Freedom Movement

Actually Freedom struggle against the British had been turned into a Mass Movement after Mahatma Gandhi joined the struggle in 1915. Prior to that also three mass movements can be noted. One is Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 and the other two are efforts of Lokamanya Tilak and Arabindo Ghosh to instill Nationl Spirit among Hindu masses by invoking Religions sentiments like Ganapathi Festivals in Maratha region by Tilak and Kali worship in Bengal by Arabindo Ghosh.

And actually, British rule or British Raj in India is a half-truth. At the time of Departure of the British from India a question arose to how to establish the new Government as there was NO LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY to handover the Government to new Government. Because logically at the time of the departure of the British also Government of India was run as Government of India only. Not as British Indian Government. Only exception is that Head of the Government was a British man.

Jawaharlal Nehru was against participation of General Elections held for Indian Council in 1937 based on Government of India Act. 1935. However, the Congress Party prevailed upon him by claiming that Congress must join the Government to wreck the British Raj from within. And during 1946 elections also Nehru objected to Indian National Congress participation in Elections. And he wanted the British to quit first so that Indians would conduct their own elections. However, as the things went on Indian National congress under the stewardship of Jawaharlal Nehru won the elections and Nehru took oath as interim Prime Minister of India. And the British left India technically on 15th August, 1947. Mountbatten continued in his office as Governor General of India till June, 1948 may be because of communal violence in the aftermath of partition of India. Shri Rajagopalachari acted as Governor General from June, 1948 to Jan,1950. And Indians formed into a Constituent Assembly to Prepare the Constitution of India under the Chairmanship of Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 13 December 1946 (Dr. B R Ambedkar was Chairman of Drafting Committee.) And the Constitution prepared thus was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, which came into force on 26 January 1950. The Preamble drafted by Jawaharlal Nehru personally was accepted by all and the Constitution begins with the Preamble as follows:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;


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Saraswati river

And another important aspect is that British troops stationed at various Principalities were technically armed mercenaries in the service of a King and Paid by the King, a Rajah or a Nawab. So, the so-called British Resident who oversaw the security of that Kingdom was a servant of that King. He was not allowed into the main city of the Kingdom. Let it be.

Who were the founding fathers of the modern Indian Nation then? Obviously, who resisted foreign domination over 200 years should be considered as founding fathers of the Nation. British records tell that at least 3,50,000 Indians died fighting the British between 1857 and 1947 alone. This figure includes more than 60,000 people died during quit India movement. Quit India movement lasted for about 20 months across the length and breadth of the Indian sub-continent. It is interesting to note that Quit India movement which began on 8th August 1942 has had no leader on that day to lead the agitators. All Congress leaders were jailed even before the day began. Still the movement lasted for 20 months.

Coming to the point of Founding fathers of the Nation we have to remember Shri Raja Ramamohana Roy, 1722-1833. He strived his best to bring in socio-religious reforms in the Society.


Sepoy mutiny of 1847 was a watershed on the annals of fight against the British. Sepoys marched to Delhi and declared Bahadur Shah Zafar as Moghul Emperor of India. However, the British East India Company gained upper hand after that and deposed Bahadur Shah to Rangoon. And exterminated all Moghul lineage deliberately.

WE have to remember Surendranath Banerjee, 1848-1825, who was first to tour all India campaigning against reduction of Age limit for IAS (the then ICS) from 21 years to 19 in 1877.

Then we have to remember first Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He was who declared “Freedom is my birth Right I shall have it.” He was prosecuted under sedition Act and jailed for about 8 years. For some time, he was jailed in Mandalay jail of Rangoon. Tilk Died in 1920.

Dadabhai Nauroji who was hailed as The Grand Old man of India conducted his campaign against the British lodging himself in London.

There were so many prominent people who fought against the British in their own way. Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat rai, Aurobindo Ghosh, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Sekhar Azad, etc., were such patriots.

Mahatma Gandhi turned the Freedom Struggle which was prior to confined to a few individuals and some gatherings into a mass movement. Gandhi came to India in 1915. He took cue from Tilak by rising funds for freedom struggle in the name of Tilak Swaraj Fund.

Jawaharlal Nehru and his father Motilal Nehru met Gandhiji in 1926 to discuss strategy for freedom struggle. Both of them agreed to subscribe to Gandhi’s principle of Non-Violent means to fight against the British. Gandhiji spent about 7 years in jail whereas Jawaharlal spent 9 years in jail fighting for freedom of India. Lakhs of people voluntarily participated in the freedom struggle and suffered jail terms, lathis, and even embraced deaths.

Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru used to differ with Gandhi and were good friends. Patel and Nehru both were no doubt staunch patriots. But Patel represented the lobby of Zamindars, Rajahs and Nawabs. Whereas Nehru was favourite of new educated class. And masses rallied behind Gandhi. Gandhi accepted Nehru’s model of Democratic and Republican form of Governance for new India by 1940.

And there were numerous people who fought against the British in their own way. Bhaga Singh hurled bombs in the Assembly and did not seek for mercy against his sentencing. He rebuked his father for making a mercy petition to save him. Gandhiji never took his words back when the British charged him with various sections of CrPC. HE simply told that it his bounden duty to utter such opinions and if the Authority wants to punish for it they were free to do so. Gandhi spent 7 years and Nehru spent 9 years in jail.

Before Gandhi arrive on the mainstream of the freedom struggle was sporadic, local and individual. Some times through secret societies. Aurobindo Ghosh also was prosecuted for taking up arms but renounced freedom struggle and took refuge in Puducherry, a French colony. Sawarkar also fought against the British but took the logistic help from the French. When French made truce with the British, they handed over Sawarkar to the British. Sawarkar languished in jails between 1911 to 1924. Later he received pension from the British till they left India.

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