Revision Notes Class 10th History: Chapter-2 Nationalism in India

Important Dates

  • 1885 : The first meeting of the Indian National Congress in Bombay.
  • 1905 : The Partition of Bengal officially came into existence.
  • 1906 : Formation of the Muslim League.
  • 1913 - 1918 : The war prices increased in double.
  • 1914 - 1918 : The First World War.
  • 1917 : Mahatma Gandhi organized Satyagraha Movement in Kheda District (Gujarat).
  • 1918 : Mahatma Gandhi organized Satyagraha Movement in Ahmedabad.
  • 1919 : Rowlatt Act was Passed (It gave the government enormous power to repress political activities, and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two years).
  • 10th April, 1919 : The police in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful procession. Martial law was imposed.
  • 1918-1919 & 1920-1921 : Crop failure.
  • March, 1919 : Khilafat Committee founded in Bombay.
  • 13th April, 1919 : Jallianwala Bagh Massacre took place.
  • September, 1920 : Congress Session in Calcutta- Decided to start a Non-Cooperation Movement in support of Khilafat as well as for Swaraj.
  • 1920 : Mahatma Gandhi leads the Congress; Non-Cooperation Movement launched.
  • December, 1920 : Congress Session at Nagpur—A compromise was worked out and the Non-cooperation programme was adopted.
  • 1920 : The peasant movement in Awadh spread, but the Congress Leader were not happy with them.
  • 1921 : Famines and the epidemic.
  • 1921 : A militant Guerrilla movement spread in the Gudem Hills of Andhra Pradesh. Movement started by Alluri Sitaram Raju.
  • 1921-1922 : The Import of foreign cloth halved. June,1920 Jawaharlal Nehru going around the village in Awadh.
  • February, 1922 : Mahatma Gandhi decided to Withdraw Non-Cooperation Movement. Establishment of Swaraj Party by Motilal Nehru and C.R.Dass.
  • 1924 : Raju was captured and executed.
  • 1927 : The Federation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI).
  • 1928 : Simon Commission arrived in India.
  • 1928 : Foundation of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA).
  • October, 1929 : A vague offer of ‘Dominion Status ‘ for India offered by Lord Irwin.
  • October, 1929 : Oudh Kisan Sabha was set up headed by J.L. Nehru.
  • December, 1929 : Lahore Session of the Congress- Demand for Purna Swaraj.
  • January 26,1930 : Celebrated as the Independence day.
  • January 31,1930 : Gandhiji sent a letter to Viceroy Irwin stating 11 demands.
  • April, 1930 : Abdul Ghaffar Khan was arrested.
  • April 6, 1930 : The salt march reached Dandi, Gandhiji violated the Salt Law.
  • 1930 : Civil Disobedience Movement continues; Salt Satyagraha: Gandhi’s Dandi March; First Round Table Conference.
  • 1930 : Dr. B. R. Ambedkar established Depressed Classes Association.
  • March 5, 1931 : Gandhi Irwin Pact was signed.
  • December, 1931 : Gandhiji went for Second Round Table Conference.
  • 1931 : Second Round Table Conference; Irwin-Gandhi Pact; Census of India.
  • 1932 : Suppression of the Congress movement; Third Round Table Conference.
  • September, 1932 : Poona Pact between Gandhiji and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.
  • 1934 : Civil Disobedience Movement called off.
  • 1934 : Civil Disobedience Movement lost its momentum.
  • 1935 : The Government of India Act receives Royal Assent.
  • 1937 : Election held for Provincial Assemblies.
  • 1939 : Outbreak of the Second World War.

Important Terms to Remember

  • Nationalism : It is a system created by people who believe their nation is superior to all others.
  • Satyagraha : The policy of passive political resistance inaugurated by Mohandas Gandhi during his stay in South Africa. It is based on the ideals of truth and non-violence.
  • Khalifa : The spiritual head of the Islamic World.
  • Begar : Labour that villagers were forced to contribute without any payment.
  • Forced Recruitment : A process by which the colonial state forced people to join the army.
  • Rowlatt Act : It was an Act which gave the government enormous power to repress political activities. It allowed that government could arrest anybody without a trial for two years.
  • Jallianwala Bagh Massacre : The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Baishakhi pilgrims, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab.
  • Non-Cooperation Movement : Began in January 1921. The main aim of this movement was not to cooperate with the British made goods. It included surrendering of government titles, boycott of civil services, army, police, courts and legislative councils, school, and foreign goods; and a full civil disobedience campaign would be launched.
  • Swadeshi : The Swadeshi movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic made products and production technique.
  • Boycott : A boycott is a form of consumer activism involving the act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying or dealing with a person, organization or country as an expression of protest usually for political reason.
  • Picket : A form of demonstration or protest by which people block the entrance to a shop, factory or office.
  • Civil Disobedience : During Civil Disobedience Movement people were asked not only to refuse cooperation with the British but also to break the colonial laws.
  • Swaraj : “Swaraj” means freedom or self-rule. In 1920, “Swaraj” meant “Self-Government” within the empire if possible and outside if necessary.
  • Simon Commission : The New Tory government in Britain constituted a statutory Commission under Sir John Simon . The Commission was sent to India to look into the functioning of the constitutional system in India and suggest changes. It arrived in India in 1928.
  • Salt Law : Salt is consumed by both the poor and the rich, and is one of the most essential items of foods everywhere in the world. The British government had the monopoly on the production of salt in India. By imposing a ‘salt tax’ the government hit both the rich and the poor, specially the poor. Gandhiji thought it was the most repressive Act of the British government and chose to defy it by breaking the “Salt Law”.
  • Gandhi Irwin Pact : When British government responded with a policy of brutal repression against the Civil Disobedience Movement, Mahatma Gandhiji decided to call off the movement. He entered into a pact with Lord Irwin on 5th March 1931. Under this pact, Gandhiji consented to participate in a Round Table Conference in London.
  • Folklores : The traditional beliefs, customs and stories of a community that are passed through the generations by word of mouth. Many nationalist leaders took help of folk tales to spread the idea of nationalism. It was believed that the folk tales revealed the true picture of traditional culture.
  • Reinterpretation of History : Many Indians felt that the British had given a different interpretation of the Indian history. They felt that it was important to interpret the history from an Indian perspective. They wanted to glorify the rich past of India so that the Indians could feel proud of their history.

Nationalism in India

Summary

  • Effects of First World War : The First World War led to a huge increase in defence expenditure. This was financed by war loans and by increasing taxes. Custom duties were raised and income tax was introduced to raise extra revenue. Prices of items increased during the war years. The prices doubled between 1913 and 1918. The common people were the worst sufferers because of price rise. Forced recruitment of rural people in the army was another cause of widespread anger among people.
  • Crop failure in many parts of India resulted in acute shortage of foods. Influenza epidemic further aggravated the problem. According to 1921 census, about 12 to 13 million people died because of famines and epidemic.
  • The Idea of Satyagraha
    • Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in January, 1915. His heroic fight for the Indians in South Africa was well known. His novel method of mass agitation known as Satyagraha had yielded good results.
    • The idea of Satyagraha emphasized the power of truth and the need to search for truth. In 1916, Gandhi travelled to Champaran in Bihar to inspire the peasants to struggle against the oppressive plantation system.
    • Mahatma Gandhi advocated a novel method Delhi of mass agitation; called Satyagraha. This method Delhi was based on the idea that if someone is fighting for a true cause, there is no need to take recourse to physical force to fight the oppressor. Gandhiji believed that a satyagrahi could win a battle through non-violence, i.e., without being aggressive or revengeful.
  • Some early Satyagraha movements organized by Gandhiji :
    • Peasants’ Movement in Champaran (Bihar) in 1916.
    • Peasants’ Movement in Kheda district (Gujarat) in 1917.
    • Mill workers’ Movement in Ahmedabad in 1918.
  • The Rowlatt Act (1919) :
    • The Rowlatt Act was passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in 1919. The Indian members did not support the Act, but it was passed; nevertheless. The Act gave enormous powers to the government to repress political activities. It allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two years.
    • On 6th April, 1919; Gandhiji launched a nationwide Satyagraha against the proposed Rowlatt Act. The call of strike on 6th April got huge response. People came out in support in various cities, shops were shut down and workers in railway workshops went on strike. The British administration decided to clamp down on the nationalists. Several local leaders were arrested. Mahatma Gandhi was barred from entering Delhi.
  • Jallianwalla Bagh :
    • On 10th April 1919; in Amritsar; the police fired upon a peaceful procession. This provoked widespread attacks on government establishments. Martial law was imposed in Amritsar and the command of the area was given to General Dyer.
    • The infamous Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre took place on 13th April; the day on which Baisakhi is celebrated in Punjab. A crowd of villagers came to participate in a fair in Jallianwalla Bagh. This was enclosed from all sides with narrow entry points.
    • General Dyer blocked the exit points and opened fire on the crowd. Hundreds of people were killed in the incident. Public reaction to the incident took a violent turn in many north Indian towns. The government was quite brutal in its response. Things took highly violent turn. Mahatma Gandhi called off the movement as he did not want violence to continue.
  • Khilafat Movement : The Khilafat issue gave Mahatma Gandhi an opportunity to bring the Hindus and Muslims on a common platform. The Ottoman Turkey was badly defeated in the First World War. There were rumours about a harsh peace treaty likely to be imposed on the Ottoman emperor; who was the spiritual head of the Islamic world (the Khalifa). A Khilafat committee was formed in Bombay in March 1919 to defend the Khalifa. This committee had leaders like the brothers Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali. They also wanted Mahatma Gandhi to take up the cause to build a united mass action. At the Calcutta session of the Congress in September 1920, the resolution was passed to launch a Non-Cooperation movement in support of Khilafat and also for swaraj.
  • Non-Cooperation Movement : In his famous book Hind Swaraj (1909), Mahatma Gandhi declared that British rule was established in India with the cooperation of Indians, and had survived only because of this cooperation. If Indians refused to cooperate, British rule in India would collapse within a year, and swaraj would come. Gandhiji believed that if Indians begin to refuse to cooperate, the British rulers will have no other way than to leave India.
  • Some of the proposals of Non-Cooperation Movement :
    • Surrender the titles which were awarded by the British government.
    • Boycott of civil services, army, police, courts, legislative councils and schools.
    • Boycott of foreign goods.
    • Launch full civil disobedience campaign, if the government persisted with repressive measures.
  • Differing Strands within the Movement : The Non-Cooperation-Khilafat Movement began in January 1921. Various social groups participated in this movement, each with its own specific aspiration. All of them responded to the call of Swaraj, but the term meant different things to different people.
  • Awadh : The peasants’ movement in Awadh was led by Baba Ramchandra. He was a sanyasi who had earlier worked in Fiji as an indentured labourer. The peasants were against the high rents and may other cesses, which were demanded by talukdars and landlords. The peasants demanded reduction of revenue, abolition of begar, and social boycott of oppressive landlords.
  • Tribal Peasants : Tribal peasants gave their own interpretation of Mahatma Gandhi and the idea of swaraj. The tribals were prevented from entering the forests to graze cattle, or to collect fruits and firewood. The new forest laws were a threat to their livelihoods. The government forced them to do begar on road construction.
    • Many rebels from the tribal areas became non-violent and often carried guerrilla warfare against the British officials.
  • Swaraj in the Plantations : The plantation workers were not permitted to leave the tea gardens without permission; as per the Indian Emigration Act of 1859. When the news of Non-Cooperation Movement spread to the plantations, many workers began to defy the authorities. They left plantations and headed towards their homes. But they got stranded on the way because of a railway and steamer strike. They were caught by the police and brutally beaten up.
  • Simon Commission
    • The British government constituted a Statutory Commission under Sir John Simon. The Commission was made to look into the functioning of the constitutional system in India and suggest changes. But since all the members in the Commission were British, the Indian leaders opposed the Commission.
    • The Simon Commission arrived in India in 1928. It was greeted with the slogan ‘Go back Simon’. All parties joined the protest. In October 1929, Lord Irwin announced a vague offer of ‘dominion status’ for India but its timing was not specified. He also offered to hold a Round Table Conference to discuss the future Constitution.
  • Salt March (Beginning of Civil Disobedience Movement)
    • Mahatma Gandhi believed that salt could be a powerful symbol to unite the whole nation. Most of the people; including the British scoffed at the idea. Abolition of the salt tax was among many demands which were raised by Gandhiji through a letter to Viceroy Irwin.
    • The Salt March or Dandi March was started by Gandhiji on 12th March 1930. He was accompanied by 78 volunteers. They walked for 24 days to cover a distance of 240 miles from Sabarmati to Dandi. Many more joined them in the way. On 6th April 1930, Gandhiji ceremonially violated the law by taking a fistful of salt.
    • The Salt March marked the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement. Thousands of people broke the salt law in different parts of country. People demonstrated in front of government salt factories. Foreign cloth was boycotted. Peasants refused to pay revenue. Village officials resigned. Tribal people violated forest laws.
  • Response of British Rulers : The colonial government began to arrest the Congress leaders. This led to violent clashes in many places. Mahatma Gandhi was arrested about a month later. People began to attack the symbols of British rule; such as police posts, municipal buildings, law courts and railway stations. The government’s repression was quite brutal. Even women and children were beaten up. About 100,000 people were arrested.
  • Round Table Conference : When things began to take a violent turn, Mahatma Gandhi called off the movement. He signed a pact with Irwin on 5th March 1931. This was called the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. As per the Pact, Gandhiji agreed to participate in the Round Table Conference in London. In lieu of that, the government agreed to release the political prisoners. Gandhiji went to London in December 1931. The negotiations broke down and Gandhiji had to return with disappointment. When Gandhiji came back to India, he found that most of the leaders were put in jail. Congress had been declared illegal. Many measures were taken to prevent meetings, demonstrations and boycotts. Mahatma Gandhi relaunched the Civil Disobedience Movement. By 1934, the movement had lost its momentum.
  • Farmers : For the farmers, the fight for swaraj was a struggle against high revenues. When the movement was called off in 1931; without the revenue rates being revised; the farmers were highly disappointed. Many of them refused to participate when the movement was re-launched in 1932. The small tenants just wanted the unpaid rent to the landlord to be remitted. They often joined the radical movements which were led by Socialists and Communists. Congress did not want to alienate the rich landlords and hence, the relationship between the poor peasants and Congress was uncertain.
  • Businessmen : The Indian merchants and industrialists could grow their business during the First World War. They were against those colonial policies which restricted their business activities. They wanted protection against imports and a Rupee-Sterling Foreign Exchange ratio which would discourage imports. The Indian Industrial and Commercial Congress was formed in 1920 and the Federation of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) was formed in 1927. These were the results of attempts to bring the common business interests on a common platform. For the businessmen, Swaraj meant an end to oppressive colonial policies. They wanted an environment which could allow the business to flourish. They were apprehensive of militant activities and of growing influence of socialism among the younger members of the Congress.
  • Industrial Workers : The industrial workers showed lukewarm response to the Civil Disobedience Movement. Since industrialists were closer to the Congress, workers kept a distance from the movement. But some workers selectively participated in the Movement. Congress did not want to alienate the industrialists and hence preferred to keep the workers’ demands at bay.
  • Women’s Participation : Women also participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement in large numbers. However, most of the women were from high-caste families in the urban areas and from rich peasant households in the rural areas. But for a long time, the Congress was reluctant to give any position of authority to women within the organization. The Congress was just keen on the symbolic presence of women.
    The Sense of Collective Belonging
    • Nationalist Movement Spreads when people belonging to different regions and communities begin to develop a sense of collective belongingness. The identity of a nation is most often symbolized in a figure or image.
    • This image of Bharat Mata was first created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in 1870 when he wrote ‘Vande Mataram’ for our motherland. Indian folk songs and folk sung by bards played an important role in making the idea of nationalism. In Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore and in Madras, Natesa, Sastri collection of folk tales and songs, this led the movement for folk revival.
    • During the Swadeshi Movement, a tri-color (red, green and yellow) flag was designed in Bengal. It had eight lotuses representing eight provinces and a crescent moon representing Hindus and Muslims.
    • Means of creating a feeling of nationalism was through reinterpretation of history. The nationalist writers urged the readers to take pride in India’s great achievements in the past and struggle to change the miserable conditions of life under British rule.

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