Talk to our experts


  • Mahatma Gandhi Essay


Important Essay on Mahatma Gandhi for Students in English

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, often called the 'Father of the Nation' , was a leader who fought for India's freedom from British rule. He believed in non-violence. Every year on October 2nd, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti to honor his efforts in freeing India.

English Essay on Mahatma Gandhi

Rabindranath Tagore was the first to call Gandhiji 'Mahatma,' which means 'Great Soul' in Sanskrit. His wise ideas and beliefs led people to respect and call him 'Mahatma Gandhi.' His dedication to the country and efforts to turn his ideas into reality make Indians around the world very proud of him .

According to Mahatma Gandhi’s biography, he was born on October 2, 1869 , in Porbandar, a coastal town in the present-day Indian state of Gujarat. He grew up in a Hindu family and ate basic vegetarian meals. His dad, Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi, was an important leader in Porbandar State. In South Africa, he was the first to lead a peaceful protest movement, setting him apart from other demonstrators. Mahatma Gandhi also introduced the idea of Satyagraha, a nonviolent approach to opposing unfairness. He devoted 20 years of his life to battling discrimination in South Africa.

His idea of 'Ahimsa,' which means not hurting anyone, was widely admired and followed by many influential people worldwide. He became an indomitable figure who couldn't be defeated in any situation. Mahatma Gandhi initiated the 'Khadi Movement' to encourage the use of fabrics like khadi or jute. This movement was a crucial part of the larger 'Non-co-operation Movement,' which advocated for Indian goods and discouraged foreign ones. Gandhi strongly supported agriculture and encouraged people to engage in farming. He inspired Indians to embrace manual labor and emphasized self-reliance, urging them to provide for their needs and lead simple lives. He began weaving cotton clothes using the Charkha to reduce dependence on foreign goods and promote Swadeshi products among Indians.

During the fight for India's freedom, Gandhiji faced imprisonment several times along with his followers, but his main goal was always the freedom of his motherland. Even when he was in prison, he never chose the path of violence.

Mahatma Gandhi made significant contributions to various social issues. His efforts against 'untouchability' while he was in Yerwada Jail, where he went on a hunger strike against this ancient social evil, greatly helped uplift the oppressed community in modern times. He also emphasized the importance of education, cleanliness, health, and equality in society.

These qualities defined him as a person with a great soul and justified his transformation from Gandhi to Mahatma. He led many freedom movements, including the "Quit India Movement," which was highly successful. His death was a huge loss to the forces of peace and democracy, leaving a significant void in the nation's life.

Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a prominent Indian nationalist leader, significantly influenced Mahatma Gandhi's political ideology and leadership approach. Gandhi considered him his political teacher.

Mahatma Gandhi played a crucial role in India's fight for freedom from British rule. His life was dedicated to serving his country and its people, and he became an international symbol of Indian leadership. Even today, he continues to inspire and motivate young people worldwide with his values and principles.

Gandhi Ji was known for his strong sense of discipline. He emphasized the importance of self-discipline in achieving significant goals, a principle he applied in promoting his philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence). Through his own life, he demonstrated that rigorous discipline can lead to the realization of any objective, provided we remain committed and dedicated. These qualities established him as a revered and respected leader whose influence extends far beyond his lifetime. His ideals continue to resonate not only in India but also around the world.


FAQs on Mahatma Gandhi Essay

1. What were the different movements that Gandhi started in order to bring Independence to India?

In order to bring freedom, Gandhi started the Satyagraha movement in 1919, the non-cooperation movement in 1921, and Civil Disobedience movement in 1930 and Quit India movement in 1942.

2. Who killed Mahatma Gandhi?

A young man named Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi when he was going to attend an evening prayer meeting.

3. Why is Gandhi known as the ‘Father of the Nation’?

Mahatma Gandhi is known as the ‘Father of the Nation’ because he laid the true foundation of independent India with his noble ideals and supreme sacrifice.

4. How do we commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution for our Nation?

His birthday on 2 nd October is celebrated as a National Holiday across the nation in order to commemorate his great contributions and sacrifices for the country’s independence.

5. What are the things we should learn from Mahatma Gandhi? 

There are various things one can learn from Gandhiji. The principles that he followed and preached his entire generation and for generations to come are commendable. He believed in ‘Ahimsa’ and taught people how any war in the world can be won through non-violence. To simply state one can learn the following principles from Gandhiji - 


Respect for elders,

Encyclopedia Britannica

  • Games & Quizzes
  • History & Society
  • Science & Tech
  • Biographies
  • Animals & Nature
  • Geography & Travel
  • Arts & Culture
  • On This Day
  • One Good Fact
  • New Articles
  • Lifestyles & Social Issues
  • Philosophy & Religion
  • Politics, Law & Government
  • World History
  • Health & Medicine
  • Browse Biographies
  • Birds, Reptiles & Other Vertebrates
  • Bugs, Mollusks & Other Invertebrates
  • Environment
  • Fossils & Geologic Time
  • Entertainment & Pop Culture
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Visual Arts
  • Demystified
  • Image Galleries
  • Infographics
  • Top Questions
  • Britannica Kids
  • Saving Earth
  • Space Next 50
  • Student Center
  • Introduction & Top Questions
  • Sojourn in England and return to India
  • Emergence as a political and social activist
  • Resistance and results
  • The religious quest
  • Emergence as nationalist leader
  • Return to party leadership
  • The last phase
  • Place in history

Mahatma Gandhi

What did Gandhi try to accomplish with his activism?

What were gandhi’s religious beliefs, what other social movements did gandhi’s activism inspire, what was gandhi’s personal life like, what were contemporary opinions of gandhi.

Fresh vegetables, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, tomato, squash

Mahatma Gandhi

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

  • Cultural India - History of India - Biography of Mahatma Gandhi
  • IndiaNetzone - Biography of Mahatma Gandhi
  • Bombay Sarvodaya Centre - Gandhi Book Centre - Mahatma Gandhi
  • Stanford University - The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute - Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • - Mahatma Gandhi Biography
  • UCLA Social Sciences - Mahatma Gandhi
  • South African History Online - Biography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
  • The Nobel Prize - Mahatma Gandhi, the missing laureate
  • - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
  • Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal / Gandhi Book Centre - Civil Disobedience in Political Theory and Social Practice
  • Mahatma Gandhi - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11)
  • Mahatma Gandhi - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up)
  • Table Of Contents

Mahatma Gandhi

Initially, Gandhi’s campaigns sought to combat the second-class status Indians received at the hands of the British regime. Eventually, however, they turned their focus to bucking the British regime altogether, a goal that was attained in the years directly after World War II. The victory was marred by the fact that sectarian violence within India between Hindus and Muslims necessitated the creation of two independent states—India and Pakistan—as opposed to a single unified India.

Gandhi’s family practiced a kind of Vaishnavism , one of the major traditions within Hinduism , that was inflected through the morally rigorous tenets of Jainism —an Indian faith for which concepts like asceticism and nonviolence are important. Many of the beliefs that characterized Gandhi’s spiritual outlook later in life may have originated in his upbringing. However, his understanding of faith was constantly evolving as he encountered new belief systems. Leo Tolstoy ’s analysis of Christian theology, for example, came to bear heavily on Gandhi’s conception of spirituality, as did texts such as the Bible and the Quʾrān , and he first read the Bhagavadgita —a Hindu epic—in its English translation while living in Britain.

Within India, Gandhi’s philosophy lived on in the messages of reformers such as social activist Vinoba Bhave . Abroad, activists such as Martin Luther King, Jr. , borrowed heavily from Gandhi’s practice of nonviolence and civil disobedience to achieve their own social equality aims. Perhaps most impactful of all, the freedom that Gandhi’s movement won for India sounded a death knell for Britain’s other colonial enterprises in Asia and Africa. Independence movements swept through them like wildfire, with Gandhi’s influence bolstering existing movements and igniting new ones.

Gandhi’s father was a local government official working under the suzerainty of the British Raj, and his mother was a religious devotee who—like the rest of the family—practiced in the Vaishnavist tradition of Hinduism . Gandhi married his wife, Kasturba , when he was 13, and together they had five children. His family stayed in India while Gandhi went to London in 1888 to study law and to South Africa in 1893 to practice it. He brought them to South Africa in 1897, where Kasturba would assist him in his activism, which she continued to do after the family moved back to India in 1915.

As lauded a figure as Gandhi has become, his actions and beliefs didn’t escape the criticism of his contemporaries. Liberal politicians thought he was proposing too much change too quickly, while young radicals lambasted him for not proposing enough. Muslim leaders suspected him of lacking evenhandedness when dealing with Muslims and his own Hindu religious community, and Dalits (formerly called untouchables) thought him disingenuous in his apparent intention to abolish the caste system . He cut a controversial figure outside India as well, although for different reasons. The English—as India’s colonizers—harboured some resentment toward him, as he toppled one of the first dominoes in their global imperial regime. But the image of Gandhi that has lasted is one that foregrounds his dogged fight against the oppressive forces of racism and colonialism and his commitment to nonviolence.

Recent News

Trusted Britannica articles, summarized using artificial intelligence, to provide a quicker and simpler reading experience. This is a beta feature. Please verify important information in our full article.

This summary was created from our Britannica article using AI. Please verify important information in our full article.

Mahatma Gandhi (born October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India—died January 30, 1948, Delhi) was an Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India . As such, he came to be considered the father of his country . Gandhi is internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest ( satyagraha ) to achieve political and social progress.

In the eyes of millions of his fellow Indians, Gandhi was the Mahatma (“Great Soul”). The unthinking adoration of the huge crowds that gathered to see him all along the route of his tours made them a severe ordeal; he could hardly work during the day or rest at night. “The woes of the Mahatmas,” he wrote, “are known only to the Mahatmas.” His fame spread worldwide during his lifetime and only increased after his death. The name Mahatma Gandhi is now one of the most universally recognized on earth.

Gandhi was the youngest child of his father’s fourth wife. His father—Karamchand Gandhi, who was the dewan (chief minister) of Porbandar , the capital of a small principality in western India (in what is now Gujarat state) under British suzerainty—did not have much in the way of a formal education. He was, however, an able administrator who knew how to steer his way between the capricious princes, their long-suffering subjects, and the headstrong British political officers in power.

Gandhi’s mother, Putlibai, was completely absorbed in religion , did not care much for finery or jewelry, divided her time between her home and the temple, fasted frequently, and wore herself out in days and nights of nursing whenever there was sickness in the family. Mohandas grew up in a home steeped in Vaishnavism —worship of the Hindu god Vishnu —with a strong tinge of Jainism , a morally rigorous Indian religion whose chief tenets are nonviolence and the belief that everything in the universe is eternal. Thus, he took for granted ahimsa (noninjury to all living beings), vegetarianism , fasting for self-purification, and mutual tolerance between adherents of various creeds and sects.

Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers a speech to a crowd of approximately 7,000 people on May 17, 1967 at UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza in Berkeley, California.

The educational facilities at Porbandar were rudimentary; in the primary school that Mohandas attended, the children wrote the alphabet in the dust with their fingers. Luckily for him, his father became dewan of Rajkot , another princely state. Though Mohandas occasionally won prizes and scholarships at the local schools, his record was on the whole mediocre . One of the terminal reports rated him as “good at English, fair in Arithmetic and weak in Geography; conduct very good, bad handwriting.” He was married at the age of 13 and thus lost a year at school. A diffident child, he shone neither in the classroom nor on the playing field. He loved to go out on long solitary walks when he was not nursing his by then ailing father (who died soon thereafter) or helping his mother with her household chores.

He had learned, in his words, “to carry out the orders of the elders, not to scan them.” With such extreme passivity, it is not surprising that he should have gone through a phase of adolescent rebellion, marked by secret atheism , petty thefts, furtive smoking, and—most shocking of all for a boy born in a Vaishnava family—meat eating. His adolescence was probably no stormier than that of most children of his age and class. What was extraordinary was the way his youthful transgressions ended.

“Never again” was his promise to himself after each escapade. And he kept his promise. Beneath an unprepossessing exterior, he concealed a burning passion for self-improvement that led him to take even the heroes of Hindu mythology, such as Prahlada and Harishcandra—legendary embodiments of truthfulness and sacrifice—as living models.

In 1887 Mohandas scraped through the matriculation examination of the University of Bombay (now University of Mumbai ) and joined Samaldas College in Bhavnagar (Bhaunagar). As he had to suddenly switch from his native language— Gujarati —to English, he found it rather difficult to follow the lectures.

Meanwhile, his family was debating his future. Left to himself, he would have liked to have been a doctor. But, besides the Vaishnava prejudice against vivisection , it was clear that, if he was to keep up the family tradition of holding high office in one of the states in Gujarat, he would have to qualify as a barrister . That meant a visit to England , and Mohandas, who was not too happy at Samaldas College, jumped at the proposal. His youthful imagination conceived England as “a land of philosophers and poets, the very centre of civilization.” But there were several hurdles to be crossed before the visit to England could be realized. His father had left the family little property; moreover, his mother was reluctant to expose her youngest child to unknown temptations and dangers in a distant land. But Mohandas was determined to visit England. One of his brothers raised the necessary money, and his mother’s doubts were allayed when he took a vow that, while away from home, he would not touch wine, women, or meat. Mohandas disregarded the last obstacle—the decree of the leaders of the Modh Bania subcaste ( Vaishya caste), to which the Gandhis belonged, who forbade his trip to England as a violation of the Hindu religion—and sailed in September 1888. Ten days after his arrival, he joined the Inner Temple , one of the four London law colleges ( The Temple ).

Essay on Mahatma Gandhi 1000+ Words

Mahatma Gandhi, also known as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was a transformative figure in the history of India and the world. He is widely regarded as the father of the Indian independence movement and a pioneer of nonviolent resistance. Gandhi’s life and philosophy left an indelible mark on the fight for civil rights, freedom, and social justice. In this essay, we will explore the profound impact of Mahatma Gandhi’s life and principles, emphasizing his role in India’s struggle for independence, his advocacy for nonviolence, and his enduring legacy.

India’s Struggle for Independence

One of the most significant aspects of Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy is his pivotal role in India’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. Born in 1869 in Porbandar, India, Gandhi grew up witnessing the injustices of colonialism. He became a lawyer but later chose to devote his life to the fight for Indian independence. Gandhi’s leadership in various movements, such as the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Salt March, captured the imagination of millions of Indians and galvanized them to demand self-rule. His commitment to nonviolence and civil disobedience inspired a mass mobilization that eventually led to India gaining independence on August 15, 1947.

Advocacy for Nonviolence

Perhaps Gandhi’s most enduring legacy is his unwavering commitment to nonviolence as a means of achieving social and political change. He coined the term “Satyagraha,” which means “truth force” or “soul force,” to describe his philosophy of nonviolent resistance. Gandhi firmly believed that nonviolence was not only a moral choice but also a practical and effective strategy for social and political transformation.

Gandhi’s advocacy for nonviolence was instrumental in shaping the course of history. His methods of peaceful protest and civil disobedience not only led to India’s independence but also inspired civil rights movements around the world. Prominent leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States and Nelson Mandela in South Africa drew inspiration from Gandhi’s approach to nonviolent resistance.

Social Justice and Equality

In addition to his fight for independence, Mahatma Gandhi was a staunch advocate for social justice and equality. He believed that true independence could only be achieved by addressing the deep-seated social issues that plagued India, such as caste discrimination and economic disparities. Gandhi’s vision of an independent India was one that upheld the principles of justice, equality, and inclusivity.

Gandhi’s efforts to combat caste discrimination and promote the rights of the Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) were particularly noteworthy. He undertook hunger strikes and protests to raise awareness about the injustices faced by the marginalized sections of society. His commitment to social justice remains an inspiration for activists fighting against discrimination and inequality to this day.

Simplicity and Self-Sufficiency

Mahatma Gandhi’s personal life exemplified his dedication to simplicity and self-sufficiency. He firmly believed that embracing a modest and frugal lifestyle was pivotal in comprehending the plight of the underprivileged and marginalized. Consequently, Gandhi adopted plain, self-made attire and resided in a communal ashram.

His philosophy of self-sufficiency extended to the economic sphere as well. He advocated for the revitalization of village industries and the promotion of small-scale, cottage industries to empower rural communities. Gandhi’s vision of economic self-sufficiency aimed to reduce dependency on imported goods and promote local craftsmanship and self-reliance.

Legacy and Global Influence

Mahatma Gandhi’s influence transcends India’s borders. His philosophy of nonviolence and dedication to social justice have made a lasting impact worldwide. Furthermore, the principles of nonviolent resistance he championed continue to serve as a wellspring of inspiration for global movements advocating civil rights, peace, and justice

Martin Luther King Jr., who played a pivotal role in the American civil rights movement, credited Gandhi’s philosophy as a major influence on his own activism. Similarly, Nelson Mandela’s struggle against apartheid in South Africa was deeply rooted in the principles of nonviolence and reconciliation championed by Gandhi.

Conclusion of Essay on Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi’s life and principles have had a profound and lasting impact on the world. His leadership during India’s fight for independence, combined with his unwavering commitment to nonviolence, advocacy for social justice, and dedication to equality, as well as his personal philosophy of simplicity and self-sufficiency, collectively contribute to his lasting legacy.

Gandhi’s legacy serves as a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for those who seek to bring about positive change in the face of oppression and injustice. His life and teachings serve as a reminder that, even in the face of immense challenges, the principles of nonviolence and the pursuit of justice hold the potential for profound societal transformations. Mahatma Gandhi’s enduring legacy stands as a testament to the indomitable power of the human spirit.

Also check: 500+ Words Essay on Wonder Of Science

  • School Guide
  • History Most Important Questions
  • Geography Most Important Questions
  • Polity Most Important Questions
  • Economics Most Important Questions
  • English Grammar
  • Parts of Speech
  • Figure of Speech
  • English Tense Chart
  • Mathematics

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle: The role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle helped to shape Independence in India. The movements of Satyagraha and non-violent movements which were led by Mahatma Gandhi against British rule, played a very important role. He demanded a greater voice for Indians and also moved forward his satyagraha movement to start other important movements like Champaran, Bihar and later spread out throughout the country. Mahatma Gandhi jas led different movements for women’s empowerment, reduction of poverty, and untouchability, and for Swaraj.

In this article, we will learn about the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle, Champaran Satyagraha, Kheda Satyagraha, Ahmedabad mill strike, Non- cooperation movement, and civil disobedience movement in detail.

Table of Content

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in the Freedom Struggle

Activities taken up by mahatma gandhi in the freedom struggle, champaran satyagraha (1917), kheda satyagraha (1918), ahmedabad mill strike, the satyagraha movement (1917-1918), khilafat movement (1919-1924), the non-cooperation movement (1920), civil disobedience movement (1930), the quit india movement.

Mahatma Gandhi and Freedom Struggle

Mahatma Gandhi and Freedom Struggle

The role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle helped shape India’s independence. In his early days, Gandhi led three Satyagraha movements: the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917, the Kheda Satyagraha in 1918, and the Ahmedabad Mill Strike in 1918. All of Mahatma Gandhi’s movements and dates are listed below.

Champaran Satyagraha 1917
Kheda Satyagraha – Ahmedabad Satyagraha 1917 -1918
Khilafat Movement 1919
Non-Cooperation Movement 1920
Dandi March 1930
Civil-Disobedience Movement 1930
Gandhi Irwin Pact 1931
Quit India Movement 1942

Many of us are aware of Mahatma Gandhi’s movements. Let us investigate most of them:

In the Champaran stage regarding Bihar, the regimen of Indigo cultivators became hopeless underneath the Tinkathiya framework. Under its framework, the cultivators had according to improve Indigo over the superior 3/twentieth part concerning their creed then had in imitation of selling them at a much less expensive cost. The conditions because the ranchers turned outdoors after keep extra regrettable because concerning beastly weather patterns yet the obligation of cumbersome assessments. Then, Rajkumar Shukla met Mahatma Gandhi in Lucknow then welcomed him. At Champaran, Mahatma Gandhi took on the methodology of the common noncompliance development or dispatched afield indicates or strikes in opposition to the landowners. Therefore, the supremacy of the common employ upon a Champaran agronomic advisory group on who Gandhi Ji used to be likewise one of the individuals. Some of the requests about the cultivators have been stated yet the Satyagraha used to be effective.

Read More: Champaran Satyagraha (1917)

Gujarat had faced droughts that resulted in crop failure in the early 20th century. Mohan Lal Pandey came to lead the no-tax campaign in the year 1917 and demanded remission from taxes paid by poor peasants even during bad harvests. The Campaign came to be joined by Gandhiji and ignited for him to start Satyagraha. Some of the great leaders like Indulal Yagnik and also Vallabbhai Patel had joined the Kheda Satyagraha.

In 1918, Hunger strikes and satyagraha were used by Gandhiji against the industrial owners and the region came to experience heavy monsoons which led to crop failure and also a plague. During the famines and plague, bonuses came to be provided to the workers, and stopped after the epidemic. This has resulted in the workers turning against them and demanding dearness allowances of 50 %. Gandhi organized a hunger strike for the same and during the Ahmedabad Mill strike, owners came to be granted a 35% wage hike.

One of his extensive accomplishments over the yr. 1918 was the Champaran and Kheda disturbances which are moreover referred to as an improvement against British religious managers. The ranchers yet decrease type had in imitation of boost yet boost Indigo or had been too after control according to to promote to them at fixed costs. At long last, these ranchers promised according to Mahatma Gandhi delivered regarding cool dissent. Wherein Gandhiji received the fight. Kheda, between the yr 1918 was hit with the aid of floods and ranchers needed help besides charge. Involving non-participation namely his primary instrument Gandhiji was concerned with railing against the ranchers for the non-existence of assessments.

Read More: The Idea of Satyagraha

Khilafat development was once begun through the Ali siblings in imitation of the show the disagreement against unfair completed together with Turkey afterward the stellar World War. Gandhiji among the year 1919 raised toward Muslims, that found the area regarding Congress used to be entirely delicate and then temperamental. Khilafat Movement is in relation to the standard grudge in opposition to the scenario along Caliph by using Muslims. Under the path of Mahatma Gandhi, the improvement was once dispatched far away in opposition to the British regime after re-establishing the error reputation of the Caliph in Turkey. All India Conference has departed from Delhi the place Mahatma Gandhi was once selected as a president. He ekes lower back the equipment received beyond the British Empire between South Africa. The consequence of the Khilafat development taken him the people chief. At length last, Mahatma Gandhi had an All India Muslim Conference and grew to become between the imperative unaccompanied for the occasion. This development upheld Muslims normally then the consequence of its development committed him to the commons chump then labored including main areas of power because of him between the Congress party. Khilafat improvement imploded significantly within 1922 yet via their excursion, Gandhiji battled against communalism, on the other hand, the gap between Hindus and Muslims broadened.

Read More: Khilafat Movement

The Non-Cooperation improvement used be dispatched afield into 1920 via Mahatma Gandhi in mild over the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. Mahatma Gandhi believed it would be on the increase yet the Britishers would participate in their arrangement above the Indians. With the help of Congress, Gandhi Ji persuaded people in imitation of starting the non-collaboration development in a quiet manner, which is the fundamental thing to reaching freedom. He outlined the concept of Swaraj yet that turned into an essential thing in the Indian possibility battle. The improvement is beautiful on velocity or humans commenced boycotting the objects then foundations over the British government, similar according to schools, universities, then rule workplaces. Be up to expectation as much that may, because, on the Chauri Chaura occurrence, Mahatma Gandhi completed the development. In that episode, 23 policemen and authorities were killed.

Read More: Non-Cooperation Movement

The advance on the Gandhi-drove trends used to be the Non-Cooperation Movement, tolerant from September 1920 till February 1922. Gandhi, at some point in this development, was a favorite so the British were just fantastic in maintaining on including control in light of the fact that the Indians have been helpful. In the match that the occupants of a state quit helping oversee the British, the depressed Britishers would be compelled to surrender. The improvement obtained notoriety, or quickly significant many people had been boycotting British-run then accommodating foundations. This implied that people observed employment elsewhere eliminated their children besides schools, then stayed away from government workplaces. The renowned Mahatma Gandhi became nicely known.

Mahatma Gandhi in March 1930 tended to the united states of America in a paper, Young India, or communicated his ability to droop improvement regarding the aloof hazard to that amount his eleven requests were referred to by means of the masses authority. In someone’s case, the mass’s dominion around since was about Lord Irwin, yet she did not answer again in accordance with him. Accordingly, Mahatma Gandhi commenced the development along with the whole power. He commenced the improvement with the Dandi March, out of March 12 in accordance with April 6, 1930. Mahatma Gandhi, alongside his devotees, walked beside Sabarmati Ashram according to Dandi among Navsari District, Ahmedabad on the sea coast, and violated the powder dictation by making salt on April 6, 1930.

Under its development, understudies left college or rule workers left their workplaces. Blacklist concerning unfamiliar garments; common ingesting on rummy garments; non-installment of regimen charges; ladies organizing Dharna at the commons dominion booze shop; or and on. In 1930, Lord Irwin’s Government required a Round Table Conference in London, then the Indian National Conference would not partake in it. Along these lines, after securing so Congress takes piece within gatherings, he marked a settlement with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931. It was once recognized as the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. It centers around the appearance of each and every political detainee or the wiping out of extreme regulations.

Read More: What were the impacts of the Civil Disobedience Movement?

Mahatma Gandhi dispatched far away from the Quit India improvement on August 8, 1942, throughout the Second World War in conformity with pressure British government oversea regarding India. In the development, Mahatma Gandhi received a “Sink then swim” discourse. Therefore, the entire appointment on the Indian National Congress was once captured by way of British authorities or detained except for preliminary. However, the dissent went over the united states over. Toward the finish of World War II, the British rule terminated they would surrender the powers in imitation of India. Mahatma Gandhi canceled the development, which added to respecting the appearance of hundreds of detainees.

Thusly, these are the widespread traits pushed with the aid of Mahatma Gandhi who assisted India by engaging in the distinction between the British administration and frontier rule.

Read More : Quit India Movement

Related Links

Why did Mahatma Gandhi Think that English Education had Enslaved Indians? What were the ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi? What was the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the Champaran Movement? Constructive Programmes of Mahatma Gandhi  Why did Mahatma Gandhi Want to Teach Children Handicrafts? Relevance of Gandhian Principles in the 21st Century Significance of Quit India Movement Champaran Satyagraha Kheda Satyagraha Khilafat Movement Non-Cooperation Movement Dandi March Civil-Disobedience Movement Gandhi Irwin Pact Quit India Movement

Gandhi vehemently objected, claiming that because India is not a free nation, Indians cannot fight for democracy. The colonizers were driven out of this country within a half-decade after this argument exposed their deception. This was the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle.

FAQs on Role of Mahatma Gandhi in the Freedom Struggle

1. what was the role of mahatma gandhi in the freedom struggle.

Mahatma Gandhi has led satyagrahas and mass movements and led to different movements like Champaran Satyagraha in 1917, Kheda Satyagraha in 1918, Ahmedabad Mill Strike in 1918 and so forth.

2. What marked the emergence of Gandhi in the Indian freedom struggle?

Gandhiji emerged as a prominent Indian Freedom fighter in the year 1917 after he started the Satyagraha movement.

3. Which was the first satyagraha by Mahatma Gandhi?

The first satyagraha of Gandhiji was the Champaran satyagraha in the year 1917, which was to fight against the exploitative system where the peasants had to pay heavy taxes in Champaran.

4. What are the 3 satyagraha movements?

The 3 satyagraha movement includes Ahmedabad Mill Strike Kheda Satyagraha Champaran Satyagraha

Please Login to comment...

Similar reads.

  • History-MAQ
  • School History
  • School Learning
  • Social Science

Improve your Coding Skills with Practice


What kind of Experience do you want to share? no longer supports Internet Explorer.

To browse and the wider internet faster and more securely, please take a few seconds to  upgrade your browser .

Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link.

  • We're Hiring!
  • Help Center

paper cover thumbnail

Gandhi's Role in Indian Freedom Struggle: A Critical Understanding

Profile image of nagawa brenda

Gandhi had an unflinching and unshakable faith in the theory of non-violence. He played a pivotal role in the India's struggle for freedom which was the world's largest democratic movement. Indian nationalism achieved its highest peak under Gandhi's leadership. No doubt it was he, who organized the movement on mass basis and tried his best to unite both Hindus and Muslims, uplift the economic and social status of the untouchables. Gandhi evolved and developed a powerful non-violent method, giving it the name Satyagraha. Though in contemporary period there are various criticisms on him but we must observe him from that particular period of freedom struggle.

Related Papers

Ujjawal Singh

Indian freedom struggle involves the political movements that were widely popularized against the oppressing outlook of the British dominion, both by employing non-violent and violent measures. Broadly speaking, the history of the freedom struggle can be divided into two distinctive phases, i.e., Pre-Gandhian period (1885-1919) and Post-Gandhian period (1919-1947). In the latter phase, Gandhi led millions into active politics and movement for independence mass-centric. However, he was clear that the springs of their activity did not lie with him but with themselves. He was able to grasp the basic dialectic of leader-masses relationship. Through his leadership, Indian National Congress became an effective organization for politics and mass struggle, to mobilize and unite an atomized and dispersed people, to evolve correct strategy and tactics which would correspond to the specific historical situation of exploitation and oppression. Political Background of India before the Arrival of...

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

Journal Approved)

A standout amongst the most prominently examined and yet many-a-period dubious figure of Indian politics is Mahatma Gandhi. There is not really any zone in the pre or post-independence period that he had left untramplled for Indian improvement and independence. He is such a socio-political figure who is scarcely incomprehensible for somebody to overlook or disregard. He has impacted each part of human awareness and there is not really any discipline that he has left uncommented. Maybe a couple would debate the idea that Mahatma Gandhi was one of the twentieth century's transformative political and spiritual leaders. Among his numerous prominent commitments, Gandhi is appropriately credited with pioneering Satyagraha, protection from oppression however mass common rebellion and vocalizing an otherworldly message that helped the Indian National Congress procure independence from the British in August 1947. In Gandhi's glorified state, there would be no representative government, no constitution, no army or police constrain; there would be no industrialization, no machines and absolutely no modern cities.

jamshed khan

American Historical Review

Mithi Mukherjee

The impact of Non-violence in the nationalist movement of India is beyond criticism. Gandhi wanted to inspire the nation, not for a blood-shedding struggle but rather in a theosophical way i.e. Ahimsa. The arrival of Non-violence waved the women's souls to plunge into nationalist movements such as

Kopalle Venkata Ramakrishna Rao

SK International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research Hub

SK Publisher

Mahatma Gandhi's success in South Africa established him as a prominent leader and made him very popular in India also. In 1914, he returned to India and began to actively resist British rule through non-violent means, leading to the development of a strong sense of nationalism sentiment among various groups in Indian society. In 1920, the Congress, under Gandhi's leadership, launched the Non-Cooperation Movement based on the principles of Satyagraha and Ahimsa. It was the first nationwide movement of its kind to resist British rule through peaceful means and undermined their power and prestige. Additionally, it helped to unite Hindus and Muslims as it merged with the Khilafat Movement of the Muslim community. The present research paper reviews the history of Mahatma Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement.

Deepika Dhand

Almost seven decades after Mahatma Gandhi passed away and India became independent from the British rule on 15 th August 1947, Gandhi's ideologies are put in practice across the world. "Even if India forgets the world will remember him", Ramachandra Guha, the historian remarks. As a social reformer and political thinker, he won over the enmity of Muslim and Hindu bigots. Ramachandra Guha repeats the narrative of Richard Atten Borough's "1982 biopic Gandhi". On the one hundred and fiftieth centenary Gandhi followed the principles of self-rule (Swaraj), religious tolerance, rule of law and civil disobedience (Satyagraha). The biographical volumes written by Ramachandra Guha visualize him as a liberal icon. As a student of law in London, Gandhi believed in right to equality. Studying India's political past, Gandhi was against social discrimination. As a lawyer in South Africa returning to India at the beginning of the first world war, Gandhi worked against the evils of the caste system.

Peace, conflict, and …

rohan jindal

Loading Preview

Sorry, preview is currently unavailable. You can download the paper by clicking the button above.


Gandhi in the West

Sean Scalmer

Dr. AKB Pillai

IME Journal

Ramesh Kumar

Lester R Kurtz

History Review

Benjamin Zachariah

New Frontier, International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, ISSN No-2394-8221.

Manish Sinha

Lokbharati Prakashan

Madhukar Singh

Bhartiya Shodh

Dwaipayan Sen

Faisal Devji

International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development

Vishnu Achutha Menon

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Mittal Publication

Satyanarayan Tiwari

Neha Munshi

Sunil Jadon

Euro Asia International Journals

International Journal For Multidisciplinary Research


Avadhanam Raghu kumar

IJAR Indexing

Abhinav Kumar


Prof. (Dr.) Sanjeev Kumar

Publisher UGC Approved

  •   We're Hiring!
  •   Help Center
  • Find new research papers in:
  • Health Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Cognitive Science
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Academia ©2024


Some men changed their times... One man changed the World for all times!

Comprehensive website on the life and works of, mahatma gandhi.

+91-23872061 +91-9022483828 [email protected]

  • Human/Civil Rights
  • Gandhi on freedom, rights and responsibility

"Let each do his duty, If I do my duty, that is, serve myself, I shall be able to serve others. Before I leave you, I will take the liberty of repeating:

1. Real Swaraj is self-rule or self-control.

2. The way to it is satyagraha: that is, soul force or love-force

3. In order to exert this force, Swadeshi in every sense is necessary.

4. What we want to do should be done, not because we object to the English or because we want to retaliate but because it is our duty to do so." - Hind Swaraj 1909 (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi- hereafter referred to as CWMG - Vol. 10, p. 64)

These concluding lines from Hind Swaraj are so condensed with meaning that they might be called the Gandhi sutras. Connections are explicitly drawn here among his key ideas of freedom (swaraj), duty (dharma), non-violent action (satyagraha) and self-reliance (swadeshi). The focus of this paper is on his theories of swaraj and dharma and the conceptual relationships that he constructed between them.

Raghavan Iyer observed that "Gandhi equated freedom with self-rule because he wished to build into the concept of freedom the notion of obligation to others as well as to oneself, while retaining the element of voluntariness that is the very basis of freedom. The notion of self-rule implies the voluntary internalization of our obligation to others which will be obstructed by our placing ourselves at the mercy of our selfish desires." (Iyer, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi, 1973, p. 349). This states precisely what Gandhi intended and achieved. We may elaborate this analysis further by examining the content and implications of this way of viewing freedom and obligation,

European and American political theory has remained split since the 17th century in its conceptualization of freedom and obligation. The philosophies of Locke and Mill on the one side against Rousseau and Hegel on the other, mark a theoretical schism related to these two concepts so deep that it suggests, in Isaiah Berlin's judgment, "profoundly divergent and irreconcilable attitudes to the ends of life." (Four Essays on Liberty, 1969, p. 166) George Sabine has argued that the philosophical differences between Locke and Rousseau on freedom and authority represent "two democratic traditions," quite distinct from each other. (Sabine, The Two Democratic Traditions in The Philosophical Review LXI, October 1952, pp. 451-74) Attempts at reconciling these positions have been unsuccessful and American or British political theorists are sometimes reduced in MacCallum's opinion to making "the facile assumption that the adherents on one side or the other are never sincere." (Gerald C. MacCallum, Jr., Negative and Positive Freedom, in The Philosophical Review, LXXVI, 1967, pp. 312-34).

Perhaps Berlin has aggravated the problem by concentrating on conflicting theories of the latter, "negative" versus "positive" liberty. He champions the former and remains dubious of arguing that "Everything is what it is' liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or human happiness or a quiet conscience." (Berlin, p. 125) British liberals, following J.S. Mill, appear to share this skepticism of positive liberty. Maurice Cranston affirms with Berlin the idea of negative liberty. He defines freedom as an area within which a person can do what one wants and views Rousseau's or Hegel's idea of positive liberty as a distortion. (Cranston, Freedom: A New Analysis, 1953, pp. 28-9) Berlin and Cranston object to positive freedom because it identifies liberty with discipline. This is contradictory, whether it is self-discipline voluntarily imposed by the individual or political discipline enforced by a state. John Laird put this liberal bias bluntly: "If we are seriously asked to believe that freedom means self-control under the jurisdiction of right reason, it seems clear without further argument that freedom means no such thing." (Laird, On Human Freedom, 1947, p. 23 )

Mortimer Adler, in an encyclopedic study of the idea of freedom undertaken by The Institute for Philosophical Research, does not reject the concept of positive freedom because, as he observes, it has come from eminent ,Philosophers dating back to Plato. Adler distinguishes between what he calls "circumstantial" and "acquired" freedom. The former "lies in the unhampered actions by which the individual pursues his own good as he sees it and realizes his desires." It "looks to the circumstances that affect a man's ability to carry out his wishes." (M.J. Adler, The Idea of Freedom, 1958, p. 200) Adler identifies this position with Locke and Mill among many others, and it clearly corresponds with Berlin's meaning of negative freedom.

Adler offers a much more sympathetic view of positive freedom than Berlin or Cranston. The idea of "acquired" freedom "consists in doing as one ought; it depends on the state of mind or character which enable a man to act in accordance with a moral law, or an ideal befitting human nature." The ability to act as one ought ',is in no sense circumstantial. The individual does not have it or lack it merely as a result of living in a favorable or unfavorable environment, but always as a result of developing his own personality, character, or mind in a certain way." Adler agrees with Berlin that these two concepts of freedom are irreconcilable. On the one hand, there is "the acquired freedom of being able to will as one ought," and on the other hand, "the circumstantial freedom of being able to do so as one pleases." (Ibid., p. 251) Adler's study attempts to trace acquired freedom from the Greeks and Catholic theologians to Rousseau, Kant and Hegel. Although his catalog of philosophers is encyclopedic, he does not consider any Indian thinkers.

The major difficulty that Berlin, Cranston and Laird seem to have with the concept of positive or acquired freedom is not only that it distorts the meaning of freedom but also that it embraces a mode of thought friendly to authoritarianism. Berlin advocates negative liberty because it demands "absolute barriers to the imposition of one man's will on another's. The freedom of a society is measured by the strength of these barriers, and the number and importance of the paths which they keep open." He polarizes the two schools of thought completely by contending that the difference lies not with liberty alone but includes an entire cluster of ideas, extending to how one views authority. Advocates of negative freedom, he asserts, are "at the opposite pole from the purpose of those who believe in liberty in the positive-self-directive-sense. The former want to curb authority as such. The latter want it placed in their own hands. That is the cardinal issue." It is after making this point that he concludes that the two interpretations of liberty, as representative of contrasting intellectual traditions", are not two divergent interpretations of a single concept, but," as noted above in the phrase that bears repetition, "profoundly divergent and irreconcilable attitudes to the ends of life."

Berlin knew that when he gave this ringing defence of negative freedom in his inaugural address at Oxford, there were critics of the concept even among British liberals. Mill's Liberty had been attacked a full century before and continuously since for being muscular on individual liberties and rights but weak on reasons for political obligation or civic responsibility. The antinomies in western political theory of negative versus positive liberty and of rights versus responsibilities were evident a hundred years ago, and in England and America, democracy has long been caught in the dilemma described by Sabine: the more individual freedom and rights, the less legitimization of civic duty and economic equality. (Sabine, p. 452)

This dilemma has been noted recently in America, especially from the critical perspective of the lack of an ethic of social responsibility and community in the United States. Michael Walzer represents this view when he comments: "We are perhaps the most individualist society that ever existed in human history. Compared to earlier, and Old World Societies we are radically liberated, all of us. Free to plot our own course. To plan our own lives. To choose a career. To choose a partner or a succession of partners. To choose a religion or no religion .To choose a politics or an anti-politics .To choose a lifestyle--any style. Free to do our own thing ,and this freedom energizing and exciting as it is ,is also profoundly disintegrative, making it very difficult for individuals to find any stable communal support very difficult for any community to count on the responsible participation of its individual members. It opens solitary men and women to the impact of a lowest common denominator, commercial culture. It works against commitment to the larger democratic union and also against the solidarity of all cultural groups that constitute our multi-culturalism ." (Walzer, Citizenship and Civil Society, Rutgers, N. J., Series on the Culture of Community, Oct. 1992, pp. 11-12)

The dilemmas of the American system are perhaps worse than Walzer describes because he does not mention the unprecedented gross disparity of wealth that has overtaken the country since the late '70's. This economic injustice underscores the nation's inability to assert effective civic responsibility and a spirit of mutual care. Some feminist theorists see this problem in gender terms and associate it with certain elements of a masculine mode of thought and behavior. The most influential of this group is Carol Gilligan who published In a Different Voice in 1982 as a criticism of Lawrence Kohlberg's rights theory in the field of educational psychology. Gilligan asserted that "the morality of rights differs from the morality of responsibility in its emphasis on separation rather than connection, in its consideration of the individual rather than the relationship as primary." The dominance of the rights ethic has induced a psychology of "winning and losing," to the point of providing a strong "potential for violence" and a" hierarchy of power." American society needs an "ethic of care" that can view life "not as opponents in a contest of rights but as members of a network of relationships on whose continuation they all depend." The virtue of such an ethic, with its code word of "connectedness," is that it offers a mature world view or "different voice," which will not prize "individual autonomy" at the expense of " relationship and responsibility." Gilligan views with alarm the endemic social violence, particularly abuse of women, that persists in the United States. As an educationist, she believes that American society should learn to focus on "an ethic of care which rests on the premise of non-violence--that no one should be hurt." (Gilligan, In a Different Voice, 1982, pp. 19,30-2,173-4)

The broad controversy that was sparked in the United States by Gilligan's thesis occurred in some areas of the biological sciences as well as in the social sciences and humanities. The response testified not only to the extent of her influence but more significantly to what one theorist called "the impoverishment of political discourse" that existed in the conventional literature about rights and responsibilities. Gilligan, by becoming a popular figure in the feminist movement and advancing a critique long overdue, demonstrated that there is an urgent need in America for creative thinking about social responsibility. Sara Ruddick presents the debate on rights and duties from a feminist perspective by arguing that male and female alike should learn to "depend on and foster conceptions of the self and 'human nature' that Carol Gilligan and others have heard in the 'different voices' associated with women. According to these conceptions, human nature is not an enemy, humans change and learn to welcome change, and responsible reconciliation is a permanent possibility. Individuals are not primarily centers of dominating and defensive activity trying to achieve a stable autonomy in threatening hierarchies of strength... They are also and equally centers of care, actively desiring other selves to persist in their own lively being...." (Sara Ruddick, Maternal Thinking, 1989, pp. 182-83)

This critique of social thought in America reached another point of analysis in the writings of Jean Bethke Elshtain and Mary Ann Gordon. The former contends in Democracy on Trial, that with the decay of a sense of civic duty in contemporary America, "the rights-bearing individual came to stand alone - 'me and my rights' - as if rights were a possession. Rights were construed increasingly in individualistic terms as their civic dimensions withered on the vine. As legal theorist Mar). Ann Glendon pointed out in her book Rights Talk, the dimensions of sociality and responsibility are missing when the rights-deemed self stands alone." (Elshtain, Democracy on Trial, 1994, p. 15)

Glendon presents a systematic critique of rights theory. She opens her analysis by arguing that America today utterly lacks "the vision of a republic where citizens actively take responsibility for maintaining a vital political life." In terms of theory, the problem can be traced to British influences on American thinkers, especially to the philosophies of John Locke and even more to William Blackstone, the 18th century legal philosopher, who managed to outdo even Locke in his deification of individual property rights as absolute. "Blackstone's commentaries," Glendon says, "was the law book in the United States in the crucial years immediately preceding and following the American Revolution." It proclaimed that "There is nothing which so generally strikes the imagination and engages the affections of mankind as the right of property." Americans devoured all of this. Neither Rousseau, who "wrote that property rights are always subordinate to the overriding claims of the community, that an owner is a kind of trustee or steward for the public good," nor Karl Marx, who warned of "man regarded as an isolated monad, withdrawn into himself," had a chance against the appeal of British liberalism, adding now Mill to the list of most influential theorists. The consequence is that "The exaggerated absoluteness of our American rights rhetoric is closely bound up with its other distinctive traits-a near silence concerning responsibility, and a tendency to envision the rights-bearer as a lone autonomous individual." After an incisive analysis of U.S. Supreme Court cases, including a focus on how some key decisions have outdone Mill in glorifying "the right to privacy, the quintessential right of individual autonomy and isolation," she asks, "why does our rhetoric of rights so often shut out relationship and responsibility, along with reality?" (Mary Ann Glendon, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse, 1991, pp. 17,23,34,45-47, 52-54, 59-60,72)

The theme, then, of freedom and rights versus responsibility and community, central to western political theory for centuries, now troubles American thought. Elshtain cites Alan Wolfe who says that Americans are "confused when it comes to recognizing the social obligations that make freedom possible in the first place," and then she concludes that "for all our success in modem societies, there is a sense, desperate in some cases, that all is not well, that something has gone terribly awry," because the "confusion permeates all levels, from the market place to the home to the academy." (Elshtain, pp. 14-15) Berlin's negative freedom, long acclaimed by liberals as the bulwark of the free world against communism, now appears as flawed because it so lacks a spirit of civic duty.

What follows is an attempt to show how certain modem Indian thinkers, especially Gandhi (1869-1948), have discussed ideas of freedom, rights and duty. Their arguments are notably different from most American and British liberal theorists. As with all political theory, the distinctive qualities of Indian ideas are explained by their historical context, the colonial situation of British India. Generally since Ram Mohun Roy (1772-1833) and particularly since Vivekananda (1863-1902), the Indian intellectual response to western imperialism may be characterized in Aurobindo's (1872-1950) terms as "preservation by reconstruction." This meant "a synthetical restatement" which "sought to arrive at the spirit of the ancient culture and, while respecting its forms and often preserving them to revivify, has yet not hesitated also to remould, to reject the outworn and admit whatever new motive seemed assimilable." (Sri Aurobindo Ghose, The Renaissance in India, 1951, pp. 39-40)

Bhikhu Parekh, a contemporary political theorist, observes that "the central principles of Indian civilization" that modern thinkers beginning with Roy deemed "sound and worth preserving," included an" emphasis on duties rather than rights," or the regulation of life according to roles of dharma or moral obligation. (Parekh, Colonialism, Tradition and Reform, 1989, pp. 59-60) But this traditional stress on dharma had to be reconciled with the western ideal of liberty.

Nineteenth-century India produced several prominent thinkers but Aurobindo is correct that "Vivekananda was in his lifetime the leading exemplar and most powerful exponent of the Indian renaissance." His outstanding contribution came with how he conceived of individual freedom and social responsibility as complementary values. On the one hand, he asserted that "Liberty of thought and action is the only condition of life, of growth and well-being. Where it does not exist, the man, the race, the nation must go down, Caste or no caste, creed or no creed, any man, or class, or caste, or nation, or institution which bars the power of free thought and action of an individual- even so long as that power does not injure others- is devilish and must go down." (Vivekananda, Works, V, p. 29) Yet, on the other hand, he insisted that with this freedom came an obligation to "help others" by, "attaining through unselfish work" (Karma Yoga) a stronger community. {Ibid., V, pp. 141-42; I.p. 110)

Vivekananda wrote as though his purpose was to harmonize the needs and obligations of 'individual and community:

"The individual's life is in the life of the whole, the individual happiness is in the happiness of the whole; apart from the whole, the individual's existence is inconceivable- this is an eternal troth and is the bedrock on which the universe is built. To move slowly towards the infinite whole, bearing a constant feeling of intense sympathy and sameness with it, being happy with its happiness and being distressed in its affliction, is the individual's sole duty. Not only is it his duty, but in its transgression is his death, while compliance with this great truth leads to life immortal." (Ibid., IV, p. 463)

This, then, was the direction of thought established by the end of the nineteenth century in Bengal: a reinterpretation of personal freedom to bring it in harmony with the traditional emphasis on duty. Each person's quest for liberation must entail service to society, what Gandhi would later call the idea of Sarvodaya or upliftment of all.

Vivekananda's discussion of individual freedom and social responsibility was continued and enlarged not only by Gandhi but by other Indian theorists early in this century. Aurobindo Ghose and Bipin Chandra Pal (1858-1932) conceptualized freedom around the word swaraj in ways that would become important to Gandhi. Insisting that swaraj could not be translated in western terms of freedom or liberty, Aurobindo wrote that "Swaraj as a sort of European idea, as political liberty for the sake of political self-assertion, will not awaken India." An ideal of "true swaraj for India must derive from the Vedantic concept of self-liberation."

Indian philosophy, he said, leads us to this definition of freedom: "By liberty we mean the freedom to obey the law of our being, to grow to our natural self-fulfillment, to find out naturally and freely our harmony with our environment. The dangers and disadvantages of liberty (conceived in the limited western sense) are indeed obvious. But they arise from the absence or defect of the sense of unity between individual and individual, between community and community, which pushes them to assert themselves at the expense of each other instead of growing by mutual help.... If a real, a spiritual and psychological unity were effectuated, liberty would have no perils and disadvantages; for free individuals enamored of unity would be compelled by themselves, by their own need, to accommodate perfectly their own growth with the growth of their fellows and would not feel themselves complete except in the free growth of others ....Human society progresses really and vitally as law becomes the child of freedom; it will reach its perfection when, man having learned to know and become spiritually one with his fellow-man, the spontaneous law of his society exists only as the outward mould of his serf-governed inner liberty." (Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, 1962 pp. 564-66)

B.C. Pal writing around the same time as Aurobindo and following closely his conceptualization of freedom, agreed with him that swaraj must not be defined as liberty in the way British liberalism did, but as "the conscious identification of the individual with the universal," suggesting "spiritual liberation" in the traditional Hindu sense. Pal argued with that definition of swaraj as "home rule" expressed by anglicized Indian liberals like Dadabhai Naoroji. He sought its true meaning" in the Upanishads to indicate the highest spiritual state, wherein the individual self stands in conscious union with the Universal or the Supreme Self. When the Self sees and knows, whatever is as its own self, it attains swaraj: so says the Chandogya Upanishad." Pal then contrasted this Vedantic conception of swaraj with the modem European notion of freedom as he understood it, arguing as Aurobindo did the superiority of the classical Indian view:

"Indeed the idea of freedom as it has gradually developed in Europe ever since old Paganism was replaced by Christianity with its essentially individualistic ethical implications and emphasis, is hardly in keeping with the new social philosophy of our age. Freedom, independence, liberty (as defined in Europe) are all essentially negative concepts. They all indicate absence of restraint, regulation and subjection. Consequently, Europe has not as yet discovered any really rational test by which to distinguish what is freedom from  what is license. "Swaraj does not mean absence of restraint or regulation or dependence, but self-restraint, self-regulation, and self-dependence." A spirit of social duty or dharma flows from a belief in the unity of being. We are all part of one another: "the self in Hindu thought, even in the individual, is a synonym for the Universal." (B.C. Pal, Writings and Speeches, 1958, pp. 75-77)

Finally, before turning to Gandhi's thinking on these ideas, it is important to note how thinkers before him explicitly raised the issue of fights, connecting it to the basic problem of reconciling individual freedom with social responsibility. Vivekananda anticipates Gandhi: " Selflessness only, not selfishness, can solve the question. The idea of 'right' is a limitation: there is really no 'mine' and 'thine', for I am thou and thou art I. We have 'responsibility' not 'rights'." (Works, V III, p. 23) Aurobindo then characteristically develops this idea in the context of Indian philosophy by observing "It was a marked feature of the Indian mind that it sought to attach a spiritual meaning and a religious sanction to all, even to the most external social political circumstances of its life, imposing on all classes and functions an ideal, not except incidentally of rights and powers, but of duties, a dharma with a spiritual significance." (Aurobindo Ghose, The Spirit and Form of Indian Polity, 1966, pp. 7-8.)

These ideas of freedom, rights and duty flowed in the conceptual stream that Gandhi's Hind Swaraj dramatically widened and deepened. The unique cluster of ideas presented there soon merged with the contemporary thinking about freedom and responsibility to produce a powerful intellectual statement. There are obvious differences between Gandhi and the Bengali thinkers mentioned above, but their thinking about swaraj and dharma is strikingly similar.

Anthony Parel argues that "the concept of swaraj holds the key to Mahatma Gandhi's political philosophy," because from the writing of Hind Swaraj he develops the "dual meaning" of swaraj connecting the self-rule of individual and nation. (Parel, The Doctrine of Swaraj in Gandhi~ Philosophy, 1995, pp. 57-8) The point to be made here is how this mode of thinking offers a way out of Berlin's "irreconcilability" of negative and positive freedom. Vivekananda, with his interpretation of Vedanta in response to British liberalism, led others to formulate a philosophy of "spiritual freedom" that criticized western liberty as license. India could do much better than that with its conceptual correlates of swaraj and dharma. The ideal was, as liberals seemed to stress, self-realization. But this could come only through awareness of human connectedness and correspondent action for humanity.

Gandhi agreed with this but insisted that freedom as swaraj could come only through acceptance of considerable personal and political obligation that involved enormous self-sacrifice and social service. No nationalist before Gandhi had embraced the responsibility of the colonized so unequivocally: "To blame the English is useless," Gandhi's "Editor" (speaking in the author's voice) declared to the Reader," "they will either go or change their nature only when we reform ourselves...

We shall become free only through suffering." (Ibid., pp. 63-4) Indians must recognize this duty because "Swaraj has to be experienced, by each one for himself." (Ibid., p. 39) It can be achieved only through commitment to the cause of freedom, so "it is our duty to say exactly what we think and face the consequences." (ibid., p. 64)

Hind Swaraj resounds with these challenges, demanding that if Indians want freedom then they must sacrifice to acquire it. They have duties of disloyalty to the Raj as well as reform of their own society. Such attainment of freedom depends wholly on the person, never on the state. When Berlin asserts that "the cardinal issue" is authority and who holds it, that "those who believe in liberty in the 'positive'-- self-directive--sense.., want it placed in their own hands," this cannot describe Gandhi's idea of freedom. His formulation of swaraj carries a large suspicion of political authority and cannot be used to legitimize arbitrary state power in the way that Berlin seems to fear.

Gandhi defies the stereotype of the positive freedom theorist as authoritarian by stressing civil liberties. The extent of his affirmation of individual rights and civil liberty should be stressed. "Freedom of speech and civil liberty, "he asserted," are the very roots of swaraj. Without these the foundations of swaraj will remain weak." (CWMG 73:22) This unequivocal position flowed naturally from his leadership of the nationalist movement as a champion of non-violent resistance. Writing in early 1922 under the caption, Liberty of the Press, his defense of civil liberties could not be clearer:" Liberty of speech means that it is unassailed even when the speech hurts; liberty of the Press can be said to be truly respected only when the Press can comment in the severest terms upon and even misrepresent matters, protection against misrepresentation or violence being secured not by an administrative gagging order, not by closing down the Press but by punishing the real offender, leaving the Press itself unrestricted; Freedom of association is truly respected when assemblies of people can discuss even revolutionary projects, the State relying upon the force of public opinion and the civil police, not the savage military at its disposal, to crush any actual outbreak of revolution that is designed to confound public opinion and the State representing it.., The fight for swaraj means a fight for this threefold freedom before all else." (CWMG 22:176-77)

Nine years later, once again in the midst of a national campaign, Gandhi drafted for the Congress in 1931 an extensive "Resolution on Fundamental Rights" that constituted the most explicit defense of civil liberties that any modem liberal might require. Its principal aims stated: Fundamental rights of the people, including: freedom of association and combination; freedom of speech and of the Press; freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion, subject to public order and morality; protection of the culture, language and scripts of the minorities; equal rights and obligations of all citizens, without any bar on account of sex; no disability to attach to any citizen by reason of his or her religion, caste or creed or sex in regard to public employment, office of power or honour and in the exercises of any trade or calling; equal rights to all citizens in regard to public roads, wells, schools and other places of public resort;.., religious neutrality on the part of the State; Adult suffrage; Free primary education; A living wage for industrial workers, limited hours of labour, healthy conditions of work... Protection of women workers, and specially adequate provisions for leave during maternity period; Prohibition against employment of children of school-going age in factories; Rights of labour to form unions to protect their interest..." (CWMG 45:370-71)

In moving this resolution before the Karachi Congress, Gandhi stressed its extreme import, observing that it was not for legislators but "to indicate to the poor, inarticulate Indian the broad features of swaraj by making clear precisely what the rights of the citizen should constitute. Then he proceeded to comment especially on the need to respect the rights of religious minorities and women. (Ibid., pp.' 372-3.) Less than two months later, in a message to a regional Congress conference, he urged that "The resolution on fundamental rights is the most important resolution of the Congress. It shows what kind of swaraj the Congress wants to achieve.'' (CWMG 46:166) Never content to let rest an issue that he deemed imperative, he returned that July to the connection of individual rights to democracy, asserting that "Democracy disciplined and enlightened is the freest thing in the world. A democracy prejudiced, ignorant, superstitious will land itself in chaos and may be self-destroyed. The Fundamental Rights Resolution is not premature" because Indians can use it as a strong bulwark of freedom. (CWMG 47:236) No rights theorist could ask for a more complete statement of liberal doctrine than this.

However, the argument of this paper is that the contribution of modern Indian political thought in general and Gandhi in particular, lies in how they move beyond liberal doctrine, not where they affirm it. Gandhi's position is that civil rights and liberties must be grounded in a prior sense of civic duty. If not, they may either remain dormant among an ignorant and apathetic population or assume a dangerous attitude in a democracy that Glendon deplores as "hyper individualism." (Glendon, Rights Talk, p. 75) Gandhi claimed that while he yielded to no one in his defense of civil liberty, yet "Liberty cannot be secured merely by proclaiming it. An atmosphere of liberty must be created within us. Liberty is one thing, and license another. Many a time we confuse license for liberty and lose the latter. License leads one to selfishness whereas liberty guides one to supreme good. License destroys society, liberty gives it life. In license propriety is sacrificed; in liberty it is fully cherished. Under slavery we practice several virtues out of fear; when liberated we practice them of our own free will." (CWMG 42:380) In the short period that Gandhi lived following India's independence, he repeatedly warned that" the first lesson to be learnt" is that "Liberty never meant the license to do anything at will. Independence meant voluntary restraint and discipline..." (CWMG 89:112)

Western rights theorists, beginning with Locke, have affirmed that freedom is not "a liberty for every one to do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and not be tied by any laws," but it is freedom under law and the source of civic obligation is founded in law. (John Locke, Second Treatise of Government, IV, 22, 1980, p. 17) Gandhi accepts this, that in an independent India obedience comes from" voluntary acceptance of the role of law in the making of which the whole of India had its hand through its elected representatives." (CWMG 89:112) Gandhi valued highly the role of law when derived from popular sovereignty. Yet his concept of swaraj demanded a form of social and political responsibility that Locke never required, a commitment that was much closer to Rousseau: the obligation to change oneself and one's community for the betterment of all, in a spirit of social service. This was conceived as a primary duty of citizenship, the basis for a realization of individual rights.

Raghavan Iyer observes that "Whereas Western individualism emerged in modern urban society and is bound up with the doctrine of natural rights, Gandhi's individualism derived from the concept of dharma or natural obligations...." (Iyer, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 115) The centrality of dharma to modem Indian thinkers was represented by Aurobindo Ghose when he interpreted his tradition by stressing the value of dharma or duty as being at the heart of it. But no ideologist of Indian nationalism evoked the classical concept of dharma in more ways than Gandhi. He gave the word at least two essential meanings, both serving his twin principles of satya (truth) and ahimsa (non-violence). "For me, 'there was no dharma higher than truth' (Mahabharata, Adiparvan, ch. xi, 13) and 'no dharma higher than the supreme duty of nonviolence.' (Shantiparvan, ch. CLXII, 24.) The word dharma, in my opinion has different connotations as used in the two statements. In other words it means that there cannot be an ideal higher than troth and there cannot be an)/duty higher than non-violence. A man can pursue truth only by constantly adhering to this duty. There is no other means for the pursuit o f truth." ( CWMG 62:224 )

Whether truth or nonviolence (ahimsa paramo dharma) is the ideal, these two "different connotations" of dharma merge, as means and ends usually do in Gandhi's writings, to translate dharma as the path of duty, "the way of truth and nonviolence," or "the royal road of dharma that leads to both earthly and spiritual bliss." (CWMG 13:52 and 72:48. Also see Iyer, Moral and Political Writing of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. II, 1986, who translates Gandhi's meaning of Dharma as "path of duty", p. 5; and R. C. Zaehnefs comment on Gandhi's concept of dharma in Hinduism 1962, p. 11). Gandhi consistently identified dharma with truth and nonviolence or as "religion in the highest sense of the term." (CWMG 64:191 ) Thus he says that "We cannot commit violence in name of dharma, " and "violence is never an independent dharma. There is only one such dharma and that is nonviolence." "The truth is that all activities in this world are related to dharma or adharma," and then he gives examples of pursuing either path, of morality or immorality. (CWMG 37:33 and 36:296) one may of course be mistaken in one's interpretation or pursuit of dharma as a moral or religious duty, but the test' lies in the intention to pursue the right path: "So long as I do not see my mistakes I must practice the dharma which I consider to be true." (CWMG 38:21-2)

Gandhi uses this theory of dharma to shape his idea of rights: "Having a right surely does not mean that I should exercise that right in utter disregard of my sense of proportion... The exercise of right depends on one's sense of duty. It is my duty to follow dharma... I do what I consider my duty." (CWMG 69:208) This follows from what he had written in Hind Swaraj, where he argued that "real rights are a result of performance of duty" and criticized "in England the farce of everybody wanting and insisting on his rights, nobody thinking of his duty." (CWMG 10:44) He said that Hind Swaraj was written "to offer a glimpse of dharma," to urge India and the world to adopt a way of life attuned to a sense of moral obligation. As he assumes leadership in India, his message is consistently that our personal and political duties are connected, part of a whole that extends even beyond the nation: "One's respective dharma towards one's self, family, nation and the world cannot be divided into watertight compartments. The harm done to oneself of one's family cannot bring about the good of the nation. Similarly one cannot benefit the nation by acting against the world at large... Therefore it all starts from self-purification. When the heart is pure, from moment to moment one's duty becomes apparent effortlessly." (CWMG 50:370)

Because cultivation of a sense of social or political duty necessarily begins with "self-cultivation," the idea of dharma centers on Gandhi's concept of the individual as he developed it even before Hind Swaraj. He wrote Ethical Religion in early 1907 and explained there that a" personal morality" begins with "our duty to ourselves": "' I am responsible for this,' or 'This is my duty': this is a moving and wonderful thought. A mysterious, resounding voice seems to say,' To thee, individually, O man, is given this task.' "Before the "duty to have sympathy and fraternal regard for others" is "my duty to respect myself even as I respect others." That is, our primary duty is to develop character traits in ourselves that foster social service because " Man's highest duty in life is to serve mankind and take his share in bettering its condition. This is true worship--true prayer." We are obligated to make a "contribution to an ideal order of human life," and to achieve this the individual must through self-examination become "sincere in himself, bear no malice, exploit no one and always act with a pure mind. Such men alone can serve mankind." (CWMG 6:340-41) This is the essence of Gandhi's individualism, that a correct recognition of the relationship between rights and duties depends on formation of personal integrity and a strong social conscience: "So long as one has not developed inner strength, one can never practice the dharma of ahimsa." (CWMG 28:49)

The distinctive qualities of Gandhi's mature conception of dharma defined as duty are, first, that it begins early in his writings and develops as a pervasive theme until the end, that it accentuates his individualism and it is persistently linked with his idea of individual rights, which are always seen to flow from its performance. Near the end of his life, after Independence, he dwelt in his Delhi prayer meetings on the need to acknowledge social responsibility. When he had begun the non-cooperation movement in March 1919, he had conceded that much political education would be required for Indians to understand theft duties as well as theft rights. (CWMG 15:140) Now, in 1947, consumed with the civil war and with his own sense of failure as a leader, he directed all his thought and energy to the Hindu-Muslim conflict. At his prayer meeting in Delhi on June 28th, he stated his appeal to "Brothers and Sisters" in these terms: "The Constituent Assembly is discussing the rights of the citizen. That is to say they are deliberating on what the fundamental rights should be. As a matter of fact the proper question is not what the right of a citizen are, but rather what constitutes the duties of a citizen. Fundamental rights can only be those rights the exercise of which is not only in the interest of the citizen but that of the whole world. Today everyone wants to know what his rights are, but if a man learns to discharge his duties right from childhood and studies the sacred books of his faith he automatically exercises his rights too. I learnt my duties on my mother's lap. She was an unlettered village woman...She knew my dharma. Thus if from my childhood we learn what our dharma is and try to follow it our rights look after themselves... The beauty of it is that the very performance of a duty secures us our right. Rights cannot be divorced from duties. This is how satyagraha was born, for I was always striving to decide what my duty was." (CWMG 88:230)

Not satisfied with this appeal, he returned to his theme the next evening: "Yesterday, I talked to you about duty. However, I was not able to say all that I had intended to say. Whenever a person goes anywhere certain duties come to devolve on him. The man who neglects his duty and cares .only to safeguard his rights does not know that rights that do not spring from duties done cannot be safeguarded. This applies to Hindu-Muslim relations. Whether it is the Hindus living in a place or Muslims or both, they will come to acquire rights if they do their duty. Then they do not have to demand rights... This is a paramount law and no one can Change it. If Hindus consider Muslims their brothers and treat them well, Muslims too will return friendship for friendship... The duty of the Hindus is to share with the Muslims in their joys and sorrows." Gandhi then talked at some length about how each person must assume responsibility for stopping the conflict and then ended his speech by returning to its main theme: "People should not merely nm after rights. He who runs after rights does not secure them. His plight is that of a dog who sees his reflection in the water and wants to attack it. His right is illusory, when you do your duty the rights will drop into your lap." (CWMG 88: 236-38)

Before independence, Gandhi had insisted that Indians must accept responsibility for colonization: they had allowed it to happen and they could end it if they resolved to do so. Now, in the face of tragedies like the Great Calcutta Killing, he demanded that people accept responsibility for what had happened. How could they claim to enjoy their rights in a free India when they had failed in their responsibility to maintain civil peace and order? After Gandhi fasted in Calcutta for communal harmony, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan visited him and then commented to the press: "I have told Mahatmaji not to confuse between goonda [thug] activities and communal violence. What had happened in Calcutta during the last few days was absolutely the work of goondas and nothing else." (quoted in The Statesman, Sept. 5, 1947, P. 8)

This was an argument that had never appealed to Gandhi. For years Indians had blamed criminal elements in society for communal conflict as well as other urban violence. Gandhi replied: "Goondas do not drop from the sky, nor do they spring from the earth like evil spirits. They are the product of social disorganization, and society is therefore responsible for their existence .In other words, they should be looked upon as a symptom of corruption in our body politic."( CWMG 72: 456) That was in 1940.When in 1946 he was confronted with the Bihar riots ,he again unequivocally placed the responsibility where it belonged by deploring "the habit of procuring a moral alibi for ourselves by blaming it all on the goondas. We always put the blame on the goondas. But it is we who are responsible for their creation as well as encouragement." (CWMG 76:76) In September, 1947,his reply to Radhakrishnan was no less direct: "The conflagration has been caused not by the goondas but by those who have become goondas. It is we who make goondas. Without our sympathy and passive support, the goondas would have no legs to stand upon .... It is time for peace-loving citizens to assert themselves and isolate goondaism." (CWMG 89: 132)

Until the end of his straggle for freedom, he emphasized the idea of duty that he had first announced in South Africa. After a lifetime of leadership, he sought to quench the fires of civil war with constant appeals for responsible social action by "peace-loving citizens." But the basic message introduced in Ethical Religion and Hind Swaraj remained unchanged after Indian independence. Commitment to liberation of the self and of country requires a path of dharma not adharma. For this, satyagraha is the most effective method. As Gandhi said in one of the speeches cited above, "satyagraha was born" out of his "striving to decide what my duty was." Before independence, he translated this into "the duty of disloyalty," the title of an article written during the salt satyagraha in March, 1930. He argued there that to attain swaraj through satyagraha, Indians must understand their political obligation: "It is a duty of those who have realized the awful evil of the system of Indian Government to be disloyal to it and actively and openly preach disloyalty. Indeed, loyalty to a State so corrupt is a sin, disloyalty a virtue." Civil disobedience become obligatory because it is the individual's "clear duty to man any risk to achieve" swaraj. Gandhi's categorical conclusion that "Disobedience of the law of an evil state is therefore a duty," (CWMG 43:132-33) recalls Henry Thoreau who also proclaimed that breaking the law is an obligation in an unjust polity but he neither grounded his theory of civil resistance in a concept of dharma nor developed much the idea of nonviolence. Yet both Thoreau and Gandhi can concur with Iyer's statement that" In the case of civil resisters, their civil disobedience is simply the performance of a duty that owe themselves under the dictates of their conscience." (Iyer, The Moral and Political Thought of Gandhi, p. 279)

In Gandhi's theory of swaraj is related to dharma through satyagraha or, in his phrase, the "duty of disloyalty," it is equally connected to it through his emphasis on social responsibility; that is, his ideal of the good citizen. After colonial role ended, Gandhi wanted his people to understand that swaraj would give them not license to do as they wished but increased obligation to act as they should as citizens of an independent India. This is the essential distinction between "negative" and "positive" freedom, the latter to be acquired through insight, reflection and political education. With the goal before him of swaraj as the liberation of India, Gandhi spoke in 1939 about what "true citizenship" meant: "In swaraj based on ahimsa people need not know their rights [as much as] it is necessary for them to know their duties. There is no duty but creates a corresponding right, and those only are true rights which flow from a due performance of one's duties. Hence rights of true citizenship accrue only to those who serve the State to which they belong. And they alone can do justice to the rights that accrue to them. Everyone possesses the right to tell lies. But the exercise of such a right is harmful both to the exerciser and society.

To him who observes troth and non-violence comes prestige, and prestige brings rights. And people who obtain rights as a performance of duty, exercise them only, for the service of society, never for themselves. Swaraj of a people means the sum total of the swaraj (self-role) of individuals. And such swaraj comes only form performance by individuals of their duty as citizens. In it no one thinks of his rights. They come, when they are needed, for better performance of duty." (CWMG 69:52)

Gandhi wrote this in connection with one of his many local satyagrahas which he conceived as being more of a political education program than a confrontation with the British. In an article written a week earlier for the same purpose, he had asked, "Responsible government will come, but will the people be able to shoulder the burden and rise equal to the task?" He stressed his aim of "educating the public" in the urgent need for social reform so that they should "cultivate the spirit of corporate service," but for this they must "learn to be disciplined." (CWMG 69:45-5) This was the way that he used his theory of satyagraha to resolve contradictions between freedom and obligation, rights and responsibilities.

When he says, in the long passage quoted above, that swaraj does not require knowledge of rights as much as duties, he certainly does not mean to imply an inattention to the need for the former. As noted earlier, his resolution On rights at the Karachi Congress of 1931 and subsequent commentary on it, gave abundant attention then and later to individual fights. But his concept of swaraj will not permit rights to stand unattached to duties. Just as one acquires freedom through discipline and insight, so one also acquires rights by fulfilling the responsibilities of citizenship.

Gandhi explained his idea of swaraj carefully: "The root meaning of swaraj is self-role. Swaraj may, therefore, be rendered as discipline role from within... 'Independence' has no such limitation. Independence may mean license to do as you like. Swaraj is positive. Independence is negative... The word swaraj is a sacred word, a Vedic word, meaning self-role and self-restraint., and not freedom from all restraint which 'independence' often means." (CWMG 45:263-64) He made this comment in 1931, having emphasized this interpretation of freedom since 1909 from the publication of Hind Swaraj. His purpose was consistently to teach this hard political lesson, that freedom demands responsibility, that rights are earned through civic service and the attainment of difficult social reforms.

Perhaps Gandhi's emphasis on social responsibility was excessive. Parekh argues that Gandhi so restricted the roles of kama (sensual pleasure) and artha (property) in life that he "thus made dharma the sole basis of life." (Parekh, Gandhi Political Philosophy, 1989, p. 210) From this viewpoint, his ideas can assume a dark color of guilt and unnecessary suffering. On the other hand, as Parekh also observes, Gandhi's theory of obligation "gave a new and deeper meaning" to the current conception of our political and social nature, by extending a citizen's duties "far beyond those based on consent, promise, contract and membership of a specific community." (Ibid., p. 197) Through his campaigns against untouchability and for Hindu-Muslim unity, "he shamed and mobilized the Hindu masses, stirred their consciences, awakened their sense of responsibility..." (Parekh, Colonialism, Tradition and Reform, 1989, p. 291) Gandhi's connection of swaraj and dharma meant that India having attained independence by duty to disloyalty, could not gain full freedom without each assuming responsibility for the uplift of all.

Gandhi may be criticized from the perspective of liberal democracy as deflating human rights theory or denying natural rights doctrine by insisting that rights exist only as derivative from performance of duty. Gandhi does have fundamental differences with liberal democracy and these have been explained or defended by Parekh, Ronald Terchek, Thomas Pantham, Iyer and Bondurant. (Parekh, Gandhi's Political Philosophy. Ch.5, pp. 110-141; Colonialism, Tradition and Reform, pp. 74,102; Ronald Terchek, "Gandhi and Democratic Theory" and Thomas Pantham, Beyond Liberal Democracy: Thinking with Mahatma Gandhi," in Political Thought in Modern India, edited by Pantham and Kenneth L. Deutesh, 1986, pp. 307-346, Iyer, Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi: Joan Bondurant, Conquest of Violence, 1988, chs. 4,5) This paper has tried to focus on concepts of freedom, rights and responsibility, but Gandhi's critique of liberal democracy raises other issues as well. He criticized it for being "individualistic in the sense of stressing rights rather than duties and self-interest rather than altruism, and materialistic in the sense of being concerned solely with deriving its moral legitimacy from its ability to promote the material interests of its citizens. It lacked moral orientation and turned the state into an arena of conflict between organized groups." This is a version of democracy gone astray. (Parekh, Colonialism, etc., p. 74)

From this perspective, Gandhi's contribution to democratic thought is the way  he conceives of civic duty. He viewed the problem of democracy being that "We discuss political obligation as if it were a kind of moral tax extracted from us by a coercive government, rather than as an expression of our commitment to uphold and improve the quality of the shared life." (Parekh, The Philosophy of Political Philosophy, 1986, p. 19) Terchek makes the point that Gandhi's idea of freedom is fundamentally different from the Anglo- American liberal conception because he places such emphasis on duty that" Freedom without responsibility is a contradiction in terms." (Terchek, "Gandhi and Democratic Theory," p. 315)

The relationship that Gandhi makes between swaraj and dharma is the "different voice" of Indian political thought. Anthony J. Parel examines this relationship and in explaining the idea of dharma as Gandhi conceived it, observes: "Dharma, he said, is not dogma; it is a 'quality of the soul' through which we know 'our duty in human life and our relation with other selves.' We cannot know this duty unless we know the self in us. Hence, dharma is the means by which we can know ourselves. (Parel, The Doctrine of Swaraj, p. 65; quoted from CWMG 32:11) This interpretation of dharma places in perspective the primary role of the self in fulfilling social or political responsibility. Parel concludes his article with a quotation from a letter that Gandhi wrote to Maganlal Gandhi in 1910 which clearly makes the point of where one's duty must lie: "Please do not carry unnecessarily on your head the burden of emancipating India. Emancipate your own self. Even that burden is very great. Apply everything to yourself. Nobility of Soul consists in realizing that you are yourself India. In your emancipation is the emancipation of India." (Ibid., p. 78; quoted form CWMG 10:206-07)

Individualism of this variety may appear so extreme as to be irreconcilable with a firm sense of political and social responsibility. The ways that Gandhi and other Indian thinkers have interpreted swaraj and dharma to construct their conception of a right relationship of the individual to society may not appeal to most western theorists. We cannot know how Berlin, Cranston, Adler, Elshtain, Glendon or Wolin might regard Indian thought because none mentions non-western thinkers. Only Sara Ruddick among those theorists noted in this paper, examines Gandhi seriously and values his contribution to an ethic of care. (Maternal Thinking, pp. 168-171) I do not wish to suggest that modem Indian political thought presents a solution for the problem of the conflicting claims of individual freedom and social obligation, Yet it does offer a different voice that merits inclusion in western political discourse. Elshtain has stated the problem precisely that "the dimensions of sociality and responsibility are missing when the rights-defined self stands alone." Gandhi and others of his tradition might suggest that modem theory needs to discover resources for better conceptualizing a strong social conscience and commitment to a higher quality of civic life.

(January 30 - February 4, 1998) New Delhi- Wardha.

  • CBSE Class 10th
  • CBSE Class 12th
  • UP Board 10th
  • UP Board 12th
  • Bihar Board 10th
  • Bihar Board 12th

Top Schools

  • Top Schools in India
  • Top Schools in Delhi
  • Top Schools in Mumbai
  • Top Schools in Chennai
  • Top Schools in Hyderabad
  • Top Schools in Kolkata
  • Top Schools in Pune
  • Top Schools in Bangalore

Products & Resources

  • JEE Main Knockout April
  • Free Sample Papers
  • Free Ebooks
  • NCERT Notes
  • NCERT Syllabus
  • NCERT Books
  • RD Sharma Solutions
  • Navodaya Vidyalaya Admission 2024-25
  • NCERT Solutions
  • NCERT Solutions for Class 12
  • NCERT Solutions for Class 11
  • NCERT solutions for Class 10
  • NCERT solutions for Class 9
  • NCERT solutions for Class 8
  • NCERT Solutions for Class 7
  • JEE Main 2024
  • MHT CET 2024
  • JEE Advanced 2024
  • BITSAT 2024
  • View All Engineering Exams
  • Colleges Accepting B.Tech Applications
  • Top Engineering Colleges in India
  • Engineering Colleges in India
  • Engineering Colleges in Tamil Nadu
  • Engineering Colleges Accepting JEE Main
  • Top IITs in India
  • Top NITs in India
  • Top IIITs in India
  • JEE Main College Predictor
  • JEE Main Rank Predictor
  • MHT CET College Predictor
  • AP EAMCET College Predictor
  • GATE College Predictor
  • KCET College Predictor
  • JEE Advanced College Predictor
  • View All College Predictors
  • JEE Advanced Cutoff
  • JEE Main Cutoff
  • MHT CET Result 2024
  • JEE Advanced Result
  • Download E-Books and Sample Papers
  • Compare Colleges
  • B.Tech College Applications
  • AP EAMCET Result 2024
  • MAH MBA CET Exam
  • View All Management Exams

Colleges & Courses

  • MBA College Admissions
  • MBA Colleges in India
  • Top IIMs Colleges in India
  • Top Online MBA Colleges in India
  • MBA Colleges Accepting XAT Score
  • BBA Colleges in India
  • XAT College Predictor 2024
  • SNAP College Predictor
  • NMAT College Predictor
  • MAT College Predictor 2024
  • CMAT College Predictor 2024
  • CAT Percentile Predictor 2024
  • CAT 2024 College Predictor
  • Top MBA Entrance Exams 2024
  • AP ICET Counselling 2024
  • GD Topics for MBA
  • CAT Exam Date 2024
  • Download Helpful Ebooks
  • List of Popular Branches
  • QnA - Get answers to your doubts
  • IIM Fees Structure
  • AIIMS Nursing
  • Top Medical Colleges in India
  • Top Medical Colleges in India accepting NEET Score
  • Medical Colleges accepting NEET
  • List of Medical Colleges in India
  • List of AIIMS Colleges In India
  • Medical Colleges in Maharashtra
  • Medical Colleges in India Accepting NEET PG
  • NEET College Predictor
  • NEET PG College Predictor
  • NEET MDS College Predictor
  • NEET Rank Predictor
  • DNB PDCET College Predictor
  • NEET Result 2024
  • NEET Asnwer Key 2024
  • NEET Cut off
  • NEET Online Preparation
  • Download Helpful E-books
  • Colleges Accepting Admissions
  • Top Law Colleges in India
  • Law College Accepting CLAT Score
  • List of Law Colleges in India
  • Top Law Colleges in Delhi
  • Top NLUs Colleges in India
  • Top Law Colleges in Chandigarh
  • Top Law Collages in Lucknow

Predictors & E-Books

  • CLAT College Predictor
  • MHCET Law ( 5 Year L.L.B) College Predictor
  • AILET College Predictor
  • Sample Papers
  • Compare Law Collages
  • Careers360 Youtube Channel
  • CLAT Syllabus 2025
  • CLAT Previous Year Question Paper
  • NID DAT Exam
  • Pearl Academy Exam

Predictors & Articles

  • NIFT College Predictor
  • UCEED College Predictor
  • NID DAT College Predictor
  • NID DAT Syllabus 2025
  • NID DAT 2025
  • Design Colleges in India
  • Top NIFT Colleges in India
  • Fashion Design Colleges in India
  • Top Interior Design Colleges in India
  • Top Graphic Designing Colleges in India
  • Fashion Design Colleges in Delhi
  • Fashion Design Colleges in Mumbai
  • Top Interior Design Colleges in Bangalore
  • NIFT Result 2024
  • NIFT Fees Structure
  • NIFT Syllabus 2025
  • Free Design E-books
  • List of Branches
  • Careers360 Youtube channel
  • JMI Mass Communication Entrance Exam
  • IIMC Entrance Exam
  • Media & Journalism colleges in Delhi
  • Media & Journalism colleges in Bangalore
  • Media & Journalism colleges in Mumbai
  • List of Media & Journalism Colleges in India
  • CA Intermediate
  • CA Foundation
  • CS Executive
  • CS Professional
  • Difference between CA and CS
  • Difference between CA and CMA
  • CA Full form
  • CMA Full form
  • CS Full form
  • CA Salary In India

Top Courses & Careers

  • Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com)
  • Master of Commerce (M.Com)
  • Company Secretary
  • Cost Accountant
  • Charted Accountant
  • Credit Manager
  • Financial Advisor
  • Top Commerce Colleges in India
  • Top Government Commerce Colleges in India
  • Top Private Commerce Colleges in India
  • Top M.Com Colleges in Mumbai
  • Top B.Com Colleges in India
  • IT Colleges in Tamil Nadu
  • IT Colleges in Uttar Pradesh
  • MCA Colleges in India
  • BCA Colleges in India

Quick Links

  • Information Technology Courses
  • Programming Courses
  • Web Development Courses
  • Data Analytics Courses
  • Big Data Analytics Courses
  • RUHS Pharmacy Admission Test
  • Top Pharmacy Colleges in India
  • Pharmacy Colleges in Pune
  • Pharmacy Colleges in Mumbai
  • Colleges Accepting GPAT Score
  • Pharmacy Colleges in Lucknow
  • List of Pharmacy Colleges in Nagpur
  • GPAT Result
  • GPAT 2024 Admit Card
  • GPAT Question Papers
  • NCHMCT JEE 2024
  • Top Hotel Management Colleges in Delhi
  • Top Hotel Management Colleges in Hyderabad
  • Top Hotel Management Colleges in Mumbai
  • Top Hotel Management Colleges in Tamil Nadu
  • Top Hotel Management Colleges in Maharashtra
  • B.Sc Hotel Management
  • Hotel Management
  • Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology

Diploma Colleges

  • Top Diploma Colleges in Maharashtra
  • UPSC IAS 2024
  • SSC CGL 2024
  • IBPS RRB 2024
  • Previous Year Sample Papers
  • Free Competition E-books
  • Sarkari Result
  • QnA- Get your doubts answered
  • UPSC Previous Year Sample Papers
  • CTET Previous Year Sample Papers
  • SBI Clerk Previous Year Sample Papers
  • NDA Previous Year Sample Papers

Upcoming Events

  • NDA Application Form 2024
  • UPSC IAS Application Form 2024
  • CDS Application Form 2024
  • CTET Admit card 2024
  • HP TET Result 2023
  • SSC GD Constable Admit Card 2024
  • UPTET Notification 2024
  • SBI Clerk Result 2024

Other Exams

  • SSC CHSL 2024
  • UP PCS 2024
  • UGC NET 2024
  • RRB NTPC 2024
  • IBPS PO 2024
  • IBPS Clerk 2024
  • IBPS SO 2024
  • Top University in USA
  • Top University in Canada
  • Top University in Ireland
  • Top Universities in UK
  • Top Universities in Australia
  • Best MBA Colleges in Abroad
  • Business Management Studies Colleges

Top Countries

  • Study in USA
  • Study in UK
  • Study in Canada
  • Study in Australia
  • Study in Ireland
  • Study in Germany
  • Study in China
  • Study in Europe

Student Visas

  • Student Visa Canada
  • Student Visa UK
  • Student Visa USA
  • Student Visa Australia
  • Student Visa Germany
  • Student Visa New Zealand
  • Student Visa Ireland
  • CUET PG 2024
  • IGNOU B.Ed Admission 2024
  • DU Admission 2024
  • UP B.Ed JEE 2024
  • LPU NEST 2024
  • IIT JAM 2024
  • IGNOU Online Admission 2024
  • Universities in India
  • Top Universities in India 2024
  • Top Colleges in India
  • Top Universities in Uttar Pradesh 2024
  • Top Universities in Bihar
  • Top Universities in Madhya Pradesh 2024
  • Top Universities in Tamil Nadu 2024
  • Central Universities in India
  • CUET DU Cut off 2024
  • IGNOU Date Sheet 2024
  • CUET DU CSAS Portal 2024
  • CUET Response Sheet 2024
  • CUET Result 2024
  • CUET Participating Universities 2024
  • CUET Previous Year Question Paper
  • CUET Syllabus 2024 for Science Students
  • E-Books and Sample Papers
  • CUET College Predictor 2024
  • CUET Exam Date 2024
  • CUET Cut Off 2024
  • NIRF Ranking 2024
  • IGNOU Exam Form 2024
  • CUET PG Counselling 2024
  • CUET Answer Key 2024

Engineering Preparation

  • Knockout JEE Main 2024
  • Test Series JEE Main 2024
  • JEE Main 2024 Rank Booster

Medical Preparation

  • Knockout NEET 2024
  • Test Series NEET 2024
  • Rank Booster NEET 2024

Online Courses

  • JEE Main One Month Course
  • NEET One Month Course
  • IBSAT Free Mock Tests
  • IIT JEE Foundation Course
  • Knockout BITSAT 2024
  • Career Guidance Tool

Top Streams

  • IT & Software Certification Courses
  • Engineering and Architecture Certification Courses
  • Programming And Development Certification Courses
  • Business and Management Certification Courses
  • Marketing Certification Courses
  • Health and Fitness Certification Courses
  • Design Certification Courses


  • Digital Marketing Certification Courses
  • Cyber Security Certification Courses
  • Artificial Intelligence Certification Courses
  • Business Analytics Certification Courses
  • Data Science Certification Courses
  • Cloud Computing Certification Courses
  • Machine Learning Certification Courses
  • View All Certification Courses
  • UG Degree Courses
  • PG Degree Courses
  • Short Term Courses
  • Free Courses
  • Online Degrees and Diplomas
  • Compare Courses

Top Providers

  • Coursera Courses
  • Udemy Courses
  • Edx Courses
  • Swayam Courses
  • upGrad Courses
  • Simplilearn Courses
  • Great Learning Courses

Mahatma Gandhi Essay for Students in English - 100, 200, 500 Words Essay

English Icon

Gandhiji was a great believer in ahimsa, or nonviolence, and pursued the path of Satya vachan, or truthfulness. He was a humble person who taught the people of India to be simple and self-sufficient. People from all walks of life adored and admired him.

100 Words Essay On Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi is known as the Mahatma for his outstanding deeds and excellence throughout his life. He was a renowned freedom warrior and non-violent campaigner who lived his life following nonviolence while pushing India to independence from British control.

He was only 18 years old while studying law in England. Later, he travelled to the British colony of South Africa to practise law, where he was distinguished from the light-skinned population due to his black skin. That is why he became a political activist to effect good change in such inequitable legislation.

Mahatma Gandhi Essay for Students in English - 100, 200, 500 Words Essay

Later, he returned to India and launched a formidable and nonviolent struggle to achieve India's independence. In 1930, he led the Salt March (Namak Satyagrah, Salt Satyagrah, or Dandi March). He motivated many Indians to fight for their freedom from British tyranny.

200 Words Essay On Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi, born on October 2, 1869, in Porbander, India, was a prominent Indian leader who led India in its fight for freedom from British control. He finished his education in India before moving to England to study law. He began assisting the people of India who had been humiliated and abused by British rule. To combat British oppression, Gandhi chose the path of non-violence.

Campaigns | Gandhi was ridiculed several times, yet he persisted in his nonviolent campaign for India's independence. He was a renowned leader of the Indian independence movement who fought hard for India's freedom. After returning to India, he initiated independence campaigns such as non-cooperation, civil disobedience, and, subsequently, the Quit India Movement, all of which successfully contributed to India's independence.

Struggle For Freedom | As a impactful freedom fighter, Gandhi was jailed and imprisoned several times, yet he persisted in battling against British tyranny for Indian justice. He was a firm believer in nonviolence and the solidarity of people of all faiths, which he upheld throughout his campaign for independence. After several struggles with many Indians, he and other freedom fighters were eventually successful in establishing India as an independent country on August 15, 1947. Later, he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu activist, on January 30' 1948.

500 Words Essay On Mahatma Gandhi

In India, Mahatma Gandhi is known as "Bapu" or "Rastrapita." Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is his full name. And, like the title conferred upon him, his sacrifices for the country and attempts to make his principles a reality are a source of immense pride for Indians worldwide.

Gandhi’s Childhood

Gandhi was born in Porbandar, Gujarat, India, on October 2, 1869. He grew up in a Hindu home and mainly ate vegetarian meals. His father, Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi, was the Dewan of Porbandar State. He was the first to launch a peaceful protest movement in South Africa, distinguishing him from other demonstrators. Mahatma Gandhi also coined Satyagraha, a nonviolent method of fighting injustice.

Gandhi’s Principles

Gandhi was well-known for his strict discipline. He was a man of ethics, principles, and discipline who continues to inspire and encourage young people worldwide. He was always preaching the value of self-discipline in life. He thought it would aid in achieving larger aims, which he also used to promote his Ahimsa ideas. As he demonstrated in his life, rigorous discipline can help us accomplish any objective if we attempt to stay and commit ourselves to it. These characteristics made him a man with a great spirit and justified his transformation from Gandhi to Mahatma.

Contribution To Freedom Struggle

Mahatma Gandhi's impact on numerous societal concerns cannot be overstated.

Khadi Movement | Mahatma Gandhi launched the 'Khadi Movement' to promote using natural fibres such as khadi and jute. The Khadi Movement was part of the larger "Non-cooperation Movement," which supported the use of Indian goods and discouraged foreign goods.

Agriculture | Mahatma Gandhi was a major advocate of agriculture and encouraged people to work in agriculture.

Self- Sufficiency | He urged Indians to engage in physical labour and advised them to gather resources to live a simple life and become self-sufficient. He began weaving cotton clothing with Charkha to avoid using foreign goods and encouraged the use of Swadeshi items among Indians.

Untouchablity | During his detention in the Yerwada Jail, where he fasted against the age-old scourge of 'untouchability' in society, he tremendously aided the community's upliftment in the modern day. He also promoted education, hygiene, health, and equality in society.

Secularism | Gandhi made yet another contribution: secularism. He held that no religion should have a monopoly on truth. Mahatma Gandhi promoted inter-religious friendship.

Campaigns Gandhi Led

During the Indian Independence fight, Gandhi suffered and was imprisoned multiple times with his supporters, but independence for his country remained his primary desire. Even after being imprisoned, he never returned to the path of violence. He led various liberation movements and founded the "Quit India Movement." The Quit India Campaign was a huge success. Mahatma Gandhi was a crucial contributor to India's freedom from British domination. In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi launched the Civil Disobedience Movement. It was a behaviour that entailed refusing to obey any oppressive instructions or regulations. As a result, this tactic and its enforcers were subjected to severe violence and cruelty.

Gandhi’s death was the most devastating blow to the causes of peace and democracy. His demise left a massive void in the life of the country.

Applications for Admissions are open.

Aakash iACST Scholarship Test 2024

Aakash iACST Scholarship Test 2024

Get up to 90% scholarship on NEET, JEE & Foundation courses

JEE Main Important Physics formulas

JEE Main Important Physics formulas

As per latest 2024 syllabus. Physics formulas, equations, & laws of class 11 & 12th chapters

JEE Main Important Chemistry formulas

JEE Main Important Chemistry formulas

As per latest 2024 syllabus. Chemistry formulas, equations, & laws of class 11 & 12th chapters

TOEFL ® Registrations 2024

TOEFL ® Registrations 2024

Accepted by more than 11,000 universities in over 150 countries worldwide

PTE Exam 2024 Registrations

PTE Exam 2024 Registrations

Register now for PTE & Save 5% on English Proficiency Tests with ApplyShop Gift Cards

JEE Main high scoring chapters and topics

JEE Main high scoring chapters and topics

As per latest 2024 syllabus. Study 40% syllabus and score upto 100% marks in JEE

Download Careers360 App's

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile




We Appeared in

Economic Times

English Aspirants

Essay on Mahatma Gandhi [100, 150, 200, 300, 500 Words]

Essay on Mahatma Gandhi in English: In this article, you are going to read short and long essays on Mahatma Gandhi in English (100, 150, 200-250, 300, and 500 words). This article will be also helpful for you If you are looking for a speech on Mahatma Gandhi or Paragraph on Mahatma Gandhi in English. We’ve written this article for students of all classes (nursery to class 12). So, let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Short Essay on Mahatma Gandhi 100 Words

Mahatma Gandhi was one of the greatest leaders of our country. He was born in Porbandar, India, on October 2, 1869. His father Karamchand Gandhi was the Dewan and his mother Putlibai was a pious lady. Gandhiji went to England to become a barrister. In 1893 he went to South Africa and worked for the rights of our people.

He returned to India in 1915 and joined the freedom struggle. He started many political movements like Non-cooperation movement, Salt Satyagraha, Quit India Movement to fight against the British. Gandhiji worked for the ending of the caste system and the establishment of Hindu-Muslim unity. He was killed by Nathuram Godse On January 30, 1948.

Essay on Mahatma Gandhi in English

Mahatma Gandhi Essay in English 150 Words

Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader. His full name was Mohandas and Gandhi. He was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar. His father was a Diwan. He was an average student. He went to England and returned as a barrister.

In South Africa, Gandhiji saw the bad condition of the Indians. There he raised his voice against it and organised a movement.

In India, he started the non-cooperation and Satyagraha movements to fight against the British Government. He went to jail many times. He wanted Hindu-Muslim unity. In 1947, he got freedom for us.

Gandhiji was a great social reformer. He worked for Dalits and lower-class people. He lived a very simple life. He wanted peace. He believed in Ahimsa.

On January 30, 1948, he was shot dead. We call him ‘Bapu’ out of love and respect. He is the Father of the Nation.

Mahatma Gandhi Essay in English

Also Read: 10 Lines on Mahatma Gandhi

Essay on Mahatma Gandhi 200-250 Words

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian lawyer, freedom activist, and politician. Gandhiji was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar, Gujarat. His father Karamchand Gandhi was the Chief Minister (diwan) of Porbandar state. His mother Putlibai was a religious woman.

He went to England to study law at the age of 18 years. After his return to India, he started a practice as a lawyer in the Bombay High Court. He went to South Africa and started practicing law. There he protested against the injustice and harsh treatment of the white people towards the native Africans and Indians.

He returned to India in 1915 and started to take interest in politics. Mahatma Gandhi used the ideals of truth and non-violence as weapons to fight against British colonial rule. He worked for the upliftment of Harijans. He fought against untouchability and worked for Hindu-Muslim unity.

Through his freedom movements like Non-cooperation movement, Khilafat movement, and civil disobedience movement he fought for freedom against the British imperialists. 1942, he launched the Quit India movement to end the British rule. At last, India got freedom in 1947 at his initiative.

People affectionately call him ‘Bapu’ and the ‘Father of the Nation’. He was shot dead in 1948 by the Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse.  Gandhiji’s life is a true inspiration for all of us.

Essay on Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Essay in English 300 Words

Mahatma Gandhi was born at Porbandar in Gujarat on 2nd October, 1869. His father was the Diwan of the State. His name was Karam Chand Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi’s full name was Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi. His mother’s name was Putali Bai. Mahatma Gandhi went to school first at Porbandar then at Rajkot. Even as a child, Mahatma never told a lie. He passed his Matric examination at the age of 18.

Mohan Das was married to Kasturba at the age of thirteen. Mahatma Gandhi was sent to England to study law and became a Barrister. He lived a very simple life even in England. After getting his law degree, he returned to India.

Mr. Gandhi started his law practice. He went to South Africa in the course of a law suit. He saw the condition of the Indians living there. They were treated very badly by the white men. They were not allowed to travel in 1st class on the trains, also not allowed to enter certain localities, clubs, and so on. Once when Gandhiji was travelling in the 1st class compartment of the train, he was beaten and thrown out of the train. Then Mahatma decided to unite all Indians and started the Non-violence and Satyagrah Movement. In no time, the Movement picked up.

Mahatma Gandhi returned to India and joined Indian National Congress. He started the Non-violence, Non-cooperation Movements here also. He travelled all over India, especially the rural India to see the conditions of the poor.

Mahatma Gandhi started Satyagrah Movement to oppose the Rowlatt Act and there was the shoot-out at Jalian-Wala-Bagh. The Act was drawn after many people were killed. He then started the Salt Satyagraha and Quit India Movements. And finally, Gandhiji won freedom for us. India became free on 15th August, 1947. He is called as “Father of the Nation”. Unfortunately, Gandhiji was shot on 30 January 1948 by a Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse.

Also Read: Gandhi Jayanti Speech 10 Lines

Mahatma Gandhi Essay in English 500 Words


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi was a politician, social activist, writer, and leader of the Indian national movement. He is a figure known all over the world. His name is a household word in India, rather, in all the world round. His creed of non-violence has placed him on the same par with Buddha, Sri Chaitanya, and Jesus Christ.

Family & Education:

Mahatma Gandhi was born in the small town of Porbandar in the Kathiwad state on October 2, 1869. His father Karamchand Gandhi was the prime minister of Rajkot State and his mother Putlibai was a pious lady. Her influence shaped the future life of Mahatma Gandhi.

He was sent to school at a very early age, but he was not a very bright student. After his Matriculation Examination, he went to England to study law and returned home as a barrister. He began to practice law in Bombay but he was not very successful.

Life in South Africa:

In 1893 Gandhiji went to South Africa in connection with a case. He found his own countrymen treated with contempt by the whites. Gandhiji started satyagraha against this color hated. It was a non-violent protest, yet hundreds were beaten up and thousands were sent to jail. But Gandhiji did not buzz an inch from his faith in truth and non-violence and at last, he succeeded in his mission. He was awarded the title of Mahatma.

Fight for India’s Independence:

In 1915 Gandhiji came back to India after twenty long years in South Africa. He joined the Indian National congress and championed the cause of India’s freedom movement. He asked people to unite for the cause of freedom. He used the weapons of truth and non-violence to fight against the mighty British.

The horrible massacre at Jalianwalabag in Punjab touched him and he resolved to face the brute force of the British Government with moral force. In 1920 he launched the Non-cooperation movement to oppose British rule in India.

He led the famous Dandi March on 12th March 1930. This march was meant to break the salt law. And as a result of this, the British rule in India had already started shaking and he had to go to London for a Round Table Conference in 1931. But this Conference proved abortive and the country was about to give a death blow to the foreign rule.

In 1942 Gandhiji launched his final bout for freedom. He started the ‘Quit India’ movement. At last, the British Government had to quit India in 1947, and India was declared a free country on August 15, 1947.

Social Works:

Mahatma Gandhi was a social activist who fought against the evils of society. He found the Satyagraha Ashram on the banks of the Sabarmati river in Gujarat. He preached against untouchability and worked for Hindu-Muslim unity. He fought tirelessly for the rights of Harijans.


Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation was a generous, god-loving, and peace-loving person. But unfortunately, he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse on 30th January 1948 at the age of 78. To commemorate Gandhiji’s birth anniversary Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated every year on October 2. Gandhiji’s teachings and ideologies will continue to enlighten and encourage us in the future.

Read More: 1. Essay on Swami Vivekananda 2. Essay on Subhash Chandra Bose 3. Essay on Mother Teresa 4. Essay on APJ Abdul Kalam 5. Essay on Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Related Posts

Apj abdul kalam essay in english | 100, 200, 300, 500 words, blood donation essay in english | 150, 200, 300 words, my mother essay in english 10 lines [5 sets], essay on mother teresa in english for students [300 words], leave a comment cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

Date of Birth: October 2, 1869

Place of Birth: Porbandar, British India (now Gujarat)

Date of Death: January 30, 1948

Place of Death: Delhi, India

Cause of Death: Assassination

Professions: Lawyer, politician, activist, writer

Spouse : Kasturba Gandhi

Children: Harilal Gandhi, Manilal Gandhi, Ramdas Gandhi and Devdas Gandhi

Father: Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi

Mother: Putlibai Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an eminent freedom activist and an influential political leader who played a dominant role in India's struggle for independence. Gandhi is known by different names, such as Mahatma (a great soul), Bapuji (endearment for father in Gujarati) and Father of the Nation. Every year, his birthday is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday in India, and also observed as the International Day of Nonviolence. Mahatma Gandhi, as he is most commonly referred to, was instrumental in liberating India from the clutches of the British. With his unusual yet powerful political tools of Satyagraha and non-violence, he inspired several other political leaders all over the world including the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and Aung San Suu Kyi. Gandhi, apart from helping India triumph in its fight for independence against the English, also led a simple and righteous life, for which he is often revered. Gandhi's early life was pretty much ordinary, and he became a great man during the course of his life. This is one of the main reasons why Gandhi is followed by millions, for he proved that one can become a great soul during the course of one’s life, should they possess the will to do so. 

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

M. K. Gandhi was born in the princely state of Porbandar, which is located in modern-day Gujarat. He was born into a Hindu merchant caste family to Karamchand Gandhi, diwan of Porbandar and his fourth wife, Putlibai. Gandhi’s mother belonged to an affluent Pranami Vaishnava family. As a child, Gandhi was a very naughty and mischievous kid. In fact, his sister Raliat had once revealed that hurting dogs by twisting their ears was among Maohandas’ favorite pastime. During the course of his childhood, Gandhi befriended Sheikh Mehtab, who was introduced to him by his older brother. Gandhi, who was raised by a vegetarian family, started eating meat. It is also said that a young Gandhi accompanied Sheikh to a brothel, but left the place after finding it uncomfortable. Gandhi, along with one of his relatives, also cultivated the habit of smoking after watching his uncle smoke. After smoking the leftover cigarettes, thrown away by his uncle, Gandhi started stealing copper coins from his servants in order to buy Indian cigarettes. When he could no longer steal, he even decided to commit suicide such was Gandhi’s addiction to cigarettes. At the age of fifteen, after stealing a bit of gold from his friend Sheikh’s armlet, Gandhi felt remorseful and confessed to his father about his stealing habit and vowed to him that he would never commit such mistakes again.

In his early years, Gandhi was deeply influenced by the stories of Shravana and Harishchandra that reflected the importance of truth. Through these stories and from his personal experiences, he realized that truth and love are among the supreme values. Mohandas married Kasturba Makhanji at the age of 13. Gandhi later went on to reveal that the marriage didn’t mean anything to him at that age and that he was happy and excited only about wearing new set of clothes. But then as days passed by, his feelings for her turned lustful, which he later confessed with regret in his autobiography. Gandhi had also confessed that he could no more concentrate in school because of his mind wavering towards his new and young wife.

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

After his family moved to Rajkot, a nine year old Gandhi was enrolled at a local school, where he studied the basics of arithmetic, history, geography and languages. When he was 11 years old, he attended a high school in Rajkot. He lost an academic year in between because of his wedding but later rejoined the school and eventually completed his schooling. He then dropped out of Samaldas College in Bhavnagar State after joining it in the year 1888. Later Gandhi was advised by a family friend Mavji Dave Joshiji to pursue law in London. Excited by the idea, Gandhi managed to convince his mother and wife by vowing before them that he would abstain from eating meat and from having sex in London. Supported by his brother, Gandhi left to London and attended the Inner Temple and practiced law. During his stay in London, Gandhi joined a Vegetarian Society and was soon introduced to Bhagavad Gita by some of his vegetarian friends. The contents of Bhagavad Gita would later have a massive influence on his life. He came back to India after being called to the bar by Inner Temple.

Gandhi in South Africa

After returning to India, Gandhi struggled to find work as a lawyer. In 1893, Dada Abdullah, a merchant who owned a shipping business in South Africa asked if he would be interested to serve as his cousin’s lawyer in South Africa. Gandhi gladly accepted the offer and left to South Africa, which would serve as a turning point in his political career. 

In South Africa, he faced racial discrimination directed towards blacks and Indians. He faced humiliation on many occasions but made up his mind to fight for his rights. This turned him into an activist and he took upon him many cases that would benefit the Indians and other minorities living in South Africa. Indians were not allowed to vote or walk on footpaths as those privileges were limited strictly to the Europeans. Gandhi questioned this unfair treatment and eventually managed to establish an organization named ‘Natal Indian Congress’ in 1894. After he came across an ancient Indian literature known as ‘Tirukkural’, which was originally written in Tamil and later translated into many languages, Gandhi was influenced by the idea of Satyagraha (devotion to the truth) and implemented non-violent protests around 1906. After spending 21 years in South Africa, where he fought for civil rights, he had transformed into a new person and he returned to India in 1915. 

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

Gandhi and the Indian National Congress

After his long stay in South Africa and his activism against the racist policy of the British, Gandhi had earned the reputation as a nationalist, theorist and organiser. Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress, invited Gandhi to join India’s struggle for independence against the British Rule. Gokhale thoroughly guided Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi about the prevailing political situation in India and also the social issues of the time. He then joined the Indian National Congress and before taking over the leadership in 1920, headed many agitations which he named Satyagraha.

Gandhi and Indian National Congress

Image source:

Champaran Satyagraha

The Champaran agitation in 1917 was the first major success of Gandhi after his arrival in India. The peasants of the area were forced by the British landlords to grow Indigo, which was a cash crop, but its demand had been declining. To make the matters worse, they were forced to sell their crops to the planters at a fixed price. The farmers turned to Gandhiji for help. Pursuing a strategy of nonviolent agitation, Gandhi took the administration by surprise and was successful in getting concessions from the authorities. This campaign marked Gandhi’s arrival in India!

Kheda Satyagraha

Farmers asked the British to relax the payment of taxes as Kheda was hit by floods in 1918. When the British failed to pay heed to the requests, Gandhi took the case of the farmers and led the protests. He instructed them to refrain from paying revenues no matter what. Later, the British gave in and accepted to relax the revenue collection and gave its word to Vallabhbhai Patel, who had represented the farmers.  

Kheda Satyagraha

Image source:

Khilafat Movement Post World War I

Gandhi had agreed to support the British during their fight in World War I. But the British failed to grant independence post the war, as promised earlier, and as a result of this Khilafat Movement was launched. Gandhi realized that Hindus and Muslims must unite to fight the British and urged both the communities to show solidarity and unity. But his move was questioned by many Hindu leaders. Despite the opposition from many leaders, Gandhi managed to amass the support of Muslims. But as the Khilafat Movement ended abruptly, all his efforts evaporated into thin air.

Non-cooperation Movement and Gandhi

Non-cooperation Movement was one of Gandhi’s most important movements against the British. Gandhi’s urged his fellow countrymen to stop co-operation with the British. He believed that the British succeeded in India only because of the co-operation of the Indians. He had cautioned the British not to pass the Rowlatt Act, but they did not pay any attention to his words and passed the Act. As announced, Gandhiji asked everyone to start civil disobedience against the British. The British began suppressing the civil disobedience movement by force and opened fire on a peaceful crowd in Delhi. The British asked Gandhiji to not enter Delhi which he defied as a result of which he was arrested and this further enraged people and they rioted. He urged people to show unity, non-violence and respect for human life. But the British responded aggressively to this and arrested many protesters. 

On 13 April 1919, a British officer, Dyer, ordered his forces to open fire on a peaceful gathering, including women and children, in Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh. As a result of this, hundreds of innocent Hindu and Sikh civilians were killed. The incident is known as ‘Jallianwala Bagh Massacre’. But Gandhi criticized the protesters instead of blaming the English and asked Indians to use love while dealing with the hatred of British. He urged the Indians to refrain from all kinds of non-violence and went on fast-to-death to pressure Indians to stop their rioting.  

Non-cooperation Movement and Gandhi

Image source:

The concept of non-cooperation became very popular and started spreading through the length and breadth of India. Gandhi extended this movement and focused on Swaraj. He urged people to stop using British goods. He also asked people to resign from government employment, quit studying in British institutions and stop practicing in law courts. However, the violent clash in Chauri Chaura town of Uttar Pradesh, in February 1922, forced Gandhiji to call-off the movement all of a sudden. Gandhi was arrested on 10th March 1922 and was tried for sedition. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment, but served only two years in prison. 

Simon Commission & Salt Satyagraha (Dandi March)

During the period of 1920s, Mahatma Gandhi concentrated on resolving the wedge between the Swaraj Party and the Indian National Congress. In 1927, British had appointed Sir John Simon as the head of a new constitutional reform commission, popularly known as ‘Simon Commission’. There was not even a single Indian in the commission. Agitated by this, Gandhi passed a resolution at the Calcutta Congress in December 1928, calling on the British government to grant India dominion status. In case of non-compliance with this demand, the British were to face a new campaign of non-violence, having its goal as complete independence for the country. The resolution was rejected by the British. The flag of India was unfurled by the Indian national Congress on 31st December 1929 at its Lahore session. January 26, 1930 was celebrated as the Independence Day of India. 

But the British failed to recognize it and soon they levied a tax on salt and Salt Satyagraha was launched in March 1930, as an opposition to this move. Gandhi started the Dandi March with his followers in March, going from Ahmedabad to Dandi on foot. The protest was successful and resulted in the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in March 1931.

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

Negotiations over Round Table Conferences

Post the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, Gandhi was invited to round table conferences by the British. While Gandhi pressed for the Indian independence, British questioned Gandhi’s motives and asked him not to speak for the entire nation. They invited many religious leaders and B. R. Ambedkar to represent the untouchables. The British promised many rights to various religious groups as well as the untouchables. Fearing this move would divide India further, Gandhi protested against this by fasting. After learning about the true intentions of the British during the second conference, he came up with another Satyagraha, for which he was once again arrested.

Quit India Movement

As the World War II progressed, Mahatma Gandhi intensified his protests for the complete independence of India. He drafted a resolution calling for the British to Quit India. The 'Quit India Movement' or the 'Bharat Chhodo Andolan' was the most aggressive movement launched by the Indian national Congrees under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was arrested on 9th August 1942 and was held for two years in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune, where he lost his secretary, Mahadev Desai and his wife, Kasturba. The Quit India Movement came to an end by the end of 1943, when the British gave hints that complete power would be transferred to the people of India. Gandhi called off the movement which resulted in the release of 100,000 political prisoners. 

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

Freedom and Partition of India

The independence cum partition proposal offered by the British Cabinet Mission in 1946 was accepted by the Congress, despite being advised otherwise by Mahatma Gandhi. Sardar Patel convinced Gandhi that it was the only way to avoid civil war and he reluctantly gave his consent. After India's independence, Gandhi focused on peace and unity of Hindus and Muslims. He launched his last fast-unto-death in Delhi, and asked people to stop communal violence and emphasized that the payment of Rs. 55 crores, as per the Partition Council agreement, be made to Pakistan. Ultimately, all political leaders conceded to his wishes and he broke his fast. 

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

The inspiring life of Mahatma Gandhi came to an end on 30th January 1948, when he was shot by a fanatic, Nathuram Godse, at point-blank range. Nathuram was a Hindu radical, who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by ensuring the partition payment to Pakistan. Godse and his co-conspirator, Narayan Apte, were later tried and convicted. They were executed on 15th November 1949. 

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi’s Legacy

Mahatma Gandhi proposed the acceptance and practice of truth, peace, non-violence, vegetarianism, Brahmacharya (celibacy), simplicity and faith in God. Though he would be remembered forever for his great contribution to the Indian freedom movement, his greatest legacies are the tools of peace and non-iolence that he preached and used in India's struggle for freedom against the British. He was for peace and non-violence all over the world, as he truly believed that only these virtues can save the mankind. Mahatma Gandhi once wrote a letter to Hitler , before the World War II, pleading him to avoid war. These methods inspired several other world leaders in their struggle against injustice. His statues are installed all over the world and he is considered the most prominent personality in Indian history.

Gandhi in Popular Culture

The word Mahatma is often mistaken in the West as Gandhi’s first name. His extraordinary life inspired innumerable works of art in the field of literature, art and showbiz. Many movies and documentaries have been made on the life of the Mahatma. Post the Independence, Gandhi’s image became the mainstay of Indian paper currency. 

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

Source: Mahatma Gandhi Quotes @ FamousQuotes123

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi


Essay on My Favourite Freedom Fighter Mahatma Gandhi

Students are often asked to write an essay on My Favourite Freedom Fighter Mahatma Gandhi in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on My Favourite Freedom Fighter Mahatma Gandhi


Mahatma Gandhi, my favourite freedom fighter, was a great leader. He was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, India.

Non-violence Philosophy

Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, or ‘Ahimsa’, was his powerful weapon. He believed in peace, truth, and love.

Role in Freedom Struggle

Gandhi led the Indian National Congress and fought against British rule. His Salt March is a famous act of civil disobedience.

Gandhi’s principles of truth and non-violence inspire us even today. He is rightly called the ‘Father of the Nation’.

250 Words Essay on My Favourite Freedom Fighter Mahatma Gandhi

Early life and philosophy.

Born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat, Gandhi’s philosophy was deeply rooted in ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence. His belief in simple living and high thinking profoundly shaped his political strategies.

Role in India’s Independence

Gandhi’s role in India’s fight for independence was pivotal. He spearheaded movements like the Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, and Quit India Movement, which significantly weakened British imperialism in India. He believed in ‘Satyagraha’ or the force of truth, using it as a powerful tool against oppressive rule.

Influence on Global Stage

Gandhi’s influence transcends national boundaries. His principles of non-violence and civil disobedience influenced global figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, shaping the course of history.

Gandhi’s legacy continues to inspire millions globally. His principles of truth, non-violence, and equality are more relevant today than ever, encouraging us to strive for a harmonious and just society.

In conclusion, Mahatma Gandhi’s life and principles embody the spirit of freedom and resilience. His unwavering commitment to non-violence and truth makes him my favourite freedom fighter.

500 Words Essay on My Favourite Freedom Fighter Mahatma Gandhi

Early life and ideological formation.

Gandhi’s early life was instrumental in shaping his ideologies. His mother’s deep religiosity and commitment to truth and non-violence profoundly influenced him. As a law student in London, he was exposed to the works of Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy, which further solidified his belief in non-violent resistance.

South Africa and the Birth of Satyagraha

Gandhi’s stint in South Africa was a turning point in his life. The racial discrimination and injustice he witnessed led him to devise the concept of ‘Satyagraha’ or ‘Soul Force’. It was a form of non-violent resistance against oppressive laws, and it became a cornerstone of his political philosophy and strategy.

Return to India and Freedom Struggle

Philosophy and principles.

Gandhi’s philosophy was rooted in truth (Satya), non-violence (Ahimsa), and self-sacrifice. He believed in the innate goodness of human beings and advocated for a simple and modest lifestyle. His concept of ‘Sarvodaya’ or ‘welfare of all’ promoted social equality and harmony.

Gandhi’s Global Influence

Gandhi’s principles have had a far-reaching impact, inspiring numerous movements worldwide. Figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela drew upon his philosophy to combat racial discrimination and apartheid. His ideas continue to influence political and social movements, underscoring their timeless relevance.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

Apart from these, you can look at all the essays by clicking here .

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

  • Skip to primary navigation
  • Skip to main content
  • Skip to primary sidebar

UPSC Coaching, Study Materials, and Mock Exams

Enroll in ClearIAS UPSC Coaching Join Now Log In

Call us: +91-9605741000

India’s Struggle for Independence: Indian Freedom Movement

Last updated on April 8, 2024 by ClearIAS Team

India’s Struggle for Independence

In the  6-part framework to study modern Indian History , we have so far covered:

  • India in 1750 .
  • British Expansion .
  • The changes introduced by the British .
  • Popular Uprisings and Revolts against the British
  • Socio-religious movements in India .

In this article (6th part), we discuss the emergence of Indian nationalism and India’s struggle for independence.

Table of Contents

Indian Nationalism

India has been unified under many empires in its history like the Mauryan Empire and Mughal empire. A sense of oneness has been there for ages – even though most of the centralised administration in India didn’t last long.

With the end of Mughal rule, India broke into hundreds of princely states.  The British – which were instrumental in the fall of the Mughal Empire – held control over the princely states and created the British Indian Empire .

However, most Indians were extremely dissatisfied with the exploitative foreign rule.

The educated Indians realised that the British always gave priority to their colonial interests and treated India only as a market.

UPSC CSE 2025: Study Plan ⇓

(1) ⇒ UPSC 2025: Prelims cum Mains

(2) ⇒ UPSC 2025: Prelims Test Series

(3) ⇒ UPSC 2025: Fight Back

They advocated for the political independence of India.

Foundation of Indian National Congress (INC) in 1885

The late nineteenth century witnessed the emergence of many political organisations in British India.

Indian National Congress (also known as Congress Party) founded in 1885 was the most prominent one.

Initially, its aim was to create a platform for civic and political dialogue between Indians and the British Raj and thus obtain a greater share of government for educated Indians.

Later, under the leaders like Mahatma Gandhi , Jawarhal Nehru , Subhas Chandra Bose , and Sardar Vallabhai Patel , the Congress party played a central role in organising mass movements against the British.

Partition of Bengal (1905)

Indian nationalism was gaining in strength and Bengal was the nerve centre of Indian nationalism in the early 1900s.

Lord Curzon, the Viceroy (1899-1905), attempted to ‘dethrone Calcutta’ from its position as the centre from which the Congress Party manipulated throughout Bengal, and indeed, the whole of India.

The decision to partition Bengal into two was in the air from December 1903.

Congress party – from 1903 to mid-1905 – tried moderate techniques of petitions, memoranda, speeches, public meetings and press campaigns. The objective was to turn to public opinion in India and England against the partition.

However, Viceroy Curzon 1905 formally announced the British Government’s decision for the partition of Bengal on 19 July 1905. The partition took effect on 16 October 1905.

The partition was meant to foster another kind of division – on the basis of religion. The aim was to place Muslim communalists as a counter to the Congress. Curzon promised to make Dacca the new capital.

This resulted in a lot of discontent among the Indians. Many considered this as a policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ by the British.

This triggered a self-sufficiency movement popularly known as the Swadeshi movement.

Also read: Dr. Rajendra Prasad: Architect of the Indian Republic

The Swadeshi Movement (1905-1908)

From conservative moderation to political extremism, from terrorism to incipient socialism, from petitioning and public speeches to passive resistance and boycott, all had their origins in the movement.

Swadeshi is a conjunction of two Sanskrit words: swa (“self”) and desh (“country”).

The movement popularised the use and consumption of indigenous products. Indians started ditching British goods for Indian products.

Women, students, and a large section of the urban and rural population of Bengal and other parts of India became actively involved in politics for the first time with Swadeshi Movement.

The message of Swadeshi and the boycott of foreign goods soon spread to the rest of the country.

The militant nationalists led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lajpat Rai and Aurobindo Ghosh were in favour of extending the movement to the rest of India and carrying it beyond the programme of just Swadeshi and boycott to a full-fledged political mass struggle. For them, the aim was Swaraj.

In 1906, the Indian National Congress at its Calcutta Session presided over by Dadabhai Naoroji, declared that the goal of the Indian National Congress was ‘self-government or Swaraj like that of the United Kingdom or the Colonies.

There were differences in the ideologies of the congressmen who were popularly known by the names Moderates and the Extremists. They had differences of opinion regarding the pace of the movement and the techniques of struggle to be adopted. This came to a head in the 1907 Surat session of the Congress where the party split (the two factions re-joined later).

This period also saw a breakthrough in Indian art, literature, music, science and industry.

It was, perhaps, in the cultural sphere that the impact of the Swadeshi Movement was most marked. The songs composed at that time by Rabindranath Tagore, Rajani Kanta Sen etc became the moving spirit for nationalists of all hues.

In art, this was the period when Abanindranath Tagore broke the domination of Victorian naturalism over Indian art and sought inspiration from the rich indigenous traditions of Mughal, Rajput and Ajanta paintings.

In science, Jagdish Chandra Bose, Prafulla Chandra Ray, and others pioneered original research that was praised the world over.

The Swadeshi period also saw the creative use of traditional popular festivals and melas as a means of reaching out to the masses. The Ganapati and Shivaji festivals, popularized by Tilak, became a medium for Swadeshi propaganda not only in Western India but also in Bengal.

Another important aspect of the Swadeshi Movement was the great emphasis given to self-reliance or ‘Atmasakti’in various fields meant the re-asserting of national dignity, honour and confidence.

Self-reliance also meant an effort to set up Swadeshi or indigenous enterprises. The period saw a mushrooming of Swadeshi textile mills, soap and match factories etc.

One of the major features of the programme of self-reliance was Swadeshi or National Education. In 1906, the National Council of Education was established. The vernacular medium was given stress from the primary to university level.

Corps of volunteers (or samitis as they were called) were another major form of mass mobilization widely used by the Swadeshi Movement. The Swadesh Bandhab Samiti set up by Ashwini Kumar Dutt was the most well-known volunteer organization of them all.

Reasons for the failure of the Swadeshi Movement

  • The main drawback of the Swadeshi Movement was that it was not able to garner the support of the mass. The British use of communalism to turn the Muslims against the Swadeshi Movement was to a large extent responsible for this.
  • During the Swadeshi phase, the peasantry was not organized around peasant demands. The movement was able to mobilize the peasantry only in a limited way.
  • By mid-1908 repression took the form of controls and bans on public meetings, processions and the press.
  • The internal squabbles, and especially, the split in the Congress (1907), the apex all-India organization, weakened the movement.
  • The Swadeshi Movement lacked an effective organization and party structure.
  • Lastly, the movement declined because of the very logic of mass movements itself — they cannot be sustained endlessly.

However, the movement made a major contribution in taking the idea of nationalism, in a truly creative fashion, to many sections of the people. The peasant participation in the Swadeshi Movement even though less, marked the very beginnings of modern mass politics in India.

Also read: Ghadar Party

The Split in the Congress (1907)

The main public leaders of the two wings, Tilak (of the Extremists) and Gokhale (of the Moderates) were aware of the dangers of disunity in the nationalist ranks.

A split was avoided in 1906 by choosing Dadabhai Naoroji as president of INC in the Calcutta session. Also, four compromise resolutions on the Swadeshi, Boycott, National Education, and Self-Government demands were passed. However, the hope of a united Congress was short-lived.

The Extremists wanted to extend the Swadeshi and the Boycott Movement from Bengal to the rest of the country but the Moderators opposed it.

The Extremists were fumed by the rumours that the Moderates wanted to scuttle the four Calcutta resolutions. This created friction among them which led to the split at the Congress session was held on 26 December 1907 at Surat, on the banks of the river Tapti.

The Indian National Congress split in December 1907. By 1907, the Moderate nationalists had exhausted their historical role. They failed to meet the demands of the new stage of the national movement and even failed to attract the younger generation.

Almost at the same time, revolutionary terrorism made its appearance in Bengal.

Britain’s policy towards  INC

  • The British had been suspicious of the National Congress from its inception but they were not overtly hostile either.
  • In 1888 Viceroy Dufferin ridiculed INC as representing only the elite — ‘a microscopic minority’.
  • Lord Curzon said: “The Congress is tottering to its fall, and one of my greatest ambitions while in India is to assist it to a peaceful demise.”
  • The intimidating policies of the British towards INC changed once the Swadeshi and Boycott Movement began. The strengthening of the militant nationalist trend alarmed the British.
  • A new policy, known as the policy of the carrot and the stick was invoked. It was three-pronged. It was described as a policy of r epression-conciliation-suppression .
  • The Extremists were repressed, though mildly in the first stage. The purpose is to frighten the Moderates. The British also tried to pacify Moderates through some concessions and promises if they disassociated themselves from the Extremists. However, the British always wanted to suppress Extremists.

Minto-Morley constitutional reforms (1909)

The Government of India which was headed by Lord Minto as Viceroy and John Morley as the Secretary of State offered fresh reforms in the Legislative Councils. They began discussions with Moderates within Indian National Congress regarding this. However, when the decision was taken, not just Moderates but the country as a whole were disappointed.

Major Provisions:

  • The Indian Councils Act of 1909 increased the number of elected members (but most of them were still indirectly elected) in the Imperial Legislative Council and the provincial legislative councils.
  • An Indian was to be appointed a member of the Governor-General’s Executive Council.
  • The Act permitted members to introduce resolutions; it also increased their power to ask questions.
  • Voting on separate budget items was allowed.

The real purpose of the Morley-Minto Reforms was to divide the nationalist ranks and encourage the growth of Muslim communalism. For the latter, they introduced the system of separate electorates under which Muslims could only vote for Muslim candidates in constituencies specially reserved for them.

The Ghadar Movement (1914)

The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 gave impetus to the nationalist feelings of Indians. The Home Rule League by Lokmanya Tilak and Annie Besant were formed during First World War.

At the same time, a revolutionary movement gained popularity – The Ghadar Movement. (Note: The word Ghadar means ‘revolt’)

The Ghadar Movement was an international political movement founded by expatriate Indians to overthrow British rule in India.

The early membership was composed mostly of Punjabi Indians who lived and worked on the West Coast of the United States and Canada. The movement later spread to India and Indian diasporic communities around the world.

The main leader initially was Bhagwan Singh, a Sikh priest who had worked in Hong Kong and the Malay States.

Later Har Dayal took leadership and played a crucial role in the Ghadar movement. He issued a Yugantar Circular praising the attack on the Viceroy. He urged Indians in the USA not to fight against the US but use their freedom in the US to fight the British.

The Ghadar militants toured extensively, visiting mills and farms where most of the Punjabi immigrant labour worked. The Yugantar Ashram became the home and headquarters and refuge of these political workers.

Komagatamaru Incident

  • The Komagata Maru incident involved the Japanese steamship Komagata Maru, on which a group of people from British India attempted to immigrate to Canada in April 1914. Most of the ship passengers were denied entry and forced to return to Calcutta (present-day Kolkata). There, the Indian Imperial Police attempted to arrest the group leaders. A riot ensued, and they were fired upon by the police, resulting in the deaths of 22 people.
  • British Government passed orders that no passenger be allowed to disembark anywhere on the way — not even at the places from where they had joined the ship — but only at Calcutta.
  • It triggered off a wave of resentment and anger among the Indian community and became the occasion for anti-British mobilization.
  • A number of Ghadar leaders, like Barkatullah and Tarak Nath Das, used the inflammatory passions surrounding the  Komagata Maru incident as a rallying point and successfully brought many disaffected Indians in North America into the party’s fold.

Ghadar’s weakness

  • Ghadar leaders completely underestimated the extent of preparation needed at every level — organizational, ideological, strategic, tactical, and financial — that was necessary before an armed revolt could be organized.
  • An almost non-existent organizational structure; the Ghadar Movement was sustained more by the enthusiasm of the militants than by their effective organization.
  • The movement failed to generate an effective and sustained leadership that was capable of integrating the various aspects of the movement. Har Dayal’s ideas did not form a structured vision but remained a shifting amalgam of various theories that attracted him from time to time.
  • Lacking a mass base, despite the remarkable heroism of the individual revolutionaries who operated in small secret groups, the movement could not withstand suppression by the strong colonial state.
  • The Ghadar Movement came to an abrupt end with the arrest of Har Dayal.

The Home Rule Movement (1916-1918)

The Home Rule Movement under the leadership of Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak was an important political movement that set the stage for India’s struggle for independence.

Annie Besant, who was a proponent of Free Thought, Radicalism, Fabianism and Theosophy, had come to India in 1893 to work for the Theosophical Society.

In 1914, she decided to enlarge the sphere of her activities. She started a movement for Home Rule on the lines of the Irish Home Rule League.

She realized that she needs the cooperation of both Moderates and Extremists. In the annual session of the Congress 1915, it was decided that the Extremists be allowed to rejoin the Congress along with the Moderates.

Tilak set up the Home Rule League in the Bombay Province.

The two leagues worked in different areas.

Tilak promoted the Home Rule campaign which linked the question of Swaraj with the demand for the formation of linguistic states and education in the vernacular medium.

Members of Gokhale’s Servants of India Society, though not permitted to become members of the League, encouraged the demand for Home Rule by undertaking lecture tours and publishing pamphlets.

During the Lucknow session of the Congress in December 1916, the famous Congress-League Pact was declared. Both Tilak and Annie Besant had played a role in bringing about this agreement between the Congress and the League, much against the wishes of many important leaders, including Madan Mohan Malaviya. This pact is popularly known as the Lucknow Pact where separate electorates for Muslims were accepted.

The turning point in the home rule movement came with the decision of the Government of Madras in 1917 to place Mrs Besant and her associates, B.P. Wadia and George Arundale, under arrest.

Montague Declaration was introduced by the British government as a sign of a conciliatory effort. Henceforth, Home Rule or self-government movement was not treated as a seditious activity. However, this did not mean that the British were ready to grant self-government.

In 1920 All India Home Rule League changed its name to Swarajya Sabha.

The main achievement of the Home Rule Movement was that it created a generation of ardent nationalists who formed the backbone of the national movement. In the later years, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi , the Indian freedom struggle entered its truly mass phase.

Champaran movement in Bihar (1917)

Mahatma Gandhi, after his struggle against apartheid in South Africa (racial discrimination against blacks) for almost twenty years, returned to India in 1915.  On Gokhale’s advice, he spent a year travelling around British India to understand the problems of Indians.

He initially maintained a distance from political affairs, including the Home Rule Movement that was gathering momentum at this time.

Mahatma Gandhi began his experiments with Satyagraha against the oppressive European indigo planters at Champaran in Bihar in 1917.

Champaran issue had actually begun in the early 19th century when European planters made agreements with Indian farmers that forced them to cultivate indigo on the 3/20th of their holdings (known as the Tinkathia system).

Resistance kept surfacing within planters and cultivators, because of the exploitation measures adopted by the British behind the indigo cultivation.

In 1908 Raj Kumar Shukla, a local man persuaded Gandhiji to come to Champaran to investigate the problem. Gandhi reached Champaran but faced resistance from the Commissioner who ordered him to immediately leave the district. Gandhiji refused. He preferred to take the punishment for his defiance of the law. This step was unusual because even Home Rule leaders used to obey the Government.

The British Indian government didn’t want to create a controversy and ordered the local Government to retreat. They allowed Gandhiji to proceed with his enquiry and even nominated him as one of the enquiry members of the Government.

Meanwhile, Gandhiji started investigating the grievances of peasants along with Brij Kishore, Rajendra Prasad and other members of the Bihar intelligentsia. J.B. Kripalani toured the villages and recorded the statements of peasants.

Gandhiji had little difficulty in convincing the Commission that the Tinkathia system needed to be abolished and that the peasants should be compensated for the illegal enhancement of their dues. The Commission founder planters guilty of exploitation.

The commission of enquiry decided to make refunds to the peasants. Gandhi asked for 50%. But the representative of planters offered to refund to the extent of 25%. In order to break the deadlock, Gandhiji agreed to a 25 per cent refund to the farmers. For Gandhi, it was not the money but the principles that were of utmost importance. In his belief, the submission of British landlords was more significant than the percentage of refunds.

Ahmedabad Satyagraha in Gujarat (1918)

In Ahmedabad, a dispute was brewing between workers and mill owners over the question of a ‘plague bonus’.

The employers wanted to withdraw the bonus once the epidemic had passed but the workers insisted it stay.

The British Collector asked Gandhiji to work out a compromise. Gandhiji persuaded the mill owners and the workers to agree to arbitration.

The workers demanded a 50% wage hike while the mill owners offered only a twenty per cent wage hike. They threatened to dismiss all workers who did not accept it.

Gandhiji advised the workers to go on strike. He himself started fasting for workers.

Gandhiji was peculiar in that workers should get at least a thirty-five per cent increase in wages.

Finally, the strike was withdrawn after mill owners agreed to a thirty-five per cent increase the workers had demanded.

Anasuya Behn was one of the main lieutenants of Gandhiji in this struggle.

Kheda Satyagraha in Gujarat (1918)

The Kheda district of Gujarat was on the verge of famine owing to the failure of the crops.

The yield had been so low that the cultivators were unable to pay the revenue. But the government insisted that the cultivators should pay the tax.

Gandhi saw the justice of the cause of the cultivators. Enquiries by members of the Servants of India Society and Vithalbhai Patel too confirmed the genuineness of the peasants’ case.

Gandhiji advised the withholding of tax payments, and asked the peasants to ‘fight unto death against such a spirit of vindictiveness and tyranny’.

The peasants of Kheda, already deprived because of plague, high prices and drought, were showing signs of weakness when Gandhiji came to know that the Government had issued secret instructions directing that revenue should be recovered only from those peasants who could pay.

The Government said that if well-to-do cultivators paid up the poorer section would be granted suspension. This was agreed to and the campaign ended.

The Kheda Satyagraha marked the beginning of an awakening among the peasants of Gujarat, the beginning of their true political education. In addition, it gave the educated public workers the chance to establish contact with the actual life of the peasants.

Rowlatt Satyagraha (1919)

During the First World War of 1914-18, the British instituted censorship of the press and permitted detention without trial.

The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919, popularly known as the Rowlatt Act, was passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in Delhi on 18 March 1919, indefinitely extending the emergency measures of preventive indefinite detention, incarceration without trial and judicial review enacted in the Defence of India Act 1915 during the First World War.

It was enacted in light of a perceived threat from revolutionary nationalists to organisations of re-engaging in similar conspiracies as during the war which the Government felt the lapse of the Defence of India Act would enable.

This act was passed on the recommendations of the Sedition Committee chaired by Sir Sidney Rowlatt.

Gandhiji launched Satyagraha against the inhuman Rowlatt Act.

The protests were particularly intense in the Punjab Gandhiji was detained while proceeding there.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre (1919)

The passage of the Rowlatt Act in 1919 resulted in large-scale political unrest throughout India.

A large peaceful crowd had gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab to protest against the arrest of pro-Indian independence leaders Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satya Pal.

In response to the public gathering, the British Brigadier-General R. E. H. Dyer surrounded the Bagh with his soldiers.

General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on the nationalist meeting killing hundreds. The brutality at Jallianwala Bagh stunned the entire nation.

This event caused many moderate Indians to abandon their previous loyalty to the British and become nationalists distrustful of British rule.

Non-cooperation Movement (1920)

Gandhiji called for a campaign of “non-cooperation” with British rule. Indians who wished colonialism to end were asked to stop attending schools, colleges, and law courts. They were asked to not pay taxes. In sum, they were asked to adhere to a “renunciation of all voluntary association with the British Government”.

Gandhiji said that if non-cooperation was effectively carried out India would win swaraj within a year.

When Congress met for its annual session at Nagpur, C.R. Das moved the main resolution on non-cooperation. Many groups of revolutionary terrorists, especially in Bengal, also pledged support to the movement.

The goal of the Congress, by this time, changed from the attainment of self-government by constitutional means to the attainment of Swaraj by peaceful means.

Khilafat Movement (1919-24)

The Khilafat movement was a political protest campaign launched by Muslims of British India to restore the caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate, who was considered the leader of the Muslims.

To further broaden the Indian freedom struggle, Gandhiji joined hands with the Khilafat Movement.

The movement collapsed by late 1922 when Turkey gained a more favourable diplomatic position and moved towards Nationalism. By 1924, Turkey abolished the role of the caliph.

However, the tremendous participation of Muslims in the Non-Cooperation Movement and the maintenance of communal unity, despite the Malabar developments, was in itself no mean achievement.

Chauri Chaura incident (1922)

On 4 February 1922, at Chauri Chaura (a place in modern Uttar Pradesh), the British police opened fire at a large group of people who were participating in the Non-cooperation movement.

In retaliation, the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants. The incident led to the death of three civilians and 22 policemen.

Mahatma Gandhi, who was strictly against violence, halted the non-cooperation movement on the national level on 12 February 1922, as a direct result of the Chauri Chaura incident.

In spite of Gandhi’s decision, 19 arrested demonstrators were sentenced to death and 14 to imprisonment for life by the British colonial authorities.

Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Bose, and many others recorded their disagreement on Gandhiji’s views.

Bardoli Satyagraha in Gujarat (1928)

In January 1926, the officer charged with the duty of reassessment of the land revenue demand of the taluq had recommended a 30% increase over the existing assessment.

The Congress leaders were quick to protest against the increase and set up the Bardoli Inquiry Committee to go into the issue.

In July 1927, the Government reduced the enhancement to 21.97 per cent. But the concessions were too meagre and came too late to satisfy anybody.

The constitutionalist leaders now began to advise the peasants to resist by paying only the current amount and withholding the enhanced amount.

Gradually as the limitations of constitutional leadership became more apparent, Vallabhbhai Patel was invited to lead the campaign.

The government ignored Vallabhai’s request which resulted in the start of Bardoli Satyagraha.

The no-tax movement was launched in Bardoli taluq of Surat district in Gujarat in 1928.

The main mobilization was done through extensive propaganda via meetings, speeches, pamphlets, and door-to-door persuasion. Special emphasis was placed on the mobilization of women and many women activists were recruited for the purpose.

Members of the Bombay Legislative Council like K.M. Munshi and Lalji Naranji, the representatives of the Indian Merchants Chamber, resigned their seats.

The government was forced to conduct an inquiry. The inquiry was done by a judicial officer, Broomfield, and a revenue officer, Maxwell. They came to the conclusion that the increase had been unjustified. The government later reduced the enhancement to 6.03 per cent.

The boycott of the Simon Commission (1927)

On 8 November 1927, an all-white, Simon Commission was appointed to recommend whether India was ready for further constitutional reforms.

Indian National Congress boycott Simon Commission because no Indian was present in the commission. There were protests in many places.

In Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai, the hero of the extremist days and the most revered leader of Punjab was hit. He succumbed to the injuries in November 1928.

Bhagat Singh and his comrades sought to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai. They killed the white police official, Saunders, in December 1928.

Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Bose emerged as the leaders during the Simon Commission boycott movement.

Nehru Report (1928) and the attempt to draft the Indian Constitution

Britain did not acknowledge the right of Indians to frame their own constitution.

British policy, until almost the end of the Raj, was that the timing and nature of Indian constitutional development were to be decided exclusively by the British Parliament, but it was assumed that Indians would be consulted as appropriate.

In December 1927, at its Madras session, the Indian National Congress took two major decisions in response to the setting up the Simon Commission: first, it decided to not cooperate with the Commission; second, it set up an All Parties Conference to draft a Constitution for India.

The committee of the All Parties Conference to draft the Constitution was chaired by Motilal Nehru  with his son  Jawaharlal Nehru acting as a secretary. There were nine other members in this committee.

The report submitted by the committee in 1928 was called the Nehru Report – which was actually a memorandum to appeal for dominion status and a federal set-up of government for the constitution of India.

The Nehru Report also rejected the principle of separate communal electorates on which previous constitutional reforms had been based. Seats would be reserved for Muslims at the Centre and in provinces in which they were in a minority, but not in those where they had a numerical majority.

The Nehru Report also recommended universal adult suffrage, equal rights for women, freedom to form unions, and dissociation of the state from religion in any form.

However, Jinnah withdrew his support to the report and proposed his ‘Fourteen Points’ which were basically a reiteration of his objections to the Nehru Report.

Young and radical nationalists led by Jawaharlal Nehru had objections to the Nehru Report of Motilal Nehru. Their slogan was ‘Complete Independence.’

Purna Swaraj or Complete Independence Campaign (1929)

In the Lahore session in 1929, Jawaharlal Nehru was made the President of INC. He declared ‘Purna Swaraj’ or Complete Independence as the only honourable goal Indians could strive for.

On the banks of the river Ravi, at midnight on 31 December 1929, the tricolour flag of Indian independence was hosted.

The first task that the Congress set itself in the new year was that of organizing all over the country public meetings at which the Independence Pledge would be read out and collectively affirmed on 26 January.

Civil Disobedience Movement and Dandi March (1930)

Dandi March

The Lahore Session of Congress (1929) authorized the Working Committee to launch a programme of civil disobedience including non-payment of taxes.

Gandhi’s ultimatum to Lord Irwin, stating the minimum demands in the form of 11 points, had been ignored, and there was now only one way out: civil disobedience. Gandhi selected salt as his main tool of disobedience.

In every Indian household, salt was indispensable; yet people were forbidden from making salt even for domestic use, compelling them to buy it from shops at a high price. The state monopoly over salt was deeply unpopular. By making salt his target, Gandhiji hoped to mobilise a wider discontent against British rule.

Gandhi, along with a band of seventy-eight members of the Sabarmati Ashram started to march from Ahmedabad to the coast at Dandi. There he broke the salt laws by collecting salt from the beach.

On 6 April 1930, by picking up a handful of salt, Gandhi inaugurated the Civil Disobedience Movement – a movement that was to remain unsurpassed in the history of the Indian national movement for the country-wide mass participation it unleashed.

Like other parts of India, the civil disobedience movement was also launched in North-West Frontier Province (Khyber–Pakhtoonkhwa). The local Congress sought help from the Khudai Khidmatgars, the most popular socio-political organization in the province.

Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan’s Khudai Khidmatgars, popularly known as the Red Shirts,  played an extremely active role in the Civil Disobedience Movement.

The city came under the control of the masses for at least a week and the soldiers of the Garhwali regiment refused to fire at the unarmed crowds of Peshwar demonstrations.

Nehru’s arrest on 14th April was followed by public protests in Madras, Calcutta and Karachi.

The Salt March was notable for at least three reasons:

  • It was this event that first brought Mahatma Gandhi to world attention.
  • It was the first nationalist activity in which women participated in large numbers. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay had persuaded Gandhi for this issue.
  • It was the Salt March that forced upon the British the realisation that their Raj would not last forever, and that they would have to devolve some power to the Indians.

Gandhi-Irwin Pact (1931) and the Round Table Conferences (1930-32)

British convened a series of “Round Table Conferences” in London to discuss constitutional reforms in India.

The first meeting was held in November 1930. However, without the pre-eminent political leader in India, it was an exercise in futility.

Gandhi was released from jail in January 1931. In the following month, he had several long meetings with the Viceroy. These culminated in what was called the “Gandhi-Irwin Pact’.

The terms of the agreement included the immediate release of all political prisoners not convicted for violence, the remission of all fines not yet collected, the return of confiscated lands not yet sold to third parties, and lenient treatment for those government employees who had resigned. The Government also conceded the right to make salt for consumption to villages along the coast. They also gave the right to peaceful and non-aggressive picketing.

The Congress’s demand for a public inquiry into police excesses was not accepted, but Gandhiji’s insistent request for an inquiry was recorded in the agreement.

Congress, on its part, agreed to discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

A second Round Table Conference was held in London in the latter part of 1931. Here, Gandhiji represented the Congress. Gandhi opposed the demand for separate electorates for “lower castes”. For him, separate electorates to the “Untouchables” will ensure their bondage in perpetuity. He thought this would prevent their integration into mainstream society and permanently segregate them from other caste Hindus.

But Ambedkar was in favour of separate electorates for depressed classes. He believed it is the only path for a community so handicapped to succeed in the struggle for life against the organised tyranny of higher castes.

During the second Round Table Conference in London, Winston Churchill, leader of the right wing, strongly objected to the British Government negotiating on terms of equality with the ‘seditious fakir’. He demanded a strong government in India.

The discussions with Gandhi failed as the British Government refused to concede the basic Indian demand for freedom. Gandhiji resumed Civil Disobedience after reaching back

The government launched its strike against the national movement by arresting Gandhi. British government promulgated ordinances that gave the authorities unlimited power – the ‘Civil Martial Law.’ Civil liberties no longer existed and the authorities could seize people and property at will.

In 1934 the inevitable decision to withdraw Civil Disobedience Movement was taken by Gandhi.

However, many political activists were not in favour of stopping the movement. They included Jawaharlal Nehru who was critical of Gandhiji’s decisions regarding the timing of the withdrawal of CDM.

The support that the movement had garnered from the poor and the illiterate, both in the town and in the country, was remarkable indeed.

Nevertheless, the participation of Muslims in the Civil Disobedience Movement was certainly nowhere near that of the Non-cooperation movement 1920-22.

For Indian women, the movement was the most liberating experience to date and can truly be said to have marked their entry into the public space.

The Communal Award (1932)

After the Third Round Table Conference, in November 1932, the then Prime Minister of Britain Ramsay McDonald gave an order which is known as the Communal Award.

It was part of Britain’s policy of ‘Divide and Rule.

The award granted separate electorates in British India for the Forward Caste, Lower Caste, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans and Untouchables (Dalits) etc.

The Congress Party was unhappy at the extension of communal representation but became particularly outraged at the British offer of separate-electorate seats for “depressed classes”.

Gandhi viewed the McDonald Award as a nefarious British plot to wean more than 50 million Hindus away from their higher-caste brothers and sisters.

The idea of a separate electorate for Muslims had been accepted by Congress as far back as 1916 as a part of the compromise with the Muslim League. Hence, Congress took the position it was opposed to separate electorates but not in favour of changing the Award without the consent of the minorities.

Gandhi demanded that the representatives of the Depressed Classes should be elected if possible by the universal, common franchise. At the same time, he did not object to the demand for a larger number of reserved seats for the Depressed Classes. He went on a fast unto death on 20 September 1932 to enforce his demand.

In the end, political leaders succeeded in bringing an agreement, known as the Poona Pact.

In this pact, the idea of separate electorates for the Depressed Classes was abandoned but the seats reserved for them in the provincial legislatures and Central Legislature were increased.

After being released from prison Gandhiji shifted to Satyagraha Ashram at Wardha after abandoning Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad for he had vowed in 1930 not to return to Sabarmati till Swaraj was won.

Government of India Act (1935)

The growing demand for constitutional reforms in India led the British Parliament to enact the Government of India Act 1935.

The Act promised some form of representative government.

The Act provided the establishment of an All-India Federation based on the union of British Indian provinces and the Princely States.

Defence and foreign affairs would remain outside the control of the federal legislature, while the Viceroy would retain special control over other subjects.

Governors, appointed by the British Government, retained special powers. They could veto legislative and administrative measures, especially those concerning minorities, the rights of civil servants, law and order, and British business interests.

The Governor also had the power to take over and indefinitely run the administration of a province.

The Act of 1935 was condemned and unanimously rejected by Congress. The Congress demanded the convening of a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise to frame a constitution for an independent India.

Resignation of Congress ministries (1939)

Congress won the elections to the provincial assemblies held in February 1937. Its election manifesto reaffirmed its total rejection of the 1935 Act.

One of the first acts of the Congress Government was to release thousands of political prisoners and to cancel deportation orders on political workers.

The difference between the Congress provinces and the non-Congress provinces of Bengal and Punjab was most apparent in this realm. In the latter, especially in Bengal, civil liberties continued to be curbed and they never released prisoners.

However, Congress could not attempt a complete overhaul of the agrarian structure by completely eliminating the Zamindari system .

Later the Second World War broke out. Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru promised Congress support to the war effort if the British, in return, promised to grant India independence once hostilities ended. The offer was refused. Gandhi withdrew support to the British in War.

The Congress ministries resigned in October and November 1939, in protest against Viceroy Lord Linlithgow’s action of declaring India to be belligerent in the Second World War without consulting the Indian people.

The resignations brought the Left and the Right in Congress closer because of a common policy on the question of participation in the war.

Crisis at Tripuri (1939)

Subhas Bose had been a unanimous choice as the President of Congress in 1938. In 1939, he decided to stand again — this time as the spokesperson of militant politics and radical groups.

However, with the blessings of Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, J.B. Kripalani other leaders put up Pattabhi Sitaramayya as a candidate for the post.

Bose accused Patel and other top leaders of Congress as ‘rightists’. He openly accused them of working for a compromise with the Government on the question of the federation. Bose had, therefore, appealed to Congressmen to vote for a leftist and ‘a genuine anti-federationist.’

Nevertheless, in reality, the difference between ‘right’ and ‘left’ was not very vivid within the Congress and most Congressmen were anti-federationist.

Subhas Bose won the election on 29 January on the popularity of his militant politics but only by a narrow margin – 1580 votes against 1377.

But the election of Bose brought the brewing crisis to a head at the Tripuri session of the Congress.

Gandhiji declared that Sitaramayya’s defeat was ‘more mine than his.

Bose argued in his presidential address at Tripuri for a programme of immediately giving the British Government a six-month ultimatum to grant the national demand for independence and of launch a mass civil disobedience movement if it failed to do so.

Subhas Bose believed that the Congress was strong enough to bunch an immediate struggle and that the masses were ready for such a struggle.

However, Gandhi’s perceptions were very different. Gandhi believed the time was not yet ripe for an ultimatum because neither Congress nor the masses were yet ready for struggle.

The internal strife reached its climax at the Tripuri session of the Congress, held from 8 to 12 March 1939.

Bose had completely misjudged his support and the meaning of his majority in the presidential election. Congressmen had voted for him not because they wanted to have him as the supreme leader of the national movement – but mainly because of his policies and militant politics. They were not willing to reject Gandhi’s leadership or his views.

Bose resigned from the presidency. This led to the election of Rajendra Prasad in his place.

Subsequently, Subhas Bose and his followers formed the Forward Bloc as a new party within Congress.

As Bose planned a protest against an AICC resolution, the Working Committee removed Bose from the presidentship of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee and debarred him from holding any Congress office for three years.

Individual Satyagraha (1940)

Gandhiji decided to initiate a limited satyagraha on an individual basis by a few selected individuals in every locality. The demand of a satyagrahi was for the freedom of speech to preach against participation in the War.

The satyagrahi would beforehand inform the district magistrate of the time and place where he or she was going to make the anti-war speech. If the Government did not arrest a satyagrahi, he or she would not only repeat the performance but move into the villages and start a trek towards Delhi, thus participating in a movement that came to be known as the ‘Delhi Chalo’ (onwards to Delhi) movement.

Vinoba Bhave was to be the first satyagrahi on 17 October 1940 and Jawaharlal Nehru the second.

Individual Satyagraha served a dual purpose — (1) it gave expression to the Indian people’s strong political feelings, (2) it gave the British Government another opportunity to peacefully accept the Indian demands.

Cripps Mission (1942)

The Cripps Mission was a failed attempt in late March 1942 by the British government to secure full Indian cooperation and support for their efforts in World War II.

The mission was headed by a senior minister Sir Stafford Cripps, traditionally sympathetic to Indian self-rule.

However, he was also a member of the coalition War Cabinet led by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who had long been the leader of the movement to block Indian independence.

Churchill was persuaded to send Sir Stafford Cripps, to India to try and forge a compromise with Gandhiji and the Congress.

The Declaration promised India Dominion Status and a constitution-making body after the War. He proposed that the Constitutional Assembly members would be elected by the provincial assemblies and nominated by the rulers in the case of the princely states.

At that time, the demand for a separate nation for Muslims – Pakistan – also got momentum.

The Pakistan demand was accommodated by the provision that any province which was not prepared to accept the new constitution would have the right to sign a separate agreement with Britain regarding its future status.

Talks broke down, when, Congress objected to the provision for Dominion Status rather than full independence.

Congress insisted that if it was to help the British defend India from the Axis powers, then the Viceroy had first to appoint an Indian as the Defence Member of his Executive Council.

After the failure of the Cripps Mission, Mahatma Gandhi decided to launch the “Quit India” campaign also known as the ‘August Revolution’.

Quit India Movement (1942)

Quit India Movement: Indian freedom struggle

The Quit India Movement was launched at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee by  Mahatma Gandhi  on 8 August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British rule in India.

In this struggle, the common people of the country demonstrated unparalleled heroism and militancy.

However, the repression that they faced was the most brutal that had ever been used against the national movement.

At the historic August meeting at Gowalia Tank in Bombay, Gandhiji was particular about complete freedom and no more piece-meal approach from the British.

He proclaimed: ‘Do or Die’ – which meant either free India or die in the attempt.

Gandhi asked government servants to openly declare their allegiance to congress and not to resign.

In the meantime, underground networks were consolidated in various parts of the country. The prominent members of underground activities were Achyut Patwardhan, Aruna Asaf Ali, Ram Manohar Lohia, and Sucheta Kripalani.

The pattern of activity of the underground movement was that of organizing the disruption of communications by blowing up bridges, cutting telegraph and telephone wires, and derailing trains.

Congress Radio operated clandestinely from different locations in Bombay city, whose broadcast could be heard as far as Madras. Usha Mehta was an important member of the small group that ran the Congress Radio.

A significant feature of the Quit India Movement was the emergence of what came to be known as parallel governments in some parts of the country. Satara (Maharashtra) emerged as the base of the longest-lasting and most effective parallel government.

A significant feature of peasant activity was its total concentration on attacking symbols of British authority and a total lack of any incidents of anti-zamindar violence.

In February 1943, Gandhiji declared the fast in Aga Khan Palace where he was held in detention, as this was his answer to the Government which had been constantly exhorting him to condemn the violence of the people in the Quit India Movement. Gandhiji not only refused to condemn the people’s resort to violence but unequivocally held the Government responsible for it.

The resignation of the three Indian members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council, M.S. Aney, N.R. Sarkar and H.P. Mody, who never wished Gandhi to suffer, made a severe blow to the British.

Finally, the Congress leaders were released to participate in the Simla Conference in June 1945. That marked the end of the phase of confrontation that had existed since August 1942.

Simla Conference (1945) and the Wavell Plan

The Simla Conference of 1945 was a meeting between the Viceroy of India (Lord Wavell) and the major political leaders of British India at the Viceregal Lodge in Simla.

Wavell proposed a separate representation of Muslims within a united India. Talks, however, stalled on the issue of the selection of Muslim representatives. The All-India Muslim League claimed to be the sole representative of Indian Muslims. The Indian National Congress opposed this claim as the Congress had more Muslims in its support than the Muslim League.

This scuttled the conference, and perhaps the last viable opportunity for a united, independent India.

On 14 June 1945 Lord Wavell announced a plan for a new Executive Council in which all members except the Viceroy and the Commander in Chief would be Indians. This executive council was to be a temporary measure until a new permanent constitution could be agreed upon and come into force.

RIN Mutiny (1946)

The Royal Indian Navy (RIN) revolt started in February 1946 at Mumbai when the naval ratings on HMIS Talwar protested against the poor quality of food and racial discrimination by British officers.

From the initial flashpoint in Mumbai, the revolt spread and found support throughout India, from Karachi to Kolkata, and ultimately came to involve over 20,000 sailors in 78 ships and shore establishments.

Karachi was a major centre, second only to Bombay. Sympathetic strikes took place in military establishments in Madras, Vishakhapatnam, Calcutta, Delhi, Cochin, Jamnagar, the Andamans, Bahrain and Aden.

A revolt in the armed forces, even if soon suppressed, had a great liberating effect on the minds of people.

The naval mutiny proved to be the last nail in the coffin of British colonial aspirations in India.

India was seen to be on the brink of a revolution. The mutiny witnessed the demoralization of British officials and the changing loyalties of Indian officials.

However, communal unity evident in the RIN revolt was limited despite the Congress, League and Communist flags being jointly hoisted on the ships’ masts. Muslim ratings went to the League to seek advice on future action for Pakistan.

The  Indian National Congress  and the  Muslim League  condemned the mutiny, while the  Communist Party of India  was the only party that supported the rebellion.

The mutiny was suppressed by British troops and Royal Navy warships.

The revolt was called off following a meeting between the President of the Naval Central Strike Committee (NCSC), M. S. Khan, and Sardar Vallabhai Patel who had been sent to Bombay to settle the crisis.

Mountbatten Plan (1947)

The legislature representatives of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and the Sikh community came to an agreement with Lord Mountbatten on what has come to be known as the 3 June Plan or Mountbatten Plan. This plan was the last plan for independence.

The plan announced by the Viceroy Mountbatten on 3 June 1947 included these principles:

  • The principle of the partition of British India was accepted by the British Government.
  • Successor governments would be given dominion status.
  • Autonomy and sovereignty to both countries.
  • The successor governments could make their own constitution
  • The Princely States were given the right to join either Pakistan or India, based on two major factors: Geographical contiguity and the people’s wishes.

The Mountbatten plan led to the enactment of the India Independence Act of 1947.

India Independence Act (1947)

The Indian Independence Act of 1947 passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom divided British India into two new independent dominions; the Dominion of India ( later to become the Republic of India ) and the Dominion of Pakistan ( later to become the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ).

This Act received Royal Assent on 18 July 1947.

India and Pakistan became independent on August 15th, 1947.

India continues to celebrate August 15th as her Independence day, while Pakistan chose to celebrate August 14th as her Independence day as per their cabinet decisions.

Learn more about India’s Struggle for Independence

Hope you liked the mega article on the Indian freedom struggle.

This article on India’s struggle for independence is the 6th part of the article series on Modern Indian History. Click the link to read the  6-part framework to study modern Indian History . This is an easy-to-learn approach to mastering the history of modern India as a story.

Apart from the 6-part approach, we have also published many other articles on  Indian History , which can be accessed from the  ClearIAS Study materials  section.

If you loved this article, please subscribe to ClearIAS and share this post with your friends.

Books referred to prepare this article on India’s Struggle for Independence

  • NCERT Books Class 6-12
  • History Of Modern India by Bipan Chandra
  • India’s struggle for independence by Bipan Chandra
  • Modern Indian History by Sonali Bansal and Snehil Tripathi

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe to the ClearIAS YouTube Channel

If you enjoy our content, don't miss the ClearIAS YouTube Channel!

Subscribe Now (FREE)

Top 10 Best-Selling ClearIAS Courses

Upsc prelims cum mains (pcm) gs course: unbeatable batch 2025 (online), rs.75000   rs.29000, upsc prelims test series (pts) 2025 (online), rs.9999   rs.4999, upsc mains test series (mts) (online), rs.19999   rs.9999, csat course 2025 (online), current affairs course 2025: important news & analysis (online), ncert foundation course (online), essay writing course for upsc cse (online), ethics course for upsc cse (online), fight back: repeaters program with daily tests (online or offline), rs.55000   rs.25000.

ClearIAS Logo 128

About ClearIAS Team

ClearIAS is one of the most trusted learning platforms in India for UPSC preparation. Around 1 million aspirants learn from the ClearIAS every month.

Our courses and training methods are different from traditional coaching. We give special emphasis on smart work and personal mentorship. Many UPSC toppers thank ClearIAS for our role in their success.

Download the ClearIAS mobile apps now to supplement your self-study efforts with ClearIAS smart-study training.

Reader Interactions

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

February 6, 2022 at 9:52 am

Pls allowed to download in pdf form

ClearIAS Logo 128

February 7, 2022 at 11:38 am

@Zizoo – There is a ‘Print PDF’ button that you can use to download the article as a PDF.

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

July 29, 2023 at 1:02 pm

“India’s Struggle for Independence” on ClearIAS is a comprehensive and enlightening read. The blog beautifully captures the essence of India’s journey towards freedom, providing valuable historical context and key insights. It’s an essential resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of India’s rich and inspiring struggle for independence.

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

December 5, 2023 at 1:49 am

Please provide download option

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don’t lose out without playing the right game!

Follow the ClearIAS Prelims cum Mains (PCM) Integrated Approach.

Join ClearIAS PCM Course Now

UPSC Online Preparation

  • Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
  • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • IAS Exam Eligibility
  • UPSC Free Study Materials
  • UPSC Exam Guidance
  • UPSC Prelims Test Series
  • UPSC Syllabus
  • UPSC Online
  • UPSC Prelims
  • UPSC Interview
  • UPSC Toppers
  • UPSC Previous Year Qns
  • UPSC Age Calculator
  • UPSC Calendar 2024
  • About ClearIAS
  • ClearIAS Programs
  • ClearIAS Fee Structure
  • IAS Coaching
  • UPSC Coaching
  • UPSC Online Coaching
  • ClearIAS Blog
  • Important Updates
  • Announcements
  • Book Review
  • ClearIAS App
  • Work with us
  • Advertise with us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Talk to Your Mentor

Featured on

ClearIAS Featured in The Hindu

and many more...

ClearIAS Programs: Admissions Open

Thank You 🙌

UPSC CSE 2025: Study Plan

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

Subscribe ClearIAS YouTube Channel

ClearIAS YouTube Image

Get free study materials. Don’t miss ClearIAS updates.

Subscribe Now

IAS/IPS/IFS Online Coaching: Target CSE 2025

ClearIAS Course Image

Cover the entire syllabus of UPSC CSE Prelims and Mains systematically.

Download self-study plan.

ClearIAS Course Image

Analyse Your Performance and Track Your Progress

Download Study Plan

  • India Today
  • Business Today
  • Harper's Bazaar
  • Brides Today
  • Cosmopolitan
  • India Today Hindi
  • Reader’s Digest
  • Aaj Tak Campus

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

How Gandhi shaped our Independence: 7 major freedom movements initiated by Mahatma Gandhi

Seven major freedom movements started by mahatma gandhi..

Listen to Story

Gandhi's contribution to India's Independence

Mahatma Gandhi was the leader who guided India towards Independence. India was under the British rule for over 250 years. Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915 at the request of Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

Gandhi's contribution to the Indian freedom movement cannot be measured in words. He, along with other freedom fighters, compelled the British to leave India. His policies and agendas were non-violent and his words were the source of inspiration for millions.

1. World War I

2. champaran.

The Champaran agitation in Bihar was Gandhi's first active involvement into Indian freedom politics. The Champaran farmers were being forced to grow Indigo and were being tortured if they protested.

When Kheda, a village in Gujarat, was badly hit by floods, the local farmers appealed to the rulers to waive off the taxes. Here, Gandhi started a signature campaign where peasants pledged non-payment of taxes.

4. Khilafat Movement

Gandhi's influence on the Muslim population was remarkable. This was evident in his involvement in the Khilafat Movement. After the first World War, the Muslims feared for the safety of their Caliph or religious leader and a worldwide protest was being organised to fight against the collapsing status of the Caliph.

5. Non-cooperation Movement

Gandhi had realised that the British had been able to be in India only because of the co-operation they received from the Indians. Keeping this in mind, he called for a non-cooperation movement.

6. Salt March

Also known as the Dandi Movement, Gandhi's Salt March is considered to be a pivotal incident in the history of freedom struggle. At the Calcutta Congress of 1928, Gandhi declared that the British must grant India dominion status or the country will erupt into a revolution for complete independence. The British did not pay heed to this.

7. Quit India Movement

During the Second World War, Gandhi was determined to strike the British Empire with a definitive blow that would secure their exit from India. This happened when the British started recruiting Indians for the war.

Gandhi protested strongly and said that the Indians cannot be involved in a war that is in favour of democratic purposes when India itself is not a free country. This argument exposed the two-faced image of the colonisers and within half a decade, they were out of this country.

Interested in General Knowledge and Current Affairs? Click here to stay informed and know what is happening around the world with our G.K. and Current Affairs section.

Essay on the Role of Mahatma Gandhi in India’s struggle for freedom

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

a. Introduction:

One could write volumes of papers criticizing Gandhiji’s actions but no one could afford to deny the fact that his life and activities occupies a major portion of the story of India’s struggle for Independence.

Indeed, it was under his leadership that the Indian national movement attained a new dimension.

b. ‘Satyagralia’:


Gandhiji discovered a new technique of resistance based on religion and truth.

This new technique was called ‘Satyagraha”. Gandhiji’s creed of Satyagraha aimed at redressing a wrong at the door of the opponent.

After his success in the initial experiment of satyagraha in South Africa he applied this technique to India’s struggle for freedom.

c. Gandhiji’s Political Career:

The success that Gandhiji achieved at Champaran and Ahmedabad through non-violence helped him to decide his future course of action.

In 1919 the Rowlatt Bill was publicized. Gandhiji reacted to this unjust Rowlatt Bill by organizing Satyagraha Sahha and called upon people to observe a day of ‘hartal’.

But when he found that the forces of violence had not yet been eradicated he retraced his steps. A similar fate awaited the Non Co-operation movement that Gandhiji inaugurated in 1920.

d. Hindu-Muslim Unity:

Non Co-operation Movement:

Gandhiji laid stress on the Hindu-Muslim unity, for, he considered it to be one of the fundamental points necessary for forming and strengthening the nation.

This conviction of his led him to include the Muslim demand for vindication of the prestige of the Caliph with the demand for the fulfilment of Swaraj in the Non-violent Non Co­operation Movement.

When the movement was at its height the Chauri Chaura incident, in which 22 constables were burnt to death by the infuriated mob, led to the suspension of it.

e. Gandhiji on Untouchability:

Gandhiji also addressed himself to the social problem of ‘untouchabilitv”.

He coined a new word harijan to substit.ite ‘achhut’ (untouchables) Gandhiji’s ambition was to reintegrate the hahjans within the social and cultural life of the caste-Hindu society.

During the 30s of the present century Gandhiji undertook a vigorous anti-touchability campaign alongside the constructive programme.

Meanwhile on the political front there had begun the Civil Disobedience Movement.

f. Gandhiji and Civil Disobedience:

Gandhiji deliberately had chosen the item of salt in his agenda for civil disobedience. For; salt was an item consumed by all irrespective of class, creed, religion, rich and poor.

And thereby he ensured mass participation in the movement. Manufacture of salt being a monopoly of the government, breaking of the Salt Law was also to hit the British government economically.

The British government reacted with brutal force, but after some time attempts were made to settle the issue with Gandhiji. Readiness for compromise was also an essential feature of Gandhiji’s tactics.

As the British govt, conceded some of the vital demands (e.g manufacture of salt) Gandhiji may be said to have achieved partial success.

g. Quit India Movement:

In 1942 his slogan ‘Do or Die’ was raised in the wake of the Japanese aggression which seemed imminent.

This was his sort of last bid call to the people of India to win freedom Gandhiji called upon the British to ‘Quit India’ so that the Indians could find themselves in a stronger position to meet the Japanese aggression.

‘Quit India’ may be regarded as the culminating point in Gandhiji’s work within the national struggle for Independence.

h. Conclusion:

After 1945 Gandhiji gradually withdrew himself from politics Growing violence worried him.

Communal violence became his immediate concern. Gandhiji also realized that his influence in the counsels of the Congress waned perceptibly.

No doubt he later on participated in the talks with the British authorities on various issues in the process of the transfer or power, but the results did not coincide with his wishes However.

Gandhiji was very much opposed to the partition of India’ But he was one not to impose any of his will on others. Nor he had the intention to block a settlement which the leaders had accepted.

Indeed, he maintained this personal democratic approach till the end. Gandhiji undertook his final fast against communal madness early in January, 1948, and he was assassinated on 30 January, 1948.

Related Articles:

  • What was the Role of Gandhiji in the Freedom Struggle of India?
  • Analyse the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom movement of India
  • Essay on the Emergence of Gandhi in India’s Struggle for Freedom
  • Short Essay on Mahatma Gandhi and his Leadership

General Studies

All Programmes

Study Material

Mahatma Gandhi's Movements during Freedom Struggle


Modern History

Prelims : History of India and Indian National Movement.

Mains : Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

Mahatma Gandhi Movements: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat. He earned a degree in law from England in 1891. Before entering Indian politics in 1915, he was in South Africa from 1893 to 1914. In the course of his struggle in South Africa, he developed his political philosophy based on non-violence and Satyagraha to give a new direction to the mass movement.

The emergence of Mahatma Gandhi in Indian politics marked the beginning of a new phase in the Indian national movement, the phase of mass movements. This made Gandhi become the most important figure in the history of the Indian freedom struggle.

Arrival of Gandhi in India

Gandhi returned to India in January 1915. His efforts were well known in South Africa, not just among the educated but also among the common people.

  • Gandhiji spent a year travelling around British India, getting to know the land and its people on the advice of Gopal Krishna Gokhale . In February 1916, he made his first major public appearance at the inauguration of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) .
  • Gandhiji’s speech at Banaras revealed that Indian nationalism was an elite phenomenon, and he wished tomake Indian nationalism more properly representative of the Indian people as a whole.

Champaran Satyagraha (1917)

Champaran Satyagraha was the first attempt at mobilising the Indian masses by Gandhi on an invitation by Rajkumar Shukla in the context of indigo peasants of Champaran. This Gandhian Movement was the First Civil Disobedience in India.

  • It was mainly due to the tinkathia system of indigo farmers , where peasants were forced to grow indigo on 3/20 part of their total land. 
  • Gandhi intervened in the matter but was asked to leave the place by authorities. However, Gandhi refused to leave, thus disobeying the order. Eventually, Gandhi was able to convince the government about the illness of the tinkathia system and look into the matter. 
  • The government appointed a committee to go into the matter and nominated Gandhi as a member. As a result, the tinkathia system was abolished, and in a compromise settlement, only 25 % of the money taken by peasants was compensated.
  • Participants: Rajendra Prasad, Narhari Parekh, and J.B. Kripalani 

Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918)

Following the Champaran Satyagraha, the next step in mobilising the masses was the workers of Ahmedabad's urban centre. Ahmedabad Mill Strike was the result of the disagreement between the textile workers and the mill owners arose in March 1918 regarding the end of the plague bonus. 

  • Mill owners paid bonuses of 75% of their salary to retain the workers during the outbreak of the plague in 1917. But, after the end of the plague, workers were demanding an increase of 50 % in wages while mill owners were advocating discontinuance of the bonus. As a result, a deadlock was created. 
  • Gandhi intervened at the request of Anusuya Sarabhai and undertook a fast unto death. As a result, owners agreed to the 35% wage hike.
  • This was the first movement where fasting , a means of self-suffering to create moral pressure, was used by Gandhi as a political weapon in India.

Kheda Satyagraha (1918)

Due to the failure of the monsoon, the peasants of the Kheda district were in distress. In 1918, they mobilised themselves, demanding revenue relief from the government due to the crop failure and rise in prices. Kheda Satyagraha was the First Non-Cooperation by Gandhi in the Indian National Movement.

  • According to the government's famine code, cultivators were entitled to total remission if crop yield fell below 25% of the average. But the authorities rejected it. As a result, peasants turned to Gandhi.
  • Gandhi intervened on behalf of the poor peasants, advising them to withhold payment and 'fight unto death against such a spirit of vindictiveness and tyranny.'
  • The government ordered it to be restrained in the collection of revenues (collected only from those ryots who could afford to pay) and not to confiscate lands. Gandhi decided to withdraw from the struggle.
  • Participants: Sardar Vallabhbhai Pate l , Narahari Parikh, and Indulal Yagnik.

Satyagraha Against the Rowlatt Act (1919)

In 1917, a sedition committee was formed under Justice Sidney Rowlatt to curb revolutionary activities and investigate the ‘seditious conspiracy’. It recommended the Rowlatt Act (Anarchic and Revolutionary Offenses Act of 1919) ought to limit the liberty of the people passed by the Imperial Legislative Council. Gandhi launched the Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act . 

  • The Rowlatt Act allowed political and revolutionary activists to be tried without judicial proceedings or even imprisoned without trial for two years. It also suspended the right to habeas corpus and the right to appeal. 
  • Gandhiji called it the “Black Act '' and launched the satyagraha against the Act. It involved fasting, praying, disobeying laws, and risking arrest and imprisonment. The satyagraha brought Gandhi to the centre of the Indian national movement. 
  • Gandhi also organised Satyagraha Sabha, his own organisation, to carry out the movement. However, due to the violence in some parts of India, Gandhi had to call off the Satyagraha. 
  • Gandhi's ability to connect with the masses was demonstrated during this Satyagraha. Gandhian ideology and methods for the freedom struggle (Non-violence and Satyagraha) were introduced to the Indian masses. 

Non-Cooperation Movement (1921-22)

The horrific massacre at Jallianwala Bagh took place in the backdrop of protests against the Rowlatt Act. As a result, Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920.

  • In September 1920, the Congress held a special session in Calcutta and resolved to accept Gandhi's proposal of non-cooperation with the British government until Khilafat and Punjab grievances were addressed and self-government was established.
  • This Gandhian movement was merged with the Khilafat movement, which demanded that the Turkish Sultan or Khalifa retain control over the Muslim sacred places in the erstwhile Ottoman empire. 
  • Methods: Non-cooperation movement included the boycott of schools, colleges, courts, government offices, legislatures, and foreign goods and the return of government-conferred titles and awards.
  • Withdrawal: Mahatma Gandhi withdrew the non-cooperation movement following the Chauri Chaura violent incident on 5 February 1922 , in which 23 police officers were killed. After the withdrawal, he focussed on the constructive programme of social reforms. 

Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-34)

After the Non-Cooperation Movement, the Civil Disobedience Movement (also known as Salt Satyagraha ) is regarded as the second major mass movement and a significant advancement in broadening the social reach of India's freedom struggle. 

  • Gandhi declared at the Calcutta Congress in 1928 that the British must grant India dominion status, or the country would erupt in a revolution for complete independence. The British paid no attention to this. As a result, INC in its Lahore session (1929) demanded ‘Punra Swaraj’ , and decided to celebrate 26th January as ‘ Independence Day’ . It also declared that a civil disobedience movement would be started under the leadership of Gandhi.
  • Gandhi announced the 'Dandi March' against the unjust tax on salt as part of the movement. On April 6 1930 , he violated the salt regulations, thereby launching the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Induced by Gandhi's extraordinary endeavours at Dandi, defiance of the salt laws spread throughout the country. However, it was halted for a period after the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. 
  • When the movement was resumed after the failure of the Second Round Table conference, it began to dwindle towards the end of 1932. It was officially withdrawn in May 1934 .

Quit India Movement (1942)

The Quit India Movement (August Kranti Movement) was the ‘third great wave’ of India’s struggle for freedom, launched on August 8, 1942 , under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. This Gandhian Movement was more of a rejection of British rule than a traditional Satyagraha, and it influenced the unprecedented and tumultuous events that occurred in Indian history over the next five years.

  • It was the result of Indian disillusionment with British rule, with the immediate causes being the failure of the Cripps mission and the hardships caused by World War II . 
  • On August 8, 1942, the All India Congress Committee met at Gowalia Tank in Bombay and passed the famous Quit India Resolution. On the same day, Gandhi issued his 'Do or Die' call. It demanded an end to British rule in India with immediate effect, the formation of a provisional government after the war and the declaration of free India .
  • As a result, major leaders of the Indian National Congress were arrested and imprisoned without trial by British officials. However, the protests continued across the country with huge mass participation. 
  • Although it did not immediately achieve its goals, it contributed to the weakening of British rule and paved the way for the independence of India . 

PYQs on Gandhian Movements 

Q)  Many voices had strengthened and enriched the nationalist movement during the Gandhian phase. Elaborate (UPSC Mains 2019)

Q)  Throw light on the significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times. (UPSC Mains 2018)

Q)  With reference to the British colonial rule in India, consider the following statements: (UPSC Prelims 2019)

  • Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in the abolition of the system of ‘indentured labour’.
  • In Lord Chelmsford’s ‘War Conference’, Mahatma Gandhi did not support the resolution on recruiting Indians for World War.
  • Consequent upon the breaking of the Salt Law by the Indian people, the Indian National Congress was declared illegal by the colonial rulers.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 1 and 3 only

c) 2 and 3 only

d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (b)

Q)  Which one of the following is a very significant aspect of the Champaran Satyagraha? (UPSC Prelims 2018)

a) Active all-India participation of lawyers, students and women in the National Movement.

b) Active involvement of Dalit and Tribal communities of India in the National Movement.

c) Joining of peasant unrest to India’s National Movement.

d) Drastic decrease in the cultivation of plantation crops and commercial crops

Answer: (c)

Question 5: Quit India Movement was launched in response to (UPSC Prelims 2013)

a) Cabinet Mission Plan

b) Cripps Proposals

c) Simon Commission Report

d) Wavell Plan

FAQs on Gandhian Movements

What are the 7 major movements of gandhiji.

The seven major movements of Mahatma Gandhi included the Champaran Movement, the Ahmedabad Mill Strike, the Kheda Movement, the Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act, the Non-cooperation Movement, the Civil Disobedience Movement, and the Quit India Movement.

What was Gandhi's first movement in India?

The Champaran Satyagraha of 1917 was Gandhi's first Satyagraha movement in India and is regarded as a historically significant revolt in the Indian Independence Movement. During the British colonial period, a farmer's uprising occurred in the Champaran district of Bihar, India.

What are some of the challenges that Gandhian movements faced?

Gandhian movements faced challenges such as resistance from colonial authorities, lack of widespread support, internal divisions, and the difficulty of maintaining nonviolent discipline among participants. Additionally, economic and social realities often clashed with the idealistic principles of Gandhi's philosophy, making it challenging to achieve lasting change.

What was the impact of the Gandhian movements on the Indian independence struggle?

The Gandhian movements had a profound impact on the Indian independence struggle. Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolent resistance (Satyagraha) and civil disobedience mobilised millions of Indians, uniting them in a peaceful but determined quest for freedom. His leadership inspired the Quit India Movement and other campaigns that eventually led to India gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1947, marking a historic achievement in the nation's history.

Where and when did Mahatma Gandhi make his first public appearance in India upon coming back from South Africa?

On February 4, 1916, in BHU, Gandhiji made his first public appearance since his return from South Africa. He spoke to the crowd in BHU, which was primarily made up of impressionable youngsters, princes, well-dressed individuals, etc.

© 2024 Vajiram & Ravi. All rights reserved

Optimize IAS

  • Daily Practice Sheets
  • Daily Prelims Notes
  • Prelims Power Play
  • Mains Factly
  • Sunday Essay Sadhna
  • Laqshya 2025
  • Daily Answer Writing
  • Mains Master Notes
  • Important Topics List for Prelims 2024
  • Daily Prelims Notes Compilation
  • Daily Practice Sheet Compilation
  • PPP Compilation
  • General Studies Notes
  • UPSC Mains Previous Year Papers
  • Portal Login

Contribution of Mahatma Gandhi in freedom movement

  • October 2, 2022
  • Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
  • Category: DPN Topics

Subject :History

Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated all over the country on October 2.

  • Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2 October, 1869 at Porbandar, Gujarat.
  • Mahatma Gandhi was a  renowned freedom activist  who had played an important role in India’s struggle for Independence against the British rule of India.
  • His ideology of truth and non-violence influenced  many and was also  adopted by Martin Luther and Nelson Mandela for their struggle movement.

Early Life:

  • At the age of 19, Mohandas left home to study law in London at the Inner Temple, one of the city’s four law colleges. Upon returning to India in mid-1891, he set up a law practice in Bombay, but met with little success. He soon accepted a position with an Indian firm that sent him to its office in South Africa. Along with his wife, Kasturbai, and their children, Gandhi remained in South Africa for nearly 20 years.
  • Books that inspired Mahatma Gandhi : Unto this Last by John Ruskin and The Kingdom of God is within you’ by Leo Tolstoy.
  • English artist John Ruskin’s book  Unto This Last  inspired Gandhi and he set up Phoenix Farm near Durban. Here, Gandhi would train his cadres on non-violent Satyagraha or peaceful restraint. Phoenix Farm is considered as the birthplace of Satyagraha. However, it was at the Tolstoy Farm , Gandhi’s second camp in South Africa, where Satyagraha was molded into a weapon of protest.

Associations by Gandhiji in South Africa:

  • Natal Indian Congress
  • Passive Resistance Association

Journals by Gandhiji in South Africa:

  • Indian Opinion

Gandhiji in India:

  • In 1915, after returning from South Africa, where he had perfected the art of non-violent resistance or satyagraha,  Mahatma Gandhi spent the next few years in fully understanding Indian conditions and  travelled widely across the length and breadth of this vast nation .
  • Gandhi also met the Congress leadership and took everyone’s suggestions on board, before taking tentative steps towards launching himself into the Indian Independence struggle.
  • While the Indian freedom movement can be thought of as one single struggle that lasted decades, in reality there were  phases of great activity and relatively lull periods as well.  And much of this calendar of protests and tactical retreat was decided by Gandhi himself, who apart from being the greatest advocate of peace and violence in modern times,  was also a brilliant organiser of mass movements.  He understood the people’s pulse like few others.
  • Champaran Movement:  The Champaran Movement is regarded as the  first modern civil disobedience movement in India . It took place in the then Champaran district of northern Bihar. The  Indian labourers and farm-workers here tilled the land but all the profits went to the European landowners.  The labourers protested but it was Gandhi’s involvement in their struggle that culminated in the Champaran Agrarian Act, 1918, which helped farmers secure greater rights over their own land. The success of Champaran made many more Indians aware of Gandhi and his principles, and the Congress party found its greatest mass leader.
  • Ahmedabad Mill Worker Satyagraha: In March 1918, under the leadership of Gandhi, there was a strike in the cotton mills. In this strike Gandhi used the weapon of Hunger strike.
  • Kheda Satyagraha:  In Kheda, Gujarat, despite crop failures, the  farmers’ desperate pleas for tax remission fell on deaf ears.  Gandhi’s message to them was to withhold revenue and fight peacefully but bravely against such vindictiveness and tyranny. Another rising star of the freedom movement, SardarVallabhbhai Patel , also played a key role in this struggle of 1918. The local government eventually came out with a solution that was acceptable to both parties. The Champaran and Kheda campaigns were limited to specific areas, but they gave Gandhi the confidence to launch his major pan-Indian movements in future.
  • Rowlatt Act Satyagraha : During World War I (1914–18), the British government of India enacted a series of repressive emergency powers that were intended to combat subversive activities. The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919 popularly known as Rowlatt Act (Black Act) which was passed on 10 th March, 1919, authorised the government to imprison or confine, without a trial, any person associated with seditious activities which led to nationwide unrest. Gandhiji called for a one-day general strike ( Rowlatt Satyagraha ) throughout the country.
  • Non-Cooperation Movement : The Non-Cooperation movement (1920-22) was the  first mass movement launched by Gandhi, seeking self-government or swaraj  for all Indians. It followed from Gandhi’s deeply held ideals of satyagraha and civil disobedience, and he called upon Indians to boycott all institutions linked to the British including courts and colleges, give up titles and refuse to pay taxes. Audacious in scope, the Non-Cooperation movement may not have been a 100 per cent success, but it made millions of Indians understand the true meaning of a modern, organised political movement and its power.
  • Dandi March : An unqualified masterstroke, the Dandi March brought Mahatma Gandhi’s  political genius and sense of timing to the fore . He started the historic march from Sabarmati Ashram to the coastal village of Dandi in March 1930. While the basic reason was to protest against the unacceptably high salt tax levied by the British, it turned into something much bigger as thousands of people joined Gandhi on his 24-day march. The Dandi March became the talking point across the country and the whole nation was inspired. From that moment onwards,  non-violent resistance against the British became the natural course of action for a vast section of Indians for the remaining years of the Raj. 
  • Quit India Movement:  By the beginning of the 1940s, the British knew that their days in India were numbered, but they used the excuse of World War 2 to delay any talk of India’s independence. In August 1942, the All-India Congress Committee passed the famous ‘Quit India’ resolution in Bombay, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, who also gave the  slogan of ‘Do or Die’ . The entire leadership of the Congress was arrested, but that didn’t stop thousands of protests against British rule in every corner of the country. There was no middle path now: the British had to quit India.

Journals of Gandhiji

  • Mahatma Gandhi was offered editorship of Young India and Navjivan
  • In February 1933 Gandhiji started  Harijan, Harijanbandhu, Harijansevak in English, Gujarati and Hindi,

Organisations by Mahatma Gandhi

  • Harijan Sevak Sangh
  • All India spinners association
  • Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association
  • All India Village Industries’ Association

Drishti IAS

  • Classroom Programme
  • Interview Guidance
  • Online Programme
  • Drishti Store
  • My Bookmarks
  • My Progress
  • Change Password
  • From The Editor's Desk
  • How To Use The New Website
  • Help Centre

Achievers Corner

  • Topper's Interview
  • About Civil Services
  • UPSC Prelims Syllabus
  • GS Prelims Strategy
  • Prelims Analysis
  • GS Paper-I (Year Wise)
  • GS Paper-I (Subject Wise)
  • CSAT Strategy
  • Previous Years Papers
  • Practice Quiz
  • Weekly Revision MCQs
  • 60 Steps To Prelims
  • Prelims Refresher Programme 2020

Mains & Interview

  • Mains GS Syllabus
  • Mains GS Strategy
  • Mains Answer Writing Practice
  • Essay Strategy
  • Fodder For Essay
  • Model Essays
  • Drishti Essay Competition
  • Ethics Strategy
  • Ethics Case Studies
  • Ethics Discussion
  • Ethics Previous Years Q&As
  • Papers By Years
  • Papers By Subject
  • Be MAINS Ready
  • Awake Mains Examination 2020
  • Interview Strategy
  • Interview Guidance Programme

Current Affairs

  • Daily News & Editorial
  • Daily CA MCQs
  • Sansad TV Discussions
  • Monthly CA Consolidation
  • Monthly Editorial Consolidation
  • Monthly MCQ Consolidation

Drishti Specials

  • To The Point
  • Important Institutions
  • Learning Through Maps
  • PRS Capsule
  • Summary Of Reports
  • Gist Of Economic Survey

Study Material

  • NCERT Books
  • NIOS Study Material
  • IGNOU Study Material
  • Yojana & Kurukshetra
  • Chhatisgarh
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh

Test Series

  • UPSC Prelims Test Series
  • UPSC Mains Test Series
  • UPPCS Prelims Test Series
  • UPPCS Mains Test Series
  • BPSC Prelims Test Series
  • RAS/RTS Prelims Test Series
  • Daily Editorial Analysis
  • YouTube PDF Downloads
  • Strategy By Toppers
  • Ethics - Definition & Concepts
  • Mastering Mains Answer Writing
  • Places in News
  • UPSC Mock Interview
  • PCS Mock Interview
  • Interview Insights
  • Prelims 2019
  • Product Promos
  • Mains Practice Questions
  • Filter By :
  • Indian Heritage & Culture
  • Indian Society

Mains practice questions is now being continued in Be Mains Ready program with a dedicated syllabus coverage for Mains 2019. To join this program, click here "Be Mains Ready program"

Q. What was Mahatma Gandhi's contribution to the Indian freedom struggle and how did his ideologies and tactics shape the course of India's struggle for independence? (250 words)

  • Start your answer by briefly introducing the role of Mahatma Gandhi in freedom struggle.
  • Discuss how his ideologies and tactics shape the course of India's struggle for independence.
  • Conclude accordingly.


Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. He emerged as a leading figure in the Indian National Congress in the 1920s and became known for his principles of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Gandhi led many successful campaigns, including the Salt March in 1930, where he and his followers marched to the Arabian Sea to protest the British monopoly on salt production. This campaign resulted in the Indian Salt Act being repealed and the British government conceding to Indian demands for greater autonomy.

Ideologies and Tactics that Shape the Course of India's struggle for independence

  • Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence, also known as "ahimsa," was at the core of his political and social beliefs. He believed that violence only begets more violence, and that non-violent resistance was a more effective way of bringing about change in society.
  • Gandhi's non-violent approach influenced many other civil rights and liberation movements around the world.
  • Satyagraha, which means "truth force" or "soul force," was a method of non-violent resistance that Gandhi developed and used extensively in India's independence struggle.
  • It involved the use of civil disobedience, strikes, boycotts, and other non-violent means to challenge unjust laws and oppressive policies.
  • Satyagraha aimed at converting the oppressor through persuasion and appeals to their conscience rather than through force or coercion.
  • Non-cooperation was another strategy that Gandhi used to challenge British authority in India. He called on Indians to boycott British goods, institutions, and laws, and to refuse to pay taxes or participate in British-run elections. The non-cooperation movement aimed to make India ungovernable and to force the British to negotiate for Indian independence.
  • Civil disobedience was a form of non-violent resistance that involved breaking unjust laws or regulations and accepting the consequences of those actions.
  • Gandhi famously led the Salt March in 1930, in which he and thousands of followers marched to the Arabian Sea to make their own salt in defiance of British salt laws.
  • Civil disobedience was a powerful tool in Gandhi's arsenal and helped to mobilize mass support for the independence movement.

Mahatma Gandhi's contribution to the Indian freedom struggle was immense. His philosophy of non-violence and civil disobedience, his tactics of non-cooperation and civil disobedience, and his leadership united the Indian masses and forced the British to confront the demands of the Indian people. Gandhi's legacy continues to inspire people all over the world to fight for justice and freedom.

To get PDF version, Please click on "Print PDF" button.

essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi


  • Misleading Claims About Gandhi...

Misleading Claims About Gandhi Getting Personal Allowance In Prison Revived

Gandhi did not receive this allowance personally. the sum was used by the prison administration for his maintenance..

' class=

An image of a letter is circulating with a false claim that Mahatma Gandhi personally received a monthly allowance of 100 rupees from the British Empire during his time in the prison. The claims indicate towards a political compromise between the two. The photograph of the letter is circulating with the caption, "Finally, that letter was found in national records.....In 1930, MK Gandhi was getting ₹100 per month from the British for personal expenses. At that time, the market price of 10 grams of gold was ₹18. The market value of ₹100 of that time is currently around *₹2.88 lakhs.* But why were they paying Gandhi? To help the British crush the real freedom fighters?It must be remembered that at that time, the non-cooperation movement had reached its peak." Click here to see the post and here to see the archive.

BOOM had debunked similar misleading claims when they were viral in 2023. At that time, we found the scanned version of the viral letter in the national archives portal (page 51). After a thorough reading, BOOM did not find any indication of Gandhi receiving this allowance of Rs 100 directly. In the archives section on the website Indian Culture, we found a document from 5 May 1930 stating, "An allowance of one hundred rupees per mensem is sanctioned for the maintenance of Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This allowance should be remitted to the Superintendent of the Yeravada Central Prison." This clarifies that the sum was not directly received by Gandhi. Historian Ramachandra Guha also told BOOM that the then Bombay Government requested the Government of India to bear the additional expenses they are incurring on account of keeping a major political figure like Gandhi in prison after the Salt March through the letter. Among Gandhi's archived letters on Gandhi Heritage Portal we found a letter , dated 10 May 1930, addressed to E.E. Doyle, Inspector-General of Prisons of Bombay Presidency, where Gandhi states that he "must avoid, as much as possible, the special privileges offered" to him by the government."


Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birth Name and Legacy

This essay about Martin Luther King Jr. explores his early life his father’s influence in renaming the family and his profound impact on the Civil Rights Movement. It discusses King’s educational journey leadership in advocating for nonviolent activism and legislative achievements in promoting racial equality. Tragically assassinated in 1968 King’s legacy endures as a beacon of courage and moral leadership in the ongoing fight against injustice emphasizing his enduring commitment to justice equality and nonviolent protest.

How it works

Swallow of Luther King the Junior known for his central role in American Civil Motion of Rights was Junior Michael King what was born on January 15 1929 in Atlanta Georgia. His father Sr Michael King. preacher Baptist traveled to Germany in 1934 and was deeply inspired by Swallow of leader of Protestant Reformation of Luther. In a contribution to the ideals of Luther of justice and equality Sr Michael King. his proper name is changed to Swallow of Luther King. In course of time he also changed his name of son to Swallow of Luther King Swallow

Swallow of Luther King that Junior grew in family deeply Baptist was rooted in traditions and devoted to the social justice.

His education in Atlanta provided directly experiences to the pedigree segregation and discrimination forming his early understanding to inequality. King surpassed second academic ending College of Morehouse with a baccalaureate in sociology before pursuit of teologicznych studies in Priest of Seminar Crozer in Pennsylvania and later in University of Boston where he earned the Ph.D. in systematic theology.

Obligation of Doctor King before nonviolent activity and civil resistance became central to his leadership in Civil Motion of Rights. Inspiredly Mahatma Gandhi by philosophy of nonviolence King protected that room protests and legal calls attained to pedigree equality in the united states. His leadership during Boycott of Bus of Montgomery in 1955 and his known I “delivered the language of Dream” during March on Washington in 1963 heaved up him to the national nominal division for civil laws.

Activity of king stretched on a pedigree segregation to contain more wide problems of economic justice and opposition to Vietnam of War removing his faith in interconnectedness of all created from oppression. His efforts climaxed in passing of Civil Laws Operate 1964 and Rights for Voting Operate 1965 considerable legislative achievements that the dismantled legal segregation and provided voting right for African Americans.

Tragically Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4 1968 in Memphis Tennessee while supporting striking sanitation workers. His death sparked mourning nationwide and underscored the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America. Despite his untimely death King’s legacy endures as a symbol of courage resilience and moral leadership in the fight against injustice.

In conclusion Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth name Michael King Jr. was changed to Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of his father’s admiration for Martin Luther. His life’s work and legacy as a prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement continue to inspire generations worldwide emphasizing the enduring importance of justice equality and nonviolent activism in the pursuit of a more just society.


Cite this page

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birth Name and Legacy. (2024, Jul 06). Retrieved from

"Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birth Name and Legacy." , 6 Jul 2024, (2024). Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birth Name and Legacy . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 8 Jul. 2024]

"Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birth Name and Legacy.", Jul 06, 2024. Accessed July 8, 2024.

"Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birth Name and Legacy," , 06-Jul-2024. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 8-Jul-2024] (2024). Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birth Name and Legacy . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 8-Jul-2024]

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Hire a writer to get a unique paper crafted to your needs.


Our writers will help you fix any mistakes and get an A+!

Please check your inbox.

You can order an original essay written according to your instructions.

Trusted by over 1 million students worldwide

1. Tell Us Your Requirements

2. Pick your perfect writer

3. Get Your Paper and Pay

Hi! I'm Amy, your personal assistant!

Don't know where to start? Give me your paper requirements and I connect you to an academic expert.

short deadlines

100% Plagiarism-Free

Certified writers


  1. Essay on mahatma gandhi in english -300 Words

    essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

  2. 10 lines on Mahatma Gandhi || Freedom Fighter || Essay writing

    essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

  3. (PDF) Mahatma Gandhi's Life and Freedom Struggle

    essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

  4. Essay on Mahatma Gandhi [100, 150, 200, 300, 500 Words]

    essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

  5. SOLUTION: Essay on the Life of the Indian freedom fighter "Mahatma

    essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi

  6. Role Of Mahatma Gandhi In Freedom Struggle

    essay on freedom struggle of mahatma gandhi


  1. Mahatma Gandhi: A Journey from Gujarat to India's Freedom Icon

  2. Mahatma Gandhi Essay ppt download

  3. India’s Freedom Struggle- Early Campaigns and Mass Movement class-8

  4. English Essay on Mahatma Gandhi in 300 words

  5. Essay on Mahatma Gandhi in English/Mahatma Gandhi Essay Writing

  6. The Biography of Mahatma Gandhi


  1. Essay on Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle

    Mahatma Gandhi's role in India's freedom struggle was transformative. His non-violent approach, ability to mobilize the masses, and vision for Swaraj were instrumental in shaping the course of India's freedom struggle. His philosophies have left an indelible mark on India's ethos and continue to inspire movements for civil rights and ...

  2. Essay on Mahatma Gandhi

    500+ Words Essay on Mahatma Gandhi. Essay on Mahatma Gandhi - Mahatma Gandhi was a great patriotic Indian, if not the greatest. He was a man of an unbelievably great personality. He certainly does not need anyone like me praising him. Furthermore, his efforts for Indian independence are unparalleled. Most noteworthy, there would have been a ...

  3. Mahatma Gandhi Essay for Students in English

    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, often called the 'Father of the Nation', was a leader who fought for India's freedom from British rule.He believed in non-violence. Every year on October 2nd, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti to honor his efforts in freeing India.. English Essay on Mahatma Gandhi. Rabindranath Tagore was the first to call Gandhiji 'Mahatma,' which means ...

  4. Father Of The Nation

    In 1916, he returned to India and took up the leadership of National Freedom Struggle. After the death of freedom fighter and congress leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak on August, 1920, Gandhi became virtually the sole navigator of the ship of the congress. Gandhi had whole heartedly supported the British during the 1st World War (1914-1919).

  5. Mahatma Gandhi

    Mahatma Gandhi (born October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India—died January 30, 1948, Delhi) was an Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India. As such, he came to be considered the father of his country.

  6. Essay on Mahatma Gandhi 1000+ Words

    Gandhi's life and philosophy left an indelible mark on the fight for civil rights, freedom, and social justice. In this essay, we will explore the profound impact of Mahatma Gandhi's life and principles, emphasizing his role in India's struggle for independence, his advocacy for nonviolence, and his enduring legacy.

  7. Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle

    The role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle helped to shape Independence in India. In this article, we will learn about the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom struggle, Champaran Satyagraha, Kheda Satyagraha, Ahmedabad mill strike, Non- cooperation movement, and civil disobedience movement in detail.

  8. (PDF) Gandhi's Role in Indian Freedom Struggle: A Critical

    The Indian Freedom Struggle provides the best examples of nationalism and patriotism which may be adopted and pursued in order to root out the undemocratic institutions of colonialism. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as 'Mahatma Gandhi' or Bapu was a moral reformist.

  9. Gandhi on freedom, rights and responsibility

    Gandhi defies the stereotype of the positive freedom theorist as authoritarian by stressing civil liberties. The extent of his affirmation of individual rights and civil liberty should be stressed. "Freedom of speech and civil liberty, "he asserted," are the very roots of swaraj. Without these the foundations of swaraj will remain weak."

  10. Mahatma Gandhi Essay for Students in English

    100 Words Essay On Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi is known as the Mahatma for his outstanding deeds and excellence throughout his life. He was a renowned freedom warrior and non-violent campaigner who lived his life following nonviolence while pushing India to independence from British control. He was only 18 years old while studying law in ...

  11. Essay on Mahatma Gandhi [100, 150, 200, 300, 500 Words]

    Also Read: 10 Lines on Mahatma Gandhi. Essay on Mahatma Gandhi 200-250 Words. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian lawyer, freedom activist, and politician. Gandhiji was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar, Gujarat. His father Karamchand Gandhi was the Chief Minister (diwan) of Porbandar state.

  12. Mahatma Gandhi

    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (ISO: Mōhanadāsa Karamacaṁda Gāṁdhī; 2 October 1869 - 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India's independence from British rule.He inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

  13. Mahatma Gandhi Biography

    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was an Indian political and civil rights leader who played an important role in India's struggle for independence. This essay takes you through his life history, including his philosophy of Satyagraha, non-cooperation, assassination etc.

  14. Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle of India

    The role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle includes Satyagrahs and mass movements. He led Champaran Satyagraha in 1917, Kheda Satyagraha in 1918, the Ahmedabad Mill strike in 1918, the Non-Cooperation movement in 1920, Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930, and the Quit India Movement in 1942.

  15. Essay on My Favourite Freedom Fighter Mahatma Gandhi

    Conclusion. Mahatma Gandhi, my favourite freedom fighter, was more than just a political leader. He was a social reformer, a philosopher, and a beacon of hope for millions. He embodied the spirit of resilience and showed the world the power of non-violence and truth. His life and principles continue to inspire and guide us in our quest for ...

  16. India's Struggle for Independence: Indian Freedom Movement

    In the later years, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian freedom struggle entered its truly mass phase. Champaran movement in Bihar (1917) Mahatma Gandhi, after his struggle against apartheid in South Africa (racial discrimination against blacks) for almost twenty years, returned to India in 1915.

  17. How Gandhi shaped our Independence: 7 major freedom movements initiated

    Mahatma Gandhi was the leader who guided India towards Independence. India was under the British rule for over 250 years. Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915 at the request of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. ... Also known as the Dandi Movement, Gandhi's Salt March is considered to be a pivotal incident in the history of freedom struggle ...

  18. Essay on the Role of Mahatma Gandhi in India's struggle for freedom

    This new technique was called 'Satyagraha". Gandhiji's creed of Satyagraha aimed at redressing a wrong at the door of the opponent. After his success in the initial experiment of satyagraha in South Africa he applied this technique to India's struggle for freedom. c. Gandhiji's Political Career: The success that Gandhiji achieved at ...

  19. Mahatma Gandhi's Life and Freedom Struggle

    Gandhi was a performance manager for the country and a supremely practical leader for change. Mahatma Gandhi believed that truth, tolerance, sacrifice, joy, and the nonviolent rejection of tyranny ...

  20. Mahatma Gandhi's Movements during Freedom Struggle

    Mahatma Gandhi Movements: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat. He earned a degree in law from England in 1891. Before entering Indian politics in 1915, he was in South Africa from 1893 to 1914. In the course of his struggle in South Africa, he developed his political philosophy based on non-violence and Satyagraha to give a new ...

  21. Contribution of Mahatma Gandhi in freedom movement

    Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated all over the country on October 2. Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2 October, 1869 at Porbandar, Gujarat. Mahatma Gandhi was a renowned freedom activist who had played an important role in India's struggle for Independence against the British rule of India. His ideology of truth and non-violence influenced many and was ...

  22. Mahatma Gandhi's Early Movements

    Champaran Satyagraha (1917) The first civil disobedience movement by Gandhi in the freedom struggle. Persuaded by Rajkumar Shukla, an indigo cultivator, Gandhi went to Champaran in Bihar to investigate the conditions of the farmers there. The farmers were suffering under heavy taxes and an exploitative system. They were forced to grow indigo by ...

  23. Main Answer Writing Practice

    Start your answer by briefly introducing the role of Mahatma Gandhi in freedom struggle. Discuss how his ideologies and tactics shape the course of India's struggle for independence. Conclude accordingly. Introduction. Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. He emerged as a leading ...

  24. Misleading Claims About Gandhi Getting Personal Allowance In Prison

    An image of a letter is circulating with a false claim that Mahatma Gandhi personally received a monthly allowance of 100 rupees from the British Empire during his time in the prison. ... But why were they paying Gandhi? To help the British crush the real freedom fighters?It must be remembered that at that time, the non-cooperation movement had ...

  25. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birth Name and Legacy

    Inspiredly Mahatma Gandhi by philosophy of nonviolence King protected that room protests and legal calls attained to pedigree equality in the united states. His leadership during Boycott of Bus of Montgomery in 1955 and his known I "delivered the language of Dream" during March on Washington in 1963 heaved up him to the national nominal ...