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 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.
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.
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.
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