People’s Participation in the Movement and the Sense of Collective Belonging:NCERT History

How Different Groups Reacted

  • Farmers : For the farmers, the fight for swaraj was a struggle against high revenues.
  • When the movement was called off in 1931, without the revenue rates being revised, the farmers were highly disappointed.
  • Many of them refused to participate when the movement was re-launched in 1932.
  • The small tenants just wanted the unpaid rent to the landlord to be remitted.
  • They often joined the radical movements which were led by Socialists and Communists.
  • Congress did not want to alienate the rich landlords and hence, the relationship between the poor peasants and Congress was uncertain.

  • Businessmen : The Indian merchants and industrialists could grow their business during the First World War
  • They were against those colonial policies which restricted their business activities.
  • They wanted protection against imports and a Rupee-Sterling Foreign Exchange ratio which would discourage imports.
  • The Indian Industrial and Commercial Congress was formed in 1920 and the Federation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) was formed in 1927.
  • These were the results of attempts to bring the common business inter on a common platform.
  • For the businessmen, Swaraj meant an end to oppressive colonial policies.
  • They wanted an environment which could allow the business to flourish.
  • They were apprehensive of militant activities and of growing influence of socialism among the younger members of the Congress.


  • Industrial Workers : The industrial workers showed lukewarm response to the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Since industrialists were closer to the Congress, workers kept a distance from the movement.
  • But some workers selectively participated in the Movement.
  • Congress did not want to alienate the industrialists and hence preferred to keep the workers’ demands at bay.

  • Women’s Participation : Women also participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement in large numbers.
  • However, most of the women were from high-caste families in the urban areas and from rich peasant households in the rural areas.
  • But for a long time, the Congress was reluctant to give any position of authority to women within the organization.
  • The Congress was just keen on the symbolic presence of women.
  • The Sense of Collective Belonging
  • Nationalist Movement Spreads when people belonging to different regions and communities begin to develop a sense of collective belongingness.
  • The identity of a nation is most often symbolized in a figure or image.
  • This image of Bharat Mata was first created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1870 when he wrote ‘Vande Mataram’ for our motherland.

  • Indian folk songs and folk sung by bards played an important role in making the idea of nationalism.
  • In Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore and in Madras, Natesa, Sastri collection of folk tales and songs, this led the movement for folk revival.

  • During the Swadeshi Movement, a tri-color (red, green and yellow) flag was designed in Bengal.
  • It had eight lotuses representing eight provinces and a crescent moon representing Hindus and Muslims.
  • Means of creating a feeling of nationalism was through reinterpretation of history.
  • The nationalist writers urged the readers to take pride in India’s great achievements in the past and struggle to change the miserable conditions of life under British rule.

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