Gandhian Era 1919-1947, Montague – Chelmsford Reforms Act, 1919
- First woman President
- The Congress got its first woman President at the Calcutta Session in 1917: Annie Besant.
End of World War 1 - 1918
The First World War came to an end in 1918.
The Indians who fought on behalf of the British were eagerly waiting for some concessions to come from the British
Montague – Chelmsford Reforms Act, 1919
- Montague, the Secretary of State for India and Chelmsford, the Viceroy of India were jointly responsible for passing of this Act in the British Parliament.
- Also called Government of India Act 1919
- By this Act separate electorates were given to three other communities – Christians, Anglo Indians and the Sikhs.
- The Act expanded the Legislatures at the Centre and in the Provinces.
- It introduced Diarchy in the Province (Diarchy means a dual set of governments; British Governor and Indian Ministers)
- More Indians entered the Legislative bodies.
- This Act made the central legislature bicameral – Lower House and Upper House
- The Act provided for the establishment of a Public Service Commission in India for the first time
- Viceroy’s Executive Council required 3 of the 6 members (50%) were to be Indian
- However the Indian National Congress rejected the Act.
Gandhian Era 1919-1947
- The year 1919 marked a different stage in the history of India’s freedom struggle.
- Gandhiji involved himself in the freedom struggle from 1919 to 1947.
- Hence this period is called as Gandhian Era.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born at Porbandar in Gujarat on 2 October 1869.
- He studied law in England. He returned to India in 1891.
- In April 1893 he went to South Africa and involved himself in the struggle against apartheid (Racial discrimination against the Blacks) for twenty years.
- Mahatma Gandhi began his experiments with Satyagraha against the oppressive European indigo planters at Champaran in Bihar in 1917.
- In 1918, Gandhi undertook a fast unto death for the cause of Ahmedabad Mill Workers and finally the mill owners conceded the just demands of the workers.
- In 1918 he launched another Satyagraha at Kheda in Gujarat in support of the peasants who were not able to pay the land tax due to failure of crops.
- During this struggle, Sardar Vallabhai Patel emerged as one of the trusted followers of Gandhi.
- On the whole, the local movements at Champaran, Kheda and Ahmedabad brought Mahatma Gandhi closer to the life of the people and their problems at the grass roots level.
- Consequently, he became the leader of the masses.
- The Champaran Satyagraha of 1917 was the first Satyagraha movement led by Gandhi in India