‘Free India’ was a dream of all Indians under the British rule.
The Indian Independence Movement consisted of efforts by Indians to obtain political independence from British, French and Portuguese rule; it involved a wide spectrum of Indian political organizations, philosophies, and rebellions between 1857 and India's independence on August 15, 1947.
The initial Indian rebellion of 1857 was sparked when soldiers serving in the British East India Company's British Indian Army and Indian kingdoms rebelled against British hegemony. After the revolt was crushed, India developed a class of educated elites whose political organizing sought Indian political rights and representation while largely remaining loyal to the British Empire.
However, increasing public disenchantment with British rule — owing to the suppression of civil liberties, political rights, and culture as well as alienation from issues facing common Indians — led to an upsurge in revolutionary activities aimed at overthrowing British authority.
The movement came to a head between 1918 and 1922 when the first series of non-violent campaigns of civil disobedience were launched by the Indian National Congress under the leadership of Mohandas Gandhi, who learnt it from a Sikh named Baba Ram Singh (b.1816 – d.1885) the originator of Kuka Movement in the Punjab.
The movement comprised large numbers of peoples from across India. Gandhi and the Congress were at the fore-front of these movements that ultimately shaped India's cultural, religious, and political unity. Committing itself to Purna Swaraj in 1930, the Congress led mass struggles between 1930 and 1932. By the late 1930s, however, with growing disenchantments over the delaying tactics of the Raj, the movement turned towards more radical ideas of Subhash Chandra Bose. Bose's actions proved controversial among the congress party but popular within the Indian populace, when Bose defeated in Gandhi's candidate in leadership elections in the Tripuri Session of the Congress Working Comittee. However, this was the parting of ways between the radical and the conservatives. Bose left the
Congress to found his own party. During the war, who sought first Soviet and then Axis help to raise a liberation force. The raising of the Indian National Army in 1942 by Subhash Chandra Bose would see a unique military campaign to end British rule. Following the trial of Indian National Army officers at the Red Fort, mutinies broke out in the navy, in the Air Force, and in the army. The congress also led a civil disobedience movement in 1942 demanding that the British leave India (a movement called the Quit India Movement). Following these and widespread communal rioting in Calcutta, the Raj ended on the mid-night of 15th August, 1947, but only at the expense of the Partition of the country into India and Pakistan.
Several regional movements against foreign rule were staged in various parts of pre-1857 India.