The Indian National Movement (1917-1947)
Advent of Gandhi
The third and final phase of the Nationalist Movement [1917-1947] is known as the Gandhian era. During this period Mahatma Gandhi became the undisputed leader of the National Movement. His principles of non-violence and Satyagraha were employed against the British Government. Gandhi made the nationalist movement a mass movement.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born at Porbandar in Gujarat on 2 October 1869. He studied law in England. He returned to India in 1891. In April 1893 he went to South Africa and involved himself in the struggle against apartheid (Racial discrimination against the Blacks) for twenty years. Finally, he came to India in 1915. Thereafter, he fully involved himself in the Indian National Movement.
Mahatma Gandhi began his experiments with Satyagraha against the oppressive European indigo planters at Champaran in Bihar in 1917. In the next year he launched another Satyagraha at Kheda in Gujarat in support of the peasants who were not able to pay the land tax due to failure of crops. During this struggle, Sardar Vallabhai Patel emerged as one of the trusted followers of Gandhi. In 1918, Gandhi undertook a fast unto death for the cause of Ahmedabad Mill Workers and finally the mill owners conceded the just demands of the workers.
On the whole, the local movements at Champaran, Kheda and Ahmedabad brought Mahatma Gandhi closer to the life of the people and their problems at the grass roots level. Consequently, he became the leader of the masses.