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A pivotal moment in the Indian Nationalist movement was the civil disobedience movement. The Civil Disobedience Movement began with Mahatma Gandhi’s well-known Dandi March. Gandhi set out on foot from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on March 12, 1930, with 78 other Ashram members for Dandi, a village on India’s western seacoast about 385 kilometres from Ahmedabad. On April 6, 1930, they arrived in Dandi.
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Civil Disobedience Movement Overview
Civil Disobedience Movement Overview
|Protest against British salt monopoly and taxes, demand for complete independence
|Dandi March (Salt March) initiated by Gandhi on March 12, 1930
|Method of Protest
|Civil Disobedience, Non-violent Resistance
|Symbolic production and selling of salt without paying taxes, breaking the salt laws
|Boycott of British Goods
|Indians boycotted British goods and institutions
|People refused to cooperate with British authorities, surrendered titles and honors
|Significant involvement of women in protests and marches
|British response included arrests, imprisonments, and use of force
|Increased political awareness, international attention, and negotiations with British
|End of Movement
|Officially called off by Gandhi in 1934
|Contributed to India’s independence movement, emphasized non-violent resistance
What is Civil Disobedience Movement?
Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March served as the catalyst for the start of the Civil Disobedience Movement. In March 1930, Gandhi and 78 other ashram members set off on foot for Dandi, a village on Gujarat’s western seaboard, from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmadabad.
On April 6, 1930, they arrived in Dandi, where Gandhi violated and broke the Salt Law. Since salt production in India was a monopoly of the British Government, it was regarded as illegal. The Civil Disobedience Movement gained significant support thanks to the Salt Satyagraha, and the Salt March represented citizens’ opposition to British government policy.
Causes of Civil Disobedience Movement
These were some of the main reasons that paved the way for the Civil Disobedience Movement.
- The formation of the Simon Commission
- The rejection of the demand for Dominion Status
- The demonstrations against the detention of social revolutionaries, etc.
The British government’s lack of genuine interest in giving Dominion Status was evident to the nationalist leaders. In an emergency meeting held in Lahore in December 1929, the INC under Jawaharlal Nehru’s leadership announced PurnaSwaraj, or “Complete Independence,” as the Congress’s main objective.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) was authorized by the Lahore Congress of 1929 to start a campaign of civil disobedience, which included not paying taxes. At Sabarmati Ashram in 1930, Gandhi was given full authority by the CWC to start the Civil Disobedience Movement whenever and wherever he chose. Additionally, it enabled Mahatma Gandhi the freedom to start a national campaign of civil disobedience whenever and wherever he pleased.
|Other Important Articles
|Non Cooperation Movement
|Quit India Movement
|Gandhi Irwin Pact
Civil Disobedience Movement Year and Viceroy Irwin
Viceroy Irwin received a letter from Mahatma Gandhi on January 31, 1930, in which he outlined and imposed eleven demands. The most compelling of all the requests was to get rid of the salt tax, which is paid for by both the rich and the poor. By March 11th, the demands had to be satisfied, or Congress would start a campaign of civil disobedience. 78 of his dependable volunteers marched with Mahatma Gandhi in the well-known salt march.
The march travelled more than 240 kilometres from Gandhiji’s ashram in Sabarmati to the coastal town of Dandi in Gujarat. He landed in Dandi on April 6 and ceremonially breached the law by salting seawater by scalding it. This movement served as the catalyst for the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Impact of Civil Disobedience Movement
The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) had a significant impact on India’s struggle for independence. It was a turning point in the movement, and it forced the British to take the Indian demand for independence more seriously. The CDM was not immediately successful in achieving Indian independence.
However, it was a major step towards that goal. It weakened British authority and laid the groundwork for India’s eventual freedom. Here are some of the key impacts of the CDM:
- It popularized new methods of nonviolent resistance. The CDM was the first time that Gandhi’s principles of nonviolence were used on a large scale in India. The movement involved a variety of nonviolent tactics, such as boycotts, strikes, and civil disobedience. These tactics were effective in disrupting British rule and raising awareness of the Indian independence movement.
- It united Indians from all walks of life. The CDM brought together people from different religions, castes, and social classes. It also attracted the participation of women and children. This unity was a major source of strength for the movement.
- It weakened British authority. The CDM showed the British that the Indian people were determined to achieve independence. It also led to the loss of British revenue and the erosion of British prestige.
- It laid the groundwork for Indian independence. The CDM helped to prepare India for independence. It showed that Indians were capable of organizing and carrying out a mass movement. It also helped to raise international awareness of the Indian independence movement.
British Government’s Response on Civil Disobedience Movement
In November 1930, the British government called the first round table conference to discuss the reforms proposed by the Simon Commission. However, the Indian National Congress chose to boycott it. Indian princes, the Muslim League, the Hindu Mahasabha, and a few others attended the summit. Nothing, though, came of it. The British understood that without Congress’ involvement, no substantive constitutional changes would be made.
Viceroy Lord Irwin tried to convince Congress to participate in the second round table congress. Gandhi and Irwin came to an arrangement in which the government promised to free all political prisoners who weren’t accused of using violence, and Congress promised to put an end to the civil disobedience movement.
Vallabhbhai Patel presided over the Karachi session in 1931, where it was determined that the congress would take part in the second round table congress. Gandhi was the delegate for the September 1931 session.
Why was Salt chosen by Gandhiji as a Weapon?
Because salt was considered to be a basic right of every Indian, it was chosen to represent the beginning of the civil disobedience movement. Gandhi once famously said, “There is no other product besides water that the government can tax in order to feed the millions of people who are starving, as well as the sick, the injured, and the totally defenceless. It is the cruellest poll tax that man has ever devised.”
Salt made a quick connection between the swaraj ideal and a very genuine and common complaint of the rural poor (and with no socially divisive implications like a no-rent campaign). Similar to khadi, salt gave the poor a small but psychologically significant source of income through self-help and gave urban believers a chance to symbolically relate to widespread misery.
Limitations of Civil Disobedience Movement
Despite its significant impact on India’s struggle for independence, the Civil Disobedience Movement had certain limitations:
- The movement primarily involved the urban middle class, while the peasantry and other marginalized groups remained largely uninvolved. This limited the movement’s reach and its ability to mobilize the masses.
- The movement ignored the untouchables.
- Because Muslim political organisations do not participate, the gap between Hindus and Muslims widened.
- Muslim’s demand for special seats led to disputes between Congress and Muslims.
- A large number of Muslims have been turned away from the conflict because they were afraid of becoming a minority group in India.
- The movement faced challenges in reconciling the aspirations of different sections of society.
- The movement primarily focused on specific grievances and demands, but it did not address the underlying structural inequalities that perpetuated British rule. This limited the movement’s long-term impact.
- The movement heavily relied on the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. His charisma and influence were crucial in mobilizing support, but the movement’s effectiveness diminished when he was imprisoned or absent.