Indian Independence Movement Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

India wasn't always an independent country. It used to be a colony ruled by the British Empire. Learn about the Indian independence movement, including the Indian National Congress and one of its most famous leaders, Mohandas Gandhi.

India as a British Colony

Have you ever fought back against a rule you thought wasn't fair? Well, so did people in India when they wanted India to be an independent country.

Before 1947, India was ruled by the British Empire. British rulers thought Indian people were naturally inferior to white people and didn't treat them as equals. Of course, that's not true at all, and Indian people got angry at being treated so badly.

A lot of Indians thought that the only answer was to become independent from the British. This was the start of the Indian independence movement.

The Independence Movement

In 1885, a group of educated Indian people founded the Indian National Congress to work for better treatment.

The flag of the Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress flag

Gandhi and Nonviolent Protest

One of the leaders of this movement was a man named Gandhi. In 1920, Gandhi took over the Indian National Congress and started organizing non-violent protests. In these protests, people got together and broke an unfair British law. They didn't hurt anyone. They just wanted to show that they didn't like the British laws.

For example, British people could buy salt wherever they wanted, but there was an unfair law in India that Indian people had to buy salt only from British salt-sellers. The British raised the price of salt so high that poor people couldn't afford it. The British made a lot of money, but poor Indian people couldn't get enough salt to live.

Gandhi led a group of people to protest the law by making their own salt. The people had a big march to the sea and peacefully made salt in protest. It was breaking the law, but they didn't hurt anyone or cause any violence.

During the 1930s, the British gave India a little bit more freedom. But people like Gandhi who wanted full independence still weren't happy.

World War II

World War II started in 1939, and the British needed help from India to fight Germany and Japan. But many people in India were so unhappy with British rule that they kept protesting. The Indian National Congress started the 'Quit India' movement, demanding that the British leave India immediately. In response, British rulers put members of the Indian National Congress, including Gandhi, in jail.

Another independence movement, the Indian National Army, joined up with the Japanese and fought against the British.

Gandhi and Subhas Bose, a leader of the Indian National Army
Gandhi and Bose

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