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Old NCERT Summary (Bipan Chandra): Nationalist Movement- 2 | History for UPSC CSE PDF Download

THE INDIAN NATIONAL NATIONAL CONGRESS 1905-1914

  • The agitation against the partition of Bengal made a deep impact on the Indian National Congress. All sections of the National Congress united in opposing the Partition. its session of 1905, Gokhale the President of the Congress, roundly condemned the Partition as well as the National Congress also supported the Swadeshi and Boycott Movement of Bengal.
  • Th ere was much public debate and disagreement between the moderate and the militant nationalists. The latter wanted to extend the Swadeshi and Boycott movement from Bengal to the rest of the country and to extend the Boycott to every form of association with the colonial government. The Moderates wanted to confine the Boycott movement to Bengal and even there to limit it to the boycott of foreign goods. There was a tussle between the two groups for the president ship of the National Congress for that year (1906). In the end, Dada bhai Naoroji, respected by all nationalists as a great patriot, was chosen as a compromise. Dadabhai electrified the nationalist ranks by openly declaring in his presidential address that the goal of the Indian national movement was” ‘self-government’ or Swaraj like that of the United Kingdom or the Colonies”.
  • But the differences dividing the two wings of the nationalist movement could not be kept in check for long. Many of the moderate nationalists did not keep pace with events. They were not able to see that their outlook and methods, which had served a real purpose in the past, were no longer adequate. They had failed to advance to the pew stage of the national movement. The militant nationalists, on the other hand, were not willing to be held back. The split between the two came at the Surat accession of the National Congress in December 1907. The moderate leaders having captured the machinery of the Congress ‘excluded the militant elements from it.
  • But, in the long run, the split did not prove useful to either party. The moderate leaders lost touch with the younger generation of nationalists. The B r i ti sh Government played the game of ‘Divide and Rule’ . While suppressing the militant nationalists, it tried to win over moderate nationalist opinion so that the militant nationalists could be isolated and suppressed.

    To placate the moderate nationalists: it announced constitutional concessions through the Indian Councils Act of 1909 which are known as the Morle Minto Reforms of 1909. In 1911, the Governmental so announced the annulment of the Partition of Bengal. Western and Eastern Bengals were to be reunited while a new province consisting of Bihar and Orissa was to be created at the same time the seat of the Central Government was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.

  • The Morley-Minto Reforms increased the number of elected members in the Imperial’ Legislative Council and the provincial councils. But most of the elected members were elected in directly, by the provincial councils in the case of the Imperial Council and by municipal committees and district board sin the case of provincial councils. Some of the elected seats were reserved for landlords and British capitalists in India. For instance, of the 68 members of the Imperial Legislative Council, 36 were officials and 5 were nominated non officials. Of the 27 elected members, 6 were to represent the big landlords and 2 the British capitalists. Moreover, the reformed councils still enjoyed no real power, being merely advisory bodies . 

  • The reforms in no way changed the undemocratic and foreign character of British rule or the fact of foreign economic exploitation of the country. They were, in fact, not designed to democratize Indian administration. Morley openly declared at the, time: “If it could be said that this chapter of reforms led directly or necessarily to the establishment of a parliamentary system in India, If or one would have nothing at all to do with it”. His successor as the Secretary of Sate, Lord Crewe, further clarified the position in 1912. “There is a certain section in India which looks forward to a measure of self-government approaching that which has been granted in the dominions. I see no future for India on those lines”. The real purpose of the Reforms of 1909 was to confuse the moderate nationalists to divide the nationalist ranks, and to check the growth of unity among Indians.

  • The Reforms also introduced the system of separate electorates under which all Muslims were grouped in separate constituencies from which Muslims alone could be elected. This was done in the name of protecting the Muslim minority. Bi in reality this was a part of the policy of dividing Hindus and Muslims and thus maintaining British supremacy in India. The system of separate electorates was based on the notion that the political and economic interests of Hindus and Muslims were separate. This notion was—unscientific because religions cannot be the basis of political and economic interests or of political groupings. What is even more important, this system proved extremely harmful in practice. It checked the progress of India’s unification which had been a, continuous historical process . 

  • It became a potent factor in the growth of communalism-both Muslim and Hindu-in the country. Instead of removing the educational and economic backwardness of the middle class Muslims and thus integrating them into the main stream of Indian nationalism, the system of separate electorates ended to perpetuate their isolation from the developing nationalist movement. It encouraged separatist tendencies. It prevented people from concentrating on economic and political problems which were common to all Indians, Hindu or Muslim.

  • The moderate nationalists did not fully support the Morley- Minto Reforms. They soon realised that the Reforms had not really granted much. But they decided to cooperate with the government in working the reforms.

    This cooperation with the government and their opposition to the programme of the militant nationalists proved very costly to them. They gradually lost the respect and support of the public and were reduced to a small political group.

THE NATIONALIST AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR

  • In June 1914, the First World War broke out between Great Britain, France, Russia and Japan on one side (joined later by Italy and USA), and Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey on the other. In India the years of the War marked the maturing of nationalism.
  • In the beginning, the Indian nationalist leaders, including Lokamanya Tilak, who had been released in June 1914, decided to support the way effort of the government in the mistaken belief that grateful Britain would repay India’s loyalty with gratitude and enable India to take a long step forward on the road to self-government. They did not realise fully that the different powers were fighting the First World War precisely to safeguard their existing colonies.

THE HOME RULE LEAGUES

  • At the same time, many Indian leaders saw clearly that the Government was not likely to give any real concessions unless popular pressure was brought to bear upon it. Hence, a real mass political movement was necessary. Some other factors were leading the nationalist movement in the same direction. The World War, involving mutual struggle between the imperialist powers of Eu rope, destroyed the myth of the racial superiority of western nations over the Asian peoples. Moreover the War led to increased misery among the poorer classes of Indians. For them the War had meant heavy taxation and soaring prices of the daily necessities of life. They were getting ready to join any militant movement of protest. Consequently, the war years were years of intense nationalist political agitation.
  • But this mass agitation could not be carried out under the leadership of the Indian National Congress, which had become, under Moderate leadership, a passive and inert political organisation with no political work among the people to its credit. Therefore, two Home Rule Leagues were started in 1915 - 16, one under the leadership of Lokamanya Tilak and the other under the leadership of Annie Besant, an English admirer of Indian culture and the Indian people, and S. Subramaniya Iyer. The two Home Rule Leagues worked in cooperation and carried out intense propaganda all over the country in favour of the demand for the grant of Home Rule or self-government to India after the War. It was during this agitation that Tilak gave the popular slogan: “Home Rule is my birthright and I will have it’. The two Leagues made rapid progress and the cry of Home Rule resounded through out the length and breadth of India. Many moderate nationalists, who were dissatisfied with the Congress inactivity, joined the Home Rule agitation . The Home Rule Leagues soon attracted the governments anger. In June 1917, Annie Besant was arrested. Popular protest forced the government to release her in September 1917.
  • The war period also witnessed the growth of the revolutionary movement. The terrorist, groups spread from Bengal and Maharashtra to the whole of northern India. Moreover, man Indians began to plan a violent rebellion to overthrow British rule. Indian revolutionaries in the United States of America and Canada had established the Ghadar (Rebellion) Party in 1913. Most of the members of the party were Punjabi Sikh peasants and ex-soldiers, who had migrated there in search of livelihood, and who faced the fun brunt of racial and economic discrimination. Lala Har Dayal, Mohammed Barkatullah, Bhagwan Singh, Ram Chandra and Sohan, Singh Bhakna were some of the prominent leaders of the Ghadar Party. The party was built around the weekly paper the Ghadar which, carried the caption on the masthead: Angrezi Ka Dushman (An Enemy of British Rule). “Wanted brave soldiers”, the Ghadar declared, “to Stir up Rebellion in India. Pay death; Price -martyrdom Pension liberty; Field of Battle India’. The ideology of the party was strongly secular. In the words of Sohan Singh Bhakna, who later became a major peasant leader of Punjab: “We were not Sikhs or Punjabis. Our religion was patriotism’. ‘The party had active members in other countries such as Mexico, Japan, China, Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, Thailand, Indo-China and East and South Africa.”
  • The Ghadar Party was pledged to wage revolutionary war against the British in India. As soon at the First World War broke out in 1914, the Ghadarites decided to send arms and men to India to start an uprising with the help of soldiers and local revolutionaries. Several thousand men volunteered to go back to India. Millions of dollars were contributed to pay for their expenses. Many gave their life-long savings and sold lands and other property. The Ghadarites also contacted Indian soldiers in the Far East, South-East Asia and all over India and persuaded several regiments to rebel. Finally, 21 February 1915 was fixed as the date for an armed revolt in the Punjab. Unfortunately, the authorities came to know of these plans and took immediate action. The rebellious regiments were disbanded and their leaders were either imprisoned or hanged. For example, 12 men of the 23rd Cavalry were executed. The leaders and members of the Ghadar Party in the Punjab were arrested on a mass scale and tried. Forty-two of them were hanged, 114 were transported for life, and 93 were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Many of them after their release founded the Kirti and Communist movements in the Punjab. Some of the prominent Ghadar leaders were: Baba Gurmukh Singh, Kartar Singh Saraba, Sohan Singh Bhakna, Rahmat Ali Shah , Bhai Parmanand, and Mohammad Barkatullah.
  • Inspired by the Ghadar Party, 700 men of the 5th Light Infantry at Singapore revolted under the leadership of Jamadar Chisti Khan and Subedar Dundey Khan. They were crushed after a bitter battle in which many died. Thirty-seven other were publicly executed, while 41 were transported for life.
  • Other revolutionaries were active in India and abroad. In 191 during an unsuccessful revolutionary attempt Jatin Mukherjee popularly known as ‘Bagha Jatin’ gave his life fighting a battle with the police at Balasore.

    Rash Bihari Bose, Raja Mahendra Pratap, Lala Hardayal, Abdul Rahim, Maulana Obaidullah Sindhi, Champa-karaman Pillai, Sardar Singh Rana, and Madame Cama were some of the prominent Indians who carried on revolutionary activities and propaganda outside India where they gathered the support of socialists and other anti-imperialists.

LUCKNOW SESSION OF THE CONGRESS (1916)

  • The nationalists soon saw that disunity in their ranks was injuring their cause and that they must put up a united front before the Government. The growing nationalist feeling in the country and the urge for national unity produced two historic developments at the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in 1916. Firstly, the two wings of the Congress were reunited. The old contro-versies had lost their meaning and the split in the Congress had led to political inactivity. Tilak, released from jail in 1914, immediately saw the change in the situation and set out to unify the two streams of Congressmen. To conciliate the moderate nationalists, he declared:
  • I may state once for all that we are trying in India, as the Irish Home rulers have been all along doing in Ireland, for a reform of the system of administration and not for the Over throw of Government; and I have no hesitation in saying that the acts of violence which have been committed in the different parts of India are not only repugnant to me, but have, in my opinion, only unfortunately retarded to a great extent, the pace of our political progress.
  • On the other hand, the rising tide of nationalism compelled the old leaders to welcome back into the Congress Lokamanya Tilak and other militant nationalists. The Lucknow Congress was the first united Congress since 1907. It demanded further constitutional reforms as a step towards self-government.
  • Secondly, at Lucknow, the Congress and the All India Muslim League sank their old differences and put up common political demands before the Government While the War and the two Home Rule Leagues were creating a new sentiment in the country and changing the character of the Congress, the Muslim League had also been undergoing gradual changes. We h ave already noted earlier that the younger section of the educated Muslims was turning to bolder nationalist politics. The War period witnessed further developments in that direction.
  • Consequently, in 1914, the government suppressed the publication of the Al-Hilal of Abul Kalam Azad and the Comrade of Maulana Mohamed Ali. It also interned the Ali Brothers Maulanas Mohamed Ali and Shaukat Ali and Hasrat Mohani and Abul Kalam Azad. The League reflected, a least partially, the political militancy of its younger members. It gradually began to outgrow the limited political outlook of the Aligarh school of thought and moved nearer to the policies of the Congress.
  • The Unity between the congress and the league was brought about by the singing of the Congress-league pact, known popularly as the Lucknow pact. An important role in bringing the two together was played by Lokamanya Tilak and Mohammed Au Jinnah because the two believed that India could win self - government only through Hindu Muslim unity. Tilak declared at the time It has been said, gentlemen, by some that we Hindu shave yielded too much to our Mohammedan brethren. I am Sure ‘I represent the sense of the Hindu community all over India when I say that we could not have yielded to much’. I would not care if the rights of self- government are granted to the Mohammedan community only- ... I would not care if they are granted to the lower and the lowest classes of the Hindu population. ... When we have to fight, against a third party, it is a very important thing that we stand on this platform united, united in race, united In religion, as regard all different shades of political creed.
  • The two organisations passed the same resolutions at their sessions, put forward a joint scheme of political reforms based on separate electorates, and demanded that the British Government should make a declaration that it would confer self-government on India at an early date. The Lucknow Pact marked an important step forward in Hindu-Muslim unit y. Unfortunately, it did not involve the Hindu and Muslim masses and it accepted the pernicious principle of separate electorates.
  • It was based on the notion of bringing together the educated Hindus and Muslims as separate political entities; in other words, without secularization of their political outlook which would make them realize that in politics they had no separate interests as Hindus or Muslims. The Lucknow Pact, therefore, left the way open to future resurgence of communalism in India politics.
  • But the immediate effect of the developments at Lucknow was tremendous. The unity between the moderate nationalist and between the National Congress and the Muslim League aroused great political enthusiasm in the country. Even the British Government felt it necessary to placate the nationalists. Hitherto it had relied heavily on repression to quieten the nationalist agitation.
  • Large number of radicial nationalist and revolutionaries had been jailed or interned under the notorious Defence of India Act and other similar regulations. The government now decided to appease nationalist opinion and announced on 20 August 1917 that its policy in India was the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realization of Responsible Government of India as an integral part of the British Empire”. And in July 1918 the Montague Chelmsford Reforms were announced. But Indian nationalism was n appeared. Infact, the Indian national movement was soon to enter its third and last phase- the era of mass struggle or the Ghandian Era.
The document Old NCERT Summary (Bipan Chandra): Nationalist Movement- 2 | History for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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FAQs on Old NCERT Summary (Bipan Chandra): Nationalist Movement- 2 - History for UPSC CSE

1. What is the significance of the Nationalist Movement in India?
Ans. The Nationalist Movement in India was a significant phase in the country's history as it marked the struggle for independence from British colonial rule. It witnessed the rise of various leaders and organizations who fought for the rights and freedom of the Indian people.
2. Who were the key leaders of the Nationalist Movement-2?
Ans. The Nationalist Movement-2 saw the emergence of several prominent leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and many others. These leaders played crucial roles in mobilizing and uniting the Indian masses against British rule.
3. What were the major events that shaped the Nationalist Movement-2?
Ans. The Nationalist Movement-2 was marked by significant events like the Quit India Movement, the Civil Disobedience Movement, the Non-Cooperation Movement, the Dandi March, and the Lahore Resolution. These events played a crucial role in uniting the Indian population and putting pressure on the British government.
4. How did the Nationalist Movement-2 impact the Indian society?
Ans. The Nationalist Movement-2 had a profound impact on Indian society. It led to a widespread awakening among the masses, promoting a sense of unity and national identity. It also played a crucial role in empowering women, eradicating social evils, and fostering a spirit of self-reliance and self-governance.
5. What were the key strategies adopted by the leaders during the Nationalist Movement-2?
Ans. The leaders during the Nationalist Movement-2 adopted various strategies to fight for independence. These included non-violent protests, civil disobedience, boycotts, mass mobilization, and the promotion of Swadeshi (indigenous) goods. These strategies aimed to weaken the British economic and administrative control over India.
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