The Years of Stagnation and Bhagat Singh: Non-Violent Non-Cooperation Movement

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Chapter 19: The Years of Stagnation

  • Gandhiji was arrested in 1922 and sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment. The result was the spread of disintegration, disorganization and demoralization in the nationalist ranks.

  • After a defeat of their resolution of ‘either mending or ending’ in the Congress, CR Das and Motilal Nehru resigned and formed the Congress-Khilafat Swaraj Party in December 1922.

    • It was to function as a group within the congress

  • How to carry on political work in the movements’ non-active phases. The swarajists said that work in the council was necessary to fill the temporary political void. The no-changers believed otherwise.

  • Major no-changers: Sardar Patel, Dr Ansari, Rajendra Prasad

  • The no-changers opposed council-entry mainly on the ground that parliamentary work would lead to the neglect of constructive and other work among the masses , the loss of revolutionary zeal and political corruption.

  • Despite the differences, he two groups had a lot in common.

    • The need for unity was very strongly felt by all the Congressmen after the 1907 debacle.

    • Both realized that the real sanctions which would compel the government to accept the national demands would be forged only by a mass movement.

    • Both groups fully accepted the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

  • In the session held in 1923, the congressmen were permitted to stand as candidates and exercise their franchise in the forthcoming elections.

  • Gandhiji was released on February 5, 1924. He did not agree with the Swarajists. However, slowly he moved towards an accommodation with the swarajists.

  • On 6 November 1924, Gandhiji brought the strife between the Swarajists and no-changers to an end, by signing a joint statement with Das and Motilal that the Swarajists Party would carry on work in the legislatures on behalf of the Congress and as an integral part of the Congress. This decision was endorsed in Belgaum.

  • The Swarajists did well in the elections and won 42 out of 101 seats in the Central Legislative Assembly.

  • In March 1925, Vithalbhai J Patel was elected as he President (speaker) of the Central Legislative Assembly.

  • The achievement of the Swarajists lay in filling the political void at a time when the national movement was recouping its strength.

  • They also exposed the hollowness of the reforms of 1919

  • After the petering out of the NCM communalism took stronghold

  • Even within the Congress, a group known as ‘responsivity’, including Madan Mohan Malviya, Lala Lajpat Rai and NC Kelkar, offered cooperation to the government so that the so-called Hindu interests might be safeguarded.

Chapter 20: Bhagat Singh

  • The sudden suspension of the non-cooperation movement led many young people to question the very basis strategy of non-violence and began to look for alternatives.

  • All the major new revolutionary leaders had been enthusiastic participants in the non-violent non-cooperation movement.

  • Two separate strands of revolutionary terrorism developed – one in Punjab, UP and Bihar and the other in Bengal.

  • Ramprasad Bismil, Jogesh Chatterjee and Sachindranath Sanyal met in Kanpur in October 1924 and founded the Hindustan Republican Association to organize armed revolution.

  • In order to carry out their activities the HRA required funding. The most important action of the HRA was the Kakori Robbery.

  • On August 9, 1925, ten men held up the 8-Down train from Shahjahanpur to Lucknow at Kakori and looted its official railway cash.

  • The government arrested a large number of young men and tried them in the Kakori Conspiracy Case.

  • Ashfaqulla Khan, Ramprasadn Bismil, Roshan Singh and Rajendra Lahiri were hanged, four others were sent to Andaman while seventeen others were sentenced to long term imprisonment.

  • New revolutionaries joined the HRA. They met at Ferozshah Kotla Ground at Delhi on 9 and 10 September 1928, created a new collective leadership, adopted socialism as their official goal and changed the name of the party to the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.

  • Lala Lajpat Rai dies in a lathi-charge when he was leading an anti-Simon Commission demonstration at Lahore on 30 October 1928.

  • On 17 December 1928, Bhagat Singh, Azad and Rajguru assassinated, at Lahore, Saunders, a police official involved in the lathi-charge on Lala Lajpat Rai.

  • In order to let the people, know about HSRA’s changed objectives Bhagat Singh and BK Dutt were asked to throw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly on 8 April 1929 against the passage of the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill.

  • He aims was not to kill but to let people know of their objectives through the leaflet they threw.

  • They were later arrested and tried.

  • The country was also stirred by the hunger strike the revolutionaries took as a protest against the horrible conditions in jails.

  • On 13th September, the 64th day of the epic fast, Jatin Das died.

  • Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were sentenced to be hanged. He sentences was carried out on 23 March 1931.

  • Bhagat Singh was fully secular.

    • The Punjab Naujawan Bharat Sabha organized by him acted on secular lines.

  • In Bengal, after the death of C R Das, the Congress leadership in Bengal got divided into two wings: one led by S C Bose and the other by J M Sengupta. The Yugantar group joined forces with the first while the Anushilan with the second.

  • Surya Sen had actively participated in the non-cooperation movement. He gathered around him a large band of revolutionary youth including Anant Singh, Ganesh Ghosh and Lokenath Baul.

  • Chittagong Armory Raid.

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