Long Questions with Answers - Mahatma Gandhi & The Nationalist Movement Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

History Class 12

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Q. 1. Read the following extract carefully and answer the questions that follow :
“Tomorrow we shall break the salt tax law”
On 5 April, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi spoke at Dandi: When I left Sabarmati with my companions for this seaside hamlet of Dandi, I was not certain in my mind that we would be allowed to reach this place. Even while I was at Sabarmati there was a rumour that I might be arrested. I had thought that the Government might perhaps let my party come as far as Dandi, but not me certainly. If someone says that this betrays imperfect faith on my part, I shall not deny the charge. That I have reached here is in no small measure due to the power of peace and non-violence: that power is universally felt. The Government may, if it wishes, congratulate itself on acting as it has done, for it could have arrested every one of us. In saying that it did not have the courage to arrest this army of peace, we praise it. It felt ashamed to arrest such an army. He is a civilised man who feels ashamed to do anything which his neighbours would disapprove. The Government deserves to be congratulated on not arresting us, even if it desisted only from fear of world opinion.
Tomorrow we shall break the salt tax law. Whether the Government will tolerate that is a different question. It may not tolerate it, but it deserves congratulations on the patience and forbearance it has displayed in regard to this party. ...
What if I and all the eminent leaders in Gujarat and in the rest of the country are arrested? This movement is based on the faith that when a whole nation is roused and on the march no leader is necessary.
(i) What were the apprehensions of Mahatma Gandhi when he started his Dandi March?
(ii) Why did Gandhiji say that the Government deserved appreciation?
(iii) Why was the ‘Salt March’ very significant?
Ans. (i) - Gandhiji was apprehensive that he might not be allowed to reach Dandi
- Government might perhaps let the party come to Dandi, but not Gandhi.
- He will be arrested on the way.
(ii) - Government displayed patience and forbearance and allowed Gandhi to reach Dandi.
- That is why Gandhi said that the Government reserved to be congratulated on not arresting, even if it desisted only from fear of world opinion.
(iii) Salt march was significant because:
- It brought Gandhi into limelight and attracted the world’s attention.
- In this movement women also participated.
- It forced the British to think that their British Raj will not continue further.
- Gandhi mobilised a wider discontent against British rule. The whole nation is roused.

Q.2. Wherever Gandhiji went, rumours of his miraculous powers spread. Explain with examples.
Ans. Gandhi’s role in Indian history between 1917-1947 is significant. During this period, Gandhi entered into the  National  Movement  and  became  the leader. In January 1915, he returned from South Africa and the struggle in South Africa prepared him to take charge of the Indian National Movement. All his movements were based on non-violence and whatever he preached, he followed, which attracted the masses. Due to his towering personality, people believed that he had some miraculous power. From Champaran to Dandi, he impressed the people everywhere. Indian peasants regarded Gandhiji as their God with magical powers. It was said that he was sent by the King to address the problems of farmers, and he had the power to overrule the local officials. People believed that the British would leave India because of the power of Gandhi. It was rumoured that no one had the power to oppose Gandhiji and whoever would try would meet with dire consequences. At some places, it was rumoured that those who criticised Gandhi fainted mysteriously or their houses fell apart or their crops failed. He was called as ‘Gandhi Baba’, ‘Gandhi Maharaj’, or similarly ‘Mahatma’, Gandhi appeared to the Indian people as a saviour.

Q.3. Gandhi transformed Indian Nationalism through Non co-operation Movement of 1920’. Give arguments to support the statement.
Ans. Non Co-operation Movement:
(a) Protest against Rowlatt Act, Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and the Government of India Act, 1919.
(b) Gandhiji coupled non-cooperation with Khilafat.
(c) Knitted  a  popular  movement  through  Hindu-Muslim participation together against the colonial power. (
(d) Swadeshi and Boycott Movement became popular.
(e) People defied laws.
(f) Tribal people violated laws.
(g) Traders, farmers and workers joined in the movement.
(h) Non-Cooperation with the colonial power.
(i) He became people’s leader by entailed renunciation and self-discipline.
(j) Gandhiji emerged as an undisputed leader.
(k) Shook the foundation of British power.
(l) It was training for self-rule.
(m) Any other relevant point.
Detailed Answer: 
When during the Great War of 1914-1918, British had instituted censorship of the press and permitted detention without trial, Government introduced the Rowlatt Act in 1919. Gandhiji organised the countrywide call against Rowlatt Act. This movement had an immense response all over India. In April 1919, Jallianwala Bagh Massacre took place where four hundred people were killed. It was the Rowlatt Satyagraha that made Gandhiji a truly national leader. Mahatma Gandhi began his famous march to Dandi along with the selected followers to break salt laws. Throughout the march, at every step, villagers flocked to greet Mahatma and his followers with flowers, cheers and national slogans. The Salt March was notable for at least three reasons. First, it was this event that first brought Mahatma Gandhi to world attention. The march was extensively covered by the European and the American press. Secondly, it was the first nationalist activity in which women participated in large numbers. Last, it made the British realise that their power would not last long and they have to devolve some power to the Indians.

Q.4. Explain the significance of Non-Cooperation Movement.
Ans. According to American biographer Louis Fischer, “Non-Cooperation became the name of an epoch in the life of India and of Gandhiji. Noncooperation was negative enough to be peaceful but positive enough to be effective. It entailed denial, renunciation, and self-discipline. It was training for self-rule.” As a consequence of the NonCooperation Movement the British Raj was shaken to its foundations for the first time since the Revolt of 1857. Then, in February 1922, a group of peasants attacked and torched a police station in the hamlet of Chauri Chaura, in the United Provinces (now, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal). Several constables perished in the conflagration. This act of violence prompted Gandhiji to call off the movement altogether.

Q.5. Describe the role of Gandhiji as people’s leader from 1917-22?
Ans. Gandhiji’s emerge as a people’s leader from 1917-22
(i) Gandhiji led the people to protest against the Rowlatt Act and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
(ii) He used the mother tongue and not English in communicating nationalist messages
(iii) He took up the Khilafat issue in the Non –Cooperation Movement and demanded Swaraj.
(iv) Renunciation of all voluntary association with the British govt.
(v) He became people’s leader through selfdiscipline and renunciation.
(vi) He also promoted the concept of self rule through the charkha.
(vii) Gandhiji displayed a concern for the labouring poor of India, as he believed that salvation for India could come only through the farmers and workers who constituted the majority of the Indian population. (reference to BHU speech)
(viii) He wanted Indian nationalism, from being an elite phenomenon- a creation of lawyers doctors and landlords, to nationalism more suitably representative of the Indian people as a whole.
(ix) He popularised Satyagraha.
(x) Non-Cooperation-a much wider and popular Movement in terms of participation from all sections, widespread over India, participation by both Hindus and MuslimsKhilafat & Non Cooperation, a united challenge to British imperialism like never before under his leadership.
(xi) He popularized Ahinsa
(xii) Gave emphasis on Swadeshi & Boycott
(xiii) Students stopped going to schools and colleges run by the government.
(xiv) Lawyers refused to attend court.
(xv) The working class went on strike in many towns and cities.
(xvi) Hill tribal in northern Andhra violated the forest laws.
(xvii) Farmers in Awadh did not pay taxes.
(xviii) Peasants in Kumaon refused to carry loads for colonial officials.
(xix) He emphasized decentralization through charkha.
(xx) Emergence of Gandhian Nationalism.
(xxi) His language, dressing style and simplicity helped him connect with the masses.
(xxii) Stressed on Hindu Muslim unity, eradication of untouchability, revival of indigenous industries through the symbol of charkha and elevation of the status of women.
(xxiii) The simple practice of Swadeshi and boycott appealed to the people.
(xxiv) Empathised and identified with the common people in dress and lifestyle.
(xxv) He carefully reorganized the Congress by setting up new branches in different parts of the country and Praja Mandals in the Princely States.
(xxvi) A group of highly talented Indians attached themselves to Gandhiji-Mahadev Desai, Vallabh Bhai Patel, J. B. Kriplani, Jawaharlal Nehru and C. Rajgopalachari. All from different regions and traditions.
(xxvii) According to American biographer Louis Fischer –“Non Cooperation became the name of an epoch in the life of India and Mahatma Gandhi”.

Q. 6. ‘Gandhiji made the British desperately anxious’. Explain the statement in the context of salt march of 1930.
Ans. The Salt March was notable for many reasons: it made the British realise that their power would not last long and they have to devolve some power to the Indians. Gandhi hoped that by coupling non-cooperation with Khilafat, India’s two major communities the Hindus and Muslims could bring together an end of colonial rule. Students stopped going to schools and colleges run by the government. Lawyers refused to attend court. The working class went on strike in many towns and cities. According to official figures, there were 396 strikes in 1921, involving 600,000 workers and a loss of seven million work days. The countryside was furious with discontentment. Hilly tribes in northern Andhra violated the forest laws. Farmers in Awadh did not pay taxes. Peasants in Kumaun refused to carry loads for colonial officials. The protest movements were sometimes carried out in defiance of the law. Peasants, workers and others interpreted and acted upon the call to “NonCooperation” with colonial rule in ways that best suited their interests, rather than confirm to the dictates laid down from above. As a consequence of the Non-Cooperation Movement, the British Raj was shaken to its foundations for the first time since the Revolt of 1857. According to Gandhi’s biographer, Louis Fischer, non-cooperation became the name of an epoch in the life of Gandhiji. It was the training for self-rule.

Q. 7 . Examine the causes and the contribution of Non-Cooperation Movement to India’s freedom struggle. Why did Gandhiji couple NonCooperation Movement with Khilafat Movement?
Ans. The decision of the Congress to start a Noncooperation Movement against the British government was a revolutionary step. The main causes were the callous attitude of the government towards the victims of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and their attitude regarding Turkey. Gandhi felt, it was an opportunity to combine Hindu-Muslim in favour of national unity and so he combined the two movements. the non-cooperation helped to spread the spirit of nationalism in India. It hastened the advent of Swaraj.
It was truly a mass movement on all India scale and Khadi became the grand uniform of the Indian patriots. Non-Cooperation was negative enough to be peaceful and positive enough to be effective. It was the training for self-rule. Khilfat Movement (1919-1920) was a movement of Indian Muslims led by Muhammad Ali and Shauket Ali who demanded that the Turkish Sultan or Khalifa must retain control over the Muslim sacred places in the Ottoman Empire (Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Palestine).
They wanted that they must remain under Muslim sovereignty and the Khalifa must be left with sufficient territory to enable him defending the Islamic faith. The Congress supported the movement and Gandhiji sought to co-join it to the Non-Cooperation movement. Gandhiji hoped that coupling Non-cooperation with Khilafat, India’s two major communities Hindus and Muslims could together bring an end of colonial rule. Students stopped going to colleges and lawyers refused to attend court. The working class went on strikes in many towns and cities.

Q.8. Assess the significance of Salt March in India’s freedom struggle. How did the British government react to it?
OR
“The Salt March of 1930 was the first event that brought Mahatma Gandhi to the world attention”. Explain the significance of this movement for Swaraj.
OR
Examine the outcome of Salt Satyagraha. Why was Salt Satyagraha a notable event?
Ans. On 12 March, 1930, Gandhiji began walking from his ashram at Sabarmati towards the ocean. Mahatma Gandhi began his famous march to Dandi along with the selected followers to break salt laws. Throughout the march, at every step and stage, villagers flocked to greet Mahatma and his followers with flowers, cheers and national slogans. He reached after 3 weeks making a fistful of salt and thereby making himself a criminal in the eyes of law. Thus, the masses were ready for the impending struggle.
The act of Mahatma Gandhi and his followers was a signal for breaking of salt laws all over the country. The government resorted to merciless repression. The government responded by detaining the dissenters. Nearly 60,000 Indians were arrested along with Gandhiji and he felt that the Swaraj could be attained if Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and Sikhs are united. The American news magazine, Time, was deeply skeptical of the Salt March. It claimed that Gandhiji “Sank to the ground” at the end of the second day walking.
But within a week, the magazine had to change its mind. The massive popular following the march had garnered made the British rulers desperately anxious. They now saluted Gandhi and wrote of him as a ‘saint’ and “statement”. The Salt March was notable for at least three reasons.
First it was this even that first brought Mahatma Gandhi to world attention. The march was extensively covered by the European and the American press. Secondly, it was the first nationalist activity in which women participated in large numbers. Last, it made the British realize that their power would not last long and they have to devolve some power to the Indians.

Q.9. Examine the different kinds of sources from which political career of Gandhiji and the history of the National Movement could be reconstructed?
Ans. There are many different kinds of sources from which we can reconstruct the political career of Gandhiji and the history of National Movement. One important source is the writing and speeches of Mahatma Gandhi. While speeches allow us to hear the public voice of the individual, private letters give us a glimpse of his or her thoughts. In letters, we see people expressing their anger and pain, their dismay and anxiety, their hopes and frustrations, in which the may not express themselves in public statements. Gandhiji regularly published Harijan letters in his journal Nehru edited a collection of letters written by him during the National Movement and published ‘A Bunch of Old letters’. Another source is the autobiographies, which gives us an account of the past rich in human detail. Writing an autobiography is a way of framing a picture of yourself and usually they are written from memory. They also tell us what the author would recollect, what he saw as important or was keen in recollecting or how a person wanted his or her life to be viewed by others. Another vital source is government records for the colonial British kept them as important for the government. The letters and reports written by policemen and other officials were secret at the time, but now can be accessed in archives. One such example is the fortnightly report prepared by the Home Department from early 20th century. These reports were based on the police information from the localities, but often expressed what the officials saw or wanted to believe. For example, in fortnightly reports during the Salt March it was mentioned that the Home Department was unwilling to accept that Mahatma Gandhi’s actions had evolved any enthusiastic response from the masses. Newspapers was another source published in English and different Indian languages, which tracked Gandhiji’s movements and reported. But we need to remember that they were published by people who had their own opinions and world views. The accounts that were published in a London newspaper would be different from the report in an Indian nationalist paper. All these reports cannot be accepted literally, one needs to be careful while interpreting them.

Q.10. ‘In the history of nationalism Gandhiji is often identified with the making of a nation’. Describe his role in the freedom struggle of India.
Ans. Gandhiji gave a new outlook and realistic touch to the Indian National Movement. Under his strong leadership, it was a movement of the people, who were able to associate themselves with him the rich and poor, the professionals and the farmers. His movement brought in thousands of peasants, workers, artisans, women and farmers and working class. He identified himself with the common man and he dressed like them, lived like them and spoke their language. He was simple and dressed in simple dhoti or loincloth. Gandhi, with the charkha, had become the most acceptable image of the Indian National Movement. By the act of spinning, he broke the boundaries that  existed in the Indian caste system. Students, women and workers were all drawn towards Gandhi and participated in the movement in large numbers. Students boycotted schools and colleges run by the government, lawyers did not attend court. Gandhiji firmly believed in the Hindu-Muslim unity and joined the Non-Cooperation movement with Khilafat Movement. He firmly believed that if both joined they can collectively bring an end to the colonial rule. Gandhi’s biographer Louis Fischer wrote that the Non-Cooperation Movement became an epoch in the life of India and Gandhiji. Non-Cooperation movement was negative enough to be peaceful and positive enough to be effective. It was a training for self-rule. Gandhiji felt that for Swaraj, Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and Sikhs will have to unite.

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