• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically examine how Mahatma Gandhi used the concept of non-violence as a practical tool of resistance to the colonial rule

Extracts from this document...


Critically examine how Mahatma Gandhi used the concept of non-violence as a practical tool of resistance to the colonial rule. Throughout the ages mankind often instinctively turns to the use of violence to defeat an enemy. Violence is part and parcel of the culture of human beings. And yet one of the greatest freedom struggles in modern history was apparently won through the specific rejection of violence, and the active use of a policy of non-violence. That struggle was between the Indian independence movement and the British colonial administration. At the head of that independence movement was Mahatma Gandhi, a simple Indian who held no office or great wealth, and yet was able to unite a whole subcontinent against the British Empire. Not only that, but he did it in such a peaceful, virtuous way that he made the British question their own moral's and eventually forced them out of India. This is the general version that is recorded in history. However, this version of events generally ignores the other forces that influenced the British to withdraw from Empire in India. Here we will critically examine the view that the use of non-violence was the main reason for the ending of British rule in India, by examining the true organisational nature of non-violent civil disobedience, and other events, British and global. ...read more.


So in reality protesters may have been protesting over differing things depending upon which part of India they were in. An article in Young India warned, "Each town, each village may have to become it's own battlefield. The strategy of the battle must then come to be determined by local circumstances and change them from day to day. . . . . They should need little guidance from the outside (Young India: 17th July 1930: Brown). For various reasons tight central control of civil disobedience was impossible. As the global economic crisis deepened through 1930 affecting different regions in varying ways and degrees, so local strategies became more sharply differentiated. This increased local congress leaders' need for freedom from central control if they were to exploit local discontents. Provincial politicians wanted access to the prestige and resources of the all-India body but they did not hesitate to modify or ignore central advice if this clashed with provincial interests. The Raj realised that the Working Committee had limited control over civil disobedience, and the experienced Governor Sir Malcolm Hailey, told Lord Irwin, " I know of course the military argument . . . . . . that the most effective way to cripple the enemy is to strike a crushing blow at his most vital point. ...read more.


Ironically though, it was the British who gave India the instruments with which to resist colonial rule and establish a nation. The railways united a whole continent in a way that had never been done before. Great distances could be travelled relatively quickly by even the most lowly peasant and political campaigners could move quickly. For the first time, ordinary Indian's looked upon India as one country. The establishment of universities and provincial governments educated enough Indian's in the art governance that they felt confident enough to ask for the power to govern without foreign help. Indeed, Gandhi himself had been educated in law in England. The hegemony of the English language was a great communication device, as it gradually became the only language that people from all over India could unite around. These factors were instrumental in ensuring the widespread appeal of the Indian National Congress. The British finally left for several reasons, most of them international. But the non-violence struggle was of course an important factor in the ending of British rule. Any use of violence would allow the British to be seen as 'the law' protecting India from 'vandals', and so justify the continuance of the Raj for a little longer. Without the non-violence movement the British would probably have moved at a much slower pace than they did, but even Britain could not fight against the economic and international climate that made British withdrawal from India inevitable. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Party system in India

    As the BJP gained strength, the effort by the Janata Dal and other regional parties of the United Front to work with the third alternative (to the Congress and the BJP)

  2. The colonial factor in the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970)

    Many reasons had been put forward for this conflict. These include religious, tribal, cultural, geographic and economic factors. However, one of the factors that had been constantly overlooked because it did not appear contemporary was the colonial legacy: This essay therefore attempts to look at "TO WHAT EXTENT DID THE

  1. Decolonisation in India.

    The fundamental deficiency has been the failure to credit the Labour government of Clement Attlee with any facilitating part in the unlocking of the Indian problem. Not that the Raj could have survived indefinitely had it attempted instead to obstruct the transition to independence.

  2. A Detail on the British Empire Between the Great Wars, from 1918 to 1939.

    Elections were called, and Baldwin returned as Conservative Prime Minister. Reforms Initiated The first Labour government, before being ousted by the Conservatives, did implement a number of reforms, with the consent of the Liberals of course. The most important out of all these was Wheatley's Housing Act which gave local

  1. British History Coursework: The Irish Famine 1845-1849

    numerous and distressed portion of his tenantry to the severity of a New Brunswick winter unprovided with the common means of support, with broken-down constitutions and almost in a state of nudity" When called upon to answer for this, Lord Palmerston blamed his agents, who in turn made the emigrants write letters to the St.

  2. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    pay the damage caused by them, pay the wives of Maltese soldiers and pay the money owed to some merchants. The British illegal stay in Malta from 1800-1814 After the departure of the French on 7th September 1800, there where some countries, known as the Pretenders that conjured to take Malta under their hands.


    and evaluation and where feasible, establishing an independent civil service oversight body. In parallel it will be important to increase salaries, relate then to skill and responsibility, and regularize the extensive non-salary benefit that provide broad scope for discretion and corruption.

  2. The world, and more particularly Hollywood, is obsessed with the plight of Tibet. In ...

    Tibet was an entirely homogenous country until the Chinese invasion, and its heterogeneous nature now is upsetting to many Tibetans. "Because there were no Han Chinese in Tibet in 1950, all adult Tibetans vividly remember a completely Tibetan Tibet. They felt that the Chinese had taken their country and were transforming it into just another part of China."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work