DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of India Notes Chapter 4 National Politics
Write a brief history of he national movement causes of its origin, its growth, and its influences on the politics of the country.
Discuss the main land marks is the history of the struggle for political freedom of India.
Give a account of Indian struggle for independence what part did Gandhiji play in it ?
Discuss the important factors which contributed to the growth of political consciousness against the Indian people.
“British imperialism itself was own of the important causes for the growth of freedom Movement in India.” Comment.
How far is it correct today that Indian nationalism is the off-spring and outcome of British rule ?
Dawn Of Nationalism
“Indian nationalism is to a large extent the foster child of western education. The growth of political consciousness was not the result of a few agitators. It was the revival of a historical tradition and the liberation of the soul of the people. ”
Factors promoting Nationalism. Many factors contributed towards the growth of the nationalist movement in India, Some of them were as follows:
(i) British Imperialism. The most important factor was British imperialism. It was British imperialism that brought about the unification of the country and enabled the people to think as one nation. Before the advent of the British the people of the South were usually separate from the rest of India except for some short intervals. British imperialism made the people of the whole of India think as one nation. According to Prof Moon, “British imperialism in India gave ha- a political unity under a third party inspite of many discordant elements in Indian Society.”
(ii) Impact of the Western Civilisation. The establishment of British Supermacyin India brought the Indians into intimate contact with the European Countries and the latters influenced them immensely. Nineteenth Century in Europe was the century of nationalism and liberalism and the Indians learnt their lessons from the Europeans on both these points. Indians learnt a lot , from the Western Countries particularly from Germany, Italy, Greece and Belgium. A wave of nationalism and liberalism was prevalent in Europe in 19th Century. This influenced the Indians also and they also began to aspire for achieving independence.
The Indian students studying in European Universities started thinking that if Germany and Italy could become independent why not India could do the same. Besides this the writings of western thinkers such as Macaulay Burks Mill and Herbert Spencer also encouraged the feeling of independence nationalism and liberalism among the minds of the Indians. According to Coupland the Indians learned from British history that British Liberalism had backed the cause of nations rightly struggling to be free in South America in the Balkoms in Italy and in Ireland.
(iii) Spread of English Language. After the mutiny of 1857 English education made rapid progress, specially in Bengal and the Indian intelligentsia began to draw upon toe store house of western culture, The latter half of the nineteenth century was the golden age of Liberalism in Europe particularly in England. The ‘study of the political classics of English literature from Milton to Mill* planted in the minds of English educated Indians seeds ofLiberalism in its two aspects-nationalism and democracy. Thus the educated Indian gradually became politically minded and expected much from the Britishers who had taken the lead in the world in supporting the cause of Liberalism.
The British had introduced English language in India with their own selfish-interest, It ‘was’ mainly to get Indian clerks in order to strengthen the British rule in India. But it proved to a great boon for the Indians. In his book “India Today” R. Palm Dutts writes “when Macaulay ……………. imposed the system, his object was not to create national consciousness but to destroy it down to the very deepest root of its being …….His object was to train up a stratum of decide executants of the English wills cut off from everyline of watch with their people.”
English education enabled people of different provinces to came close to one another. Thus helped to develop national feeling and political consciousness. The educated Indians read the works of Mazzini of Italy, Rousseau and Voltani of France, Macaulay, Mill etc., of England. The works of these champions of liberty, liberalism and nationalism further developed political consciousness and unity among the Indians.
Rabindra Nath Tagore observed : “We had come to know England through her glorious literature which had brought new inspiration to our young lives. The English authors whose books and poems we studied were full of love, of humanity, justice and freedom” Sardar Panikar wrote : “The mining of ancient fortress of Hindu custom was a major achievement for the reason that it was uniformly speard all ova: India. Had the education been through the Indians languages, the emphasis of the movement would have been different from province to province according to the development flexibility and character of the language used. From his development India was saved by common medium of education which Macaulay introduced in India.”
(iv) Development of means of Communication. The improvements in the means of transport and communication also quickened the pace of nationalism movement in the country The Indian leaders found themselves in a position to carry on their national propoganda in every mole and comer of the country. Without these means of communication and transport things would have been unthinkable. The frequent meeting of the leaders among themselves and their direct personal contact with the people in different pints of the country gave a momentum to the nationalist movement in the country.
(v) Contribution of the Scholars. The Contribution of scholars, poets and religious reformers contributed towards the progress of the nationalist movement in the country. They emphasised the past glory and the rich heritage of India. Among such great scholars who showed the par: glory and interpreted the hidden treasure of our glorious heritage wore Ranade, Har Prasad Shastri, R.G Bhandarkar, Rajendra Lai Mittra and foreign Scholar Maxmuller, Monier. Williams and Colebrooke. They revealed to the people of India, the majesty of the Sanskrit language and also inculcated among them the feelings of pride in their, past and a faith in the future.
(vi) Contribution of the Social and Religions Reformers. Religion has always played a significant part in India from time immemorial. After the establishment of the British rule when the Christian missionaries started converting Hindus to Christianity. Many social and religious and social reformers came on the field and started reminding the people about their glorius part In order to save Hinduism from the attacks of the Christian missionaries they started several movements to reform the social and religious evils of Hinduism. Swami Daya Nand Saraswati, founder of Arya Samaj exercised great nationalising influence upon its followers. According to Mrs. Annie Besant, “It was Daya Nand Saraswati who proclaimed India for the Indians.” According to Sister Naviditta Swami Viveka Nand was also a great patriot and the queen of his adoration was his motherland. Thus we see that these social and religious reformers made a significant contribution in the development of national movement.
(vii) Development of Indian Press and Literature. The Indian Press and literature both English and Vernacular also aroused national consciousness among the people of the country. Great was the influence of the papers like the Indian Mirror, ‘Bombay Samachar ’, ‘The Hindu Patriot’, ‘The Amrit Bazar Patrika’, ‘The Hindu’, The Kesri’, ‘The Bengalee’ etc., on the political life of the country. The writings of Den Bandhu Mitra, Han Chandra Banerjee, Navin Chandra Sen, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, R.C. Dutta and Rabindra Nath Tagore also affected the minds of the people. The ‘Anand Math’ of Bankain Chandra Chatterjee has rightly been regarded as “die Bible of modem Bengalee patriotism Tagore and D.R. Roy gave people lot of nation poetry, songs and plays. The writings of these patriots and scholars brought about a revolution in die minds of the Indians. It is the revolutionary minds that were responsible for the growth of Indian nationalism.
(Vii) Economic Exploitation. From the very beginning the British aimed at the economic exploitation of India. They tools away raw materials from India and brought here their manufactured goods. The policy of economic exploitation of the Indians ruined the Indian industries and the wealth of India was being taken away by the British to their own country. Even after the British established, their rule in India, they, did not make any change in their attitude and policies.
They adopted a free trade policy which proved to be ruinous for Indian trade and industries. Indian industries failed to compete with those of the British because the British had all the advantages and privileges on their side. The British officials working in India were a very heavy drain on the Indian resources. The economic system of lndia was adjusted to the needs of the people of England. The interests of the Indians were completely ignored.
According to Mrs. Wend: “The vice of the Indian finance was that the Finance Minister of lndia looked more to the interests of Great Britain than to those of India.” Sir Henry Cotton also condemned the explotation of Indian and the subsequent miseries of the people of lndia. The Indians resented the attitude of file English men towards them. The Europeans in India were aerogant.
They had a very low opinion of the Indian character. They took pleasure in calling the Indians the creatures of an inferior breed, “half Gorilla halfNegro.” They ridiculed the Indian black heathens worshipping stocks and stores and swinging themselves on bamboo trees like bees.” The European masters regarded file Indian as “the helots of the land, the hewers of the wood and the drawers of water.” No wonder the relations between the Indians and Eurapean became strained.
(ix) Discrimination with them with regard to their appointment in Government Services. In the beginning no Indians were appointed on high posts. The British thought the Indians were not capable of any trust and faith. The Proclamation of Queen Victoria in 1858, declared that hence Jnrward Indians would be appointed on high posts cm the basis of their merit irrespective of their caste religion, or race. Inspite of this proclamation this policy was not, properly implemented. In 1868 Surendra Nath Banerjee Passed the I.C.S. Examination yet be was not given any high position. When Queen’s Bench Division gave its decision is his favour. He was appointed an Assistant Collector in November 1871. But two years after this he was removed from service. This discriminatory, arbitrary and unjust policy of the Government created a Seat discontent and unrest among the educated people of lndia. They started taking active part in the National movement with the aim of driving away the British altogether from India.
(x) Racial Jealondes. During the mutiny the relations of that Europeans and file Indians were greatly embittered. A large number of Britishers were killed in the Mutiny. Now the Britishers were also full of vengeance and the helpless and innocent Indians became the victims of their vengeance.
According to Zakarias: “The light of distrust had begun to fall upon England’s relations with India; these people had mutinied once and committed dreadful atrocities; how could one trust than not to plan further sedition, after the mutiny testifies an eyewitness, the old sympathy with India changed to feeling of repugnance: the old spirit of contort with life and work in India, the old inclination to regard things in and Indian rather an English light gave place to a reluctance to stay in India longer than needs must, and a disposition to judge things by an emphatically English standard.
The English killed their prisoners without’ trial and in a manner held by all Indians to be the height of barbarity. General Neil gave orders that certain villages were marked out for distraction and all the men inhabiting there were slaughtered and indiscriminate burning of inhabitants occurred wherever the English armies moved. These astrocities aroused discontent and unrest among the people of India.
No doubt the mutiny was suppressed for the time being, but they were not able to suppress the feelings of nationalism among the people of India. Travelling in the upper class railway compartment was not for the Indians. Even the ruling Chiefs wae bullied into unlacing the boots and shampooing the weary legs of the Sahibs just back from hunting expeditions. The administration of criminal justice was a judicial scandal. .
(xi) Events of the reign of Lord Lytton. Lord Lytton was an imperialistic Governor-General and some of the events ofhis reign gave further impetus to the national movonent. His imperialistic policies accelerated the nationalist movanent. The following events of Lord Lytton’s reign gave impetus to the nationalist movement:
(i) For employment in Civil Service the minimum age was reduced from 21 to 19 years. This aroused discontent and unrest of the Indian.
(ii) The Vernacular Act of1876 was passed imposing restriction upon the press.
(iii) He held a magnificent Durbar at Delhi when a severe famine was raging in different parts of the country. It showed that he had no sympathy for fixe people who was suffering on account of the famine. It was rightly remarked : “Nero was fiddling while Rome was burning.”
(iv) The Arms Act of 1878 further increased the discontent of the Indians. Indian could no longer keep any arms without obtaining licences for file same. According to Surendra Nath Banerjee the Arms Act “imposed upon us a badge of racial inferiority.”
(v) In order to please the English merchants of Lancashire they abolished export duty on cotton. The measure dissatisfied the Indian merchants. The Indian industries suffered irreparable loss. ‘
(vi) The Stun Afghan War put heavy strains on the Indian treasury. Lord Lytton’s Afghan policy was subjected to severe criticism by file Indians.
(vii) Ilbert Bill Controversy. Lord Ripon tried to satisfy the Indians by removing some of the grievances of the Indians. The Ilbert Bill was presented by the Law member P.C. Ilbert. It tried to authorise the Indian judges to hear cases against the British subject and officers. The Europeans living in India raised a great hue and cry against this bill. The behaviour of the Europeans during this controversy was quite shameful and further created discontent end unrest among the Indians. The British Government was forced withdraw the Ilbert Bill. Surendra Nath Baneijee has rightly remarked, “No self-respecting Indian could sit idle under the fierce light of that revolution. It was a call to high patriotic duty to those who understood its significance “ It was therefore, natural for the Indians to have the feelings of hatred for the British.
Reaction of the Indians. In view of the reaction any attitude of the British Government the educated Indians realised the necessity of organising their political life. The lead in this matter was taken by Surendra Nath Banerjee who has been rightly described as the father of nationalist agitation in India. When he passed the I.C.S. Examination attempts were made to remove his name from the list. Soon after his appointment the Government dismissed him on inadequate grounds.
This dismissed member of the Heaven service was destined to be the most popular among the pioneers of national movement. He took to politics and journalism and in 1876 founded the Indian Association with the object of making it centre of an all India movement. This Association animated as it was by the vision of a United India, proved to be the precursor of the National Congress. It focused public attention on India’s problems and thereby helped to create a body of public opinion.
Civil Service agitation started when the Secretary of state reduced the maximum age limit for the Civil Service Examination from 21 to 19. This measure as Surendra Nath Said was a ‘deliberate attempt to blast the prospect of Indian candidates for the Indian Civil Service.” The Indian Association organised a national protest against this measure Surendra Nath took a where wind tour of Northern India in the course of which he addressed crowded meetings at important places. His superb oratory deeply moved the audience and everywhere he was received with great enthusiasm.
His tour in the words of Sir H. Cotton “assumed the character of a triumphal progress.” The Association next organised an all India memorial to the House of Commons with a proper not to lower the age for the Civil Service Examination and to hold simultaneous examinations in England and in India. Mr. Lai Mohan Ghose, a barrister was deputed to England to present this memorial in person. His Speeches made profound impression on the British audience and the result was the creation of Statutory Civil Service for India.
The Civil Service Agitation was soon followed by agitations for the repeal tor the Vernacular Press Act and Arms Act the two measures of Lord Lytton which made an invidious distinction between Indians and Europeans. All these agitations roused the political consciousness of the people and began to shape their national aspirations.
Trace the advent of Congress sincel885 to 1919.
Advent Of Congress
Birth of the Congress. Perceiving the increasing intensity of the Indian feelings A.D. Hume a retired civilian wanted to divert them into a constitutional channel. He feared that unless a safe out let was found the discontent of the people would faster beneath the surface and will eventually lead to dangerous consequences. In a letter addressed to the graduates of Calcutta University, he exhorted them to found an organisation for the moral, material and political progress of their motherland: He enlisted official support for his proposal Lord Dufferin encouraged the formation of some responsible organisation through which the “Government might be kept informed regarding the best Indian public opinion.”
He was convinced that India needed apolitical organisation “which would perform the function which Her Majesty’s opposition did in England.” According to Mr. Hume’s plan was taken up by some prominent Indians and the Indian National congress was ushered into existence in December 1885. It met at Bombay undo- the Presidency of Mr. W.C. Banerjee a prominent Bengalee barrister and was attended byonly seventy two delegates. The paucity of attendance was due to, the fact that Surendra Nath and other prominent leaders could not attend the Congress because of the simultaneous session of the Indian National Conference in Calcutta.
As the two organisations had the same objects in view, the separate existence of the Indian national conference was no longer necessary and so it merged itself into the National Congress. It was arranged that the Congress should meet every year during the Christmas week in some important town by turns.
Objects of the Congress. The first session of the Indian National Congress was attended by prominent persons like Fherozshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji, K.T.’Telang, Dinshaw Wacha etc., while delivering the Presidential address W.C. Banajeethe President of the first session of the Indian National Congress laid down the following as the object of the Congress : –
- The promotion of personal intimacy and friendship amongst all the most earnest workers in our Country’s cause in the various parts of the empire.
- The eradication by direct friendly personal inter course of all possible race, creed or provincial prejudices amongst all the lovers of the country and the fuller development and consolidation of those sentiments of national unity that took their origin in our beloved Ripos’s ever memorable reign.
- The authoritative record of the matured opinions of the educated classes in India on some of the most important and pressing social questions of the day.
- The determination of the methods by which during the next twelve months it is desirable for the native politicians to labour in public interest.”
The Congress was an All India Institution and had the support and Co-operation of the Hindu’s Muslims, Parsees, Sikhs, Christian Anglo-Indians and Europeans. W.C. Banerjee the first President of the Indian National Congress was an Indian Christian. Its next President was Dadabhai Naoroji who was a Parsee. The third President was Badruddin Tayabji who was a Muslim. The fourth and fifth Presidents wore George Moot and William Baderbum who were Britishers.
First Phase of the Indian National Congress 1885-1905 –
During this period the Congress though anational body mainly represented the educated middle class intelligensia, men of legal, medical, engineering and literary professions. Its deligates were mostly drawn from the cities who had hardly any contact with the masses. Sir Fherozeshah Mehta once said : The Congress was indeed was not the voice of the masses, but it was the duty of their compatriots to interpret their grievances and offer suggestions for their redress.”
The organisation had been launched with the blessings of Lord Dufferin. The Congress took pride the British connection and looked upon the British Government not as an ananlgomist but as an ally. In 1886 DadabhaiNaoroji Presiding over the Calcutta Session dwelt at length on the “blessing of British rule” and his remarks were cheerd by the audience. Mr. Hume moved resolution for three times three cheer’s for the most Gracious Majesty the Queen Empress and a further resolution for long life of the Queen.
Shri Anand Mohan Bose as Congress President declared in 1898 : “The educated classes are the friends and not the foes of England her natural and necessary allies in the great work that lies before her.” Thus it was then believed, the chief obstacle in the path of India’s progress was not British rule but the social and economic backwardness of the people and the reactionary role of the bureaucracy,.
There was implicit faith in British sense of justice and fair play. The Congress Leaders believed that all they had to do was to prepare their case and present and plead it before the English Government and Nation and their grievances would be redressed and justice done.
With a view to educating the English people about the real needs of India in 1890 a decision was taken to hold a session of the India National Congress in London in 1892 but owing to the British elections of 1891 the proposal was postponed and afterwards never revived S.N. Banerjee explained that the object of the Congress was, “not the suppression of British rule in India, but the broadening of its basis, the liberalising of its spirit, the enabling of its character and placing it on the unchangeable foundation of a Nation’s affections. ”
In the first phase of its life the Indian National Congress simply demanded a few concessions and not liberties fin the Nation. True, Lokmanya Tilakused the word Swaraj or self government towards the last decade of the nineteenth century but it did not become popular. The period may be called the period of moderate Nationalism. It was not a revolutionary body and its leaders declared loyalty to the British Govemmmt several times. They were against the idea of agitation and unconstitutional means and prefored to carryout their work by debates propoganda, petitions and deputations. They mostly adopted the policy of appeals.
In 1890 a deputation of the Indian National Congress went to England and demanded representation of 50 percent elected candidates in the Legislative Assemblies slowly and gradually more and more youths joined Congress. There was an increase in self-confidence among the Indians and after 1905, the ultimation of the Congress became the attainment of independence. The achievements of the period were decried by the Progressive otherwise called the Extremist leaders of the early twentith century.
The policy of the moderate leaders or the ‘Old Guards’ was criticised as political mendicancy Lala Lajpat Rai wrote, “It was at best an opportunist movement. It opened opportunities for treacheries and hypocrites. It enabled some people to trade in the name of patriotism.” In all fairness it must be said that men like Dadabhai Naoroji, Sir Fherozshah Mehta, Sir Den Shah Wacha, Gopal Krishna Gokhla, Surendra Nath Banerjee etc., were the most progressive elements in Indian Society and true patriots. They earnestly wished the betterment of lndian Society and worked to lessen the harshness of British rule.
They did a lot of spade work Dr. Pattebhai Sitarammaya sums up the achievements of the early leaders then: “we can not blame them for the attitude they adopted as pioneers of Indian political reform any more than we can blame the brick and mortar that is buried six feet deep in the foundation and plenth of a modem edifice. They have made possible the super-structure, storey by storey by colonial self government, Home Rule with in the Empire, Swaraj and the top of all complete independence. ” (The History of the National Indian Congress).
Second Phase (1905-1916)
The early years of the 20th centuiy witnessed the emergence of a new and younger party within the Congress which decried the idiology and methods of the old leaders and advocated the adoption of Swaraj as the goal of the Congress to be achieved by more self-reliant and independent methods. The new group came to be known as the Extremist Party in contrast to the older one which began to – styles as file Moderate Party
Causes for the Birth of Extremist (i) The process of rejuvenation started from within India. The various socio-religious reform movements rekindled love for India’s philosophy thought and history. A new sense of pride was felt in India’s past culture and achievements. It was increasingly realised that many of India’s ills were due to the demoralising effects of foreign rule and consequent poverty of the people. Thus there developed a hatred for bondage and love for one’s country, own religion and self government
(ii) The younger element with in the Congress were dissatisfied with the progress of the past two decades, and were disgusted with the cold and reactionary attitude of the Government. They lost all faith in the British sense of justice and fair play. They critised the old methods of peacefull and constitutional agitation which they described as ‘political mendicancy’ and wanted to adopt European revolutionary methods to meet European Imperialism.
On his return from England in India 1905 Lala Lajpat Rai told his country men that the British democracy was too busy with its own affairs to do any thing for India, that the British Press was not likely to champion their aspirations and that it was very difficult to get a hearing in England. He exhorted the people that if they really cared for their country, “they would have to strike a blow for freedom themselves, and they should be prepared to give unmistakable proof of their earnestness.”
(iii) The terrible famines of 1896-97 and 1899-1901 followed by bubonic plague took a very heavy toll of life. The Government relief machinery was inadequate, slow moving and badly organised. Tilak was arrested when he criticised the callous and ineffective government machinery. Riots broke out in the Deccan and the Government tried to stifle public opinion and suppress ‘ lawlessness.
People attributed the phenomenon of ever-recurring famines to the anti national economic policy followed by the Government. In his Presidential speech in 1903 Lai Mohan Ghose referred to the Durbar of 1902 and said : “Nothing could seem more heartless than the spectable of an great Government imposing the heaviest taxation upon the poorest population in the world, and then lavishly spending the money so obtained over fireworks and pompous pageants while million of poor people ware dying of starvations.”
(iv) Events out side India exercised a powerful influence on the younger, generation. The humiliating treatment meted out to Indians in British- Colonies, humiliating Africa created anti- British feeling. Nationalist movements in, Egypt, Persia, Turkey and Russia gave Indians new hopes and new aspirations.
Indian Nationalists gained more confidence and drew inspiration from – Abyssinias repulsion the Indian army (1896) and lupin’s thumping victory, offer-Russia (1905). The spell of European in viability was broken.
(v) The Imperialist policies of Lord Curzon provided the immediate occasion for the birth of Extremism with in the Congress. The storm which had been brewing for sometime, actually burst out in acts or violence and terrorism. He refused to recognise that India was a Nation characterised their activities as the ‘letting off of gas.’ He insulted the Indian intelligentsia and talked very low of Indian character. The Calcutta Corporation Act, the Official Secrets Act the Indian Universities Act and above all the Partition of Bengal created resentment and provoked violence. Curzon became the most hated person in India and with him the British Imperialism as the worst enemy of India.
The Objectives and Methods of Extremist Group –
The extremist group was organised under the leadership of the Trio Lai Bal and Pal (Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bajpai Chandra Pal Tilak gave the slogan of the new group when he said “The objective of Swaraj or self-Govemmeat was to be achieved even if it meant a clash with ? the authorities and involved sacrifices. The view point of the moderate group was explained by Gokhle when he said, “we are not beggars and our policy is not menticancy.” We are ambassadors of our people at a foreign court to watch and guard the interests of our country and get as much for, her as we can.”
The new leadership sought to create in the people a passionate love for liberty accompanied by a spirit of sacrifice and a readiness to, suffer for the cause of the country They strove to root out from the peoples minds the omnipotence of the ruler, mid instead given them self-reliance and confidence in their own strength-explained untrained in the crookes ways of civilised diplomacy they had believed what their rulers had said, either of themselves or of their subjects as gospel truth. They had been told that people of India were unfit to manage their own affairs and they believed it be true. They had been told that people were weak and the government was strong. They had been told India on a lower plane of humanity and England’s mission was to civilise the Semibarbarous natives: The Nationalist School took it upon themselves to expose hollowness of all these pretensions. They commenced to make what are called counter-passes in hypnotism and at once woke the peopleto a sense of their own strength and an appreciation of their own culture.”
The extremist advocated boycott of Foreign Goods, Swadeshi and National Education. The Swadeshi movement was designed to encourage house industry and provide the people with more opportunities for work and employment. Soon it was discovered that economic boycott might prove a powerful weapon against economic exploitations by the foreigners. It proved a most effective weapon for injuring British interests in India. It was believed the newly rising Indian manufacturing class would liberally provide funds for the Congress and thus strengthen it. Laj Lajpat Rai summed up “we desire to turn our faces away from Government House and turn then to huts of the people. This is the psychology this is the ethics, this is the spiritual significance of the boycott movement.”
A National Scheme of Education was to replaces the boycott of Government controlled Universities and Colleges. The extremists encouraged Co-operative Organisations, Voluntary Associations were set up for rural sanitation, preventive police duties, regulation of fairs and pilgrim gatherings for providing relief during famines and national calamities. Arbitration Committees were set up to decide civil and non-cognizable disputes Nationalist Movement after 1905.
Trace the history of the Indian National Congress from the reformist stage to the Gandhism Era. ‘
Nationalist Movement After 1905
The history qf the Congress which is synonymous of the history of the national movement may be divided into the three periods: –
(a) Reformative stage (1885-1905)
(b) Militant Nationalism (1905-1918)
(c) Ghandhian Era (1919-(1947).
(a) Reformative Stage. The Indian National Congress was founded in the year 1884. Prominent persons of all religions and castes had joined the Congress. It was a national organisation. Inthebeginning, the Congress aimed to increase the number of lndian members in Central and Provincial Legislative Assemblies through constitutional mean. When Lokmanaya Tilak came to the political scene independence became the goal of the Congress. The Government never accepted the full demands Of the Congress. The Britishers were successful in establishing an organisation of the Muslims against the Congress. In 1888 Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan founded an institution named Anglo Muslim Defence Association. The leaders of the Congress believed in the policy of appeals and petitions, the early Congress with all its professions of loyality studied moderation and appealing way, begging tone, did in those days a great amount of spade work in national awakening political education and in uniting Indians and in creating in them die consciousness of a common Indian nationality. ” In 1890 the Government issued a circular forbidding the Government officials from attending the meetings of the Congress. The attitude of the Government changed because the Congress was slowly and gradually adopting a policy of criticism of the Government.
(b) Militant Nationalism. On the one hand the Congress was drifting away from its loyalty towards the Government had started criticising the policies of the Government on the other hand extreme leaders like Lokmanya Tilak, B.C. Pal, Aurobindo Ghose and Lala Lajpat Rai etc., had joined the Congress. Slowly and gradually extreme and revolutionary nationalism was developing. Some of the main causes of the rise of extremism were the following:
(i) Dissatisfaction with the Indian Councils Act of 1892. The new Act of 1892 did not satisfy even the moderates. It did not give anything substantial to the Indians. The people now increasingly felt that the policy of appeals and prayers had yielded nothing
(ii) Bad Economic Condition. On account of the continuation of the foreign rule there was a constant drain on the economic resources of the country. The economic condition of the people was constantly deteriorating. The leaders felt that only the freedom of the country could solve economic condition of the people.
(iii) Famine and Plagne. Famine and Plague in Presidency further increased the discontent among the people. About 20 million people were affected by the famine. During this period of famine the Government celebrated the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It was considered to be an act of utter callousness on the part of the Government.
(iv) Revival of Hinduism. Swami Vivekanand and Aurobindo Ghose declared that independence is the goal of life and Hinduism alone will fulfil this aspiration of ours.” The Theosophical Society also made Significant contribution in the revival of Hinduism.
(v) Ill-treatment of the Indians abroad. The Indians who wait abroad were very badly treated. The treatment meted out in South Africa was very bad. Restrictions wore imposed on the free movement of the Indians and they felt chat the main cause of their humiliation was their slavery. This encouraged them to work vigorously for the attainment of freedom.
(vii) Reactionary regime of Lord Curzoo. The anti-Indian Policy of Lord Curzon was also greatly responsible for the rise of the extremists. Many reactionary Acts were passed during the regime of Lord Curzon. These measures further increased the discontent among the people and they began to think seriously of some means and ways to oppose the policy of the Government.
(viii) Partition of Bengal. Yet another cause for the rise of extremists was the partition of Bengal. The reactionary measures of Lord Curzon had already irritated the people. The partition of Bengal in 1905 added fuel to fire. The people of Bengal felt’ they have been humiliated and insulted. The partition of Bengal was considered as a subtle attack on the growing solidarity of Bengal Nationalism. LalaLajpatRai and B.G Tilak were the prominent leaders who were leading the extremists.
16th October 1905 was declared as a day of protest throughout the Country. The tying of Rakhis, portals and observance of fasts and boycott of foreign goods were some of the important measures observed by the extremists. The position of the extremists in the Congress was quite strong by the year 1905. In 1905 B. G Tilak declared from the stage of the Congress that Swaraj in my birth right; I will have it. Our Motto is selfreliance and not mendicancy, Sir Aurbindo Ghose declared that Nationalism is a religion that comes from God.
Differences between the Policies and Methods of Moderates and Extremists. The following were the differences between the policy and methods of the moderates and the extremists:
- The moderates wanted to bring a change in the existing Constitution whereas the extremists were in favour of rebuilding it.
- The moderates were in favour of extending support of the British Government whereas the extremists were totally against it and were in favour of the boycott movement.
- The extremist wanted to drive away the British India by any means, whereas the moderates wanted to bring about a change on the heart of the British in their favour.
The Surat Session of the Congress. In the Surat Session of the Congress in 1907 there was an open drift between the two groups and the moderates were able to secure the majority and the other group became separate from the Congress and did not stop its movement. Tilak made a where wind tour of the country and advocated the people to join the boycott movement. The extremist were regarded as a great danger to their existence by the British. The leaders of the extremist group were arrested and imprisoned. To aim themselves with the necessary powers to deal with the growth of extremism the British added sections 124A, 153 Ain the Indian Penal Code.
Since Tilak was in Mandalay Jail (Rangoon) from 1908 to 1914 the progress of the extremists was not satisfactory. After his release the position began to change. However, Tilak was not in haste and wanted to have a compromise with the moderates. Gokhle felt was also making efforts for the compromise. But the compromise talks break off on account of the insistence of Fherozeshah Mehta. Fherozeshah Mehta selected Sir Satyendra Sinha, a former member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council for the Presidentship of 1915. But Satyendra Sinha died before the Session. In Bombay session of the Congress in 1915 the extremists were again included in the Congress and some amendments were made in the constitution of the Congress.
The Home Rule Movement. In 1915 Mrs. Annie Bcsant announced her decision to establish a Home Rule League on the model of Irish Home Rule Movement. The Home Rule League was to be an auxiliary to the Indian National Congress. In 1916 Mrs. Annie Besant setup a Home Rule League at Madras. Tilak organised his own Home Rule League at Poona.
Both the Leagues worked the Unison and aimed at the achievement of self-government. The League’s objectives was to educate the people and to provide the Congress demand for self-government with the support and strength of a nation united in knowledge of itself and its single aim. Mrs. Annie Besant said, “I am Indian tomtoms waking up all the sleepers so that they may wake and work for their motherland.” She declared: “India does not chaffer with the blood of her sons and the proud tears of her daughters in exchange for so much liberty, so much right. India claims the right as a Nation, of justice among the peoples of the Empire.
India asked this before India asks for it during the. war, India will ask for it after the war but not as reward but as a right does she ask for it” The Home rule movement reached its zenith in 1917. But the Government took stem measures against the movement and Mrs. Besant was made prisoner, movement was started for her release and Tilak threatened to start passive resistance. But in the meantime, the Secretary of State for India made an anouncement in 1917 promising responsible Government to the people of India by stages. Slowly and gradually the Home Rule movement died out. Mrs. Besant was elected the President of Congress in 1917. Mr. Montagu visited India the same year and held talks with the representatives of the people. His report was published in 1918 and the Govt, of India Act was passed in 1919.
Discuss the third phase of the nationalist movement of the Gandhian ear.
The Third Phase Or The Gandhian Era (1919-1947)
During this period the object of the Congress was the attainment of Swaraj by all legitimate means with in the Empire if possible and without it if necessary. In 1930 came the unequivocal declaration of Puma Swaraj or complete independence was the goal of the Congress. The period was dominated by the personality of Mohan Dass Karam Chand Ghani who introduced new ideas into Indian politics. Gandhiji depricated the policy of violence and underground plots but preached opera and active resistance to injustice. He advocated the adoption of the policy of Satyagraha and Ahimsa (non-violence).
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian nation was born on 2nd October 1869 at Porbandar in Kathiawar. At the age of 79 he was shot dead at Delhi. His father was a Dewan at Porbandar and Rajkot He was married at the age of 12. At the age of 12 he went to Great Britain to qualify for the Bar. Before leaving India he made a promise to his mother that he would avoid three things – meat, wine and women.
After qualifying himself for the Bar. Gandhi began to practise at Rajkot and from there he shifted to Bombay. During his stay at Bombay Gandhiji came into intimate contact with Raj Chandra Ramjibhai. The latter exercised a tremendous influence on him. As a matter of fact Gandhiji got his first lessons of non-violence and truth from Raj Chandra Ramjibhai.
Gandhiji went to South Africa in connection with a professional work on behalf of a Mohammedan firm. His stay in South Africa was the formative period of his political life. He developed his self confidence and put into practice of weapon of Satygraha in South Africa. He taught his countrymen there to resist evil by truth.
The Asiatic Registration Act was passed by the Government of South Africa in 1906. All Asiatic were required to register themselves and give to their thumb impressions. Gandhiji protested against this Act and led a deputation to England. The Indians refused to get themselves registered and give their thumb impressions. Thousands of Indians including Gandhiji were sent to jail. At last the Indians agreed to get themselves registered voluntarily and Gandhiji was the first to offer himself for registration.
Again the Satyagrah movement was started at Transvall against the ill treatment of the Indians there. Two thousand men marched into Transvall under the leadership of Gandhiji. The march was a great landmark. It was a march of truth against untruth, of justice against injustice and of non-violence against violence. At last the hated Asiatic Act was cancelled, the Pull Tax was repealed.
Gandhiji came to India in 1914. At that time he had faith in the love of justice of the Englishmen. But after 1918 doubts arose in his mind regarding the intentions of Britishers about India. The passing of the Rowlatt Act. In the teeth of opposition by the people and the tragedy of Jalianwala Bagh completely shattered his belief in the justice and good faith of England.
A special session of the Congress was held at Calcutta in September 1920. This session marks the beginning of the Gandhian era. Undo- Gandhiji the Congress became more and more representative of the people with a distinctive economic, moral, social and political programme and all flowing from the genius of one man. Gandhiji’s resolution was carried by a majority of 1865 votes against 884.
Gandhiji combined his non-Cooperation Movement with Khilafat movement. He believed in the ideal of Hindu Muslim unity. But differences arose between the Hindus and Muslims. The Moplah revolt in Malabar opened the eyes of the Hindus. Riots took place in Bombay on the day Prince of Wales landed in that city. In February 1922 there took place a serious rioting at Chauri Chaura in Uttar Pradesh. At the place 21 constables and Sub-Inspector of police were shut in a police station and burnt alive by a mob. The result was that Gandhiji withdrew his Non-Cooperation Movement. He was arrested by Government and sentenced to six years simple imprisonment.
There was a split within die Congress on the question of Council entry. Moti Lai Nehru and CR- Dass founded the Swarajist Party which Congress entering the legislature and fighting the Government from within.
Mahatma Gandhi continued to dominate not only the Congress but also the entire politics of the country. His position was absolutely unchallenged. In 1931 he wait to London to attend the Second Round Table conference but came back empty handed on account of the attitude of the British Government and Mr. Jinnah India won ha independence on 15th August 1947, under his leadership but he himself was murdered on 30th January 1948 by a fanatical Hindu.
As a father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi was the creator of modem India. He put great emphasis on communal unity. He was a great social reformer. He took up the cause of the depressed classes it India and devoted the whole of his life to this noble mission. He regarded untouchability as a curse, to the Hindu society and the same was abolished in the Indian Constitution. He stood for Swadeshi. It was one of the weapons in his armoury against the British. The adoption of Swadeshi saved millions of rupees of India and gave employment to a large number of people.
Mahatma Gandhi was known all ova the world and rich tributes were paid to the greatness of the saint of Sabarmati According to Edward Thompson “He is a superb judge of other men. His humility is one of the profoundest things that history has seen. He has pity and love for every race and most of all for the poor and oppressed “ According to Roman Rolland, “Mahatma Gandhi has raised up three hundred millions of his fellow-men, shaken the British Empire and inaugurated in human politics the most powerful movement that the whole world has sear for nearly two thousand years”.
According to Louis Fischer, ‘The symbol of India’s unanimous wish for freedom is Mahatma Gandhi. He does not represent all of India but he does reflect the will of all India for national liberation. A great man is like good sculpure made of one piece. A great man lives a single tracked life. Lincoln was great he lived for the Union. Lenin was great, he lived in orda to make Russia out of the feudal mire: Churchill is great because all of his acts have beat directed towards the presovation of England as a first class power. And in the same way Gandhi is great because evoy single art that he performs is calculated to promote the one goal of his life the liberation of India.
He is not the man he has no intention and never had, to rule India or administer India. His function ends when he frees India.” According to Sir Stafford Cripps : ‘There has been no great spiritual leader in the world in our own time”. According to Acberys Kriplanl ‘The Mahatma is more right when he is wrong than we are when we are right.
Many of us are correct in our little correctness and are small: the process. But the Mahatma was incorrect in many things and yet correct in the sum total and big in the very inconsistencies. In the end he seldom or never came out at the wrong place’. According to Dr. Rajendra Prasad, “Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution of Indian politics has been immense. The Indian National Congress had been in existence for thirty years when he returned to India finally from South Africa in 1915.
The Congress has aroused and organised national consciousness to a certain extent; but the awakening was confined largely to the English educated middle classes and had not penetrated the masses. He carried it to the masses and made it a mass movement. Mahatma Gandhi’s movement operated both horizontally and vertically. He took up causes which were not entirely political but which touched very intimately the life of large masses of people.” Mahatma Gandhi’s greatest contribution, however, does not consist in making the masses of India politically self conscious and organising them on a scale they had never before been organised.”
The message of Gandhiji held a special appeal not only for India but for the whole world. His conception of non-violence and non-co-operation for an unarmed nation resulted in independence of India.
Trace briefly the evolution of the Terrorist Movement in India. How it was different from extremism?
Progress Of National Movement
The Terrorist Movement. The terrorist movement started in India towards the end of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century. It was one of the phases of militant nationalism although it was quite different from the extremism of Tilak. The terrorist wanted to end the British rule by violent means. They started creating among the Indians hatred for the British through newspapers, pamphlets and posters etc. They aimed at inculating patriotism among the Indians and to free than from hunger and fear.
Maharashtra was the first centre of the terrorist Shyamji Krishore Verma and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar were the prominent revolutionary leaders. In 1899, Rand the Plague commissioner of Poona was murdered in Maharashtra. Shyamji Krishore Verma who was connected with the murder ofRand managed to escape to London where he remained for six years.
He established Indian Home society and started a monthly journal named the “Indian Sociologist”. Later on he had to leave London also. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar also reached London and became the leader of the revolutionary group at the London House. In 1902, he despatched a parcel of 20 Browring automatic pistols with ammunition to Bombay concealed in a box forming the luggage of the Chaturbhuj Amin, a cook at the Indian House. These pistols were sent for the members of Abhinav Bharat Society which was working undo: the leadership of his brother Ganesh Savarkar.
But before the pistols could reach Bombay, Ganesh Savarkar was arrested and sentenced to transportation for life. The members of the Abhinav Bharat Society decided to murder Mr. Jackson, the District Magistrate of Nasik who had passed the sentence of transportation for life. Mr. Jackson was actually shot on 21st December, 1909 and three Bahmery were executed on the charge of murder. In the same years bombs were thrown on the carriage in which Lord and Lady Minto were driving through the city of Ahmedabad but the bombs did not explode.
Like Maharashtra, the terrorist movement was developing fast in Punjab and Bengal. The terrorist of Punjab made attempts to murder Governor General Lord Hardinge. In the Delhi conspiracy case Amir Chand, Awadh Behari, Balmakand, Basant Kumar and Vishwas were sentenced to death. The return of Sikhs from Canada further strengthened the Terrorist Movement in Punjab. The partition of Bengal by Lord Curzon and the Swedeshi movement also contributed to this development. In Bengal Baren’dra Kumar Ghose the younger brother of Sir Aurobindo Ghose and Bhupendra Nath Dutta brother of Swami Vivekanand were the prominent leaders of theTerrorist movement, B.K. Ghose started newspapers entitled “Yiigantar” and ‘Sandhya’ to propagate the revolutionary movement.
Revolutionary Programme. A programme was chalked out and it consisted of six items – 1. To spread hatred against the Britishers 2. Fear of unemployment and starvation was to be removed. 3. The Government was to be kept busy by means of Bandematrain Processions, Swadeshi conferences, and boycott meetings. 4. Youngmen to be recruited and trained in the use of weapons. 5. To manufacture fire arms and purchases than from foreign countries. 6. Money was to be raised by means of raids and dacoities. Their belief was that the rule of the English was established through sheer brute force and therefore, it was right to use brute force against them.
An appeal was made to the young man of Bengal in there words: “will the Bengali worshipper of Shakti string from the shedding of blood? The number of Englishmen in this country is not above one lakh and half and what is the number of English Officials in each district? Ifyou are firm in your resolution, you can in a single day bring British rule to an end. Lay your life but first take a life. The worship of the Goddess will-not be consummated if you sacrifice your lives at the shrine of Independence without shedding blood, with the help of his colleagues, B.K. Ghose organised secret institutions in Italy and Russia in strengthen the Terrorist Movement.
On April 30, 1908 Mrs. and Mr. Kennedy were murdered. Khudi Ram Bose was arrested and sentenced to death. He became mystero and hero. His photographs had an immense sale and by and by the yoeung people look wearing of dhotis with Khudi Ram Bose’s name woven in the borders of the garment. On December 23, 1907 Mr. Allen the former Magistrate of Dacca was shot dead. About 40 persons including Aurobindo Ghose were arrested. Narain Gosain was made a Government approved but he was shot dead by the terrorists. Among the rest of the accused who were sentenced to death and the remaining ones were awarded long sentences. This infuriated the terrorists and consequently police officers, magistrates, Government pleaders, prosecution witnesses, traitors etc. were all shot dead.
The Terrorist Movement spread in other parts of the country also. In Madras the movement spread rapidly and the Government property was destroyed. Pondicherry was a great centre of Terrorist Movement. Prominent leaders like Sardar Bhagat Singh, Yatendra Nath Das and Chandra Shekhar Azad sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country. The Government tried to suppress the movement with all power and force at their command. The terrorists who escaped the oppression of the Government lata: on joined the Azad Hind Army cf Subhash Chandra Bose, The officers of the terrorists were also in die foreign countries.
Shyamji Krishna Verma, Madam Cama and S.R. Rana worked from Paris. In England Madanlal Dhingra protested against the inhuman punishment infested on the terrorists in India. He shot on 1st July 1909 Sir.William Curzon Wyllie the political A.D.C. at India office in London. He and Vinayak Savarkar were arrested and sentenced to transportation for life. In America Indo-American-Association and \bung India Association were working for the movement.
The Government of India was very much disturbed and alarmed by the rise of terrorism but they allied the moderates, the Muslims and the Zamindars through diplomacy and incuriously and ruthlessly suppressed the terrorists. Lala Lajpat Rai, Sardar Ajit Singh and Lok-Manya Tilak were arrested and sent to Burma. In 1908 Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed which empowered the Government to declare and Association or Society as illegal. On the one hand, the Government was ruthlessly suppressing the movement and on the other hand the revolutionaries could not get whole hearted support and cooperation of the people who preferred Non-cooperation Movement of Mahatma Gandhi. Thus the terrorist-movement could not became wide spread. But it must be admitted that it made a very significant contribution in the development of nationalism in India.
Trace the rise of Muslims Contribution. How did the Government try to create a rift between the Hindus and Muslims. .
Muslims In National Movement
Muslim Communalism. The British were alarmed to see the wide spreading influence of the congress and therefore, tried to create rift between the Hindus and the Muslims. They created a section of Muslims who regarded the congress as an institution of fire Hindus and demanded the founding of a separate institution for Muslims. Being influenced by Mr. Beak, the Principal of the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College, Aligarh, Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan founded Annual Muslims Education Conference in 1886, and Mohammedan Defence Association in 1893.
Apparently these institutions aimed to protect the interest of the Muslims but in foot their real aim was to check the Muslims from joining the congress. In the course of time, the Muslims from joining the congress. In the course of time, the Muslim sent a deputation to meet file contemporary Viceroy Lord Minto in order to have separate electorate for the Muslims.
Factors responsible for the separatist mentality of the Muslims. It is unfortunate that the Muslims as a community were in different to the congress movement. Some Muslim leaders it is true, attended the congress and a few of them were elected Presidents but as a class they held aloof. Several factors were at work which determined their attitude towards the Congress and a separatist term to their politics.
1. Decline the position of the Muslims. The Muslims were heavily depressed by the consolidation of the British rule in Northern India. It was a great blow to their pride and self respect to find themselves Ousted from all positions of power and authority. The last vestige of their influence in administration was gone when Vernacular was substituted for Persian as the Court language. The ardent spirits among than brooded ova the past in sullen resentment.
They hated British rule and western culture and were in term evolved upon with suspicion by the Government Hence they supported Wahabi Revivalism which was definitely anti-Briti sh and took a prominent part and the great upheaval of 1857, in the hope of restoring the fallen fortunes of then community. After the collapse of that rebellion their community. After the collapse of that rebellion their condition worsened and they felt more down hearted.
2. Indifference to English Education. Muslim orthodoxyhad turned its back on English education as unIslamic. Hence the Muslims failed to share in the intellectual renaissance brought about by western through and science and conveyed through the English language. As a consequence all avenues of prefoment thrown open by English education were closed to than.
The Hindus on the other hand forged a head and by their progressive troids began to outstrip the Muslims in every walk of life. This heightened their sense of frustration and the Muslims began to think that the Hindus had stolen a march upon than.
Work of Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan. The man who did most to rise the Muslims Community from the slough despair and depression was Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan. His fatha held an office of rank in the Mughal Court and he joined the service of the company as a judicial office in the subordinate opacity He clearly realised that if the Muslims were to receive their lost position they must have English education and win the support of the British and to persuade his co-religionists to reconsider their attitude towards English Education.
In 1875 he founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh. This was his greatest education among the Muslims but festered a spirit of solidarity by giving than a common ideology The British Government exploited the new out look of the Muslim Community and began to patronise the Aligarh movement.
Aligarh Movement. The Principal of the M.AO. College gave to the institution a distinctly communal term and a missionary spirit. Hence forth the Aligarh man became the symbol of Muslim solidarity and the spear head of the Muslim movement everywhere in India. Sir Sayed kept aloof from the Congress and did his best to wean away his fellow-Muslims from theNational Movement. He did so not from any unpatriotic motive. He felt that the Congress demand for representative government would injure the interest of the Muslims who in India formed a small minority. In 1883 he declared in the Governor Generals Council that die “System of election, pure and simple an not safely be adopted.
The largo community would totally overside the interests of the smaller community”. Sir Sayed thought that the interests of the community would be better served by cooperation with the British Government than by opposition to it. Hence he courted the support of the British authorities as rival organisations to the Congress. All these proved short lived but they indicated the lines along which the awakening of the Muslims was to develop. The fear of majorityrule first expressed by Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan was echoed half century later by Mr. M. A. Jinnah who became nervous about what he called the brute majority of the Congress. This fear complex adroitly manipulated by the British Government led to the successive Muslim demands for weightage, separate electorates and lastly Pakistan.
The Muslim League. The communal bent given to the Muslim polities by Sir Sayed and Principal Beek was sedulously nursed by the British authorities. The technique of British rule in India was to incourage the fissiparous tendencies arising from religion and provincialism. The British Government wanted to utilise Muslim Communalism as a counts poise to the growing Indian Nationalism which was largely the product of Hindu nationalism. Hence in 1906 some of the high British officials engineered a Muslim deputation to the Viceroy, Lord Minto, to promote the cause of Muslim separatism.
It was lead by, H.H the Agha Khan the spiritual head of the Khoja Community. It made a strong claim for communal representation with which the Viceroy expressed complete sympathy. The. members of the deputation were entertained by the Viceroy at a garden party at Shimla and he wrote about the day as very eventful day and an epoch in Indian history. A high official sent a congratulatory message to die Viceroy saying “that a very very big thing has happened .. it is nothing less than the pulling back of sixty two millions of people from joining the ranks of die seditions opposition. ”
Encouraged by the success of the Muslim deputation Nawab Salimulla Khan of Dacca founded the Muslim League in 1906 with the object of promoting the loyalty of the Muslims to the British Government and of safe guarding their political and other rights. Without prejudice to diese objects the establishment of friendly feelings between Muslims and other Communities was also aimed at. Lord Morley his radical views notwithstanding welcomed die official nursing of the Muslim League as a “native opposition” to the Congress.
Trace the history of National struggle since 1907. How did the Government try to prevent Hindu Muslim Unity?
Attempt of Government to rally the Moderates. For nine years after the Surat split the Congress was dominated by the moderates. The British Government took advantage of the dissensions in the ranks of the Congress to widen the gulf between the parties and to drive a wedge between the Hindus and Muslims. The Moreley Minto Reforms were meant to rally the moderates and to conpolise the fast flowing currluts.of Indian nationalism. They also to conpolise the fast flowing currents of Indian nationalism. They also marked a decisive stage in the British policy of using Indians against Indians. By conceding separate electorates to the Muslims these reforms strongly entrenched communalism and hit the national movement below the belt Another sympathetic gesture to the moderates was the reversal of the Partition of Bengal, a royal boon announced as the Durbar held at Delhi on the occasion of the visit of their majesties King George V and Queen Mary.
Morley Minto Reforms were disappointing. It was not long before the -people saw through the imperialistic game. They found the Reforms of 1909 quite unsatisfactory in their actual working. They had asked for bread and were given only stones. They found that the enlarged Legislative Councils only veiled autocracy behind an artificial majority. The substance of power was retained by the irresponsible executive while the farm was conceded to the legislature. They realised the danger inherent in file separate electorates granted to the Muslims. Hence they became more and more strangled from the Government.
The Muslim League continued its separate existence from the Congress for a long time. In 1916 the Conferences of the Congress and the Muslim League were at simultaneously at Lucknow and a pact known as Lucknow Pact was arrived at between the two. A joint plan with regard to constitution reforms was prepared and the Congress accepted the demand of the Muslims for separate electorate and increase in number of seats to them. This unity could not continue for a long time because the demands of the Muslims went on increasing day-by-day. Later on Mohd. Ali Jinnah advocated to principle of two nations and put forward the demand for formation of Pakistan.
Rowlatt Act and Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy. The Indians extended their whole-hearted support to the British in the First World War (1914-18). The Indians had to suffer on account of file increase in prices low salaries, lack of goods, spread of plague and influenza etc., during the period of war. The freedom had also been restricted by the Indian Defence Rules. Inspite of this the British did not care fin their sacrifice and co-operation and published Montague Chelmsford Report in 1918 and declared that this was to be file basis of future reforms. The Indians were greatly disappointed. In the same year the Government Passed Rowlatt Act which provided for the speedily trial of offences without any right of appeal. It also provided that the search of a place and the arrest of a suspected person could be confined for a period of one year in the first instance and to three years in all.
There was a lot of agitation against this measure of the Government. Inspite of the warning of Sir Teg Bahadur Sapru many innocent persons were arrested under Defence of India rules. Hartals were observed in the whole of the country. There were wide spread revolts in Punjab where Sat Pal and Dr. Kichbi were arrested. On April 12, 1919 General Dyer declared that no meetings or gathering of people were to be held. Inspite of this declaration a meeting ‘ was organised at about 4.30 P.M. on April 13, 1919 at Jallianwala Bagh.
The Government made no attempt to check the holding of the meeting but when the meeting was taking place in which about 10,000 persons were present- Gen. Dyer reached there with troops. He closed all the gates except one of the Jallianwala Bagh and ordered the troops to fire. The firing continued till the whole of the ammunition was exhausted. For ten consecutive minutes he kept up a merciless fusillade-^in all 1650 rounds on that seating mass of humanity caught like rats in trap vainly rushing for the few narrow exists or lying flat on the ground to escape the rain of bullets. While giving evidence before the Hunter Enquiry Committee, Lala Girdhari Lai said that there must have been 1000 dead bodies in the garden.
General Dyer contended that he wanted to teach than a lesson so that they might not laugh at him. He would have fired and fired longer he said if he had a required ammunition. He had only fired 16,000 rounds because his ammunition had run out.“ According to Annie Besant, “ I have been shocked to read the evidence given by the military authorities before the Hunter Committee. Nothing more than is recorded out of their own mouths was done by the Germans in Belgium. ” The happening in the Punjab distressed Rabindra Nath Tagore so much so that he gave up the title of “Knighthood” which had been bestowed upon him by the Government of lndia. ;
Mahatma Gandhi and the Non-Co-operation Movement –
Mahatma Gandhi entered the scene of Indian Politics in the year 1915. After the death of Lokmanya Tilak on 31 st July 1920 the power of the Congress came into the hands of Mahatma Gandhi. Thus by 1920 his popularity and influence had considerably increased in Indian politics. In 1920, Gandhi Ji started Non-Co-operation Movement. Hitherto Gandhi Ji also believed in the justice of the British and he had extoided his whole hearted support to the British in the First World War. But his faith was shaken on account of Jallianwala Bagh tragedy, Martial Law in Punjab and the Report of Hunter Enquiry Committee. On the other hand, the Muslims of lndia had started a Khilaft Movement on account of terms of treaty made by the Allied nations with Turkey with a view to strengthen theunity of Hindu-Muslims Gandhi’Ji also extoided his support and Co-operation to the Khilafat Movement.
Programme of the Non Co-operation Movement of 1920. Gandhi ji started the Non-Co-operation Movement and adopted the following programme:
- Surrender of titles and honorary offices and resignation from the nominated posts in local bodies.
- Refusal to attoid Government duties, Durbars and other official and non-official functions.
- Withdrawal of Children from government schools and Colleges and establishment of national schools and colleges in every province.
- Boycott of British Courts by lawyers and litigants and establishment of private attribution courts for the settlement of private disputes.
- Refusal on the part of military, clerical and labouring classes to offer . themselves as recruits for service in Mesopotamia.
- Withdrawal by candidates from election to the reformed councils and refusal on the part of voters to vote. ,
- Boycott of foreign goods.
The movement aimed to inculcate a measure of discipline and self sacrifice among the people. Gandhi ji believe that if people extended their whole hearted co-operation and remained non-violent, they could get Swaraj within a year.
The Hindus and Muslims both took active part in the Movement. Foreign goods were burnt in different parts of the country and the students left their colleges. Gandhi ji gave up the title of‘Kaisare Hind.’ Hartals were observed in protest of the Prince ofWales visit to India. The Government tried to suppress the movement mercilessly. The Satyagrahis were mercilessly beaten and all the leaders were arrested. As many as 25,000 persons were sent to Jails. In 1921 Gandhi ji gave seven days notice to the Governor General to release the non-violent agitators. On account of the incident of Chauri Chaura Gandhi Ji decided to stop the movement.
Chauri Chaura Incident. In this incident, a mob of3000 persons killed 21 policemen and one inspector and burnt the police post at Chauri Chaura. Gandhiji who stood for complete non-violence was shocked by this incident and ordered that the movement be suspended. The other Congress leader severely critisised Gandhi ji for suspending the movement suddenly. Gandhi ji was arrested and sentenced to six years imprisonment. But on account ofill- health he was released in February 1924.
According to Subhash Chandra Bose; “To sound the order ofretreat just when public enthusiasm was reaching the boiling point was nothing short of a national calamity.” According to Jawahar Lai Nahru: “we in prison learnt to our amazement and consolation that Gandhi had stopped the aggressive aspect of our struggle, that he had suspended civil disobedience.” Axording to C.R. Dass: “The Mahatma opens a campaign in a brilliant fashion, he works it up with skill, he moves from success to success till he reaches the zenith of his campaign but after that he loses his nerve and begins to fatter. ” According to Polak. “The Muslims wilted under the blow and it was never again possible to restore the confidence and fraternity that had united the two communities during the brief period of alliance.” . ,
The Swarijist Party. After the suspension of Non-Co-operation Movement, the Country had no programme for the time being. Chitranjan Das, Moti Lai Nehru and C. Kelkar formed the Swarajist Party with in the Congress and decided to enter the Legislative Assemblies in order to oppose the policies of the Government. Dr. Aneari and D. Raja Gopalachari ware the staunch supporters of Gandhi ji. They were against the entering of the Legislative Assemblies. Therefore, the resolution for entering the Assemblies could not be accepted in the Congress Session of Gaya in 1922.
But the resolution was accepted in the special session of Congress held in Delhi. Consequently elections wore fought and the Congress gained majority in several provinces in the elections of 1934. However, they could not achieve much by their opposition to the Government Policies. Lord Reading the contemporary Governor-General in India offered a proposal for a Round Table – conference in order to draft the constitution of India. But his proposal was rejected. The Swarajism Party declined after the death of Chitranjan Das in 1925. The Party was successful at least in convincing even the British conservatives that the system of Dyarchy was unworkable.
Simon Commission. In 1927, the British Government appointed a Royal Commission headed by Sir John Siman to submit a report on the constitutional development in India after the enactment of the Government of India Act 1919. All parties boycotted the meetings of the Simon Commission because all its members ware Britishers and not a single Indian was taken on the Commission. Where even the Commission went it was welcomed with black flags and the slogans ‘Go back Simon’ Commission submitted its report in 1920 on the basis of which the Government of India Act, 1935 was passed.
Nehru Report. Lord Buckinhead, secretary of State for India asked the Indian leaders to draft a constitution of India which was acceptable to all. A Committee was formed undo’ the Chairmanship of Pt. Moti Lai Nehru and the report it prepared was called Nehru Report. The Committee had drafted a constitution which demanded Dominion Status for India. The report was considered bythe Congress in its annual session of1928 held at Calcutta. Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose were in favour of complete Swaraj. However, some leaders were satisfied by Dominion Status for the time being. Efforts of Mahatma Gandhi brought about a compromise between the two groups and the Congress pissed a resolution thatifthesaid constitution was not accepted by December 1929 the Congress would not be bound to accept it and would start the non-violent Civil Disobedience Movement.
Civil Disobedience Movement of 1932 and the Dandi March On 31st October 1929 Lord Irwin the Contemporary Governor-General „ Lord Irwin declared that the object of the British Government was to ©rant Dominion Status to India but not definite date could be fixed. Hence the Congress passed the resolution of complete independence in 1929 at Lahore session under the Presidentship of Jawahar Lai Nehru 26th January 1930 was – declared as Independence Day.
The programme of Civil Disobedience Movement was also fixed. Gandhiji wrote a letter to Lord Irwin informing him regarding his decision to break the law regarding salt along with his colleagues in the Sabarmati Ashram. On March 12,1930 be started his famous Dandi March. It was a signal for ihe start of Civil Disobedience Movement all over the country. The Government arrested a large number of Congress workers and many parsons were even shot dead. The British tried to suppress the Movement with a strong hand.
Gandhi Irwin Pact The First Round Table conference was held in London on November 12, 1930, but the Congress refused to take part in it. The Government released the Congress leaders on 16th February 1931. Gandhi ‘ Irwin Pact was made 31st March 1931. With the efforts of Tej Bahadur Sapru and Tayakar. All the Congress workers wae released and peaceful picketing of liqueur shops was allowed. On his part Gandhiji agreed to participate in the ‘
Second Round Table conference and to stop the boycott movement. It was at this time that Bhagat Singh and colleagues were hanged to death. This sent a war of resentment all over the country Liberal Party came to power in England and Lord Willingdon was appointed as Governor General.
Poona Pact. The experience o fthe Second Round Table conference clearly showed Gandhiji that the ways of the British Government were quite different He decided to restart the Civil Disobedience Movement. But he and almost all * the members of the Congress Committee and otber leaders were arrested and sent to jails. ThelndianNational Congress wad declared as an illegalinstitution. About one lakh persons were imprisoned. The British Prime Minister Macdonald announced the Communal Award which provided separate electorate for scheduled castes. But Gongress refused to accept this decision. Gandhiji who was in Prison under took a fast unto death as a protest against the provision of a separate electorate for the Scheduled Caste Hindus. But a timely compromise made by. Dr. B. R Ambedkar, the leader of the Depressed classes saved the situation from growing worse. The out come as the Poona Pact by which the number of seats reserved from the Depressed classes was nearly doubled. These seats were to be filled up by a joint electorate out of the panel of names selected by the Depressed classes. This arrangement hit hard the Caste Hindus although it maintained the integrity of the Hindu Community Gandhiji broke his fast and nationalist India heaved a sigh of relief.
Decline of Civil Disobedience Movement The severe measures adopted by Lord Willingdon (1931-36) made the continuance of civil disobedience difficult and by the middle of 1934 the movement subsided for a time. Mean while Parliament passed the Government of India Act 1935 providing for an All India Federation. The scheme of federation never materialised owing to the opposition of the Congress and the Indian princes. But Provincial Autonomy came into operation from April 1937.
On the assurance of the Provincial Governors that they would not ordinarily interfere with the work of the ministers, the Congress decided to work the provincial part of the new constitution. In the elections that took place in 1937 the Congress swept the polls in the general constituencies. The Muslim League fared badly even in provinces predominantly Muslim. Congress ministries were found in seven out of eleven provinces and coalition ministries were formed in Sind and Assam.
It was only in Bengal-and the Punjab that the League predominated. The Congress ministries did some commendable work relating to primary education, prohibition of liqueurs and the improvement of the villages and the peasants. But the Congress ministries lasted only for 20 months. The Second War broke out in 1939 on account of the War policy the British Government and on the question of giving support and cooperation to the British Government during war, the Congress Ministries resigned. The Governors <- took all the powers excepting those of High Courts into their hands.
Rift between the Congress and the League. The phenomenal success of the Congress in the election of 1937 alarmed Mr. Jinnah. He expected that – Congress League coalition ministries would be fomed in all the provinces. But the Congress refused to form coalitions unless the League ceased to function as a separate group. To this proposal of the Congress the League refused to agree.
Mr. Jinnah openly declared “Muslim can expect neither justice nor fair playunder Congress Government.” Themajority of Muslims accepted this view and began tp rally round the League. Mr. Jinnah acquired a new personal authority and became the undisputed leader of his community. He now started a campaign of vilification against the Congress ministries. He began to complain against the unfair treatment of the Muslims in the Congress provinces and the circulate stories of astrocities never substantiated, against the Congress Governments. Even European officials have testified to the justice and efficiency of the Congress Governments. But Mr. Jinnah was determined to give a bad name to the Congress and went on with his fulminations.
Split in Congress. About this time there was a split in the Congress Camp. The Rightists led by Rajaji and Vallabh Bhai Patil were devoted followers of Gandhiji. They counselled patience and were not as yet prepared to organise the forces of national life for the overthrow of British imperialism. The leftists were led by Subhash Chandra Bose. He stood for a bold policy and thought that the time was rise for an all out National resistance against foreign rule. The two groups came to grips on the occasion of the election of the Congress President for the Tripura Session of1939. Subhash Chandra sought re-election for President ship but was opposed by the Rightists who at Gandhi ji instance set up Dr. Pallabhi Sitaramyya as a rival candidate. Bose won but was forced out by the Right wringers who prevented him from securing a favourable working committee. Subhash Chandra then formed a new group known as the Forward Bloc. This split discredited the old guard of the Congress. It was very tragic that Bose who .had succeeded in winning the confidence of his countrymen failed to win the confidence of India’s greatest man.
Resignation of Congress Ministries. The Congress ministries did good work in the Provinces but were not destined to function long. When the Second World War broke out in 1939 and England declared War against Nazi Germany “India was dragged into be lli-gerency even with out the formality of consulting the wishes of the Congress with great changing the working Committee of the Congress protested against this attitude and asked the British Government to declare clearly its War aims in regard to democracy in so far as India was concerned.
A few days after the Congress demanded that “India be declared an independent nation and present application should be given to this status to the largest possible extent.” The British Government was neither explicit in the declaration of its war aims nor agreeable to the demand of the Congress. There upon the Congress Ministries in the Provinces resigned in November 1939. The Muslim League was very jubilant and Mr. Jinnah heaved a sigh of ‘ relief and asked the Muslims of the country to observe a day of deliverance.
The resignation of the Congress Ministries was perhaps a serious tactical blunder. Through out the War the Congress was out of power and the British Government had no alternative but to woo the Muslim League Mr. Jinnah took full advantage of the situation.
India and the Second World War. The raped success of Germany and the fall of France in the Summer of 1940 caused per turbations in India. Gandhiji issue appeals to the people to remain quiet declaring, “we do not seek our independence out of Britain’s ruin”. The Congress though out of office offered to cooperate with the war efforts of the allies if a provisional national Government was set up at least at the centre. But the British Government would not yield. The viceroy Lord Lontithgow in a statement published on 8th August, 1940 made it clear that the British Government could not contemplate the transfer of their present responsibilities for the peace and welfare of India to any system of Government whose authority was desired by large and powerful elements in Indian national life.”
August offer of 1940 rejected by the Congress
Lord Linlithgow held out the prospect of a representative constituent assembly after the war was over. This statement is known as the “August offer.” It aggravated the commercial tension. Hence forth Ore communal problem became can insuperable barrier to India’s progress. Ths Congress rejected the offer and as a protest Gandhiji started the campaign of individual civil disobedience.
Jinnah’s Two National Theory. The Capital which the British Government was making of the communal disharmony encouraged Mr. Jinnah. He began to ignore all other Muslim organisations like the Jamait-ul-ulemas and Ahrar and demanded that the Muslim League should be recognised as the only authoritative organisation of the Musalmans in India. He declared that in India democracy based on majority rule would not be workable.
To cap the climax he declared at the Lahore Session of the Muslim League (March 1940) ‘ that the Muslims were not in minority but a separate nation and that they must have their separate home land with a separate sate i.e., Pakistan. The two nation theory thus propounded dashed to Ore grounds all hopes ofHindu Muslim ,, unity. His ceaseless demand for Pakistan produced a peculiar.
Psychosis among the Musalmans and they were led to believe that in an independent India the Muslims would be in the minority and so would lose the preference which they now enjoyed under the British rule. Hence the “Partition of India is the only solution” declared Mr. Jinnah. To Mahatma Gandhi on the other hand Ihe communal question was not an unbridgeable gulfbetween the Congress and the Muslim League. It was a domestic problem which would disappear if the British with drew from India.
Menance in Japanese invasion
Meanwhile the international situation had become extremely serious Japan ‘ had declared war against England and had joined resounding victories. The Japanese had captured Singapore and Rangoon and were about to knock at the eastern defences of India. A United War from against the Japanese menance ” was urgently needed. But it was a difficult task in view of the communal discard and Indian distrust of British sincerity. This distrust was recently intensified by Mr. Churchill’s declaration that the Atlantic Charter was not applicable to India. Realising this serious situation the British Government sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India, to resolve the Indian dead lock and rally all the forces of India’s life against the Japanese menance.
The Cripps Mission. The Gipps mission arrived at Delhi in March 1942. Sir Stafford Gipps opened negotiations with the representatives of various Indian parties and put forward his proposals in a Draft Declaration. It provided that India was to have Dominion status and a constitution making body after the end of the War. In the meantime, the British Government was to retain control of the Defence of India as part of their World War effort with the cooperation of the Indian peoples Gipps virtually repeated the August offer of 1940. His proposals were rejected by every single party or group and Mahatma Gandhi characterised the pledge about the future settlement of the constitution as “a post dated cheque on a bank that was obviously failing. ” The negotiations broke down and Sir Stafford left India.
The August Movement 1942
Quit India Resolution August, 1942. The failure of Cripps mission produced a feeling of frustration in the minds of the Indian people at a time when they were alarmed and exited at the rapid approach of the Japanese army at their gates. The Congress leaders felt that only ‘a people’s War’ could avert the Japanese menance and in order to mobilise the full resources of the people a complete transfer of power to Indian hands was necessary.
Accordingly the working Committee of the Congress met at Wardha in July 1942 and published a resolution asking the British Government to withdraw from India. „ This “Quit India” resolution was endorsed by the All India Congress Committee which met at Bombay on 8th August 1942. It also declared that should the British Government refuse to withdraw, a mass struggle on an All India scale would be started undo’ Gandhiji’s leadership. The British Government replied , to this challenge by immediately arresting Gandhiji and the members of the Working Committee (9th August 1942).
Spontaneous Revolt all over India. Gandhiji and all the top Congress leaders were arrested. All Congress Committees were banned. The sudden removal of all the prominent leaders produced a terrible explosion of popular feelings. They were mass repulses and disorders in almost everypart of the country and these took a very serious turn at Midnapur and other eastern districts of the United Provinces. The repressive measures spread a wave of violence through out the country. On account of the lack of guidance of the leaders, the people adopted violent means for the attainment of independence.
Railways telegraphs and governments buildings wore destroyed. Except the Communist Party and the Muslim League, almost all the parties of the country took active part in the movement. Shri Jai Prakash Narayan, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Shrimati Arana Asaf Ali made a significant contribution in the movement of 1942. Considerable government property was destroyed by the people. Crowds gathered in cities and rural areas and attacked what seemed to than symbols of British power such as police stations, post offices, railways etc. The unarmed and leaderless mobs faced police and military firing on not less than 538 occasions.
The Government put down the disturbances with the exceptional ferocity Gandhiji at the age of 73 undertook a fast for three weeks as a protest against Government atrocities. There was great anxiety felt all over the country. The Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow refused to listen to the wide spread demand for Gandhiji’s unconditional release and so the three Indian members of the Viceregal Executive Council resigned.
Netaji’ Subhash Chandra Bose and the I.N.A. Besides internal disturbances the British Government had to face a serious external danger while the August Movement was dying out, the battle of Indian freedom was going on in a different quieter and under different leadership. Subhash Chandra Bose a most gallant fighter for India’s freedom disappeared from his Calcutta house where he was interned and made his wayto Germany (1941).
Hence he went to Japan and finally reached Singapore. At the time of Japanese conquest ofMalaya a large number of Indian soldiers in the British army had fallen into the hands of the Japanese. They were released and Subhash Chandra Bose who was now called Netaji organised them into IndianNational Army or Azad Hind Fauj. He also set up the Azad Hind Government (Government of Free India) at Singapore in ‘ 1943.
Netaji’s army marched up the frontiers of India and even penetrated into the Indian territory. Eventually the army was compelled to surrender to the British for want of provisions. Netaji’s daring move gave a very bad headache to the British Government add is more significant than is usually realised. The base with which Indian soldier whose loyalty till now was unquestioned transferred their allegiance to a national A leader, must have convinced thoughtful Britishers that the Indian army was ‘ no longer dependable part of British imperialism.
Rajaji Formula, Wavell Pan and Simla Conference
The Muslim League had demanded the formation of Pakistan in the Lahore Session in 1940. But when the Congress started the Quit India Movement in 1942 Mohammad Ali Jinnah declared that this movement aimed not only to drive away the Britishers out of the country but also to usurp the rights of the Muslims that they could live in independence only after the division of India.
In order to solve the problem C. RajaGopalachari made apian which is known as Rajaji Formula. Although this plan gave many concessions to the Muslim yet Jinnah rejected this plan. In the summer of1945 the contemporary viceroy Lord Willingdon Wavell went to London to have consultations with the members of British Cabinet After his return, he organised Shimla Conference in order to solve the constitutional tangle of India. Both the Congress and the Muslim League look part in the Shimla Conference but the Conference could not succeed on account of the attitude of the Muslim League. The proposals of the plan offered by the Governor General are known as Wavell Plan.
Account for the Last phase of the National Movement sincel945.
Last Phase Of The Nationalist Movement
The Advent of the Labour Party. In August 1945 Mr. Churchill the arch imperialist fell from power and the Labour Government headed by Mr. Atlee took office. It was an important factor which expedited the solution of Indian constitutional dead lock. Mr. Atlee took a realistic view of events in India and realised that the demand for national independence had become irresistible. The trial of some of the officers of the Azad Hind Fauj produced a bitter feeling of resentment all oyer the country. More serious was the mutiny of the R.I.N. ratings in Bombay (1946). These happenings convinced Mr. Atlee of the necessity of taking early action and he announced the despatch of the Cabinet Mission to discuss with Indian leaders as to the best way in which political power could be eventually transferred to Indian hands.
The Cabinet Mission. The Cabinet mission was composed of Lord Pethic Lawrence, Secretary for State, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade and Mr. A V. Alexander, First Lord of the Admiralty. The Mission held a series of conference with the Congress and the Muslim League delegates but failed to fined common ground between the two irreconcilable parties. As the leaders of the two parties agreed to differ the Cabinet Mission issued a statement on the 6tK May, 1946 lying down the basic lines of the future political setup of lndia. It recommended that there was to be a Union of India, embracing British India and the India states. The Union, that is the federal centre should have exclusive control of foreign affairs, defence and communications. Provinces were to have complete autonomy and were to exercise all powers except those vested in the centre. The Provinces of British India were to form three groups:
Groups A comprising the Hindu majority provinces of Madras Bombay C.P.U.P. Bihar and Orissa.
Group B comprising the Muslim-majority provinces of the Punjab the North West Frontier Province, Baluchistan and Sind.
Group C consulting of Bengal and Assam.
Each group was to settle its own constitution, The representatives of all of them together with the representatives of such Indian states as would join the Union were to meet in a Constituent Assembly to draft a constitution for the Union. Any province could withdraw from any of the groups after the first general election under the new constitution. The entire set up may, if thought necessary be revised after ten years or periodically every ten years.
For the administration of India during the period of constitution making the Mission emphasised the immediate need of an interim Government backed by the major political parties. The constitutional plan of the Cabinet Mission thus consisted of :
(b) Provincial Autonomy
(c) Grouping of States
(d) Constituent Assembly
(e) Interim Government.
The elections were held in September 1945. Inspite of many obstacles a large number of Congress candidates were elected un-opposed in provincial and Central Assemblies. In April 1946 Congress formed Ministries in all the provinces having Hindu majority and North Western Frontier Province. The Muslim League formed ministry in Bengal and Sindh. In Punjab a joint ministry of the Congress, Akalis and the Unionist was formed. It was now obvious that the Congress was the largest party in the country of it had scored one crore and ninety lakhs votes. On 15th March, 1946, the British Prime Minister Lord Atlee made a significant declaration in the House; of Commons India’s right.
Interim Government and the Direct Action. The proposal of the Cabinet Delegation was an honest attempt at balancing Hindu and Muslim interests. They sought to effect a compromise between the Union oflndia and its division The delegation definitely rejected the Muslim claim for a separate constituent Assembly and a separate state. But is tacitly conceded fire two nation theory of the league by grouping the provinces on communal lines.
The Muslim League accepted the proposals of the Mission for it found that the foundation of Pakistan was inherent in them. The Congress rejected the proposals for an interim government but agreed to participated in the Constituent Assembly. The Muslim League pressed the Viceroy to form an interim government without the Congress members. But Lord Wavell refused to accede to this demand. At this the Muslim League became furious and reversed its decision to accept the Cabinet Mission Plan and threatened Direct Action.
Matters came to a crisis where the results of elections for the Constituent Assembly were announced. The return of the overwhelming majority of the Congress members alarmed Mr. Jinnah. He called it brute majority of the Congress. He threw his constitutional methods to the winds and mated the Muslims to ‘direct action’ to secure their rights. The direct action was directed not against the British Government which enslaved the Indians but against the possible Hindu domination. The Muslims observed August 16 as the ‘Direct Action Day.’
The communal funzy resulted in the ‘Great Calcutta Killings.’ The Muslim League Government under the Premiership of H. Suhrawardy played havoc with the civic life of the habitants of Calcutta. The League gangsterism started with stabbings of brutal murders of which the Hindus were the victims. But soon the Hindus began to retaliate with effect. The orgy of murder and arson continued for four days resulting in the loss of 5000 lives and 15,000 injured. It was most shameful chapter in the annals of India. Neither the League ministry nor the English Governor and English Viceroy took any steps to check the lawlessness.
Riot in Bihar and Noakhali. The killing in Calcutta was followed by similar happenings in Noakhali and Tipperah (East Bengal) where the Muslims formed an overwhelming majority of population. Violence begot violence. The Hindus of Bihar were swept off their feet by the account of atrocities committed on their Keith and Kin in Calcutta. They broke into terrible riots in several places in which the Muslims were the principles sufferes. The Congress in Bihar unlike the League Ministry in Bengal took prompt steps to bring the situation undo control.
Interim Government Lord Wavdl formed the Interim Government with Pandit Jawahar Lai Nehru as Vice-President (2nd September). At first the League refused to join it but was eventually persuaded by the Viceroy to do so. Lord Wavdl, in pact wanted to use the Muslim Members as a counter poise to the Congress influence. Five League members entered into the interim Government and began to play the part of the “King’s party’ destroying all team spirit by their disruptive technique. The absence of co-operation made the interim Government “bi-partism rather than a read coalition.” Worse still, the League refused to join the Constituent Assembly and went to declare that it was not a properly constituted body and that its decisions were invalid and ultra-vires.
Atlees announcement 1947. On 20th February 1947, Mr. Atlee declared that the existing state of tension and uncertainty in India “is fraught with danger and could not be indefinitely prolonged.” Hence he made the momentous announcement that it was the definite intention of this Majesty’s Government to “effect the transfer of power to responsible Indian hands” by a date not later than June 1948. This declaration was followed by a series of League fomented riots all over the Punjab.
They were attended with a degree of ferocity and cruelty which pen shrinks from recording. Against the organised might of the Muslim police backed by the Muslim frenzied Muslim masses the Sikhs and the Hindus had no chance. Some Six million Hindu and Sikh refugees screamed out of the West Punjab leaving a tale of misery and slaughter unequalled in the history of the human race. These harrowing incidents led the Hindus and Sikhs to demand the partition of the Punjab and Bengal so that the Hindu majority districts in those provinces might be separated from those where the Muslim had a majority.
Division of India and the attainment of Independence
Mount Batten Plan. In March 1947 Lord Mount Batten the last Viceroy of India succeeded Lord Wavell. He came here commissioned to accelerate the pace of India’s march to freedom. In his broadcast of 3rd June 1947,he out lined fthe procedure to be followed for the transference of power into Indian hands. It was decided to partition India into two nations – India and Pakistan. Both the Congress and the Muslim League accepted the plan of partition. The British Parliament soon passed the India Independence Act according to which the Dominions of India and Pakistan became independent with effect from the mid night of 15th August, 1947.
There ware communal riots after the independence in Pakistan as well as in India. The Constituent Assembly completed the work of drafting die constitution of lndia on 20th January, 1949. The new constitution India came into force from 26th January 1950. India became a Sovereign Democratic Republic standing for justice, equality, liberty and fraternity. Dr. Rajaidra Prasad was elected the Presidait of the Indian Republic while Mr. Jinnah became the first Governor General of Pakistan.
India is free again but she lost the unit which had ever been the cherished ideal of her great poets, philosophers and statesmen. It was a heavy price which she had to pay for her internal dissensions.