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Social Science: Nationalism in India - Towards Civil Disobedience - The Limits of Civil Disobedience

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How could non-cooperation become a movement? Explain with examples.

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According to Gandhi, British had established their rule and power in India with the cooperation of Indians without which it would have collapsed.  Thus, non-cooperation was selected as a means to defy the British rule. The following steps helped to escalate non-cooperation to a mass movement:

1. Non-cooperation movement was launched by Gandhiji in 1920 and it was unfolded in stages. It began with the surrender of titles awarded by the government, a boycott of civil services, army, police, courts, schools, etc. 

2. Various social groups participated in this movement; and at a gradual phase, this movement transformed into mass struggle. The non-cooperation movement started with the middle class participation in the cities. 

3. Thousands of students left government-controlled schools and colleges; headmasters and teachers resigned; and lawyers gave up their legal practices. 

4. Foreign goods were boycotted, liquor shops picketed, and foreign clothes burnt in huge bonfires. In many places, merchants and traders refused to trade in foreign goods or finance foreign trade. 

5. As the boycott movement spread, people began to discard imported clothes and started wearing only Indian ones, thus leading to a swift increase in the production of Indian textile mills and handlooms.

Concept: Towards Civil Disobedience - The Limits of Civil Disobedience
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