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The Government of India and the First Non-Cooperation Movement—1920–1922

  • D. A. Low

Extract

As the study of the processes by which India and Pakistan achieved their independence unfolds further, it seems probable that the most fruitful advances will be made through studies of particular episodes and particular themes. In all this there is little fear that the national movement itself will be neglected. Its rise to preeminence is of perennial interest. But there is some danger that its opponents may be.

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1 I hope to detail this on another occasion; but see, for example, Secretary, Home Department, to all local Governments, 4 Mar. 1910, National Archives of India, New Delhi, Home (hereinafter H.) Political (hereinafter Poll.) 42–46, A, Mar. 1910; and Note by Craddock, 17 May 1913, ibid., 72–75, A, May 1913.

2 General accounts of the events of 1920–22, which have been followed here, will be found in D. G. Tendulkar, Mahatma, Vols. 1 and 2, Bombay 1951, and in “India in 1921–22” by Professor Rushbrook- Williams in “Statement exhibiting the Moral and Material Progress of India during the year 1921,” P. P., Accounts and Papers, First Session, 1922, Vol. XVI, 601 sqq.

3 Chelmsford, Frederick John Napier Thesiger, 3rd Baron, Viscount 1921, Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, Governor of Queensland 1905–9, New South Wales 1909–13, Viceroy 1916–21, First Lord of the Admiralty 1924, Warden of All Souls 1932.

4 H. Poll., 341–354 and K. W., A, Feb. 1921: Government of India (hereinafter G. of I.) to all local Governments and Administrations (hereinafter L.G.s), 28 April, 3 July 1920, H. Poll., K. W. to Deposit Print 20, May 1921.

5 Notes 2, 14, 18 June 1920, H. Poll. 341–354 and K. W. A, Feb. 1921: Cf. H. Poll., 49/1921, p. 8 sqq; and the Government of India letters of 28 April, 12 June, 3 July, 1920, H. Poll., K.W. to Deposit Print, 20, May 1921.

6 Gazette of India, 6 Nov. 1920, Resolution 4484: see also G. of I. to L.G.s, Sept. 1920, H. Poll., K. W. to Deposit Print, 20, May 1921.

7 Note by McPherson, 11 June 1920, H. Poll., 341–354 and K. W., A, Feb. 1921: Note by Gwynne,. 11 Jan. 1921, H. Poll., 3-C and K.W., Deposit (Print), July 1921: Adam, C. F., Life of Lord Lloyd, London 1948, pp. 140–1.

8 Vincent, Sir William Henry Hoare, born 1866, I.C.S., 1887, Sec, Legislative Department G. of I., 1911–15, Member Ex-Council Bihar and Orissa 1915–17, Home Member 1917–23, Vice President of Council 1921, Member of Council of India (in London) 1923.

9 Craddock to Vincent, 27 Sept. 1920; Vincent to Craddock, 27 Oct. 1920; Craddock to Vincent, 14–15 Nov. 1920, H. Poll., 271–276, A, Dec. 1920: Chief Secretary, Burma, to Sec. Home Dept., G. of I., 10 Nov. 1920, H. Poll. 340 of 1922.

10 For further details see Peter D. Reeves' article “The Politics of Order” also appearing in this issue of The Journal of Asian Studies.

11 The Notes and correspondence upon which this and the next two paragraphs are mainly based will be found in H. Poll., 3G and K.W., Deposit (Print), July 1921: see also H. Poll., 19, A, May 1921; 252–3, A, Jan. 1921; 423–4, A, April 1921; 49/1921; 415/1921; 16–24 and K. W., A, June 1921; 44–5, A, June 1921; 112/1921; 170/1921.

12 Hailey, Sir Malcolm, now Lord Hailey, O.M., born 1872, I.C.S. 1895, Secretary Punjab Government 1907, Chief Commissioner Delhi 1912–18, Finance Member 1919–22, Home Member 1922–24, Governor Punjab 1924–9, U.P. 1929–34, author An African Survey 1938 (revised edition 1956), Member Permanent Mandates Commission 1935–9.

13 Imperial Legislative Asssembly Debates, Vol. I, 1921, pt. II, sub 23 Mar. 1921.

14 Reading, Rufus Daniel Isaacs, Marquess, b. 1860, Solicitor-General 1910, Attorney-General 1910–13, Lord Chief Justice 1913–21, Special Envoy to U.S.A., 1915, 1917, 1918, Viceroy 1921–26, Foreign Secretary 1931, d. 1935.

15 Their arrest had been contemplated earlier, H. Poll., 16–24 and K.W., A, June 1921; 3 (Conf.) and K.W., Deposit (Print), July 1921; 112/1922.

16 H. Poll. 155/1922.

17 This had been expected, Sapru to Vincent, 16 Aug. 1921, and Chief Sec. Bombay to G. of I., 25 Aug. 1921, tel., H. Poll., 155/1922.

18 H. Poll. 303/1921.

20 Ibid. H. Poll. 411/1921.

21 H. Poll. 780/1922.

22 H. Poll. 415/1921.

23 e.g. Manifesto of Indian Association and National Liberal League, The Statesman, 17 December 1921: Bengalee, 17 Dec. 1921.

24 Reading to all Governors, 19 Dec. 1921, Reading Mss. 23; I am deeply indebted to the Dowager Marchioness of Reading for special permission to see her husband's papers which seem to be the only place where this telegram (to which reference is made in both H. Poll. K.W., to 89/1922, and in Sapru Mss. Vol. XXVII, National Library, Calcutta) and other telegrams quoted here, are to be found. See also Reading's speeches at this time, Khan, Syed Sirdar Ali, The Earl of Reading, London 1924, pp. 24 sqq. “I am being flooded with telegrams and representations protesting against the recent repressive policy of Government and in some cases a Conference has been suggested,” Reading to Vincent, tel., 17 Dec. 1921, H. Poll. 201/VI/1922.

25 Reading to Montagu, private telegrams, 15, 16, 17, 18 December 1921, Reading Mss. 10.

26 Home Dept. Note 25 Apr. 1921, H. Poll., 124, A, May 1921; Bajpai to Sapru [3 May 1921], Sapru Mss. Vol. III, B8; Sinha to Sapru, 5 May 1921, Sapru Mss. Vol.-XXVII, S376: Notes by Vincent, 30 July 1921, by Sapru, 6 Aug. 1921 and Order-in-Council 12 Aug. 1921, H. Poll., 89/II/1921; Note by Vincent, 10 Nov., 1921, H. Poll., 303/1921. M. R. Jayakar, The Story of My Life, I, Bombay 1958, p. 504. Ch. VIII of this book contains an important amount of further material on this whole episode.

27 Reading to Montagu, private, telegram, 18 Dec. 1921, Reading Mss. 10. See also ibid. 17 Dec. 1921; and Reading to Harcourt Buder, 22 Dec. 1921, ibid. 23.

28 Montagu to Reading, private, telegram, 20 Dec. 1921, Reading Mss. 10.

29 Sapru to Hignell (Private Secretary to the Viceroy), 16 Dec. 1921 (2 letters), Sapru Mss. XXII, R290–1: Reading to Montagu, private, telegram, 18 Dec. 1921, Reading Mss. 10.

30 Reading to all Governors, telegram, 19 Dec. 1921, Reading Mss. 10: Governor, Bombay, to Viceroy, two telegrams, 20 Dec. 1921; Governor, Assam, to Viceroy, telegram, 20 Dec. 1921; Acting Governor, Bihar and Orissa, to Viceroy, telegram, 20 Dec. 1921; Governor, Madras, to Viceroy, telegram, 20 Dec. 1921; Private Secretary to Governor, Central Provinces, to Private Secretary to Viceroy, telegram, 20 Dec. 1921; Governor, United Provinces, to Viceroy, telegram, 20 Dec. 1921; Lieutenant Governor, Burma, to Viceroy, telegram, 21 Dec. 1921, H. Poll. K.W. to 89/1922; also in Sapru Mss. Vol. XXVII, V7.

31 See footnote 28.

32 Reading to Montagu, private, telegram, 24 Dec. 1921, Reading Mss. 10.

33 On 18 Dec. Sapru had received a telegram from Jamnadas Dwarkadas in Ahmedabad which read: “Seen Gandhiji. Agrees attend Conference called by Viceroy or anyone without imposing any previous condition,” Sapru to Vincent, 18 Dec. 1921, Sapru Mss. Vol. XXVII, V8. On 20 Dec. 1921 Gandhi wired to Malaviya, “Regret exceedingly inability give undertaking asked. Non-cooperation can cease only after satisfactory result conference. In no case have I authority decide for Congress,” Tendulkar, II, p. 95.

34 Ali Khan, Reading, pp. 260–268.

35 Viceroy to Secretary of State, tel., 28 Dec. 1921, H. Poll. 18/1921.

36 H. Poll. 461/1921: H. Poll. K.W. to 89/1922.

37 H. Poll. 89/1/1922: H. Poll. 610/1922.

38 Adam, Lloyd, pp. 160 sqq.

39 H. Poll. 489/1922.

40 Secretary of State to Viceroy, tel. 2 Feb. 1922, and Home Department Notes, ibid.

41 H. Poll. 563/1922: H. Poll., 667/1922.

42 Secretary of State to Viceroy, tel. 6 Feb. 1922; Viceroy to Secretary of State, 8 Feb. 1922; Order in Council, 8 Feb. 1922, H. Poll. 489/1922.

43 H. Poll., 580/II/1922: Bombay to Home Dept., 18 Feb. 1922, H. Poll., 18/1922.

44 Secretary of State to Viceroy, tel. 11, 14 Feb. 1922; Home Department, G. of I. to Bombay, tel., 11 Feb. 1922, H. Poll. 489/1922.

45 Sapru to Reading, 13 Feb. 1922, Sapru Mss. Vol. XXII, R295.

46 Reading to Montagu, private and personal, telegram, 14 Feb. 1922, Reading Mss. 16.

47 Home Dept., to Bombay, tel. 13 Feb. 1922; Viceroy to Secretary of State, 14 Feb. 1922, H. Poll. 489/1922.

48 Bombay to Home Dept. 14 Feb. 1922. H. Poll. 489/1922. Lloyd had already, before the Bardoli decision, warned the Government of India that in his view it would in no sense constitute a reason for the postponement of Gandhi's arrest, see Bombay telegram, 10 Feb. 1922, ibid.

49 Orders in Council, 15, 16 Feb. 1922, ibid.

50 e.g. various papers in H. Poll. 501/1922: H. Poll., 897/1922: H. Poll. 941/1922: H. Poll. 900/1922 and see next footnote.

51 Order in Council [1 Mar. 1922], H. Poll., 489/1922.

52 e.g. Notes by Innes and Rawlinson, 21 Feb. 1922, H. Poll., 327/III/1922: Also H. Poll., 459/II/1922; and ‘Report of a discussion which took place at Viceregal Lodge on the 20th February 1922’, H. Poll., 459/1921: Viceroy to Secretary of State, 27 Feb. 1922, H. Poll. 678/1922: Viceroy to Secretary of State, tel., 1 Mar. 1922, H. Poll., 489/1922.

53 Reading to Montagu, 9 Mar. 1922, Reading Mss. 4.

54 Viceroy to Secretary of State, tel., 7 June 1922, H. Poll. 410/II/1922: a further summary account of their views is in Viceroy to Secretary of State, 5 Dec. 1922, H. Poll., 410/III/1922.

55 e.g. “The non-cooperation movement, whatever may be its other achievements, has spread political ideas, I may say revolutionary ideas, among the masses of the people and their placid contentment has been disturbed far beyond the anticipations of the late Secretary of State.” Willingdon to Vincent, 1 July 1922, H. Poll., 418 and K.W./1922.

56 Presidential address, Bengal Provincial Conference, 25 March 1921; Tagore, Towards Universal Man, London 1961, p. 377; Andrews to Rabindranath Tagore, 25 Dec. 1921, B. Chaturvedi and M. Sykcs Charles freer Andrews, a narrative, London 1949, pp. 178–79 [I owe these three references to John Broomfield]; Jayakar, Life, I, ch. 7.

57 18 Jan. 1922 Imperial Legislative Assembly Debates, Vol. II, 1922, pt. II, p. 1660.

58 e.g. the debate in the Imperial Legislative Assembly on 18 Jan. 1922, Debates, Vol. II, 1922, pt. 2. Cf. the earlier debates in Feb. March and Oct. 1921.

59 Bose, S. C., The Indian Struggle, Calcutta 1948, p. 100.

60 At the opening of the Imperial Legislative Assembly, 9 Feb. 1921.

61 23 Mar. 1921 Imperial Legislative Assembly Debates, Vol. I, 1921, pt. II, 1520.

62 H. Poll. 418 and K.W./1922.

63 Note by Hailey, 22 Mar. 1921, H. Poll. 3C and K.W. Deposit (Print), July 1921.

64 Willingdon was ready to see it introduced in Madras fifteen years earlier, Willingdon to Vincent, I July 1922, H. Poll., 418 and K.W./1922.

65 See, in addition, Home Department Notes of 27 Feb., 21, 22 Mar. 1922, H. Poll., 678/1922.

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The Journal of Asian Studies
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