mahatma gandhi

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World War II and beyond

Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India.
World War II and beyond

Englands entry into World War II (1939?45; when the United States, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union fought against Germany, Italy, and Japan) brought India in without its consent. Because Britain had made no political compromises satisfactory to nationalist leaders, in August 1942 Gandhi proposed not to help in the war effort. Gandhi, Nehru, and other Congress Party leaders were imprisoned, touching off violence throughout India. When the British attempted to place the blame on Gandhi, he fasted for three weeks in jail. He contracted malaria (a potentially fatal disease spread by mosquitoes) in prison and was released on May 6, 1944.
When Gandhi emerged from prison, he sought to stop the creation of a separate Muslim state of Pakistan, which Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876?1948) was demanding. Jinnah declared August 16, 1946, a Direct Action Day. On that day, and for several days following, communal killings left five thousand dead and fifteen thousand wounded in Calcutta alone. Violence spread through the country.
Extremely upset, Gandhi went to Bengal, saying, I am not going to leave Bengal until the last embers of trouble are stamped out. But while he was in Calcutta forty-five hundred more people were killed in Bihar. Gandhi, now seventy-seven, warned that he would fast to death unless Biharis reformed. Either Hindus and Muslims would learn to live together or he would die in the attempt. The situation there calmed, but rioting continued elsewhere.


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Disobedience and return to old values
Rising discontent
Biography
World War II and beyond
India wins Independence
Gandhis Noakhali March
The Boer War
Cabinet Mission
Problems of Indians in South Africa
The Phoenix Settlement
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