DMPQ- Critically evaluate the congres’s stand on the Khilafat issue.

. It was quite clear that the support of the Congress was essential for the Khilafat movement to succeed. However, although Gandhi was in favour of launching satyagraha and non-cooperation against the government on the Khilafat issue, the Congress was not united on this form of political action. Tilak was opposed to having an alliance with Muslim leaders over a religious issue and he was also sceptical of satyagraha as an instrument of politics. According to Professor Ravinder Kumar, Gandhi made a concerted bid to convince Tilak of the virtues of satyagraha and of the expediency of an alliance with the Muslim community over the Khilafat issue. There was opposition to some of the other provisions of the Gandhi’s non-cooperation programme also, such as boycott of councils. Later, however, Gandhi was able to the get the approval of the Congress for his programme of political action and the Congress felt inclined to support a non-cooperation programme on the Khilafat question because:

  • It was felt that this was a golden opportunity to cement Hindu-Muslim unity and to bring Muslim masses into the national movement; now different sections of society—Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, peasants, artisans, capitalists, tribals, women, students—could come into the national movement by fighting for their own rights and realising that the colonial rule was opposed to them;
  • The Congress was losing faith in constitutional struggle, especially after the Punjab incidents and the blatantly partisan Hunter Committee Report;
  • The Congress was aware that the masses were eager to give expression to their discontent.
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