Ep 5: When the Mahatma returned home

1947: Road to Indian Independence

Aug 10 2022 • 37 mins

1915 marked a decisive turn in India’s freedom struggle. And that wasn’t because of anything the British did. It wasn’t because of anything that the Congress did. It was because one man returned to India after close to two and a half decades abroad. That man was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. And his return, his political philosophy, his techniques of mobilisation, his most unusual political style, and his ability to connect with the masses altered the trajectory of British colonialism and the Indian nationalist movement. In South Africa, the Mahatma had conceptualised the idea of satyagraha; he had committed himself to the ideas of truth and non-violence; he had led agitations against British rule in South Africa. But who was this man? Why did he return? What did he do after returning? And why did he choose a remote district in Bihar, Champaran, as the first site of his struggle? In this episode, the great historian and the Mahatma’s grandson, Rajmohan Gandhi, brings alive Gandhi’s evolution in South Africa, his vision for the Indian freedom struggle, and his first mass-based intervention in Indian politics — the Champaran Satyagraha.