India's freedom struggle - a brief account and Gandhi Jayanthi
Today (2 Oct. 2018) is the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (M.K. Gandhi), commonly known as Gandhiji, the man who spearheaded India's freedom struggle against the British. On this occasion it is nice to look back on India's freedom movements against the British Empire. Here is a simple and brief account of how we got the freedom from the tough British Government. During the colonial rule and protests to free India, millions of people lost their lives. A fairly rich and independent country, centuries after British rule, became a poor nation with emaciated and impoverished people having  poor revenue and low literacy rate. 
The British  landed in India as Mercantile Traders under East India Company during the last phase of Mogul rule - (Emperor Jehangir was the ruler). Taking advantage of lack of unity among the Indian rulers, besides  prevailing caste and religious differences among the Indian population, the British had no difficulty in driving  a wedge among  different communities and rulers  to grab their  land across India one by one. The task was quite easy and  as they had an edge over the Indian rulers whose fire power was not good enough to stop their military advances and land-grabbing spree. 

Both the East India company and later the Raj  ruled the country with diabolism, scheming and cunning.  In 1651 first factory was set up in Hoogly. Later Job Charnock established a factory  to expand the business in Bengal and in 1698, it was fortified to protect it against their enemies. The British Misused their trade treaty and refused to pay the duty and this led to several skirmishes between the Bengal Nawab and the English Company. Their first big catch was Bengal that  was ruled by Nawab Siraj-ud-dualah, a rich ruler. Under Robert Clive they had Nawab Siraj killed with the help of his own relatives. The notable one being Mir Jaffer, a traitor who indirectly helped the English gain a foothold in India. After a couple of decisive wars, Battle of Plassey (June 1757) and Battle of Buxar (June 1763), the entire fertile Bengal with its vast revenue  (ferman) became their prized possession and the British economy, which was in a shambles (their GDP was less than 1%), began to move upward. Gandhiji's Satygraha/ non-cooperation, Salt march to Dandi, his role in INC (Indian national Congress) and Quit India movement and  his close link with various leaders across the country had a unique impact on India's freedom struggle. The different parts of India voiced their protest as one nation.
India's  GDP, then hovering around 25%, on the other hand, had begun to go down hill. Now EIC became a proxy government for the Crown and with vast revenue from Bengal and other areas, they took care of Britain's public welfare and used part of the money for wars and expansion of military stationed in India to seize more lands. The EIC became breeding ground for corruption, illegal commission, syphoning off company money and their illegal activities. In the 18th century and later in the 19th century they toppled many kingdoms using the Doctrine of lapse (introduced by Lord Dalhousie in 1834) and the Doctrine of Subsidiary  Alliance  (introduced by Lord Wellesley in the year from 1798 to 1805). In South India after the fall of Tipu Sultan in 1798 (in the Angelo - Mysore War), by 1900, the British controlled the entire Indian subcontinent, including Burma, Nepal and Sri lanka.  Millions of people were reduced to abject poverty and countless Indian Maharajahs and Nawabs not only lost their  Crown and land, but also their honor and dignity. They were driven to the edge of desperation  and were pushed to the receiving end and  be content with an annual dole/grant from the British and a part of the princely state. Of course, the Indian rulers  also carried  some fancy titles bestowed by the  Royal Government to satisfy their past glory and ego; hence the creation  of Salute States.  This was done with a view to keeping the Indian princes in  good spirit and to get their continued support to keep the Raj on the pedestal. 

During their long rule in India  dishonest activities such as corruption, racial discrimination, seizing of tribal lands, forcing farmers to sell their land in order to raise tea, coffee plantation, etc., and above all compelling the Indian farmers to grow and process opium to be exported to China for enormous profits affected the  overall lives of the Indians. Ever since the fall of Bengal Province  to the British, Indian natives patience had reached the fag end and then there erupted  many revolts against the British. The Vellore Mutiny of July 1806 and the big armed rebellion called Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 are worth noting . The latter in which even the peasants and tribes took part, shook the British rule which subsequently  came under the direct administration of the British Crown. The EIC used brutal repressive measures to quell the uprising and got a bad rap. Roughly a million people were killed during the rebellion. Hundreds of indian were blown right before the canons. Even under the crown administration, disenchantment and discontent prevailed among the natives that resulted in small revolts in some parts of India. 

India's freedom from the British rule was the result of culmination of above revolts, besides the sacrifices of so many Indian patriots, including women  across India. The British repressive rule continued without any break, so were the political protests and unrest by prominent national leaders which became a national movement, uniting patriotic leaders from different states. The mass struggle put them all on one platform to rant their voice against the wily British 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (or Lokmanya Tilak; 23 July 1856 – 1 August 1920), was an Indian nationalist, teacher, lawyer and an independence activist. He was the first leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities called him "The father of the Indian unrest." He was also conferred with the title of "Lokmanya",meaning "accepted by the people (as their leader)".Being a contemporary of Gokhale, a great freedom fighter, Tilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of Swaraj ("self-rule"),  a strong radical approach that awoke the  Indian consciousness. Who will forget  his famous quote in Marathi: "Swarajya is my birthright and I shall have it!". He had a close rapport and formed an  alliance with many Indian National C
ongress leaders of repute including Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai, Aurobindo Ghose, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Though the freedom struggle had begun to shape, the  Indian Army was forced to be active during World War I; a large number of divisions and independent brigades served in the European, Mediterranean and the Middle East theatres of war. Over one million Indian troops - a whooping figure served overseas. In the bloody war that started on a whim in Europe,  62,000 died and another 67,000 were wounded. In total at least 74,187 Indian soldiers died during the war. The disgusting fact is the major contribution made by Indian soldiers in WWI was not well appreciated in British History. This infuriated the Indian leaders. 
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, taken place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Col. Reginald Dyer using high-powered rifles fired on the unarmed peaceful crowd of Indians without any prior warning. The people  had gathered on a festival day in  the Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. Gen. Dyer had kept only one exit open and the rest closed. More than 1000 innocent people, including children and women were mercilessly killed; equal number of people were severely wounded.No medical aid or ambulance service was allowed and countless people were bled to death. it was a painful death for them.  This incident that shook the entire world angered the peace-loving Indian National leaders, including Gandhiji. This barbaric incident accelerated India's freedom struggle and it was a turning point in Indian history and soon Satyagraha/ non-cooperation introduced by Gandhiji became a political tool across many parts of India.

The legitimate freedom struggle continued on one side by the national leaders and in the 1920s and 1930s young patriots, in particular from Bengal, became revolutionaries and took to violence as a means to get Free India from Britain's oppressive rule. In the aftermath of failure of the Simon Commission, civil obedience on a large scale  became a trump card for the Indians who wanted just Purna Swaraj. Quit India movement became yet another important phase in India's freedom struggle. During the WWII, great patriot Sri Subbash Chandra Bose formed INA (Indian National Army and blazed a different trail to fight for Azad India. It had a remarkable impact on the people as well on the Indian soldiers in the British India Army. The trial of Azad Hind Fauz officers further infuriated the Indian natives and there was wide-spread strikes across India. 

 From February 1946 onward there were many serious strikes by a section of the armed forces across India. The most serious one being that of Navy Revolt by Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy on board ship and shore establishments at Bombay harbour on 18 February 1946. The revolt spread from Bombay harbour and found support throughout British India, from Karachi to Calcutta, involving  over 20,000 sailors in 78 ships and shore establishments. The British rulers in London now understood that they were losing their firm grip on the Indian subcontinent and anything short of full freedom won't work. The previous Conservative  Government headed by hot-headed Winston Churchill who despised the Indians, Hindu Gods and Gandhiji and who was responsible for the death of millions of people in the 1943 great Bengal famine, purposely stalled the freedom process. With the emergence of labor Government headed by Earl Attlee, the scenario became conducive to the formation of free India. After several negotiations
 regarding transfer of power, the dreams of generations of Indian realized when India became a free country on 15 August 1947. Though it was a joyous occasion for millions, countless national leaders were not happy as the wily British in their last hours had the Indian subcontinent divided into two countries - Democratic India and Theocratic Pakistan. The latter being the brain child of Mohd. Ali Jinnah who, at last, became a puppet in the hands of the British who diabolically used the communal problem as a trump card to form a new nation simply on the basis of religion.
(From various resources)  
Some quotes from Gandhiji:
For more reading on Gandhiji refer to the foll: