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Asian Journal of
Multidisciplinary Studies
ISSN: 2321-8819 (Online)
2348-7186 (Print)
Impact Factor: 1.498
Vol.4, Issue 11, October 2016
Available online at www.ajms.co.in 30
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress:
A Brief Study
Kartick Chandra Baman
Assistant Professor of History, Krishna Chandra College,
(Affiliated by The University of Burdwan),
Hetampur, Birbhum, West Bengal, India
Abstract: Gandhi returned for India on 9th January in 1915 from South Africa. Gandhi noticed the status of
the Indians is like the South African Indians. At that moment, British Government applied their theory and
politics in Indian society and a handful educated Indians were protesting against the British power in
disunited. There was no communication among the Indian leaders and not in touch with the masses. As a
result, Indian National Leaders were isolated from the masses. Gandhi had seen the same scenario in South
Africa. He travelled in different parts in India and contacted with the local leaders and also the peoples in
any level of the society. He organized different peasant and worker movements and built a relation with the
Indian National Congress in various issues. Gandhi organized Non-cooperation movement during the year
of 1920-22 with the Indian National Congress. At that moment, he turned as spokesman of the Indian
National Congress. The Indian Congress to be led by Gandhi then. Thus he became a pioneer leader of the
Indian National Congress.
Keywords: Gandhi, Father of Nation, Congress and Gandhi, Peasant and Gandhi, Towards Freedom etc.
1. Introduction
An attempt has been made to study, in brief the
various issues which deeply affected the policies of
the Indian National Congress during the period
under review. We know the fact that Gandhi
dominated the congress. So whatever was done by
Congress there was an absolute sanction of Gandhi
in it. Gandhi passion for Hindu-Muslim unity can
be traced to the days of the youth; even so he
stressed the need of this unity for winning their
rights in the country, especially during the period
of our study.[i
] He was aware of the complexities
that had been added to the communal problem by
the aspiration and programmes of the middle
classes in both the communities Gandhi, therefore
desire to carry them with him in search for the
solution of the communal problems, particularly
after the implementation of the Indian Act of 1935.
Firstly he began to search good Muslim
personalities in the Congress in particular who
would sacrifice for a good cause and stand against
the demands of the Muslim League.[ii
] We know it
very well that he appeared on the stage in the
period between the end of the First World War and
the suspension of the non-cooperation movement,
but now he proved a spent force in this regard.
Even the Congress did not listen his voice clearly.
Gandhi, therefore, devoted himself to the cause of
the spread of the ideas.
During the period under review he decided
to concentrate on the solution of the communal
problem in India with a much greater gusto than
earlier. That was quit natural as the resolution
Purna Swaraj had been adopted in the near past.
The constant eruption of communal riots in
different parts forced him to take a fresh analysis of
the communal situation with a view to finding a
cure of widespread ill will. However, several
stalwarts in the Indian national congress did not
appreciate his efforts in this direction. They held
that both the communities distrusted each other
consequently the unity was impossible at this
stage.[iii
] Moreover, he had realized that the
communal problem in India was closely connected
with the power struggle among the elite of the
different religious communalism all over the
country. He had that if the leaders of both the
communities agreed that mutual rows should be, as
in all advanced countries, erased out of our public
life as being barbarous irreligious, “the
communalism would receive a serious cluck.[iv
]
Gandhi at that time felt that any agreement over the
communal issue was not going to succeed in the
prevailing atmosphere of manual dissert. The Sikhs
forced Gandhi make an effort to find a satisfactory
formula for constitutional settlement. On account
of Gandhi’s presence in Lahore meeting some of
the leading Musalmans of the Punjab had moved
towards unity. Future events revealed that he had
better insight into the minds of the Hindus and
Muslims of the Punjab. He asked the congress to
go on opposing the separate electorates for the
election of the representatives to the legislative
bodies in the provinces especially for the majority
community in any provinces.[v
] He appears to have
realized by now that separate electorates would
mean” ruin of nationalism[vi
] even while being
equally aware of the truth that Muslim majority had
deep rotted fears of the Hindu massing against
them. He suggested that the best away of removing
this fear among the Muslim was to prevail upon the
Hindus to accept the principle of “surrounding out
of strength to the Musalmans in every mundane
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study
Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 31
matter and by showing that those who claim to be
nationalists and are in a overwhelming majority
should stand out in any unseemly competition for
legislative or administrative control.”[vii
] He
recommended to the congress scheme which
obviously was for reservation of seats for the
Muslims but not for separate electorate.[viii
] In fact,
he did not find any justness in the Muslim demand
of a statutory guarantee of majority of seats in the
Punjab and Bengal.[ix
] At this time, Gandhi wrote
to one of the congressmen, by all means try to
bridge the gulf that at the present seems to be
widening between the two parties Hindus and
Muslims, But I adhere to my opinion that no real
solution is to come at the present moment out of
any effort….I see distrust every where some more
fighting is unfortunately in store for us before a
peaceful atmosphere is created. When each party
expects to humble the other, peace is impossible. It
is, moreover, my conviction that this exaggerated
importance we are giving to the council out of all
proportion to their usefulness, if ever there was
any, is keeping us apart.[x
]
Gandhi and various issues of the National
Congress:
Apparently, Gandhi was not involved in
the activities of the congress, but he was making
himself felt by never failing to give his advice to
the congress leaders participating in these activities
which were related to framing a constitution
acceptable to all the communities in India. On the
other hand, the unity between the Swarajists and
the no changes effected by Gandhi enabled the
Swarajists face the Government onslaught on them
with ease. When the Government promulgated a
new ordinance to rush them, Gandhi strongly
condemned the ordinance of violence, in Young
India and called C.R.Das his associates as true
patriots and nationalists,[xi
] while assuring the
Swarajists of hi full help Gandhi observed. I want
to give to the Swarajists the utmost help I can, to
go with them as for as possible in order to back
them with their work is congress work, is country’s
work I must, therefore, help them, though I have
my own doubts.[xii
] Consequently he asked the
congress leadership to place the whole machinery
of the congress at his disposal so as to enable the
Swarajists to bring before that body such political
resolutions as he may consider necessary. Even he
would like to be at the disposal of the Swarajists
and their party. Because of his sincere efforts, the
Swaraj party was now no longer a wing of the
congress but the congress itself. Consequently,
Gandhi enjoyed the full support of the Swarajists in
his leadership of the protest movement against the
Simon Commission in 1928. Similarly, when
Motilal Nehru report was attacked because instead
of Independence, it had suggested Dominion status
as the goal of Indian’s political aspiration, it was
Gandhi who prevailed upon the congress to accept
the report. In the AICC meeting held on 26th
December, in 1928, Gandhi proposed that……In
the event of non-acceptance by the British
parliament of the constitution by the 31st
December
in 1930, the congress will revive non-violent non-
cooperation [xiii
].Later on the time limit of two
years was altered to one year time limit. With this
important provision Gandhi fully identified
himself. With the recommendation of the Nehru
report at the annual session of the Congress on 31st
December in 1928.
The terrorist movement was an important
constituent of Indian fight for freedom, however,
the political philosophy of the terrorists was
irreconcilable with the philosophy of Gandhi, the
supreme figure in the Indian National Congress
since 1919, consistently tried to keep the Congress
allot of the policy of violence lauded by the
terrorists. He advocated non violence, non-
cooperation and passive resistance to the British
rule.[xiv
] Gandhi recoiled from the terrorists
reasoning’s and avoided them. “To him the
terrorists were rose than Harijans and be followed
towards them a policy of touch-me not.” Gandhi
advocated boycott from the administration, but was
deadly against the use of violence against the
Government functionaries. Gandhi suspended the
non-cooperation movement on bearing of the
violent outburst in a remote place in united
provinces. According to terrorists, Gandhi had
penalized the whole country for the fault of one
place.[xv
]
Consequently, the terrorists reverted back
to their earlier practice of terrorizing the
government functionaries. Several instances can be
cited to establish that most of the persons who
subsequently threw bombs committed dacoities and
murders, were congressmen. Large number of
congressmen had silently and stealthily supported
both the future and former terrorists. It is believed;
even Gandhi had supplied funds to one Ram
Binode Singh. At latter’s call several people had
joined the non-cooperation movement in large
numbers and he was admired by Gandhi. It is to be
noticed that the terrorists believed that Gandhi’s
non-violence ideas were impracticable[xvi
] and
therefore revived terrorism on a large scale.[xvii
]
However Gandhi in one of his articles
entitled ‘Defeated’ wrote: such people who support
the resolution are untrue to the principle of non-
violence and have murdered a part of their
philosophy. Gandhi at one time observed, “Non-
violence has not gained enough ground.[xviii
]
Consequently after the withdrawal of Civil
Disobedience movement he devoted to the cause of
his philosophy when he gave to the congress his
cult of non-violence, truth and self reliance. These
issues are discussed at length in the second half of
this work.
Undoubtedly, his abhorrence of violence
was reflected in the way he reacted even to the
emergence of communist movement. Its growth
inspired the formation of workers and peasant
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study
Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 32
parties and signaled the advancement of Trade
Unionism and the phenomenal strike movement of
1928 and 1930. It also represented the rise of the
Trade Unions movement and inspired the rise of a
new left wing both inside and outside the Congress.
Gandhi disliked the communist movement as
symptomatic of terrorism and decided “to put his
foot down” on it.[xix
]
The wide acclaim given to Bhagat Singh’s
act forced Gandhi to make his objection to the act
of Bhagat Singh and strong Gandhi deplored
Bhagat Singh’s in murdering a British functionary.
He declared that in the praise widely extended to
Bhagat Singh murdering Saunders he clearly saw
the “impending crisis for the creed of non-violence.
[xx
] To do so, he said, ‘would require a new
valuation of such terms as heroism patriotism,
religiousness and like’.[xxi
] He observed that, “The
cause of assassination and kindred crimes, is not
advancing the progress to humanity, religion or
true civilization. Also that the ‘temple of freedom’
which had received the patience, intelligence and
constructive efforts of tens of thousands of men
and women, young and old was hurts by the “Acts
of Violence”. The later “retarded the progress of
this quiet building”. He concluded this article with
a suggestive appeal, “let the young of India realize
that death of Lalaji can be avenged by regaining
her freedom. Freedom of a nation cannot be won
by more acts of heroism through they may be of the
true type, never by heroism so called.[xxii
]
Gandhi did not praise Bhagat Singh and
his companions for what they had done. He did not
keep quiet either. He, in fact came out with as
instant criticism couched in very powerful
language of what the two terrorists had done. He
made no secret of what he expected from
congressmen while commenting on Bhagat Singh
and Batukeswar Duta’s protest through the bomb.
Gandhi clearly stated, “The congressmen whose
creed is non-violence will do not go give even
secret approval to the deed but pursues their
method with redoubled vigour, if they have faith in
it. The bomb has no milieu in India…..”.[xxiii
]
Bhagat Singh became a symbol of country’s
defiance of the British masters of the country and
the beaudial of the youth of the country. Bhagat
Singh became a National hero and his acts were
freely lauded in the nationalist press. There began
the Bhagat Singh’s era.[xxiv
] For a time, he bade fair
to oust Gandhi as the foremost political figure of
the day. His photograph was hung in numerous
houses all over the country and his plasters busts
found a big market.
The charisma built around the name of a
great terrorist combined with thunder in the air to
make Gandhi’s task of fighting the terrorists
extremely difficult. The great organization
committed to Gandhi’s philosophy was literally
forced to register its admiration of the terrorists
when the All-India Congress Committee issued a
circular to all its units to observe 18th
August, 1929,
as the political sufferer’s day.[xxv
]
The last week of 1929 saw the climax of
the terrorist’s activity in India but did not deter
Gandhi. He came in the open to condemn them as
strongly as ever. On 23rd
December 1929, the
terrorists made an unsuccessful attempt to blow up
the viceroy’s special train. He escaped death
narrowly. Instead of his cabin it was the dining Car
of the train that was completely smashed. Gandhi
used the Congress platform to criticize this abortive
attempt of the terrorists. He drafted a resolution and
places it before the Lahore Congress of 1929. He
described the terrorists as “cowards” and described
their latest act as “dastardly.[xxvi
] Gandhi was too
shrewd an observer of things not to notice the
climate that nourished the terrorists’ philosophy.
Gandhi and Non-Violence:
Gandhi’s instances on non-violence was
clearly revealed in his contribution to the
deliberation of the Lahore Session of the Congress
where the famous Independence Resolution’ was
passed within a few days of the bomb outrage that
narrowly missed hitting the viceroy. He insisted on
a special resolution of Congress disapproving the
attempt on Viceroy’s life even as the Congress was
committing itself to the goal of Independence.
Gandhi made a spirit condemnation of the attempt
to blow up the vice regal coach. While speaking on
this resolution, he said, “Let chose who are not past
reason cease to endorse activities such as this latest
bomb outrage. Rather let them openly and hastily
condemn this outrage.[xxvii
] Gandhi fought tooth
and nail for this resolution that he was personally
putting before the Congress passing this resolution.
The voting on it clearly indicated how hard Gandhi
had to fight to get it passed. His resolution
condemning the bomb outrage of the vice regal
train was passed by very narrow margin of 81 in a
house of 1,713.
The bare majority of 81, for the resolution
were born by Gandhi by a threat that he would
retire from politics in case of defeat of the
resolution, proved that the commitment of Gandhi
to non-violence was indeed matched by his hatred
and resentment of the methods of the terrorists. The
wind was blowing strongly in favour of the
terrorists and Gandhi was obliged to use all the
influence at his commend to prevent the terrorists
‘spell’ over-coming the Congress commitment to
non-violence.
Gandhi characterized the terrorists as
misguided young men and while strongly
condemning the terrorists actions and suggesting
extension of no support to them said that “our
deluded patriots may for want to nourishment to
their violent spirit activities have every time done.”
Little surprising the terrorists displayed regret and
pain a Gandhi failure to appreciate their high ideals
and lofty surds. They publicly stated, it is a pity
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study
Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 33
that Gandhiji does not and will not understand
revolutionary psychology inspired of life-long
experience of public life.”
By the end of the year of 1929, Gandhi’s
leadership was on trial, chiefly because of the
growing popularly of the terrorists. Moreover,
“Turbulence and anti-congress feeling was ripe
among students and others. A large kirti kisan
conference expressed distrust of congress
leadership supported by large number from the
simultaneous Naujawan Bharat Sabha Conference
which condemned Motilal Gandhi and shouted
revolutionary slogans.[xxviii
]The problem of
integrating this youth movement into the Congress
organization confronted Gandhi most forcibly at
the Lahore Congress in December of 1929. With
the Lahore session making it clear that it was well
nigh impossible for him to solve the problem.
Gandhi chose to attack the terrorist’s method
straight on the face.
Gandhi’s succession prevailing upon the
Congress Session at Lahore to condemn the
terrorists did not and the problem poses by the
terrorists to Gandhi. The opening weeks of 1930
were crucial Gandhi because he has keen on
asserting his authority as an All India leader. As
agreed in the Congress Session, he had begun the
Campaign of Civil Disobedience, which was
promoting a wide-spread wave of unrest. It was the
sort of situation that suited the terrorists and one
that they eagerly waited for quite some time in the
past. Gandhi was too shrewd and experienced a
public man to be ignorant of how the terrorists
could use the discontent beginning to be generated
by this Civil Disobedience movement to their
advantage. More so when Gandhi was likely to be
facing a confrontation with many an opponent as
the leader of the Civil Disobedience movement.
That was, of course, not to strengthen Gandhi to be
well equipped as darling of the people to
undermine the exponent of the non-violence at the
right moment. It is true that congress formally
dissociated itself from terrorism, of course, under
the influence of the Mahatma, but it was equally
clear if some of the congress workers and leaders
had been given a free hand they would have been
averse to giving their general support to terrorism.
Gandhi had come out of the Yaraveda as a
man more resolutely committed to the creation of a
new people and of new social order. His aim now
was to bring about a new unity among his people
and too built up their strength so that they could
bring their own Swaraj. He was keen on shattering
the psychological routes of the British power which
lay in Indian acquiescence to the Alien rule and
disunity among themselves.[xxix
] He saw in this
programme the preparation for a show down with
the British for which unity among the Indian
masses was as essential as living contact of the
Congress workers with the people in general.
Gandhi was then for Swaraj which did not amount
to complete independence and felt irritated when
younger Congressmen agitated for it. His irritation
was all the greater because young Congressman
who had begun agitating for complete
independence included a social democrat of the
stature of Jawarhar Lal Nehru and Subhas Chandra
Bose. Lately Jawaharlal Nehru and others of his
generation had become very critical of not only the
objective of Swaraj within the empire but Gandhi’s
strategy of obtaining it through “Constructive
Programme”.This generation of nationalists wanted
to launch a frontal attack on the British
Government and begin a powerful agitation to
“secure for the country Puran Swaraj or complete
Independence”.[xxx
] Gandhi castigated the
Congress in Young India for its irresponsible talk
and signed out the resolution on independence for
severe criticism. He characterized that resolution as
“ill convinced and impractical.” He attributed the
lack of Swaraj, one believed to be attainable within
a year to the lack of faith among the Congress in
the constructive programme. According to him the
Congressmen were “Men of little faith” Congress
led by the Gandhi gave not only freedom of action
to the Swarajist Party but even allowed it the use of
Congress label to do so. The Congress under his
leadership had done that inspire of the fact that
Cooperation with the British or even obstructed to
the British in the legislative Assembly appeared to
him waste of time.[xxxi
]The Elections of 1926
clearly revealed the Swarajists method was not
going to deliver goods and forced the Congress to
reappear on the political scene and take the control
of the country to fight for the objective of Swarajya
once again in its own hand. The Swarajists were
thrown in the background. How crucial was
Gandhi’s role in bringing about unity within the
Congress, at the Annual Session of the Congress at
Calcutta. These proceedings of the Congress
clearly bring out that Congress delegates to this
session talked war, but Gandhi pacified the
firebrands. He convinced them that Congress had
not yet an effective army for fight. He emphasized,
“as at present constituted the Congress in unable to
put forth real united and unbreakable resistance.
That did immediately silence the younger
leaders Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal
Nehru, leading the angry Young Men of the
congress, wanted a declaration of immediate
independence by the Congress and followed by the
declaration of war of independence. That was a few
days before the Congress met but subsequent
presence of the Mahatma in Congress really cooled
the hat generated by the Dominion status versus
independence controversy. It might well be
conceded that but for the Mahatma’ presence and
his healing touch at Calcutta it is doubtful whether
the revolt of the Young could have been controlled
by the older leaders. Gandhi and other moderates
were full of anger before the Congress session was
held at Lahore on account of what appeared to
them the Machiavellian tactics them the
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study
Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 34
Machiavellian tactics of the British youthful
Jawaharlal Nehru elected as the president of the
forthcoming Congress session at Lahore. He seems
to have convinced himself that the time had come
to get ready Indian National Congress for a fight by
changing its objective to “Purna swaraj.’
The atmosphere during the Congress was
tense. Jawaharlal Nehru the building spirit behind
the left wing elements within the Congress was the
president of the session. He had strived hard to
proclaim complete independence, instead of
dominion status, as India’s goal for long. He now
declared himself a socialist and a Republican. In
his Presidential address he pleaded for ‘action’ and
depreciated ‘timidity’. He spoke of high stakes and
the need for going though great dangers for they
were the only way to achieve great things. He
described Wedgewood Benn’s “Dominion status
inaction” talk “a share” and emphasized that
nothing less than “complete Independence” should
be the goal of the Congress[xxxii
]. He categorically
stated “Independence for us means complete
freedom from the British dominion and British
imperialism[xxxiii
].
Gandhi’s Aim of Swaraj:
Gandhi at this stage was all appreciation
of the left wing aspirations to get the objective of
the Congress changed to Purna Swaraj as district
from Swaraj and agreed to lead the Congress in
case it were to begin a fight for complete
independence. “Congress did give such a call and
resolved to five the overall control of the
movement through which the Nationalist objective
was to be achieved” to Mahatma Gandhi[xxxiv
].”
Gandhi who had contributed more than anyone else
to postpone the declaration of Independence as the
objective of the Congress activities, now personally
“declared that the word Swaraj in the first articles
of the Congress constitution shall mean complete
Independence[xxxv
]. Gandhi also joined Motilal in
rejecting for the first time the view that the
objectives of the struggle for freedom could be
achieved through a political dialogue with the
British Government.
Gandhi had thus finally arrived after
taking more than four years to shift from Swaraj to
Purna Swaraj. He had moved slowly but in the
process carried the whole Congress along with him.
When in December in 1929, he sponsored the
resolution on Purna Swaraj in the annual session of
the Congress he had the backing not only of the
left-wing in the Congress but even such moderates
as Motilal Nehru who were quite satisfied with
Dominion Status as the objective of Indian
National Congress earlier. Gandhi had now
identified himself with left wingers and galvanized
all shades of opinion within the great organization
of which he had been the undisputed leader for full
and half decade by now to complete independence
but he deprecated any precipitate action and won
Jawaharlal Nehru over to his point of view that
while the congress adopted a resolution on
complete Independence, it should speak only a
mildly as to the methods for achieving that
objective. The resolution itself had called upon
congressmen and others talking part in the national
movement to “Sustain from participating directly
or indirectly in future elections and authorized the
AICC whenever it deemed fit, to launch upon a
programme of Civil Disobedience including of
non-payment of taxes “but Gandhi had insisted on
going slow. Gandhi had done that after asserting
his authority as the leader of the Congress. He had
said soon after the passage of the resolution: “I
know that it is a duty devolving primarily on me”
to lead the country to Purna Swaraj. He was not
being modest. Everyone realized after the passage
of Independence resolution that Gandhi would have
to be brain, heart and directing hand of any Civil
Disobedience Movement[xxxvi
].
Gandhi and Civil Disobedience Movement:
The Civil Disobedience Movement was a
result of a threefold circumstances. First was the
British Government’s folly of appointing Simon
Commission. Anti-Simon demonstrations were
staged all over India. Lala Lajpat Rai’s death
heightened the fury of the nation and at Calcutta in
December in 1928 the Congress gave an
ultimatum, first of its kind to the British
Government that if the demand of “dominion
status” outlined in Nehru Report was not conceded
by the British Parliament on or before the 31st
December 1928, the Congress would declare
complete independence as its goal and will
organize a campaign of non-violent, non-
cooperation by advising the country to refuse
taxation and in such other manner as is
settled.[xxxvii
]The British Government failed to
comply with the demand. Consequently in
December 1928 at Lahore the Congress declared its
goal to be complete independence [xxxviii
].
The Congress working Committee had
appointed Mahatma Gandhi as the sole authority to
decide the time and manner of launching Civil
Disobedience Movement.[xxxix
]The new working
committee met on 2nd
January in 1930. It was
decided to observe January 26th
, 1930 all over India
as the Purna Swarajya Day.[xl
] On that day a
manifesto, prepared by Mahatma Gandhi and
adopted by the Congress Working Committee
should be read from every platform and accepted
by the people. The manifesto was a declaration of
independence, a pledge of loyalty to the Congress
and to the secret fight for India’s freedom.[xli
]
Gandhi submitted a charter of eleven
demands to the victory, telling him that if he
conceded them there would be no Civil
Disobedience Movement.[xlii
] On March 2, Gandhi
wrote a letter to Viceroy intimating him that if
satisfactory reforms were not conceded….”On the
11th
day of this month, I shall proceed to disregard
to provisions of the Salt Laws.”Viceroy’s response
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study
Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 35
was so disappointing that on March 4, Gandhi
stated that “On bended knees I asked for bread and
received a stone instead.[xliii
]” This statement may
be regarded as the beginning of the Civil
Disobedience Movement.
In the meantime, the Congress Working
Committee met at Sabarmati, from 14th
to 16th
February. In the option of the Working Committee,
Civil Disobedience should be initiated and
controlled by those who believed in non-violence
for the purpose of achieving Purna Swaraj as article
of faith and as the Congress contains in its
organization not merely such men and women but
also those who accept non-violence as a policy
essential in the existing circumstances in the
country. The Working Committee welcomed the
proposal of Mahatma Gandhi and authorized him
and those working with him who believed in non-
violence as an article of faith to the extent above
indicated, to state Civil Disobedience as and when
they desired and in the manner and to the extent
they decided.
Gandhi and Salt Satyagraha:
It was decided to launch the civil
disobedience Movement through the violation of
the Salt Law.xliv
Gandhi embarked upon his 200
miles long journey to Dandi and on 6th
April in
1930, he began the salt Satyagraha by picking up a
lump of natural salt. It was a signal for the country
wide repetition of the same. [xlv
]
The arrest of Mahatma Gandhi on 4rth
May, also affected the movement in the province.
In his arrest, he advised that the campaign should
begin with general hartal followed by a prayerful
fast after which each place should start such civil
disobedience was locally possible.[xlvi
] In spite of
the ban on the Central Congress bodies, a loose
structure of All India Congress remained there to
guide the movement in the province. By a
resolution of the working Committee in Bombay
the Congress president could nominate on the eve
of his arrest a successor who could exercise the
powers normally belonging to the Committee.
Under these provision two leaders of this province
Sardui singh and Kitchlew were nominated as
Presidents.
The working committee of All India
Congress instructed the Provincial congress
Committee to start o Tax- campaign by non-
payment of specified taxes in certain provinces and
is further of the opinion that beginning should be
made by non-payment of land-tax in provinces
where the Ryotwari Land settlement prevailed such
as in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab.The foreign cloth
Boycott Committee under the Chairmanship of
Gandhi and with the Mr. Jairamdas Daulatram as
the table and effective Secretary functioned
through the year and carried on ceaseless activity in
favour of the boycott.[xlvii
]
The most striking social reform and one
which only Congress Ministers attempted with
genuine ardor and on substantial states, says
Professor Coupland, “was prohibition’ [xlviii
] This
was a reform which Gandhi regarded as essential
for the self-purification and moral well-being of the
society. The Civil Disobedience Movement of
1930s led to a great intensification of prohibition
work and picketing of liquor shops became one of
the most important activities of the Congress. In
1931 the Karachi congress declared that any
constitution that may be agreed to on its behalf
should include total prohibition of intoxication
drinks and drugs.[xlix
]
The congress decided to renew Civil
disobedience in January in 1932, there was very
little enthusiasm for this move, the Congress, the
Congress organization was definitely poor from the
start and was thrown out of gear by the systematic
and prompt arrests of a dictators and captains of
volunteers. Even through the Civil Disobedience
Movement was officially continued till 1936, it had
lost much of the force and momentum. The
Congressman in the Punjab, however, continued
with its constructive programme. The Punjab
Provincial congress Committee in the meetings
held on February 26, 1935, unanimously adopted
the programme of constructive work and requested
all the members and sympathizers o support it.
Constructive programme was an integral part of
Gandhi’s scheme of a non-violent struggle. It was
the positive counterpart of civil Disobedience.
Production of Khadi through self-spinning
was the main item of constructive programme.
Khadi was the positive aspect of the struggle for
self-government. It was the first prerequisite of the
success of the boycott of the foreign cloth, for it
furnished an alternative to the use of foreign cloth.
It became a symbol of revolution and freedom for it
aimed at generating in the people a will to raise
their own status without any external support. It
imparted continuity to Gandhi’s struggle against
imperialism for the programme of Khadi could be
carried on during the intervals of mass political
movement.
The Punjab Provincial congress committee
decided to start intense propaganda in favour of the
Swadeshi. A branch of All India Spinners
Association[l
] started functioning under the
supervision of Dr. Gopi Chand Bhargava
(representative of Savants of people Society.) .He
made an appeal to the people to buy Khadi
prepared by the Association from its sale-depots
opened in various towns of the province.The
branch claimed steady progress during period from
1922-1933 as the annual sale and production of
khaddar rose from Rs-80,974 to Rs-5, 34,830 and
Rs-3, 42, 866 respectively. With a small capital of
Rs-1, 74,866, All India Spinners association in the
Punjab within seven years had been able to
distribute of Rs-11, 19,585 by way of wages.[li
]
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study
Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 36
Gandhi and Harijan Society:
The civil disobedience movement
continued for new moths more, but Gandhi was
getting more and more concerned about the
questions of untouchability. On 8 May in 1933, he
announced a fst for 21 days for Harjan’s cause and
he was promptly released by the Government after
coming out of prison Gandhi devoted himself
exclusively to the cause of the Harjns.[lii
] The uplift
of Harijan was another item of the constructive
programme. The Punjab Branch of the Harijans
Sewak Sangha had been established in the middle
of December in 1932. In 1932-33, the sangha had
centers of work in fourteen districts of the
province, i.e. Hissar, Rohtak, Ambala, Ludhiana,
Jalandhar, Amritsar, Jammu, Rawalpindi, Lyallpur,
Multan, Ferozepur, Sheikhpura, Lahore and Sialkot
etc. Systematic efforts had been made by the
branches of the Sangha for the children in the
common Schools; he Sangha also helped the
Harijans in getting employment.
During the time of heavy rains the
Harijans sewak Sangha also undertook to relieve
the distress of the Harijans. Further, efforts were
made to open public wells for the Harijans. The
position of the Harijans with regard to temple
entry, however, remained unchanged. Nevertheless,
the propaganda work for their uplift was
strengthened during and after Gandhi’s visit to
Lahore I 1935.As desired by Gandhi and other
leaders, the various days such as Harijan Day,
Temle Entry Day and Prayer Days were celebrate
throughout the country. The doctors visited the
Harijan quarters and inspected the sanitary and
hygienic conditions of their Mohallas and give
them instructions in personal hygiene and sanitary
methods of cleaning the latrines, Harijans houses
were given clean in various occasions.
From above account of the activities for the
upliftment of the Harijans, it appears that the
movement was started all over the country.There
was some progress in this direction. But the fact
remains that there was not much change of heart
among the so-called upper caste Hindus. What to
talk of ordinary caste Hindus, even Pandit Madan
Mohan Malavya, in one of his statement at Bombay
in October, 1932, disapproved inter-dining and
inter-marriage between the Hindus and
untouchables. Due to communal situation in this
province, each community had some grievance
against the Congress. Thus, an important section
among the Hindus complained that, while the
Muslims gained at the hands of the Congress and
the Government, Hindus suffered most on account
of their association with the Congress. This added
that his co-religionists were not treated well by the
commission simple because of their boycott of the
commission in compliance with the Congress
programme. Gandhi, therefore, impressed upon the
Hindus, of course, through the congress, to co-
operate with the British Government.
References
[i
] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Vol.IX, p.152 & p.350
[ii
] Ibid, Vol, XV, P.296..,
[iii
]Collected work of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol, XXIV, P.188
[iv
]Ibid, Vol, XXIV, P.419
[v
] Census of India, 1931, Vol, Part-I, Report, P.420
[vi
] I.Q.R.1925, Vol-I, PP.68-70
[vii
] Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, Voll-XXVI, P.215
[viii
] For more details regarding his scheme, see Ibid, P.162
[ix
] Ibid, Vol, XXVII, P. ^
[x
]Ibid, Vol, XXVII, P.6, Vol. XXXII, P416, Vol. XXXIV, P.3, Letter from Gandhi to Ambika Prasad on 8th
October in
1926, Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol .XXXI, P.485
[xi
] Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi Vol, XXV, PP. 288-289
[xii
] Mahadev Desai, Day to Day with Gandhi, P.67, Sarva Seva Singh Prakashan
[xiii
] D.G.Tendulkar, Mahatma Voll-III, P. 204, Publication Division Patiala House, New Delhi
[xiv
] Ibid, p.334
[xv
] For more details see the Hindusthan Socialist Republican Association Manifesto-The philosophy of the Bomb in hale,
H.W., Political Trouble in India: 1917-37, P.205
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study
Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 37
[xvi
] Awart, J.M.Terrorism in India:1917-36, P.19
[xvii
] Ibid., P.5
[xviii
] Sachindranath Sanyal, Bandi Jiwan, PP.311-12
[xix
] Mukherjee,Hiren, Gandhiji A Study, p.82
[xx
] Brown, M.Judith, Gandhi and Civil Disobedience, p.36
[21]
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol.XXXVIII,p.275
[22]
The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol,XXXVIII,pp.276-77
[xxiii
]Tendulkar, D.G.Mahatma,Vol-II,pp.357-358
[xxiv
] .Nath, Sailesh, Terrorism in India, p.282
[xxv
] .Majumdar,R.C. History of Freedom Movement in India, Vol-II, p.525
[xxvi
] .H.W.Hale, Political Trouble in India, p.208
[xxvii
] H.W.Hale, Political Trouble in India,p.208
[xxviii
] Punjab FIR, on December 1929, Home Poll, File No. NAI, New Delhi.
[xxix
] Brown, M.Judhith, 1977. Gandhi and Civil Disobedience, CUP,p.18
[xxx
] Kumar,R & Panigrahi, D.N. 1982. Selected works of Motilal Neheru, V.P.House, New Delhi, p.30
[xxxi
] Fischer, Louis, 1982. The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, G.Publishing, p.317.
[32] D.C.Guptas, Indian National Movement and Constitutional Development, P.135, Vikas Publishing House Pvt.Ltd. New
Delhi. Published in 1983
[33] D.G.Tendulkar, Mahatma, Vol-II, P.334, Publication Division Patiala House, New Delhi, Published in 1969
[xxxiv
] Ravinder Kumar and D.N.Panigrahi, Selected Works of Motilal Nehru,P.137, Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi,
Published in 1982
[xxxv
] D.G.Tendulkar, Mahatma, Voll-II, Publication Division, Patiala House, P.384, New Delhi, in 1969
[xxxvi
] Luis Fischer, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, P.330, Granada Publishing House, in 1982
[xxxvii
] Report of the Forty-third Indian national Congress (Calcutta in 1928), P.107
[xxxviii
] Report of the Forty-third Annual Session of Indian National congress (Lahore in 1929), P.88
[xxxix
] V.N.Mitra, Edited, The India Annual Register 1930, Vol-I, P.334
[xl
] V.P.Memon, Transfer of Power, (Madras in 1968), P.42
[41]
Jawaharlal Nehru, An Autobiography (Bombay in 1962), PP.209-210
[42]
Ram Gopal, India Muslims: A Political History (1858-1947), P.222, Bombay, in 1959
[43]
P.D.Koushik, Congress Ideology and Programme (1920-47), P.237, In 1964
[44]
Salt being a committee consumed by even the poorest sections of the Indian Society, the defiance of the salt law was
likely to draw the maximum possible number of people. Satyapal, sixty Years of the Congress, (Ahmedabad, ) Vol
XLVIII,p.490
[45]
Proceedings of the Punjab history Congress, on 12th session, 1978, pp2004-05
[46]
The Collected Works of M.K.Gandhi, 1967. Vol.XLVIII, Ahmedabad,p.490.
[xlvii
] Sitaramaiah, P.B.,1969. History of the Indian national Congress, vol-I, New Delhi, p.576.
[xlviii
] R, Coupland, 1943.The Indian problem 1933-35, Bombay, p.141.
[xlix
] Report of Forty-fifth Indian National Congress, 1901, Karachi Session, p.141
Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study
Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 38
[l
] One of the Institutions founded by Mahatma Gandhi at savargram towards the implementation of the constructive
programe to further the cause of Khadi and cottage industries, Jagadish Sharma, op.cit., p.9
[li
] Mitra, N.N.1930. The Annual Register, May, vol. I, p.436
[lii
]Sen, S.P.1973. Dictionary of national biography, vol.II, Kolkata, p.8, “The term “Harijans” means the servent of God,
was popularized by Gandhi and issued by him in preference to depressed classes, scheduled classes and of untouchables who
represent the lowest stratum of Hindu Society.

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Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study

  • 1. Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies ISSN: 2321-8819 (Online) 2348-7186 (Print) Impact Factor: 1.498 Vol.4, Issue 11, October 2016 Available online at www.ajms.co.in 30 Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Kartick Chandra Baman Assistant Professor of History, Krishna Chandra College, (Affiliated by The University of Burdwan), Hetampur, Birbhum, West Bengal, India Abstract: Gandhi returned for India on 9th January in 1915 from South Africa. Gandhi noticed the status of the Indians is like the South African Indians. At that moment, British Government applied their theory and politics in Indian society and a handful educated Indians were protesting against the British power in disunited. There was no communication among the Indian leaders and not in touch with the masses. As a result, Indian National Leaders were isolated from the masses. Gandhi had seen the same scenario in South Africa. He travelled in different parts in India and contacted with the local leaders and also the peoples in any level of the society. He organized different peasant and worker movements and built a relation with the Indian National Congress in various issues. Gandhi organized Non-cooperation movement during the year of 1920-22 with the Indian National Congress. At that moment, he turned as spokesman of the Indian National Congress. The Indian Congress to be led by Gandhi then. Thus he became a pioneer leader of the Indian National Congress. Keywords: Gandhi, Father of Nation, Congress and Gandhi, Peasant and Gandhi, Towards Freedom etc. 1. Introduction An attempt has been made to study, in brief the various issues which deeply affected the policies of the Indian National Congress during the period under review. We know the fact that Gandhi dominated the congress. So whatever was done by Congress there was an absolute sanction of Gandhi in it. Gandhi passion for Hindu-Muslim unity can be traced to the days of the youth; even so he stressed the need of this unity for winning their rights in the country, especially during the period of our study.[i ] He was aware of the complexities that had been added to the communal problem by the aspiration and programmes of the middle classes in both the communities Gandhi, therefore desire to carry them with him in search for the solution of the communal problems, particularly after the implementation of the Indian Act of 1935. Firstly he began to search good Muslim personalities in the Congress in particular who would sacrifice for a good cause and stand against the demands of the Muslim League.[ii ] We know it very well that he appeared on the stage in the period between the end of the First World War and the suspension of the non-cooperation movement, but now he proved a spent force in this regard. Even the Congress did not listen his voice clearly. Gandhi, therefore, devoted himself to the cause of the spread of the ideas. During the period under review he decided to concentrate on the solution of the communal problem in India with a much greater gusto than earlier. That was quit natural as the resolution Purna Swaraj had been adopted in the near past. The constant eruption of communal riots in different parts forced him to take a fresh analysis of the communal situation with a view to finding a cure of widespread ill will. However, several stalwarts in the Indian national congress did not appreciate his efforts in this direction. They held that both the communities distrusted each other consequently the unity was impossible at this stage.[iii ] Moreover, he had realized that the communal problem in India was closely connected with the power struggle among the elite of the different religious communalism all over the country. He had that if the leaders of both the communities agreed that mutual rows should be, as in all advanced countries, erased out of our public life as being barbarous irreligious, “the communalism would receive a serious cluck.[iv ] Gandhi at that time felt that any agreement over the communal issue was not going to succeed in the prevailing atmosphere of manual dissert. The Sikhs forced Gandhi make an effort to find a satisfactory formula for constitutional settlement. On account of Gandhi’s presence in Lahore meeting some of the leading Musalmans of the Punjab had moved towards unity. Future events revealed that he had better insight into the minds of the Hindus and Muslims of the Punjab. He asked the congress to go on opposing the separate electorates for the election of the representatives to the legislative bodies in the provinces especially for the majority community in any provinces.[v ] He appears to have realized by now that separate electorates would mean” ruin of nationalism[vi ] even while being equally aware of the truth that Muslim majority had deep rotted fears of the Hindu massing against them. He suggested that the best away of removing this fear among the Muslim was to prevail upon the Hindus to accept the principle of “surrounding out of strength to the Musalmans in every mundane
  • 2. Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 31 matter and by showing that those who claim to be nationalists and are in a overwhelming majority should stand out in any unseemly competition for legislative or administrative control.”[vii ] He recommended to the congress scheme which obviously was for reservation of seats for the Muslims but not for separate electorate.[viii ] In fact, he did not find any justness in the Muslim demand of a statutory guarantee of majority of seats in the Punjab and Bengal.[ix ] At this time, Gandhi wrote to one of the congressmen, by all means try to bridge the gulf that at the present seems to be widening between the two parties Hindus and Muslims, But I adhere to my opinion that no real solution is to come at the present moment out of any effort….I see distrust every where some more fighting is unfortunately in store for us before a peaceful atmosphere is created. When each party expects to humble the other, peace is impossible. It is, moreover, my conviction that this exaggerated importance we are giving to the council out of all proportion to their usefulness, if ever there was any, is keeping us apart.[x ] Gandhi and various issues of the National Congress: Apparently, Gandhi was not involved in the activities of the congress, but he was making himself felt by never failing to give his advice to the congress leaders participating in these activities which were related to framing a constitution acceptable to all the communities in India. On the other hand, the unity between the Swarajists and the no changes effected by Gandhi enabled the Swarajists face the Government onslaught on them with ease. When the Government promulgated a new ordinance to rush them, Gandhi strongly condemned the ordinance of violence, in Young India and called C.R.Das his associates as true patriots and nationalists,[xi ] while assuring the Swarajists of hi full help Gandhi observed. I want to give to the Swarajists the utmost help I can, to go with them as for as possible in order to back them with their work is congress work, is country’s work I must, therefore, help them, though I have my own doubts.[xii ] Consequently he asked the congress leadership to place the whole machinery of the congress at his disposal so as to enable the Swarajists to bring before that body such political resolutions as he may consider necessary. Even he would like to be at the disposal of the Swarajists and their party. Because of his sincere efforts, the Swaraj party was now no longer a wing of the congress but the congress itself. Consequently, Gandhi enjoyed the full support of the Swarajists in his leadership of the protest movement against the Simon Commission in 1928. Similarly, when Motilal Nehru report was attacked because instead of Independence, it had suggested Dominion status as the goal of Indian’s political aspiration, it was Gandhi who prevailed upon the congress to accept the report. In the AICC meeting held on 26th December, in 1928, Gandhi proposed that……In the event of non-acceptance by the British parliament of the constitution by the 31st December in 1930, the congress will revive non-violent non- cooperation [xiii ].Later on the time limit of two years was altered to one year time limit. With this important provision Gandhi fully identified himself. With the recommendation of the Nehru report at the annual session of the Congress on 31st December in 1928. The terrorist movement was an important constituent of Indian fight for freedom, however, the political philosophy of the terrorists was irreconcilable with the philosophy of Gandhi, the supreme figure in the Indian National Congress since 1919, consistently tried to keep the Congress allot of the policy of violence lauded by the terrorists. He advocated non violence, non- cooperation and passive resistance to the British rule.[xiv ] Gandhi recoiled from the terrorists reasoning’s and avoided them. “To him the terrorists were rose than Harijans and be followed towards them a policy of touch-me not.” Gandhi advocated boycott from the administration, but was deadly against the use of violence against the Government functionaries. Gandhi suspended the non-cooperation movement on bearing of the violent outburst in a remote place in united provinces. According to terrorists, Gandhi had penalized the whole country for the fault of one place.[xv ] Consequently, the terrorists reverted back to their earlier practice of terrorizing the government functionaries. Several instances can be cited to establish that most of the persons who subsequently threw bombs committed dacoities and murders, were congressmen. Large number of congressmen had silently and stealthily supported both the future and former terrorists. It is believed; even Gandhi had supplied funds to one Ram Binode Singh. At latter’s call several people had joined the non-cooperation movement in large numbers and he was admired by Gandhi. It is to be noticed that the terrorists believed that Gandhi’s non-violence ideas were impracticable[xvi ] and therefore revived terrorism on a large scale.[xvii ] However Gandhi in one of his articles entitled ‘Defeated’ wrote: such people who support the resolution are untrue to the principle of non- violence and have murdered a part of their philosophy. Gandhi at one time observed, “Non- violence has not gained enough ground.[xviii ] Consequently after the withdrawal of Civil Disobedience movement he devoted to the cause of his philosophy when he gave to the congress his cult of non-violence, truth and self reliance. These issues are discussed at length in the second half of this work. Undoubtedly, his abhorrence of violence was reflected in the way he reacted even to the emergence of communist movement. Its growth inspired the formation of workers and peasant
  • 3. Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 32 parties and signaled the advancement of Trade Unionism and the phenomenal strike movement of 1928 and 1930. It also represented the rise of the Trade Unions movement and inspired the rise of a new left wing both inside and outside the Congress. Gandhi disliked the communist movement as symptomatic of terrorism and decided “to put his foot down” on it.[xix ] The wide acclaim given to Bhagat Singh’s act forced Gandhi to make his objection to the act of Bhagat Singh and strong Gandhi deplored Bhagat Singh’s in murdering a British functionary. He declared that in the praise widely extended to Bhagat Singh murdering Saunders he clearly saw the “impending crisis for the creed of non-violence. [xx ] To do so, he said, ‘would require a new valuation of such terms as heroism patriotism, religiousness and like’.[xxi ] He observed that, “The cause of assassination and kindred crimes, is not advancing the progress to humanity, religion or true civilization. Also that the ‘temple of freedom’ which had received the patience, intelligence and constructive efforts of tens of thousands of men and women, young and old was hurts by the “Acts of Violence”. The later “retarded the progress of this quiet building”. He concluded this article with a suggestive appeal, “let the young of India realize that death of Lalaji can be avenged by regaining her freedom. Freedom of a nation cannot be won by more acts of heroism through they may be of the true type, never by heroism so called.[xxii ] Gandhi did not praise Bhagat Singh and his companions for what they had done. He did not keep quiet either. He, in fact came out with as instant criticism couched in very powerful language of what the two terrorists had done. He made no secret of what he expected from congressmen while commenting on Bhagat Singh and Batukeswar Duta’s protest through the bomb. Gandhi clearly stated, “The congressmen whose creed is non-violence will do not go give even secret approval to the deed but pursues their method with redoubled vigour, if they have faith in it. The bomb has no milieu in India…..”.[xxiii ] Bhagat Singh became a symbol of country’s defiance of the British masters of the country and the beaudial of the youth of the country. Bhagat Singh became a National hero and his acts were freely lauded in the nationalist press. There began the Bhagat Singh’s era.[xxiv ] For a time, he bade fair to oust Gandhi as the foremost political figure of the day. His photograph was hung in numerous houses all over the country and his plasters busts found a big market. The charisma built around the name of a great terrorist combined with thunder in the air to make Gandhi’s task of fighting the terrorists extremely difficult. The great organization committed to Gandhi’s philosophy was literally forced to register its admiration of the terrorists when the All-India Congress Committee issued a circular to all its units to observe 18th August, 1929, as the political sufferer’s day.[xxv ] The last week of 1929 saw the climax of the terrorist’s activity in India but did not deter Gandhi. He came in the open to condemn them as strongly as ever. On 23rd December 1929, the terrorists made an unsuccessful attempt to blow up the viceroy’s special train. He escaped death narrowly. Instead of his cabin it was the dining Car of the train that was completely smashed. Gandhi used the Congress platform to criticize this abortive attempt of the terrorists. He drafted a resolution and places it before the Lahore Congress of 1929. He described the terrorists as “cowards” and described their latest act as “dastardly.[xxvi ] Gandhi was too shrewd an observer of things not to notice the climate that nourished the terrorists’ philosophy. Gandhi and Non-Violence: Gandhi’s instances on non-violence was clearly revealed in his contribution to the deliberation of the Lahore Session of the Congress where the famous Independence Resolution’ was passed within a few days of the bomb outrage that narrowly missed hitting the viceroy. He insisted on a special resolution of Congress disapproving the attempt on Viceroy’s life even as the Congress was committing itself to the goal of Independence. Gandhi made a spirit condemnation of the attempt to blow up the vice regal coach. While speaking on this resolution, he said, “Let chose who are not past reason cease to endorse activities such as this latest bomb outrage. Rather let them openly and hastily condemn this outrage.[xxvii ] Gandhi fought tooth and nail for this resolution that he was personally putting before the Congress passing this resolution. The voting on it clearly indicated how hard Gandhi had to fight to get it passed. His resolution condemning the bomb outrage of the vice regal train was passed by very narrow margin of 81 in a house of 1,713. The bare majority of 81, for the resolution were born by Gandhi by a threat that he would retire from politics in case of defeat of the resolution, proved that the commitment of Gandhi to non-violence was indeed matched by his hatred and resentment of the methods of the terrorists. The wind was blowing strongly in favour of the terrorists and Gandhi was obliged to use all the influence at his commend to prevent the terrorists ‘spell’ over-coming the Congress commitment to non-violence. Gandhi characterized the terrorists as misguided young men and while strongly condemning the terrorists actions and suggesting extension of no support to them said that “our deluded patriots may for want to nourishment to their violent spirit activities have every time done.” Little surprising the terrorists displayed regret and pain a Gandhi failure to appreciate their high ideals and lofty surds. They publicly stated, it is a pity
  • 4. Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 33 that Gandhiji does not and will not understand revolutionary psychology inspired of life-long experience of public life.” By the end of the year of 1929, Gandhi’s leadership was on trial, chiefly because of the growing popularly of the terrorists. Moreover, “Turbulence and anti-congress feeling was ripe among students and others. A large kirti kisan conference expressed distrust of congress leadership supported by large number from the simultaneous Naujawan Bharat Sabha Conference which condemned Motilal Gandhi and shouted revolutionary slogans.[xxviii ]The problem of integrating this youth movement into the Congress organization confronted Gandhi most forcibly at the Lahore Congress in December of 1929. With the Lahore session making it clear that it was well nigh impossible for him to solve the problem. Gandhi chose to attack the terrorist’s method straight on the face. Gandhi’s succession prevailing upon the Congress Session at Lahore to condemn the terrorists did not and the problem poses by the terrorists to Gandhi. The opening weeks of 1930 were crucial Gandhi because he has keen on asserting his authority as an All India leader. As agreed in the Congress Session, he had begun the Campaign of Civil Disobedience, which was promoting a wide-spread wave of unrest. It was the sort of situation that suited the terrorists and one that they eagerly waited for quite some time in the past. Gandhi was too shrewd and experienced a public man to be ignorant of how the terrorists could use the discontent beginning to be generated by this Civil Disobedience movement to their advantage. More so when Gandhi was likely to be facing a confrontation with many an opponent as the leader of the Civil Disobedience movement. That was, of course, not to strengthen Gandhi to be well equipped as darling of the people to undermine the exponent of the non-violence at the right moment. It is true that congress formally dissociated itself from terrorism, of course, under the influence of the Mahatma, but it was equally clear if some of the congress workers and leaders had been given a free hand they would have been averse to giving their general support to terrorism. Gandhi had come out of the Yaraveda as a man more resolutely committed to the creation of a new people and of new social order. His aim now was to bring about a new unity among his people and too built up their strength so that they could bring their own Swaraj. He was keen on shattering the psychological routes of the British power which lay in Indian acquiescence to the Alien rule and disunity among themselves.[xxix ] He saw in this programme the preparation for a show down with the British for which unity among the Indian masses was as essential as living contact of the Congress workers with the people in general. Gandhi was then for Swaraj which did not amount to complete independence and felt irritated when younger Congressmen agitated for it. His irritation was all the greater because young Congressman who had begun agitating for complete independence included a social democrat of the stature of Jawarhar Lal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose. Lately Jawaharlal Nehru and others of his generation had become very critical of not only the objective of Swaraj within the empire but Gandhi’s strategy of obtaining it through “Constructive Programme”.This generation of nationalists wanted to launch a frontal attack on the British Government and begin a powerful agitation to “secure for the country Puran Swaraj or complete Independence”.[xxx ] Gandhi castigated the Congress in Young India for its irresponsible talk and signed out the resolution on independence for severe criticism. He characterized that resolution as “ill convinced and impractical.” He attributed the lack of Swaraj, one believed to be attainable within a year to the lack of faith among the Congress in the constructive programme. According to him the Congressmen were “Men of little faith” Congress led by the Gandhi gave not only freedom of action to the Swarajist Party but even allowed it the use of Congress label to do so. The Congress under his leadership had done that inspire of the fact that Cooperation with the British or even obstructed to the British in the legislative Assembly appeared to him waste of time.[xxxi ]The Elections of 1926 clearly revealed the Swarajists method was not going to deliver goods and forced the Congress to reappear on the political scene and take the control of the country to fight for the objective of Swarajya once again in its own hand. The Swarajists were thrown in the background. How crucial was Gandhi’s role in bringing about unity within the Congress, at the Annual Session of the Congress at Calcutta. These proceedings of the Congress clearly bring out that Congress delegates to this session talked war, but Gandhi pacified the firebrands. He convinced them that Congress had not yet an effective army for fight. He emphasized, “as at present constituted the Congress in unable to put forth real united and unbreakable resistance. That did immediately silence the younger leaders Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru, leading the angry Young Men of the congress, wanted a declaration of immediate independence by the Congress and followed by the declaration of war of independence. That was a few days before the Congress met but subsequent presence of the Mahatma in Congress really cooled the hat generated by the Dominion status versus independence controversy. It might well be conceded that but for the Mahatma’ presence and his healing touch at Calcutta it is doubtful whether the revolt of the Young could have been controlled by the older leaders. Gandhi and other moderates were full of anger before the Congress session was held at Lahore on account of what appeared to them the Machiavellian tactics them the
  • 5. Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 34 Machiavellian tactics of the British youthful Jawaharlal Nehru elected as the president of the forthcoming Congress session at Lahore. He seems to have convinced himself that the time had come to get ready Indian National Congress for a fight by changing its objective to “Purna swaraj.’ The atmosphere during the Congress was tense. Jawaharlal Nehru the building spirit behind the left wing elements within the Congress was the president of the session. He had strived hard to proclaim complete independence, instead of dominion status, as India’s goal for long. He now declared himself a socialist and a Republican. In his Presidential address he pleaded for ‘action’ and depreciated ‘timidity’. He spoke of high stakes and the need for going though great dangers for they were the only way to achieve great things. He described Wedgewood Benn’s “Dominion status inaction” talk “a share” and emphasized that nothing less than “complete Independence” should be the goal of the Congress[xxxii ]. He categorically stated “Independence for us means complete freedom from the British dominion and British imperialism[xxxiii ]. Gandhi’s Aim of Swaraj: Gandhi at this stage was all appreciation of the left wing aspirations to get the objective of the Congress changed to Purna Swaraj as district from Swaraj and agreed to lead the Congress in case it were to begin a fight for complete independence. “Congress did give such a call and resolved to five the overall control of the movement through which the Nationalist objective was to be achieved” to Mahatma Gandhi[xxxiv ].” Gandhi who had contributed more than anyone else to postpone the declaration of Independence as the objective of the Congress activities, now personally “declared that the word Swaraj in the first articles of the Congress constitution shall mean complete Independence[xxxv ]. Gandhi also joined Motilal in rejecting for the first time the view that the objectives of the struggle for freedom could be achieved through a political dialogue with the British Government. Gandhi had thus finally arrived after taking more than four years to shift from Swaraj to Purna Swaraj. He had moved slowly but in the process carried the whole Congress along with him. When in December in 1929, he sponsored the resolution on Purna Swaraj in the annual session of the Congress he had the backing not only of the left-wing in the Congress but even such moderates as Motilal Nehru who were quite satisfied with Dominion Status as the objective of Indian National Congress earlier. Gandhi had now identified himself with left wingers and galvanized all shades of opinion within the great organization of which he had been the undisputed leader for full and half decade by now to complete independence but he deprecated any precipitate action and won Jawaharlal Nehru over to his point of view that while the congress adopted a resolution on complete Independence, it should speak only a mildly as to the methods for achieving that objective. The resolution itself had called upon congressmen and others talking part in the national movement to “Sustain from participating directly or indirectly in future elections and authorized the AICC whenever it deemed fit, to launch upon a programme of Civil Disobedience including of non-payment of taxes “but Gandhi had insisted on going slow. Gandhi had done that after asserting his authority as the leader of the Congress. He had said soon after the passage of the resolution: “I know that it is a duty devolving primarily on me” to lead the country to Purna Swaraj. He was not being modest. Everyone realized after the passage of Independence resolution that Gandhi would have to be brain, heart and directing hand of any Civil Disobedience Movement[xxxvi ]. Gandhi and Civil Disobedience Movement: The Civil Disobedience Movement was a result of a threefold circumstances. First was the British Government’s folly of appointing Simon Commission. Anti-Simon demonstrations were staged all over India. Lala Lajpat Rai’s death heightened the fury of the nation and at Calcutta in December in 1928 the Congress gave an ultimatum, first of its kind to the British Government that if the demand of “dominion status” outlined in Nehru Report was not conceded by the British Parliament on or before the 31st December 1928, the Congress would declare complete independence as its goal and will organize a campaign of non-violent, non- cooperation by advising the country to refuse taxation and in such other manner as is settled.[xxxvii ]The British Government failed to comply with the demand. Consequently in December 1928 at Lahore the Congress declared its goal to be complete independence [xxxviii ]. The Congress working Committee had appointed Mahatma Gandhi as the sole authority to decide the time and manner of launching Civil Disobedience Movement.[xxxix ]The new working committee met on 2nd January in 1930. It was decided to observe January 26th , 1930 all over India as the Purna Swarajya Day.[xl ] On that day a manifesto, prepared by Mahatma Gandhi and adopted by the Congress Working Committee should be read from every platform and accepted by the people. The manifesto was a declaration of independence, a pledge of loyalty to the Congress and to the secret fight for India’s freedom.[xli ] Gandhi submitted a charter of eleven demands to the victory, telling him that if he conceded them there would be no Civil Disobedience Movement.[xlii ] On March 2, Gandhi wrote a letter to Viceroy intimating him that if satisfactory reforms were not conceded….”On the 11th day of this month, I shall proceed to disregard to provisions of the Salt Laws.”Viceroy’s response
  • 6. Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 35 was so disappointing that on March 4, Gandhi stated that “On bended knees I asked for bread and received a stone instead.[xliii ]” This statement may be regarded as the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement. In the meantime, the Congress Working Committee met at Sabarmati, from 14th to 16th February. In the option of the Working Committee, Civil Disobedience should be initiated and controlled by those who believed in non-violence for the purpose of achieving Purna Swaraj as article of faith and as the Congress contains in its organization not merely such men and women but also those who accept non-violence as a policy essential in the existing circumstances in the country. The Working Committee welcomed the proposal of Mahatma Gandhi and authorized him and those working with him who believed in non- violence as an article of faith to the extent above indicated, to state Civil Disobedience as and when they desired and in the manner and to the extent they decided. Gandhi and Salt Satyagraha: It was decided to launch the civil disobedience Movement through the violation of the Salt Law.xliv Gandhi embarked upon his 200 miles long journey to Dandi and on 6th April in 1930, he began the salt Satyagraha by picking up a lump of natural salt. It was a signal for the country wide repetition of the same. [xlv ] The arrest of Mahatma Gandhi on 4rth May, also affected the movement in the province. In his arrest, he advised that the campaign should begin with general hartal followed by a prayerful fast after which each place should start such civil disobedience was locally possible.[xlvi ] In spite of the ban on the Central Congress bodies, a loose structure of All India Congress remained there to guide the movement in the province. By a resolution of the working Committee in Bombay the Congress president could nominate on the eve of his arrest a successor who could exercise the powers normally belonging to the Committee. Under these provision two leaders of this province Sardui singh and Kitchlew were nominated as Presidents. The working committee of All India Congress instructed the Provincial congress Committee to start o Tax- campaign by non- payment of specified taxes in certain provinces and is further of the opinion that beginning should be made by non-payment of land-tax in provinces where the Ryotwari Land settlement prevailed such as in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab.The foreign cloth Boycott Committee under the Chairmanship of Gandhi and with the Mr. Jairamdas Daulatram as the table and effective Secretary functioned through the year and carried on ceaseless activity in favour of the boycott.[xlvii ] The most striking social reform and one which only Congress Ministers attempted with genuine ardor and on substantial states, says Professor Coupland, “was prohibition’ [xlviii ] This was a reform which Gandhi regarded as essential for the self-purification and moral well-being of the society. The Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930s led to a great intensification of prohibition work and picketing of liquor shops became one of the most important activities of the Congress. In 1931 the Karachi congress declared that any constitution that may be agreed to on its behalf should include total prohibition of intoxication drinks and drugs.[xlix ] The congress decided to renew Civil disobedience in January in 1932, there was very little enthusiasm for this move, the Congress, the Congress organization was definitely poor from the start and was thrown out of gear by the systematic and prompt arrests of a dictators and captains of volunteers. Even through the Civil Disobedience Movement was officially continued till 1936, it had lost much of the force and momentum. The Congressman in the Punjab, however, continued with its constructive programme. The Punjab Provincial congress Committee in the meetings held on February 26, 1935, unanimously adopted the programme of constructive work and requested all the members and sympathizers o support it. Constructive programme was an integral part of Gandhi’s scheme of a non-violent struggle. It was the positive counterpart of civil Disobedience. Production of Khadi through self-spinning was the main item of constructive programme. Khadi was the positive aspect of the struggle for self-government. It was the first prerequisite of the success of the boycott of the foreign cloth, for it furnished an alternative to the use of foreign cloth. It became a symbol of revolution and freedom for it aimed at generating in the people a will to raise their own status without any external support. It imparted continuity to Gandhi’s struggle against imperialism for the programme of Khadi could be carried on during the intervals of mass political movement. The Punjab Provincial congress committee decided to start intense propaganda in favour of the Swadeshi. A branch of All India Spinners Association[l ] started functioning under the supervision of Dr. Gopi Chand Bhargava (representative of Savants of people Society.) .He made an appeal to the people to buy Khadi prepared by the Association from its sale-depots opened in various towns of the province.The branch claimed steady progress during period from 1922-1933 as the annual sale and production of khaddar rose from Rs-80,974 to Rs-5, 34,830 and Rs-3, 42, 866 respectively. With a small capital of Rs-1, 74,866, All India Spinners association in the Punjab within seven years had been able to distribute of Rs-11, 19,585 by way of wages.[li ]
  • 7. Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 36 Gandhi and Harijan Society: The civil disobedience movement continued for new moths more, but Gandhi was getting more and more concerned about the questions of untouchability. On 8 May in 1933, he announced a fst for 21 days for Harjan’s cause and he was promptly released by the Government after coming out of prison Gandhi devoted himself exclusively to the cause of the Harjns.[lii ] The uplift of Harijan was another item of the constructive programme. The Punjab Branch of the Harijans Sewak Sangha had been established in the middle of December in 1932. In 1932-33, the sangha had centers of work in fourteen districts of the province, i.e. Hissar, Rohtak, Ambala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Jammu, Rawalpindi, Lyallpur, Multan, Ferozepur, Sheikhpura, Lahore and Sialkot etc. Systematic efforts had been made by the branches of the Sangha for the children in the common Schools; he Sangha also helped the Harijans in getting employment. During the time of heavy rains the Harijans sewak Sangha also undertook to relieve the distress of the Harijans. Further, efforts were made to open public wells for the Harijans. The position of the Harijans with regard to temple entry, however, remained unchanged. Nevertheless, the propaganda work for their uplift was strengthened during and after Gandhi’s visit to Lahore I 1935.As desired by Gandhi and other leaders, the various days such as Harijan Day, Temle Entry Day and Prayer Days were celebrate throughout the country. The doctors visited the Harijan quarters and inspected the sanitary and hygienic conditions of their Mohallas and give them instructions in personal hygiene and sanitary methods of cleaning the latrines, Harijans houses were given clean in various occasions. From above account of the activities for the upliftment of the Harijans, it appears that the movement was started all over the country.There was some progress in this direction. But the fact remains that there was not much change of heart among the so-called upper caste Hindus. What to talk of ordinary caste Hindus, even Pandit Madan Mohan Malavya, in one of his statement at Bombay in October, 1932, disapproved inter-dining and inter-marriage between the Hindus and untouchables. Due to communal situation in this province, each community had some grievance against the Congress. Thus, an important section among the Hindus complained that, while the Muslims gained at the hands of the Congress and the Government, Hindus suffered most on account of their association with the Congress. This added that his co-religionists were not treated well by the commission simple because of their boycott of the commission in compliance with the Congress programme. Gandhi, therefore, impressed upon the Hindus, of course, through the congress, to co- operate with the British Government. References [i ] Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Vol.IX, p.152 & p.350 [ii ] Ibid, Vol, XV, P.296.., [iii ]Collected work of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol, XXIV, P.188 [iv ]Ibid, Vol, XXIV, P.419 [v ] Census of India, 1931, Vol, Part-I, Report, P.420 [vi ] I.Q.R.1925, Vol-I, PP.68-70 [vii ] Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, Voll-XXVI, P.215 [viii ] For more details regarding his scheme, see Ibid, P.162 [ix ] Ibid, Vol, XXVII, P. ^ [x ]Ibid, Vol, XXVII, P.6, Vol. XXXII, P416, Vol. XXXIV, P.3, Letter from Gandhi to Ambika Prasad on 8th October in 1926, Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol .XXXI, P.485 [xi ] Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi Vol, XXV, PP. 288-289 [xii ] Mahadev Desai, Day to Day with Gandhi, P.67, Sarva Seva Singh Prakashan [xiii ] D.G.Tendulkar, Mahatma Voll-III, P. 204, Publication Division Patiala House, New Delhi [xiv ] Ibid, p.334 [xv ] For more details see the Hindusthan Socialist Republican Association Manifesto-The philosophy of the Bomb in hale, H.W., Political Trouble in India: 1917-37, P.205
  • 8. Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 37 [xvi ] Awart, J.M.Terrorism in India:1917-36, P.19 [xvii ] Ibid., P.5 [xviii ] Sachindranath Sanyal, Bandi Jiwan, PP.311-12 [xix ] Mukherjee,Hiren, Gandhiji A Study, p.82 [xx ] Brown, M.Judith, Gandhi and Civil Disobedience, p.36 [21] The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol.XXXVIII,p.275 [22] The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol,XXXVIII,pp.276-77 [xxiii ]Tendulkar, D.G.Mahatma,Vol-II,pp.357-358 [xxiv ] .Nath, Sailesh, Terrorism in India, p.282 [xxv ] .Majumdar,R.C. History of Freedom Movement in India, Vol-II, p.525 [xxvi ] .H.W.Hale, Political Trouble in India, p.208 [xxvii ] H.W.Hale, Political Trouble in India,p.208 [xxviii ] Punjab FIR, on December 1929, Home Poll, File No. NAI, New Delhi. [xxix ] Brown, M.Judhith, 1977. Gandhi and Civil Disobedience, CUP,p.18 [xxx ] Kumar,R & Panigrahi, D.N. 1982. Selected works of Motilal Neheru, V.P.House, New Delhi, p.30 [xxxi ] Fischer, Louis, 1982. The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, G.Publishing, p.317. [32] D.C.Guptas, Indian National Movement and Constitutional Development, P.135, Vikas Publishing House Pvt.Ltd. New Delhi. Published in 1983 [33] D.G.Tendulkar, Mahatma, Vol-II, P.334, Publication Division Patiala House, New Delhi, Published in 1969 [xxxiv ] Ravinder Kumar and D.N.Panigrahi, Selected Works of Motilal Nehru,P.137, Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, Published in 1982 [xxxv ] D.G.Tendulkar, Mahatma, Voll-II, Publication Division, Patiala House, P.384, New Delhi, in 1969 [xxxvi ] Luis Fischer, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, P.330, Granada Publishing House, in 1982 [xxxvii ] Report of the Forty-third Indian national Congress (Calcutta in 1928), P.107 [xxxviii ] Report of the Forty-third Annual Session of Indian National congress (Lahore in 1929), P.88 [xxxix ] V.N.Mitra, Edited, The India Annual Register 1930, Vol-I, P.334 [xl ] V.P.Memon, Transfer of Power, (Madras in 1968), P.42 [41] Jawaharlal Nehru, An Autobiography (Bombay in 1962), PP.209-210 [42] Ram Gopal, India Muslims: A Political History (1858-1947), P.222, Bombay, in 1959 [43] P.D.Koushik, Congress Ideology and Programme (1920-47), P.237, In 1964 [44] Salt being a committee consumed by even the poorest sections of the Indian Society, the defiance of the salt law was likely to draw the maximum possible number of people. Satyapal, sixty Years of the Congress, (Ahmedabad, ) Vol XLVIII,p.490 [45] Proceedings of the Punjab history Congress, on 12th session, 1978, pp2004-05 [46] The Collected Works of M.K.Gandhi, 1967. Vol.XLVIII, Ahmedabad,p.490. [xlvii ] Sitaramaiah, P.B.,1969. History of the Indian national Congress, vol-I, New Delhi, p.576. [xlviii ] R, Coupland, 1943.The Indian problem 1933-35, Bombay, p.141. [xlix ] Report of Forty-fifth Indian National Congress, 1901, Karachi Session, p.141
  • 9. Relation between Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian Congress: A Brief Study Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(11) October, 2016 38 [l ] One of the Institutions founded by Mahatma Gandhi at savargram towards the implementation of the constructive programe to further the cause of Khadi and cottage industries, Jagadish Sharma, op.cit., p.9 [li ] Mitra, N.N.1930. The Annual Register, May, vol. I, p.436 [lii ]Sen, S.P.1973. Dictionary of national biography, vol.II, Kolkata, p.8, “The term “Harijans” means the servent of God, was popularized by Gandhi and issued by him in preference to depressed classes, scheduled classes and of untouchables who represent the lowest stratum of Hindu Society.