chapter  4
24 Pages

The struggle for independence 1920–47

WithElizabeth Mauchline Roberts

In 1920 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, demanding swaraj in one year, called for a massive civil disobedience campaign to back his demands. He asked for a mass boycott of everything British. The massive civil disobedience campaign of 1920 made Jawarharlal Nehru think deeply about politics. He had decided that following the constitutional path laid down by the British would get India nowhere. When Nehru left prison in 1923 he found a saddened and disillusioned Congress. Gandhi decided it was time to launch another satyagraha campaign to back Congress. He believed that the Indian people were now more ready for a truly non-violent campaign, and decided to attack something which would be understood by all Indians: the salt tax. The British government had appointed the Simon Commission to visit India and to recommend future steps to self-government. At the end of the war in 1945 Congress prisoners were released and almost immediately negotiations were begun about Indian independence.