Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle: Kheda Satyagraha, Ahmedabad Mill Strike

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle: Mahatma Gandhi shaped India’s independence and his Satyagraha and non-violent movement against British Rule in India became an inspiration for the masses. He demanded a greater voice for Indians in the British government and administration. He moved forward with his brand of Satyagraha and started the movement at Champaran, Bihar, which later spread throughout the country.

Gandhi led peaceful campaigns to expand women’s rights, ease poverty, end untouchability, build ethnic and religious amity, and achieve Swaraj. In this article, you will learn about the Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle, Champaran Satyagraha, Kheda Satyagraha, the Ahmedabad mill strike, the Non-cooperation movement, and the Civil Disobedience movement.

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle

Mahatma Gandhi made significant contributions to the expansion and prosperity of India. He employed non-violent resistance to lead a successful campaign for the country’s independence from British rule.

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle PDF

Gandhi spent more than 20 years in South Africa. He had to face discrimination from the Britishers. After he returned to India in 1915, he started a peaceful agitation against the discrimination faced by the Indians. He became a respected leader by being the voice of the suppressants.

Mahatma Gandhi Contribution in Freedom Struggle

Mahatma Gandhi is the most acknowledged figure of the Indian National Movement as he specifically led non-violent civil revolts. He initially operated his approach in South Africa where he was working as a non-native lawyer. Gandhiji was hurt and enraged when he noticed prejudices and exploitation of colored people under Whites’ authority.

Mahatma Gandhi came into the limelight when he arranged non-violent marches in the country which earned him fame and support from South African citizens. The Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Indian National Movement is unforgettable as his services gave us independence, which includes The Satyagraha Movement, Khilafat Movement, The Non-Cooperation Movement, the Civil Disobedience Movement, etc.

Activities Taken Up by Mahatma Gandhi in the Freedom Struggle

Gandhi led three Satyagraha movements in his initial days, i.e., Champaran Satyagraha in 1917, Kheda Satyagraha in 1918, and Ahmedabad Mill strike in 1918. The greatest lesson he provided us during the freedom struggle was to never give up or prefer violence to make ourselves succeed. All important movements of Mahatma Gandhi along with the dates are illustrated in the table.

Role of Gandhiji in Freedom Struggle Date of Movements
Champaran Satyagraha 1917
Kheda Satyagraha – Ahmedabad Satyagraha 1917 -1918
Khilafat Movement 1919
Non-Cooperation Movement 1920
Dandi March 1930
Civil-Disobedience Movement 1930
Gandhi Irwin Pact 1931
Quit India Movement 1942

Champaran Satyagraha (1917)

M K Gandhi started his struggle for freedom with the civil disobedience movement, the first being the Champaran Satyagraha in 1917. As there were poor conditions for the farmers in the country then, Gandhi went to Champaran to investigate the requirements of the poor farmers. The Britishers established an exploitative system where the farmers had to pay heavy taxes.

As indigo was in high demand, those farmers were forced to grow indigo under the Tinkathia system. However, being an Indian, he was not allowed to look into the matter. Perhaps Gandhi refused to go back and managed to gather the support of the masses, especially the suffering farmers.

  • He took the issue to the coat and, surprisingly, was accompanied by more than 2000 locals. After the court dropped the case, Gandhi was allowed to conduct the mandatory inquiry.
  • He began a protest against the landlords and the planters. He successfully impacted the Britishers, and the government agreed to abolish the Tinkathia system used to exploit the farmers.
  • He compelled the government to cancel the system, and the peasants were provided with compensation.
  • After his success, the locals gave him the title of Bapu and Mahatma.

Kheda Satyagraha (1918)

In the early 20th century, Gujarat faced droughts that resulted in multiple failed crops. However, Mohan Lal Pandey led a no-tax campaign in 1917. In this campaign, he demanded the remission of the taxes paid by the poor farmers even when they had to face poor harvests or crop failure in Kheda, Gujarat. The campaign was joined by Gandhi on 22 March 1918. His interest in the movement ignited the fire to which he started the Satyagraha.

Great leaders like Indulal Yagnik and Vallabhbhai Patel joined the Kheda Satyagraha. The country’s prominent leaders and people of different castes and ethnicities supported his peaceful protest. He made the Britishers listen to their grievances as a result to which, the Britishers fulfilled their demands and gave concessions to the farmers.

Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918)

Again, in 1918, Gandhi used his weapons of hunger strike and Satyagraha against the industrial owners. The region had experienced a heavy monsoon, which destroyed the crops and plague. It took more than 10% of lives in Ahmedabad. Seeing the condition of the workers, the owners or employers grants the plague bonus to the workers to support their livelihood. Perhaps after the epidemic was over, the employers stopped the bonus.

As a result, the workers turned against them and demanded dearness allowances of 50% of their salaries. But they refused to grant it to the workers, and these workers reached a famous social worker, Anusuyya Sarabhai. He requested Gandhi to look into the matter. After understanding the condition of the workers, Gandhi organized a peaceful hunger strike. As a result of the Ahmedabad Mill Strike, the owners agreed on granting a 35% wage hike.

Non-Cooperation Movement (1919)

Non-cooperation movements were one of the mass movements led by Gandhi to oppose the rule of the East India Company in India from 1919 to 1922. He manifested to adopt the Swadeshi principles. Also, he influenced the masses to relinquish their titles and asked them to resign from government offices. The primary demand of the Non-cooperation Movement was self-government or Swaraj.

The movement became necessary for the freedom struggle and showcased communal harmony in India. But, he called off the movement because of the Chauri Chaura incident, where 22 policemen were killed because of the clash between the protestors and police. However, leaders like CR Das and Motilal Nehru were against the suspension.

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle UPSC

Mahatma Gandhi is the most persuasive leader and an esteemed individual who participated in India’s struggle for independence from British Raj. He was an anti-colonialist, non-violent freedom fighter of India who led the country towards sovereignty without the use of any weapon. He believed in the force of Truth or Satya.

The role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle is an important topic that comes under the Modern History syllabus. Candidates must read and learn the topic from Modern History Notes for UPSC to get ahold of the peaceful rallies and protests Mahatma Gandhi initiated during India’s freedom struggle.

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle MCQs

Question: Which of the following newspapers were published by Mahatma Gandhi? (1) Young India, (2) Indian Opinion, (3) Satyagraha, (4) Harijan, (5) Navajivan. Select the correct option: [A] 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5, [B] Only 1, 2, 4 & 5, [C] Only 1, 2, 3 & 4, [D] Only 2, 3, 4 & 5
Answer: Only 1, 2, 4 & 5

Question: At which one of the following places did Mahatma Gandhi first start his Satyagraha in India? (A) Champaran, (B) Ahmedabad, (C) Kheda, (D) Bardoli
Answer: Champaran

Question: The first venture of Gandhi an all- India politics was the: (a) Rowlatt Satyagraha, (b) Dandi March, (c) Non- Cooperation Movement, (d) Champaran Movement
Answer: Rowlatt Satyagraha

Question: Consider the following statements about the Ahmedabad Mill Strike of 1918. (1) It was related to a dispute between the workers and the European mill owners regarding hours of work, (2) Gandhiji advised the workers to go on strike. Which of the statements is/are correct? (A) Both 1 and 2, (B) Only 2, (C) Only 1, (D) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: Gandhiji advised the workers to go on strike

Mains Questions

Question 1: The kind of politics Mahatma Gandhi introduced Indians to, during Indian freedom struggle were not entirely new. Analyse.

Question 2: Trace the emergence of Gandhiji in Indian political scene till the Champaran Satyagraha of 1917. What was the basic philosophy of Satyagraha enunciated by him?

UPSC Notes
Directive Principles of State Policy Governor General of India
Prehistoric Period Indian National Congress Session
Articles in Constitution India Dances of India
Indian Judiciary Schedules of Indian Constitution
French Revolution Salient Features of Indian Constitution
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