Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Independence of India
Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Independence of India. Mohandas Gandhi was the leader who guided India towards Independence. Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915 at the request of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a tall Congress leader.
Gandhi’s contribution to the Indian freedom movement cannot be measured in words. He, along with other freedom fighters like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and his Azadi Hind Fauj, compelled the British to leave India. His policies and agendas were non-violent and his words were the source of inspiration for millions.
Mahatma Gandhi’s famous contributions to Indian freedom movement:
1. Champaran: The Champaran agitation in Bihar was Gandhi’s first active involvement into Indian freedom politics.
The Champaran farmers were being forced to grow Indigo and were being tortured if they protested. The farmers sought Gandhi’s help and through a calculated non-violent protest, Gandhi managed to win concessions from the authority.
2. Kheda: When Kheda, a village in Gujarat, was badly hit by floods, the local farmers appealed to the rulers to waive off the taxes. Here, Gandhi started a signature campaign where peasants pledged non-payment of taxes. He also arranged a social boycott of the mamlatdars and talatdars (revenue officials).
In Kheda, Vallabhbhai Patel represented the farmers in negotiations with the British, who suspended revenue collection and released all the prisoners.
In 1918, the Government relaxed the conditions of payment of revenue tax until the famine ended.
3. Khilafat Movement: Gandhi’s influence on the Muslim population was remarkable. This was evident in his involvement in the Khilafat Movement. After the first World War, the Muslims feared for the safety of their Caliph or religious leader and a worldwide protest was being organised to fight against the collapsing status of the Caliph.
Gandhi became a prominent spokesperson of the All India Muslim Conference and returned the medals he had received from the Empire during his Indian Ambulance Corps days in South Africa. His role in the Khilafat made him a national leader in no time.
4. Non-cooperation Movement: Gandhi had realised that the British had been able to be in India only because of the co-operation they received from the Indians. Keeping this in mind, he called for a non-cooperation movement.
With the Congress’ support and his indomitable spirit, he convinced people that peaceful non-cooperation was the key to Independence. The ominous day of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre triggered the non-cooperation movement.
Revolutionary Bhagat Singh popularity in India was equivalent to Gandhi. Bhagat Singh roared and demanded “Complete Independence and self rule” during his court trails. This forced Congress to leave their Dominion status demand and adopt Swaraj or Self-governance.
Gandhi set the goal of Swaraj or self-governance, which since then became the motto of Indian freedom movement.
5. Salt March: Also known as the Dandi Movement and Dandi March, Gandhi’s Salt March is considered to be a pivotal incident in the history of freedom struggle. Gandhi started a Satyagraha campaign against the salt tax in March 1930. He marched 388 kilometres from Ahmedabad to Dandi in Gujarat to make salt. Thousands of people joined him and made it one of the biggest marches in Indian history.
6. Quit India Movement: During the Second World War, Gandhi was determined to strike the British Empire with a definitive blow that would secure their exit from India. This happened when the British started recruiting Indians for the war. Gandhi protested strongly and said that the Indians cannot be involved in a war that is in favour of democratic purposes when India itself is not a free country. This argument exposed the two-faced image of the colonisers and within half a decade, they were out of this country.
7. Unifying Indian Leaders: Such was the magnetic influence of his personality, his thoughts and actions that he was able to attract the support and cooperation of a galaxy of towering personalities of his time —Rabindranath Tagore, Motilal Nehru (though had difference with Gandhi) and his son Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Rajendra Prasad, C. Rajagopalachari, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose,Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and many others from different parts of the country, despite the fact that they differed in many ways from him on various occasions and for various reasons. Equally, he was able to inspire the masses of people in India to participate in his struggles.