Class 10 History

Nationalism in Asia: Limits of Civil Disobedience Movement

Civil Disobedience Movement was a huge success. But it had many limitations too.

Participation of Dalits

Initially Congress used to ignore the dalits; because it did not want to alienate the conservative high-caste Hindus. But Mahatma Gandhi was of the view to bring social reforms to improve the plight of the dalits. Mahatma Gandhi declared that without removing the practice of untouchability, swaraj could not be achieved.

Many dalit leaders wanted a different political solution to the problems of the dalit community. They demanded reserved seats in educational institutions and separate electorate for dalits. Dalit participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement was limited.

Dr. B R Ambedkar organized the dalits into the Depressed Classes Association in 1930. He clashed with Mahatma Gandhi; during the second Round Table Conference; on the issue of separate electorate for dalits.

When the British government conceded to Ambedkar’s demand, Gandhji began a fast unto death. Finally Ambedkar had to accept Gandhiji’s position. This resulted in signing of the Poona Pact of September 1932. It made the provision for reserved seats for the Depressed Classes in provincial and central legislative councils. But the voting was to be done by the general electorate.

Participation of Muslims

After the decline of the Non-Cooperation-Khilafat Movement, a large section of Muslims became alienated from the Congress. From the mid-1920s, the Congress was more visibly associated with the Hindu religious nationalist groups.

The Congress and the Muslim League tried to renegotiate and alliance. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was an important leader of the Muslim League. He was willing to give up the demand for separate electorate. But he wanted reserved seats for Muslims in the Central Assembly. He also wanted representation in proportion to population in the Muslim-dominated provinces (Punjab and Bengal). At the All Parties Conference in 1928, M R Jayakar of the Hindu Mahasabha strongly opposed the efforts at compromise. This further alienated the Muslims from the Congress.