Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist, who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from the British and turned inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi’s birthday, 2nd October, is commemorated in India as the International Day Of Nonviolence, Gandhi is common, though not formally, the father of the nation of India and was commonly called Bapu.
Here are some important national movements headed by Mahatma Gandhi, which proved a milestone in India.
1) CHAMPARAN SATYAGRAHA
Gandhiji accepted an invitation and started a mass movement after seeing the plight of the indigo cultivators. Mahatma Gandhi’s visit in 1917 marked the beginning of the Champaran movement against the indigo planters. The European planter oppressed the peasants. Gandhiji witnessed the miserable conditions of the peasants. Gandhiji established an ashram here and handpicked lawyers like Dr. Rajendra Prasad to work for the betterment of the villages. He started a peaceful and non-violent movement. The district officials ordered him to leave Champaran but he refused to comply with the orders and started the Satyagraha movement. As a result, Gandhiji was arrested but he did not leave Champaran. Finally, a law was passed to protect the farmers from the indigo planters.
2) KHEDA MOVEMENT
1918 was a year of failed crops in the Kheda district of Gujarat due to droughts. As per law, the farmers were entitled to remission if the produce was less than a quarter of the normal output. But the government refused any remission from paying land revenue. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, under Gandhi’s guidance, led the farmers in protest against the collection of taxes in the wake of the famine.
People from all castes and ethnicities of the district lend their support to the movement.
The protest was peaceful and people showed remarkable courage even in the face of adversities like confiscation of personal property and arrest. Finally, the authorities gave in and gave some concessions to the farmers.
3) KHILAFAT MOVEMENT
Gandhiji didn’t play a role in the movement itself he worked on its expansion in India. It was after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the people were too scared to take any action. Gandhiji needed a new idea that would unite both the Hindus and the Muslims. This was because the Muslims hadn’t taken part in the Rowlatt Satyagraha and to overthrow the British unity was necessary. The first world war ended with the defeat of Turkey under the Ottoman Empire. There was a treaty to be imposed on Turkey. The spiritual head-the Khalifa was going to lose his powers. This causes an outbreak among the Muslims. So the Ali brothers Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali started discussing with Gandhiji the expansion of this khilafat issue in India and linking it to the non-co-operation movement. So the noncooperation khilafat movement was born.
4) NON-COOPERATION MOVEMENT
While touring and organizing his regional satyagraha, Gandhi had sensed the existing differences between the two biggest communities in the country which was a huge obstacle in the fight against English. After the withdrawal of the Rowlatt Satyagraha, he got involved in the Khilafat Movement, in which he saw a splendid opportunity to unite the Hindus and Muslims in a common struggle against the British. Although the Khilafat movement was a pan-Islamic movement formulated to protest against the diabolical policies of Britain in the Ottoman Empire during WW II, its anti-British character inspired Gandhi to support this cause in a bid to bring the Muslims into the mainstream of Indian Nationalism. He asked the Khilafat leadership to participate in a non-cooperation movement. Thus, the Allahabad conference of the “Central Khilafat committee” held in June 1920, decided to launch a 4 stage NCM: Boycott of Titles. Boycott of civil services, Boycott of police and army,Non -payment of taxes.
5) SALT MARCH
The Salt Satyagraha was a mass civil disobedience movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi against the salt tax imposed by the British government in India. He led a large group of people from Sabarmati Ashram on 12th March 1930 till Dandi, a coastal village in Gujarat, to break the salt law by producing salt from seawater.
6) QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT
The Quit India Movement began on August 8, 1942, during World War II. The India Congress Committee, under the urging of Gandhi, called for a mass British withdrawal and Gandhi made a “Do or Die” speech. British officials acted immediately and arrested nearly every member of the Indian National Congress party. England, with a new Prime Minister, offered some concessions to the Indian demands such as the right to make independent Provincial constitutions, to be granted after the war; they were not accepted.