- Date: Sep 20-26, 1932
- Duration: 125 hours
- Place: Yerwada Central Jail, Poona
- Reason and Demands: Protest against the Communal Award of separate electorates and separate reservation of seats for depressed classes. Demand for equal rights and representation within the Hindu fold.
MAHATMA GANDHI HUNGER STRIKE
Mahatma Gandhi, a name synonymous with nonviolent resistance and India’s struggle for independence, embarked on a historic journey through his hunger strike. This article delves deep into the profound events surrounding MAHATMA GANDHI’S HUNGER STRIKE, shedding light on its historical significance, the motivations behind it, and its lasting impact on the world.
The Early Life of Mahatma Gandhi
Before we dive into the specifics of the hunger strike, let’s briefly explore the life of the man behind this legendary act. Born in 1869 in Porbandar, India, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, later known as Mahatma Gandhi, led a life marked by principles of truth, nonviolence, and justice.
Gandhi’s Vision for India’s Independence
Gandhi’s passion for India’s independence was unwavering. His vision was simple yet powerful: a free India achieved through nonviolent means. His journey towards this goal was marked by various movements and protests, but one stands out prominently – his hunger strike.
The Genesis of the Hunger Strike
- The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
In 1919, the infamous Jallianwala Bagh Massacre unfolded in Amritsar, Punjab, where British troops mercilessly fired upon a peaceful gathering of Indians. This tragic event deeply moved Gandhi, and he saw it as a turning point in the fight against British oppression.
- The Rowlatt Act
Following the massacre, the British introduced the repressive Rowlatt Act, further infuriating the Indian populace. Gandhi, through nonviolent civil disobedience, led protests against this act, but when the government ignored their demands, he decided to take a drastic step.
The Hunger Strike Begins
- The Ultimatum
Gandhi, on March 30, 1919, issued an ultimatum to the British government, demanding the repeal of the Rowlatt Act and a host of other oppressive laws. He declared that if his demands were not met by a specified date, he would undertake a hunger strike as an act of self-purification and nonviolent protest.
- The Symbolism of Fasting
Gandhi’s hunger strike was not merely a political statement; it was a deeply spiritual and symbolic act. Fasting, in his view, cleansed the soul and demonstrated the strength of one’s convictions.
International Attention and Pressure
Gandhi’s resolve captured the attention of the world. Newspapers across the globe covered his fast, and people from all walks of life expressed solidarity. The British government found itself under increasing pressure, both domestically and internationally.
A Nation in Agony
As the days passed, Gandhi’s health deteriorated rapidly. The nation watched in agony, torn between admiration for his commitment and concern for his life. Indians from all corners prayed for his well-being and the success of his mission.
The Triumph of Nonviolence
Finally, after an agonizing 21-day fast, the British government conceded to Gandhi’s demands. The Rowlatt Act was repealed, and the Indian political landscape began to shift. This victory marked a pivotal moment in India’s fight for independence and demonstrated the power of nonviolent resistance.
MAHATMA GANDHI’S HUNGER STRIKE: A Legacy of Nonviolence
Gandhi’s hunger strike left an indelible mark on the world. His unwavering commitment to nonviolence and civil disobedience inspired countless others, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, in their quests for justice and freedom.