Civil Disobedience Movement: Essay & Important Notes

Mahatma Gandhi, the man who paved way for India’s freedom started many movements in India and the Civil Disobedience Movement was one of the significant ones. The movement was initiated in the year 1930 to achieve freedom for India. In this year, the Congress had declared “Purna Swaraj” as the main aim of the Indians and January 26 was observed as the “Purna Swaraj Day.” To achieve this aim, Civil Disobedience was chosen as the ultimate weapon. There were prominent leaders like C. Rajgopalchari and Sarojini Naidu who also participated and led the movement in different parts of the country.CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT

Beginning of the Movement

The Salt Satyagraha was one of the factors that led to the initiation of the Civil Disobedience Movement. The Dandi March was conducted by Mahatma Gandhi and his several followers to break the salt law. The Salt Satyagraha led to the extraction of salt from seawater and it was on the culmination of the Dandi March that Gandhiji announced the Civil Disobedience Movement. The announcement of this movement filled the people of India with new energy to fight for their independence.

Activities During the Movement

The sole aim of Mahatma Gandhi was to organize non-violent protests across the nation to attain the aim of Purna Swaraj. For this, several non-violent protests and activities were undertaken across the nation. The objective of the movement was to defy the British government and its laws that were imposed on Indians. Boycott of foreign goods, clothes, and liquor marked the movement and its protests.

In Bihar and other states, anti-Chowkidari tax campaigns were launched wherein villagers refused to pay any money for protection to the local guards. In Gujarat, a no-tax campaign was carried out. As per this campaign, no revenue was paid to the British government. Forest laws were also defied in many regions where the tribal population was pre-dominant. In Uttar Pradesh as well, no tax and no-rent campaigns were organized.

Martial Law

Mahatma Gandhi was arrested after the Dandi March and the people of India were outraged. There were widespread arrests across the country and the people participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement with more fervor. The British government used highly repressive measures like mass arrests, lathi charges, and police firing. However, people continued to defy the British laws by continuing strikes and therefore a martial law was imposed in the country in 1930.

The Political and Economic Policy of Mahatma Gandhi and the Reaction of the British Government

After the release, Mahatma Gandhi launched another phase of the Civil Disobedience Movement by specifying a political and economic policy. This policy stated the abolition of salt tax and reduction in land revenue by 50%. The policy also indicated the demands on the middle-class in terms of reserving coastal land for Indians and keeping a check on the rupee-sterling exchange rate. The political demands of the policy were to bring changes in the Arms Act, changes in the working of the Central Intelligence Department, prohibition of intoxicants in the country, and reduction on military expenditure.

To address the policy reforms, the British government formed the Simon Commission and convened the First Round Table Conference in the year 1930. This was boycotted by the Indian National Congress, but attended by the Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, and others.

However, without the participation of the Congress, the conference did not have any meaning, so the Congress was persuaded to join the Second Round Table Conference. It was made clear that the government was not interested in India’s independence and the conference met with a failure.

In 1939, the Civil Disobedience Movement was withdrawn as the government repression intensified. A resolution was passed by the leaders in India to form a constituent assembly elected by the people of India. The movement laid down the foundation for an independent India and ignited the right to freedom in every Indian.

Important Notes

  • Under the leadership of Gandhiji, the Civil Disobedience Movement was launched in 1930. It began with the Dandi March.
  • Gandhiji and his followers protested against the Salt Law.
  • In Tamil Nadu, C Rajagopalchari led a similar march from Trichinopoly to Vedaranyam. In Gujarat, Sarojini Naidu protested in front of the salt depots. Lakhs of people including a large number of women participated actively in these protests.

Practically the whole country became involved in the movement. There were large-scale boycotts of schools, colleges, and offices. Foreign goods were burnt in bonfires. People stopped paying taxes.

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