Why were people dissatisfied with the British rule in the 1870s and 1880s?
(i) The colonial government passed certain laws like Arms Act and Vernacular Press Act. The Arms
Act disallowed the Indians to keep any arms. The Press Act was passed to refrain people from
criticising the government policies.
(ii) The Ilbert Bill laid down that Europeans could be tried by the Indian judges. The British in India opposed it and the Bill was not passed. The Indians realised that the British did not treat Indians equally.
In general, the Indians thought that the British were unfair and there was extreme discontentment with the colonial government.
Who did the Indian National Congress wish to speak for?
The Indian National Congress wished to speak for the Indians. It demanded greater representation for the Indians in the colonial government. More Indians should become part of the Legislative Councils. Also, it proposed that Indians should be allowed to hold higher administrative posts. It demanded that the Civil Services Examination should be conducted in India as well.
What economic impact did the First World War have on India?
(i) The War increased the expenditure of the government which led to imposition of higher taxes
on the people.
(ii) The War created demand for war supplies. As a result, there was a sharp increase in the prices of the commodities in the markets.
(iii) The War created an urgent need for certain goods. This resulted in expansion of some local industries because the demand for goods was high.
What did the Muslim League resolution of 1940 ask for?
The Muslim League passed a resolution in 1940 demanding "independent states" in the eastern and north-western provinces. However, it did not mention the division of the country or formation of the new state of Pakistan.
Who were the Moderates? How did they propose to struggle against British rule?
The Moderates were early Congress leaders who believed that British were just. They wanted to maintain friendly relations with the British. Their demands were limited such as increased participation in administration and social reform. They would write proposals and send memorandums to the British officials. They spread awareness among the people about the loss of wealth from India and the poor conditions of the masses.
How was the politics of the Radicals within the Congress different from that of the Moderates?
Following were the differences between the politics of Aggressive Nationalists and Moderates:
(i) The Moderates wanted limited self-government within British rule and the Aggressive Nationalists demanded complete independence.
(ii) The Moderates wanted to send petitions and appeals to the government besides passing resolutions. On the other hand, the Aggressive Nationalists wanted to launch mass protests, demonstrations and strikes.
(iii) The Moderates believed in the British sense of justice and fair-play. The Aggressive Nationalists thought that the British were not concerned about the welfare of the people.
Discuss the various forms that the Non-Cooperation Movement took in different parts of India. How did the people understand Gandhiji?
The Non-Cooperation Movement was launched on a huge scale. Numerous Indians refused to work for the government and boycotted foreign goods. The Patidar peasants of Kheda in Gujarat launched protests against the high revenue demands. Several liquor shops were picketed in parts of Andhra and Tamil Nadu. Many peasants and tribals broke rules in protest. They organised forest satyagrahas in many villages. Many people looked up to Gandhiji to lead their struggle against the British.
Why did Gandhiji choose to break the salt law?
In 1930, Gandhiji decided to break salt laws and organised a long march from Sabarmati to Dandi. A number of people joined him in his protest. According to the salt laws, only the government could manufacture and sell salt, and the taxes on salt were very high. The nationalist Indians felt that salt was an essential food item and should not be taxed. Gandhiji and his followers protested by making their own salt.
Discuss those developments of the 1937–47 period that led to the creation of Pakistan.
In the 1930s, the Muslim League began to drift away from the Congress. It took advantage of the
communal tension and widened its social base. The Congress refused to accept that it did not
represent the interest of Indian Muslims. In the provincial elections of 1937, the League wanted to
form a joint government in the United Provinces. The Congress did not accept this demand.
In 1940, Muhammad Ali Jinnah passed a resolution demanding ‘independent states’ in the Muslim
majority provinces. When most of the Congress leaders were in jail during the Quit India Movement,
the League carried out its propaganda. In the provincial elections of 1946, the Muslim League
performed very well in the reserved constituencies for the minorities.
When the Cabinet Mission was sent to India, both the League and Congress rejected its recommendations. The Muslim League continued to demand a separate state for the Muslims. The League declared 16th August, 1946 as the Direct Action Day to strengthen its demand for Pakistan. Riots broke out in several parts of the country. Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, finally decided that Indian would be divided. The new state of Pakistan was thus formed on 14th August, 1947.
From the beginning the Congress sought to speak for, and in the name of, all the Indian people.
Why did it choose to do so?
The Indian National Congress stood for the principle of unity in India since its formation. It sought support from all the classes, groups and communities in India. The Congress could enlist the support of many people through such a vision and the freedom struggle remained strong and widespread.
What problems regarding the early Congress does this comment highlight?
The early leaders of the Congress were rich and well-to-do Indians unaware of the problems of the masses. They resorted to ‘soft’ means of appeals and resolutions. They believed that the British would mostly agree to their demands. When the British did not concede, it showed the failure of the policies of the Moderates.
Find out which countries fought the First World War.
The First World War was fought between the Allied and the Central Powers. Britain, France and Russia were the chief Allies, who fought against Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. The Central Powers lost in the War and the Allies were victorious.
Find out about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. What is Jallianwala Bagh? What atrocities were committed there? How were they committed?
On 10th April 1919, two Congress leaders, Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satya Pal were arrested in Punjab. On 13th April 1919, a peaceful meeting was held at Jallianwala Bagh (a public park) in Amritsar to protest against the arrest of those leaders. While the meeting was going on peacefully, General Dyer entered the park with his troops. He blocked the exit ends of the park and ordered the troops to fire openly. The firing continued for 10 minutes. Hundreds of people were killed or wounded. The massacre aroused public anger and numerous people came out in revolt. As a result, Michael O’ Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, imposed martial law in the province.
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According to this report, how did people view Mahatma Gandhi? Why do you think they felt that he was opposed to zamindars but not to the government? Why do you think they were in favour of Gandhiji?
Mahatma Gandhi was viewed by the general public as a noble and an extraordinary person. He was held equal in power to a god or a deity. His ideas and decisions were held supreme. He must have opposed the zamindars because of their unjust treatment of the farmers. He led the struggle to stop the illegal eviction of peasants. The common people, therefore, supported and respected him a lot.