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Mains Test Series

Revolutionary Activities, Constitutional reform demands and its politics, Civil Disobedience.

Q. Discuss the limitations of the Civil disobedience movement. (150 words)


Introduction: Gandhiji presented 11 points following the mandates given by the Lahore congress and issued an ultimatum of January 1930. With no positive response from the government on these demands, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) invested Gandhiji with full powers to launch the civil disobedience movement. 

Limitations of the Civil Disobedience Movement:  

  1. Nature of Mass Struggle: The Mass movements were necessarily shortlived. Unlike individual heroics, the masses’ capacity to make sacrifices is limited.
  2. Lack of prominent leadership: The government started arresting the Congress leaders in many places.
    1. For example, Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan was arrested in April 1930. Later, Gandhi, too, was arrested.
    2. The Congress Working Committee was banned in June.
    3. The Congress President Motilal Nehru was arrested.
  3. Violent nature of the movement: The movement turned violent after the arrest of popular leaders.
    1. For example, many were killed who protested the arrest of Frontier Gandhi in Peshawar.
    2. With the arrest of Gandhiji, many industrial workers of Sholapur attacked police posts, law courts, municipal buildings and railway stations.
  4. Hindu-Muslim unrest: The Muslim population has been turned away from the movement because they feared becoming a minority group in India after independence, as in democracy, the majority rules.
  5. Exhaustive nature of the movement: There were signs of exhaustion after September 1930, especially among shopkeepers and merchants who had earlier participated so enthusiastically.
  6. Dalit participation was limited:
    1. The involvement of Dalits was significantly less, even in the Nagpur region, where their organisation was strong.
    2. Congress had ignored them for long due to fear of offending Sanatanis.
  7. The alliance between Congress and Capitalists:
    1. The capitalist class persuaded Gandhi ji to return to the constitutional methods as they were tired of hartals, boycotts and social disruptions. They wanted the congress to discontinue the movement or make peace with the government.  
    2. For example, Bombay Mill Owner Homi Mody warned Gandhi against the renewal of the movement.
  8. Frustration among the masses: Due to the unilateral withdrawal of the mass movements by Gandhiji frustrated the common masses. They felt betrayed.  Everything You Need To Know About Revolutionary Activities


The British government suppressed the movement with force but failed to uproot people’s spirit of revolt and their nationalism and patriotism. So, the Civil disobedience movement took India one step closer to getting Purna Swaraj.  

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