• Gandhiji was greatly influenced by the works of Leo Tolstoy Civil Disobe dience and Ruskin Unto this last. His political guru was Gokhale.
  • He came to India in, 1915. His struggle is known as struggle-truce-struggle.
  • Gandhiji's first great experiment in Satyagraha came in 1917 in Champaran (Bihar) where the peasants were forced by their European planters to grow indigo on at least 3/20 of their land and sell it at prices fixed by the planters. This system was known as the Tinkathia system.
  • In 1918, the supported the cause of the textile workers of Ahmadabad. It was here that he used the weapon of hunger strike and won for the workers a 35 per cent increase in wages.
  • In 1918, the Kheda peasant struggle of Gujarat (demanding suspension of revenue collection due to failure of crops) involved Gandhiji and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. These three initial struggles of Gandhiji brought him in close contact with the masses.
  • In 1917, a Row latt committee was formed under Justice Rowlett. This committee was formed to curb revolutionary activities. The Rowlett Bill sought to curtail the liberty of the people. It provided for speedy trail of offences by a special court of 3 high court judges. There was to be no appeal.
  • The provincial government had powers to search a place and arrest a sus- pected person without warrant. 
  • Gandhiji organised the Satyagraha on February 14, 1919. The government gave consent to the act in March, 1919. On April 8, 1919 Gandhiji was arrested.
  • The Jallian Wala Bagh massacre took place on April 13, 1919. The crowd had gathered to protest against the arrest of their popular leaders Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal. General Dyer ordered the firing. On this occasion Tagore renounced his knighthood.
  • The reform introduced by the act of 1919 failed to satisfy the masses. Diarchy was introduced at the provincial level.

Khilafat Movement

  • The main object the Khilafat movement was to force the British govern- ment change its attitude towards Turkey and restore the Khalifa to his former position.
  • A Khilafat committee was formed under the leadership of Ali brothers, Jafar Ali and Mohd. Ali, Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Hasrat Mohani.
  • Gandhiji suggested the Khilafat Committee to adopt a policy of non violent non-cooperation. In June 1920, the Khilafat Committee at Allahabad accepted the suggestion of Gandhiji & asked him to lead the movement.
  • Very soon the Khilafat Movement lost its relevance because Mustafa Kamal Pasha abolished Khilafat and made Turkey a secular state.

Non-Cooperation Movement 

  • The Congress at its Calcutta session (1920) supported Gandhiji's plan for non-cooperation with three main demands before the government (i) redressal of Punjab grievances (ii) Khilafat wrongs (iii) establishment of Swaraj.
  • Tilak passed away on August 1, 1920. Tilak Swaraj Funds was started to found the non-cooperation movement.
  • The visit of Prince of Wales in 1921 led to observance of `hartal' all over the country.
  • The main activities were surrender of titles and honorary offices, refusal to attend government durbars, withdrawal of children from government schools, boycott of courts, boycott of foreign goods.
  • In the Nagpur annual sessions, the Congress subscription was fixed at 4 annas and minimum age for membership was reduced to 18 years of age.
  • Tana Bhagat movement was started in Chotanagpur.
  • The Kashi Vidyapeeth was established.
  • Madras lawyers association was started by Singravellu Chettiyar, the first communist of south India.
  • At Palanad Forest Satyagraha took place.
  • On February 5, 1922, 22 policemen were killed in Chauri Chaura.
  • On February 12, 1922 in the Bardoli session of the Congress, the movement was suspended.
  • On March 10, 1922 Gandhi was imprisoned and sentenced to 6 years jail. He was released in February 1924.

Swaraj Party 

  • The sudden calling off of the non-cooperation movement disappointed many Congress leaders.
  • C.R. Das and Motilal Nehru advocated the end of boycott of the legislatures so as to enter the council and expose the government's weaknesses.
  • Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad and others opposed council entry and were known as 'no-changers'. 
  • In December, 1922, C. R. Das and Motilal Nehru formed the Congress Khilafat Swaraj Party with Das as President.
  • The Belgaon session to Congress, presided over by Mahatma Gandhi. endorsed the council entry.
  • Swarja Party won 42 seats out of the 101 elected seats in the central assembly with clear majority in central province.
  • The Swarajists were split by communalism. The `responsivist' group including Madan Mohan Malviya, Lala Lajpat Rai and N. G. Kelkar offered cooperation to the government of safeguard Hindu interests.
  • The Swarajists finally walked out of legislature in 1930 as a result of the Lahore Congress resolution and the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Simon Commission 

  • In 1927, the British government appointed a commission to look into the working of the government of India Act 1919. The commission was headed by John Simon.
  • This all-white commission with no Indian representation angered the Indians.
  • As the commission reached India in 1928, it was opposed with black flags.
  • The protest in Punjab was led by Lala Lajpat Rai. He was badly hurt and died of injury.
  • The Nehru Report was submitted under Moti Lal Nehru and it suggested dominion status.
  • M. A. Jinnah rejected Nehru Report and presented his famous 14 points in 1929.
  • The Lahore Congress declared complete independence as the aim of the Congress.
  • It invested Gandhiji with full power to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Civil Disobedience Movement

  • The Civil Disobedience Movement started on March 12, 1930 with the Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat coast. On April 6, Gandhiji reached Dandi and broke the Salt Law.
  • In Gujarat, no tax movement was launched in Bardoli.
  • In Tamil Nadu, C. Rajagopalachari conducted a salt march from Trichnopalli to Vedarannayam on the Tanjore coast.
  • At Malabar, the Vikom Satyagraha took place under K. Kelappan.
  • In Bengal, the Chittagong army raid was carried out in April 1930.
  • No tax movement started at Midnapore.
  • In Orissa, Gopa Bandhu Chaudhary was the leader.
  • In Bihar, there was a protest against Chowkidari tax in Sarna, Bhagalpur and Monghyr.
  • In Peshawar, the Khudai Khidmatgar movement was launched by Abdul Gaffar Khan.
  • In Manipur, Rani Gaidilieu was sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • There was defiance of forest laws in Maharashtra, Karnataka and central provinces.
  • There was wide participation of women.
  • The movement was suspended after Gandhi-Irwin pact.
  • It was resumed after the failure of second round table conference.
  • In 1932 Gandhiji was arrested.
  • In 1933 Gandhiji confessed to the failure of the movement.
  • The Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed due to the efforts of Tej Bahadur Sapru, Dr. Jaykar and others to bring about a compromise between the govern-ment and Congress.
  • The government decided to withdraw all ordinances, release all political prisoners and permitted free collection or manufacture of salt. The Congress agreed to suspend CDM and participate in the second round table conference.

Round Table Conferences 

  • The first round table conference was attended by Tej Bahadur Sapru, B. R. Ambedkar, Md. Shafi, M. A. Jinnah, Fazlul Hach Dr. Shafaat Ahmad Khan, Sir Mirza Ismail, Sir Akbar Ilydari, Maharaja of Bikaner, Moonji, Ujjhal Singh, Raja Rajendra Nath, etc.
  • In the second round table conference Mahatma Gandhi took part along with Ambedkar, Sapru, Jayakar, Sarojini Naidu, and M. M. Malaviya etc.
  • The communal award was announced in August 1932 by the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. According to it, the Muslims, Europeans and Sikh voters would elect their candidates by voting in separate communal electorates.
  • Similar provisions were also provided for the depressed classes. This pro-vision was opposed by Gandhiji who decided to go on fast unto death in the Yervada Jail.
  • The Poona Pact was signed on September 25, 1932 at Bombay. The sepa-rate electorate for depressed classes was abolished. Seats reserved for depressed classes increased from 71 to 147 in provincial legislative council and in central legislative council 18 per cent of the seats increased.

August Offer 

  • On August 8, 1940 Lord Linlithgow offered a set of proposals to the Congress for securing its cooperation during the Second World War.
  • Its main proposals were (i) a representative constitution making body to be set up after the war (ii) increase in the number of Indians in the viceroy's executive council (iii) a war advisory council to be setup. The Congress rejected it.
  • In the ramgarh session, the Congress decided on individual Satyagraha. Vinoba Bhave was the 1st satyagrahi.
  • As the Second World War unfolded, the British sent Stafford Cripps to India to hold talks with the Indian leaders. The Cripps Mission failed as it offered dominion status to India and the right to frame a constitution after the war. Gandhiji called it a 'post dated cheque of a falling bank.'

Quit India Movement

  • The failure of the Cripps Mission was the immediate cause of the Quit India Movement.
  • The All India Congress Committee met at Bombay and passed the famous Quit India Resolution. On this occasion Gandhiji gave his famous call of `do or die'.
  • On August 9, Gandhiji and Sarojini Naidu were arrested and taken to Agha Khan Palace.
  • On August 9, 1942, the Congress was banned and all its prominent leaders were arrested.
  • A number of leaders like Jai Prakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and Aruna Asaf Ali went underground and carried on the freedom struggle from there.
  • The people took to violent action and attacked the symbols of the British Authority, the police stations, post offices, railway, etc.
  • In some areas such as Ballia in U.P., Timluk in Bengal and Satara in Maharashtra, the revolutionaries set up parallel governments.
  • In general the students, workers and peasants provided the backbone of the revolt, while the upper class and the bureaucracy remained loyal to the government.
  • At Bombay, Aruna Asaf Ali was active.
  • At Satara, a Prati Sarkar was established. Y. B. Chauhan and Nana Patel were its leaders.
  • In Delhi, Aurna Asaf Ali, C. Krishna Nari and Jugal Kishore were active.
  • In Bihar, Jaiprakash Narayan and Ram Nandan Mishra were active. A parallel government was set up in Manhar in Sitamarhi. Parallel governments were also established in Digwara, Siwan, Manthi, Ekma, Darouli, Parsa, Raghunath Pur and Vaikunthpur.
  • In Midnapur, Tamralipti Jatiya Sarkar was established.
  • In Tamluk, Vidya Vaahini was set up.
  • A parallel government was set up in Sultanpur.

Indian National Army 

  • The idea of Indian National Army was first conceived by Mohan Singh at Malaya. He was an officer of the British Indian Army. The first division of INA was formed in September 1942 with Japanese help.
  • The more vigorous phase of INA began with the arrival of Subhash Chan-dra Bose at Singapore in July 1943. He set up the Azad Hind Government, adopted the tricolor flag and gave the slogan of 'Jai Hind'.
  • He also reorganised the Azad Hind Fauz.
  • To the Indian recruits he said, "You give me blood and I will give you freedom". His war slogan was `Dilli Chalo'. 
  • The provisional government then declared war upon the British government and the United States and was recognised by the axis powers.
  • Subhash Chandra Bose set up two INA head quarters at Rangoon and Singapore. Even a women regiment called Rani Jhansi regiment was formed.
  • Subhash called Gandhiji as 'Father of the Nation'.
  • In May 1944, INA captured Mowbok and hoisted the tricolor flag on Indian soil.
  • The Japanese government handed over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which were renamed Shaheed and Swaraj islands respectively.
  • Unfortunately the fortunes of the war turned against Japan and forced Ja-pan to retreat from Indo-Bhutan border and ultimately the INA troops had to surrender before the British army.
  • The main people in INA were Captain Mrs. Laxmi, S.A. Ayar, A.C. Chat-terjee, Rash Bihari Bose, A. M. Sahay, and A. N. Sarkar etc.
  • The INA had four brigades-Gandhi, Mad, Nehru and Subhash.
  • The government decided to put INA prisoners on trial.
  • The people who faced trials were Prem Sehgal, Shah Nawaz and Gurdial S. Dhillion.
  • Balubhain Desai, Tej Bahadur Sapru, K.N. Katju, Nehru and Asaf Ali ap-peared in the historic Red Fort trials.
  • The INA officers were found guilty by the court material but their sentence was remitted.

Royal Indian Navy Mutiny 

  • On 18th Feb 1946, 1100 naval ratings of the signal school of HMIS Talwaar in Bombay went on strike against racial discrimination, abuses and hardships regarding pay and food.
  • B.C. Dun was arrested for writing Quit India on HMIS Talwaar.
  • A naval central strike committee under M. S. Khan was constituted.
  • In the RIN revolt Karachi was the main centre second only to Bombay where HMIS Hindustan went on strike.
  • In was due to the efforts of Vallabh Bhai Patel that the ratings surrendered.

Muslim League 

  • The unity between the Congress and League was brought about by the Lucknow Pact in 1916 and both put forward common political demands before the government.
  • The pact accepted separate electorates and the system of weightage and reservation of seats of the minorities in the legislature. The Congress thus recognised communal politics.
  • From 1920 to 1923, the activities of the League remained suspended. However the appointment of the Simon Commission and the round table conference that followed again brought the League to activity.
  • By 1934, Jinnah became an undisputed leader of the League. In the election to the provincial legislative councils held in 1937, the League did not perform well. The League observed a day of deliverance when the Congress ministries resigned. The League observed on March 23, 1943 the 'Pakistan day'.
  • In March 1944, Mr. C. Rajagopalachari evolved formula for League Congress cooperation. It was a tacit acceptance of the League's demand for Pakistan. The terms of the C. R. formula was to be binding only in case of transfer to full powers by England.
  • Jinnah rejected the formula on the grounds of common centre and also wanted only the Muslims to vote in the plebiscite instead of entire population.
  • The Desai-Liaqat Pact (1945) proposed for the formation of an interim government at the centre consisting of:
    (i) Equal number of persons nominated by the Congress and the League in the central legislature.
    (ii) Representatives of minorities. However, it could not bring about a settlement between the two.

Hindu Mahasabha 

  • The Punjab Hindu Sabha was founded in 1909. Its leaders U.N Mukherjee and Lal Chand laid down the foundation of Hindu communal ideology and politics.
  • The leading Hindus of Allahabad set up the All India Hindu Mahasabha in 1915 under the presidentship of Maharaja of Kasim Bazaar. The Mahasabha was revived in 1923 and openly began to cater to anti-Muslim sentiments.
  • Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malviya and N.C. Kelkar joined the Hindu Mahasabha and urged for Hindu communal solidarity.
  • Under V.D. Savarkar, who became president in 1938 and was reelected again, the Mahasabha developed a political program. Savarkar popularised the concept of Hindu Rashtra.
  • After the death of Savarkar, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee became the leader of the Hindu Mahasabha and imparted it with a more nationalist outlook.
  • The Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) was founded by Hedgewar in 1925. It became the chief ideology and propagator of extreme communalism.
  • M.S. Golwalkar codified the RSS doctrine in his booklet called 'we'.

Wavell Plan

  • The breakdown of Gandhi-Jinnah talks convinced Wavell, the then governor general, that the initiative should come from the government.
  • He offered a plan to end the constitutional deadlock. For this purpose, he summoned a conference of all the leaders of all political parties at Simla in 1945. His main proposals were:
    * With the exception of governor general and commander-in-chief, all members of the executive council were to be Indians.
    Hindus and Muslims were to have equal representation.
    The constructed council was to function as an interim government with in the framework of existing constitution. 
    * Governor General was to exercise his veto on the advice of ministers.
    The League wanted to choose the Muslim members of the executive council, which was not accept to the Congress. Lord Wavell ended the conference by declaring a failure of talks.
    * In the elections of 1945-46, the Congress captured almost all the non-Muslim seats in all the provinces and the majority of Muslim seats in North West frontier province. It formed ministries in all provinces except Bengal, Punjab and Sind. The League secured majority in Bengal and Sind. In Punjab, a coalition ministry composed of all parties except the Muslim League was formed under Malik Khizr Hayat, leader of the Unionist Party. 

Cabinet Mission (1946) 

  • The Cabinet Mission of 1946 consisted of three ministers of the new British cabinet-Lord Patrick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander.
  • Prime Minister Atlee explained that the minority problem could no longer serve as an excuse for the British to prolong their presence in India, since a minority could not be allowed to place their veto on the advance of the majority.
  • According to the Cabinet Mission plan, there was to be a union of India embracing both the British provinces and princely states with control over foreign affairs, defence and communication.
  • All other subjects were to be vested in provinces and the states but provinces were free to form groups for common action. The idea of Pakistan was rejected by the Mission. India was to be divided into three groups of provinces.
  • The Cabinet Mission also recommended a scheme of constitution making, which provided that the union constitution was to be framed by constituent assemblies and representatives assemblies and representatives of the states joining the union.
  • The mission further suggested the establishment of an interim government having the support of major political parties, in which all the portfolios, including that of the war members were to be held by the Indian leaders enjoying full confidence of the people.
  • The Muslim League accepted the plan in June 1946. The Congress decided to join the proposed constituent assembly but it did not agree to the pro-posal for interim government. The Cabinet Mission left India on June 29, 1946.
  • As the Congress kept out of interim government, the League offered to take office but the Viceroy refused to proceed with one party. This caused the League to withdraw from the Cabinet Mission scheme.
  • Finally, when the Congress offered to join the government and the viceroy admitted their leaders to office with Nehru as Vice President of the council, the League proclaimed a 'direct action day' on August 16, 1946 with battle cry of 'Lekar Rahenge Pakistan' and 'Larkar Lenge Pakistan'.
  • Bloody riots broke out in Calcutta which was soon followed by Bihar.
  • The Congress took office in early September 1946. The League members in fear of isolation joined in October 1946. They adopted obstructionist tactics. Fresh outbreak of communal riots in east Bengal made the situation worse. The League did not join the constituent assembly.
  • The constituent assembly met in Delhi on December 9, 1946 without the participation of the League.
  • Rajendra Prasad was elected as President, and Nehru moved his famous resolution which declared the assembly's solemn resolve to make India an Independent sovereign republic.
  • On February 20, 1947, Atlee announced in Parliament that the government's definite intention was to transfer power into reasonable Indian hands by a date not later than June 1948.
  • This was followed by a near chaotic condition in the country as the League resorted to unabashed violence in Calcutta, Assam, Punjab and North West Frontier province.
  • Atlee also announced the appointment of Lord Mountbatten as Viceroy in place of Wavel.
  • Mountbatten arrived in India on March 22, 1947.
  • The new viceroy had come with the instruction to work for a united India but meeting with leaders of different parties and communities soon con-vinced him that partition was inevitable.
  • Gandhi declared that India would be divided over my dead body.
  • Abul Kalam Azad was vehemently opposed to the creation of Pakistan.
  • Ultimately Mountbatten accepted the plan of V.P. Menon, a high official in the Viceroy's secretariat, which involved the partition of India into two states. Atlee announced the plan in the House of Commons on June 2, 1947 hence it came to be known as June 3rd Plan.
  • The provincial assemblies of Punjab and Bengal would meet in two parts. One representing the Muslim majority districts and the other representing the rest of the province to vote for partition. If a simple majority of either part voted for partition, then these provinces would be partitioned.
  • The legislative assembly of Sind would take its own decision.
  • Referendum in the North West Frontier province and Sylhet district of Bengal would decide the fate of these areas.
  • Independence of princely states ruled out, they would either join India or Pakistan.
  • Provisions for setting up of a boundary commission to demarcate bound-aries in case partition was to be effected. Later this work was done by Radcliffe (the Radcliffe award).
  • The plan of 3rd June was accepted by all political parties. The legisla-tive assemblies of Punjab and Bengal decided in favour of partition. East Bengal and West Punjab joined Pakistan.
  • The referendum in Sylhet resulted in the incorporation of the district in East Bengal. The referendum in NWFP decided in favour of Pakistan, the provincial Congress refraining from the referendum, Baluchistan and Sind joined Pakistan.

India Independence Act 1947

  • The Third June plan was given effect by the Indian Independence Act 1947. This bill was introduced in the British Parliament on July 4, 1947, and only on 18th July got the royal assent. India had won her freedom but the price was partition.
  • The dominion of Pakistan was inaugurated in Karachi on August 14, 1947. Lord Mountbatten was sworn in as governor general. He swore in Jawaharlal Lal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of free India. Jinnah became the Governor General of Pakistan.
  • The 3th June plan said nothing about princely states.
  • Atlee had announced in his speech of February 20, 1947 that Britain would not hand over power and obligations under paramount to any successor government. In theory this meant that the states would become sovereign entities when the British left India.
  • The India Independence Act 1947 said that British paramount over the Indian states was to lapse on August 15, 1947, they were allowed to join either India or Pakistan.
  • Before that date most of the states had signed the instrument of accession by which they agreed to accede to India. But there were some exceptions.
  • Sardar Patel and V. P. Menon tackled the situation with consummate ability.
  • By August 15, 1947 all the 562 states except Kashmir, Hyderabad and Junagarh had been incorporated in the new federal union.
  • The state of Junagarh had a Muslim Nawab though it contained teeming Hindu population. The Nawab opted for Pakistan and adopted repressive measures to force the Hindus to leave their home. But the Indian troops quickly occupied the state. A plebiscite was held which decided in favour of the Indian union.
  • The accession of Hyderabad, the biggest state in India with the Indian union, was not affected without bloodshed. Nizam of Hyderabad made an attempt to claim an independent status but was forced to accede in 1948 after an internal revolt had broken out in the Talengana area and after In-dian troops had marched into Hyderabad.
  • The Maharaja of Kashmir also delayed accession to India or Pakistan even though popular forces led by Sheikh Abdullah's ational conference wanted accession to India. However when Pathans and irregular Kashmir, the Maharaja of Kashmir sought assistance of the government of India. On October 26, 1947, he formally acceded to the Indian Union.