DMPQ- . Discuss Gandhi’s 11 points and explain how they became background for civil disobedience movement.

. After non-action of government over Nehru Report and failure of government to agree  upon any demand for even dominion status, Gandhiji was looking for a new plan amidst growing  restlessness among the Congress and nation as a whole.

Mahatma Gandhi found in salt a powerful symbol that could unite the nation. On 31 January 1930 –  Soon after demand for Purna Swaraj, he sent a letter to Viceroy Irwin stating eleven demands (11  points). In his letter to Viceroy he stated – ‘British rule has impoverished ‘the Dumb Millions’ by a system  of progressive exploitation, reducing us to political serfdom and sapped us culturally, degraded us  spiritually’.

Some of these were of general interest; others were specific demands of different classes, from  industrialists to peasants. The idea was to make the demands wide-ranging, so that all classes within  Indian society could identify with them and everyone could be brought together in a united campaign.

These included among others:

  • Total prohibition
  • Release of political prisoners
  • Reduce expenditure on civil services and military
  • Levy of duty on foreign cloth
  • Issue of firearm licences
  • Reduce land revenue by 50%
  • Reduce Rupee Sterling exchange ratio to make Indian exports profitable
  • Reserve Coastal shipping for Indians
  • Abolition of Salt Tax.

If the demands were not fulfilled by 11 March, the letter stated, the Congress would launch a civil  disobedience campaign. Irwin was unwilling to negotiate and no-response was given to deamnds.  Gandhi decided to go for Civil Disobedience. On this, Gandhi commented – ‘While he asked for the  bread, he was given a stone’on the apathetic attitude of Viceroy and British government over their non- response to Gandhi’s pleas before he started Civil Disobedience Movement.

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