Significance of Individual Satyagraha in Indian freedom movement


  • Individual Satyagraha was direct result of August Offer.
  • The Congress was in a confused state again after the August Offer. The radicals and leftists wanted to launch a mass Civil Disobedience Movement, but here Gandhi insisted on Individual Satyagraha.

Individual Satyagraha:-

  • The Individual Satyagraha was not to seek independence but to affirm the right of speech.
  • The non-violence was set as the centerpiece of Individual Satyagraha. This was done by carefully selecting the Satyagrahis.
  • The first Satyagrahi selected was Acharya Vinoba Bhave, who was sent to Jail when he spoke against the war.
  • Second Satyagrahi was Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • Aims ofIndividual Satyagraha:-
    • To show that nationalist patience was not due to weakness.
    • To express people’s feeling that they are not interested in the war and that they made distinction between Nazism and double autocracy that ruled in India.
    • To give another opportunity to the Government to accept congress demands peacefully. The demand of the Satyagrahi was using freedom of Speech against the war through an anti-war declaration. If government did not arrest the Satyagrahi, he or she will move repeating it in villages and start march towards Delhi (Delhi Chalo Movement)

Significance :-

  • The campaign started again in January 1941, this time, thousands of people joined and around 20 thousand people were arrested.
  • Though the aim of Satyagraha was limited one, it was successful in displaying unity and patience in masses of India.
  • This Satyagraha forced to bring Cripps Proposal which was much different from August offer as it provided way for Constituent Assembly and Option to any Province to withdraw a blue print for India’s partition.
  • Individual Satyagraha had a dual purpose while giving expression to the Indian people’s strong political feeling, it gave the British Government further opportunity to peacefully accept the Indian demands.
  • More importantly, Gandhi was beginning to prepare the people for the coming struggle. The Congress organization was being put back in shape opportunist elements were being discovered and pushed out of the organization and above all the people were being politically aroused, educated and mobilized.
  • It had been carried on for fourteen months and although it did not put any great political pressure on the Government, it had psychological and symbolical effect on the people.
  • Political Parties were not united over the question of Civil Disobedience.

Why was it suspended :-

  • Since it was not a mass movement, it attracted little enthusiasm and in December 1940, Gandhi suspended the movement.
  • Indian leaders, released from prisons  were worried about the safety and defence of India as world war II was at its doorstep.
  • Anxious to defend Indian territory and to go to the aid of the Allies, the Congress Working Committee overrode the objections of Gandhi and Nehru and passed a resolution  offering to fully cooperate in the defence of India and the Allies if Britain agreed to give full independence after the War arid the substance of power immediately.
  • The Japanese threat was increasing and there were air raids on Assam and Bengal. Naturally, it was not thought expedient that, at such a critical time the Congress leaders should be, again, in prison. Hence the Individual Satyagraha movement was suspended.

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