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Civil Disobedience Movement and Mass Participation

Civil Disobedience Movement and Mass Participation

  • Women: Gandhi had specially asked women to play leading part in the movement. Soon, they became familiar sight, picketing outside liquor shops, opium dens and shops selling foreign goods. For Indian women, the movement was the most liberating experience and can truly be said to have marked their entry into the public sphere.
  • Students: Along with women, students and youth played the most prominent part in boycott of foreign cloth and liquor
  • Muslims: Muslim participation was very low as Muslim leaders had appealed to masses to stay away from the movement and because of active government encouragement to communal dissension. Still, some areas such as NWFP saw an overwhelming participation. Middle class muslim participation was quite significant in Senhatta, Tripura, Gaibandha, Bagura and Noakhali. In dacca, Muslim leaders, shopkeepers, lower class people and upper class women were active. The muslim weaving community in Bihar, Delhi and Lucknow were also effectively mobilized.
  • Merchants and petty traders: They were very enthusiastic. Traders’ association and commercial bodies were active in implementing the boycott especially Tamil Nadu and Punjab.
  • TribeIs : were active in central province consisting of Maharashtra and Karnataka
  • Workers: participated in all major cities
  • Peasants: were active in UP, Bihar and Gujarat.                                                  Civil Disobedience Movement and Mass Participation


Government’s attitude towards the CDM and events around the same was ambivalent. It was puzzled as well as perplexed. If it auctioned, congress cried “repression”, if it did nothing, congress cried “Victory”. Anyhow, the government’s hegemony was challenged. Even Gandhi’s arrest was faced with vacillation.

The govt took following steps:

  1. Ordinances banning civil liberties were freely used including gagging press
  2. Provincial governments were given liberty to ban the Civil Disobedience organizations (CWC was however not declared illegal)
  3. Lathi charge on unarmed crowds left several killed and wounded with approx 90,000 satyagrahis including Gandhi and other Congress leaders were imprisoned

Government repression and publication of the Simon Commission, with no mention of Dominion status, further provided fuel to the fire.

July 1930, the Viceroy suggested the RTC and reiterated the goal of Dominion status. He also accepted the suggestion that Tej Bahadur Sapru and MR Jayakar be Mowed to explore the possibility peace between Congress and Government.                                                Civil Disobedience Movement and Mass Participation

August 1930, Motilal and Jawaharlal ‘..nehru were taken to Yerwada Jail to meet with Gandhi and discuss the possibility of a settlement.

The Nehrus and Gandhi unequivocally reiterated the demands of:

  1. Right to secession from Britain
  2. Complete National Government with control over defence and finance
  3. An independent tribunal to settle Britain’s financial claims .                                      Civil Disobedience Movement and Mass Participation



Modern History