He was a leading figure in Bengal during the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1919-1922, and initiated the ban on British clothes, setting an example by burning his own European clothes and taking up "desi" Khadi clothes. With Motilal Nehru, he founded the Swaraj Party to express his non-moderate opinions.
He brought out a newspaper called Forward and later changed its name to Liberty to fight the British Raj. When the Calcutta Corporation was formed, he became its first Mayor. He presided over the Gaya session of the Indian National Congress. Throughout his political life, he was plagued with ill health but despite that, he showed valor, courage and determinism in rising up to the British.
He was a believer of non-violence and constitutional methods for the realisation of national independence, and advocated communal harmony and championed the cause of national education. His legacy was carried forward by his disciples, and notably by Subhash Chandra Bose.
He is generally referred to by the honorific Desh Bandhu meaning "comrade of the nation."
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