Chapter : 13

What Are Mahatma Gandhi And The Nationalist Movement ?

  • Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January 1915 after residing two decades abroad.
  • Gandhiji used the non-violent method of Satyagraha in South Africa to fight racial discrimination in society.
  • The Swadeshi Movement of 1905-1907 widened the scope of the movement in the country.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai believed in adopting a radical approach for gaining independence for India.
  • The Moderate leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Muhammad Ali Jinnah believed in methods of petitions and non-violence.
  • The first major appearance of Gandhiji after returning from India was at Banaras Hindu University in 1916.
  • In his famous speech in BHU, Gandhiji said that the independence movement in India should be made a mass movement in which all the sections of the society must widely participate.
  • Gandhiji fought for the rights of the Indigo planters in Champaran, Bihar in 1917.
  • Gandhiji addressed the issues of the cotton mill workers in Ahmedabad in 1918.
  • In the Kheda district of Gujarat Gandhiji demanded the remission of taxes of the peasants from the British authorities after the failure of the crops.
  • During the Great War of 1914-1918, the British had passed several oppressive laws in India for the censorship of the press and detention of the prisoners without trial. These provisions continued under the Rowlatt Act.
  • Gandhiji called for a countrywide campaign against the Rowlatt Act. The shops were shut down and the schools were closed.
  • In April 1919, British Brigadier gave orders for massacring hundreds of innocent people gathered at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.
  • The Rowlatt Satyagraha made Gandhi a leader of nationalist fervour.
  • Gandhiji started the non-cooperation movement in 1920 and asked the people to renounce the association with the things involving the British like cloth, liquor, schools, colleges, etc.
  • The Non-Cooperation movement was mixed with the Khilafat movement by Gandhiji for uniting the Hindus and Muslims and ensuring greater participation.
  • Students refused to go to schools, lawyers gave up the practice, workers went on strike during the non-cooperation movement. Hill tribes violated the forest colonial laws.
  • A group of protesters burned down a police station in Gorakhpur in February 1922. After this incident, Gandhiji called off the Non-Cooperation movement.
  • The Indian National movement transformed into a movement of peasants and common masses from the intellectual and elite sections.
  • Mahatma Gandhi used to work on Charkha and promoted the use of the Khadi cloth.
  • Gandhiji was seen as a figure who would rescue the Indians from the oppression of the British.
  • Gandhiji advocated for the spread of the nationalist message in the mother tongue.
  • The support base of Gandhiji was among the prominent industrialists as well as the poor masses.
  • Some of the prominent supporters of Gandhian Nationalism were Mahadev Desai, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, J.B. Kripalani, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, etc.
  • Gandhiji condemned the practice of untouchability. He was a social reformer.
  • In the year 1928, there was a nationwide campaign against the Simon Commission.
  • In the Lahore session of Congress in December 1929, a proclamation for ‘Purna Swaraj’ was made.
  • On March 12, 1931, Gandhiji started his salt march from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi for breaking the colonial salt laws. The Salt March made Gandhiji an international leader.
  • Imitating Gandhiji there were several salt marches all across the nation that break the colonial salt laws.
  • Gandhiji gave a different meaning to the Swaraj by appealing to the Indians to respect their fellow beings and end all sorts of discrimination for uniting the nation.
  • Gandhi-Irwin Pact of 1931 led to the temporary halting of the Civil-Disobedience movement. Under the terms of the pact, nationalist leaders were released from jail, salt manufacturing was allowed, etc.
  • Gandhiji represented India in the second round table conference which was held in the later part of 1931.
  • The British Government passed the Govt. of India Act in 1935 and gave some relaxation to the British.
  • In the election of provinces in 1937, Congress gained a majority in eight out of the eleven provinces.
  • During the Second World War, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru offered help to the British in return for complete independence after the war.
  • The British refused the proposal of the Congress and in return, the Congress ministries resigned from their office.
  • The Muslim League passed the Lahore resolution in 1940 demanding autonomy in the Muslim dominated areas.
  • Sir Stafford Cripps came to India in the spring of 1942 to negotiate on the issue of sharing power with the Indians. But the Cripps mission failed.
  • After the failure of the Cripps India Mission, the Quit India Resolution was passed in August 1942.
  • All the top leaders of the Congress including Gandhiji were immediately arrested after the launch of the Quit India movement.
  • The Quit India movement expanded to almost all of India and different sections of the society took part in the movement.
  • In June 1944, Gandhiji was released from prison.
  • In 1946, Lord Wavell made an effort to bring peace between Muslim League and Congress.
  • In the elections of 1946, Congress won a clear majority in the general seats but the seats reserved for the Muslims, League won an overwhelming majority.
  • The Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 failed to bring compromise between the League and the Congress on a federal system.
  • 16 August, 1946 was declared as the Direct Action Day by the Muslim League and they pressed the demand for Pakistan.
  • Lord Mountbatten declared that British India will become independent but will be divided into two nations i.e. India and Pakistan.
  • The formal transfer of the power will take place in August 1946.
  • Mahatma Gandhi was very sad about the decision to partition India by the British.
  • Mahatma Gandhi appealed to the members of all communities to maintain peace in the country and help each other in the harshest times.
  • Congress passed the resolution for protecting the rights of minorities.
  • India was declared a Democratic Secular state.
  • Gandhiji was successful in bringing peace to Bengal after the partition.
  • In January 1948, Gandhiji was assassinated bya man named Nathuram Godse while he wasoffering prayers in a temple.
  • Time Magazine compared the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi to that of Abraham Lincoln.
  • The private letters, autobiographies and the police record of the colonial government provide a great deal of information about Gandhiji.