Monday, June 17, 2024

The Making of the National Movement : 1870s-1947

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The Making of the National Movement: 1870s-1947 covers the rise of Indian nationalism and the fight for independence from British rule. Here’s a quick summary:

Growth of Nationalism:

  • The idea of India as a united nation emerged in the late 1800s.
  • Discontent with British policies like discriminatory laws and economic exploitation fueled this feeling.

Early Movements:

  • The Indian National Congress (INC) formed in 1885 to fight for self-governance (Swaraj).
  • Leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji demanded greater Indian participation in government.

Swadeshi and Boycott:

  • The Swadeshi movement encouraged using Indian goods (khadi) and boycotting British products.
  • Leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak advocated for self-reliance and stronger resistance.

Rise of Gandhi and Mass Movements:

  • Mahatma Gandhi led nationwide movements like Non-Cooperation and Civil Disobedience.
  • These involved protests, boycotts, and civil disobedience to challenge British authority.

Other Struggles:

  • The Khilafat Movement highlighted Muslim grievances against the British Empire.
  • Revolutionary activities by some groups aimed to overthrow British rule through armed struggle.

The Road to Independence:

  • After World War I, independence demands intensified.
  • The INC under leaders like Nehru and Jinnah adopted different strategies.
  • The partition of India in 1947 marked the end of British rule but also created Pakistan.

This is a simplified overview. The chapter likely goes into more detail about specific movements, leaders, and events that shaped India’s struggle for independence.


1. Why were people dissatisfied with British rule in the 1870s and 1880s?

Ans : Discontent with British rule in India grew significantly during the 1870s and 1880s due to several factors:

  • Discriminatory Laws: The British enacted laws that favored themselves. The Arms Act (1878) restricted Indians from possessing arms, while the Vernacular Press Act (1878) aimed to silence criticism in Indian language newspapers. These laws created a sense of injustice and inequality.
  • Economic Exploitation: British policies focused on extracting resources from India to benefit their own economy. This hurt Indian industries and farmers. For instance, cash crops like indigo were forced upon farmers, replacing food production and worsening famines.
  • Lack of Political Participation: Indians had almost no say in their own governance. The British held all major administrative positions, and Indians couldn’t meaningfully participate in decision-making.
  • Growing Nationalism: The idea of a united India gained momentum during this period. Educated Indians, exposed to Western ideas like liberty and self-determination, felt a growing desire for self-rule

2. Who did the Indian National Congress wish to speak for?

Ans : The Indian National Congress aimed to represent the diverse communities of India.

3. What economic impact did the First World War have on India?

Ans : 

Increased Costs and Burdens:

  • Soaring Defense Expenditure: The British Raj significantly ramped up military spending to support the war effort. This resulted in a heavy financial burden.
  • Tax Hikes: To fund the increased defense spending, the colonial government imposed higher taxes on individual income and business profits.

Impact on People:

  • Inflation and Price Rise: Increased military spending and demand for war supplies led to a sharp rise in the prices of essential commodities, making life difficult for ordinary Indians.

Industrial Growth (Limited):

  • Demand for Indian Goods: The war disrupted imports into India, creating a demand for domestically produced goods like jute bags, textiles, railway equipment, and steel. This led to a temporary boost for some Indian industries.
  • Limited Industrial Development: However, the British government did little to invest in long-term industrial development in India. They primarily focused on extracting resources and finished goods for the war effort.

4. What did the Muslim League resolution of 1940 ask for?

Ans : The Muslim League resolution of 1940, also known as the Lahore Resolution, called for the creation of independent states for Muslims in British India.

5. Who were the Moderates? How did they propose to struggle against British rule?

Ans : The Moderates were a group of leaders who emerged in the early phase of the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885. They believed in achieving self-governance for India through peaceful and constitutional methods. Their approach to opposing British rule differed significantly from the more radical methods that emerged later.

Here’s how the Moderates proposed to fight for India’s rights:

  • Constitutional Agitation: They focused on petitioning the British government through resolutions, speeches, and writings. They aimed to convince the British of the need for political reforms and greater Indian participation in the administration.
  • Public Awareness:  The Moderates actively promoted public awareness about the negative effects of British rule on India’s economy and society. They published newspapers and articles highlighting these issues.
  • Unity and Cooperation: They believed in building a unified national consciousness among Indians, transcending religious and regional differences.
  • Social Reform:  The Moderates saw social reforms like advocating for women’s education and widow remarriage as crucial for India’s progress. They believed these reforms would strengthen India’s case for self-governance.

6. How was the politics of the Radicals within the Congress different from that of the Moderates?

Ans : The Radicals within the Indian National Congress held distinct views compared to their Moderate counterparts. They strongly believed in taking direct action and were determined to expel the foreigners from India swiftly. Unlike the Moderates, who they criticized for relying on petitions and negotiations—a strategy they termed as “politics of prayers”—the Radicals emphasized the importance of self-reliance and constructive efforts. They argued that true independence, or swaraj, could only be achieved through a united struggle against British rule. Without such collective resistance, they believed, independence would remain an unattainable goal for India.

7. Discuss the various forms of the Non-Cooperation Movement took in different parts of India. How did people understand Gandhiji?

Ans : The Non-Cooperation Movement wasn’t one-size-fits-all. Across India, people took action based on local issues:

  • Economic Boycott: Indians boycotted British goods, promoting local production (e.g., handloom weaving).
  • Satyagraha: Farmers protested unfair taxes (e.g., Kheda district) and tribals defended their lands.
  • Social Reforms: People fought social problems like alcoholism (e.g., picketing liquor shops).

Understanding Gandhi:  People saw Gandhi differently:

  • Messianic Figure: Some saw him as a holy leader fighting poverty and oppression.
  • Champion of Causes: Others saw him as a defender of specific issues like workers’ rights or farmers’ struggles.

The movement’s regional variations showcased the unifying power of Gandhi’s message for change across India.

8. Why did Gandhiji choose to break the salt law?

Ans : Gandhi chose to break the salt law for a few key reasons:

  • Essential Item: Salt was crucial for everyone’s diet, rich or poor. Taxing it meant the poorest suffered the most.
  • Unjust Imposition:  Gandhi saw the salt tax as a symbol of British control over basic necessities.
  • Unifying Symbol:  Salt was a simple, universally used item, making it a powerful rallying point for a nationwide movement.

9. Discuss those developments of the 1937 – 47 period that led to the creation of Pakistan.

Ans : The decade leading up to Pakistan’s creation in 1947 was marked by a growing sense of Muslim separatism. Here are some key developments from 1937-1947 that fueled this sentiment:

  • The Two-Nation Theory: The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, increasingly emphasized the idea that Hindus and Muslims were distinct nations with different cultures and political aspirations. This concept, the Two-Nation Theory, gained traction among Muslims who feared marginalization in a Hindu-majority independent India.
  • Provincial Elections: The 1937 provincial elections highlighted the separate identities. When the Congress Party, dominated by Hindus, refused to share power with the Muslim League in some provinces, it solidified Muslim anxieties about being politically underrepresented.
  • World War II and the Rise of Muslim Nationalism: During WWII, the British weakened the Muslim League’s initial opposition to the war effort in exchange for support. However, the war also fueled Muslim nationalism as calls for self-determination grew stronger.
  • Lahore Resolution (1940): This pivotal resolution by the Muslim League formally demanded a separate Muslim homeland in regions with Muslim majorities. This marked a turning point towards full-fledged separation.
  • Failed Negotiations: Several attempts to find a power-sharing solution, like the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946, ultimately failed. Growing distrust and violence between Hindus and Muslims made a united India seem increasingly untenable.
  • Direct Action Day and Partition: In 1946, “Direct Action Day” called by the Muslim League led to widespread violence, further solidifying the need for separation. Ultimately, the violence and the impossibility of a united India led to the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

10. Find out how the national movement was organised in your city, district, area or state. Who participated in it and who led it? What did the movement in your area achieve?

Ans : Do It Yourself


Finding Information:

  • Local Archives and Libraries: Look for historical records, documents, or photographs related to the independence movement in Pimpri-Chinchwad. Libraries might have local history sections or archives with relevant materials.
  • Newspapers and Periodicals: Search for digitized versions of local newspapers from the period (1857-1947) to understand local events, leaders, and public response to the national movement.
  • Local Museums and Historical Societies: These institutions often have exhibits or resources dedicated to the national movement in the region. They might also have staff historians who can guide your research.
  • Online Resources: Websites of the Maharashtra government or archives might have digitized documents or information on the freedom struggle in Maharashtra. Look for online publications or resources from local universities or historical societies.
  • Family Histories and Oral Traditions:  Talk to elders in your family or community who might have personal stories or passed-down knowledge 11about the movement’s local figures and activities.

Possible Areas of Research:

  • Forms of Protest: Did people in Pimpri-Chinchwad participate in boycotts, strikes, or civil disobedience? Were there local leaders who organized these activities?
  • Focus of the Movement:  What were the specific grievances or demands of the people in Pimpri-Chinchwad? Did the movement address issues like land rights, labor conditions, or social reforms?
  • Local Leaders:  Who were the prominent figures who led the movement in Pimpri-Chinchwad? What were their backgrounds and strategies?
  • Impact on the Region:  How did the national movement affect Pimpri-Chinchwad’s social, political, or economic landscape?

11. Find out more about the life and work of any two participants or leaders of the national movement and write a short essay about them. You may choose a person not mentioned in this chapter.

Ans : 

Two Faces of Rebellion: Bhagat Singh and Sarojini Naidu

The Indian National Movement wasn’t a monolithic struggle. It encompassed diverse voices and strategies. Here, we explore the lives and works of two such contrasting figures: Bhagat Singh, the revolutionary, and Sarojini Naidu, the poet-politician.

Bhagat Singh (1907-1931): A passionate young man, Bhagat Singh was deeply inspired by revolutionary ideologies. He saw armed struggle as the only way to overthrow British rule.

  • Acts of Defiance:  At a young age, Bhagat Singh joined the Hindustan Republican Association, a revolutionary group. He participated in bombings and the assassination of a British police officer in retaliation for the death of an Indian nationalist leader.
  • Symbol of Resistance: Though Bhagat Singh’s actions led to his execution at the age of 23, he became a powerful symbol of defiance for generations of Indians. His courage and sacrifice in the face of colonial oppression continue to inspire.

Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949):  A celebrated poet and orator, Sarojini Naidu’s contributions went far beyond the realm of words.

  • Champion of Various Causes:  Naidu was a vocal advocate for women’s rights, social reform, and Indian self-rule.  She actively participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement led by Gandhi and was the first woman to become the president of the Indian National Congress.
  • Inspiring Voice:  Naidu’s powerful speeches and poems stirred nationalist sentiments across the country.  Known as the “Nightingale of India” for her lyrical prowess, she used her platform to advocate for a unified, independent India.
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