Civil Disobedience Movement

The Congress adopted the slogan of complete independence and a mighty movement known as Civil Disobedience movement was launched to achieve it. The nationalist movement now assumed a wider character and adopted a comprehensive programme for the social and economic reconstruction of Indian society once independence was attained. Thus the struggle for political independence became a prerequisite for the reconstruction of Indian society. At the Congress session at Madras in December 1927 a resolution calling for Complete Independence was passed. This was the first time that a resolution demanding complete independence had been passed by the Congress. The Civil Disobedience Movement began with Dandi March.Gandhiji along with 78 of his followers started from his ashram at Sabarmati on a march to Dandi on the sea coast on foot and broke the law by making salt. As soon as the Civil Disobedience Movement started all the important leaders including Gandhiji and Jawaharlal Nehru were arrested. By the beginning of 1931 90,000 persons were in jail and 67 papers had been banned. In April and May 1930, at Peshawar Indian soldiers refused to open fire on the demonstrators when ordered to do so. In Solapur, martial law had to be imposed to suppress the mass upsurge. In Chittagong the revolutionaries captured the armory and there was a pitched battle between the government troops and the revolutionaries.

The Civil Disobedience movement which was suspended after Gandhi-Irwin Pact was revived on Gandhiji’s return from the Round Table Conference in London when Lord Willingdon even refused to meet Gandhiji.The repression of the government was more severe than it had been before. By April 1933, about 120,000 persons had been imprisoned. In May 1934 the entire Civil Disobedience movement was called off. The Civil Disobedience movement had involved millions of people, young and old, men and women, people belonging to all religions and communities.