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Students of Class 10th will read about the story from the 1920s and about the Civil Disobedience and Non-Cooperation Movements in the chapter “Nationalism in India”. It was during the time of the French Revolution that the idea or concept of nationalism was born. The rise of Nationalism in India has been the reason for the fallout of anti-colonialism. When the Indian independence movement was being fought against the colonial British Raj, it led to the emergence of Indian nationalism.
Why growth of nationalism in the colonies is linked to an anti-colonial movement.
Nationalism is a feeling that combines all the people of the nation into a single unit. It is a powerful sentiment that binds people together in a common bond beyond their communal, lingual, caste or religious differences. It is a strong cementing force whereby all kinds of people live together peacefully and can identify themselves as a part of that entity. People begin to feel that they share a common political, social and economic system with similar aims and aspirations.
In all the colonies of the world, the imperialist powers exploited the people socially, religiously, economically and politically. It gave rise to nationalism amongst the people of the colonies and united them to launch movements against the colonisers. It brought together different groups and classes into a common struggle for freedom. The national movements were started by a handful of people first, but masses soon joined in to free themselves from exploitative foreign yolk. That is why, the growth of nationalism in the colonies is linked to an anti-colonial movement.
Explain: How the First World War helped in the growth of the National Movement in India.
- As a result of the First World War, several ruling dynasties were destroyed. The Romanov dynasty in Russia, the Hohenzollern in Germany and the Habsburg Empire in Austria-Hungary were overthrown. The Ottoman Empire was fast coming to its end. It helped in arousing the nationalist spirit among the people of India.
- The Allied propaganda during the war to defend democracy and self-determination had given rise to nationalist spirit in the colonies.
- When Mahatma Gandhi had joined the Congress, it gave a fresh lease of life to the national movement.
- The war had given rise to many social and economic problems. The Montague-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 could not satisfy the aspirations of the Indians. There arose a general discontent among the Indian masses against the British rule.
Why Indians were outraged by the Rowlatt Act.
Why did Gandhiji decide to launch a nationwide satyagraha against proposed Rowlatt Act 1919?
Why Gandhiji decided to withdraw the Non-Cooperation Movement.
Why did Gandhiji decide to withdraw the 'Non-Cooperation Movement' in February, 1922? Explain any three reasons.
Mahatma Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921. He wanted to leaad this movement on peaceful lines. In 1922, some people resorted to violent means when a police post in a village of Uttar Pradesh called Chauri Chaura was set fire upon. About 22 policemen were burnt alive. Mahatma Gandhi was severely affected by this incident and he decided to withdraw the Non-Cooperation Movement.
What is meant by the idea of satyagraha?
Explain the idea of satyagraha according to Gandhiji.
Evaluate the 'Satyagraha Movement' of Gandhiji against the proposed Rowlatt Act, 1919.
What is meant by Satyagraha?
- Satyagraha was a non-violent method of fighting against colonialism. It was effectively employed by Mahatma Gandhi to resist British rule in India. He adopted this method in his struggle against the racist regime in South Africa before coming to India.
- It laid stress on the power of truth and the need to search for truth. The philosophy of satyagraha suggested that if the cause was true, one was bound to succeed without using any violence. Satyagraha was a powerful weapon against injustice and exploitation of colonised peoples.
- Without being aggressive, a satyagrahi could appeal to the morality of the unjust oppressor. Through peaceful protests and sit-ins, the oppressors would be forced to see the truth and act in accordance with justice.
Write a newspaper report on:
- The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
- The Simon Commission
(a) (i) The Montague-Chelmsford Reforms were largely disappointing to the Indians. Consequently, there was widespread discontent throughout the country. In the midst of this discontent, the government resorted to new measures of repression. In March 1919, the Rowlatt Act was passed. This was based on the report submitted by The Rowlatt Commission. It empowered the government to put people in jails without giving a fair trial. The passing of this Act aroused extreme indignation among the people against the British Raj. Mahatma Gandhi, who had formed a Satyagraha Sabha earlier, called for a country-wide protest. The government resorted to brutal measures to control the agitation and there were lathi-charges and police firings at a number of places.
(ii) In the midst of this repression, a ghastly massacre took place at Amritsar. On 10th April 1919, two nationalist leaders, Satyapal and Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew were arrested. There is a small park in Amritsar called the Jallianwala Bagh. The park is enclosed on three sides by high walls. A narrow lane leads to the park. On 13th April, people gathered there to protest against the arrest of the two leaders. The meeting was peaceful. There were many old men, women and children in the meeting. Suddenly, a British military officer, General Dyer, entered the park with his troops. Without even giving a warning to the people to disperse, he ordered his troops to fire openly on the protestors. The troops fired at the unarmed crowds for ten minutes and only left when their ammunition was exhausted. In those ten minutes, almost a thousand people were killed and about 2,000 were left wounded.
(b) (i) In 1927, the British Government appointed a Commission to enquire into the working of the Government of India Act of 1919 and suggest further reforms in the system of administration. This Commission was known as the Simon Commission and it was headed by Sir John Simon. Its appointment came as a rude shock to the Indian people. The members of the Commission were all Englishmen and not a single Indian was included in it. Moreover, the Government showed no inclination of accepting the demand of swaraj.
(ii) The appointment of the Commission sparked off a wave of protest all over the country. In 1927, the annual session of the Congress was held at Chennai. It decided to boycott the Commission. The Muslim League also decided to boycott the Commission.
(iii) The Commission arrived in India on 3rd February, 1928. On that day, the entire country observed a strike. In the afternoon, meetings were held all over the country to condemn the appointment of the Commission. The Commission faced massive protest-demonstrations and strikes wherever it went. The Central Legislative Assembly decided that it would not support the Commission. All over the country, the slogans of ‘Go Back Simon’ were raised. The police resorted to repressive measures. Demonstrators in Chennai were brutally fired at and lathi-charges took place in many regions. Thousands of people were beaten up. It was during these demonstrations that the popular nationalist leader, Lala Lajpat Rai, popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab, was severely assaulted by the police. He died of the injuries inflicted upon him by the police. In Lucknow, Jawaharlal Nehru and Govind Ballabh Pant were among those who suffered severe blows by the police.
Compare the images of Bharat Mata in this chapter with the image of Germania in Chapter 1.
Artists in the 18th and 19th centuries represented a country as a person. Nations were often portrayed as female figures. The female form used to personify the nation was not any real woman, but it was meant to give concrete form to an abstract idea of the nation.
In Germany, Germania became the symbol of the German nation. In visual representation, she is shown as wearing a crown of oak leaves, as the German oak stands for heroism.
Similarly, in the 20th century, the identity of India came to be visually associated with the image of Bharat Mata. The image was first created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. Later, Abanindranath Tagore painted his famous image of Bharat Mata. In this painting, Bharat Mata is shown as an ascetic figure. She is shown as calm, composed, divine, generous and spiritual. In the subsequent years, the image of Bharat Mata acquired many different forms and was painted by different artists. In another representation, she is shown with a trishul, standing beside a lion and elephant. It symbolised power and authority.
List all the different social groups which joined the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921. Then choose any three and write about their hopes and struggles to show why they joined the movement.
The different social groups that joined the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921 were the middle class people in towns, peasants in rural areas, tribal people and plantation workers.
Of these, the hopes and struggles of peasants, tribal people and plantation workers in the course of the movement are given below:
- Peasants in rural areas: The peasants in the rural areas were being oppressed by talukdars and landlords who demanded high rents besides a host of other taxes. Peasants had to often work at the farms without receiving any payment. As tenants, they had no security of tenure and no rights over leased land, they decided to join the Non-Cooperation Movement to put forth their demands. The peasants demanded reduction of revenue, abolition of begar (forced labour) and socially boycotted several oppressive landlords. As the movement spread in 1921, they attacked the houses of talukdars and merchants, and also looted several markets.
- Tribal people: In the tribal regions, the British Government enclosed large forest areas. It prevented the people from entering the forests to graze their cattle, or to collect firewood and fruits. This enraged the people living in the forests. Not only were their livelihoods affected, but also they were devoid of their traditional rights. The government had even forced them to construct roads. Therefore, the tribal people joined the Non-Cooperation Movement to restore their means of livelihood. However, the tribal people attacked police stations and attempted to kill British officials in some areas. Such violent acts were against Gandhiji’s principles of non-violence.
- Plantation workers: In Assam, the plantation workers were not allowed to move freely without permission. When the Non-Cooperation Movement began, they found an opportunity to defy such unjust restrictions. The workers in the tea gardens opposed the authorities and left the plantations. They believed that the British would be successfully pushed out of India and Gandhi Raj would be established. They would be able to own lands for cultivation. However, they were caught by the police and punished severely.
Discuss the Salt March to make clear why it was an effective symbol of resistance against colonialism.
How did Salt March become an effective tool of resistance against colonialism? Explain.
Why did Mahatma Gandhi find in ‘Salt’ a powerful symbol that could unite the nation? Explain.
Explain the importance of the ‘Salt March’ of Gandhiji as a symbol to unite the nation.
Gandhiji believed in the principle of non violence. In salt, he found a powerful symbol, which could help in the process of uniting the nation. Every small act of Gandhiji was supported by millions of people all round India.
- Salt was something consumed by the rich and the poor alike. When salt taxation started, Gandhiji revolted against it sending a worldwide message to people and hence starting an agitation. He was the mastermind of the Salt Satyagraha. Along with his 78 followers, he marched from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi on the western coast of Gujarat on foot.
- He reached there on 5 April 1930 and broke the law by making salt. The Salt March proved to be an effective symbol of resistance against colonialism. Thousands of people gathered wherever Mahatma Gandhi went.
- He told them the meaning of swaraj and asked them to peacefully defy the British. People were asked not to cooperate with the government and stage peaceful demonstrations.
- Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, thousands of people in various parts of the country broke the salt laws, manufactured salt and protested in front of salt factories owned by the government.
- As the movement spread, foreign cloth was boycotted and liquor shops were picketed on a large scale. Peasants refused to pay their taxes. Village officials resigned in many parts. The forest laws were violated by several communities. They went inside the reserved forests to collect wood and graze cattle.
Imagine you are a woman participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Explain what the experience meant to your life.
I participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930. It was really a matter of pride for me when I, along with other women, took part in protest marches, manufactured salt and picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops. Once I went to jail also. Moved by Mahatma Gandhi’s call, I began to see service to the nation as my sacred duty.
This experience of mine changed my ways of life and thinking. I realised that India should be freed from colonial exploitation. We should not hesitate to sacrifice our lives for the country. We should always follow the ideals of truth and non-violence. We should never resort to violent means to achieve our ends. We should wear khadi and discard foreign cloth.
Why did political leaders differ sharply over the question of separate electorates?
Political leaders differed over the question of separate electorates because of the following reasons:
- Several leaders demanded separate electorates to choose members from the Scheduled Castes for the legislative councils. They believed that political empowerment would solve the problems of social inequality. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar disagreed with Mahatma Gandhi at the Second Round Table Conference by demanding separate electorates for the Scheduled Castes. Gandhiji believed that separate electorates for the Scheduled Castes would slow down their integration into the society. Dr. Ambedkar, however, agreed to form joint electorates with the Hindus, if the seats for Scheduled Castes were reserved in the provincial and central legislative councils.
- The Muslim leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah also demanded separate electorates for the Muslims so that the interests of the Muslims could be protected. They were of the opinion that a majority of the population was composed of Hindus. In the proposed system of joint electorates, the Muslims would not be able to secure any seats in the provincial and central legislative councils.
- The Congress strongly opposed the British policy of separate electorates. Such a provision would become an obstacle in the path of national movement for independence.
Why did various classes and groups of Indians participate in the Civil Disobedience Movement?
- In the rural areas, the rich peasant communities such as Patidars of Gujarat and Jats of Uttar Pradesh actively took part in movement as they suffered due to trade depression.
- The poor peasant communities participated in the movement with an aim of remission of their dues.
- The people belonging to business classes participated in the movement to oppose colonial policies which restricted their economic activities.
- The women too actively took part in the movement and participated in the protest marches.
If you were a peasant in Uttar Pradesh in 1920, how would you have responded to Gandhiji’s call for swaraj?
Give reasons for your response.
If I were a peasant in Uttar Pradesh in 1920, I would have responded positively to Gandhiji’s call for swaraj and refused to pay illegal dues to the zamindars. I would have demanded reduction in revenue and security of tenure from the landlords. To me, swaraj would have meant freedom from the authority of the landlords and I would have actively fought for attaining it.