Civil Disobedience Movement
The Civil Disobedience Movement began with 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. Gandhi broke the salt law there. Following the defiance of the salt law, the Civil Disobedience Movement spread across the country. During the first phase of the civil disobedience movement, salt production spread across the country, and it became a symbol of the people's defiance of the government.
CAUSES OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT:
• Formation of the Simon Commission;
• Failure of Demand for Dominion Status;
• Protests against the arrest of social revolutionaries;
The nationalist leaders realised that the British government was not genuinely interested in granting Dominion Status. Under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru, the INC met in an emergency session in Lahore in December 1929 and declared Complete Independence, or ‘PurnaSwaraj,' as the Congress goal. It also gave Mahatma Gandhi the power to launch a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience at any time and place he chose.
HOW CDM STARTED?
On January 31, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi wrote Viceroy Irwin a letter outlining and imposing eleven demands. The demand to abolish the salt tax, which is consumed by both the rich and the poor, was the most stirring of all the demands. The demands had to be met by March 11th, or the Congress would launch a civil disobedience campaign. Mahatma Gandhi led the popular salt march, which was accompanied by 78 of his trusted volunteers. From Gandhiji's ashram in Sabarmati to the Gujarati coastal town of Dandi, the march covered over 240 miles. On the 6th of April, he arrived in Dandi and ceremonially broke the law by boiling seawater to make salt. The Civil Disobedience Movement got its start with this movement.
IMPORTANCE OF SALT
• As Gandhi famously stated, "There is no other item outside of water that the government can tax in order to reach the starving millions, the sick, the maimed, and the completely helpless. It is the most inhumane poll tax that man's ingenuity can concoct."
• In an instant, salt connected the ideal of swaraj to a very real and universal grievance of the rural poor (and with no socially divisive implications like a no-rent campaign).
• Salt, like khadi, provided a meagre but psychologically important income for the poor through self-help.
• Like khadi, it provided urban adherents with the opportunity to identify symbolically with mass suffering.
INFLUENCE OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT ON DIFFERENT PROVINCES OF INDIA:
• After Gandhi's symbolic breaking of the salt laws at Dandi, defiance of the laws spread throughout the country. CDM involved students, women, tribals, merchants, petty traders, workers and peasants from all walks of life.
• Salt laws were defied in various provinces as well, under the leadership of various leaders. The Salt Satyagraha was led by C Rajagopalachari in Tamil Nadu, K Kelappan in Malabar, and Sarojini Naidu and Manilal Gandhi in Dharasana Salt Works (Gujarat).
• The defiance of salt laws at Dharasana salt works is noteworthy for its scale, as a group of 2000 volunteers offered nonviolent resistance in the face of a large police force armed with steel-tipped lathis, which attacked non-resisting Satyagrahis (protestors) until they fell down.
• The Gandhi-Irwin pact put an end to the civil disobedience movement. On March 5, 1931, Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India, signed it.
OTHER FORMS OF NON-VIOLENT PROTESTS INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING:
• In the Peshawar region of the North West Frontier Province, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan raised the KhudaiKhidmatgars, also known as the Red Shirts, a group of nonviolent revolutionaries who played a key role in the Civil Disobedience Movement.
• Picketing of liquor stores, opium dens, and stores selling foreign cloth was led by women, young mothers, widowed and unmarried girls. They persuaded buyers and sellers to change their ways using nonviolent and persuasive methods. In the boycott of foreign cloth and liquor, they were ably supported by students and youth.
• In Bihar, an anti-chowkidari tax campaign was launched, in which villages refused to pay protection money to local guards (chowkidars), who supplemented the rural police force. In Bihar, Rajendra Prasad took part in anti-Chowkidari tax campaigns.
• In Gujarat, there was a no-tax movement against the payment of land revenue. This was most noticeable in the districts of Kheda, Surat, and Broach. In the Kheda district, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel led the anti-tax campaign.
• There was widespread defiance of forest laws in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and the Central Provinces, particularly in areas with large tribal populations.
• In Assam, a powerful student-led agitation against the Cunningham Circular, which required students and their guardians to provide assurances of good behaviour, was launched.
• In the United Provinces, a no-revenue, no-rent campaign against the government was launched, which quickly morphed into a no-rent campaign against the zamindars. The no-revenue, no-rent campaign was organised by Jawaharlal Nehru, and the districts of Agra and Rae Bareli were important centres of the campaign.
• The movement popularised a number of mobilisation techniques, including PrabhatPheris, Patrikas, and Magic Lanterns.
• At the age of thirteen, Nagaland's Rani Gaidinliu raised the banner of revolt against foreign rule in Manipur and Nagaland. In 1932, she was apprehended and sentenced to life in prison.
• The Chittagong Revolt Group, led by Surya Sen, raided two armouries in Chittagong. It announced the formation of a provisional government.
• Notably, the movement was the most liberating experience for Indian women to date, and it can be said to have marked their entry into public space.
CDM AND PEASANT MOVEMENTS:
• During the Great Depression, the CDM was implemented, and farmers were asked to either not pay rent or pay only half of it. They were subjected to severe government repression. This is where the young militants grew up.
• Anti-tax and anti-rent campaigns were also raging. Due to the recent success of the Bardoli Satyagraha, peasants were ecstatic.
• This sparked a series of peasant uprisings across the country. In Bengal and Bihar, a campaign against the chowkidari tax was launched, in Punjab, Kisansabhas were organised, and peasants participated in a forest satyagraha to protest the unethical use of forest resources for commercial purposes.
• It also sparked the rise of leftist parties in the country, beginning with the Congress Socialist Party in 1934, with the goal of bringing radical reforms to society with the participation of peasants and leading the country's awareness campaign.
• In response to the peasants' uproar, the government passed a number of reforms, including debt relief, the restoration of lands lost due to acquisition, and non-repayment of revenues during famines, all of which encouraged the peasants to demand more reforms.
• The Tebhaga uprising was the most well-known. Bengali share croppers demanded that the jotedar share of the produce be reduced from half to one-third. In addition, the cultivators preferred to store their produce in their own godowns rather than the jotedar's.
FEATURES OF THE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT:
• This was the first nationwide movement, as all others had been limited to cities.
• People in rural areas were also able to register their participation.
• A large number of women took part in the event.
• Popular women such as Kasturba Gandhi, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Avantikabai Gokhale, Lilavati Munshi, and Hansaben Mehta led the satyagraha movement.
• This movement's motto was nonviolence.
• Despite constant British suppression, this movement did not give up.
• The Indians were regarded as fearless as a result of their fearlessness.
DRAWBACKS OF THE MOVEMENT:
• Muslims were less likely to participate as a result of communal leaders' advice and the government's efforts to promote communalism as a counter-nationalism strategy.
• Except in Nagpur, industrial workers did not turn out in large numbers.
SECOND PHASE OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE:
• Gandhi returned from London after the failure of the second round table conference.
• When Gandhiji returned, the congress working committee convened a meeting to discuss the revival of civil disobedience. However, the government detained all of the congress's top leaders.
• The draconian ordinances were enacted in order to impose martial law. Protesters who did not use violence were brutally repressed. The anti-tax and anti-rent campaigns were harshly rebuked.
• Despite the fact that the people fought back, the leaders were unable to maintain a steady pace, and the movement was crushed. The second phase of the civil disobedience movement lasted until 1934, when Gandhiji called it a day.
• Gandhiji's decision was criticised by many leaders, including SC Bose and Vithalbhai Patel. Later, they desired a reorganisation of Congress with a new leader.