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What were the impacts of the Civil Disobedience Movement?

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  • Last Updated : 27 Jun, 2022
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Civil disobedience, also known as passive resistance, is the refusal to accept a government’s or occupying authority’s requests or instructions without resorting to violence or violent acts of opposition; its common purpose is to force the government or occupying power to make concessions. Nationalist movements in Africa and India, the American civil rights movement, labour, anti-war, and other social movements in many countries have all employed civil disobedience as a fundamental strategy and doctrine.

Civil Disobedience Movement

On January 31, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi issued a letter to Viceroy Irwin stating and enforcing eleven demands. The most exciting of all the requests was to repeal the salt tax, which is eaten by both the affluent and the poor. The demands had to be satisfied by March 11th, or the Congress will commence a campaign of civil disobedience.

Gandhi’s Dandi March has launched the Civil Disobedience Movement to oppose the British government . On March 12, 1930, Gandhi set off on foot from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmadabad with 78 other Ashram members for Dandi, a village on India’s western seacoast some 385 kilometers from Ahmadabad. They reached at Dandi on April 6, 1930. Gandhi had breached the salt law there.

The Civil Disobedience Movement grew across the country as a result of the disobedience of the salt legislation. During the initial phase of the civil disobedience campaign, salt manufacturing extended across the country and became a symbol of the people’s rejection of the government.

This was the first countrywide movement; earlier ones had been limited to cities. Rural residents might also register to participate. The event attracted a considerable number of female attendees. Women like as Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay,  Kasturba Gandhi, Avantikabai Gokhale, Lilavati Munshi, and Hansaben Mehta spearheaded the satyagraha campaign. The movement’s motto was nonviolence. This movement continued despite continual British suppression.

Following Gandhi’s ceremony in Dandi, resistance of the salt prohibitions spread throughout the country. Massive protests erupted in Madras, Calcutta, and Karachi following Nehru’s detention in April 1930 for breaching the salt legislation. On May 4, 1930, Gandhi was imprisoned after claiming that he would lead a raid on the Dharasana Salt Works on India’s west coast. Following Gandhi’s arrest, there were enormous protests in Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, and Sholapur, where the reaction was the ferocious.

The CDM engaged students, women, tribals, businessmen and minor traders, workers and peasants from all walks of life. Salt prohibitions were also flouted with varied degrees of success in a number of regions.

C Rajagopalachari led the Tamil Nadu Salt Satyagraha, K Kelappan led the Malabar Salt Satyagraha, and Sarojini Naidu and Manilal Gandhi led the Dharasana Salt Works Satyagraha (Gujarat). The nonviolent resistance at Dharasana salt factory was significant for its magnitude, with a group of 2000 volunteers giving peaceful opposition in the face of a massive police force equipped with steel-tipped lathis, which struck non-resisting Satyagrahis (protestors) until they fell down.

Impact of Civil Disobedience Movement

The civil disobedience movement had a far-reaching influence. It created suspicion in the British administration and laid the framework for the liberation fight, as well as popularizing new propaganda methods such as the Prabhat, pheris, leaflets, and so on.

Following forest law resistance in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Central Province, as well as refusal to pay the rural ‘Chaukidari tax’ in Eastern India, the government removed the oppressive salt tax. Foreign imports of apparel and tobacco were slashed in half. Government earnings from land tax and liquor excise were also decreased.

Women and students joined in great numbers in the movement, which was a liberating experience for Indian women who were accessing public space in such large numbers for the first time. 

The campaign sparked a wave of nationalist sentiment across the country, putting the British authorities on edge. In June 1934, the government lifted the prohibition on Congress. The halting of the Movement did not mean that the aim of political freedom had been abandoned.

The Civil Disobedience Movement broadened the independence struggle’s base. The leaders of civil disobedience mobilised a vast range of socioeconomic groupings, including merchants and shopkeepers, peasants, tribals, and even workers. This aided the integration of these classes into the nationalist mainstream in the long run.

The Civil Disobedience Movement helped people recognize the significance of the nonviolent philosophy. It demonstrated that Indians could withstand aggression with patience and bravery.

Sample Questions

Question 1: What effect did the movement have on the economy?

Answer: 

The economic consequences of the Non-cooperation Movement Between 1921 and 1922, the value of imported foreign fabric fell by half, from 102 crores to 57 crores. Foreign goods were boycotted, liquor stores were picketed, and foreign clothing was burned in massive bonfires.

Question 2: What was the Civil Disobedience Movement’s primary goal?

Answer: 

The Civil Disobedience Movement attempted to completely refuse British collaboration and obstruct government operations. It also intended to boycott government institutions and foreign products by refusing to pay taxes.

Question 3: What are the driving forces behind the Civil Disobedience Movement’s influence?

Answer: 

These were the forces or factors behind the civil disobedience movement: 

  • The Simon Commission issue was one of the causes of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Irwin’s vague promise to grant India Dominion Status at some undetermined point in the future.
  • Salt Law
  • The British ignored eleven demands of Gandhiji .
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