solve local issues. But they provided him with
attract the masses. However, as a politician Gandhi, in practice, sometimes
settled for less than complete non-violence. The resultant perspective on
controlled mass participation objectively fitted in with the interests and
sentiments of socially-decisive sections of the Indian people. The Gandhian
model proved acceptable to business groups as well as to the relatively better-
off or locally dominant sections of the peasantry all of whom, stood to lose
something if political struggle turned into uninhibited and violent social
revolution. In more general terms, the doctrine of ahimsa lay at the heart of
the essential unifying role assumed by Gandhi and the Gandhian Congress.
Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience
To Gandhi, non-cooperation with the evil-doers was the duty of the virtuous
man. It was considered by Gandhi as a mild form of agitation and it was
resorted to by him between 1921–1922. This technique had an immediate
appeal to the masses.
Civil disobedience of the laws of the unjust and tyrannical government
was a strong and extreme form of political agitation. According to Gandhi,
this technique could be more dangerous and powerful than armed rebellion
and, hence, should be adopted only as a last resort. To the masses whose
suffering reached an extreme point in the late 1920’s, due to the worldwide
economic crisis, this technique seemed to be the only way to deal with their
Constructive Gandhian Programmes
• Gandhi’s Khadi programme had a real attraction for the peasants and
• The programme of village reconstruction got him the support of rural
• His programme of Harijan welfare, aimed at improving the lot of the
untouchables, naturally endeared him to the hearts of these people.
• His Hindu–Muslim unity programme attracted both communities.
KHILAFAT AND NON-COOPERATION