THE EMERGENCE OF GANDHI IN INDIAN POLITICAL SCENE
Trace the emergence of Gandhiji in Indian political scene till the Champaran Satyagarha of 1917. What was the basic philosophy of Satyagarha enunciated by him? (CSE 1994)
Ans: Gandhi, the father of Nation, had come at the Indian political space covering the freedom movement of India on 9 January 1915. He had come on the land with accumulated experience of Satyagarha in South Africa, adopting the path of Non –Violence and Truth. This was the situation when Indian National Congress was in its very curious situation; party was divided into two streams. One is extremism and second was the moderate. Gandhi was welcomed by his political master Mr. Gokhale for Indian freedom struggle. In the year 1915, Gandhiji had opinioned to see real India with all its, socio-cultural and economic problems. After analyzing, the socio-political of the country, Gandhi attended the historical convention of Lucknow 1916, held by Congress and Muslim League cited, he thought about all approach to Indian freedom struggle, on the question of right way of struggle was also aroused in the mind of Mahatma, way to resolve the problem of colonial exploitation of Indian people might be traced with observing, the Judicial Movement started by Gandhi.
Problems of Agricultural class, who were exploited through the means of forced agriculture (Indigo cultivation and Zamindars System), were resulted through Satyagarha. This kind of voice had seen in event of “Champaran Satyagarha”. (1st movement stand in1917) where farmers, agriculturist were actually participated in the movement. Kheda, Bardoli Satyagarha known as Industries Laborers (1918) Satyagarha called as the initial movement of India, Gandhian freedom struggle.
In Champaran, a district in state of Bihar, tens of thousands of landless serfs, indentured laborers and poor farmers were forced to grow indigo and other cash crops instead of the food crops necessary for their survival. These goods were bought from them at a very low price. Suppressed by the ruthless militias of the landlords (mostly British), they were given measly compensation, leaving them mired in extreme poverty. The villages were kept extremely dirty and unhygienic, and alcoholism, untouchability and Purdah were rampant. Now in the throes of a devastating famine, the British levied an oppressive tax which they insisted on increasing in rate. Without food and without money, the situation was growing progressively unlivable and the peasants in Champaran revolted against indigo cultivation in 1914 (at Pipra) and 1916(Turkaulia) and Raj Kumar Shukla took Mahatma Gandhi to Champaran and the Champaran Satyagraha began.
After analyzing the Satyagarha, enunciated by Gandhi, that there were some philosophical bases of Gandhian Movement. The word, Satyagarha itself indicate that Agraha (request) for Satya (truth) means struggle for truth, here “Truth” because the “Goal”. To achieving that Goal, people with struggle for mass, self independent. For the purpose of humans ultimate freedom.
In Kheda, a district of villages and small towns in Gujarat, the peasants mostly owned their own lands, and were economically better-off than their compatriots in Bihar, although on the whole, the district was plagued by poverty, scant resources, the social evils of alcoholism and untouchability, and overall British indifference and hegemony.
However, a terrible famine had struck the district and a large part of Gujarat, and virtually destroyed the agrarian economy. The poor peasants had barely enough to feed themselves, but the British government of the Bombay Presidency insisted that the farmers not only pay full taxes, but also pay the 23% increase stated to take effect that very year.
“Non-violence” and peaceful agitation, were the another philosophical tool to struggle for truth. Now violence, cover a wide expansion which include avoiding violence of all kinds like, voice, actions and thinking or mental violence , not to how any one , physically, mentally or with action attack on the human rule for purification of save, not to look only human body. “Moral and Ethical “purification and upliftment must be the ultimate goal of Satyagarha.
Lastly, we can say that Gandhi had come to the land of India, named as “M.K.Gandhi”, but his moral, ethical and a unique way of struggle transformed him as a Mahatma, his way of struggle was total based on truth, directing the political style of the time that for achieving good means always should by good.
Responsive cooperation to non-cooperation
What were the reasons that changed Gandhiji’s attitude of responsive cooperation to non-cooperation in1920? What were its consequences? (CSE1996)
Ans: Gandhiji returned to India in January 1915 from South Africa. He had done a successful movement in South Africa, ‘Satyagarha’. Britain was involved in the First World War when he came to India. He restored to cooperation with the British Government with a hope the Government would give more rights and just administration to India. He even encouraged the Indian youth to join army. This co-operative attitude towards government got him the title of ‘Kaisare-i- Hind’ by British rule.
Rowlett Act, 1919
In the year 1919, the British Government passed a new rule called Rowlett Act, under which the Government had the authority and power to arrest people and keep them in prisons without any trial if they are suspected with the charge of terrorism. The government also earned the power to refrain the newspapers from reporting and printing news. The Act was ill famed as `Black Act` by the people and Indians revolt in protest against the Rowlett Act.
But the enforcement of the Rowlett Act in March, 1919 was a setback. People called it “Black Act”. They were discontented with this act instead of some constitutional concessions for their co-operation to Britain in the First World War. This changed Gandhi to non-cooperation with the British rule. Champaran Satyagarha -1917, Ahmadabad Mill Strike- 1918 and Kheda Satyagarha -1918 had also given some feedback to his attitude to lean towards non-cooperation. Incidents after Rowlett Act led to declaration of mass movement by Gandhi. Jalianwalabagh massacre of April 13, 1919 and then the report of Hunter commission also around the feeling of protest among people. Khilafat Movement was also launched at this time. Thus, by 1920, Gandhiji’s responsive cooperation was transformed into non-cooperation.
He even returned the of ‘Kaisare-i- Hind’ to the Government.
Now Gandhi launched and encouraged protest of Government, boycott, Swadeshi a mass movement of non-cooperation. All these awakened the masses under his leadership for the first time on such a wide scale. This resulted in active involvement of people on national movement.
Satyagarha- weapon of struggle
Mahatma Gandhi’s success during 1916-20, in getting the technique of non-violent Satyagarha accepted by the nation as weapon of struggle against the British was phenomena? (CSE 1993)
Ans: Satyagarha was the sole political weapon of Mahatma Gandhi for his relentless struggle against the British Raj. The fundamental basis of his Satyagarha was non-violence. The technique of non-violent Satyagarha had been a phenomenal success not only during the period 1916-20 but also during the entire Gandhian era.
From the very beginning this technique proved to be the most powerful instrument of protest, and therefore, it has been accepted by the masses. To illustrate this point, we may cite many examples. Firstly, at the time of his introduction to Indian politics, Gandhiji took up the cause of indentured laborers. Before starting Satyagarha, he met Lord Chelmsford and pleaded their cause. Foreseeing the threat of a mass struggle the then Govt. stooped exodus of Indentured Laborers from India. Then he took up the cause of the indigo planters of Champaran and the issue of Ahmadabad textile workers’ strike. In both the cases, he brought forward amicable solutions by means of Satyagarha. At Champaran, he started first civil disobedience movement in India and at Ahmadabad he resorted to fast, and ultimately struck a compromise between the mill workers and the mill owners. Soon after the Ahmadabad strike, Gandhiji took on Kheda Satyagarha. There also, his method proved to be phenomenally successful in solving the problems of drought and famine affected peasants.
The Non Cooperation Movement was one of the major events in India’s freedom struggle against the British. This movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi, with the active support of the Indian National Congress.
The Non Cooperation Movement was launched on 1st August, 1920. It involved a passive resistance, without resorting to violence, to the British rule by means of surrendering everything related to the government. Councils, courts, schools and other institutions established by the British government were boycotted. Titles were surrendered and important posts in the government were resigned. Even the foreign cloths were discarded.
The congress party established a parallel police force to form an alternative to the government forces. Almost every region in the country participated in this movement, with the involvement of the local leaders. A visit by the Prince of Wales to India on 17th November 1921 was marked by empty streets and closed shops.
The Non Cooperation Movement came to a halt on 12th February 1922, due to a violent incident, which killed 25 policemen and an inspector. Mahatma Gandhi, being upset by the incident, called off the movement.
However, on wider plane, because of the cumulative effect of his earlier Satyagarha, the Non-cooperation Movement launched by him became successful national wide in upholding the cause of Khilafat, the Punjab wrong, and in pressuring the Govt. to withdraw Rowlett Bill. The movement was wholeheartedly backed by Indian mass. Everywhere people followed the policy of non-cooperation with the Government. It was the firm belief of Gandhiji that every govt. rest on the shoulders of governed and if the governed starts non-cooperating with the govt. even the mightiest of the Mighty Empire would collapse. During this struggle some policemen were killed at Chauri- Chaura. This forced the Mahatma to withdraw the agitation and thus the whole upsurge lost its momentum. Despite the midway withdrawal of the agitation, the movement proved successful in breaking the shackles of fear of the masses from British establishment.
Commitment towards rural India
The mainstay of Mahatma Gandhi’s movements was the rural India. Elucidate. (CSE 2003)
Ans: Gandhiji returned to India in January 1915. His effort in South Africa was well known not only to among the educated but also among the masses. He decided to tour the country the one year to familiar with people of rural India. He also decided not to take any position on any political matter for at least one year. He was convinced that the only technique capable of meeting the nationalist aims was non-violent Satyagarha. He also said that he would join no political organisation unless it too accepted the creed of non-violent Satyagarha.
During 1917 and 1918, Gandhi was involved in three struggles in Champaran, Ahmadabad and Kheda before he launched the Rowlett Satyagarha. Out of 3 above mentioned places 2 were from rural India and thus Gandhi’s choice of Champaran and Kheda shows his commitment towards rural India. He was trying to base his activities in rural India and thus cultivated cordial relations with the masses which were very necessary to fight against the colonial power.
Gandhiji was the leader of masses who realized potential to shake the very foundation of British Raj. He knew that only 85% of the populations, who live in rural India, have power and courage to challenge the British might.
Farmers, women and people from working classes started participating in the National Movement of the country. Right from the Champaran Satyagarha to Quit India Movement, masses played very important role to carry forward mission of revolutionary leaders.
WARDHA SCHEME OF BASIC EDUCATION (1937)
1. Genesis of the Wardha Scheme.-The present educational system of India has of recent years been condemned on the grounds that it has failed to adjust itself to changed conditions and is "uninspired by any life-giving and creative ideal". In 1937 Gandhiji initiated in the columns of the Harijan a discussion of the Indian educational problem and offered many suggestions the main principles of which were: -
(a) The course of Primary education should be extended at least to seven years and should include the general knowledge gained up to the Matriculation standard less English and plus a substantial vocation.
(b) For the all-round development of boys and girls all training should so far as possible be given through a profit-yielding vocation.
(c) This Primary education, besides training the mind, should equip boys and girls to earn their bread by the State guaranteeing employment in the vocations learnt and by buying from the schools their manufactures at prices fixed by the State.
(d) Such education taken as a whole can and must be self- supporting.
(e) Higher education should be left to private enterprise and the State universities should be purely examining bodies.
2. An All-India National Education Conference, which was convened at Wardha in October 1937 under the president ship of Gandhiji to consider his proposed scheme of self-supporting education, passed, the following resolutions : -
(a) that free and compulsory education be provided for seven years on a nation-wide scale;
(b) that the medium of instruction be the mother-tongue;
(c) that the Conference endorses the proposal made by Gandhiji that the process of education throughout this period should centre round some form of manual and productive work and that all the other abilities to be developed or training to be given should, as far as possible, be integrally related to the central handicraft chosen with due regard to the environment of the child;
(d) That the Conference expects that this system of education will be gradually able to cover the remuneration of the teachers.
The age of entry to school should be 7 years and the standard attained at the end of 7 years schooling should approximate to the Matriculation (less English).
Again Gandhi’s scheme of education i.e. Wardha Scheme of Basic Education (1937) also focused on the needs of rural India. The main principle behind this scheme was ‘Learning through authority’. Gandhi thought that western education had created a gulf between the educated few and the masses and had also made educated elite ineffective. Thus the thrust of Gandhian movement was rural India.
Concept of Basic education
Discuss Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Basic Education. How far was it a departure from conventional system of Education? (CSE 1997)
Ans: Mahatma Gandhi thought that Basic education aims at all over development of Body, Soul and Brain. Literacy is not whole education in itself. Children should be given training of handicrafts from the basic level so that they can be self-reliant in future. It should fulfill national necessities and physical training cleanliness nad self-reliance should be emphasized. Fill matriculation, education should be departed in vernacular languages and not in English. Main objective must, also include achievement of the highest Goal. This should eradicated classism and unemployment. Children should prepare handicraft products in school and all these products must be purchased by the government. He also believed in religious teaching which would make the soul sensitive in humanism.
Support to Khilafat Movement
Do you think Mahatma Gandhi’s support to Khilafat Movement had diluted in Secular credentials? Give your arguments based on the assessment of events. (CSE 2007)
Ans: Critiques say that supporting Khilafat Movement by Gandhiji was a backward step. To some extent this was right also, because for the first time leaving the secular policies, keeping religion as the theme, the All India Movement started working. As a result the religious, communal issues were encouraged. However we should mention that in the immediate situation, it was of the utmost importance to have support from all class and section of the country to succeed in the National Movement. In Khilafat Movement issue, by supporting the Muslims, Gandhiji attracted large class to the Movement. Again during the 1919-1922 periods, there was a remarkable unity of Hindu-Muslim which was an indication of the success of Gandhiji’s policy. By 1916, by the Lucknow Pact, congress accepted the issue regarding the separate electorates for the Muslim.
Gandhi did not have anything to do with this. Congress cut apart from the so called secular policy. Further Gandhiji protested against the religion-based politics and later he also protested against the division of the country on the basis of religion. During the massive riots Gandhiji tried his best through non-violence and the riot stopped. Thus it will be wrong to judge that by supporting the Khilafat movement Gandhiji hurt the religious secularity.
Marxism and Gandhi
What was Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of socialism? How did it differ from Marxian socialism? (CSE 1990)
Ans: Relaying on his own book of life, Gandhiji evolved his own views on socialism uninfluenced by Marxist ideology. He maintained that interest of labour and capital was not hostile to each other. His principle of trusteeship was that as wealth of a country belongs to its society; its owners hold it in trust for benefit of all. Gandhiji wanted to state control and indiscriminate establishment of large scale order based on social justice and equality in which there is no exploitation of man by man.
Both Marx and Gandhi dreamt of new order of society in which all men and women would enjoy full human rights sans exploitation. In regards to means, Marx advocated violence; Gandhiji laid stress on non violence. Marx believed in coercion while Gandhiji in persuasion. Marx judged life by yardstick of materialism. Gandhiji’s emphasis was on soul and spiritualism. Marx believed in eternal hostility between labour and capital. Gandhiji pleaded for understandable relationship between capital and labour. Gandhiji’s ideal was Ram Rajya an ideal classless and stateless society. Thus his concept of socialism was very different from Marxian view.
Civil Disobedience Movement
Why did Mahatma Gandhi launch? Analyse the intensity of the Movement in different parts of India. (CSE 1992)
Ans: In the Meerut conspiracy case, the communist leaders were sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment. The incident caused much pain and resentment to every person. Gandhiji came to conclusion that the country was heading towards a violent revolution. He was unhappy with this trend. The ambition of his political career was to lead the country along the path of non-violence. With this end in the view he wrote a letter to Lord Irwin on 2 March, 1930. But his attempt to negotiate was responded with apathy on the part of viceroy. He was thus compelled by the circumstances to launch Civil Disobedience Movement, by breaking the salt laws.
On many occasions, when other members of the Indian National Congress disagreed with Mahatma Gandhi on any particular issue, Abdul Ghaffar Khan all throughout the life history of their friendship remained Gandhiji's strongest supporter. He refused when the Congress proffered him its presidency in 1931, but, nevertheless remained a member of the Congress Working Committee for a long time. Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a champion of women's rights and nonviolence and for this, the public simply adored him.
The movement gathered momentum very soon. Violation of salt laws all over the country was soon followed by defiance of forest laws in Maharashtra, Karnataka and the central Provinces and refusal to pay the rural chaukidari tax in Eastern India. A notable feature of the movement was the wide participation of women. The movement reached the extreme north-western corner of India under the leadership of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan .similarly the movement found an echo in eastern-most corner of India under brave heroine, Rani Gaidileu. Thus the movement was very intense.
Why did Gandhi launch the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 and with what results? (CSE 2001)
Ans: Gandhiji made an offer to the viceroy that, if the British government would accept the “11 points” he would withdraw Civil Disobedience. The “eleven points” which included reduction in land revenue , abolition of salt tax, scaling down civil and military expenditure , release of political prisoners, levy of duties on foreign cloth, seemed to the government, a move on the part of Gandhi to win the sympathy of peasants as well as workers and professional classes. Gandhiji’s statement evoked no response from the government. In mid February 1930, the working committee, meeting at Sabarmati Ashram, invested Gandhiji with full powers to launch the Civil Disobedience movement at time and place of his choice.
The Civil Disobedience Movement was started by Gandhi on 12 March, 1930 with his famous Dandi March. Gandhiji along with 78 companions which included Sarojini Naidu marched nearly 375 km. from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, a village in Gujarat Sea Coast. Once the way was cleared by Gandhiji’s ritual beginning at Dandi, the defiance of Salt Law started all over the country. Gandhiji was arrested on May 5, 1930 before he could offer Satyagarha and make salt at the government depot at Dharsana.
Gandhi–Irwin Pact refers to a political agreement signed by Mahatma Gandhi and the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin on 5 March 1931. Before this, the viceroy Lord Irwin announced in October 1929, a vague offer of 'dominion status' for India in an unspecified future and a Round Table Conference to discuss a future constitution. It was signed after meetings between Gandhi and the Viceroy that spanned over a three week time period. Many Indian citizens were originally unsatisfied with the conditions of this truce. The agreement spelled out certain specific action points, to be initiated by the colonial Government of India as well as the Indian National Congress. Important action points of the Pact included:
In reply, the British Government agreed to
After the failure of 1st Round Table Conference, the Government made a gesture of goodwill by releasing the congress leaders, including Gandhi, on January 25, 1931. Finally the viceroy lord Irwin and Gandhi negotiated a settlement popularly known as ‘Gandhi –Irwin Pact’ on 5 March, 1931. The Government conceded the right to make salt consumption to villages along the coast, as also the right to peaceful and non- aggressive picketing. The congress demand for public inquiry into police excesses was not accepted. The congress on its part, agreed to discontinue the CDM.