Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

1869 (Young Gandhi):

  • Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) born on 2nd October 1869. Normal family (not very rich, neither poor).
  • Mother of Ghandi very religious Hindu.
  • Gandhi not very good in school + didn't like it.
  • Gandhi married at age of 13, bride = Kasturbai (chosen by parents)
  • When Gandhi was 16 years old father died + wife 1st child, which died as well.
  • Gandhi was sent to London to study law.
  • After 3 years Gandhi returned from London, qualified as barrister.
  • Gandhi asked to go to South Africa
  • S.A. very poor country, slavery, underfed people. Gandhi noticed the colour prejudice.
  • Gandhi thrown out of a train due to racism.


1869-1917 (The founding of the Indian National Congress and a brief outline of its activities 1917)

  • British Raj in India ► intellectuals saw that India needed various reforms.
  • Indian National Congress (founded 1885).
  • By 1887 Congress had 600 delegates (83 Muslims among).
  • In 1905 Congress became suddenly more revolutionary + politically minded (► partition of Bengal)
  • India-wide protest meetings were organized + boycott of foreign goods (Lancashire cotton).
  • 1906, Congress asks first time for Home-rule (swaraj).
  • In England new liberal government which began to introduce reforms which could lead to swaraj.
  • 1909, Morley-Minto reform of India Councils Act (Indians can be elected into provincial + local Legislative Council in appreciable numbers).
  • Ending of partition of Bengal in 1911.
  • WWI, 1914 many Indians voluntary to fight. 1916 ► 1m Indian troops fighting on western front.
  • 1917 new secretary of State (Edwin Montague) ► give India more self-government. Idea of self government, but stay part of British Empire. Congress leaders very pleased.

1917-1920 (Gandhi and the transformation of India and Congress)

  • Gandhi returns 1915 and helps recruitment for British Army.
  • Gandhi didn't want to be involved into Indian politics. Never again lawyer.
  • Establishment of Satyagraha Ashram (established in his old home area of Gujerat near Ahmadabad).
  • Ashram should be birthplace of modern India (New ideas, non-violence + non-rejection of Untouchables (Harijans = Children of God)). People should learn ancient crafts of spinning and weaving to 1) stop outflow of money of India (Lancashire cotton), 2) source of income + employment, 3) manual work = brainwork (respect), 4) beggar problem solved.
  • Untouchable begin to be accepted in the ashram.
  • Gandhi poor, simple life orientated.
  • 1918 end of WWI ► unemployment.
  • 1919 British government pass India Act (India was to be governed till 1935. Most important powers stay in British hands).
  • February 1919 Rowlatt Acts (polit. Prisoners to be tried without jury + imprison suspects without trial).
  • Indians furious about unjust treatment, because they had helped in the war so 1918 national hartal (strike by businessmen + workers).
  • In Punjab 4 Europeans were murdered in Amritsar.
  • 13th April, General Dyer ordered to shoot on 10000 men, women + children to be taught a lesson not to disobey. Result: 379 dead + 1200 wounded (aim ► crushing a revolution which had never existed). General Dyer even got merited for the action taken. Indians now very united against British + lost all trust.
  • Gandhi becomes leader of Congress and dominates for 30 years (Mystic person, which has power to hold Indians together even though different views).
  • 1920 Gandhi demanding swaraj in one year ► massive civil disobedience. Mass boycott of everything British.
  • November 1921 national hartal ► 30000 congressmen arrested.
  • Gandhi tells people not to pay taxes.
  • Then 22 policemen were burned in Chauri-Chaura ► Gandhi called off the satyagraha campaign.
  • Gandhi arrested to rose people up against British.
  • April 1924 Gandhi released out of prison and went around India to preach for non violence + strong discipline.
  • 1923 Jawarharlal Nehru leaves prison (Gandhi in prison) leads the swarajists.
  • Gandhi back to politics in 1928.
  • Nehru experiences Marxism, 1927 in Brussels, Moscow (convinced that India needs socialist society, Gandhi dislikes, but Nehru knows that independence can never be achieved without Gandhi).

1935 (The Simon Commission, civil disobedience, the Round Table Conferences and the Government of India Act)

  • Mass Protest demonstrations against Simon Commission during 1928
  • 1929 Round Table to Conference and discuss India's future.
  • 1929 Congress declares "war" on British. 21st January 1930 was proclaimed as Independence Day.
  • Gandhi launches another satyagraha campaign.
  • Salt tax (everyone also poor understand). Only government was allowed to make + sell salt and it was heavily taxed. Gandhi breaks law doing the salt-march (walk of 241 miles to get salt from Arabian Sea).
  • Gandhi sent to prison again (5+7 years) -> hartal.
  • 1st Round Table Conference in 1930, but no Congress representative attends ► Gandhi released out of prison.
  • Gandhi agrees to 2nd Round Table conference in September 1931.
  • Congress decides about Karachi Resolution (future independent Indian Society).
  • First four months of 1932 80000 Congressmen + women were arrested ► Satyagraha stopped.
  • Gandhi begins "Poona Fast" (fast until death if British don't give away separate voting list for Untouchables).
  • Gandhi + Ambedkar make Poona Pact which pledges them to end with Untouchability.
  • 1935 British government passes another India Act (India to be governed by a federal system). Very important because it forms basis of later constitutions of India and Pakistan when independent in 1947.
  • 1937 Elections in India. Congress (Nehru) gains majority. But provincial governors still holding to the old order.

1939 (World War II)

  • 1939 WWII Britain takes India into war without consulting political leaders. All provincial Congress governments resign because of protest.
  • 1940 Congress gives Gandhi power to lead them to another civil disobedience campaign against British ► middle of 1941 14000 Congress members were in prison.
  • 1942 British negotiations with India since Japanese getting near to India. Promise of independence if Congress helps with war effort. Congress rejects due to mistrust.
  • Gandhi's Quit India campaign (Freedom immediately or die in the attempt). No success though ► all Congress leaders imprisoned.
  • Gandhi's wife, Kasturbai, joined him in prison voluntarily and died in 1944.
  • End of war ► Gandhi was concerned with prevention of bloodshed between Hindus + Muslims.

Muslims and the Muslim League

  • Muslims always smaller group in India.
  • Until coming of British Muslims officially ruled India ► less wiling to cooperate with British.
  • Foundation of Muslim League in 1906 (about 62m Muslims in India).
  • Separate electoral rolls in 1909 Act + 1919 + 1935 act ► critism due to separation of Hindus with this step.
  • 1916 Unification of League + Congress in Lucknow Pact.
  • For many years Muslim League only small minority of Muslims (upper, middle class movement).
  • New leader (Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1949). Similar to Nehru for Muslims (Muslim League + Congress membership).
  • 1921 left for England but 1934 when wife died returned to India.
  • 1937 elections ► Coalition governments formed between League and Congress.
  • Nehru demanded impossible conditions so that coalition between Muslim League + Congress impossible (Nehru: league week movement, national party).
  • Jinnah thought that only alternative to British role was Hindu-dominated Congress ► League has to be strengthened and made into popular mass-movement. He made Muslims fear upon future Hindu government ► 2 separated people which couldn't live together.
  • 1939 when British declared war, Jinnah ► day of deliverance ► Muslims take over ministries left empty by Congress men.
  • 1940 Jinnah demanded separate homeland (Pakistan (= Land of the Pure). Very few Muslims wanted this though.
  • Viceroy promises that interests of Muslims will be respected due to loyalty of Muslims to British during war ► opposite to Congress.
  • 1945 Muslim League was dramatically revealed in elections of 1945. Jinnah interpreted this as will of Muslims to create Pakistan. British also half convinced of need of repartition in 1945.

1945 (Partition and independence)

  • 1945 End of war ► Congress prisoners released + negotiations about independence were begun.
  • Power triangle between Muslim league + British + Congress.
  • Jinnah convinced British + Congress that repartition was needed ► 15th August 1946 ► Jihad (holy war) against Hindu infidels.
  • Mobs against Hindus in Calcutta by Muslims (Calcutta killing which was drop missing to fill barrel for Pakistan).
  • Revenge by Hindus but luckily British restored order ►Hindus + Muslims could not leave together in peace (only Gandhi + few followers believed that only more bloodshed would come with partition).
  • Gandhi 500 calories diet + tried to make peace.
  • March 1947 Lord Mountbatten was sent as last Viceroy of India (Nehru + Mountbatten close friends, Jinnah disliked him).
  • Mountbatten decided that independence must come as soon as possible, such as partition due to violence outbreaks in Punjab.
  • Gandhi still tries to unify Muslims + Hindus, but with no success.
  • 3rd June Muslim League + Congress set 15th August 1947 as day of independence. 2 months left to divide India + resettle population. Nehru falsely believes that partition would end bloodshed.
  • Boundary lines of India + Pakistan had to be drawn + army divided.
  • Each prince must decide if his region belongs to India or Pakistan (Religious account + geographical important).
  • Mass movement + rumours of Indians + Muslims into regions where they thought that they would be safe. Many killed.
  • 15th August 1947 India finally independent without war.
  • Boundary lines were announced after Independence Day. Mass hysteria spread among Hindus + Muslims which were in wrong area.
  • Situation in Punjab very bad -> many fighting + millions moving + dead + fighting ► Sikhs decided to take up arms against Muslims.
  • 12m people became refugees from India to Pakistan + Pakistan to India.
  • 600000 murdered, children + old people faced death. Refugees arriving in trains like animals. Revenge seeking Hindus searching Muslims in Delhi to murder.
  • Emergency Committee. Nehru ordered to shoot Hindu looters + ban of weapons.
  • Liaquat Ali Khan prime minister in Pakistan.
  • Gandhi vmade a fast until dead and peace was restored in Delhi.
  • Sardar Patel told Cabinet to pay 550m rupees, which they owed Pakistan, so that peace would be made + protect Muslims in Hindu ares. Radical Hindus disliked this.
  • On 30th January 1947 Gandhi was murdered by radical Hindu in Delhi, which disliked Ghandis sympathy and equality feeling for Muslims.

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