Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement

Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement

Large-scale protests against British rule in India were organized between 1919 and 1922 by the Khilafat movement and the Non-Cooperation movement, respectively.

Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement

    • Large-scale protests against British rule in India were organized between 1919 and 1922 by the Khilafat movement and the Non-Cooperation movement, respectively.

      • The movements adopted a non-violent, non-cooperative strategy despite having various issues to address.
      • During this time, the Muslim League and the Congress merged, and the two organizations collaborated to plan numerous political demonstrations.
  • The following factors were the underlying causes of the two movements:
  • Government Hostilities: The Rowlatt Act, the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre, and the imposition of martial law in Punjab exposed the cruel and barbaric nature of foreign rule.

      • The Hunter Commission's investigation into the atrocities in Punjab turned out to be a fraud.
      • The British Parliament's House of Lords gave its approval to General Dyer's action.
  • Discontented Indians: The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms failed to satisfy the Indians' mounting demand for self-government with their ill-conceived Dyarchy plan.
  • Economic Hardships: The economy of the country had drastically declined in the years after World War II as a result of a variety of factors, including rising commodity prices, a decline in the output of Indian industries, and an increase in the price of taxes and rent.
  • Economic hardship brought on by the war affected almost every aspect of society, which fueled anti-British sentiment.

Khilafat (Caliphate) Issue

  • Turkey's Alliance Against the British: The sultan of Turkey was revered as their spiritual leader, the Khalifa (Caliph), by Muslims from all over the world, including India.

    • Turkey joined forces with Germany and Austria to fight the British during World War One.
    • The Ottoman Empire was split up, Turkey was divided up, and the Khalifa lost his position of authority after the War.
    • Indian Muslims, who were dissatisfied, fought alongside the government in the First World War, knowing that Khalifa would control the holy sites of the Ottoman Empire.

  • This angered the Muslims who took it as an insult to the Khalifa. The Ali brothers, Shoukat Ali and Mohammad Ali started the Khilafat Movement against the British government.

      • Between 1919 and 1924, this movement was in full swing.
  • Khilafat Committee: To persuade the British Government to change its stance toward Turkey, the All India Khilafat Committee was established in early 1919 under the direction of the Ali brothers, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Ajmal Khan, and Hasrat Mohani.

This prepared the ground for a nationwide uprising.

      • The call to boycott British products came from an All India Khilafat Conference held in Delhi in November 1919.
  • Demands of Indian Muslims: Muslims in India pressed the British to do the following:

      • The authority of the Khalifa over Muslim holy sites ought to be upheld.
      • After making territorial arrangements, the Khalifa should have enough land left over.
  • First Position of the Congress: The Khilafat movement needed Congress' backing in order to be successful.

    • Mahatma Gandhi supported starting a Satyagraha and refusing to cooperate with the government over the Khilafat issue, but Congress was divided on this course of political action.
    • Later, the Congress felt compelled to lend its support because it represented a prime opportunity to bring Hindus and Muslims together and to encourage Muslim participation in such large-scale movements.
    • Additionally, the Muslim League decided to fully support Congress and its political agitation.

The Non-Cooperation Khilafat Movement

  • Role of Mahatma Gandhi:
  • Beginning of the Gandhian Movements: The Gandhian Movement against the British began with the Non-Cooperation Movement.
        • After returning to India in 1915, Mahatma Gandhi organized protests by peasants and laborers against the atrocities being committed against them, including those in Kheda, Champaran, and Ahmedabad.
  • Beginning of Non-Cooperation: Gandhi noted that the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre's oppressive tactics and the lack of justice were "the only effective means to vindicate national honor and to prevent a repetition of the wrongs in future is the establishment of Swaraj”.
        • Mahatma Gandhi, therefore, launched the non-cooperation campaign on August 1st, 1919.
        • The Khilafat Movement served as the inspiration for the movement's founding.
  • During the Movement:
  • Spread of Non-violence Message: On that day, millions of citizens in the country took a day off from work to show their support for Gandhi and their disdain for the government.
        • In order to spread the message of national harmony and non-cooperation with the government, Gandhi traveled widely with the Ali brothers.
  • Boycott of British Titles and Goods: The boycott of foreign-made goods, British courts, legislatures, and educational institutions were all part of the non-cooperation program, which also included the surrender of titles and honors.
        • Between 1920 and 1922, the imports of foreign cloth fell dramatically, and people burned it in public bonfires.
  • Promotion of Swadeshi: 
  • Swadeshi products, particularly hand-spun and hand-woven Khadi cloth, were promoted as a result of the boycott. 
        • Charkha was adopted as a household item.
  • People’s Response to the Movement:
  • Students: Numerous students joined the movement after thousands of them quit government-run schools and colleges.
  • Middle-Class People: Although they initially took the initiative in the movement, they later expressed strong opposition to Gandhi's agenda.
  • Businessmen: The Indian business community supported the economic boycott because they had benefited from the nationalists' emphasis on swadeshi usage.
  • Peasants: Peasants participated in large numbers, but this further fueled the conflict between "lower and upper castes."
        • The struggle-weary masses had a chance to express their true sentiments toward their oppressors and masters in India as well as the British through the movement.
  • Women: Many women took part, gave up purdah, and donated their jewelry to the Tilak Fund.
        • They actively participated in the picketing in front of the stores that sold foreign clothing and alcohol.
  • Government Reaction: When the police opened fire, several people lost their lives.
        • The Khilafat Volunteer Organization and the Congress were deemed illegal.
        • Aside from Gandhi, most of the leaders were arrested and public gatherings were outlawed.
  • Important Personalities Involved:
      • Ajmal Khan, C Rajgopalachari, Vallabhbhai Patel, Gopabandhu Das, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Jawaharlal Nehru were notable figures who joined the movement.
      • By giving up their legal careers, Motilal Nehru and Chitranjan Das also joined the movement.
  • Withdrawal of Non-Cooperation Movement: Following a confrontation between the mob and the Thana policemen in February 1922 at Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, twenty-two policemen were brutally murdered by the mob.
    • Gandhi was overly stunned by the news. He immediately announced the movement's withdrawal after becoming dissatisfied with its trend toward growing violence.
    • However, the majority of nationalist figures like C.R. Das, Motilal Nehru, Subhash Bose, and Jawaharlal Nehru, expressed their disagreement at Gandhi’s decision to withdraw the movement.
    • Gandhi was detained in March 1922 and given a six-year prison term.

Causes of Failure of the Movement

  • No Negotiations by Government: As it was impossible to maintain any movement at a high pitch for very long, the movement started to exhibit signs of fatigue.
      • There was no indication that the government was interested in bargaining.
  • Loss of Relevance of Khilafat Issue: 
  • The Khilafat question, the protest's main focus, quickly subsided.
      • Turkey became a secular state in November 1922 after a popular uprising led by Mustafa Kamal Pasha stripped the Sultan of his political authority.
      • Turkey's legal system was established in the European tradition, and women were given a wide range of rights.
      • Modern agriculture and industries were created, and education was nationalized.
      • The Khilafat was disbanded in 1924.
    • Very little was done in response to Gandhi's call in cities with affluent political centers like Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras.
      • It was not taken seriously how people responded to the request to leave the government service, give up titles, etc.
  • No Abstinence from Violence: The use of non-violence was not fully understood or taught to people.
    • The non-cooperation movement was abandoned after the Chauri-Chaura incident damaged the movement's spirit.

Impact of Non-Cooperation Movement

  • Maximum Extent of the Movement: 
  • With the advent of the Non-Cooperation Movement, nationalist sentiments spread throughout the entire nation and politicized every segment of society, including women, peasants, students, artisans, urban poor, and traders, among others.
  • Establishment of Swaraj and Swadeshi Institutions: There were established national institutions like the National Muslim University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Kashi Vidyapith, Gujarat Vidyapith, and Bihar Vidyapitha.
      • It gave rise to the most powerful notions of possessing Swaraj, loving to wear Khadi, and becoming a Swadeshi.
  • Instilling Unity among Indians: Gandhi was projected as the only unopposed leader of the century as a result of specific anti-British sentiments and grievances.
      • Although the Khilafat issue had little to do with Indian politics, it gave the movement a quick boost and had the added benefit of strengthening Hindu-Muslim unity against the British.
  • Impacts on the Economic Front: Between 1921 and 1922, foreign goods were boycotted, and the import of foreign clothing was cut in half.
    • Many merchants and traders refused to engage in international trade or provide financing for it.