Differing Strands within the Movement

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Differing Strands within the Movement: The Non-Cooperation-Khilafat Movement began in January 1921. Various social groups participated in this movement, each with its own specific aspiration. All of them responded to the call of Swaraj, but the term meant different things to different people.



The Movement in the Towns:

  • The movement started with good participation from the middle-class in the cities.
  • Thousands of students left government-controlled schools and colleges, headmasters and teachers resigned, and lawyers gave up their legal practices.
  • The council elections were boycotted in most provinces except Madras. In Madras, the Justice Party, the party of the non-Brahmans, felt that entering the council was one way of gaining some power – something that usually only Brahmans had access to.
  • Foreign goods were boycotted, liquor shops picketed, and foreign cloth burnt in huge bonfires. The import of foreign cloth halved between 1921 and 1922, its value dropping from Rs 102 crore to Rs 57 crore. The boycott of foreign cloths helped in increasing the demand of cloths made in India.

Reasons for Slowdown of Movement:

  • Khadi was more expensive than mill-made cloth. The poor people could not afford to buy khadi.
  • Boycott of British institutions posed a problem of lack of alternative Indian institutions. Such institutions were slow to come up. Students and teachers began coming back schools. Similarly, lawyers resumed their work in the courts.

Rebellion in the Countryside:From the cities, the Non-Cooperation Movement spread to the countryside. It drew into its fold the struggles of peasants and tribals which were developing in different parts of India in the years after the war.

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