1920s: A Political Awakening

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The 1920s opened to a sense of awakening in India and was packed with political action and revolutionary movements. From the Khilafat movement to the Non-Cooperation Movement, we take a look at how these historic events unfolded in Modern India.

In the beginning of the decade, Gandhi and other leaders from the Indian National Congress supported the Khilafat cause & saw this as a great opportunity to unite Hindus & Muslims in India. The poor treatment by Turkey’s Ottoman Sultan had brought the two communities closer.

Non-Cooperation Movement, 1922
Non-Cooperation Movement, 1922

Gandhi also launched the first Non-Cooperation Movement, a mass boycott of British goods and institutions. It was the first of Gandhi’s mass movements. In the next few years, homemade, hand-spun Khadi became India’s symbol of self-reliance.

Gandhi_in_Mirzapur,_June_9,_1925
Gandhi Weaving the Khadi

The violent Chauri Chaura incident in 1922, which left more than 20 constables dead, divided the men and women leading these political movements.

The Congress old guard like Bipin Chandra Pal, Annie Besant and Muhammad Ali Jinnah left to protest the strategy of hartals and boycotts, while others like Motilal Nehru and Chittaranjan Das left to form the Swarajya Party and fight provincial.

Chittaranjan Das and Annie Besant With Mahatma Gandhi
Chittaranjan Das and Annie Besant With Mahatma Gandhi

In 1928, the Hindustan Republican Revolution was born under the leadership of Chandrashekhar Azad, to take on an armed struggle after the British used brute force to rein in conspirators. In 1928, Lala Lajpat Rai was wounded in a lathi charge – and he died.

Bhagat Singh In Jail
Bhagat Singh In Jail

By the end of the 1920s, there were new heroes in India’s struggle for freedom – inspiring young men like Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad. It was the decade when Gandhi inspired Indians to be the change they wanted.

Chandra Shekhar Azad
Chandra Shekhar Azad

The end of the 1920s also saw Congress demand ‘complete freedom’ from colonial rule or Poorna Swaraj.

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