Facts About India

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Beginning of the Gandhian Era

Beginning of the Gandhian Era and non-cooperation movement: During the war years, 1914-18, nationalism had gathered its forces and the nationalist were expecting major political games after the war; and they were willing to fight back if their expectations were not met. The economic situation in the post-war years had taken a turn for the worse. Indian industries, which had prospers during the War because of foreign imports of manufactured goods, now faces loss and closure. The Indian industrialists wanted protection of their industries through imposition of high custom duties and grant of government aid; they realised that stronger nationalist movement and an independent Indian Government alone could secure these.

The workers, facing unemployment and the high prices and living in great poverty, also termed actively towards the nationalist movement.

The international situation was also favourable towards the nationalism. In order to win popular support for there was apart, the Allied nations-Britain, the United States, France, Italy and Japan promised a new era of democracy and national self determination to all the peoples of the world. But after their victory, they showed little willingness to the end of the British rule.

The government was aware of the rising tide of nationalist and anti-government sentiments, once again decided to follow the policy of concessions and repressions.

Importance Of The Year 1919
  • The year 1919 constitutes an important landmark in the history of British India.
  • The Rowlatt Bills and the reign of terror in Punjab culminated in Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
  • The emergence of M. K. Gandhi
  • Development Pan-Islamism as a force of Indian politics.
  • The passing of Government of India Act, 1919 on the basis of Montagu-Chelmsford Report.


Gandhi’s Early Life and Ideas


MohanDas Karamchand Gandhi (M.K. Gandhi) was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar in Saurashtra (Gujrat) in a well-to-do family. He proceeded to England in 1888, and returned to India as Barrister-at-law in 1891. He failed as a practising lawyer both at Rajkot and in Bombay. In 1893, he proceeded to Natal in South Africa as a layer of a firm of Porbander Muslims. There, he was deeply shocked by the political and social disabilities which were imposed by law, administrative and social measures of the Europeans upon the Indian residents. He founded a political association know as the Natal Indian Congress and also a newspaper called Indian Opinion with a view to educating Indians in political matters and giving publicity to their grievances.

He revolted against the racial injustice, discrimination and degradation to which Indians had to submit in the South African colonies. Indian labourers in South Africa and the Indian merchants were denied the right to vote. Gandhiji is soon resumed the leadership of the struggle against these conditions and during 1893-1914 was engaged in a struggle against the racist authorities of South Africa. It was during the struggle that he evolved the technique of Satyagaraha Best on truth and nonviolence.

The ideal Satyagarhi was to be truthful and peaceful, but at the same time he would refuse to submit what he considered wrong. He would accept suffering willingly in the course of struggle against the wrong doer. Even while resisting evil, he would love the evil-doer. He would be utterly fearless. According to Gandhiji, nonviolence was not a whipper of the week and the cowardly. Only the strong and brave could act if it.

Another important feature of Gandhiji’s outlook was that he would not separate thought and practice, belief and action. His truth and nonviolence were meant for daily living and not merely for the high sounding speeches and writings.

Though a devout Hindu, Gandhiji’s cultural and religious outlook was universalist and not narrow. He wanted Indians to have deep roots in their own culture but at the same time to acquire the best that other world cultures had to offer.

Gandhiji In Africa
    • Gandhiji reached Durban in 1893 to sort out the legal problems of Dada Abdullah, a Gujarati merchant, becoming the first highly educated Indian to have come South Africa.
    • He setup the Notable Indian Congress and started a paper called Indian Opinion
  • He used passive resistance or civil disobedience or Satyagraha for the first time against the legislation making it compulsory for Indians living in South Africa to take out certificates of registration which have their fingerprints.
  • In 1906, his setup the Tolstoy Farm in Transvaal with the help of his German architect friend, Kallenbach, to house the families of the Satyagrahis.
  • He led a struggle against a judgement of South Africa Supreme Court which invalidated all marriages work under according to christian rites and registered by the registrar of marriages.
  • in 1909, Gandhiji released his book Hindu Swaraj. The Gandhian ideas are illustrated in this book.


Gandhiji Returns to India: Gandhiji returned to India in January 1915 at the age of 46. For one year, he travelled all over India, understanding Indian conditions and the Indian people and then in 1916 founded the Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad. He also set out to experiment with his new method of struggle.

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