India is about to celebrate 72 years of independence from British colonial rule on August 15, 2019, and the event always brings to mind the great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.
Although the movement for Indian independence started by as early as 1857, the years were marked by futile revolts. The struggle for independence came to a head only in 1918 when Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian National Congress, spearheaded a series of non-violent campaigns involving civil disobedience. The movement that Gandhi started finally culminated to India’s gain of independence from British rule on August 15, 1947.
Unfortunately, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated several months later by a Hindu nationalist fanatic who disapproved of Gandhi’s tolerance and accommodation toward Muslims.
Mohandas Gandhi’s Political Re-Awakening
In 1915, prior to becoming the leader of the Indian home-rule movement, Mahatma who was still known as Mohandas Gandhi founded an ashram or a monastic community for all castes in Ahmedabad. It was there that Gandhi became known as “Mahatma,” or “great soul” because he started to devote his hours and days to prayers, meditations and fasting, while leaving an austere life.
He wore only a loincloth and a shawl, which he himself spun with a portable spinning wheel. The spinning wheel later served as a symbol of India’s independence movement to instill self-reliance among the people.
In his political reawakening, Gandhi came to realize that the British Raj was dependent on the subservience of the citizens of India. That if the millions of people in India unite and become one in committing acts of civil disobedience, the British government will not find India a lucrative colony to dominate and rule.
Gandhi Calls on the People of India to Unite and Act as One
In 1919, Gandhi launched campaigns for peaceful strikes and protests despite the promulgation of the Rowland Act, which authorized imprisonment of anyone involved in seditious acts. Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned several times but he gave character to India’s struggle for freedom by leading a simple and resilient lifestyle. Having done so, he strengthened the people’s conviction that they can live decent lives even without the British.
Gandhi called on the people to carry on with mass boycotts, urged those in the government to stop doing work for the British Crown, encouraged students to momentarily stop from getting education from government schools, appealed to Indian soldiers to desert their posts, for citizens to cease with payments of taxes and by calling on the entire nation not to buy British-made products.
The British Government Finally Grants India Its Independence
India’s non-violent independence movement was still marred by incidences of violence and discord between Hindus and Muslims. Nonetheless, the movement had the support of India’s Congress, which led the mass struggles through the years. As Great Britain had one World War after another to address as problems, India became a concern that the British government can do without.
As Mahatma Gandhi had pointed out, the citizens of India will not become part of a war that fights for democracy. How can they? Their own country is under British colonial rule, which is hardly an example of the democratic ideology being fought for by the allied forces. Two years after World War II ended in 1945, the British government finally relented and gave India its independence after 200 years of rule.
In being one with India’s celebration of 72 years of independence, the Amazon online store is holding the Amazon India from August 09 to 12, 2019 and the Amazon Great Indian Sale from September 04 to 08, 2019.