UPSC : The Home Rule Movement - The Freedom Struggle, History, UPSC UPSC Notes | EduRev
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THE HOME RULE MOVEMENT
- Mrs. Besant’s Home Rule League was estab-lished on 1 Sept., 1916. It was established outside the Congress but was not opposed to its policies.
- Its Programme of Action was very much similar to that of Moderate leaders i.e.
- holding of frequent meetings.
- arranging lecture tours to arouse the people.
- distribution of Home Rule literature.
- propaganda in India, London and U.S.A.
- two newspapers were started in 1914-Commonwealth and New India.
- Its area of activity was the whole of India minus Maharashtra and C.P.
- Tilak’s Home Rule League was founded on 28 April, 1916. Its centres of activities were Maharashtra and C. P. It worked in cooperation with Besant’s Home Rule League
- Government attitude was belligerent. In July, 1916 the Government instituted a libel case against Tilak. And in June, 1917 Mrs. Besant and her two colleagues were arrested. Restrictions were imposed on newspapers.
- Slackening of Home Rule Movement was due to the following factors:
- Mrs. Besant’s opposition to policy of Passive Resistance.
- Montague’s announcement in British Parliament about Responsible Government in India on 20 Aug., 1917.
- Government’s policy of suppression.
- It filled an important stage in the development of national struggle.
- It broadened the base of the national movement. Women and students participated in its activities.
- Mrs. Besant and Tilak came in forefront of national politics.
- The League did propaganda for self-government at international forums.
- For the first times idea of use of Passive Resistance was mooted so strongly.
THE MONTAGUE-CHELMS-FORD REFORMS
- Major provisions can be summed up as:
- Secretary of State to be henceforth paid salary out of the British Exchequer.
- India Council’s importance and strength reduced. Secretary of State not obliged to consult India Council except (i) in financial matters and (ii) matters concerning l.C.S.
- Secretary of State retained control over Indian administration except over transferred bloc of subjects in the provinces.
- Devolution Rules: Demarcation of two lists of subjects: Central List and Provincial List.
- Number of Indian members in the Governor General’s Executive Council raised from 1 to 3 out of a total of 8 members.
- Increase in Governor General’s powers. He could restore cuts in grants, certify bills rejected by the General Legislature and issue ordinances.
- Central Legislature made bicameral.
- Term of Council of State 5 years, that of Legislative Assembly 3 years.
- System of communal and class electorates was further extended to Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-lndians and Europeans.
- Powers of Central Legislature enlarged but 75% of Budget still not votable .
Gandhi’s Return To India
- He founded the Natal Indian Congress in May, 1894 and fought against the ‘Black Act’ or registration applicable exclusively to Indian settlers.
- It was there that he organised passive resistance or Satyagraha against the government and tested the strength of the weapon.
- The famous Gandhi-Smuts agreement sealed the struggle in Africa and Gandhiji returned to India in 1914 richer in the spirit of service and equipped with the novel weapon of Satyagrah.
- Abolition of Indenture System. Realising that Indenture system drained away India’s manpower, he led an agitation against it in 1916-1917 and had the system abolished successfully.
- Satyagraha in Bihar. Poor labourers working on Indigo plantations were treated cruelly by their White Masters. Headless of the dire consequences, a threat of which was held out to him, he conducted the struggle to a victorious end by means of peaceful Satyagraha.
- Rowlatt Act. The British government instead of rewarding the Indians for their meritorious services in the First World War, passed the Rowlatt Act in 1919 to perpetuate Defence of India Act. Gandhiji organised Civil Disobedience Movement and India-wide strike took place. A peaceful mob at Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) was massacred and martial law was declared in the Punjab. Gandhiji, being disallowed to study the situation in person in the Punjab, called off the Movement, much to the disappointment of his followers.
- Participation in the Khilafat Movement. Ali Brothers started the Khilafat Movement and Gandhiji attended its conference and decided to work for it with the object of securing Hindu-Muslim unity which was very essential for the attainment of Swaraj. It was in this conference at Karachi that Gandhiji for the first time talked on non-cooperating with the government.
- Non-Co-operation Movement. Gandhiji launched the Non-Co-operation Movement in April 1920 with the object of carrying out Triple Boycott and social reforms. Success was near when riots broke out in Bombay and U.P. Twenty two policemen were burnt alive at Chauri Chaura (U.P.). Gandhiji was charged with instigation to violence and though sentenced to six years’ imprisonment he was let off in 1924 on grounds of ill-health.
- Boycott of Simon Commission. The Country did not co-operate with the Simon Commission in 1927 at Gandhiji’s instance who reiterated the demand for Swaraj and threat of Civil Disobedience Movement.
Violation of Salt Laws. Gandhiji arrived at Dandi on 6th April, 1930 and defied the salt laws.
- Gandhiji Irwin Pact was concluded in March, 1931 which paved the way for the participation of the Congress in the Second Round Table Conference .
- Participation in R.T.C. (1931). Gandhiji represented the Congress in II R.T.C., but his mission failed due to non-compromising attitude of the Muslim League.
- Poona Pact (1932). The Communal Award (August 1932) aimed at shattering the solidarity of the Hindus. Gandhiji went on fast to have the clause undone. At last Poona Pact was concluded between the Hindu and Harijan leaders. The British Government recognised the pact and Gandhiji maintained the solidarity of the Hindu community by staking his life.
- Formation of Congress Ministries. The Congress contested elections in 1937 and formed ministries in seven provinces with the blessings of Gandhiji.
- Individual Satyagraha was started by Gandhiji when the Congress Ministries resigned office in protest to making India a party to World War II without consulting her people.
- Cripps Mission (1942). Cripps Mission failed because Sir Stafford Cripps could not satisfy Gandhiji with his proposals which were ultimately rejected by all political parties.
- Quit India Resolution. Congress passed the ‘Quit India Resolution’ in 1942 in its meeting at Bombay asking the British to leave India forthwith. The resolution was carried out at the suggestion of Gandhiji.
- Gandhiji participated in the Simla Conference (1945 and 1946) not as representative of the Congress but as an adviser to its President. He strove every nerve to win round M.A. Jinnah who remained adamant and spared no pains to torpedoed his efforts aimed at Hindu-Muslim unity or achievement of Swaraj.