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Modern History / Gandhian Movement

Gandhian Movement in India

Gandhian Movement in India was started in 1917 with Champaran Satyagraha, which was the first movement taken by Mahatma Gandhi. Under his leadership, 3 major Movements were carried on, namely (i) Non Cooperation Movement (1920 to 1922), (ii) Civil Disobedience Movement (1930 to 1934) and (iii) Quit India Movement (1942).

Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa

  • Mahatma Gandhi was born at Porbandar in Gujarat on 2nd October, 1869. His original name is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. His mother was Putlibai and father was Karamchand. At 13, he married to Kasturba Gandhi.

  • From 1893 to 1915, he was in South Africa. In South Africa, he started an organization called "Natal Indian Congress". He started a journal named "Indian Opinion" and wrote a book "Hind Swaraj" or "Indian Home Rule" in South Africa. In South Africa, his residence was named as "Tolstoy Farm".

  • He was cooperating with the British during Boer war in South Africa, for which, he was conferred the title Kaiser-e-Hind by the British.

Mahatma Gandhi in Indian National Movement

In 1916, on the banks of river Sabarmati, he set up "Sabarmati Ashram" in Ahmedabad. With the death of Tilak in 1920, Mahatma Gandhi emerged as the national level leader.

In India, there were four reasons to make Mahatma Gandhi to turn from Cooperation to Non-Cooperation towards the British. They were Rowlatt Act, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Government of India Act, 1919 (Montagu Chelmsford Reforms) and the Khilafat Movement.

Rowlatt Act

  • It was also called Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, 1919. This Act was materialised on the recommendations of Rowlatt Committee.

  • According to this Act, the police can arrest anybody without a warrant and the arrested person can be detained for any time without producing in court.

  • After the enactment of this Act, Gandhi started Rowlatt Satyagraha. With this, Mahatma Gandhi came into active politics.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

  • Jallianwala Bagh is a big ground in front of Golden Temple. On 13th April, 1919, around thousand Indians were brutally killed.

  • On 10th April, two Congress leaders of Amritsar were arrested under Rowlatt Act. They were Dr. Satyapal and Saifuddin Kitchlew.

  • Congress wanted a public protest meeting against their arrest in Jallianwala Bagh. Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, Michael O'Dwyer did not give permission to the Congress meeting in Jallianwala Bagh and martial law was imposed. In spite of this, Congress went on with the meeting, where around 20000 people assembled.

  • Military came in for action. Brigadier General Reginald Dyer ordered for opening fire. After this, curfew was put into effect for 4 days.

  • The British constituted Hunter Committee, 1919 to look into Jallianwala Bagh massacre. It gave clean chit to Brigadier General Dyer, saying that Dyer was a true patriot. Upper House of Parliament felicitated Reginald Dyer upon his return to England.

Government of India Act 1919

  • It is also called Montagu Chelmsford Reforms. Dyarchy or dual government in Provinces were introduced through this Act.

  • Head of the reserved subjects (departments) was called Councillor and Head of the transferred subjects was called Minister. Ministers were made responsible to the concerned Legislature. Councillors were responsible to the Governor General.

  • Congress party was disappointed with this Act.

Khilafat Movement 1919

  • The British captured the Khalifa by attacking Turkey and there was a rumor that Turkey would be converted into Democracy. To save the Khalifa, Indian Muslims started a movement called Khilafat movement. Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Shaukat Ali started the movement.

  • In 1919, they have organized All India Khilafat Conference in Delhi for which Mahatma Gandhi was the president. Mohammed Ali Jinnah opposed Khilafat movement.

    In this context, he said "Gentleman, first you are an Indian and later a Musalman". After 1937 elections, Jinnah turned to fascist communalism from liberal communalism.