Political and Social Movements

Indian Reform Movement

What was the nonviolent Indian reform movement?

It was the movement led by Indian nationalist leader Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948), whose methods of protest included staging boycotts, fasting, conducting prayer vigils, and visiting troubled areas in an attempt to end conflicts. Gandhi, whom the people called Mahatma (meaning “great-souled”), was determined to bring about change in India—to bring an end to British control of the country and to topple the ages-old caste system (the strict social structure) there. Gandhi believed that it took great courage to not engage in violence, and he began campaigns of passive resistance, which he called satyagraha (meaning “firmness in truth”). Gaining a wide following, Gandhi’s acts of civil disobedience did bring about changes in his homeland, where he is revered as the founder of an independent India (1947). He remained faithful to his nonviolent beliefs throughout his life. He also adhered to a firm policy of religious tolerance. It was for this reason that the spiritual and nationalist leader was killed by a Hindu extremist in 1948.


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