(1914-1971) By: Austen Tyryfter, Lance Wilson, and Cole Bachmeier

"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."- Mahatma Gandhi

Ch 25 Sec 2 & 31 Sec 2
Amritsar Massacre
In the early 1900's, India was part of the British Empire. However, the British rule was very corrupt and left the Indians with little to no rights. In 1885, the Indian National Congress (INC) was created with the intent of reforming the British government. However, by the end of World War I many members of the INC, including its new leader, Motilal Nehru, wanted full independence for India. Another leader of the independence movement in India was Mohandas Gandhi. By the start of World War I, he was known to the Indian people as Mahatma, or "Great Soul". In 1914, Gandhi left South Africa, where he had campaigned for civil rights for over 20 years, and returned to India. There he began campaigning for Indian independence. As a believer in nonviolence, Gandhi organized massive peaceful protests that involved protesting British government by refusing to obey the laws that they thought were unjust. This method is called civil disobedience. In 1919, these protests were met with violence. In the city of Amritsar, British troops slaughtered hundreds. Gandhi was later sent to prison for organizing these protests. However, progress was made to reform the government. Created in 1935, the Government of India Act gave the Indians a greater role in governing India. The result was voting powers were given to five million Indians.

Gandhi, who had now been released from prison, continued to protest the British rule of India. He told his followers to do nothing that supported the English, including buying cotton and salt and seding their children to English schools. The British had, however, had increased the salt tax and created laws that would prevent the Indians making their own salt. In 1930, on the Salt March, Gandhi marched to the sea and picked up salt from the sea. Gandhi, along with several other leaders of INC, were arrested. Later in the 1930's, Jawaharlal Nehru entered the movement. Jawaharlal was the son of Motilal, and had studied law in Great Britain. He was a different leader for India. He was both upper class and an intellectual. Due to this difference, the Indian independence movement split into two different sects. The sect that followed Gandhi was in tune with the Hindu religion, and held traditional values. The sect that identified with Jawaharlal Nehru held more Western, modern values. Other divisions came about between the Hindus and the Muslims. As the 1930's wore on, the Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, began to believe that they should have their own separate nation in the northwest of India. This nation would be Pakistan, which means "Land of the Pure".

By the end of World War II, there was a sharp divide between the Hindus and Muslims. By this time it was clear that the two groups in British India would have to be divided into their own countries. One country, India, would house the Hindus. The other, Pakistan, would control the lands east and west of India and house the Muslims. The two nations became independent on August 15, 1947. Hindus and Muslims fled across the new borders into the countries that respected their religion. In the violence that resulted, over a million people were kill. Among them was Mohandas Gandhi, who was assassinated on January 30, 1948, by Nathuram Godse. With independence, Jawaharlal Nehru became the Prime Minister of India, as well as the leader of the Congress Party, which had evolved from the Indian National Congress. Nehru admired the socialist ideals similar to those used by the British Labour Party. This made his goal to create a parliamentary government with an economy that was moderate socialist. Under this, small private enterprises and agriculture were left in private hands, while he major industries and transportation were owned by the government. Industrial production increased threefold by the time of Nehru's death. After his death, Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, was elected prime minister by the Congress Party. She remained in office from 1966 to 1984. Population growth was a problem during her reign. This fast growth led to growing poverty. Mother Teresa helped the poor, sick, and dying in the slums of Calcutta. Other problems included the desire of the sikhs to have their own nation. The Sikh religion is based on both Hindu and Islam. Many Sikhs lived in the Indian province of Punjab, and wanted independence. Indira Gandhi would not allow this. In 1984, she sent the military to Punjab and attacked the rebels in the Golden Temple, a sacred Sikh shrine. More than 450 were killed. She was assassinated later that year by two Sikh members of her bodyguards. She was replaced by her son, Rajiv. He began changing the economic policy from socialist to capitalist. State run industries were moved to private ownership. He remained prime minister until 1989, and was assassinated while campaigning for reelection in 1991. Religious differences still caused conflict during this time, despite being separated by borders. India and Pakistan continue disputing the region of Kashmir even today. Pakistan was also divided in 1971. West Pakistan became known just as Pakistan, and East Pakistan declared independence and became Bangladesh. Military governments in both countries have resulted in high poverty rates across the subcontinent.

Indian Independence Terms:

Image of Salt March

  • Pan-Africanism- A Marcus Garvey movement in which he stressed the need for a unity of all of the Africans. Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican who lived
  • in Harlem in New York City who sent his Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World and this had a strong impact on African leaders.
  • Mahatma- Mohandas Gandhi was called Mahatma by the Indian people around World War I. Mahatma, or Great Soul. This was a great hour and his was called this for his active role in the movement for Indian self-rule before WWI.
  • Civil Disobedience- Refusal to obey laws considered to be unjust. Gandhi left India and returned in 1914 protesting British laws with nonviolence using the method of Civil Disobedience.
  • Armitsar- Armitsar is the site of a 1919 protest where this protest was met with violence and the fury of Britain. Britain, in anger, killed hundreds of unarmed protesters in western India. This act greatly scared Ghandi.
  • Salt March- In 1930, Mohandas Gandhi went on a nonviolence campaign where he and his supporters walked to the sea on this Salt March. When his followers picked up salt with their hands on this coast, Gandhi and many other followers were arrested.
  • Pakistan- “The land of the pure”. Muhammad Ali Jinnah thought that this land to the Northwest of India was to be created as a separated Muslim state. Muhammad A. Jinnah was the leader of the Muslim League so he had a lot of support.
  • Zaibatsu- A large financial and industrial corporation. This was created in the Japanese economy where various manufacturing processes were created under a single enterprise. This zaibatsu developed, usually with government help, into companies that controlled large amounts of the Japanese Industry.
  • Indian National Congress- This is now called the Congress Party, the Indian National Congress is led by Jawaharlal Nehru and he worked closely with Gandhi to fight for Indian independence. This organization grew and governed India when it gained independence.
  • Bangladesh- Bangladesh is what was East Pakistan. They grew independent from West Pakistan, now called just Pakistan in 1971 after a small civil war that was fought over the West Pakistan Government completely ignoring the East’s needs.
  • Stalemate- A draw or where neither side is able to make significant gains. A stalemate in which the United States took place was in Vietnam. Southern Vietnam, supported by the Americans, and Northern Vietnam, supported by the Communists, were both unable to do anything about the other.

Important Indian Independence People:

Jawaharlal Nehru

Indira Gandhi

Queen Victoria

Mother Teresa
Mahatma Gandhi

Motilal Nehru


This video briefly describes the effect of Mohandas Gandhi on Indian Independence. The second one talks about Mohandas Gandhi's Death.

Key Dates

Mohandas Gandhi Funeral after assassinated

1914: Mohandas Gandhi leaves South Africa, where he first practiced law, and returns home to India to fight for independence.
April 13, 1919: Hundreds of peaceful protesters are slaughtered at the Amritsar Massacre.
March 12-April 5, 1930: The Salt March, in which Gandhi walks to the sea to protest British salt, occurs.
1935: The Government of India Act gives the Indians a greater share in the governing role.
August 15, 1947: India and Pakistan become independent from Great Britain.
January 30, 1948: Mohandas Gandhi is assassinated by Nathuram Godse during the violence that occurred while Muslims and HIndus fled across the India-Pakistan border.
1966: Jawaharlal Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, becomes Prime Minister of India and the first woman to lead India.
1971: East Pakistan declares independence from West Pakistan, and calls itself Bangladesh.
1984: Indira Gandhi is assassinated and is replaced by her son, Rajiv.
1991: Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated while campaigning for reelection as Prime Minister.


  1. Mohandas Gandhi: Lived from 1869-1948, nickname Mahatma or “Great Soul” also nicknamed Bapu which means father. He went to a college in London, England and received a law degree in 1891. He was married to Kasturba at the age of 13. He was a successful lawyer who fought against discrimination and racism. He returned to India in 1915 to become the leader and fight for independence. He later came out with the Satyagraha or “Steadfast in Truth” which stated that they should use non-violent resistance to achieve goals. These included boycotts, strikes, sit ins, protest marches, not paying taxes, and fasting, all of which were none violent. In 1922 he was charged with sedition and imprisoned for 6 years. After he gets out he continues to fight for Indian independence, he does a speech calling for British to leave India. On Aug. 15, 1947 India achieves independence with Gandhi’s help. On Jan. 30, 1948 in Dehli, India Gandhi was assassinated.
  2. Jawaharlal Nehru: He became the new Indian leader after the death of Gandhi. He toke over in 1947 and was leader until 1964. He was India’s first prime minister. He made India a leader among the Asian nations.
  3. Indira Gandhi: Indian prime minister from 1966 to 1983. She was the past Prime Minister Nehru’s daughter. She was the first woman in the history of India to lead the country.
  4. Rajiv Gandhi: The Prime Minister from 1984 to 1989. He was the song of Indira Gandhi the Prime Minister before him. He encouraged a capitalist economy. He was later assassinated in 1991.
  5. Mother Teresa: Lived from 1910 to 1997; she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She helped with many Missionaries of charity to aid the sick and poor all around the world.
  6. Queen Victoria: The leader of England at this time she was called the “Empress of India”. She considered India the jewel in the crown because it was the largest English colony that they had at the time.
  7. Brigadier Reginald Dyer: Nicknamed “The Butcher of Amritsar”; the British commander of England’s troops. He ordered troops to open fire on the peaceful protesters of Amritsar.
  8. Lord Mountbatten: The last viceroy of India, he was appointed after the last war. He organized a transfer of power from the British to the Indians; he believed that India should be united under one nation.
  9. Kasturba Gandhi: Wife of Mohandas Gandhi, she married him in an arranged marriage in 1882. She lived with Gandhi until her death in 1944; she died from suffering with bronchitis without treatment.
  10. Muhammad Ali Jinnah: He was the leader of the Muslim League; this was a league that wanted the separation of Pakistan to a separate Muslim state. He believed in having a separate Muslim majority nation.


This map shows India when at the time it became independence in 1947, and again in 2007, when the disputes over borders from that era still remain.

Indian Independence Links:

Mohandas Gandhi This link explains the genius that was Mohandas Gandhi, or Mahatma Gandhi as he is commonly known as. Gandhi led a non-violent movement for civil rights as well as freedom for all. He died January 1948 at the age of 78.
Salt March The Salt March, or the Salt of Satyagraha began on march 12, 1930. This link explains that Mohandas Gandhi started this march in protest, a peaceful protest, to the British. It explains that he did this to get salt without paying tax for it.
Pakistan This link gives a great background into the Pakistan Culture as well as a great number interesting facts. This link explains that Pakistan broke up into two different states, East Pakistan, or Bangladesh, and West Pakistan, now called Pakistan.
Mother Teresa This link explains that Mother Teresa or Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, created the Missionaries of Charity in an effort to help the poor as well as the sick. He established numerous centers all around the world to aid the hungry, the poor, and the sick.
INC This link explains that the Indian National Congress is commonly abbreviated INC. The INC is one of the two major political parties in India. This site also explains cool facts about the organizations like that the party has a modern liberal platform.
Amritsar Massacre This link give you all the info on the Amritsar Massacre it talks about how and why it happened, how many people were killed. It talks about why the general ordered the open fire and what the consequences of this order was.
Jawaharlal Nehru This site contains all of the info on Jawaharlal Nehru, it talks about his child hood all the way up to him being the leader of India, it also talks about his family and what there lives were like.
British Control This link brings you to a site that talks about the British control of India. It talks about why Great Britain wanted India and what the benefits of having a colony there was. It also talks about what struggles the British went through to try and control India.
Timeline This site is great for finding important events. Its a timeline so it contains key events that hapened during the Rise of India. It is very organized and easy to find information on, the site even contains links that go into more details about these key events.
Overview This site has a complete overview on Indian Independence is goes into more specific detail about everything. It is a great site if you didn't get enough from this one. It is a little more difficult to find specific info but its all there.