During the late 16th and the 17th Centuries, the European trading companies in India competed with each other ferociously. By the last quarter of the 18th Century the English had outdone all others and established themselves as the dominant power in India. The British administered India for a period of about two centuries and brought about revolutionary changes in the social, political and the economic life of the country.
Once the British set their foot solidly on Indian soil, they began the commercial exploitation of the natural resources of India. By the middle of the 19th Century arrogant exploitation of the people had tried the patience of the Indians to the limit. The British imperialism reached its zenith between the middle of the nineteenth century and the First World War. The exploitative policies of the British in India saw the birth of nationalist agitation against it. With increasing intrusion of aliens in their lives, a group of middle class Indians formed the Indian National Congress (1885).
The anti British struggle became truly a mass movement with the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948). It was followed by numerous movements against the British rule. With the passage of time and stubbornness of the Indians the British had come to realize that the day was not far off when they will have to quit India. Successive campaigns had the effect of driving the British out of India in 1947, but with independence came the independence of the country into Pakistan.
His brave deeds earned Vallabhbhai Patel the title of the iron man of India. For his role in the Bardoli Satyagraha, Patel came to be called the Sardar. Sardar Patel was a famous lawyer but gave up his practice in order to fight for the freedom of the country. After independence he became the deputy PM of India and played an important role the integration of India by merging numerous princely states with the Indian Union.
The feeling of nationalism had started growing in the minds of Indians as early as the middle of the nineteenth century but it grew more with the formation of the Indian national Congress in 1885. Though the Congress started on a moderate platform but with the passage of time and apathetic attitude of the British government, the national movement began to shape well.
Mahatma Gandhi was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2nd October 1869. He was the most popular as well as the most influential political and spiritual leaders of India. His contribution to the freedom struggle of India is priceless and the country owes its independence, partly, to this great man. The Satyagraha movement, which led to India's independence, was founded by Mahatma Gandhi only.