Emergence of Gandhi

Father of India--Mahatma Gandhi

Also known as ‘father of nation’ Gandhiji was born in Porbandar in the year 1869. When Gandhiji was practising as a lawyer in South Africa, he led many campaigns for racial discrimination.  First nonviolence campaign of Gandhiji was started in South Africa where he was practising as a lawyer. One evening Gandhiji was travelling in first class compartment in South Africa, at that time a white men entered the compartment and was furious on seeing brownish man Gandhiji in that compartment. Gandhiji was forced out of the compartment. This made Gandhi angry and took various nonviolence methods protesting the racial discrimination. He led successful campaigns against racial discrimination. This movement gave Gandhi lot of respect with in South Africa and outside South Africa. Gandhi’s main ideology was based on the principle of non violent, non cooperation or passive resistance. His philosophy was to resist evil without hating the evil doer.

Gandhi in Champaran District

Gandhi in Champaran District

Gandhi returned to India in the year 1915. He settled in Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmadabad. He returned to India at a very critical juncture when India was fighting hard against British for Independence. During this time Gandhi was quite unknown to many Indians except few like Gopal Krishna Gokale. Gandhi was first asked to study the political situation in India. In Champaran district of Bihar, the cultivators were forced to grow indigo crops and other cash crops instead of food crops. These cash crops were purchased at a very low price from the cultivators causing huge loss to poor cultivators. To help the poor cultivators Gandhiji organised various Satyagraha campaigns in Ahmadabad for the cause of indigo cultivators.

Gandhi in Kheda Revolt

Gandhi in Kheda revolt

Another important campaign was in the district of Kheda, Gujarat. The district was struck by famine and literally destroyed the agrarian community. The peasants had huge losses and had not money to meet the daily ends of their life. The British government however ordered the peasants to pay huge taxes. It was warned that peasants who do not pay taxes there cattle’s and land would be confiscated. The peasants of Kheda signed a petition seeking to call off the taxes, however there petition was rejected and the lands, cattles were confiscated. Gandhiji and Sardar Patel organised various campaigns demanding British to take back taxes. Finally government reached an agreement and the taxes for that year and next year was suspended and all the confiscated lands and cattle’s were returned.

Gandhi in freedom struggle

Gandhi with charkha

Many young nationalists who joined these campaigns were Rajendra Prasad, Vallabai Patel. With these campaigns Gandhiji got huge recognition and respect all over country. The common man began to see him as saviour. Succumbed to pressure, the British agreed to pass a law allowing concessions to peasants in the year 1917. This was a huge victory to Gandhi and his philosophy. Some of the major events that occurred during this period were Rowlatt act, Jallianwalla bagh and the Khilafat movement. Another important event was the Simon Commission. After these movements the struggle for freedom became more intensified. The main tool of Gandhiji was nonviolence. Through nonviolent movements like civil disobedience movement, satyagraha, Dandi March and Quit India movement, Gandhiji was able to free India from British.