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Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi. The struggle for Indian independence. Early Life. Born 1869 as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi From a middle class Hindu family; studied law in England Left India to work as a legal representative for Muslim-Indian traders in South Africa from 1893-1914. Gandhi in South Africa.

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Mahatma Gandhi

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  1. Mahatma Gandhi The struggle for Indian independence

  2. Early Life • Born 1869 as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi • From a middle class Hindu family; studied law in England • Left India to work as a legal representative for Muslim-Indian traders in South Africa from 1893-1914

  3. Gandhi in South Africa • Fought against racism, prejudice, and injustice directed at Indians in S. Africa • Developed his social activism during this time • "Satyagraha" • Formed an ambulance corps in 1900 during the Boer War • Created Indian Opinion newspaper

  4. Satyagraha - "truth force" • Use of nonviolent resistance to end injustice • Influences: • Hinduism - nonviolence and respect for all life • Christianity - loving one's enemies • Henry David Thoreau - civil disobedience; the refusal to obey unjust laws • Goal of satyagraha • "convert the wrongdoer" • Gandhi hoped that by accepting punishment without retaliation, the world and the British aware of injustices being committed

  5. Return to India - 1914 • Within a few years, became a leader in the Indian struggle for independence • United the middle-class, common people, and Indian patrons of the British • Demanded better treatment for the "untouchables" • United Hindus and Muslims in the movement for independence • Founded Young India and Navajivan journals

  6. Return to India (continued) • Reminded Indians of their rich heritage • Gave up western ways • Encouraged traditional Indian industries, especially spinning cotton • Led a simple life - dressed in white cotton clothes commonly worn by India's poor • Emphasized Hindu virtues (duty, morality, self-discipline)

  7. Amritsar Massacre - turning point • Fearing mass insurrection, British passed harsh new laws limiting many freedoms and rights • Tense period; sporadic acts of violence around the country • April 13, 1919 - More than 10,000 Indians gather in public area in Amritsar for peaceful protest • British force under Gen. Dyer arrive on scene • Without warning, opens fire on crowd of men, women, and children • Soldiers fire until nearly out of ammo • Many Indians trampled to death or jumped into well to escape fire

  8. Amritsar Massacre - Gandhi (1982)

  9. Aftermath of Amritsar Massacre • Fueled Indian distrust of the British - created climate of hostility that would last through the rest of India's struggle for independence • Reaction in Britain was mixed: • Supporters of the Raj (mainly in the House of Lords) considered Gen. Dyer a hero • General public, and House of Commons, condemned the massacre • Led to increased violence • Many Indians called for complete separation from Britain • Many moderate politicians, such as Gandhi, were pushed toward outright rebellion

  10. 1930 - The Salt March (Dandi March) • British laws enacted to prevent Indians from making their own salt - they had to buy heavily taxed salt from the government • Gandhi used satyagraha to protest salt laws • Protested by marching 200 miles to the coast to make salt • Thousands of people joined Gandhi along the way • Gandhi and around 50,000 of his followers arrested afterwards

  11. 1942-45: "Quit India" Movement • At start of WWII, Indians did not want to fight for British • Indian National Congress would not support British without immediate independence • Gandhi and Congress urged Indians to practice policy of non-cooperation with the British; continued campaign of civil disobedience • British response: arrest of more than 20,000 members of INC leadership (virtually all of it) • 1945 - British weak after WWII, public support for keeping overseas colonies diminishing

  12. Hindu-Muslim Conflict • In early stages of independence movement, Hindus and Muslims were united • This changed through the 20's and 30's, and tensions between the two groups emerged (Congress party and the Muslim League) • Stemmed from long history of clashes between the two religions • Muhammad Ali Jinnah: demanded separate Muslim nation • Muslims did not trust Hindu-dominated government to secure their rights • Hindus viewed Muslims as foreign conquerors

  13. Hindu-Muslim Conflict (continued) • 1946 - Widespread rioting between Hindus and Muslims; British foresaw civil war • 1947 - British pass Indian Independence Act: • Ended British rule in India • Creation of (Hindu) India and (Muslim) Pakistan • Following the partition, explosion of violence • Despite promises of tolerance, fighting between two groups left more than half a million dead • Estimated 15 million people migrated between the countries to escape fighting • Gandhi deeply upset by this; refused to celebrate when India officially achieved independence

  14. Assassination • January 30, 1947 - Gandhi shot three times at close range after giving blessing to assassin • Assassin was Hindu extremist who believed Gandhi was appeasing Muslims at the expense of Hindus • Hoped to start a war between Hindus and Muslims; had opposite effect as it drew both groups together in mourning • PM Jawaharlal Nehru - addressed nation over radio, spontaneously and without preparation • Considered by some to be one of the greatest speeches in history

  15. Nehru's Speech on Gandhi's Death

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