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Winding down

EPIC MARCH: Salt Satyagraha.  

The Simon Commission was a group of seven British Members of Parliament of the United Kingdom, under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon. The Commission arrived in British-occupied India in 1928 to study constitutional reform. The Indian National Congress (INC) and people found the suggestions of the Commission unacceptable. The Nehru Report which was constituted in 1928 also fizzled out with the British not adhering to many of the demands.

The patience of the masses was wearing out, and the INC along with Mahatma Gandhi began the civil disobedience movement. Under Gandhiji’s leadership, Indians learnt that non violence and passive resistance could win political battles. The essence of the civil disobedience movement was to defy British laws.

On March 12, 1930, Gandhiji inaugurated the civil disobedience movement with the Dandi Salt March. He broke the Salt Laws imposed by the British Government.

The civil disobedience movement broadened into people refusing to buy foreign goods, a refusal to pay taxes and not attending office and school. Disturbed by this movement the British imprisoned Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. By the end of 1930, thousands of Indians, were in jail and the movement had generated worldwide publicit. Lord Irwin (British viceroy from1926–31) was looking for a way to end it. Gandhiji was released from custody in January 1931, and the two men began negotiating the terms of the pact. The Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed on March 5, 1931 and the two main clauses of the pact was to ensure Congress participation in the Round Table Conference and the end of the civil disobedience movement.

More disappointment

The Second Round Table Conference in London which Gandhiji attended with Sarojini Naidu, proved to be futile as the British did not honour their demands.

The Viceroy, Lord Willingdon, in the absence of Gandhiji, adopted the policy of repression, the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was violated and the Viceroy took to the suppression of the INC. Gandhiji resumed the movement in January 1932, and appealed to the country to join in.

Gandhiji realised that the second phase of the civil disobedience movement lacked the organisation that marked its first phase, even though the entire nation put up a tough fight.

The movement continued for six months. Gandhiji began a fast for 21 days on May 8, 1933, to make amends for the sins committed against the untouchables. He withdrew the mass Satyagraha on July 14, 1933, but the movement ceased completely on April 7, 1934.

The civil disobedience movement may have failed to achieve a positive outcome, but it was important as India rediscovered its strength and confidence to fight against the British.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2021 1:36:38 AM |

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