Role of Mahatma Gandhi in India Struggle for Freedom
About Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi’s full name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was born in a place known as Porbandar which was situated in Gujarat on the 2nd of October, 1869. His parents were Karamchand Gandhi and Putli Bai. Gandhi is also known by his other name which was Bapu.
After his marriage he went to South Africa. He stayed there for twenty years and worked as a barrister. The first conflict he had was about apartheid. One day he was travelling in a train. He had a ticket but still he was thrown out of the compartment.
This behaviour which was done with him made him to take a firm decision that he would try his level best to remove the existence of apartheid in the world. Then when he returned to India after this, he found that the British started ruing the country and all the citizens were being treated badly by them.
Gandhi had different ideas and techniques from others. Even though he put them into reality slowly, all of them had a great impact on the society. He had faith and belief in all the religions. He read and listened to the readings and scriptures of all the religions with the same belief and faith. He was always truthful and honest.
This honest and truthfulness helped him during his entire life. He is considered as one of the greatest man in the history of our country. His hard work and the way he fought in the struggle for freedom of our country is commendable and must be appreciated.
Not only this, he sacrificed his life for the country. People respected and appreciated him for his simple lifestyle. He played an important role in India’s struggle for freedom. He believed in non-violence and use of peaceful methods to fight for independence. He organized many movements which showed his role in the country’s struggle for freedom.
World War I
During World War I Gandhi was invited by Lord Chelmsford, who was the Viceroy of India that time, at a War Conference in Delhi. He wanted to get the empire’s trust. So, he support the Viceroy that he moved people to join the army for World War.
But on the other side Gandhi also wrote a letter to the Viceroy which stated that he would not kill or injure anyone personally, no matter the person would be his friend or enemy.
The agitation of Champaran took place in Bihar. This was infact Gandhi’s first active participation for the struggle of India’s freedom. In Champaran, the farmers were forced cultivate indigo. If they protested they were badly tortured. So, the farmers took the help of Gandhi. They organized a non-violent protest and Gandhi was able to get concessions from the authority.
Gandhi started this movement in the year 1920 so that the British would go away from India. The movement was peaceful and no violent methods were used against the violence of the British Government. The movement was meant for the refusal of the laws and regulations which were passed by the Government.
There were many reasons which led to the starting of this movement. First, the British Government had taken all of the country’s wealth and power for their own purpose. So, the citizens thought that the government would give them autonomy for the service they were providing them.
But this was not at all true. In order to remove this disillusionment, Gandhi started this movement. The citizens were not happy to see that the government was using repressive measures. Due to World War I there was economic distress in the country. The price of the goods began to decrease.
Due to the war, the peasants and workers had to suffer a lot as they were not getting any sort of benefit. Gandhi became firm in his decision for this movement because of the Rowlatt Act and the massacre which took place in Jallianwala Bagh.
The members of the Khilafat movement made Gandhi as their leader because they agreed to whatever the non-cooperation movement suggested. Non-Cooperation Movement became a mass movement. It positively affected the immediate goods.
This movement and the congress party became more famous among the citizens. The movement helped to maintain communal harmony as even the Muslims participated in the movement. People became aware of their rights through this movement. They lost trust on the administration of the British.
Kheda is a place in Gujarat. The peasants who stayed in Kheda had to face a lot of problems due to poverty, famine, alcoholism, untouchability and discrimination by the British. Due to the famines and other natural calamities, agriculture was badly affected which further led to death of people because of starvation.
Many people died in Kheda due to plague. Very soon even cholera broke out in Kheda. Due to all these reasons revolt started in Kheda. The main reason for this revolt was the increase in tax. People were not ready to pay the tax. So, the government took a decision that if they did not pay the taxes, their property would be seized.
The leader of this revolt was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. But it was Gandhi and Gujarat Sabha that organized this revolt and Gandhi was their spiritual leader. The peasants of Kheda were joined by other Gujaratis from Vadodra and Ahmedabad so that this revolt was purely a Gujarati struggle.
The agents of the government seized the property of the peasants as the taxes were not paid. They peasants did not do anything when this happened. Instead, they gave all their money and valuable things to the Gujarat Sabha.
Even though they protested, they were united and disciplined. Finally, the Government made an agreement for both the sides. All the property that was seized was given back and even the tax for the present year and the coming year was removed.
The Muslim population was greatly influenced by Gandhi. This could be seen as he was greatly involved in the Khilafat Movement. When the First World War was over, the Muslims were worried about their religious leaders of the Caliphs.
They were tensed about their safety as people were protesting all over the world against the Caliph as they were collapsing. He became a spokesperson for the Muslims and helped them. Thus because he played an important role in the Khilafat movement he soon became the national leader.
Salt or Dandi March
This march was a very important one in the history of India’s freedom struggle. This march was a new Satyagraha. This was against the tax which was put on salt. This Satyagraha was launched in the year 1930 on the 12th of March.
The Dandi March started from Ahmedabad to Dandi and Gandhi with his followers walked all the way. This march was to break the law as the tax took the right of the poor to make their own salt. The salt law was broken when Gandhi reached at the sea beach in Dandi.
Quit India Movement
This meant Bharat Chhodo Andolan which was initiated by Gandhi. This took place after the Second World War. Soon Gandhi was arrested. After his arrest many violent demonstrations took place everywhere in the country. This movement became an important one in the struggle for freedom.
Many freedom fighters were injured and killed or arrested. The movement had to be restrained even though it achieved success. After this movement, the British Government showed signs that they were transferring the power back to the Indians. It was then the fight was called off by Gandhi and then all the prisoners were released
Partition and Independence of the country
In the year 1946, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel persuaded Gandhi for the partition of India and the independence the British cabinet had offered. Gandhi accepted this proposal.
After India got independence, Gandhi started to focus more on peace and communal harmony. He did not support communal violence. So, he went on for fasting so that it was abolished. He also demanded that Pakistan was compensated by the Partition Council.
Importance of Gandhi for the struggle
Even though some of the movements did not earn the success and was a complete failure. But all these movements made the British government realize that their rule in our country was unjust and not right. They also realized anytime the masses of the country would follow Gandhi and would be against the British Government.
This is why they transferred back the power to the Indians. It was because of Gandhi’s struggle that people came together and were united to fight against the British. Thus, the efforts of Gandhi were significant and successful.