“Gandhi is unfairly credited for Indian independence, when it was an inevitable result of the fall of the British Empire”.
This is a classic case of putting the horse before the cart. It was the Indian independence movement that contributed greatly to the fall of the British Empire. It was the independence of India that led to weak positioning of arms and focus, which led to the independence of British colonies in Srilanka.
In fact, the British Empire held on to their colonies in Africa and the Carribean until 1980s. A war was fought in Sinai and Suez Canal zones between the British-France-Israel allied forces and Egypt.
Also, contrary to popular belief, India was not entirely ruled by the British as a single union stronghold. A *large* chunk of pre-partition India was ruled by Indian princes, monarchs and indigenous tribesmen who very nearly secured independence for themselves in 1947.
It wasn’t the British that united the Indian union. It was Mahatma Gandhi, and Sardar Vallabhai Patel (the Iron Man of India) who travelled to each of the kingdoms, sought support, sought allegiance to an Indian union and breathed a spirit of Indian patriotism into the country.
In addition to revolutionary movements in India, it wasn’t “international pressure” that led to India’s freedom. India’s struggle for independence was lent legitimacy by Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts to publicize and seek active supporters in the West. Sure, Germany and United States helped erode Britain’s colonization lead, during the time of the WW2. Japan did occupy British occupied colonies in South East Asia. But the Indian colonies were still Britain’s most exploited union, in terms of population resources, recruitment for army and the appropriation and exploitation of natural resources.
Make no mistake about it, it was the Indian independence movement that helped break the back of British South Asian colonization and contributed to the downfall of the British Empire.
It was also Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts to bring politics to the nation (the Congress was nothing more than a weak conglomeration that did little to reach out to the Indian public), that made the public aware about nation building efforts.
If it wasn’t for the Mahatma, his non-violent rebellion, his role in uniting congress factions, his active campaigns in Africa, United States, and other nations in the West, and more than anything, his vision to unite India into a single union, from broken provinces, Indian independence would never have been achieved as soon as it did.