Mahatma Gandhi 1915-1948

Champaran Satyagraha

After coming over to India in 1915 he took lessons from Gopala Krishna Gokhale about the ground situation. Mahatma Gandhi’s first major campaign against the British was Champaran Satyagraha in Bihar. He supported Indigo cultivators and fought for their remunerative prices for their farm produce. At last he succeeded in getting concessions for the farmers.
Later in 1918 he organized protest against excessive taxes in famine and flood hit area of Kheda district at Nadiad. Here Sardar Vallabhai Patel joined Gandhi as part of volunteer force.


The notorious Rowlatt Act or Black Act titled as The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919, was promulgated on 10 March 1919 by the British. This act empowers the authorities for incarceration of an individual without trial and judicial review. Passage of this act aroused wide spread resentment among Indians. Gandhi called for Civil Disobedience and Satyagraha and asked his followers to protest in peaceful manner. On 30 March 1919 firing occurred in Delhi. Government banned Gandhi’s entry into Delhi. Gandhi defied the orders and got arrested on 9 th April. On 10 th April there was a protest against deportation of Satyapal and Saifuddin Kichlu in Amritsar.

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And on Vaishakhi day of 13 the April 1919 people gathered at a place called as a Julianwala bagh in Amritsar as part of Civil disobedience but without carrying any arms. Women and Children participated in it as it was Vaishakhi day. Then Indian Sepoys under the British command fired and killed about 1000 people including infants. Instead of protesting against the brutality of the British Gandhi pained for turning the events violent.
After Jallianwala Bagh massacre Gandhi expanded his nonviolent non-co-operation struggle to include the swadeshi policy and asked people to boycott foreign goods, especially British goods. He advocated that khadi (homespun cotton cloth) be spun and worn by all Indians instead of factory made textiles. Gandhi urged people to boycott British institutions and law courts, to resign from government employment, and to forsake British titles and Honours. Gandhi thus wanted to cripple the British economically, politically and administratively.

Non-cooperation movement and Chauri Chaura

The appeal of “Non-cooperation” grew, its social popularity drew participation from all strata of Indian society.
Another major incident which ultimately transformed India’s freedom struggle was Chauri Chaura. At this place on 2 February 1922 people protested against rise of meat prices as part of Civil disobedience. Police took punitive measures and arrested leaders of the agitation. In retaliation on 5 th about 2000 people marched to the police station. Police fired on the protestors and killed two persons. Upon which people got angry and burnt the police station along with 22 police inside it.

Gandhi was arrested on 10 March 1922, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He began his sentence on 18 March 1922. With Gandhi isolated in prison, the Indian National Congress split into two factions, one led by Chitta Ranjan Das and Motilal Nehru favouring party participation in the legislatures, and the other led by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, opposing this move.
Gandhi was released in February 1924 for an appendicitis operation, having served two years jail term. After which there was a lull for three years in freedom struggle. And congress once again called in Gandhiji and asked him to lead the freedom struggle promising him to follow his principles. Congress under Bose and Nehru insisted for Poorna Swaraj. But Gandhi did not want to confront at this stage but told them that let us ask the British first for Swaraj. If they do not fulfil our demand within one year we will fight for complete freedom. Accordingly Calcutta Congress in December 1928 resolved to fight for Swaraj (Freedom within British domain)
As the British did not move, On 31 December 1929, struggle for Poorna Swaraj (total freedom) was declared as Congress’ sole aim and a tricolor flag was hoisted at Lahore. From then onwards Indians celebrated 26 January 1930 as India’s Independence Day. Afterwards Indian constitution was adopted on 26.01.1950 and India was declared a Republic. Hence, then onwards January 26 th is being celebrated as Republic day of India.

Salt Satyagraha and Dandi march

We have noted earlier that Gandhi withdrew from the freedom struggle when the struggle turned violent. And then people including Congress leaders reconciled with Gandhi and they resolved to follow Gandhi’s principles of nonviolence. This resolve of people of India reflected during the famous Salt March to Dandi from 12 March to 6 April,1931 wherein Gandhi along with 78 volunteers, marched 388 kilometres (241 miles) from Ahmedabad to Dandi, in Gujarat to make salt himself breaking the salt laws.  
Police resorted to beating the volunteers on their heads and shoulders with lathis indiscriminately on for hours until more than 300 protesters got seriously injured and two killed. At no time did they offer any physical resistance.
Over 60,000 people were arrested. It is interesting to note that Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini devi participated in the Dandi march.
The British Government of India agreed to free all political prisoners through Gandhi–Irwin Pact which was signed in March 1931. Gandhi suspended the civil disobedience movement. Gandhi attended as the sole representative of Congress at the Round Table Conference in London. There was continuous tussle between the British and the Congress upto 1934. Then in 1935 Government of India Act was passed for provincial elections intending to establish partial democracy in India. Accordingly elections were held in 1937. Congress was successful in establishing governments in majority provinces.
However, Government of India under the British joined the World War II in 1939 without consulting the Legislators. Congress legislators resigned. In the meantime Muslim league passed resolution to divide the country on two religions two nations theory in 1940.

Quit India Movement

Congress demanded transfer of power to people of India immediately. Britain promised Dominion status after War. Then Gandhi gave a slogan “Quit India” on 8 th August 1942. Government moved quickly and clamped down on the agitators and arrested all Congress leaders including Gandhi within a day. However, the agitation including widespread acts of sabotage, bomb attacks on military supply convoys occurred, government buildings were set on fire, electricity lines were disconnected and transport and communication lines were sabotaged. The resistance was carried out by masses but leaderless till the end of 1943. Gandhi was released from jail in May 1944.

During this period, his secretary Mahadev Desai died of a heart attack, his wife Kasturba died after 18 months’ imprisonment on 22 February 1944; and Gandhi suffered a severmalaria attack.
Let us have a look at police action on Gandhi ji during freedom struggle.
16 April, 1917 – a notice to leave the district of Champaran was served on Gandhi but was not arrested.
10 April, 1919 – Arrested at Palwal on his way to Amritsar and was taken back to Bombay where he was released on 11 April.
10 March, 1922 – Arrested near Sabarmati Ashram for writing three articles in Young India. Sentenced to six years imprisonment. Released from Yervada prison on 5 February, 1924 after an operation on 12 January, 1924.
05 May, 1930 – arrested at Karadi near Dandi for violating Salt Law, was imprisoned without trail and released on 26 January, 1931.
04 January, 1932 – Arrested in Bombay and taken Yervada Jail. And was released On 8 May, 1933 as he started fast.
01 August, 1933 – Arrested early morning at Bombay following his March toward Rass and was asked to leave Yervada limits by 9.30 a.m. But he did not comply, then sentenced to one year imprisonment. Started fast on 16th August and was released on 23 August due to serious health condition.

09 August, 1942   Arrested in the early hours of the morning following ‘Quit India’ resolution and was lodged in Agakhan Palace Jail. Released on 6 May, 1944.

After the end of the War efforts were on to effect transfer of power.
Gandhi opposed partition of the Indian subcontinent along religious lines.


Muslim League demanded the British to “Divide and Quit India”
The Direct Action Day of 16.08.1946 was declared by Jinnah to force Partition on India. It triggered a mass murder of Calcutta Hindus. Police were holidaying and were missing to contain or stop the conflict. The British government did not order its army to move in either.
Gandhi and Nehru reluctantly agreed to the Partition of India. About 5 lakh people died during partition riots. About 10 lakh migrated to either Pakistan or India. Most of the riots occurred in Bengal and Punjab provinces only. Gandhi fasted for several days to suffer himself for the ongoing killings of peoples. He pleaded for calm and for restore of peace. On 30th January 1948 a gunman shoot at Gandhi ji and killed him.

What makes Gandhi or Nehru different from others and why people adored them even worshipped them is that they did not budge an inch during extreme adverse conditions. They lived up to their convictions. They did not feared death. Nehru served 9 years jail terms. Nehru carried forward the legacy of Gandhi. Gandhi’s dream of Grama swaraj was fulfilled by Nehru by building Dams and barrages across river courses and irrigating fields. And Nehru strived his level best to make India self-reliant on heavy industry and in defense. Nehru founded IITs, IIMs, ISRO, BARC etc. And about 3,50,000 people sacrificed their lives during freedom struggle. Gandhi’s supreme sacrifice is observed as Martyr’s day by Indian Republic.

Mahatma Gandhi part 2–  #MohanDasKaramchandGandhi hails from Gujarat. He is our Jati pita, father of the Nation,  He was called #Mahatma, a great soul, by #RabindranathTagore. He studied Law at England. He was second person to take the issue of Freedom movement, to all India level. ( First person being #SurendranathBenerjee, who toured all India on the issue of rising the issue of lowering of age limit for entry into Civil services ). 

When Gandhi entered Indian National scene anti – British sentiment was so high for several reasons. Some of which are, First, death of #BalaGangadharaTilak because of deterioration of his health in Jail. Second one is Partition of Bengal, by British Christians on Communal lines – Hindu Muslim divide. 

So that Gandhi could collect Rs. 1.00 crore for freedom movement within 2 months as Tilak Swaraj fund. In fact, Gandhi did not oppose the British hegemony. Initially Indians upto 1927 agitated for Swaraj only. That is Dominion status for India just like that of Canada and Australia under the British hegemony.  Jawarhlal Nehru and Subhash Bose prevailed upon Gandhi to give consent for Poorna swaraj as Indian National Congress’ sole aim in 1929. 



But philosophically Gandhi wanted abolition of the State altogether. He believed that Society and hence the country should be run under trusteeship. A kind of Laisez faire.  

( But I say, that  State is a Must in a Compound Complex society. State uses force to control deviance. Use of force is absent in Trusteeship ).

He served as an Advocate to a Company called, Khan & Co. during his stay in  South Africa and he worked for the same company even after coming over to India.  Naturally he could not be antagonistic to Muslims any way.

Gandhi represented typical Indian mind set. Those who conspired and killed Gandhi did great loss to India.

Actually Mahatma #MohanDasKaramchandGandhi was against Poorna Swaraj ( Complete Independence ) from the British and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru prevailed upon Gandhi for Poorna Swaraj resolution in Lahore session of Indian National Congress in the year Dec’ 1929. Reasons for Gandhi’s attitude towards the British may be that at that time British arms had no rivals across the Globe. And hence according to him India cannot fight the might of British arms.

Gandhi’s leadership during our Freedom struggle was legendary and still the world wonders how this little and scantly clad person lead the then 36 crore people against the British merchant mercenaries without carrying any Arms. 

( British were basically profit seeking merchants, and also Sea pirates. And served as mercenary Soldiers for Indian Rajahs or Nabobs ). 

Gandhi’s strength lies in his perseverance. And he did what he believed. He said what he thought. He was a saint for masses. Self less. He lived up to his conviction. He practiced what he preached.

And more over he believed that it would be futile to take up arms against the then British ( who manufacture superior arms ) and the British cannot be driven out of India by armed struggle. Hence, he prescribed and practiced Non Violence. 

Kapil Sibal warns against foreigners who come to India to do business” , dt 12.1.13. Kapil Sibal’s remark comes at a time when the UPA-2 government at the Centre is trying to attract foreign direct investment to boost the economy.
The following three letters are written by me in TOI in response to the news item ‘Chinese interest in Gandhian teachings growing‘ dt 30.3.13.

Non Violence or Ahimsa is one of the basic tenets of Hindu Sanatana Dharma. Gandhi made Ahimsa a force to force the British out from India that is Bharatavarsha. 

So greatness of Gandhi, Mohan das Karam chand, is greatness of India.

Taka (taha) replies to Janardhan Prasad 

Why did the ( British ) merchants finish Bhagat Singh and not Gandhi?

Good question MR. Taka. 

Bhagat Singh was an individual who tried to teach a lesson to one of the employee of the British Merchant company. Whereas M K Gandhi was a force to reckon with. 

Entire continent stood behind Gandhi during freedom struggle. Remember that he could stall Civil disobedience movement with a single word after Chowri Chowra incident. 

We now revere Bhagat or Bose for their Chivalry but when they were alive no one could dare to associate with them for fear of death. 

One who followed Gandhi need not fear death.

When Gandhi’s health was deteriorating due to indefinite fasting in a Jail, Winston Churchill ( the then PM Of England ) sent a telegram like this ‘ that half naked Fakir should not die in jails, through him out’. That means, Even iron man of England feared Gandhi, the mass man. Churchill feared that death of Gandhi in Jail would be destructive to the British hegemony over India, so how could the British dare to ‘finish’ Gandhi  ?!