- This session was held at a time when major program of Non-Cooperation was initiated in 1920
- The Indian National Congress attempted to strengthen the Non-Cooperation Movement at its Nagpur session held in December 1920
The Nagpur Session of 1920
- The following resolutions were adopted at the Nagpur Session:
- The programme of non-cooperation was endorsed
- An important change was made in the Congress: now, instead of having the attainment of self-government through constitutional means as its goal, the Congress decided to have the attainment of swaraj through peaceful and legitimate means, thus committing itself to an extraconstitutional mass struggle
- Some important organisational changes were made:
- a congress working committee (CWC) of 15 members was set up to lead the Congress from now onwards;
- provincial congress committees on linguistic basis were organised;
- ward committees was organised; and
- entry fee was reduced to four annas
- Gandhi declared that if the non-cooperation programme was implemented completely, swaraj would be ushered in within a year
- Other developments at the session include:
- Many groups of revolutionary terrorists, especially those from Bengal, also pledged support to the Congress programme
- The adoption by the Congress of the non-cooperation movement initiated earlier by the Khilafat Committee gave it a new energy, and the years 1921 and 1922 saw an unprecedented popular upsurge
Significance of the Session
- When the session concluded on December 31, 1920, history had been created.
- Mahatma Gandhi emerged as the supreme leader of Congress, and a new chapter was set to be written in the Indian struggle for Independence with the non-cooperation movement.
- The historic Nagpur Session not only saw solid emergence of Mahatma Gandhi in national politics but also passage of all-important resolution on non-cooperation movement.
- The session also saw Congress changing its creed while adopting a new Constitution.
- It truly marked the change of gears of the freedom struggle.
- A galaxy of eminent leaders of time Mahatma Gandhi, Mohd Ali Jinnah, Pt Motilal Nehru, Pt Madan Mohan Malaviya, Sardar Patel, C R Das, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipinchandra Pal, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and a host of others arrived in the city and debated and discussed various important matters to shape India’s freedom struggle.
- In the words of Dr B Pattabhi Sitaramayya, known as historian of Congress, “The Nagpur Congress really marked a new era in recent Indian history. The old feelings of impotent rage and importunate requests gave place to a new sense of responsibility and a spirit of self- The Nagpur Congress laid a heavy duty upon the Nation, and the All India Congress Committee, under the advice of the Working Committee, set itself seriously to its task.”
Impact of the Session
- The resolution on non-cooperation had many shades including
- renunciation of voluntary association with the then Government
- refusal to pay taxes
- boycotting schools aided or controlled by the Government
- nationalising educational institutions
- call to lawyers to suspend their practice
- economic boycott of foreign goods
- encouraging hand-spinning and hand-weaving
- boycott of Legislative Council elections etc
- In another resolution, people were asked to popularise Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine by establishing schools, colleges, and hospitals
- Following boycott call, thousands of students across the country shifted to national educational institutions
- The no-vote campaign turned out to be a remarkable success in some parts of the country. Numerous lawyers left their profession and dedicated themselves to the cause of national movement.
- In January 1921, Bajaj donated Rs 1 lakh to Tilak Memorial Swaraj Fund to support lawyers who had participated in non-cooperation movement.
Thus, the Nagpur session committed congress to program of extra-constitutional mass actions. And it ushered in a new era in Indian History, as it gave way to new sense of responsibility and self-reliance