What were the reasons that changed Gandhiji’s attitude of responsive cooperation to non-cooperation in 1920?

Gandhiji on his return to India in 1915 refused to join Home Rule Movement. He was cooperative towards the government and didn’t want to disturb its war efforts. He even encouraged the youth to join army in the hope of concessions after the war.

Gandhiji’s attitude of cooperation soon changed into active non-cooperation in 1920. All hopes of Government’s generosity were betrayed. The Montague-Chelmsford Reforms with their ill-conceived scheme of dyarchy failed to satisfy the rising demands of Indians for self-government.

The Rowlatt Act was passed in the teeth of very opposition of Indian leaders. Under it, brutal oppression and illegal confinement began. It exposed uncivilised face to the British rule.

The Jallianwala massacre was the last throw in Gandhiji’s patience. Hundreds of people were killed by firing on peaceful meeting. The Hunter Committee on the Punjab atrocities proved to be an eyewash. The British Government even commended General Dyer.

The economic situation in the past war years became alarming with rise in prices, increased burden of taxes and rents etc. All sections of the society suffered from economic hardships.

All these reasons brought anti-British attitude in the mind of Gandhiji. He became a critic of British rule. He returned the Kaiser-e-Hind title in protest against the Jallianwala tragedy. When the Khilafat Movement began, he became the Chairman of All India Khilafat Committee. He saw in the issue a platform form which mass non-cooperation movement could be launched. He conceived the Congress and got its approval for his programme of political action against the government.

Under Gandhian leadership, Hindu-Muslim unity was formed. He declared to lead a non cooperation movement till the Punjab and Khilafat wrongs were removed and Swaraj was established. He assumed the leadership of struggle for national emancipation.

April 20, 2016

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