Gandhi's Policy of Non-Cooperation and India's Independence
In 1947 India was granted with its independence from the British
Empire that had ruled over India since the 19th century. The campaign
for independence began with the formation of the Indian National
Congress party in 1885, the congress was a party for Indians to play a
part in the running of the country. However, in 1914 World War 1 broke
out and Indian people supported Britain and the Empire, sending food,
materials and money. In exchange for their support during the war
Congress demanded the British fix a date for India to become
self-governing. This was agreed by the British but no date was
actually set. In 1920 Gandhi persuaded Congress to vote for the first
time for self-rule (self-government and self-control).
Gandhi changed Congress by making it appeal to a wider population
instead of just the wealthy. He also started most of the major
campaigns against the British. Perhaps the most famous of these were
the protests against the British control of salt and cloth imports
from England that that led to them making their own cotton and salt.
Gandhi's policy of non-cooperation (civil disobedience) and peaceful
protest was the major strength of his protest movement and popularity.
It contrasted with those who previously wanted a violent uprising
against the British.
I think that if there had been violent protest against the British the
government would have argued that their troops act in self-defence
against armed rebels. However, in the Amritsar massacre the contrast
of unarmed people being brutally massacred showed the world how wrong
the British were. A large unarmed crowd had gathered in an open space
enclosed by walls. Along came 50 soldiers and without ordering the
crowd to leave fired upon the innocent men, women and children. After
about six minutes 300 lay dead and another 1,000 injured. There was no
escape for the crowd and the British only stopped firing as they had
run out of ammunition.
In 1921 Ghandi launched his first campaign of non-violent protest
against the new constitutional arrangements announced by British in
1919. Before it had become a part of the British Colonies India used
to make its' own salt and its' own cotton and they did not pay any
taxes. All this had changed under British rule and Ghandi helped to
organised demonstrations all over...