The Work of Ghandi and India's Independence
In 1857, the East India Company sailed to India and defeated the
Mughal Empire. The British crown took over the Indian government and
Britons were sent to live there. This was known as colonialism, those
who thought it was a good idea to take over others lands and actually
did. One of these lands was India. At the time India was seen a savage
land. Missionaries and legislators wanted to stamp out slavery,
barbaric punishment and sacrifices. Industrialists wanted raw
materials such as gold, diamond and chocolate. They wanted to grow and
sell food, which could not be grown at home. The armed forces found
the country useful as it could use them to fuel ships.
The period in which Britain ruled India is known as the British Raj.
The king or queens representative in India was called the viceroy. In
London also handling Indian affairs was the secretary of state. The
first empress of India was queen Victoria in 1887. Because of its
prosperous lands and raw materials, India became known as the 'jewel
in the crown'.
Gandhi was born in 1869. He went to London to study aw and went on to
become a barrister. He developed ideas of Satyagraha meaning 'firmness
to truth'. This basically means he would protest passively. He
practised this method on South Africa for 21 years fighting for the
right of Indians over there. After he returned to India and joined the
I.N.C (Indian. National. Congress). This party was founded by the new
Indian Middle Class. All these spoke English and most were lawyers.
The first meeting was held on the 28th of December 1885.
Gandhi's ideas of swaraj, (self-rule) came about as he thought that
his people had fallen victim to Western ideology and need to return to
simple village life. The I.N.C believed India should gain dominion
status, an independent country within an empire, like Canada. This
made independence more likely because a lot of people respected Gandhi
and so would follow his lead. He formed Ashrams, small communities
where people revived old Indian crafts. This meant less Indians would
rely on new British crafts and so the wealth, which Britain thought it
would make, would not be so. Gandhi used Satyagraha many a times. Even
when faced with fierce policemen with sticks all those who believed in
it would simply not fight back. If these harmless Indians were
viciously attacked, and this was reported around the world, it would
cast the British in a bad light. This meant public opinion would shift
on the side of the Indians and so Britain would be pressurised to move
out of India.
Gandhi's personal actions such as homespun showed he was not above
ordinary Indians. This unified them and in doing so became a greater
problem for the British Empire, as they knew they all had the same