The Making of National Movement: 1870s-1947 (Class 8 History Chapter 9 Notes)

  1. India could be defined as the people of India where all the people irrespective of their class, colour, caste, creed, language, or gender resides and its resources are meant for them.
  2. The idea of India first took fruition in the minds of Indians around 1850s. This conciousness led to the rise of a polical class in India and formation of political parties, especially in 1870 and 1880s.
  3. Some of the most important parties are the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, the Indian Association, the Madras Mahajan Sabha, the Bombay Presidency Association, and the Indian National Congress. All these parties believed that the Indian people should be empowered to take decisions for themselves.
  4. The dissatification with the British rule intensified in the 1870 and 1880s. A series of anti-Indian laws such as The Arms Act and The Vernacular Press Act were passed in 1878. In 1883, Ilbert Bill was introduced which banned trial of any European person by an Indian judge.
  5. In the reaction to Ilbert bill, the Indian National Congress was established with 72 delegates from all over the country at Bombay in December 1885. The early members include Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Badruddin Tyabji, W.C. Bonnerji, Surendranath Banerji, Romesh Chandra Dutt and S. Subramania Iyer.

A Nation in Making (Congress - Moderate Years)
  1. The first twenty years could be termed as the moderate years of the Congress. At that time, the Congress demanded a greater voice for Indians in the government and administration. It called for civil service examinations to be held in India, not in London. It also demanded for repeal of the Arms Act and freedom of press.
  2. They went to create awareness about the unjust nature of the British rule. They extensively wrote against the British atrocities and criticised them for their policies.

Freedom is our Birthright (Congress - Radical Years)
  1. In 1890s, several leaders raised questions about the polical style of appeals and compromise of moderate group. They argued that people should rely on their own strength and not on the good intention of the government. They must fight for swaraj. This group became to be known as the Radical group. Three prominent faces of this group are Bepin Chandra Pal,  Bal  Gangadhar  Tilak  and  Lala  Lajpat  Rai.
  2. Curzon plan to divide Bengal on the lines of religion infuriated the nation. It led to the series of protest such as Swadeshi Movement in North India and Vandematram Movement in Andhra Pradesh and other parts of South India.
  3. The partition of Bengal also led to the partition of Congress in two groups: Moderates and Radicals in 1907. However, the two groups united in December 1915. A year later, the historic Lucknow Pact was signed between Congress and Muslim League in 1916 to work together against the unjust rule of the colonial government.

The Growth of Mass Nationalism
  1. The World War I altered the economic and political situation in India. The national movement is now being supported by number of business groups due to rise in taxes and restrictive business policies. Furthermore, the Russian Revolution in 1917 inspired peasant and worker class to join the Indian struggle against the British rule.
  2. By this time, Mahatma Gandhi was an established name in the International community. He was known for his non-violent struggle against the colonial government in South Africa. He brought  Hindus,  Muslims,  Parsis and Christians under one roof. His followers include Indians from both upper and working classes. He arrived in India in 1915.
  3. Gandhi's earliest intervention is in Champaran, Kheda and Ahmedabad where he came in touch with Rajendra Prasad and Vallabhbhai Patel.

The Rowlatt Satyagraha
  1. In 1919, Gandhi called for the Satyagraha against The Rowlatt Act which curbed several rights such as right to express. He alongwith Mohammad Ali Jinnah criticised the British government and called the act devilish in nature.
  2. The Rowlatt Satyagraha turned out to be the first major pan India struggle against the British government. A series of demonstration and hartals were held and the government used brutal measures to suppress them. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre was the part of this suppression.

Khilafat agitation and the Non-Cooperation Movement
  1. People were infuriated with the Jallianwala Bagh case, and at the same time, the British imposed several harsh restrictions on the Turkish Sultan, who was seen as the religious leader by the Muslim community. This led to the call for Khilafat movement by Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali.
  2. The Khilafat agitation turned into full fledged Non-Cooperation Movement with the support of Gandhi and Congress and it gained momentum in 1921-22.
  3. In support of the movement, many prominent lawyers gave up their practices. Honorofic British titles were surrendered. People lit fire on foreign cloths and foreign goods were banned.
  4. In Kheda, Gujarat, Patidars organised non-violent campaigns against the high land revenue rates. In coastal Andhra and interior Tamil Nadu, a number of liquor shops were picketed. In Guntur, tribal and poor farmers staged forest satyagrahas. They believed Gandhi would get their taxes reduced and their will be a Gandhi raj.
  5. Similarly, in Punjab, Sikhs protested against the British Mahants. In Assam, poor farmers chanted Gandhi maharaj ki jai. Interestingly, in Assam, Gandhi was elevated to the level of God and in several krishna bhajans, krishna was substituted by Gandhi Raja.

The Happenings of 1922-1929
  1. Gandhi abruptly called the Non-Cooperation Movement in February 1922 after Chauri Chaura case. A group of farmers agiated by unjust police shooting set the fire on the police station killing 29 policemen. However, the sincere Gandhian follower base later proved useful in launching Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930s.
  2. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Communist Party of India rose to the political landscape of India. The Congress decided to fight the provincial legislative elections and so on.
  3. The decade ended with the Congress resolution to fight for the Purna Swaraj in 1929 under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru.

The Dandi March
  1. In 1930, Gandhi declared a march from Sabarmati to Dandi in order to protest against the Salt tax and making his own salt.
  2. The Dandi March led to another wave of satyagrahas and protest, which later resulted into the Government of India Act 1935. It provided provincial autonomy and provincial legislature in 1937.
  3. In September 1939, after two years of rule in the provinces, the Second World War broke out. The Congress tried to negotiate their support in exchange of freedom, which British Government does not oblige and thus, leading to the resignation of Congress ministers.

Quit India and Later
  1. In the middle of Second World War, Gandhi launched Quit India Movement, demanding complete freedom. In response, British government acted with severe repression. They arrested more than 90000 people and killed more than 1000 people in open firings. The rebellion, however, took the British government to its knees.

Toward Independence and Partition
  1. In 1940, the Muslim League moved a resolution for separate states for Muslims. This was the direct result of their fear of Muslim under-representation after their 1937 legislative election losses and Congress rejection of Congress-League alliance in United Province.
  2. At the end of the war, when British opened the talks for independence, the league saw itself as the sole representative of Muslims in India and talks failed for the freedom of Undivided India. The demand for separate Muslim state was solidified with the Congress poor performance in Muslim majority states.
  3. A three member committee was sent by the British parliament to review the political situation and framework for free India. The mission suggested the Undivided India with special autonomy for Muslim majority areas. However, the proposal was not accepted by the fractions of both Congress and Muslim League, and the purpose of the mission defeated.
  4. On 16 August, 1946, Muslim League annouced “Direct Action Day” to meet their demand for the creation of Pakistan. Thus resulting into riots on the same day.
  5. By March 1947, the riots spread into different corners of northern India. Millions were forced to leave their homes and whole cultural and social makeup of india changed with its independence and partition on 15th August 1947.