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16.2 Emergence of India as a Nation

India’s national movement can be divided into three phases. During the first phase, from 1885 to 1905, the Indian National Congress was dominated by the moderates. In the second phase, from 1906 to 1919, the extremists emerged. During the third phase from 1920 1947, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, played the leading role. Gandhiji, fondly called "Mahatma" by the masses, was foremost figure in the freedom movement. He shock the British Empire by his non-violent, non-co-operation, soft satyagraha, boycott of British goods and ’Swadeshi’ campaign.

The British East India Company, a foreign trading organization established an empire in India. During the 18th and the 19th centuries, the Indian princes were not united at all. Thus the Indians were no match to the well-armed imperialists of the West. During the 19th century, there was great discontent against foreign rule. A revolt took place in 1857, owing to a number of important factors: Lord Dalhousie’s autocratic methods; his annexations according to the Doctrine of Lapse; the rise of disgruntled Indian elements also suffered in the British regime by way of loss of titles or pensions; the introduction of certain reforms in the army in general and of greased cartridges in particular. After this, the Company’s rule ended in India and India was handed over to the British crown. By the Indian Councils’ Act of 1861, a few concessions were given to the Indians in the field of government. However this did not satisfy anybody.

The Indian National Congress was established in 1885 during the vice-royalty of Lord Dufferin. In 1892 another Indian Council’s Act was passed, which proved disappointing. In the early days, the Congress was not a representative of the masses. It was dominated by Indians educated in English, who believed that the British would guide the country towards self-government. Later, the Congress was split into two groups; the moderates led by Gopal Krishna Gokhale and the extremists, who found a great champion in Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The latter of these earned the title of ’Lokamanya’ owing to his patriotism and self-sacrifice. The Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 gave very little to India. Tilak, who was referred to, as the ’Father of Indian Unrest’, electrified the people by his slogan "Swaraj is our birth right." Tilak, along with two other great national heroes Lala Lajpat Rai, and Bipin Chandra Pal, strengthened the national movement and prepared the ground for the unique work of Mahatma Gandhi.

Inspite of India’s help to Great Britain during World War I ( 1914 1918), the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms (1919), introducing dyarchy in the provinces, was a great disappointment to India. The faith of Indians in Great Britain was shaken by the Rouwlatt Bill, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the repressive methods adopted by the British government.

Exhibit 16.1

Mahatma Gandhi created history by launching his Satyagraha Movement. The British ’Raj’ in India was shaken by the non-co-operation movement that was also non-violent in nature. In 1927, the Indian National Congress fixed ’Purna Swaraj’ as its goal. As a result of the three Round Table conferences (held in 1920, 1931 and 1932), the government of India Act of 1935 was passed. According to this act, India was to have an all-India federation. The Act was put into effect in 1937. Complete provincial autonomy was introduced. The Congress was able to form ministries in 6 out of 11 provinces. Thus 1937 was a landmark in India’s political and constitutional history. The people could have their own ministers and dyarchy was abolished. However, when the Second World War broke out in 1939, the Congress ministers resigned, as India was forced to join the war without her consent.

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16.0 Introduction
16.1 - The Causes Of The Rise Of Nationalism In Asia
16.2 - Emergence Of India As A Nation
16.3 - Rise Of Modern China
16.4 - Rise Of Modern Japan
16.5 - National Awakening In South East Asia
16.6 - National Awakening In Arab Lands
16.7 - Israel
16.8 - African Nationalism
16.9 - Nationalism In Latin America
16.10 - Dates & Events

Chapter 17


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