JAC Board Class 8th Social Science Notes History Chapter 9 The Making of the National Movement: 1870s–1947
→ The Emergence of Nationalism:
- What is this country of India and for whom is it meant? The answer that gradually emerged was: India was the people of India – all the people irrespective of class, colour, caste, creed, language, or gender. And the country, its resources and systems were meant for all of them.
- The awareness came that the British were exercising control over the resources of India and the lives of its people and until this control was ended India could not be for Indians.
- The consciousness began by the political associations formed after 1850 especially in the 1870s and 1880s.
- Most of these were led by English educated professionals such as lawyers. The more important ones were the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, the Indian Association, the Madras Mahajan Sabha, the Bombay Presidency Association, and of course the Indian National Congress.
- They worked with the idea that the people should be sovereign means a modern consciousness and a key feature of nationalism.
→ The Arms Act was passed in 1878 disallowing Indians from possessing arms.
- The Act allowed the government to The Making of the National Movement: 1870s – 1947 confiscate the assets of newspapers including their printing presses if the newspapers published anything that was found objectionable.
- In 1883, there was a furore over the attempt by the government to introduce the Ilbert Bill.
- The bill provided for the trial of British or European persons by Indians and sought equality between British and Indian judges in the country. But when white opposition forced the government to withdraw the bill, Indians were enraged.
- The Indian National Congress was established when 72 delegates from all over the country met at Bombay in December 1885.
- The early leaders were Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Badruddin Tyabji, W.C. Bonnerji, Surendranath Banerji, Romesh Chandra Dutt, S. Subramania Iyer and others was largely from Bombay and Calcutta.
- Naoroji was a businessman and publicist settled in London and for a time member of the British Parliament had guided the younger nationalists.
- A retired British official, A.O. Hume also played a part in bringing Indians from the various regions together.
→ A nation in the making
- In the first twenty years, the Congress was moderate in its objectives and methods.
During this period, it demanded a greater voice for Indians in the government and in administration.
- The demand for Indianisation of the administration was part of a movement against racism since most important jobs at the time were monopolised by British officials and they generally assumed that Indians could not be given positions of responsibility.
- Other demands included the separation of the judiciary from the executive, the repeal of the Arms Act and the freedom of speech and expression.
- The early Congress also raised a number of economic issues.
- The Congress demanded reduction of revenue, cut in military expenditure, and more funds for irrigation.
- The Moderate leaders wanted to develop public awareness about the unjust nature of British rule.
- They published newspapers, wrote articles and showed how British rule was leading to the economic ruin of the country.
- They felt that the British had respect for the ideals of freedom and justice and so they would accept the just demands of Indians.
→ “Freedom is our birthright”
- In Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab, leaders such as Bepin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai were beginning to explore more radical objectives and methods.
- They criticised the Moderates for their ‘politics of prayers’ and emphasised the importance of self-reliance and constructive work.
- Tilak raised the slogan, ‘Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it! ’
→ In 1905, Viceroy Curzon partitioned Bengal. At that time Bengal was the biggest province of British India and included Bihar and parts of Orissa.
- The main British motives perhaps were to curtail the influence of Bengali politicians and to split the Bengali people.
- All sections of the Congress, the Moderates and the Radicals as they may be called opposed the partition of Bengal.
- The struggle that unfolded came to be known as the Swadeshi movement which was strongest in Bengal but with echoes elsewhere too. In deltaic Andhra for instance, it was known as the Vandemataram Movement.
- To fight for swaraj, the radicals advocated mass mobilization and boycott of British institutions and goods.
- Some individuals also began to suggest that ‘revolutionary violence’ would be necessary to overthrow British rule.
- A group of Muslim landlords and nawabs formed the All India Muslim League at Dacca in 1906.
→ The League supported the partition of Bengal.
- Some seats in the councils were now reserved for Muslims who would be elected by Muslim voters.
- The Congress split in 1907. After the split the Congress came to be dominated by the Moderates with Tilak’s followers functioning from outside. The two groups reunited in December 1915.
- Next year the Congress and the Muslim League signed the historic Lucknow Pact and decided to work together for representative government in the country.
→ The Growth of Mass Nationalism
- The First World War altered the economic and political situation in India.
- It led to a huge rise in the defence expenditure of the Government of India.
- On the other hand, business groups reaped fabulous profits from the war.
- The war also led the British to expand their army.
- Many returned after the war with a view in which imperialist powers were exploiting the peoples of Asia and Africa and with a desire to oppose colonial rule in India.
- In 1917, there was a revolution in Russia. News about peasant’s and worker’s struggles and ideas of socialism circulated widely which inspired Indian nationalists.
→ The advent of Mahatma Gandhi
- Gandhiji, aged 46, arrived in India in 1915 from South Africa.
- His South African campaigns had brought him in contact with various types of Indians: Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and Christians, Gujaratis, Tamils and north Indians and upper class merchants, lawyers and workers.
- Mahatma Gandhi spent his first year in India travelling throughout the country, understanding the people, their needs and the overall situation.
- His earliest interventions were in local movements in Champaran, Kheda and Ahmedabad where he came into contact with Rajendra Prasad and Vallabhbhai Patel. In Ahmedabad he led a successful millworkers’ strike in 1918.
→ The Rowlatt Satyagraha
- In 1919, Gandhiji gave a call for a satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act that the British had just passed.
- Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and others felt that the government had no right to restrict people’s basic freedoms.
- Gandhiji asked the Indian people to observe 6 April 1919 as a day of non-violent opposition to this Act. Satyagraha Sabhas were set up to launch the movement.
- The Jallianwala Bagh atrocities inflicted by General Dyer in Amritsar on Baisakhi day (13 April), were a part of this repression.
- On learning about the massacre, Rabindranath Tagore expressed the pain and anger of the country by renouncing his knighthood.
→ Khilafat agitation and the Non-Cooperation Movement
- In 1920, the British imposed a harsh treaty on the Turkish Sultan or Khalifa.
- The leaders of the Khilafat agitation, Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali now wished to initiate a Non-Cooperation Movement.
- Gandhiji supported their call and urged the Congress to campaign against ‘Punjab wrongs’ means Jallianwala massacre, the Khilafat wrong and demand swaraj.
- The Non-Cooperation Movement gained momentum through 1921-22.
- Many lawyers such as Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das, C. Rajagopalachari and Asaf Ali gave up their practices.
- British titles were surrendered and legislatures boycotted.
- The imports of foreign cloth fell drastically between 1920 and 1922.
→ People’s initiatives
- Different classes and groups, interpreting Gandhiji’s call in their own manner, protested in ways that were not in accordance with his ideas.
- In Kheda, Gujarat, Patidar peasants organised non-violent campaigns against the high land revenue demand of the British.
- In coastal Andhra and interior Tamil Nadu, liquor shops were picketed.
- In the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, tribals and poor peasants staged a number of ‘forest satyagrahas’.
- In Sind now in Pakistan, Muslim traders and peasants were very enthusiastic about the Khilafat call.
- In Bengal, the Khilafat-Non-Cooperation alliance gave enormous communal unity and strength to the national movement.
- In Punjab, the Akali agitation of the Sikhs sought to remove corrupt mahants who were supported by the British from their gurudwaras.
- In Assam, tea garden labourers, shouting ‘Gandhi Maharaj ki Jai’ demanded a big increase in their wages. In the Assamese Vaishnava songs of the period the reference to Krishna was substituted by ‘Gandhi Raja’.
→ The people’s Mahatma
- Gandhiji wished to build class unity and not class conflict. Peasants could imagine that he would help them in their fight against zamindars and agricultural labourers believed he would provide them land.
- At the end of a powerful movement, peasants of Pratapgarh in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh) managed to stop illegal eviction of tenants. But they felt it was Gandhiji who had won this demand for them.
→ The happenings of 1922-1929
- Gandhiji abruptly called off the Non-Cooperation Movement when in February 1922 as a crowd of peasants set fire to a police station in Chauri Chaura. He was a follower of non-violence.
- Chitta Ranjan Das and Motilal Nehru argued that the party should fight elections to the councils and enter them in order to influence government policies.
- Through sincere social work in villages in the mid-1920s, the Gandhians were able to extend their support base. This proved to be very useful in launching the Civil Disobedience movement in 1930.
- Two important developments of the mid 1920s were the formation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu organisation and the Communist Party of India.
- The decade closed with the Congress resolving to fight for Puma Swaraj means complete independence in 1929 under the presidentship of Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Consequently, ‘Independence Day’ was observed on 26 January 1930 all over the country.
→ The Marth to Dandi
- In 1930, Gandhiji declared that he would lead a march to break the salt law.
- According to this law, the state had a monopoly on the manufacture and sale of salt.
- Gandhiji and his followers marched for over 240 miles from Sabarmati to the coastal town of Dandi where they broke the government law by gathering natural salt found on the seashore and boiling sea water to produce salt.
- Peasants, tribals and women participated in large numbers.
- The combined struggles of the Indian people bore fruit when the Government of India Act of 1935 prescribed provincial autonomy and the government announced elections to the provincial legislatures in 1937.
- The Congress formed governments in 7 out of 11 provinces.
- After 2 years of Congress rule in the provinces in September 1939, the Second World War broke out.
→ Quit India and Later
- Mahatma Gandhi decided to initiate a new phase of movement against the British in the middle of the Second World War.
- Gandhiji and other leaders were jailed at once but the movement spread. It specially attracted peasants and the youth who gave up their studies to join it.
- By the end of 1943, over 90,000 people were arrested and around 1,000 killed in police firing. In many areas orders were given to machine-gun crowds from airplanes.
→ Towards Independence and Partition
- In 1940, the Muslim League had moved a resolution demanding ‘Independent States’ for Muslims in the north-western and eastern areas of the country.
- The provincial elections of 1937 seemed to have convinced the League that Muslims were a minority, and they would always have to play second fiddle in any democratic structure.
- The Congress’s rejection of the League’s desire to form a joint Congress League government in the United Provinces in 1937 also annoyed the League.
- At the end of the war in 1945, the British opened negotiations between the Congress, the League and themselves for the independence of India.
- The talks failed because the League saw itself as the sole spokesperson of India’s Muslims. The Congress could not accept this claim since a large number of Muslims still supported it.
- Elections to the provinces were again held in 1946. The Congress did well in the ‘General’ constituencies but the League’s success in the seats reserved for Muslims was spectacular.
- In March 1946, the British cabinet sent a three-member mission to Delhi to examine
→ The Making of the National Movement: 1870s -1947 the demand and to suggest a suitable political framework for a free India.
- After the failure of the Cabinet Mission, the Muslim League decided on mass agitation for winning its Pakistan demand. It announced 16 August 1946 as “Direct Action Day”.
- By March 1947, violence spread to different parts of northern India.