Civil Disobedience Movement


Civil Disobedience Movement


  • Because of the conflicting ideas regarding the Dominion status for India there was friction between younger and older leaders of the Congress. Leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru and Subash Chandra Bose wanted Swaraj or complete Independence as its goal whereas the older leaders like Gandhi and Motilal Nehru wanted that the demand of Dominion Status should not be dropped and wanted to give 2 yer grace period to British Government before launching any mass movement(Calcutta Session December 1928).
  • Political activities like formation of Foreign Cloth Committee, Meerut Conspiracy Case and Bomb explosion in Central Legislative Assembly kept the ball rolling of freedom movement in 1929.
  • Rejection of the demands given in “Delhi Manifesto“.
  • It was decided in the Lahore Session of the Congress (December 1929) that January 26, 1930 will be celebrated as the First Independence Day.
  • Last nail in the coffin was the rejection of Gandhiji’s Eleven Demands related to reduction in expenditure on Army and Civil Services, peasant demands,  & Bourgeois demands. Gandhiji gave an ultimatum of January 31,1930 to accept or reject these demands. Getting no response from the Government, Gandhiji decided to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Features of the Movement

  • By the Britain’s Salt Tax Law of 1882, Indians were prohibited to collect or sell the salt. Along with that heavy salt tax was levied by the Government. According to Gandhiji “Salt is the most inhuman tax the Government can levy”. So in order to defy the British Government Gandhiji chalked out a plan to break the salt law. 
  • On March 12,1930 Gandhiji along with his 78 followers started this movement from the Sabarmati ashram and reached Dandi on 6th April.Reaching Dandi, Gandhiji broke the salt law by picking up a handful of salt.
  • However, even before the start of the march Gandhiji laid the terms of Civil Disobedience: Foreign liquor and cloth shops be picketed, refuse to pay taxes, boycott by lawyers and Government servants can resign from their posts.

Leaders & Spread of the Movement

  • Civil Disobedience Movement in Tamil Nadu was led by C.Rajagopalachari.
  • In Malabar region it was led by K.Kelappan.
  • In Assam Satyagrahis walked from Sylhet to Noakhali to break the salt law.
  • In Chittagong, Surya Sen established the Chittagong Revolt Group and declared the establishment of provincial Government. 
  • In Peshawar, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan also known as Frontier Gandhi organised a volunteer brigade called “Khudai Khidmatgars” to support the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • In Dharsana Sarojini Naidu along with Imam Sahib and Manilal lead a raid on Dharsana Salt Work.
  • In Bihar and Bengal, Anti Chowkidara campaign was organised.
  • In Maharashtra, Karnataka and Central Provinces forest laws were violated.
  • In United Provinces, a no revenue campaign was organised.

Extent of Participation

  • Women and students played a major role in this movement. Some of the women leaders of this movement were: Sarojini Naidu, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Perin Captain (Dadabhai Naoroji’s granddaughter) and Rani Gaidinliu (a Naga leader who was given life imprisonment in 1932 when she was just 13 years old).
  • Muslims: Participation of Muslims was lower than that in Non Cooperation Movement but still in areas such as NWFP, Assam, Tripura and weaving communities of Bihar, Delhi and Lucknow there was good Muslim participation.

British Government Reaction

  • Almost 90,000 Satyagrahis along with Gandhiji  and some Congress leaders were arrested by the British Government.
  • In July 1930, Viceroy suggested the establishment of Round Table Conference to talk about the goal of Dominion Status been given to India.
  • Tej Bahadur Sapru and M.R. Jayakar was allowed to to act as a mediator between Congress and the Government.


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