Check sibling questions

Differing Strands within the Movement

The Non-Cooperation-Khilafat Movement began in January 1921 . Various social groups participated in this movemen t. Everyone had their own specific aspirations . Everyone responded to the call of Swaraj but its meaning was different for different people.

The Movement in the Towns

Movement in theTowns - Teachoo.jpg


  • The movement started with middle class participation in the cities .
  • Thousands of students left government -controlled schools and colleges.
  • Headmasters and teachers resigned .
  • Lawyers gave up their legal practices .
  • The council elections were boycotted in most of the provinces except Madras , where the Justice Party , the party of the non-brahmans , felt that entering the council was one way of gaining some power - something that only Brahmans had access to.

Effects of Non-Cooperation on Economic Front - Teachoo.jpg

  • The effects of Non-cooperation on the economic front were more dramatic .
  • Foreign goods were boycotted.
  • Liquor shops were picketed .
  • Foreign cloth was burnt in huge bonfires.
  • The import of f oreign cloth halved between 1921 and 1922 , dropping value from Rs 102 crores to Rs 57 crore .
  • In many places merchants and traders refused to trade in foreign goods or finance foreign trade .
  • People began discarding imported clothes and wearing only Indian ones.
  • Production o f Indian textiles and Handlooms went up.
  • But the movement slowed down for a variety of reasons in the cities.
  • Khadi cloth was more expensive than mass-produced mill cloth and poor people could not afford to buy it.
  • Boycott of British institutions posed a problem.
  • Alternative Indian institutions had to be set up so that they could be used in place of the British ones , for the movement to be successful.
  • Students and teachers began trickling back to the government schools and lawyers joined back work in government courts .

Rebellion in the Countryside

Jawaharlal nehru and baba ramchandra - Teachoo.jpg


  • The Non-cooperation movement spread to the countryside from the cities and included the struggles of peasants and tribals in it.
  • In Awadh , peasants were led by Baba Ramchandra - a sanyasi who had earlier been to Fiji as an indentured labourer.
  • The movement was against the Talukdars and landlords who demanded exorbitantly high rents and a variety of other cesses from the peasants .
  • Peasants had to do begar and work at landlord’s farms without any payments.
  • As tenants they had no security of tenure .
  • Being regularly evicted so that they could acquire no right over the leased land .
  • The peasant movement demanded reduction of revenue, abolition of begar , and social boycott of oppressive landlords.
  • Nai - Dhobi bandhs were organised by panchayats to deprive landlords of the services of even barbers and washermen .
  • In June 1920, Jawaharlal Nehru began going around the villages in Awadh.
  • By October, the Oudh Kisan Sabha was set up headed by J awaharlal Nehru, Baba Ramchandra and a few others.
  • Over 300 branches had been set up in the villages around the region.
  • The effort of the Congress was to integrate the Awadh peasan t movement into a wider struggle.
  • However, the peasant movement developed in a way that the Congress leadership was unhappy with.
  • In 1921 the houses of Talukdars and merchants were attacked .
  • Bazaars were looted .
  • Grain hoards were taken over.
  • In many places, the local leaders told peasants that Gandhiji had declared that no taxes were to be paid and land was to be redistributed among the poor.
  • The name of the Mahatma was being invoked to sanction all actions and aspirations.


Bardoli Satyagraha

Bardoli Satyagraha - Teachoo.jpg

  • In 1928 , Vallabhbhai Patel led the peasant movement in Bardoli .
  • A taluka in Gujarat , against enhancement of land revenue .
  • This movement came to be known as Bardoli Satyagraha.
  • This movement was success under the able leadership of Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • The struggle was widely publicised and generated immense sympathy in many parts of India .



Idea of Swaraj for Tribal Peasants

Alluri sitaram raju - Teachoo.jpg

  • Tribal peasants interpreted the message of Mahatma Gandhi and the idea of Swaraj in another way.
  • In the Gudem Hills of Andhra Pradesh , a militant guerrilla movement spread in the early 1920s .
  • It was kind of a struggle that the Congress could never approve off.
  • In the forest regions , the colonial government had closed large forest areas, preventing people from entering the forests to graze their cattle, or to collect fuelwood and fruits .
  • This act enraged the hill people .
  • Not only their livelihoods were affected but they felt that their traditional rights were being denied .
  •  The government began forcing them to contribute begar for road building , and the hill people revolted .
  • Alluri Sitaram Raju claimed that he had a variety of special powers ; he could make correct astrological predictions and heal people .
  • He claimed that he could even survive bullet shots .
  • Captivated by Raju , the rebels proclaimed that he was an incarnation of God .
  • Raju talked of the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi , Raju was inspired by the Non-cooperation Movement.
  • Raju persuaded people to wear Khadi and give up drinking .
  • Raju was of the opinion that India could be liberated only by the use of force and not by non-violence.
  • Gudem rebels attacked the police stations , attempted to kill British officials and carried on guerrilla warfare for achieving swaraj.
  • Raju was captured and executed in 1924, and over time became a folk hero.

Swaraj in the Plantations 

At Chauri Chaura in Gorakhpur, a peaceful - Teachoo.jpg

  • Workers too had their different understanding of Mahatma Gandhi and notion of swaraj.
  • For the plantation workers in Assam , freedom meant the right to move freely in and out the confined space in which they were enclosed.
  • It meant retaining a link with the village they had come from.
  • Under the Inland Emigration Act of 1859, plantation workers were not permitted to leave the tea gardens without permission, and in fact they were rarely given such permissions.
  • After hearing of the Non-cooperation movement , thousands of workers defied the authorities.
  • They left the plantation and headed home .
  • The workers believed that Gandhi Raj was coming and every worker would be given land in their own villages.
  • However, they never reached their destination .
  • Stranded on the way by a railway and streamer strike , they were caught by the police and brutally beaten up.
  • They interpreted the term swaraj in their own ways, imagining it to be a time when all the suffering and all the troubles would be over.
  • The tribals chanted Gandhiji’s name and raised slogans demanding ‘ Swatantra Bharat’, they were also emotionally relating to an all-India agitation .
  • When they acted in the name of Mahatma Gandhi, or linked their movement to that of the congress , they were identifying with a movement which went beyond the limits of their immediate locality.  

Learn in your speed, with individual attention - Teachoo Maths 1-on-1 Class

Ask a doubt
Davneet Singh's photo - Co-founder, Teachoo

Made by

Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 13 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.