Civil disobedience is the professed and active refusal to obey the laws which are made by external forces. It is also meant to disobey the commands and demands of either a government or international powers which are ruling over the nation. Civil disobedience is also referred as to become non violent and promotes its benefits.
It is one of many criteria’s which is taken by many people who are not willing to accept the laws and regulations made by foreign body and they rebelled against those laws. In India civil disobedience got its face in the era of Mahatma Gandhi who was fighting with British Empire for the independence of Indian citizens.
Other examples of civil disobedience include Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. In early stages Bangladesh also fought for its independence by movement against East Germany and Pakistani repression to oust their mean and communist governments.
In South Africa also there was a fight against apartheid, and Civil rights movement in America, Baltic countries help to gain independence by singing revolution from Soviet Union.
Violent V/S Non-Violent
There were debates on the issue that whether civil disobedience was necessarily to be non-violent. Non-violence was added as the definition of civil disobedience in Black’s law dictionary.
Christian Bay’s encyclopedia says that it requires carefully chosen as well as legitimate means but this is not compulsory that they should be non-violent too.
Civil Disobedience Movement in India
As per the record on 31st January 1930, Mahatma Gandhi gave an ultimatum to Lord Irwin. Gandhiji announced popular demands without changing the constitution as preceding with reduction in expenditure of military, land tax should by decreased by 50 percent and the removal of salt tax moreover monopoly of its sale by the government. The salt tax was paid by every sector of India either a poor or a rich.
As per the result Lord Irwin rejected the eleven point ultimatum of Gandhi. In response Gandhiji started Salt March from March 12th till April 6th across Gujarat, which started from Ahmadabad till salt works of Dandi. During the March seventy-one persons accompanied by him which were the members of his own ashram. The Salt March got positive response from whole states of India.
In every region of state, salt seller decided to make and sell salt directly and farmers stopped giving their land taxes. This radicalism evoked militant revolutionaries in Bengal and Punjab.
The civil disobedience movement made a visible impact in its first phase which was from 1930 to 1931 which was more encouraging than ten years old non-cooperation movement. In several areas of state, British administration became paralyzed due to the resignation of functionaries.
Constant protests were went which happened sometimes on large scale also. Ninety thousand and more people were arrested within that period.
Till the end of May month, government became harsher and cases of brutality by police over unarmed crowd were widely reported by the international press. The movement remained alive without any fear which ultimately increased the influence of Gandhiji on masses and the Congress.
Civil Disobedience and Non-cooperation Movement
The disobedience movement was different from non-cooperation movement. Participation of students, involvement of working class and urban intelligentsia was limited. Big cities like Ahmadabad and Bombay were became the strong back of the movement.
Its popularity was increasing every day. It touched new regions too. Abdul Gaffar of Northwestern Frontier Province came to be known as Frontier Gandhi. His followers wore red kurtas since then they were known as ‘red shirts’. Gaffar was a follower of Gandhiji and hence became the rising member of Congress.
The most advantageous feature of the movement was the participation of women. But Muslim declines their participation in the movement.
In order to suppress the first phase of the movement, Lord Irwin government made negotiations with Gandhiji. All political parties got invitation for the Round table conference which was held in November, 1930. But congress refused to attend, hence meeting got no purpose.
In January, 1931 the second round table conference undertook and meanwhile the congress leaders were released. They agrees for the conference on one point that government would free political prisoners and withdraw repressive laws. This was finally agreed by Congress and Lord Irwin.