In what way did the Civil Disobedience Movement affect the different provinces of India?

The Civil Disobedience Movement was started with Gandhiji’s defiance of salt law in Dandi. Popular indignation gave it a self sustained momentum throughout India.

In Peshawar, Badshah Khan organized Khudai Khidmatgar, a voluntary brigade of Red Shirts. The pledge for freedom was so massive there that the whole city was virtually in the hands of the crowd for a week. In Sholapur, the textile workers went on strike. A virtual parallel government was established there.

In Gujarat, a determined no tax movement was organized. Villagers left villages and camped in the open places to boycott land taxes. A peaceful salt Satyagraha and marches were organized in Tamilnadu by C Rajagopalachari, Malabar by K Kelappan, Bengal, Karnataka and Orissa. In Andhra, salt camps came up in districts as head quarters of salt Satyagraha.

Eastern states like Bengal, Bihar and Orissa saw boycott of chowkidari tax and union board tax. In Assam a powerful movement built against ‘Cunningham Circular.’

United Province saw a massive no rent campaign. Proabhat pheris and matches by band of men and women going to villages singing nationalist songs were organised. Even children were organised into Vanara Senas. Women forming Manjari Senas picketed before liquor shops.

The Civil Disobedience Movement gave a new dimension to the peasant movement. No rent campaigns in UP, Gujarat and Bengal were run-away successes. It was experimented in other provinces to safeguard interests of the peasants. Peasants mobilized themselves at provincial, taluqa and thana levels. They organised themselves and fought oppression and high handedness of Zamindars. They adopted voluntary migration to force government to reduce land taxes. Thus, they gained self-confidence and contributed to national struggle by their massive participation.

Civil Disobedience eroded the hegemony of the government. Though the government resorted to repression and arrest, yet it was puzzled and perplexed as how to quell the massive unrest. It forced the British to reconcile with the Congress. Before brought to an end by the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, the movement had its desired effect on political sphere.

April 24, 2016

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