How did the Non-Cooperation movement start with participation of middle-class people in the cities? Explain its impact on the economic front.

The non-cooperation movement was successfully launched by Mahatma Gandhi on 31st August 1920 by the Indian National Congress (INC). In this movement, Gandhi stated a few principles that have to be followed. They are

  • Adopt swadeshi principles
  • Adopt swadeshi habits including hand spinning & weaving
  • Work for the eradication of untouchability from society

Middle-Class participation in cities and economic impact

  • Thousands of group of students left government-controlled schools and colleges, headmasters and teachers resigned and lawyers gave up their legal practices.
  • The council elections were boycotted in almost all provinces except Madras. In Madras, the Justice Party, the party of the non-Brahmans, felt that entering the council was a single way of gaining some power. This is something that usually only Brahmans had access to.
  • The effects of non-cooperation on the economic front were more dramatised.
  • Foreign goods were boycotted and eliminated from the markets.
  • Liquor shops were picketed and foreign cloth was burnt in large bonfires.
  • The import of foreign cloth reduced to half between 1921 and 1922. The value of these goods drastically dropped from Rs 102 crore to Rs 57 crore.
  • In a large number of places, merchants, peasants and traders refused completely to trade in foreign goods or finance foreign trade.
  • As the boycott movement spread like a fire and people were aware of this movement. People started discarding imported clothes and wearing only Indian ones, production of Indian textile mills and handlooms went up.
  • But this movement in the cities gradually slowed down for numerous reasons.
  • Khadi cloth was normally more expensive than mass-produced mill cloth and poor people could not afford to buy it.
  • Similarly, the boycott of British institutions created a problem for many students and teachers.
  • For the movement to show its success, alternative Indian institutions had to be set up so that they could be used in place of the British ones.
  • These institutions took time to come up.
  • So students and teachers began moving back to government schools and lawyers restarted their work in government courts.

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