The nationalist movement grew into a wide spread mass anti-imperialist movement at the end of the First World War. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi came into prominence at this time and became the undisputed leader of the nationalist movement. Powerful mass movements were launched under his leadership. These involved defiance of laws, peaceful demonstrations, boycott of educational institutions, boycott of courts, boycott of educational institutions, picketing of shops selling liquor and foreign goods, nonpayment of taxes and the closing of vital business. These non-violent but revolutionary methods influenced millions of people belonging to all sections of society and infused in them bravery and self-confidence. Millions now braved the repression resorted by the govt boldly courted imprisonment and faced lathicharges and firings.Gandhiji lived the simple life of an ascetic and talked to the people in a language they could understand. He came to be known to the people as Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhiji made social report a part of the programme of the nationalist movement. His greatest achievement in the field of social reform was the campaign against inhuman institution of untouchability which had degraded millions of Indians. His other achievement was in the field of cottage industries. He saw in the charkha, the spinning wheel, the salvation of the village people and its promotion became part of the congress programme.In addition to infusing people with the spirit of nationalism it provided employment to millions and created a large group of people who were ready to throw themselves into the struggle and court imprisonment. The charkha became so important that it eventually became a part of the flag of the Indian National Congress.
Gandhiji devoted himself to the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity .He regarded communalism as anti-national and inhuman. Under his leadership the unity of the nationalist movement was secured and the people worked hard for independence.