- Define the objectives of non-cooperation movement.
- Then state why it was both a negative & positive strategy.
- Conclusion – state its success.
Non-Cooperation entailed renunciation of all voluntary association with the government. The Non-Cooperation programme approved by the Congress in the Calcutta session in 1920 included: boycott of government schools and colleges, boycott of law courts and dispensation of justice through panchayats, boycott of legislative councils, boycott of foreign cloth and use of khadi, renunciation of government honours and titles, in the second phase, it could include mass civil disobedience.
Why was it ‘negative’ strategy ? : The Non Cooperation movement was based on boycott and saying no to intuitions established by British. The critics of Non-Cooperation are of the viewpoint that the ideals of non-violence that formed the core of the movement would not prove to be effective. A section of leaders in the Congress such as C.R. Das were not willing to boycott the legislative councils as these could be used to press the government for their demands.
Why was it ‘positive’ strategy?
- Although it laid emphasis on non-violence, yet proved to be an effective strategy. To accommodate for the principles of non-cooperation, an important change was made in the Congress goal: it decided to have the ‘attainment of Swaraj through peaceful and legitimate means’ as its goal rather than the earlier agenda of ‘attainment of self- government through constitutional means’; Thus, committing itself to an extra- constitutional struggle.
- Political importance: Popularity of the Congress and the movement increased among the masses. The non-cooperation movement certainly demonstrated that the Indian National Congress commanded the support and sympathy of vast sections of the Indian people.
- Participation of Muslims: Participation of the Muslims in the movement and the maintenance of communal harmony was also a great achievement. Muslim participation gave the movement a mass character.
Hence, in several cases the non-cooperation movement was an acid test for the people. The movement was a success in several cases: People became conscious of their political right. People lost their trust in British administration. They became confident of self-reliance. The government failed to create fear in their mind.