The Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22)


  • Non-Cooperation Movementwas a significant phase of the Indian independence movement from british rule. It was led by Mahatma Gandhi after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. It aimed to resist British rule in India through nonviolent means.

Forms of protest:-

  • The programme of non-cooperation included within  its ambit the surrender of titles and honours.
  • Boycott of government affiliated schools and colleges
  • Boycott of law courts
  • Picketing of shops selling foreign cloth was also a major form of the
  • Boycott could be extended to include resignation from government service and mass civil disobedience including the non-payment of taxes.
  • National schools and colleges were to be set up
  • Panchayats were to be established for settling disputes
  • Hand-spinning and weaving was to be encouraged
  • People were asked to maintain Hindu- Muslim unity, give up untouchability and observe strict non-violence.
  • Kisan sabhas:-
    • In the Avadh area of U.P., where kisan sabhas and a kisan movement had been gathering strength since 1918 and with Non-cooperation propaganda it became difficult to distinguish between a Non cooperation meeting and a kisan meeting.
  • In Malabar in Kerala, Non cooperation and Khilafat propaganda helped to arouse the Muslims tenants against their landlords.
  • Charkhas were popularized on a wide scale and khadi became the uniform of the national movement.
  • Defiance of forest laws became popular in  Andhra.
  • Peasants and tribals in some of the Rajasthan states began movements for securing better conditions of life.
  • Akali movement:-
    • In Punjab, the Akali Movement for  taking control of the gurudwaras from the corrupt mahants (priests) was a part of the general movement of Non-cooperation, and the Akalis observed strict non-violence in the face of tremendous repression.


  • The most successful item of the programme  was the boycott of foreign cloth.
    • Volunteers would go from house to house collecting clothes made of foreign cloth, and the entire community would collect to light a bonfire of the good.
    • The value of imports of foreign cloth fell from Rs. 102 crore in 1920-21 to Rs. 57 crore in 1921-22.
  • Picketing of toddy shops:-
    • Government revenues showed considerable decline on this count.
  • The educational boycott was particularly successful in Bengal, where the students in Calcutta triggered off a province-wide strike to  force the managements of their institutions to disaffiliate themselves from the Government.
  • Movement was spread almost to all parts of India.
  • It was a truly mass movement where lakhs of Indians participated in the open protest against the government through peaceful means.
  • It shook the British government who were stumped by the extent of the movement.
  • It saw participation from both Hindus and Muslims thereby showcasing communal harmony in the country.
  • This movement established the popularity of the Congress Party among the people.
  • As a result of this movement, people became conscious of their political rights. They were not afraid of the government.
  • Hordes of people thronged to jails willingly.
  • The Indian merchants and mill owners enjoyed good profits during this period as a result of the boycott of British goods. Khadi was promoted.


  • The boycott of law courts by lawyers was not as successful as the educational boycott.
  • The movement in Kerala unfortunately  took on a communal colour.
  • In Assam, labourers on tea plantations went on strike. When the fleeing workers were fired upon, there were strikes on the steamer service, and on the Assam-Bengal Railway as well.

Non cooperation movement was the first mass movement which revolutionalised the masses. This movement acted as a stepping stone for future movements where the forms of struggle slightly varied but the principles and essence remained largely same as this movement.