The Non-Cooperation Movement and the Khilafat Agitation were significant anti-colonial movements in India’s struggle for independence. These movements not only galvanized mass participation but also showcased the unity of diverse communities against British rule.


Context and Origins

  • Punitive Treaty on Turkish Sultan: In 1920, the British imposed a punitive treaty on the Turkish Sultan, or Khalifa, causing widespread resentment among Indian Muslims.
  • Khilafat Agitation: Indian Muslims wanted the Khalifa to retain control over Muslim holy sites in the former Ottoman Empire.
  • Initiation of Non-Cooperation Movement: Leaders of the Khilafat agitation, Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali, sought to launch a full-fledged
  • Non-Cooperation Movement. Gandhiji supported their call, urging the Congress to address the “Punjab wrongs” (the Jallianwala Bagh massacre), the Khilafat issue, and the demand for swaraj (self-rule).

Actions and Initiatives

Educational and Professional Boycott:

  • Thousands of students left government-run schools and institutions.
  • Prominent lawyers such as Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das, C. Rajagopalachari, and Asaf Ali abandoned their legal practices.
  • British titles were renounced, and legislatures were boycotted.

Local Movements and Protests:

  • Kheda: Patidar peasants staged nonviolent campaigns against excessive land revenue demands.
  • Coastal Andhra and Tamil Nadu: Picketing of liquor stores and “forest satyagrahas” by tribals and poor peasants in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur region.
  • Sind: Muslim traders and peasants enthusiastically supported the Khilafat call.
  • Bengal: The Khilafat-Non-Cooperation alliance fostered communal unity and strengthened the national movement.
  • Punjab: The Sikh Akali agitation aimed to remove corrupt mahants from gurdwaras, aligning closely with the Non-Cooperation Movement.
  • Assam: Tea garden workers chanted “Gandhi Maharaj ki Jai” and left British-owned estates demanding higher wages.
  • Malabar: Predominantly Muslim areas engaged in armed struggle against the British for nearly six months starting August 1921.


The Non-Cooperation Movement and the Khilafat Agitation were pivotal in unifying different sections of Indian society against colonial rule. From educational boycotts to regional uprisings, these movements exemplified the collective resolve of Indians to attain self-rule. The widespread participation and diverse forms of protest underscored the deep-seated resistance to British imperialism, setting the stage for future struggles in India’s path to independence.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 7, 2024