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Non Cooperation Movement, Causes, Effects, Significance

What is Non Cooperation Movement?

Mahatma Gandhi organized the Non Cooperation Movement from 1920-1922, to persuade the British government of India to grant India Swaraj, or self-rule. It was one of Gandhi’s earliest planned instances of widespread Civil Disobedience Movement (Satyagraha). The Non Cooperation Movement is said to have existed between September 1920 and February 1922. It represented the beginning of a new chapter in the struggle for Indian independence.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre served as the catalyst for the Non Cooperation Movement’s inception, which was later suspended due to the 1922 Chauri Chaura Incident.

Non Cooperation Movement by Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was the main proponent of the Non Cooperation Movement. He published a manifesto in March 1920 outlining the movement’s nonviolent noncooperation doctrine. With the help of this manifesto, Gandhi hoped to eradicate untouchability from society by encouraging people to adopt swadesi ideas and practices, such as hand spinning and weaving. In 1921, Gandhi traveled the country elaborating on the movement’s principles.

Non Cooperation Movement Implementation

Essentially, the Non Cooperation Movement was a non-violent, non-violent protest against the Indian government of the British. As a form of protest, Indians were asked to renounce their titles and resign from their appointed positions in the local bodies. People were asked to quit their government jobs and remove their kids from institutions that were under government control or that received government funding. People were urged to refrain from purchasing foreign goods, exclusively utilize products created in India, boycott legislative council elections, and abstain from enlisting in the British army.

It was also intended that if the preceding measures did not produce the desired effects, people would stop paying their taxes. Swarajya, or self-government, was also desired by the INC (Indian National Congress). To accomplish the demands, only absolutely nonviolent methods would be used.

For the first time, the INC was willing to abandon constitutional measures to obtain self-rule, making the Non Cooperation Movement a crucial moment in the independence campaign. If this campaign was carried out to its conclusion, Gandhi had promised that Swaraj would be accomplished in a year.

Non Cooperation Movement Causes

Indians believed that they would receive autonomy at the end of the war as compensation for the substantial personnel and material support they had given to Britain during the First World War. But the 1919 Government of India Act was inadequate. A lot of Indians felt misled by the rulers despite their support for the war effort when the British also implemented oppressive laws like the Rowlatt Act, which enraged them even more.

The Non Cooperation Movement has its beginnings in the Home Rule Movement, which was founded by Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The INC’s moderates and extremists came together, and the Lucknow Pact also witnessed cooperation between the Congress Party and the Muslim League. The extremists’ comeback gave the INC a militant personality. The population experienced severe economic suffering as a result of India’s involvement in the conflict. Prices of items started to rise, which had an impact on the average person. Due to the stagnant pricing of agricultural goods, peasants also suffered. All of this resulted in resentment toward the government.

The dictatorial Rowlatt Act and the horrible killing at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar had a tremendous influence on the Indian government and the people. Their confidence in the British legal system was shattered, and the entire nation supported its leaders as they argued for a more aggressive and uncompromising position against the government. 

Turkey, one of the Central Powers, engaged the British in combat during the First World War. The Ottoman caliphate’s dissolution was suggested following Turkey’s loss. Islam considered the Sultan of Turkey to be their Caliph (religious head of the Muslims). The Ali Brothers (Maulana Mohammed Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali), Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, and Hasrat Mohani established the Khilafat Movement. To convince the British administration to keep the caliphate in place, Mahatma Gandhi provided support. The movement’s leaders joined Gandhi’s non-cooperation campaign and organized a unified demonstration against the British.

Why Non Cooperation Movement was Called Off?

Following the Chauri Chaura tragedy in February 1922, Mahatma Gandhi decided to put an end to the campaign.

During a clash between the police and movement protesters in Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, a violent crowd set fire to a police station, killing 22 police officers.

Gandhi stopped the movement, stating that the populace was not prepared to overthrow the government through Ahimsa. Several influential figures, like Motilal Nehru and C. R. Das, opposed stopping the campaign because of isolated acts of violence.

Non Cooperation Movement Significance

As promised by Gandhi, Swaraj did not become a reality in a year. However, lakhs of Indians engaged in a public, nonviolent protest against the government, making it a real widespread movement. The British government was stunned by the size of the movement, which caused it to shake. It featured participation from Muslims and Hindus, demonstrating the country’s overall unity.

The non-cooperation campaign helped the Congress Party gain public support. As a result of this campaign, people were more aware of their political rights. They had no apprehensions about the government. Numerous people voluntarily flocked to prisons. Due to the boycott of British goods during this time, Indian merchants and mill owners made considerable profits. Khadi received a promotion. During this time, fewer British pounds of sugar were imported. Gandhi’s status as a populist leader was also reinforced by this movement.

Non Cooperation Movement Effects

People from many regions of the country gave the outstanding leaders who supported the cause their full cooperation. The business people backed the movement because the nationalist utilization of the Swadeshi movement had benefited them. Participating in the movement provided peasants and members of the middle class with an opportunity to express their opposition to British rule.

Non Cooperation Movement

Women actively protested and took part in the Non Cooperation Movement as well. The Gandhian movement was supported by plantation workers who were forbidden from leaving the tea gardens and left the plantation fields. Many people also gave up the titles and honors bestowed upon them by the British crown. People had begun to protest against British government-run courts, schools, and institutions.

Non Cooperation Movement UPSC

Personalities associated


Mahatma Gandhi He was the movement’s main driving force and in 1920 released a manifesto.
C.R. Das When Congress met in Nagpur for its annual session in 1920, he moved the key resolution on non-cooperation.

His three followers, Birendranath Samsal in Midnapore, J.M. Sengupta in Chittagong, and Subhash Bose in Calcutta, made significant contributions to bringing Hindus and Muslims together.

Jawaharlal Nehru He motivated the formation of Kisan Sabhas.

Gandhi’s decision to withdraw from the movement was not supported by him.

Ali brothers (Shaukat Ali and Muhammad Ali) Muhammad Ali stated at the All India Khilafat Conference that it was “religiously illegal for the Muslims to continue in the British Army.”
Lala Lajpat Rai He did not at first support the movement in the initial phases. He later opposed its withdrawal.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel He contributed to spreading  the Non Cooperation Movement in Gujarat

Major Incidents in Indian History

  1. Quit India Movement
  2. Chauri Chaura Incident
  3. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
  4. Green Revolution in India

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Non Cooperation Movement FAQs

What was the main aim of the Non Cooperation Movement?

On September 4, 1920, the Indian National Congress issued a resolution advising Indians to stop supporting the British administration and economy in India. The Non Cooperation Movement’s main aim was the abolition of the Rowlatt Act and wanted Poorna Swarajya or total autonomy.

Why was the Non Cooperation Movement started in 1920?

Mahatma Gandhi led the unsuccessful Non Cooperation Movement in 1920–1922 to persuade the British government of India to grant India swaraj, or self-rule, achieving self-governance with the eventual goal of convincing the British colonial rulers to grant India full independence.

What are the three causes of the Non Cooperation Movement?

The three main cause behind the Non Cooperation Movement was:
1. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
2. Rowlatt Act
3. Khilafat Movement

What were the five features of the Non Cooperation Movement?

Five features of the Non Cooperation Movement:

1. Surrender of titles, honors, and honorary posts
2. Boycott of the legislative council
3. Boycott of law courts by the lawyers
4. Boycott of government schools and colleges, and withdrawal of children from the school and colleges
5. Boycott of British goods

What are the impacts of the Non Cooperation Movement?

Millions of Indian nationalists received tremendous support from the uprising, which completely caught British authorities off guard. Numerous Indian institutions and schools were built, and the country's unity was strengthened. This movement raised people's awareness of their political rights.

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