Monday, December 03, 2007
Brief bio of MK Gandhi
Under his leadership, the Congress launched a series of mass movements - the Non Cooperation Movement of 1920 -1922 and the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930. The latter was triggered by the famous Salt March, when Gandhi captured the imagination of the nation by leading a band of followers from his ashram at Sabarmati, on a 200 mile trek to the remote village of Dandi on the west coast, there to prepare salt in symbolic violation of British law.
These were populist movements in which people from all classes and all parts of India participated with great fervour. Women too, played an active role in the struggle. Sarojini Naidu, Aruna Asaf Ali and Bhikaji Cama, to name but a few, inspired millions of others to take the first step on the road to emancipation and equality. In August 1942, the Quit India movement was launched. "I want freedom immediately, this very night before dawn if it can be had.'.. we shall free India or die in the attempt, we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery", declared the Mahatma, as the British resorted to brutal repression against non-violent satyagrahis. It became evident that the British could maintain the empire only at enormous cost. At the end of the Second World War, they saw the writing on the wall, and initiated a number of constitutional moves to effect the transfer of power to the sovereign State of India. For the first and perhaps the only time in history, the power of a mighty global empire 'on which the sun never set', had been challenged and overcome by the moral might of a people armed only with ideals and courage.