How Did the People and the Colonial Government React to the Civil Disobedience Movement? Explain.

As the Non-Cooperation Movement was turning violent in many places, it was called off by Mahatma Gandhi in February 1922 to train the Satyagrahis for mass struggle. Some of the Congress leaders were not willing to continue the non¬cooperation because they were tired of the mass struggle, wanted to participate in the council elections and they wanted to criticize the British policies within the council.

The Swaraj Party was formed within the Congress party by C.R.Das and Motilal Nehru. It was formed with purpose to argue for return to council elections. Against this situation of countryside turmoil, the Tory government in Britain set up a commission named Simon Commission under Sir John Simon to look into the constitutional system in India and suggest the changes needed. There were no Indian members in this commission.

In the year 1928, Simon Commission arrived India and was greeted with the slogan ‘Simon, go back’.

On 31st March 1930, Mahatma Gandhi sent a letter to Viceroy Irwin. Mahatma Gandhi had stated eleven demands in this letter out of which some were of general interest and some were specific demands of different classes. The demands were wide ranging in order to bring together everyone under a united campaign. The most important demand was to abolish the salt tax as it was the most important item in food that is consumed by both rich and poor.

To suppress this movement the colonial government started arresting the Congress, leaders. The arrest of Abdul Ghaffar Khan made the Indians angry and the crowd demonstrated in the streets of Peshawar. The arrest of Mahatma Gandhi made this demonstration more wide and worse as the industrial workers in Sholapur Maharashtra attacked the police posts, railway stations and other government buildings.

A brutal repression policy was adopted by the colonial government to suppress this and the police attacked the peaceful Satyagrahis, beat up the women and the children and arrested about 1 lakh people. This resulted in the call off of the movement by Gandhiji and Gandhi-Irwin Pact on 5th March 1931. He agreed for the round table conference and thus the political prisoners were released.

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