Individual Satyagraha 1940 – 1941

Indian National Congress launched Individual Satyagraha under the leadership of Gandhiji in the year 1940. This movement has 2 phases. The second phase is also called Dilli Chalo Movement.


By this time, Congress Ministries had already resigned in the provinces. Also, INC had rejected the August Offer.

So, a political vacuum was created and a section of INC was getting impatient and there was a demand to start a movement.

What lead to the initiation of Individual Satyagraha

There were 3 factors which lead to the initiation of Individual Satyagraha Movement in the year 1940.

  1. Lord Linlithgow declared India as a belligerent state on the side of Britain in Second World War.

    On 3rd September 1939, Lord Linlithgow declared that India is going to support Britain in World War II. Neither the viceroy nor any British Authority consulted Indian political leadership before making such a declaration.

    It is an act of depriving ‘Right to Speech’.

  2. Defense of India Act 1939

    During the period of World War II, British government had imposed Defense of India act 1939. As per this act, any person found criticizing the British government could be arrested without trial.

  3. Ordinances passed by the British Government to curb Right to speech.

    There were several ordinances passed by the British Government to restrict the right to free speech, freedom of Press and Right to Organize.

Due to the reasons mentioned above, Right to Speech was severely compromised during this time. So, Gandhiji decided to launch a Satyagraha Movement against British Government. Satyagraha Movement launched was – Individual Satyagraha.

Why Individual Satyagraha and not any other Mass Movement ?

Gandhiji was not in favour of launching any mass movement at that time for 2 reasons;

  1. Mass Movements usually leads to violence as people tend to go out of control. As Gandhiji was a preacher of non-violence, he did not wanted to launch a Mass Movement.
  2. Secondly, He knew that British Government was at war during that time and He did not want to embarrass the British Gov. by launching a mass movement at such time.

Objectives of Individual Satyagraha

Aim of Individual Satyagraha was to affirm the Right to Speech. As part of individual Satyagraha,

Now, question arises that did not Indians had right to speak during those times?

Actually, when the world war II started, Viceroy Lord Linlithgow, on 3 Sept 1939, declared that India is supporting British War efforts in this war. However, he did not discussed or asked Indian politician’s opinion. So, in a way, Viceroy had suppressed Indian’s right to speech.

And now, with the help of Individual Satyagraha, an attempt was made to re-affirm Indian’s right to speech.

Another objective of Individual Satyagraha was to publish this message to the whole world that India is not supporting World War II in any way.

Phases of Individual Satyagraha

Individual satyagraha happened in 2 phases.

  • First Phase – Started on 11 Oct 1940 and Ended on 14 Dec 1940
  • Second Phase – Started in Jan 1941 and Ended in Dec 1941.

First Phase

Gandhiji chose 73 Satyagrahis. These chosen Satyagrahis had to go to a pre-decided place and speak openly against the war and had to declare that Indians do not support British government in World War II.

A satyagrahi had to repeat the above process by moving from one village to another, till the time police arrests him.

Satyagrahi used to inform the District Magistrate about the location before every speech.

First Satyagrahi of Individual Satyagraha was Acharya Vinoba Bhave. He was a spritual disciple of Gandhiji. He started his satyagraha on 11 Oct 1940 from Pavanar, Maharastra. For almost 10 days, He kept moving from one village to another by giving speeches. Then, on 21 Oct 1940 he was arrested.

Second Satyagrahi was Jawahar Lal Nehru. He too got arrested on 31 Oct 1940. Third Satygrahi was Brahmadatt.

Not many people joined this movement as it was not a mass movement by its nature. On 14 Dec 1940, Gandhiji put this movement on hold.

Second Phase

In Jan 1941, Gandhiji again started the movement. This is so-called the second phase of Individual Satyagraha. This time a large number of people joined this movement. Reason is that along with the other things done in first phase, Satygrahai had to ask people to join them. Also, Satygrahi had to keep moving towards Delhi util he is arrested by the police.

Slogan raised in this phase was “Dilli Chalo” which became very famous. Thousands of people joined Satyagrahis in their journey towards Delhi. For this reason, this movement is called Dilli Chalo Andolan / Movement.

By 15 May 1941 – 20000 people were arrested under Defence of India Act.

How did Individual Satyagraha Ended

In Dec 1941, Congress working committee passed a resolution that congress can support Britain in its war efforts if British government promise complete Independence after the War ends. With this resolution, Individual satygaraha ended.

Next Topic – Cripps Mission

After Individual Satyagraha, Cripps Mission came to India. Want to know why? Click Here

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Very good effort brother…your effort really help me to clear the concept..your video lecture and notes are help to me as reference matarial..
    But one thing I don’t like is the funny sound in your video..Wich distract me…this is my personal opinion…other wise everything is excellent…
    Please upload more video with greater frequency..
    Thank you

  2. Thank you so much for this simple mode of explanation

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