. According to the census of 1921, 12 to 13 million
people perished as a result of famines and  the epidemic.
People hoped that their hardships would end after the war was
over. But that did not happen.
At this stage a new leader appeared and suggested a new mode
of struggle.
1.1 The Idea of Satyagraha
Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January 1915. As you know ,
he had come from South Africa where he had successfully fought
New words
Forced recruitment – A process by which the
colonial state forced people to join the army
Fig. 2 – Indian workers in South
Africa march through Volksrust, 6
November 1913.
Mahatma Gandhi was leading the
workers from Newcastle to
Transvaal. When the marchers were
stopped and Gandhiji arrested,
thousands of more workers joined
the satyagraha against racist laws
that denied rights  to non-whites.
55
Nationalism  in  India
the racist regime with a novel method of mass agitation, which he
called satyagraha. The idea of satyagraha emphasised the power of
truth and the need to search for truth. It suggested that if the cause
was true, if the struggle was against injustice, then physical force was
not necessary to fight the oppressor. Without seeking vengeance or
being aggressive, a satyagrahi could win the battle through non-
violence. This could be done by  appealing to the conscience of the
oppressor. People – including the oppressors – had to be persuaded
to see the truth, instead of being forced to accept truth through the
use of violence. By this struggle, truth was bound to ultimately
triumph. Mahatma Gandhi believed that this dharma of non-violence
could unite all Indians.
After arriving in India, Mahatma Gandhi successfully organised
satyagraha movements in various places. In 1916 he travelled to
Champaran in  Bihar to inspire the peasants to struggle against the
oppressive plantation system. Then in 1917,  he organised a satyagraha
to support the peasants of the Kheda district of Gujarat. Affected
by crop failure and a plague epidemic, the peasants of Kheda could
not pay the revenue, and were demanding that revenue collection be
relaxed. In 1918, Mahatma Gandhi went to Ahmedabad to organise
a satyagraha movement amongst cotton mill workers.
1.2 The Rowlatt Act
Emboldened with this success, Gandhiji in 1919 decided to launch a
nationwide satyagraha against the proposed Rowlatt Act (1919). This
Act had been hurriedly passed through the Imperial Legislative
Council despite the united opposition of the Indian members. It
gave the government enormous powers to repress political activities,
and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two
years. Mahatma Gandhi wanted non-violent civil disobedience against
such unjust laws, which would start with a hartal on 6 April.
Rallies were organised in various cities, workers went on strike in
railway workshops, and shops closed down. Alarmed by the popular
upsurge, and scared that lines of communication such as the railways
and telegraph would be disrupted, the British administration decided
to clamp down on nationalists. Local leaders were picked up from
Amritsar, and Mahatma Gandhi was barred from entering Delhi.
On 10 April, the police in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful procession,
provoking widespread attacks on banks, post offices and railway
stations. Martial law was imposed and General Dyer took command.
Mahatma Gandhi on Satyagraha
‘It is said of “passive resistance” that it is the
weapon of the weak, but the power which is
the subject of this article can be used only
by the strong. This power is not passive
resistance; indeed it calls for intense activity. The
movement in South Africa was not passive
but active  …
‘ Satyagraha is not physical force. A satyagrahi
does not inflict pain on the adversary; he does
not seek his destruction … In the use of
satyagraha, there is no ill-will whatever.
‘ Satyagraha is pure soul-force. Truth is the very
substance of the soul. That is why this force is
called satyagraha. The soul is informed with
knowledge. In it burns the flame of love. … Non-
violence is the supreme dharma …
‘It is certain that India cannot rival Britain or
Europe in force of arms. The British worship the
war-god and they can all of them become, as
they are becoming, bearers of arms. The
hundreds of millions in India can never carry arms.
They have made the religion of non-violence their
own ...’
Source
Source A
Read the text carefully. What did Mahatma
Gandhi mean when he said satyagraha is
active resistance?
Activity
India and the Contemporary World
56
On 13 April the infamous Jallianwalla Bagh incident took place. On
that day a large crowd gathered in the enclosed ground of Jallianwalla
Bagh. Some came to protest against the government’ s new repressive
measures. Others had come to attend the annual Baisakhi fair.  Being
from outside the city, many villagers were unaware of the martial
law that had been imposed. Dyer entered the area, blocked the exit
points, and opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. His object,
as he declared later, was to ‘produce a moral effect’, to create in the
minds of satyagrahis a feeling of terror and awe.
As the news of Jallianwalla Bagh spread, crowds took to the streets
in many north Indian towns. There were strikes, clashes with the
police and attacks on government buildings. The government
responded with brutal repression, seeking to humiliate and terrorise
people: satyagrahis were forced to rub their noses on the ground,
crawl on the streets, and do salaam (salute) to all sahibs; people were
flogged and villages (around Gujranwala in Punjab, now in Pakistan)
were bombed. Seeing violence spread, Mahatma Gandhi called off
the movement.
While the Rowlatt satyagraha had been a widespread movement, it
was still limited mostly to cities and towns. Mahatma Gandhi now felt
the need to launch a more broad-based movement in India.  But he
was certain that no such movement could be organised without
bringing the Hindus and Muslims closer together. One way of doing
this, he felt, was to take up the Khilafat issue. The First W orld W ar had
ended with the defeat of Ottoman Turkey . And there were rumours
that a harsh peace treaty was going to be imposed on the Ottoman
emperor –  the spiritual head of the Islamic world (the Khalifa). T o
defend the Khalifa’s temporal powers, a Khilafat Committee was
formed in Bombay in March 1919. A young generation of Muslim
leaders like the brothers Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali, began
discussing with Mahatma Gandhi about the possibility of a united
mass action on the issue. Gandhiji saw this as an opportunity to bring
Muslims under the umbrella of a unified national movement. At the
Calcutta session of the Congress in September 1920, he convinced
other leaders of the need to start a non-cooperation movement in
support of Khilafat as well as for swaraj.
1.3  Why Non-cooperation?
In his famous book Hind Swaraj (1909) Mahatma Gandhi declared
that British rule was established in India with the cooperation of
Fig. 3 – General Dyer’s ‘crawling orders’ being
administered by British soldiers, Amritsar,
Punjab, 1919.
57
Nationalism  in  India
New words
Boycott – The refusal to deal and associate with
people, or participate in activities, or buy and
use things; usually a form of protest
Indians, and had survived only because of this cooperation. If Indians
refused to cooperate, British rule in India would collapse within a
year, and swaraj would come.
How could non-cooperation become a movement? Gandhiji
proposed that the movement should unfold in stages. It should begin
with the surrender of titles that the government awarded, and a
boycott of civil services, army, police, courts and legislative councils,
schools, and foreign goods. Then, in case the government used
repression, a full civil disobedience campaign would be launched.
Through the summer of 1920 Mahatma Gandhi and Shaukat Ali
toured extensively, mobilising popular support for the movement.
Many within the Congress were, however, concerned about the
proposals. They were reluctant to boycott the council elections
scheduled for November 1920, and they feared that the movement
might lead to popular violence.  In the months between September
and December there was an intense tussle within the Congress. For a
while there seemed no meeting point between the supporters and
the opponents of the movement. Finally , at the Congress session at
Nagpur in December 1920, a compromise was worked out and
the Non-Cooperation programme was adopted.
How did the movement unfold? Who participated in it? How did
different social groups conceive of the idea of Non-Cooperation?
Fig. 4 – The boycott of foreign
cloth, July 1922.
Foreign cloth was seen as the
symbol of Western economic
and cultural domination.
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