Very few people are aware of the fact that the first time gandhiji came to india after studying barristry from england in 1902. But he soon went back. After 9 years he came again ,and, this time never to return back. He stayed in South Africa for 20 years. He fought in Natal for indians who were taken to Africa to work. Their condition was worse than slaves. After leading the movement in Africa against british he was aware of their discriminating & exploitative nature. At a time when indians were fed up with the violence endowed by Raj on them, Gandhi’s non-violence acted as a balm on the numerous wounds. The method of non-violence was not new to india, but nobody before gandhi had thought of incorporating it in the struggle against britishers. Also it was only after the arrival of gandhi that congress party became a mass party. Few people in congress itself were opposed to his policy of non-violence. Most of them believed that britishers should be answered back in their same language. As Subhash Chandra Bose said “give me your blood, I will give you freedom.” But Gandhiji’s did not divert from his two weapons truth & non-violence. According to him ‘an eye for an eye would make the whole world blind.’ He taught people to be tolerant & self-reliant. He told them to boycott the foreign goods and use the indian stuff. Gradually people built a confidence in him. He totally changed the direction in which our national movement was heading. The ahimsa which he was preaching caught the attention of the majority. His first official movement in india the civil disobedience movement in 1921 stirred the whole of india. People participated in large nos. Even women who hitherto had remained systematically excluded from the independence struggle thronged the streets. They found a sense of security & safety in this movement unlike others which were taking place during that time only because it was strictly based on the principle of non-violence.
Gandhi completely distanced himself from the worldly pleasures. He wore a single piece of cloth around his waist and covered his upper body with another piece. Due to this he was referred to as the “naked beggar” in British parliament. And this naked beggar did what was impossible for people who were covered from top to toe. He totally dismissed the idea rooted in people’s mind that Britishers were a superior race and their civilization was better off than India’s. This view of Gandhi’s was opposed by few congress men also who had accepted Britishers as superior and had become a copy of the west.
Gandhi believed that our civilization is far more advanced. And Britishers have been able to sustain in our country and rule over us only because we had let them. The moment we stop cooperating, they will have to leave. Non Cooperation, Civil Disobedience, Quit India were the examples of Gandhi’s thought put into action. These 3 movements slowly & successfully weakened the position of Britishers & resulted finally in their departure in 1947. Gandhi though could not live enough to enjoy the fruits of his extreme hard work. He was shot in 1948. And with him ended an ERA!