NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 13: Mahatma Gandhi and the Nationalist Movement

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Chapter13. Mahatma Gandhi and the Nationalist Movement Civil Disobedience and Beyond
TextbookThemes in Indian History-III
CategoryNCERT Solutions for Class 12

It is important to use NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History as they can give students a clear understanding of the syllabus. Class 12 History has fifteen chapters, and our NCERT Solutions are a detailed guide that covers each of them. It provides step-by-step solutions to all the questions in the textbook. On this page, we have provided you with complete Solution of Chapter 13 – Mahatma Gandhi and the Nationalist Movement.

NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 13

Mahatma Gandhi and the Nationalist Movement Solutions

Q1) How did Mahatma Gandhi seek to identify with the common people?

Answer) Mahatma Gandhi seeked to identify himself with the common people of India. For this action plan-

  • He began to live in a very simple lifestyle. He wore simple clothes which a poor Indian would wear.
  • He spoke the language of local people.
  • Mahatma Gandhi opposed the caste system and attacked untouchability personally lived with the Harijan.
  • Mahatma Gandhi attached dignity to labour and physical work. He worked on Charkha and cleaned toilets.
  • He attacked the sentiment of the feeling of classifying people into low and high.

Q2) How was Mahatma Gandhi perceived by the peasants?

Answer) India is a country of villagers and vast number of Indians are engaged in farming. Mahatma Gandhi knew that during freedom struggle his focus was to address the issues of farmers. He dressed like farmers. His involvement in Indian politics began in Champaran when he successfully resolved the issues of farmers. He stood for farmers against excesses of the British government like high taxes and oppressive tax collections.

Apart from all the above, mystery also surrounded the personality of Mahatma Gandhi. Many believed he was endowed with supernatural powers. Stories spread that those who spoke ill of Mahatma Gandhi suffered natural calamities. Thus, farmers perceived Mahatma Gandhi as their saviour and still many believed he was bestowed with the power to perform miracles.

Q3) Why did the salt laws become an important issue of struggle?

Answer) Poorest of poor Indian consume food that has salt as one of its prime ingredient. British government brought tax on salt and making salt indigenously was forbidden. It was to become a big burden on the poor people of India. Some important points regarding salt law are as follows.

  • Salt law was to lead to monopoly of salt production and distribution. It was to fuel prices, and added to this was the tax levied by the government.
  • People were denied access to natural salt and tons of the same were destroyed.
  • Salt law was an attack on the local industry in the villages too.

Hence salt law was extremely unpopular and it became an important issue of the struggle.

Q4) Why are newspapers an important source for the study of national movement?

Answer) Newspapers, published in English as well as in the different Indian languages are important contemporary sources because they tell us about daily movements of leaders. They report on their activities and their views. Newspapers publish the views of the ordinary people in different parts of the country and the ways in which they participate in the various movements. The newspapers tell us about the objectives of the people and their expectations from their leaders. The newspapers publish all types of views which are generally different from each other. For example, a newspaper published in London gave the view point and reaction of the British public while an Indian newspaper gave the reaction of the people of India. Thus, newspapers are an important source for the study of the national movement.

Q5) Why was the charkha chosen as a symbol of nationalism?

Answer) The charkha was chosen as a symbol of nationalism due to the following factors:

  • Gandhiji considered the charkha as a symbol of a human society that would not glorify machines and technology.
  • The spinning wheel or the charkha provided the poor with supplementary income and
  • make them self-reliant.
  • It leads to concentration of wealth, not in the hands of few, but in the hands of all.
  • The charkha was considered a machinery and was used for the service of the poorest in their own cottages.

Under the above circumstances, Gandhiji spent a part of each day working on charkha and encouraged other nationalists to do likewise. In this way, he broke the boundaries that prevailed within the traditional caste system, between mental labour and manual labour.

Q6) How was non-cooperation a form of protest?

Answer) Non-cooperation was a form of protest in the following ways:

  • Indians were asked to adhere to a “renunciation of all voluntary association with the government to end colonialism”.
  • Gandhiji had joined hands with the Khilafat Movement to restore the Caliphate, a symbol of Pan-Islamism which had been abolished. It was also hoped that Britain would impose a harsh treaty on Turkey after its defeat in World War I.

Thus, it was a protest against the British policies in India and towards Turkey. Gandhiji hoped that if non-cooperation was effectively carried out, India would win Swaraj within a year.

Q7) Why were the dialogues at the Round Table Conference inconclusive?

Answer) The British Government has had the policy to review the progress of self-rule in India and bring reforms after the gap of ten years. This began in 1910 with Morley Minto Reform and was followed in 1920 with Montague Chemsford Report. Ten years later British government invited Round Table Conference in London for the way forward. The First Round Table Conference took place in November, 1930. The Conference failed as the most important stake holder of Indian Freedom Movement, the Indian National Congress was absent in the conference. The leaders of the Congress were behind bars due to civil disobedience movement.

The Second Table Conference took pace in February 1931. One month earlier Mahatma Gandhi was released from the jail. Hence, he participated in the conference. Gandhi Irwin pact was signed and the British government agreed to withdraw salt law partly. But the agreement came under criticism as it did not talk about complete independence of India.

Third and the most important Round Table Conference took place in the later part of 1931. The new constitutional developments were not agreed upon. The main reason was that the other participants of the conference described Congress as representative of small group of Indians and not the entire population. The major voice of dissent were, the Moslem League that claimed itself the sole representative of the Moslems in India, Dr B.R. Ambedkar claimed himself the sole representative of the low castes in India and the native rulers also claimed they would deal with the British independently and Congress could not have any say in that.

To conclude divisive politics of Moslem League, Dr Ambedkar and the attitude of the princely states are the main reasons for the failure of the round table conferences.

Q8) In what way did Mahatma Gandhi transform the nature of the national movement?

Answer) Before Gandhiji came to India, the national movement was limited to few sections of society. During the Swadeshi Movement of 1905-07, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai tried to make it an all-India phenomenon but even then the participation of ordinary people remained limited. In his speech at Banaras in February, 1916, even Gandhi said that Indian nationalism was an elite phenomenon – a creation of lawyers, doctors and landlords. He reminded that the peasants and workers were not represented there. He desired to make Indian nationalism more properly representative of the Indian people as a whole. And thereafter whenever he got a chance he tried to implement his desire into action. Thus, in 1917 and 1918, he took initiatives at Champaran, Ahmedabad and Kheda which marked Gandhiji as a nationalist with a deep sympathy for poor.

In 1919, he called for a countrywide campaign against the “Rowlatt Act”. The campaign in the Punjab led to Jallianwala Bagh massacre. This satyagraha made Gandhiji a truly nationalist leader. Gandhiji was encouraged by the success of these satyagrahas and decided to start “non¬cooperation” movement which totally changed the nature of the national movement because it was the first mass movement in which all classes of people — students, lawyers, peasants, etc. took part. Thus, by 1922 he had transformed Indian nationalism, thereby redeeming the promise he made in his BHU speech of February 1916. It was no longer a movement of professionals and intellectuals but of hundreds of thousands of peasants, workers and artisans.

Q9) What do private letters and autobiographies tell us about an individual ? How are these sources different from official accounts?

Answer) Private letters and autobiographies are important source of individual’s life and views. Many of our freedom struggle leaders wrote autobiographies and letters and today they are our great record about them and history too.

The autobiographies and letters tell us the following things about an individual.

  • Autobiographies and letters throw light on the interests of an individual. Let us take an example, Nehru wrote letters to his daughter Indira describing the events of world history, today it is known as the book, ” Glimpses of the World History”. These letters show that Nehru had great interest in history. These letters show also the views of the author. For example, Nehru talks highly of the socilaist government of USSR in his autobiography.
  • These autobiographies and letters are a good source of information of the social life of those days in India. Dr Rajendra Prasad has given vivid description of the village life that he saw as a child in his village.
  • Above all these autobiographies and letters are great source of history too. Nehru in his autobiography has explained in details about the obstinate approach of Moslem League towards solving the minority problem in India.

These sources were diffferent from the official accounts. This is manifested in the following points:

  • The official accounts are done by individuals but they work under the guidelines of the government. Thus, views that run against the government remain stifled. In addition, the author would not have the freedom of focused area. He would be required to write only on topics already defined. However, in autobiographies and letters one can choose anything of personal interest. Dr Rajendra Prasad gives a vivid description of his school and college days in his autobiography. This is not possible in any government account.
  • The autographic letters throw light on the personal life of individual leaders and show these events shaped the thought process of these leaders in future life. Mahatma Gandhi described how he was thrown out of the first class compartment of the train in South Africa because he was not a white man. He describes the struggle inside on how to protest and later how he took to non -violent means of protest.

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