Nationalism in India started to take place from the mid 1800s. Many highly-educated Indians felt that they need to use nationalistic and democratic ideas for their country and started resenting the British colonial power. Among the two groups- Indian National Congress and Muslim League- whose goal was to gain independence from the foreign control, there were big conflicts between Hindus and Muslims. However, they united with each other to achieve independence from the British rule. I could tell that their love towards their country was much greater than their religious differences.
What taught me was the way that Gandhi chose to accomplish his goal. When British didn’t keep their promise of making reforms, some radical groups reacted violently protesting British rule. What the British did was they didn’t allow trials for protesters (the Rowlatt Act). I think they had to solve the problem in a democratic way by giving a fair trial. Those who were supposed to be the role models of democracy had violated their own rules. How could a colonized nation show their respect and trust towards their colonial power who doesn’t keep their promise?
The Hindus and Muslims, to protest against the unfair British, gathered in Amritsar, Punjab. I believe their purpose was peaceful and religious. They just planned to fast, pray, and listen to speeches. Although it was illegal to have public meetings at the time, the people who attended the meeting just didn’t know about it. I assume it might have been a total misunderstanding between the British and the Indians but the result was horrible. The casualties reached 1600 in just ten minutes. A massacre for a peaceful meeting!
Then came a new leader among the oppressed Indians, Gandhi, who tried to stand against injustice and achieve independence from the British. As a religious person with “great soul”, Gandhi used “policy of noncooperation” against the British government. What’s amazing about it was that it was a non-violent way. It was based on love and was very humanitarian. Gandhi solved the “battle of Right and Wrong” by disobeying any unfair laws intentionally and in public. How many leaders would have used such a peaceful ways to achieve their independence? He was a man who put his words into action and not just the talker. Considering the fact that a lot of leaders just like to talk about the things they would never do themselves, Gandhi deserves to win respect from people all around the world. When he was campaigning a boycott against the British cloth, he not only persuaded all Indians to homespin their own cloth, but also span his own cloth and even made garments out of it.
Another way of peaceful demonstration was a Salt March against the British salt Acts. Since the British only allowed the Indians to get salt from the government and imposed tax on them, Gandhi, with his followers, reacted by marching 240 miles to the seacoast and produced their own salt. Despite the brutal attacks by British police officers, Gandhi and his followers reacted peacefully earning the “worldwide support for their independence movement.”
Afterall, Gandhi’s peaceful demonstration paid off, resulting in “local self-government” and “limited democratic elections”. I must say what Gandhi went through was a tough choice but he proved that peace can win over the violence.