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1921 - 1930


This period started with the birth of RSS i.e. the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh at Nagpur in 1925, founded by Keshavrao Baliram Hedgewar and his five friends to promote Hindu thought and ideals. The RSS is the largest, best organized and most disciplined volunteer force in the country, ready for any calamity. There are 44,000 shakhas, 5,000 pracharaks (speakers), and 6-lakh volunteer or swayamsevaks, all over the country. Their gathering begins with the obeisance to its flag and recitation of unity hymn. It is followed with a fifteen-minute spot physical exercise. After all this is a short discussion and exchange of notes on local or national issues. It ends with the recitation of the RSS prayer, Namaste Sada Vatsale.

It was on July 23, 1927, the Radio broadcasts was started in India, with transmitters at Kolkata and Mumbai. A special programme of music was broadcast earlier in 1921, from the rooftop of the times of India building at Bori Bunder with the help of the post and telegraph department for the governor of Mumbai, Sir George Lloyd. To inform, educate and entertain the masses, in 1930, the company was taken over by the government and renamed The Indian State Broadcasting Service. In 1936, it got its new name All India Radio.

In 1928, the first major clash between the government of the non-co-operators took place. Sir John Simon, visited India to find out how the 1919 constitutional reforms had worked but did not involve a single Indian which angered the people and they decided to boycott it. Wherever the commission went it was greeted with black flags and "Simon go back" placards and demonstration. There was a brutal lathi charge in which Govind Ballabh Pant and Jawaharlal Nehru, in Lucknow, were injured. Lala Lajpat Rai, in Lahore was mercilessly beaten up. He died of his injuries a few days later. To avenge Lala Lajpat Rai's death, Bhagat Singh and his comrades Sukhdev and Shivram Rajguru shot dead the British officer who had assaulted Lala Lajpat Rai. Bhagat Singh was arrested on 23rd March 1931, for throwing a bomb in the Delhi Assembly hall, he along with the two others revolutionaries- Sukhdev and Rajguru were hanged, by the british government for participating in the Lahore conspiracy. Bhagat Singh has been given the title of Shaheed-e-Azam.

A tribal chief in the north west frontier province, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was one of the staunch supporters of gandhiji's non-violent satyagraha. For a non-violent struggle against British imperialism, he organised his war like pathans, in 1929. He called these pathans, 'Khudai Khidmatgars'. The Khidmatgars did not attempt to defend themselves and remained peaceful when the police rained lathis on them, surprising the rest of the country by their example. Ghaffar Khan opposed the partition of India and after independence in 1947 fought for Pakhtoonistan, a separate state from Pakistan for the pathans. The Pakistan government imprisoned him but after 15 years was released due to ill-health. He crossed over to Afghanistan where he lived in self-imposed exile. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as the frontier Gandhi, through service, sacrifice and courage dominated the Indian scene of the freedom struggle. In 1987, in acknowledgement of his patriotism, India conferred on him, a 'foreigner', its highest civilian award, the 'Bharat Ratna'.

At Lahore on December 31, 1929, at the momentous session of the Indian National congress, Jawaharlal Nehru as its president gave a new dimension to the freedom movement. He proclaimed Purna Swaraj or complete freedom from British domination and British imperialism and as the New Year dawned, the flag of independence was unfurled. It was decided that Jan 26, be celebrated as Independence Day all over India. Thus, the first Independence Day on 26th Jan 1930, saw great enthusiasm among the people. Everywhere, in the morning the National flag was hoisted and in the afternoon huge processions were taken out midst great rejoicing and singing of national songs. Mass meetings were held in the evening. Jan 26, since independence, is celebrated as Republic Day all over India.

On March 12, 1930, Gandhiji along with 78 of his followers set out on foot from his Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmadabad to the sea at Dandi, a village about 380 kilometers away. Gandhiji was greeted by thousands of villagers all along the route, who later joined the 'March'. Gandhiji took the long journey to Dandi, to disobey the salt laws. Only the British government could make and sell salt, at that time. The government levied a tax on the sale of salt, to increase its revenue. On 6th April, after reaching Dandi, Gandhiji picked up a pinch of salt from the seashore in a symbolic act of defiance of the government. This was signal, for others to follow. People waded into the salt pans guarded by the police with British officers in command. They were met with baton blows, but not one raised an arm to fend off the blows. Those who were struck down fell unconscious or writhed in pain but many more came forward to take their place. All over the world, newsmen and cameramen sent reports and pictures of the great Salt March. Men and women in thousand broke the salt laws. Gandhiji along with other leaders plus 92,000 people were arrested but this unique rebellion could not be suppressed. It shook the very foundation of British rule in India.