Foundation of Congress and Indian Freedom Struggle

Foundation of Congress & Indian Freedom Struggle

Allan Octavian Hume

  • The foundation of Indian National Congress in December 1885 symbolized maturity of Indian Nationality & it marked beginning of Indian National Movement.
  • Congress was one Pan India political platform created by Indian Nationalist but the foundation of congress has been explained quite differently by different scholars.
  • A number of theories & controversies are associated with foundation of congress and cause of this issue of foundation of congress has remained at center of historical debate for long time.

Was Congress a Safety Valve For British Rule?

 Safety Valve Theory

  • Safety valve theory associated with foundation of congress was put forward by Lala Lajpat Rai in 1916 in his paper “Young India”.
  • According to this theory, Congress was found by A. Hume to work as safety value for British Indian Empire.
  • It was created to act as platform from which Indian leaders could raise issues concerning masses. The suffering of Indians want to be highlighted by leaders of congress so senior British officers could get know about circumstances prevailing at ground.
  • Congress acts as rent to release the Anti-British discontent prevailing in hearts and minds of Indian so that British Indian Empire could be protected from any possible mass revolt.


 Basis of Safety Value Theory

  • Safety value theory was proposed by Lala Lajpat Rai on basis on reformers found in biography of Hume written by William Wetterburn in 1913.
  • According to this biography, Hume was deeply concern about safety of British Indian Empire as he knew that a very strong Anti-British discontent was prevailing among masses.
  • According to William Wetterburn, Hume had large number of mysterious Mahatmas and Chelas. They used to travel across length & breadth of India. These Mahatmas has mysterious power to appear & disappear at any place by will. They informed Hume that common masses was seating about Anti-British-Discontent.
  • William also wrote that Hume came across 30 thousand secret reports while working at Shimla in 1878. These reports were full of warning about possibilities of mass revolt against British rule.
  • Concerned about safety of British Indian Empire, Hume found congress by mobilizing Indian leaders on common platforms so discontent prevailing among masses could release gradually in peacefully manner.


Critical Examination of Safety Valve Theory

  • A closer examination of argue and evidence, reveals that evidences mentioned in Hume’s biography were deliberately fabricated to take credit for foundation of congress to destroy its Nationalist characters.
  • The story of Mahatma & chelas was a clear work of imagination because nobody can have power to appear/disappear at any place by free will.
  • In 1878, Hume was working in revenue department at Shimla. How an officer of revenue department could come across 30 thousand secret reports kept in home department wasn’t explained either by William Wetterburn or Lala Lajpat Rai.
  • Even it is accepted that Hume really came across secret years then why he waited for 7 long years for foundation of congress this was not also explained by anybody.
  • These limitations of argue and reformers to support Safety Valve Theory clearly reveals that congress was not a tool of British imperialism. This theory fails to explain foundation of congress satisfactorily.


Was Congress brainchild of Lord Dufferin?

  • C. Banerjee, the 1st president of congress commented in 1898 that congress was brainchild of Lord Dufferin.
  • His opinion was that the idea of foundation of Indian national congress put forward by Dufferin.
  • According to this view, Dufferin & Hume worked together in foundation of congress.
  • This comment was made by W.C. Banerjee to protect congress from repressing measures being unleashed British Indian Empire for destroying it.
  • By closing years of 19th century, the leaders of congress started condemning colonial character of British Rule strongly.
  • During 1896-97, many parts of India were struck by severe famine, killing millions of people.
  • In 1897, Western India stroked by epidemic of plunge. The pathetic response of British government to suffering of masses had intensified Anti-British Discontent.
  • The struggle against British Rule had gain immense strength & congress was in the forefront.
  • The British Indian government taking every possible step to destroy congress & save congress from these suppressive measures. W.C. Banerjee made comment so British convinced that congress was not against of British Rule.
  • Recently secret letter written by Dufferin to Reay, governor of Bombay was declassified. In this letter, Dufferin asked Reay to remain vigilance towards activities of Hume termed as “an old man who seems to lost his mental balance.”
  • Content of this letter clearly conferred that Hume & Dufferin didn’t work together in foundation of congress & congress was not brainchild of Lord Dufferin.

Real Character of Foundation of Congress

The first session of the Early Nationalists of India in 1885

  • Closer examination of circumstances leading foundation of congress clearly reveals that it didn’t emerge suddenly from situation of vacuum.
  • In reality, the foundation of congress in December 1885 symbolized culmination of long procedure of gradually evolution going on since 1830’s.
  • Bangbhasha Prakashika Sabha established by followers of Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1836 at Calcutta was 1st political association in India.
  • In July 1838, Jamindari association/Land holder’s society was established at Calcutta by Dwarkanath Tagore.
  • In 1843, Bengal British India Society was established by George Thompson at Calcutta.
  • In 1851, British Indian Association was established at Calcutta by Debendranath Tagore.
  • This process of political awakening raised Madras residency as well.
  • In 1852 February, Madras Native Association was established by G.L. Chetty.
  • In August 1852, Bombay Association was created by Jaganath Shankar Seth.
  • In 1870, Poona Sarvajanik Sabha was established M.G. Ranade & others.
  • In September 1875, Indian league was found by Babu Shishir ghosh & Motilal Ghosh at Calcutta.
  • In July 1876, Indian Association was established by S.N.Banerjee & Anand Mohan Bose.
  • In May 1884, Madras Mahajan Sabha was found by B. Ananda Charlu, G. Subramanya Ayyar & M. Vira Baghavachari.
  • In January 1885, Bombay Presidency Association established by Feroz Shah Mehta, K.T. Tailenga & Badrudin Tyaibji.
  • In this way procedure of established regional nationalist political platform was successfully over.
  • Indian nationalist were looking for pan India political platform at foundation of congress in December 1885 was the outcome of same aspirations.


Role of Hume in Foundation of Congress

  • The recent researches have brought light that Hume has enlightened importance.
  • He was concerned about white gulf prevailing in government of India & people of India. He was apprehensive that the situation of lack of common channel would intensify anti-British discontent among masses & in long run this situation could hurt interest of British Empire.
  • He believed that limited political awakening among Indians would be beneficial to British Indian Empire.
  • Hume retired from government service in 1882 but did nothing signature before December 1888.
  • He was triggered into action by the foundation of Indian nationalist conference by Surendra Nath Banerjee in December 1883. Banerjee declared that it would convert in a pan India national platform.
  • Banerjee was radical nationalist. He was close followers of Italian nationalist philosopher Mazzini.
  • Hume was apprehensive that leadership of Indian nationalist fell into hand of Surendra Nath Banerjee them British Indian Empire would be seriously harmed.
  • Surendra Nath Banerjee undertook a tour of various part of India to bring Indian leaders on to platform of Indian National Congress.
  • To take wind out of the sail (to nullify) of Surendra Nath Banerjee, Hume mobilized Indian nationalist leader on common platform & founded Indian National Congress in December 1885, before Surendra Nath Banerjee could return from his tour.
  • Role of Hume in foundation of Indian National Congress was just that of organizers.
  • Larger circumstances were already ready by December 1885 for emergence of pan India political platform.
  • This platform would also come out even without Hume. So it doesn’t correct to say that congress was handy of work of Hume. His role was just minor factor in foundation of Indian national congress.

Lightening Conductor Issue

Why did Indian leaders accept leadership of Hume?

  • Indian nationalist leaders were aware of imperialist outlook of Hume.
  • They knew very well Hume wanted Indian National Congress use as Safety Valve against British Indian Empire in spite of this Indian nationalist cooperated with Hume to use him as lightening conductors.
  • Indian nationalist was aware of the fact that if pan India platform like congress was established under leadership of an Indian the British wouldn’t let it survive.
  • To protect nascent congress from British suppressive reaction the Indian leaders kept Hume in front to convince British government that congress wasn’t going to work against British Rule.
  • Hume was used as a shield by Indian leaders to protect congress.
  • History is living evidence of fact that congress never acted as safety valve for British Rule. Hume couldn’t succeed in his design but Indian leaders outsmarted Hume & they use him as lightening conductor.


Moderate Phase of Indian National Congress Movement

Dadabhai Naoroji

  • During first two decades after its foundation, Congress was guided by moderate ideology.
  • Since congress represented Indian nationalist movement, it can be seen that first two decades of Indians struggle against British Rule were marked by dominance of moderate outlook.
  • Leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, G.Ghokhale, W.C. Banerjee, Firojshah Mehta, and Surendra Nath Banerjee were prominent personalities that guided national movement during moderate phase.


Nature & Character of National Movement during Moderate Phase

  • National Movement was liberal in character during Moderate Phase because moderate use of liberal methods & demands rose by them.
  1. Elements of radicalism were absent in attitude & activities of moderate leaders.
  2. They demanded concessions & reforms, so scope of civil liberties being enjoyed by people could be expanded.
  • National Movement was progressive in outlook during Moderate Phase because the moderate were inspired by vision of better & brighter future.
  • Moderate were forward looking they adopted positive element from every possible source including the west.
  • National Movement was democratic in its character during Moderate Phase because democratization of Indian polity was the main demand of moderate.
  • Expansion & empowerment of legislative council, adult suffrage & direct election of representative was some prominent demands of moderate.
  • National Movement was egalitarian in outlook during Moderate Phase.
  • Indian leaders opposed all types of discrimination being practiced under British Rule. The rational discrimination was main target of Muslim League. They demanded equality in opportunity to Indian citizens by holding civil services examine in India along with London.
  • Westernized outlook was dominant in National Movement during Moderate Phase because most of Muslim League had received western education. They were strongly under influence of western ideas associated with age of enlightenment.
  • National Movement was urban in character during Moderate Phase. National struggle limited to town & cities cause spirit of nationalism was yet to reach Indian villages.
  • In term of its social composition, National Movement was elitist in character in Moderate Phase because of most of Muslim League were coming upper & upper middle class of Indian society, landlord, big businessman, lawyers & professors etc dominated national struggle during Moderate Phase.
  • National Movement was non-violent in character during Moderate Phase. These leaders believed in efficacy of peaceful method. They never used/justify violent activity.
  • Non-sectarian outlook was dominant in National Movement during Moderate Phase cause Muslim League deliberately focused on common national issues, class issue concerning a particularly section of people particularly workers & pageants were deliberately avoided.
  • National Movement was constitutionalist in outlook during Moderate Phase because constitutional method of agitation used to fight against British Rule.
  • The moderate used press legislative bodies petitions and memorandum to raise their demands.
  • Belief in British sense of justice & fairness was another important feature of National Movement during Moderate Phase.
  • Muslim League was under the impression that the British are good, people & they meant to do justice to India.
  • Moderates believe that Indian facing some difficulties it was just because senior British rule was not aware of that. They were under impression suffering people brought to the notice of government the necessary action to eliminate would initiative.
  • Belief in efficiency of British rule was another important feature of National Movement during Moderate Phase.
  • Muslim League believes that British rule was good for India & it must be continued.
  • Muslim League not only supported British rule but also worked to strengthen it.
  • Moderates were under impression that end of British rule were push India into anarchy.
  • National Movement was anti-colonial in character.
  • In spite of the fact, moderate supported British rule, they opposed ongoing colonial exploitation of Indian resources.
  • UnBritish character of British was strongly condemned by moderate.
  • Moderate failed to realize that British rule was essentially colonial in character.
  • Economic critic of British rule was another important identity of moderate phase of Indian nationalism.
  • Moderate focus primarily on analysis of economic impact of British rule.
  • Dadabhai Naoroji put forward “Drain Theory”. He explained how Indian handicraft industry.
  • British rule was held responsible for destruction of Indian handicraft industry.
  • The recurring famine (starving) & massive poverty prevailing in India were explained as outlook of impact of British rule.
  • Moderates had no faith in strength & capacity of common masses. They failed to visualize any role in common masses in India’s struggle against British rule.
  • National Movement failed to produce any concrete result during moderate phase. Muslim League couldn’t get what they demanded.
  • National Movement was secular in character.
  • Moderates didn’t used religion s tool in anti-British struggle.
  • First four president of congress were belonging to four difference religion.

Critical Examination of Achievements of Moderates

  • Muslim League had failed in building sufficient pressure on British Rule so that British could be compelled to accept Indian demands. But at same time it most emphasize that moderates were not complete failure.
  • The efforts made by moderate laid should ground for India’s struggle.
  • They were busy in laying the foundation which was not visible on surface.
  • Efforts made by moderates made political maturity in India. As a result, India’s struggle could get to continue strength with passage of time.
  • The concrete achievements of moderates could be seen in form of
  • Established Public Service Commission in 1886.
  • Enactment of Indian council act 1892.
  • Introduction of resolution In British house of common with the demand of simultaneous holding of Civil Service Examination in India along with London 1893.
  • Appointment of “Welby Commission” 1895 to suggest measures for better management of Indian expenditure.
Welby Commission- In 1895, the Royal Commission on the Administration of Expenditure of India, commonly known as the Welby Commission, was set up to look into Indian expenditures. The Commission’s membership included: Lord Welby (1832-1915) Lord Chaman (1859-1925) and T.R. Buchanan as Parliamentary representatives, and William Wedderburn (1838-1918), Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), and William S. Caine (1842-1903) as representatives of Indian interests. This improved the economic condition of India by reducing excessive expenditure.
  • Economic critic put forward by moderate was their biggest contribution. It exposed the true character of British Rule Indian nationalist could see that British Rule essentially exploitive this realization intensified the anti-British discontent prevailing among Indians. The raise of extremism in National Movement was outlook of same.

Limitations of Moderate Phase in National Movement

  • Muslim League failed to understand that British Rule was essentially exploitative.
  • Muslim League couldn’t appreciate role of masses in national struggle.
  • National Movement limited to towns & city. Its geographical spread remains limited.
  • National Movement limited to conference hall & discussion chambers during Moderate Phase nationalist activities number where visible in streets.
  • Muslim League were too pacifist to be effective because of this moderate failed in putting pressure on British Rule.
  • Issues concerning common were not raised by moderate as a result of whom suffering people continued unabated.

Rise of Extremist in National Movement

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  • During opening years of 20th century, new ideas & beliefs had started becoming visible among Indians National Leaders. This new orientation of Indian leaders was fundamentally difference when compared with early phase of national movement.
  • Extremist emerged as dominant ideology in national struggle under leadership of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, and Lala Lajpat Rai & Arvindo Ghosh etc.
  • In spite of fact that most extremist leaders were expelled from congress in 1907, the dominance of extremist ideology in National Struggle had continued.


Factors which caused Emergence of Extremism

  • Failure of Muslim League in producing much concrete result forced younger generation of nationalist to develop faith in efficacy of extremism.
  • Realization of true character of British Rule as a result efforts made by early nationalist.
  • Shattered faith of Indian leaders in British sense of justice & fairness.
  • They started demanding Swaraj & used radical method for attainment of the same.
  • Economic difficulties being faced by masses & repressive policy followed by British Rule at a time when millions were dyeing due to starvation, compelled Indian Leaders to raise voice against British Rule strongly(1899, 1897, 1896).
  • Extremism in National Movement also emerged as reaction to increasing westernization of India. British were consciously pushing western ideas, institutions & practices to strengthen foundation of British colonial rule.
  • This westernization was taken as assault on Indians culture & it was oppose strongly by Indian nationalist.
  • Contemporary international development such as defeat of Italy at hands of Ethiopia (1896) & victory of Japan against Russia (1905) greatly embolden the Indian nationalist leaders. They also started believing that British Rule could be opposed manifested itself in form of extremist.
  • Racial policy of Lord Curzon was played important role. (1899-1905)
  • Curzon was racist in outlook. He insulted Indian citizens & culture as & when he got opportunity.
  • Representative election was suppressed by him through Calcutta corporation act (1899) & Indian university act (1904).
  • Partition of Bengal & Swadeshi movements launched to opposite it pushed extremists forefront of Indian struggle against British Rule moderate lost into background.

Nature & Character of National Movement during Extremist Phase

  • National Movement was radical in character during extremist phase because the demands rose by extremist & methods used by them were aggressive.
  • Extremis were not satisfied with concessions & reforms. They raised demand of “Swaraj”.
  • Extremely radical methods such as Swadeshi & boycott were used by extremis to pressurize British Rule.
  • Extremis progressive in outlook but time appeared as if they were reactionary in character.
  • Extremist Leaders like Tilak opposed the age of concert act 1891 that rose the manageable age not cause they against reforms but cause extremis was against British interference in Indian socio cultural matter.
  • Democratic and egalitarian in outlook.
  • Urban in character.
  • Non-violent and Anti-colonial in nature.
  • The extremis were secular in character but in time religious slogan were used by them to mobilize masses against British Rule. Because of these critics of congress questioned secular credentials of extremist.
  • Extremist were Indianized in their outlook. They drove inspiration from greatness of Indian culture.
  • National Movement was no longer elitist during Extreme Phase, because most Extremist Leaders were coming from middle & lower middle section of Indian society.
  • In spite of the fact that issues concerning peasantry & working class were raised by extremis leaders, National Movement continued to remain non sectarian in outlook.
  • Extremis didn’t have any faith in efficacy of British Rule. They knew that British Rule essentially colonial & exploitative.
  • There was no faith in British sense of justice & fairness among Extremist Leaders. They believed that “Swaraj” was only solution to Indian problems.
  • Constitutionalist as well as extra-methods of agitation were used by extremis because of this National Movement was no longer constitutionalist in character.
  • National Movement assumed comprehensive outlook during extremis phase. Not only economic impacts of British Rule were analyzed but at same time socio cultural dimensions of British Rule were highlighted.
  • National Movement assumed mass character during extremis phase because these leaders had great faith in strength & capacity of common masses.
  • Swadeshi Movement launched in 1906 was first milestone in history of Indians struggle against British Rule.
  • Extreme Phase of National Movement was highly successful cause pressure developed by extremist forced British government to hasten the proc of reform. Enactment of act 1909 & 1919 were ex. of same.
  • It was the pressure built by extremists that British Rule to anole the partition of Bengal in 1911 & for capital from Calcutta to Delhi.

Partition of Bengal (1905)

  • Partition of Bengal was carried out in 1905 by dividing province of Bengal into two units having capitals at Calcutta & Dhaka.
  • Partition was known in public domain unofficially since December 1903.
  • It was unannounced officially on 19 July 1905.
  • It was implanted on 16 October 1905.
  • The province of Bengal comprised Bengal, Bihar, Orissa & that its total population was about 80 millions.
  • There was separate province of Assam since 1874; it was headed by Lieutenant Governor.
  • East Bengal and Assam were put together with capital at Dhaka, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa were left together with capital Calcutta.
  • The province having capital at Calcutta was having total people of 54 millions. Out of which 42 million were Hindus & nine millions were Muslims. The other province having capital at Dhaka total people of 31 million out of which 18 million were Muslims & 12 million were Hindus.


Causes of Bengal Partition

  • Admin Inconvenience was put forward as official explanation for partition of Bengal.
  • It was being emphasized that united Bengal was too big to be Admin. From one capital & admin convenience required its division into smaller units.
  • Closer examination of circumstances leading to partition of Bengal clearly reveals that it was masterstroke of Curzon’s internal politics.
  • Lord Curzon was a strong imperialist. He was determined to wipe out every possible challenge to British Rule in India. The growing strength of National Movement was posing serious threat to existence of British Rule. And to weaken it, province of Bengal partitioned.
  • Spirit of National Movement was strongest in province of Bengal. In fact, Bengal National Movement was representing Indian National Movement at that time.
  • The Hindu-Muslims unity was real source of strength of Indian National Movement.
  • Partition of Bengal was an instrument to put Hindus & Muslims against each other by creating a new Muslim majority province.
  • The idea was to convince Muslim that British Rule was in their favor & British were the true saviors.
  • Scheme of partition Bengal not only planned division along religious line but also it initialed divisions along cultural line. In one province, Hindus were converted into minority & in other province, Bengali were converted in minimum.
  • In West Bengal, Bengalis were about 18million & non-Bengalis were 36 millions.
  • The economic interest of European Tea planter of Assam was also involved in Partition of Bengal.
  • These tea planters wanted to develop Chittagong as a part, so that exportation cost of tea could be reduced.
  • These European planters wanted to merge eastern district of Assam so that fully fledged province headed by government could came into existence.
  • This was expected to Europeans to give control over taxation power enjoyed by government to their advantage.


Consequences of Partition of Bengal

  • Partition of Bengal produced result that was never anticipated instead of weakening Indian National Movement, the Partition of Bengal intensified it greatly.
  • The decision of govt. to implement Partition of Bengal, in spite of repeated request & opposition of Indian nationalist shattered Indian faith in British sense of justice & fairness.
  • Every Indian-nationalist realized that British rule was essential colonial.
  • The petitions & prayers were failed on deaf British ears. This proved extremists were correct that British rule was essentially exploitative & anti-Indian.
  • To oppose Partition of Bengal Indian Nationalist launched “Swadeshi Movement”.
  • On 7th August 1905, Indian nationalist assembled in Calcutta Town Hall & decided to launch swadeshi movement.
  • On December 1905, at Banaras session of congress, preside over by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Congress officially sanctioned launching of swadeshi movement.
  • Launching of swadeshi movement transformed character of anti-British struggle because National Movement activities came out into streets, moderates pushed into background & extremists came out to the forefront of anti­-British struggle.
  • The chain of events triggered by Partition of Bengal & launching of swadeshi movement culminated in the independence in India in 1947 because with passage of time Indian National Movement continued to increase & ultimately British had to leave India.
  • Anti-Partition Agitation gave new objective to India’s struggle against British Rule.
  • On December 1906, at Calcutta session, the congress adopted the goal of Swaraj reforms & concessions were no longer inspiring India’s struggle against British Rule.
  • Anti-partition agitation gave new methods of struggle against British Rule.
  • Weapons of swadeshi & boycott were adopted first time to pressurize British Rule for accepting Indian demands. This method became integral part of struggle here after.
  • Swadeshi movement was first Pan India movement in limited way because anti-partition national activities were not only limited to Bengal.
  • In Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai & Sardar Ajit Singh laid swadeshi movement.
  • In Delhi, Swadeshi Movement laid by Sayyed Haider Raja.
  • In Madras, Hari Sarvottama Rao was leading swadeshi movement.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak was most prominent leader in Maharashtra.
  • In Bengal, Surendernath Banerjee, Arvind Ghosh & Bipinchandra were leading movement.
  • Partition of Bengal gave a burning nationalist issue to Indians. It could be used to mobilize common masses. As a result of which social base of anti-British struggle got widened significantly.
  • Women, students, workers as well as peasants participated in swadeshi movement.
  • Swadeshi movement also strengthened cultural foundation of anti -British struggle.
  • The day partition came into force (16 October) was celebrated as Rakshabandhan day Hindu & Muslim tied Rakhi to each other.
  • Both the communities kept fast on this day to oppose Partition of Bengal.
  • Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore composed “Aamar Sonar Bangla” to infuse new energy among Indian nationalists fighting against British Rule.
  • Nationalist school of painting emerged with Shanti Niketan as head quarter.
  • Painting of Bharat Mata by Rabindranath Tagore inspired nationalist to fight against British Rule.
  • National music also got boost in partition.
  • Swadeshi movement also strengthened economy which laid foundation of India struggle against British Rule because indigenous industries got boost during anti-partition agitation.
  • Acharya Sir Prafulla Chandra Ray established Bengal chemical factory.
  • Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company was founded by O Chidambaram Pillai.
  • Tata Iron and Steel Company was founded in 1907.
  • The indigenous textile industry got boost due boycott of foreign goods.
  • When Partition of Bengal was cancelled in 1911, it greatly emboldened Indian Nationalist. It was hard fought victory & it inspired Nationalist to fight against British Rule with greater resolve in future.


Surat Split (December 1907)

Congress Split at Surat

The expulsion of extremists from congress in December 1907 at Surat session is known as “Surat Split” in modern Indian history. It was most significant event in history of Indian Struggle against British Rule.

Causes of Surat Split

  • Ideological difference of moderates & extremists was responsible for Surat Split.
  • These differences got widen signature after Partition of Bengal & due to massive mass support attracted by Swadeshi movement.
  • On December 1905, the congress sanctioned launching of mass movements to oppose partition of Bengal. Moderates were not in favor of it whole hearted because they believed in policy of petition & prayer. But they could not oppose launching of mass movements due to public pressure.
  • By December 1906, extremists had gained immense confidence they wanted to have President as their person. But Dadabhai Naoroji was elected as resolutions were adopted on Swaraj, boycott, and nationalism education at Calcutta.
  • Growing strength of Indian Nationalism was posing serious challenge to British Rule. To counter this a prompt strategy adopted, its component were
  • Conciliate moderates by giving indication of reforms.
  • Isolate extremists
  • Suppress extremists by using force.
  • Moderates failed in British trap. Moderates came to Surat session in December 1907 with firm resolve to take book resolution of 1906.
  • On other hand, the extremists had gained so much of confidence that moderates was called as “useless baggage”. Extremists wanted to establish their control over congress.
  • Due to numerical majority, moderates got the candidate Rasbihari Ghosh elected as congress President. But when session was going on the ideological difference got transformed into physical fight. Police entered into venue, extremists were pulled out & moderates adopted resolution provided for the expulsion of extremists.


Significance of Surat Split

  • Surat Spilt was big failure of Indian nationalists on one hand & other hand it was great success of British.
  • What British fail to achieve by Partition of Bengal was achieved by Surat Split.
  • Expulsion of extremists nullified the effect of both section of Nationalists because moderates & extremists could effective only by together. If extremists sword, moderates is shield once they were away they lose effect.
  • Surat Split allowed British to neglect moderates & suppress extremists successfully.
  • Tilak was sentenced rigorous imprisonment & was deported to Myanmar.
  • Arvindo Ghosh was tried in Alipur Bombing case. Though he was acquitted but left active politics & retired to president.
  • Surat Split resulted in sudden death of Swadeshi Movement. It was movement by extremists & once they were no longer in congress movement lost its leadership & it died out suddenly.
  • Surat Split transformed atmosphere of political activism into passivism because for decades no mass agitation could be organized in India.
  • Surat Split & failure of swadeshi movement disillusioned the younger generation of nationalist they lost their faith in efficacy of peaceful methods & started believing that western bondage of British only by western hammer of violation.
  • This thinking gave boost to revolutionary extremist movement.
  • Surat Split came as great lesson to Indian nationalist. They realized their mistake. This bitter experience came handy when similar ideological difference developments due to sudden withdraw of Non Cooperation Movement in 1920-21.
  • It was because of tough lesson fought by Surat Split another split could be avoided consciously.


Social Composition of Early Congress

  • Data available about membership of congress during 1892-1909 helps in understanding social composition.
  • Congress was dominated by upper & upper middle class of India society during early phase.
  • In the 1st session held at Bombay 1885-72, non-official & 28 official members were participated.
  1. a) Most non-officials were lawyer, merchant, banker, educationalist, land owners & journalist.
  • As per data available from congress (1892-1909),

39% members’ lawyers

19% members’ landlords

15% members’ traders

3% members’, Doctors & Journalists

  • Members of congress were coming from all major religions.
  1. a) 13837 delegates participated in annual meeting (1892-1909) of congress, out of these 12383- Hindu, 912- Muslim, 210-parsi &177-christians.
  • Participation of common section of society was absent.
  • Western educated urban classes were forming majority, rural participation were absent.

British Response to Early Congress

  • Lord Dufferin was governor general of India at time of foundation of congress. He neither welcomed nor opposed the emergence of congress.
  • During early years, Dufferin British policy was wait & watch, because government under impression that leaders of congress would not raise voice against British Rule.
  • At time of Calcutta session of congress in December 1886, Governor-General Lord Dufferin boosted dinner for them.
  • But he consciously addressed those distinguished visitors to city not as members of congress.
  • December 1887, Annual session of congress was held in Madras. The governor of Madras helped leaders of congress in suitable venue for holding session .When leaders of congress could not arrange the scene.
  • By Madras session December 1887, real nationalist character of congress had came out in open congress started condemning British Rule for hunger, poverty & famine. As a result of this, British government both in India & London started condemning congress.
  • In 1888, Lord Dufferin criticized a member of congress as “selfish babu” who represents no one but themselves. He also condemned congress as organization of microscopic minority of Indians.
  • Secretary Of State, Lord Hamilton trumped congress as seditious body.
  • Lord Elgin II commented that India was conquered through sword & shall be hold sword only.
  • While criticizing congress, Lord Curzon commented that congress was tottering to its downfall & while being in India my greatest desire is to see peaceful demise of congress.
  • The Surat split of December 1907 engaged by British Rule by using its policy divide & rule.


Gandhian Phase (1919-1947)

  • In the history of mankind, a number of great leaders emerged to guide humanity during different time period in long list of such great leaders name of Gandhiji came foremost. He was living Saint. His life was an inspiration for & in spite of death of Gandhiji his ideas are still echoing in heart n mind of millions throughout the world.
  • Gandhiji was the foremost leader of Indian National Movement. It landed masses from front till the time he was alive. He was like “one man army” & left listening impact on entire humanity.
  • Rise of Gandhiji as supreme leader of National Movement marked the beginning of new phase in history of Indians struggle against British Rule. It was the pressure built by Gandhian movement that forced British to leave India in 1947.

Controversy about the Rise of Gandhiji

  • Rise of Gandhiji as supreme leader of National Movement has been explained differently by different sections of scholars.
  • The controversy about rise of Gandhiji was triggered by a comment of British historian Judith Brown. He emphasized that rise of Gandhiji was outlook of high level political game; he captured leadership by manipulating prevailing circumstances. This colonial interpretation of the rise of great leader were supported by many British scholars cause such interpretation in tune with the needs of British colonial empire.
  • Closer examination of circumstances leading to rise of Gandhiji reveals that he didn’t emerge suddenly from out of nowhere but in reality his rise was outlook of long process of gradually evolution spanning across more than two decades.

Factors responsible for the Rise of Gandhiji

  • Success of Gandhian experience. In South Africa movement that Gandhiji had led, already made him a national hero for country.
  • Much before Gandhiji put his foot on Indian soil in 1915, his reputation as a great leader had reached every corner of India.
  • Thousands used to flack to bus stand to have a glimpse of great soul whenever Gandhiji visited any part of India.
  • Gandhiji was not required to start his political journey in India from zero.
  • When Gandhiji returned from South Africa in 1915 by that time both moderates & extremists had lost much of their mass appeal.
  • Moderates were too weak to be effective & extremists were largely sounding hollow.
  • These leaders had produced hardly any concrete achievement on ground. The level of nationalist awakening had increased enormously and Indian nationalist looking for alternative leadership who could guide them successfully against British Rule.
  • This quest for a new leadership was satisfied by emergence of Gandhiji on the scene & very soon Gandhiji became supreme leader of anti-British struggle.
  • Situation of leadership vacuum had developed in India by 1919-20 number of prominent leaders like Feroz Shah Mehta, G. Gokhale; Dadabhai Naoroji & Tilak were no more.
  1. a) This situation of leadership vacuum facility rises of Gandhi because he was only leader of stature available in India at that time.
  • Period of 1919-20 was phase of unparallel crisis, the world war was over Indians had corporate with British whole hearted during war. But reward of this corporation came in front of Jalianwalan massive cut & runlet act.
  • The whitewash of massacre cut of innocent people was carried out by hunter committee dishearten every nationalist.
  • These developments had resulted in atmosphere of hopeless in India.
  • This hour of extra-ordinary crisis required an extra-ordinary leadership & Gandhiji was perfect match to this challenge.
  • He jumped forefront to lead this masses during this crisis.
  • The success of early movement launched by Gandhi during 1917-18 convinced masses that only Gandhian leadership could force British to accept Indian demands.
  • Champaran (1917), Ahmedabad Mill Satyagraha (1918) & Khera Satyagraha (1918) were highly successful.
  • These successes hypnotized the masses & Indian nationalist became blind follower of Gandhi.
  • Typical character of Gandhian movements attracted millions. Even the communist could participate in anti-British struggle of Gandhi. He was equally respected by Hindu & Muslim. This widest spread acceptance of Gandhian ideas formed him into supreme leader of National Movement by 1920.
  • Strength of personality of Gandhi was a parallel. He was living Saint. He practiced what he speaks. This consistency of his thoughts & action converted millions into Gandhian follower.
  • Gandhiji lived like most ordinary Indian. Anybody could identify himself with Gandhiji & cause of this every nationalist started realizing fulfillment of his dreams in ideals of Gandhiji.
  • He was a man of magnetic personality. Gandhian misterism had dwarfed every leader as & when Indian nationalist encounter a great challenge they jumped under banner of Gandhiji. By 1920, he was unquestioned supreme leader in National Movement.


Nature & Character of Gandhian Movements

  • Gandhian Movement was based on specific ideas & principles. The examinations of methods used by Gandhiji, its aim & objective, the values inspired him helped in understanding character of Gandhian Movement.
  • Gandhian Movement was liberal in character because fundamental Gandhian struggle was to expand scope of liberty being enjoyed by Indian citizens.
  • This movement was egalitarian, progressive in outlook, Democratic, Secular in character.
  • Gandhian Movement essentially a mass movement cause Gandhiji had great faith in strength & capacity of masses to contribute to India’s struggle against British Rule. He believed that no nationalist struggle can succeed without contribution of masses.
  • Movement was anti-colonial, non-violent.
  • It was characterized by use of constitutional as well as extra constitutional methods.
  • Gandhian Movement was highly radical in character cause Gandhian methods & objective were much more aggressive even then extremist.
  • Gandhian Movement was pan India in character because Gandhiji carried national struggle to remotest corner of India.
  • National Movement was no longer limited to towns & cities. Indian villages also participated in anti-British struggle under leadership of Gandhiji.
  • Gandhian Movement was composite movement because Gandhiji raised not only political, social, economic and cultural issue as well.
  • He fought against untouchability & evils like alcoholism. He worked for upliftment of lower caste & women throughout his life.
  • Gandhian Movement was a process not an event. This movement commenced with return of Gandhi from South Africa & continued without any interruption throughout his life.
  • Gandhian Movement had two phases that is active phase & passive phase. During active phase mass agitation were organized during passive phase village reconstruct phase undertaken.
  • Gandhian village reconstructed focus upon-
  • Prohibition
  • Vocational education
  • Cottage industries
  • Eradication of untouchability
  • Promotion of Hindu-Muslim unity
  • Upliftment of lower caste & women
  • Gandhian Movement essentially was an ethical moral struggle because Gandhiji always used right methods to achieve his objective. He never took advances of weaknesses of his opponent even British were always forewarned before launching mass movement.
  • Gandhian Movement was essentially Satyagraha (fight for truth). He stood for truth irrespective of consequences. He used soul force to overpower his opponents.
  • Struggle-Truce-Struggle (STS) & Pressure-Compromise-Pressure (PCP) were also important features of Gandhian Movement.
  • Gandhiji always used to keep window of compromise open. He never pushed masses to their limit because he knew that fight against British Rule was going to be long drawn out.
  • The period of truce or compromise was used by Gandhi to infuse new energy into masses.
  • Gandhian Movement was regulated movement it was not revolution as such.
  • As & when movement tried to deviate away from its intended course, Gandhi immediately suspended/called off agitation.
  • Gandhian Movement was highly successful because it was pressure built by Gandhian methods that forced British to leave India.
Struggle-Truce-Struggle- Gandhi was of the opinion that the en masse could not went on protest for indefinite time therefore there should be a period of truce to the rule so as to energize the mass and also pressurize the rule to re-think o’er its policy. During the truce period the masses were deployed towards the constructive programme such as charkha, empowerment of women, education and parliamentary work etc. Therefore Gandhi needed the truce period. This is Struggle-Truce-Struggle theory as observed by Bipan Chandra.

Pressure-compromise-pressure- Under this strategy, political pressure, usually through a mass movement, is applied, political concessions are secured, there is a period of ‘peaceful co-operation’, however disguised, with the colonial political structure; while such ‘goodwill’ prevails on both sides, preparations are made for another round of pressure or mass movements, till the cycle is repeated — the repetition being an upward spiralling one. The political advance came, according to this strategy, through the political or constitutional actions of the constituted authority — i e, the British Government. Seizure of political power was thus ruled out by the inherent logic of this strategy.






Significance of Gandhian Movement

  • Rise of Gandhiji as supreme leader in India’s struggle imparted a new orientation to National Movement.
  • New aims & objective & new methods of struggle became a part of National Movement as a result of emergence of Gandhiji.
  • It was Gandhi who defined the aim of Swaraj for first time clearly. At Nagpur session December 1920, Gandhi explained Swaraj as self government in British Rule & outside if necessary.
  • The methods of non-cooperation., civil disobedience, peaceful court assets & pedestrian marches became important part of anti-British struggle during Gandhian Phase.
  • Anti-British struggled greatly, radicalized by commencement of Gandhian Movement because Gandhi come front with British had on without any fear with his peaceful methods.
  • National Movement got formed into true mass movement during Gandhian Phase.
  • Gandhi had great faith in strength & capacity of masses at his one call, lacs used to jump into anti-British struggle without worrying about consequences.
  • Gandhian Movement erased the fear of British right from heart and mind of masses.
  • When common people participated in large number in anti-British, they could see helpless of British in front of Gandhi with their own eyes.
  • Gandhian Movement converted National Struggle into composite movement because Gandhiji raised not only political issues but also socio-economic-cultural issue concerning masses such as eradication of untouchability, upliftment of women & lower caste.
  • National Struggle got formed into ethical, moral struggle under at as he relied on right means to achieve right objective because of this ethical moral foundations of Anti British Struggle got greatly strengthened.
  • National Movement became a “Satyagraha” with rise of Gandhiji. It was no longer fight for political right. It became fight for truth because ultimate objective of Gandhian Movement was to empower the masses so everyone could live life of dignity.
  • Contribution of Gandhian Movement was widened greatly by commencement of Gandhian Movement because the peasants, workers, students & other sections of Indian population had started participating in Anti-British Struggle in large number.
  • Contribution of Gandhian Movement to liberalization of women was remarkable of Gandhi was convinced that without participation of women the fight against British could never succeed. He knew that number of nation can progress, if the half of population was neglected.
  • At call of Gandhi, large number of women came out of home & fought against British equally with men.
  • Contribution of women leader like Sarojini Naidu, Rani Gaidinliu (Nagaland), Usha Mehta, Aruna Asaf Ali was remarkable.
  • Successful participation of women in National Struggle gradually changed social perception towards them.
  • Gandhian Movement was contributed to strengthen to Hindu-Muslim unity because Gandhiji was equally respected by both these main Indian community.
  • Rise of Gandhi as supreme leader formed Anti British Struggle into a pan India movement.
  • Gandhi carried National Struggle into villages. It was no longer limited to town & cities.
  • It was pressure built by Gandhian Movement that forced the British to leave India in 1947. The position of British Rule had become untenable when peaceful mass struggle started by Gandhiji.
  • Gandhiji had neatly converted a political movement into moral war that his adversaries just could not win because of this; British had to leave India in 1947.


Socialist Phase (1928-1947)

Factors Responsible for Emergence of Socialism in National Movement

  • The failure of early nationalist including the moderate, extremist & Gandhiji in appreciating the needs & aspiration of peasants & workers forced them to look towards other ideology. The quest for alternative pushed poor and working class towards socialism.
  • The moderates deliberately avoided class issues to maintain unity among various sections of Indian nationalist. Because issues concerning with peasants were against interest of landlords & issues concerning with workers were against interest of capitalist class.
  • Extremist was under impression that attainment of Swaraj would act as panacea. So there, focus was on getting self rule from British.
  • Gandhiji believed in idea of change of heart & trusteeship. He was of the opinion that landlord & capitalist act as trusty their heart will change & exploitation realized their mistake.
  • These ideas in principal of early nationalist didn’t appeal to poor and working class.
  • Growth of modern industry created favorable condition for rise of socialism because the working class was being exploited in factories like their European counter parts the Indian workers gradually development faith in efficacy of socialism.
  • Growth of nationalist awakening in poor and working class were also responsible for emergence of socialism.
  • By opening decades of 20 century, a number of nationalist oriented peasant’s organizations were emerged in India in form of “Awadh Kisansabha” (1918), “Ekta movement” (1921), UP Kisansabha (1920).
  • Trade unions such as AITUC (1920) had also emerged.
  • This nationalist awakening push poor and working class into fold of anti-British struggle & as their participation in National Movement increased socialist ideas also gained popularity.
  • Success of Russians Revolution of 1917 also played an important role in rise of socialism.
  • This revolution formed socialism from theory into practice because for first time socialist state came into existence.
  • As a result of success of Russian revolution popularity of socialist increased throughout the world & this impact was seen in India as well.
  • The great depression (1929-39) also played role in populating socialism in Indian Leaders because capitalist world was relying under serve crisis socialist Soviet Union was growing with rapidly.
  • The success of soviet socialist eco-convince Indian Leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, that socialism was solution to India’s problem & world’s problem.
  • Failure of Gandhian Movement such as Non Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, in attaining declared objectives also pushed poor and working class towards socialism.
  • Non Cooperation Movement was launched in August 1920 with promise that Swaraj shall won within first year. But movement was suddenly withdrawn by Gandhiji in February 1922 as a result of Chauri Chaura incident the poor and working class felt disillusioned because even after struggling for 18 month there no was trace of swaraj in the ground.
  • In the same way Civil Disobedience Movement was suspended suddenly by Gandhiji in March 1931 through Gandhi-Irwin pact.
  • These repeated failure of am convinced poor and working class that solution to their suffering lay in socialism.
  • Role played by leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Jayprakash Narayan &Acharya Narendra Dev etc. was also crucial to the spread of socialism in National Movement.
  • These leaders formed Congress Socialist Party as a group within congress in 1984 to push congress towards socialism.


Nature & Character of Socialist Phase in National Movement

  • Socialists were progressive in nature, they were egalitarian in outlook.
  • They were democratic, secular and colonial.
  • It was mass –movement, part India movement, Multi class movement.
  • Extremely radical in outlook because socialist wanted complete formation of Indian socio-economic structure.
  • Socialists were non-violent in outlook but their attitude towards non-violence was pragmatic. They didn’t want it as limitation of India’s struggle against British rule.
  • Socialist was not happy with idea of political freedom only. They believed that political freedom would meaningless in absence of social & economic freedom.
  • Socialist had no faith in Gandhian strategy Struggle truce-struggle & Pressure-compromise-pressure. They wanted that national movement shall be a continuous sustained struggle. It must not be suspended/withdrawn fill the time objective were not attained.


Significance of Socialist Phase in National Movement

  • The rise of socialism in National Movement marked the beginning of new phase in history of India’s struggle British rule. Because socialist’ ideas, principles, methods and objective were far more radical than the earlier leaders.
  • Rise of socialism infused new energy into National Movement because the socialist leaders strongly committed to upliftment & liberation of masses.
  • National movement assumed the character of all-out war. This resulted in emergence of socialism because socialist had no faith in Gandhian strategy of Struggle truce-struggle & Pressure-compromise-pressure. They believed that the anti-British struggle must continue incessantly till the time its aim was not realized.
  • This new approach was visible in Quit India movement which was never suspend/called off.
  • The National Movement assumed character of true Pan India movement as a result emergence of socialism.
  • The earlier leaders including Gandhiji were not in favor of extending National Movement into native states.
  • While speaking in Belgium session 1924, Gandhiji opposed extension of National Movement into native state because he believed that condition of native state was difference from that of British India.
  • In 1939, congress decided to extend mass movement into native state when S.C. Bose was president & for first time the National Movement assumed true pan India character when congress launched Quit India movement. It was first extremist National Movement extended to native state.
  • The social base of National Movement was greatly widened by emergence of socialism.
  • Poor and working class had stared participating in anti-British struggle in large number during socialism phase because socialist philosophy was in accordance with their aspiration.
  • Rise of socialism gave new obj. to National Movement because at Lahore in December 1929 congress adopted goal of “Poorna swaraj” that was to include socio-economic freedom along with political independence.
  • Non-violence was no longer limitation of Anti British Struggle because under influence of socialism even Gandhiji had started practicing Non Violent within practical limits in spite of many violent incidents during Quit India movement Gandhi refused to suspend National Movement.
  • He held British responsible for these violent incidents.
  • In 1945, congress adopted resolution provided for abolition of Jamindaris.
  • Rise of socialism created immense native pressure on British Rule & as a result of this British Rule came to end in India 1947.


Revolutionary Extremist (1899-1947)

Bhagat Singh

  • The closing years of 19th century witnessed the emergence of a new trend in India’s struggle against British Rule. A new way of nationalism was becoming visible that relied on the use of violent method.
  • This trend in Indian National movement was known as “Revolutionary Extremist Movement “.
  • Abhinav Bharat” of V.D. Savarkar, Hindustan Republican Association of Chandrasekhar Azad & others, Hindustan Socialist Republican Association of Bhagat Singh, Bhagvati Charan Singh Vora & INA of Rasbihari Bose, Subhash Chandra Bose was the extremists of same.


Factors Responsible for Emergence of Revolutionary Extremist

  • Revolutionary Extremist Movement was response & reaction to politico-administrative, socio-cultural, eco-condition prevailing in India.
  • The colonial character of British Rule existing in India was fundamental factor responsible for Revolutionary Extremist.
  • The British Rule in India was despotic, anti people, resist, unethical in moral & exploitative in character every section of Indian society was suffering immensely under British Rule.
  • The discontent produced by this suffering forced the Indian nationalists of younger generation to resort revolutionary method to fight against British Rule.
  • Failure of Early Nationalist in producing any concrete result compelled leaders of younger generation to turn their face towards radical Revolutionary methods.
  • Nationalists of younger generation were not satisfied with idea of gradual reference, they wanted quicker results. To achieve this objective Revolutionary methods were adopted.
  • The failure of peaceful mass movement such as “swadeshi movement” (1906-22), Non Cooperation Movement (1920-22) & Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-31), shattered the faith of young nationalist in efficacy of mass agitation. They gradually got convinced that politics of mass agitation will yield no result & British Rule had to be over throne by using force.
  • The influence of contemporary development also contributed to rise of Revolutionary Extremist Movement in India British Rule Revolutionary national activities were going on in Eastern Europe against Austrians & Ottoman rule.
  • Victory of Ethiopia against Italy (1896) & victory of Japan (1905) against Russia also greatly embolden India nationalist. They also started believing that India can also succeed against British Rule.
  • The serious economic difficulties being faced by masses & British policy of extreme repression even during this are of crisis were also responsible for emergence of revolutionary extremis ion.
  • When epidemic of plague stuck western India in 1896-97. People suffered less due to plague & more due to the in human repressive measures by community laid Mr. Rand.
  • Millions of Indians were died due to famine that destructs India 1896-97, 1899-1900.
  • 1898- Code of criminal procedure was amended to insert A.124 (A) that made the preaching of nationalist are seditious offence.
  • By using this clause Tilak awarded 18 months Rigorous Imprisonment.
  • These suppressive measures of British Rule left young generation nationalists with no option but to declare all out war against British Rule by taking up bombs & pistols.
  • The teachings of leaders like Sardar Ajit Singh (Punjab), Raj Narayan Bose & Ashoini Kumar Datt (Bengal), and V.O. Chidambaram Pillai (Madras) persuaded nationalism of young generation to develop faith in efficacy of revolutionary methods.


Fundamental Features of Revolutionary Extremist Movement

  • This movement was violent in character because revolutionary attacked the officials & institution of British Rule directly by using bombs & pistols.
  • Revolutionaries believed in efficacy of bombs & pistols because they were convinced that it takes loud noise to make deaf hear.
  • Revolutionaries wanted quicker results. They were not satisfied by gradual reforms.
  • The revolutionaries believed in ideas that western bondage of colonial rule could be shattered by only western hammer of violence.
  • Revolutionary Extremists movement Commenced in parts of Bengal, Maharashtra but gradually it adopted pan India character by two decade of 20th century activities had started taking place all over the country.
  • Revolutionary Extremists movement had international dimensions as well because revolutionary act were limited to Indian boundaries only.
  • In 1905, India home rule society was established by Shyamji Krishna Verma in London. He published monthly journal called Indian sociologist.
  • Madam Bhikaji Kama was prominent Indian Revolutionaries in Europe. She was famously known as Mother of Indian revolutionaries. She established Pan India society & Independent India society in pans. She represents India at international (Germany) in August 1907 here she unfurled the tri-color for one time.
  • Lala Hardayal & its associates started “Gadar” movement. In 1913, North America Gadar was also name of weekly new people published by them. Its copies were circulated in Europe, America & Asia.
  • Madanlal Dhingra was Indian revolutionaries who shot dead William Cruzan Wiley the political attaché of Indian house.
  • In 1940, Sardar Udam Singh assassinated Sir Mikel O’Dyer, he was led Governor of Punjab at time of Jalianwala Bagh massacre.
  • INA was established by Rasbihari Bose, Captain Mohan Singh & others in Singapore in 1942. Later on command was handed over to C. Bose.
  • The INA comprised Indian prisoners of wars captured by Japanese forces. It tried to liberate India through a direct military action.
  • Revolutionary Extremist Movement evolved with passage of time.


Evolution of Revolutionary Extremist Movement

  • Nature & character of Revolutionary extremist character evolved with passage of time. This evolution could be seen at organization level, changing nature of outlook towards violence & changes in understanding of fundamental factors responsible for sufferings of masses.
  • During the early decades the Revolutionary Extremist Movement didn’t have any Pan India organization local association such as Mitramela (1899), Anushitan Samiti (1902 Pulin Das), Abhinav Bharat (1904) were being used by Indian Revolutionary to fight against British Rule.
  • During 1920’s, for the first time, Revolutionary Extremist Movement gained Pan India platform in form of Hindustan Republican Association established, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Sachindranath Sanyal at Kanpur.
  • During the early years, the Indians Revolutionary let proper understanding of strength & weakness of British Rule. They were under impression that assassination of few officials will terrify British to leave India.
  • They were excessively relying on violence.
  • By late 1920’s, this over reliance on individual terrorisms had given way to actions aim that generate Revolutionary awakening among masses.
  • It was because of this reason Bhagat Singh & Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs in April 1929 in central legitimacy on empty benches.
  • Idea was not kill anybody-intensions was pull attention of people towards the limitation of public safety bill & trade dispute bill by Central Legislative Assembly under pressure of Governor-General.
  • Understanding of causes of sufferings of Indian masses also evolved with passage of time of Indian revolutionaries.
  • Initially Revolution was under impression that the end of British Rule would wipe out sufferings of masses completely but gradually they realized that most of causes responsible for Indian common masses were inherent in Indian socio-economy structure.
  • It was because of this understanding, Indian revolutionary via Bhagat Singh, Bhagvati Charan Vohra and Sukhdev faith in efficacy of socialism.
  • The renaming of Hindustan Republican Association as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association in 1928 was reflection of same.
  • Another dimension of evolution of Extremist Movement could be seen in form of emergence of INA.
  1. The establishment of INA transformed revolutionary extremist movement into full plea edge army that was ready to take on British Rule in face to face battle.


Significance of Revolutionary Extremist Movement

  • Revolution Extremist represented one of the most important branches of Indian nationalism throughout history of India’s struggle against British Rule.
  • Though their contribution to cause of Indian freedom struggle was quite limited but their indirect contribution was immense.
  • Revolution lay by extremist rather than through speeches & writing. They were most committed nationalists as they were always ready to lay down their life for motherland.
  • Their sacrifice infused new energy & sense of dedication among Indian Nationalist.
  • Revolution provided alternative method for struggle to Indian Nationalist in their fight against British.
  • As a result of these, even that nation could participate in anti-British struggle that had no faith in moderate, Extremist & other nationalist.
  • The assassination of unpopular British officials by revolution provided immediate relief to common masses.
  • Arthur Mason Tippetts Jackson, the unpopular DM of Nasik was assassinated by Anant Laxman Kanhere in 1909.
  • Saunders an Assistant Superintendent of Police who Lathi charged Lala Lajpat Rai was killed by Bhagat Singh, Raj guru & Chandrasekhar Azad. His murder gave great sense of Indian Nationalist who was.
  • Revolution contributed immensely to spread nation awakening in native state.
  • On many occasion Indian revolutionary used to escape in native state after executing their operation in British India. During their stay in native state revolution awaken the masses.
  • Such impact was clearly visible in native state such as Tripura which was far off.
  • Act of Indian revolutionary affected mainstream nationalists as well.
  • Tilak praised Chapekar brothers. He also praised heroism of Bengal revolution & both occasion he had to suffered imprisonment.
  • Gandhiji had to face intense ire of masses in 1931 when he failed to make Gandhi-Irwin pact conditional to conversion to Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Raj guru, into life imprisonment.
  • At Karachi, Gandhi praised the supreme self sacrifice of Indian revolutionary.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru praised Bengal revolution laid by Surya Sen for which he was awarded two years of rigorous imprisonment. (1933).
  • Red Fort trial of INA officials such as Captain Mohan Singh, Shahnawaj generated intense reaction from masses extremist radicalization witnessed all over India when these trial being conducted congress had appointed group of lawyers laid by Bhula Bhai Desai to defend INA officials.


Home Rule Movement (1916)

Annie Besant

  • Home Rule Movement was launched by Indian Nationalists in 1916 as response & reaction to circumstances prevailing in India.
  • Term Home Rule was used for first time in India by Annie Besant. It was adopted by Ireland where was similar movement was going on against British Rule.
  • Home Rule Movement having two branches-
  • The first branch was headed by Tilak with it’s headquarter at Pune. It’s started Home Rule Movement on 28 April 1916.
  • Second branch laid by Mrs. Annie Besant was at headquartered at Adyar (near Madras). It started movement in September 1916.
  • The geographical area where divided among these two branches so that supporter of both don’t clash.
  • Central provinces Maharashtra except Bombay & North Karnataka were under the Poona branch laid by Tilak.
  • Other part of India including Bombay was under Adyar branch laid by Annie Besant.


Factors Responsible for the Emergence of Home Rule Movement

  • The colonial character of British Rule prevailing in India was the most important factor behind launching of Home Rule Movement.
  • The policy of repression & suppression being followed by British created immediate circumstances for launching Home Rule Movement.
  • In 1916, World War I was going on Defense of India act 1915 had replaced the normal law of land. Extreme restriction were enforced against public activities as a result of this the moral of masses was going down. The leaders like Tilak & Besant knew if no mass agitation launch immediately then the moral of common masses would get shattered completely& it would be very difficult in future to launch any struggle against British Rule. So without worrying about war tying condition Indian Nationalist decided to launch Mass Movement in 1916.
  • The extreme economic hardship being faced by common masses in India was also responsible for launching of Home Rule Movement.
  • Items of common use were being exported to meet need of armed forces. As a result of this, serious economic scarify had developed in India & suffering of common masses had increased enormously.
  • It was the discontent produced by this suffering that forced leader like Tilak & Besant to launch Mass Movement.


Aims & Objectives of Home Rule Movement

  • The fundamental objective of this movement was to convince British Rule that grants of Home rule to India (Swaraj) would be in larger British interest because self ruled India would be in better position to help Britain in war efforts.
  • Movement launched to popularize idea of Home Rule among masses & to mobilize so that British could be pressurized to grant Home Rule to India.
  • The movement was launched to opportunity for discontent prevailing in heart & mind of masses to come out positively so that struggle against British Rule could be compelled to grant self-rule to India.


Methods & Strategy Adopted by Home Rule Movement

  • The Home Rule Movement was non-violent constitutional movement. Home Rule League didn’t want to create any difficulty for British at a time when empire was struggling to save its existence against Germany.
  • Peaceful rallies were organized for mass mobilization.
  • Newspapers were used to spread the message of Home Rule among masses & to carry nationalist awakening to new heights.
  • Tilak used his papers the “Maratha” & “Kesari”.
  • Besant used her papers “New India common wheel”.


British Response to Home Rule Movement

  • In spite of the fact that Home Rule Movement was a non-violent, constitutionalist movement Government took every possible measure to suppress it.
  • Provision of defense of India act 1915, were used to curve nationalism act & mass agitation.
  • Newspaper act 1908 & Indian press act 1910 were used to prevent the propagation of nationalist’s agenda through newspaper.
  • Circular was issued to prevent participation of student in national activity.
  • Annie Besant was put under house arrest to prevent her participation in nationalist activities.

Significance of Home Rule Movement

  • Home Rule Movement was one of the most significant national agitations launched in history of India’s struggle against British Rule.
  • Though it failed to reach objective of attaining self rule for India. But still its significant was great.
  • The environment of political passivism prevailing in India from since end of Swadeshi movement got transformed into political activism.
  • Mass agitation was organized all over India.
  • Anti British discontent prevailing in heart n mind of masses came out in open.
  • Home Rule Movement raised level of nationalism awakening to new height because lacs of Indian participated in it.
  • This movement allowed the extremist leaders to regain their lost mass base on the one hand & on other hand moderate leaders got pushed into oblivion forever.
  • Election of Mrs. Annie Besant as congress president in December 1917 symbolized the established of complete control on extremists on congress.
  • Pressure built by Home Rule Movement forced British government to change its policy towards India.
  • The British govt. didn’t grant Home Rule to India immediately but it accepted that ultimate objective of ongoing process of constitutional reform is to grant dominion status to India. This announcement was made by secretary of state of India Montague in August 1917 & it’s famously known as “August Declaration”/Montague’s.
  • This declaration changed British approach towards India fundamentally because the demand of self rule was no longer called as radical revolutionary demand. Here after, it never attracted charge of edition.

Non- Co-operation Movements

  • With Montague’s declaration in August 1917 the Home Rule Movement gradually came to an end Mrs. Annie Besant declared whatever they were demanding they achieved.
  • Tilak went London to fight a case against Chirol because she had termed Tilak as father of Indian arrest.
  • Issue of Rowlatt act & Khilafat issue provided new direction to India’s struggle against British Rule leading to launching of Non Cooperation Movement on 1 August 1920.


Rowlatt Act & Launching of Non-Co-Operation Movements

Jalianwalan Bagh Massacre

  • At the instruction of Governor General Lord Chelmsford (1916-21), a committee was appointed under Justice Sydney Rowlatt to prepare a draft for a bill to check revolutionary crimes.
  • This will provided for continuation of war time restriction as anybody’s house could be searched without warrants anybody could arrest on suspicious.
  • In spite of strong opposition of Indian nationalist such as Gandhiji, the Rowlett was enacted in March 1919.
  • Jalianwalan Bagh massacre of 13 April 1919 revealed true face of British colonial rule hundreds of innocent civilians were murdered mercilessly by General Dyer.
  • Hunter committee appointed to looking to Jalianwalan Bagh massacre carried out just white wash. Not a single officer was held guilty.
  • The Rowlatt act & Jalianwalan Bagh massacre intensified anti-British discontent prevailing among masses.
  • When Gandhiji returned from Africa, he had strong faith in British sense of justice & fairness. But this faith was shattered by these two incident

Khilafat Issue & Launching of Non-Co-operation Movements

  • Peace makers of Paris imposed “Treaty of Sèvres” on ottoman empire/Turkey provisions of this treaty provided for fragmentation of autumn empire.
  • Treaty of Sèvres was serious attack on prestige of khalifa because as result khalifa no longer enjoyed control over holy Islamic places.
  • Treaty of Sèvres triggered sharp reaction from Muslim all over the world.
  • In September 1919, a number of Muslim leaders such as Maullana Abul Kalam Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Hashrat Mohani, Mohammad Ali & Shaukat Ali formed “All India Khilafat” committee to oppose treaty of serve.
  • Gandhiji joined khilafat committee as he was convinced that khilafat issue was best opportunity to forge the bond permanent unity between Hindu & Muslim. He was opinioned that unity forged on emotional issue would be lasting.
  • Gandhiji’s opinion was that if Hindus supported Muslims at time their sentiment deeply hurt, Muslim would also support Hindu.
  • Gandhiji believed that Lucknow unity 1916 failed because that involved elite class of Hindu & Muslim participation of common masses was absent in unity established through Lucknow pact in 1916.
  • In November 1919, Gandhiji was elected as chairman of khilafat committee.
  • When they talked if the British failed he advised members of committee to launch non-cooperation movement.
  • On 9thJune 1920, the khilafat committee decided to launch Non Cooperation Movement & Gandhiji.
  • On 1 August 1920, Non Cooperation Movement was launched by Khilafat committee under Gandhiji.


Participation of Congress in Non –Co-operation Movement

  • Gandhiji was aware of the fact without support of congress, no Mass Movement would succeed so he advised congress to launch Mass Movement against British Rule.
  • In September 1920, congress held its special session at Calcutta under leadership of Lala Lajpat Rai & it decided to launch Mass Movement on three issues or with three demands-
  • Grant of Swaraj
  • Restoration of prestige of caliphate (Khilafat issue)
  • Rectification of Punjab wrong doings (officers responsible for Jalianwalan Bagh must be punished).
  • On 4 September the movement of congress was launched it’s also known as non-cooperation movement here after movement of congress was known as “Khilafat movement”.
  • After 4 September 1920, khilafat Movement & Non Cooperation Movement continued as parallel twin movements (“twin movement”).


Was Khilafat unity a mistake on part of Congress?

  • Khilafat Unity or support of congress to Khilafat Unity is strongly criticized by section of scholar who believed that it was big mistake on part of congress.
  • Critics of Khilafat Unity emphasized that-
  • It justified use of religion in National Movement.
  • It seriously affected secular character of anti-British struggle.
  • It subordinated common national cause to a narrow religious issue concerning small section of Indian population.
  • Khilafat Unity called to be anti-nationalism because it was based on idea of Pan Islamism.
  • Unity failed almost completely because when Mustafa Kamal Pasha leader of Turkish revolution of 1921 abolished caliphate.
  • Khilafat Movement area out suddenly most of Muslim moved out anti-British struggle.
  • Though Khilafat Unity was failure as it did not succeeds in keeping Hindu & Muslim together but it was not correct see that it was mistake of congress.
  • Khilafat Unity was based on noble, secular, nationalist objective its only objective to strengthen Anti British Struggle by pulling Muslims into it & by raising the level of national awakening between them.
  • Congress supported Khilafat Unity so that anti-British discontent prevailing among masses could be transformed into strong nationalist awakening.
  • Just because the unity failed the intension behind it should not be questioned therefore it was not a mistake as part of congress.


Pan Islamism- A term of European origin, pan-Islamism denotes the intellectual and institutional trends toward Islamic unity that emerged among Muslim peoples, starting in the mid–nineteenth century and continuing throughout the twentieth century. The need for a unified Islamic identity was a product of the challenges posed by Western intervention in and domination of Muslim societies during the colonialist period. Leaders throughout the Muslim world appealed to the Islamic tradition to solidify public opposition to foreign occupation and thereby gain political independence.

Significance of Non Cooperation Movement

  • It transformed the anti-British struggle into true mass movement.
  • Social base of National Movement was widening significantly because the women, students, peasants & working class participated in it in large number.
  • The fear of British Rule got erased from heart & mind of masses.
  • The efficacy of Gandhian methods of struggle was proved because Gandhiji could mobilize lacs of Indian quite successfully.
  • Non Cooperation Movement played an important role in empowerment of women because role of women was very important, the social attitude towards women changed significantly as a result of their contribution to anti-British struggle.
  • The level of nationalist awakening was carried to new height by Non Cooperation Movement because at time of launching Gandhiji had promised Swaraj within first year.
  • When Non Cooperation Movement suspended & withdrawn suddenly as a result of Chauri Chaura incident, a sense of disillusionment gripped a large section of Indian National. Their hopes of winning swaraj got shattered. Leaders like SC Bose commented that sudden withdrawal of Non Cooperation Movement was catastrophic.


Why did Gandhiji withdraw Non Cooperation Movement suddenly?

  • The sudden withdrawal of Non Cooperation Movement by Gandhiji in February 1922 was opposed by many leaders. It was termed as catastrophic but closer examination of nature & character of Gandhian movement revealed that the decision was neither sudden nor unexpected.
  • Gandhian Movement was non-violent movement; Gandhiji knew that only non violent method could succeed against British Rule. He was aware of fact that violent incident like one that took place at Chouri Chaura place provide an excuse to British to suppress mass agitation by force.
  • Gandhiji was aware of fact that struggle against British Rule was bound to be long run out because British colonial rule was well entrenched in India.
  • He didn’t want to invest his energy in one movement itself because he knew that in future much such movement required pushing British out of India.
  • So when no trace of Swaraj was visible even after fighting for more than year, Gandhiji withdrawn Non Cooperation Movement on the pretext of Chauri Chaura incident.
  • Gandhiji was great leader of masses; he felt pulse of masses perfectly. He knew that due to continuous fight of first and half year against British Rule, the people were losing their energy.
  • Being man of wisdom Gandhiji could understand that cc incident was reflecting frustration of people rather than strength of people. Therefore he decided to suspend mass agitation & movement was called off.
  • Gandhian Movement was based on strategy Struggle Truce Struggle & Pressure Compromise Pressure theory. Gandhi always used keep window of compromise open because he knew that the partial success or voluntary withdrawal of movement was better option than death of mass agitation naturally.
  • Therefore Gandhiji withdraw Non Cooperation Movement because people could lose their energy completely & movement could die out.
  • Gandhiji was aware of fact that common masses can’t be expected to behave like revolutionary. They had their limit of sacrifice. He was aware of the fact that Mass Movement can’t continue forever so no gain was coming from British side even after fighting 18 month. He decided to withdraw Mass Movement in February 1922 Chauri Chaura incident provided high moral ground from where movement can withdrawn effectively without affecting moral of masses.


Swaraj Party

Chittaranjan Das

  • Swaraj party was formed as great within party by leaders like Motilal Nehru, Chittaranjan Das in 1923. It was outcome of sense of disillusionment created by sudden withdrawal of Non Cooperation Movement.
  • As a result of sudden withdrawal of Non Cooperation Movement in February 1922, a large section of Indian Nationalist had lost faith in efficacy of Gandhian Movement of struggle. They started believing that Gandhian Movement could never succeed because that movement was withdrawal at a time of its peak.
  • These differences emerged strongly at Gaya session of congress in December 1922 over issue of participation of congress in forthcoming general elections.
  • Leaders of congress got divided in two groups wise no change & pro change over this issue.
  • Vallabhai Patel and Dr. Rajendra Prasad were prominent leaders of no change camp. CR Das & Motilal Nehru were prominent leaders of pro changer camp.
  • No changers were closer follower of Gandhi while pro changers didn’t have faith in Gandhian Movement of that time.
  • No changes were against participation of congress in forthcoming election because Gandhiji was in favor of continuation of policy of Non Cooperation with British Rule.
  • Pro changers wanted to participate in for coming election because they wanted to carry politics of Non Cooperation Movement inside the legislature.
  • The no changers were majority in congress therefore congress decided to boycott forthcoming election.
  • The pro changers formed a group with name “All India congress khilafat Swaraj party” within congress to participate in forth coming elections.


Achievements of Swarajist

  • In spite of fact that first generation Politian & they got very little time to prepare for election they achieved significant success.
  • Swaraj Party wan majority in central provinces. It emerges as domination party in Bengal. It was an influential party in North West Province, Punjab.
  • In central legislative assembly Swaraj 42/101 seats.
  • Swarajist followed strategy of promoting national agenda & blocking anti-national resolution inside legislation by joining hands with likeminded groups.
  • Swarajist exposed hollowness system of diarchy introduced at provincial level by act of 1919 because still real power was in Government & Governor general.
  • Pressure mounted by Swarajist compelled government to appoint committee of Alexander Muddiman committee in 1924 to review the fan of diarchy.
  • Greatest significance of Swarajist lay in fact that they provided alternative strategy to Indians to fight against British Rule. The sense of disillusion created by sudden withdrawal of Non cooperation Movement couldn’t affect mass moral because they could continue their struggle against British Rule by participating in activities of Swarajist.
  • The experience gained by Swarajist by participating in election helped in bringing about political maturity in India. As a result of this Indian could fight effectively with greater success against British Rule in future.


Factors behind Decline of Swarajist

  • Swarajist started their political carrier with great enthusiasm but by 1926 they had lost eastern. This was lack of experience as part of Swarajist & mistakes committed by them.
  • Some of activities of Swarajist gave impression as if they were co-operating with government
  • In 1925, Vitthal Bhai Patel accepted office of speaker of central legislative assembly.
  • 1925, Motilal Nehru became the member of sheen committee appointed to suggest step for Indianization of Army.
  • This act of co-operate dated credibility of Swarajist & affected their mass appeal.
  • Death of CR Das in June 1925 came as big blow to Swarajist; he was most popular leader of Swaraj Party.
  • Appointment of Simon Commission in November 1927 changed character of political environment prevailing in India. It took sheen away from Swarajist their activities were no longer reflecting mass sentiments, realizing this Swarajist abundant their separate line of nationalist activities & join hand with main stream congress to participate in anti-Simon Commission agitate.


Simon Commission

Why was Simon Commission Appointed?

  • Simon Commission appointed as per provision of section 84 Act 1919 which provided that a royal commission should be appointed after lapse of 10 years to review of fun of constitutional arrangement introduced by Act of 1919.
  • This commission was asked review the mechanism created by act of 1919 & suggest, whether & what extent it was advisable to expend restrict or modify the degree of responsible government introduced in India by act 1919.
  • The commission was also asked to look into relation bets British Indian & native state. (Harcourt Butler Committee).
  • The commission was also required to suggest whether established of second chamber in provincial legislative was desirable.
  • The commission was also to report status of education in India (Philip Hartog-looked into progress in education).


Why was Simon Commission appointed before time?

  • In 1928, general elections were due in Britain. The existing conservative party of Government was expected to replace by liberal party.
  • Conservative party government doesn’t want to leave responsibility of appointment of such commission in bands of unexpected. Liberal party govt. that was expected in government because future of British Indian Empire depend on this royal commission.


Why Indian Nationalist opposed Simon Commission?

  • Simon Commission was a seven member commission & all seven members were Europeans. Not a single Indian was called Fit to participate in procedure of deciding India’s political future. This all white composition of Simon Commission was big insult to Indian national sentiments. Because of this appointment of Simon Commission was opposed by leaders strongly.
  • Simon Commission visited Indian twice. First visit during Feb-March 1928 & second visit 28 Oct – 29 April.


Organization of National Agitation against Simon Commission

  • The news of appointment of Simon Commission all wide triggered a wave of nationalist upsurge all over India. Massive mass agitate & demonstration were organized to oppose Simon Commission. These nationalist activities marked the beginning of new phase in history of India’s struggle against British Rule.
  • The atmosphere of political pass mission prevailing in India since withdrawal of India got converted into political activism.
  • Anti-British discontent hidden in Indian heart and mind came out open in form of nation wise agitate & demonstration.
  • The anti-Simon Commission agitate radicalized the national movement greatly because new form of agitate & new slogans were used by leaders to mobilize masses.
  • Black Flags were shown by Indian to Simon Commission National used to stand on both sides of railway lines & roads to wave flags for Simon Commission.
  • When Indian agitators were not allowed to enter in venue of Simon Commission meeting they flied black kites at venue to show their opposition.
  • At Lucknow, Khaliq-us-Jama coined the slogan “Simon Go Back”. This became guiding spirit of anti- Simon Commission agitated throughout India.


  • Anti Simon Commission agitate gave boost to revolutionary activities as well when Lala Lajpat Rai died due to Lathi charge by police at Lahore. His death avenged by Bhagat Singh, Raj guru & Chandra Shekhar Azad etc. by killing Assistant Superintendent of Police Saunder in 1928.
  • Anti-Simon Commission agitates prepared circumstances leading to drafting Nature-report & launching of Civil Disobedience movement.
  • Lord Birkenhead, secretary of state challenged Indian Leaders to come together & prepared draft for constitutional ref. He declared the British government would accept & implement such draft immediately if it agreed upon all Indian major parties.
  • Accepting this challenge, Indian leader organized all party conference in May 1928 at Delhi & appointed a committee under Motilal Nehru to prepare draft for constitutional reforms. The Nehru committee prepared this draft known as “Nehru Report” in Aug 1928. This report immediately handed over to lord Arvin but British Government refuse to accept it because Muslim League had rejected Nehru report.


  • In Dec 1928, at its annual session held at Calcutta, Congress gave period of first year to British Government to accept & implement Nehru report failing which congress would abundant demand of dominion status & would fight for complete independence.
  • As British government didn’t accept Nehru Report Congress adopted “Purna Swaraj” resolution at Lahore in Dec 1929 & authorized Gandhiji’s to launch Mass Movement for attainment of the same. This movement was launched on 12th March 1930 with name of Civil Disobedience Movement.


Civil Disobedience Movement

Salt March

  • The Civil Disobedience Movement launched by Congress under leadership of Gandhi on 12th March 1930 was response reaction to the political-admin, socio-economic condition prevailing in India. This movement was not awakening among masses on one hand & discontent produced by suffering produced by British Rule on other hand.
  • The colonial characteristics of British Rule were most fundamental factor for launching of Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Nationalist insult hunted by all white composition of Simon Commission was another important factor behind launching Civil Disobedience Movement. All the members of European & not a single Indian cadre fit to contribute of deciding Indian’s political future.
  • The refusal of British government to accept as Nehru report left Indian Nation with no other alternative but to launch Mass Movement.
  • Secretary of state of India lord Birkenhead had promised to accept & implement constitutional draft prepared by main Indian parties.

Except Muslim League all other parties agree in favor of Nehru Report league was politically insigne at that time & it was puppet in bard of British Rule.

  • Every Indian Nationalist knew that league had rejected Nehru Report because British Government wanted so.
  • It has been almost 10 years, since the withdrawal of Non Cooperation Movement; hardly Mass Movement was organized by Congress for last 8 years. The level of discontent among people was very high & to provide as opportunity to this anti-British discontent to come out the Congress launched Civil Disobedience Movement in March 1980 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.


Manifestation of Civil Disobedience Movement

North Western India

  • In North West Frontier Province, the movement was laid by Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan also known as “Frontier Gandhi”. His red shirt movement was leading the agitate movement attracted immense mass support. The level of its popularity could be gauged from fact that at Peshawar, soldiers of Gorkha regiment refused to opening fire of peaceful agitate.


North Western Province –UP

  • Here movement was launched with slogan “No rent, No revenue”.
  • No rent campaign was in Jamindari areas, because Jamindars used to pay revenue to government.
  • No revenue campaign was in Mahalwari & Ryotwari areas where peasants used to pay revenue to government directly.
  • Magic lantern (lamp), Prabhat Feries (Early morning walks) & Patrika’s (local illegal news ship) were used to mobilize the masses.


Eastern India

  • Along with “No rent, No revenue” campaign, mass agitate were also launched against Chaukidari tax & union board tax.
  • Chaukidari tax was collected from villagers to pay village guard. He was link between police & villagers. In spite the fact that Chaukidar was paid out of the money raised from villagers. He used to spy against villagers.
  • Union Board tax was municipal tax.


Central India–Maharashtra & Karnataka

  • Movement was launched against forest law, Forest Act 1927 imposed number of restriction on the rights of forest dwellers they weren’t allowed to use forest products freely as was case earlier.


North – East

  • Rani Gaidinliu laid mass agitate in Nagaland. She was young tribal girl of about 20 years of age. She was deeply influenced by Gandhian ideas. She laid struggle from front. She was arrested by police for leading national activities & released after Independence. She was conferred the title “Rani” by Jawaharlal Nehru.


Salt Agitation

  • Most intense anti-salt taxes agitate was organized at Dharasana at Gujarat. This agitate was initially laid by Gandhiji. After his arrest, the responsibility was assured by Abbas Tyabji. When he was arrested, Sarojini Naidu jumped to front to lead agitates.
  • American journalist Webb Miller was eye witnessed this agitate. He wrote that in his 18 years International career, he never saw such peaceful determined agitate.

Scorching heat of day, agitators used to move towards Dharasana salt factor in line after line. Policemen used to beat them as mercilessly till the time they didn’t fall unconscious. After one falls unconscious second line moved toward to meet same fate. This scenario continued throughout day.

  • While leading agitations at Dharasana, Sarojini Naidu extorted agitators by commenting that “Gandhiji’s Body is in jail, but his soul is with you. India’s prestige in your hand you must not use any violence under any circumstances. You will be beaten but you must not resist, you must not raise hand to ward off these blows.”
  • Determinate of Indian Nationalists at Dharasana was of higher order. It set a precedent for anti-British struggle.
  • Anti-Salt tax agitate were also organized at Wadala (Mumbai). Sainiktala salt factory (Karnataka) & Madras.


Flag Agitation

  • National Flag was unfurled by Indian Nationalists as a mark of defining British Rule.
  • At Chirala Perala (coastal Andhra Pradesh)/Baindur Flag agitation was organized by Thota NarasaiahNaidu. He was beaten by Police mercilessly but didn’t leave flag even after falling unconscious.
  • At Calicut, P. Krishna Pillai unfurled the National Flag –Here also agitators brutally lathi charged.
  • At Surat, kids organized flag in unique way. When policemen snatched away their flag repeatedly they put on the flag as cloths & run on street.

Student Agitation

  • Student participated in large number in Civil Disobedience Movement throughout India. The most intense student agitates witnessed in Assam against Cunningham Circular. This was issued by government to prohibit participation of student in National activities. Guarantees were sought by parent that their wards will not part many national activity.
Cunningham Circular- When the whole country was preparing for the start of the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930, students in Assam also played a key role.  To discourage and stop students to participate in the Civil Disobedience Movement, J.R. Cunningham, the then powerful Director of Public Information of Assam, issued the Cunningham circular in 1930 imposing a blanket ban on any anti-British and pro- activity by students. It forced parents, guardians and students to furnish assurances of good behavior and also asked them to sign an undertaking that they would have to quit their schools and colleges if they participated in anti-government demonstrations or movements.

The circular was aimed to forbid students from participating in political activities and so, it raised a very strong response. Thousands of students, throughout Assam, left their educational institutions.












Working Class Agitation

  • The labors participated in Civil Disobedience Movement in large number strikes & lock out were observed throughout India.
  • Most intense working class agitation organized in Sholapur in Maharashtra from 7th May to 16th May 1930, complete government ink remain paralyzed & laborer run parallel government.


Business Class Agitation

  • For the first time in history of Indian Struggle against British Rule, the Indian business class extended open support to national activities.
  • The textile mill owners refused to use foreign yam. They stopped manufacturing Khadi because it was manufacturing by agitators.




Pedestrian Marches during Civil Disobedience movement

  • Indian Nationalist organized pedestrian marches to reach sea coast for manufacturing salt.
  • Rajagopalacharya laid March from Tiruchirapalli to Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.
  • Keltappan laid March from Calicut Payannur in Malabar Coast.
  • Group of Satyagrahi’s laid march Guwahati to Noakhali (Bengal) to reach sea coast.


Attitude of Parties towards Civil Disobedience Movement

  • The Congress launched Civil Disobedience Movement under the leadership of Gandhiji, almost all leaders of Congress supported Civil Disobedience movement whole heartedly except a small group of few leaders composing C. Kelkar, Satyamurthi & M.A. Ansari. These Leaders refused to resign from legislative council through they supported Civil Disobedience movement. They were known as new Swarajist.
  • Socialist supported Civil Disobedience movement whole heartedly because group of Civil Disobedience movement were in accordance with their ideas.
  • Communist also supported Civil Disobedience movement whole heartedly.
  • Muslim League remained away from nationalist activities.
  • Business class supported Civil Disobedience movement & it was for first time that business class was participating in notional activity openly. By this time leaders of Indian Business Class (Capitalist) had realized that it would no longer possible to remain away from national activities.
  • They could sense that government would not take these seriously without support of Congress.
  • This realization persuaded business class to declare its open support to Civil Disobedience movement.


Changing role of Business Pressure

  • The Indian business class had announced his support to Civil Disobedience movement with hope that movement would be short lived.
  • The national activity involving agitation demonstration strikes & lockout were against interest of business class because production used to get obstructed & markets also used get seriously affected.
  • Business class had made up his mind to bear the short term losses for long term gain but when movement continued for more than six months leaders of Business Class started becoming restive.
  • Business Class leaders such as Purshottam D. Thakur started building pressure on Gandhiji & other national leaders to get national struggle suspended, so that their business could be revived.
  • Critics of Gandhi-Irvin pact emphasize that this Business Class pressure had important role in signing Gandhi Irvin pact that suspended Civil Disobedience movement.
  • These critics also emphasized that Karachi session of Congress that rectified Gandhi Irvin pact certain basic weakness of Civil Disobedience movement.
  • At Karachi session, wish of Business Class & Landlords in form of rectification of Gandhi Irvin pact because suspension of Civil Disobedience movement benefitted these classes.



Was Karachi Congress an Identification of Inherent Weaknesses of Civil Disobedience Movement?

  • Karachi session held during 26-28 March 1931 after suspension of Civil Disobedience movement through Gandhi-Irvin pact.
  • This pact was ratified at Karachi.
  • Critics of Gandhi-Irwin pact emphasized that movement was at its peak when it was suddenly suspended by Gandhi & this suspension was carried out under pressure of Business Class & Landlords because growing radicalization in Civil Disobedience movement was expected destroy existing socio economic structure. In which these classes enjoying a dominant position.
  • Closer examination to circumstances leading to suspension of District Megistrate revealed that decision of Gandhi to sign pact with Gandhi-Lord Irvin was in nature consonance with fundamentals characters of Gandhian Movement.
  • Movement was going on since almost a year common masses were getting exhausted. At a time when no signature gain was coming from British side Gandhi suspended the Mass Movement so that masses could take rest & regain the energy.
  • Suspension of Civil Disobedience movement was a reflection of Gandhi strategy Struggle Truce Struggle & Pressure Compromise Pressure.
  • Resolution adopted by Congress at Karachi session clearly confirmed that influence of poor & working had increased enormously in Congress.
Gandhi-Irwin Pact, agreement signed on March 5, 1931, between Mohandas K. Gandhi, leader of the Indian nationalist movement, and Lord Irwin (later Lord Halifax), British viceroy (1926–31) of India. It marked the end of a period of civil disobedience (Satyagraha) in India against British rule that Gandhi and his followers had initiated with the Salt March (March–April 1930). Gandhi’s arrest and imprisonment at the end of the march, for illegally making salt, sparked one of his more effective civil disobedience movements. By the end of 1930, tens of thousands of Indians were in jail (including future Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru), the movement had generated worldwide publicity, and Irwin was looking for a way to end it. Gandhi was released from custody in January 1931, and the two men began negotiating the terms of the pact. In the end, Gandhi pledged to give up the Satyagraha campaign, and Irwin agreed to release those who had been imprisoned during it and to allow Indians to make salt for domestic use. Later that year Gandhi attended the second session (September–December) of the Round Table Conference in London.
  • Resolution adopted on Fine Resolutions & National economic program defined the meaning of Swaraj for common masses for first time because of this instead of being indication inherent weakness of Civil Disobedience movement. Karachi Congress in reality reflected great strength of this movement.


Swaraj as defined in Karachi Session

  • Karachi session was presided over Patel Fine Resolutions & National economic program adopted at Karachi were drafted by Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Every citizen of India must enjoy basic civil rights of freedom of speech, association & assembly.
  • Freedom of press must be guarantee.
  • Equality before law.
  • Elections shall be based on universal adult suffrage.
  • Primary education should be free & compulsory.
  • Burden of land revenue & other taxes should be substantially reduced.
  • Minorities, women, peasant must enjoy protection.
  • Women will enjoy living wage and number of working hours should be limited.
  • Key industry, mining & exportation should be a government control.
  • This resolution adopted in Karachi reflected dominance of socialist outlook & it was proclaimed that Independent India shall be welfare state where interest of every section of people will be taken care of.


Significance of Civil Disobedience Movement

  • National movement greatly radicalized by launching of Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Social base of Anti British Struggle widen greatly because Poor and working class participated in this struggle large number participation of student was also remarkable for first time Business Class had supported National Movement.
  • New methods of struggle were used by Indian Nationalist to fight against British Rule during Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • The efficacy of Gandhian Movement was proved once again because lass of Indians were participated in Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • The fight against British Rule was carried to part of number return because movement was launched with demand of Poorna Swaraj. It eliminated possibility of any conciliation with British Rule.
  • Refused of Gorkha regiment to open fire on peaceful agitator indicated that spirit of nation had started inflecting man in uniforms. The steel pillars on which British rule was resting in India had started getting rust. It was just matter of time before these pillars were to start crumbling.
  • Influence of Socialism Idea was increased greatly by Civil Disobedience Movement. This inflection got reflected, in resolution adopted by Congress at Karachi where meaning of Swaraj was defined in 1st time in context of masses.

General Elections of 1937 & Provincial Congress Ministries

  • As per provision of Government of India act 1935, general elections were held in India in 1937 and in these elections, Congress was remarkably successful.
  • Out of total 11 provinces, Congress won majority in 6 provinces. (North West Province, Bengal, Orissa, Central Province, Bombay, Madras) in North West Frontier Province & Assam Congress emerged as big party.
  • In these two provinces, Congress succeeded in forming coaliton government in this way, Congress came into power in 8 provinces. The Unionist party won majority in Punjab under leadership of Sikander Hayat Khan.
  • In Bengal, the Krishak Praja Party of Fazal-ul-Haq formed the government.
  • In Sind, the united Sindh party of Allah Baksh win majority.
  • While Congress was highly successful in this league Muslim League was miserable failure in this election.
  • The league could win only 44% of total Muslim votes.
  • It couldn’t form government in any of provinces.
  • In Bihar, Odisha, CP & Sindh the league couldn’t open even its account.
  • The markable success of Congress & miserable failure of Muslim League marked beginning of new phase of divergence politics of India.
  • While Congress got busy in provincial government, the Muslim League started blowing siren of divisive politics revolving around radical polarization along religious line.
  • Congress Provincial Minister remained in power just for short period of 27 months, but within this, these ministries set example through their commitment & character.
  • Congress ministers lived a very simple life untouched by the evil effects of power.
  • The ministers reduced their salary from Rs 2000/- to 500/- month. They were easily accessible to common people.
  • Congress ministries abolished the special emergency power acquired by provincial government in 1932 through public safety laws.
  • Radical nationalist organization viz Hindustan Seva Dal & Youth league were allowed to fun. The ban imposed by government on these organizations earlier was lifted.
  • Political prisoner arrested during Civil Disobedience Movement were released.
  • The press equipment seized by government for indulging national act was returned.
  • Security amount collected was returned back.
  • The power of police were cut, CID were not allow to shadow the political workers, so that political party can work freely.
  • UP Tenancy Act Oct 1939 provided the occupancy returns to tenants. It was provided that rent of here datary tenants could change only after 10 years. Tenants could no longer arrest for non-payment of Tenants.
  • All illegal exaction from Peasant by Landlords in form forced gift (Nazrana) & free labor (Beggar) were abolished.
  • In this way, Congress ministries tried to transform complete agrarian structure prevailing in India.
  • The land constricted from peasants during Civil Disobedience Movement, were returned to their original owner.
  • Bombay Government liberated more than 40,000 agricultural labors tied to land. Their condition very much similar to that of serf. (Agricultural Slave).
  • Returns of forest dwellers were also restored. Grassing fee charged in forest was abolished.
  • While record of most Communist Party Marxist was unblamist but the Madras government detained & prosecuted Yusuf Meherll Ali a prominent social leader for making inflammatory speeches in July 1937.
  • In Oct 37, another socialist leader of Congress S.S. Batliwala was prosecuted by Madras government for making sedious speech. These actions were against well-known Congress position that nobody should be prosecuted for making sedious speech & least of all speech against colonial rule.


August Offer

  • August Offer was announced by British government to consolidate Indian Nationalist so that full Indian support should be ensured during war.
  • With commencement of World War-II on 1st Sept 1939, a situation of political deadlock had developed in India because India was declared to party to war without consulting Indian National Leaders.
  • Indian Leaders were not against supporting Britain in World War-II but they wanted that Indians should be consulted while taking any decision on behalf of India. This Indian aspiration was not appreciated by British.
  • As a result of that Congress ordered to resign his provincial ministries to protest.
  • In July 1940, the battle of Britain commenced the British main land came under severe German attack & during this arc of crisis, British government felt need of full of Indian support.
  • To ensure full Indian support for British war efforts Lord Linlithgow, the governor general of India made an announcement on behalf of British government on 8th August, popularly known as August Offer.


Provisions of August Offer

  • The government general’s executive council would be immediately expanded by including more number of Indians in it.
  • A war advisory council was set up immediately.
  • The interest of minorities will be safeguarded & minority opinion will be given full weight.
  • Subject to fulfillment of British responsibility related to defense, foreign affairs treaties with native states & position on foreign Indian services farming new constitution shall primarily be carried out by Indians themselves.
  • After the end of war, steps will be taken to set up a constitution assembly charged with task farming new constitution for India.
  • In the meantime, when war was going full Indian support was sought for British war efforts.


Critical Examination of August Offer & Indian Reaction

  • Provision of August offer was nowhere close to demands of Indian Nationalist.
  • Congress was demanding complete India but there was no trace of Complete India in provision of August offer.
  • Gandhiji rejected August Offer & commented that this declaration has further widened the gulf between Indians & British.
  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru commented that idea of dominion status was as dead as doornail.
  • Congress decided to launch individual Satyagraha to oppose “August offer”.
  • Congress didn’t want to create difficulties to British when empire was fighting for his existence against Germany.
  • Acharya Vinoba Bhave was first who offered individual Satyagraha & Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was second.



Cripps Plan

Sir Stafford Cripps visiting with Mohandas Gandhi in India, March 1942

  • Stafford Cripps was sent as one member mission to India in March 1942 as one member mission by British government to conciliate Indian Leaders to ensure full Indian support for British war efforts.
  • The decision of British government to send Cripps was response & reaction to circumstance created by entry of Japan in World War-II on 7th Dec 1941.
  • Entry of Japan in World War-II transformed character of conflict because within short Span of few weeks almost whole South Asia was captured by Japanese forces. It was quite clearly visible that India shall be next target of Japan.
  • To counter possible Japanese invasion, Full Indian support was required to achieve this objective Sir Stafford was sent as One Indian Mission with the draft declaration.


Provisions of Cripps Proposal

  • Immediately after end of war, steps will be taken to set up a constituent assembly for making new constitution for India.
  • It was declared that if no Indian plan could be agreed upon for elections of members of constituent assembly, the members would be elected by provincial legislature by using principle of proportional representation.
  • Steps will be taken to ensure the participation of native states in constituent making.
  • Subject to fulfillment of two conditions, the making of new constitution would be carried out by Indian themselves. These condition were-
  • The provinces will have to return to accept/reject new constitution.
  • Central Authority shall have to sign on treaty to cover all the Walters arising out of transfer of complete responsibilities into Indian hands.
  • Indians were also invited to participate in councils of league of nation & British common wealth.
  • In the meanwhile when World War was going on, full Indian support was expected to British war efforts.



Critical Examination of Cripps Proposal & Indian Reaction

Reaction of Congress

  • The Provision of Cripps Proposal was failed to satisfy Indian aspiration because Indian Nationalist were demanding transfer of Indian responsibilities into Indian hands immediately.
  • Congress wanted that Central Authority shall be setup immediately to draft a new constitution for India.
  • Gandhi termed Cripps Proposal as post-dated cheque to which Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru added on failing Bank.
  • The Congress was not so much against long term provisions of Cripps Proposal as it was against its immediate provisions of Cripps Proposal as it was against its immediate provisions.
  • Congress strongly condemned freedom given to provinces to accept & reject new constitution because this was direct threat to Indian unity & integrity.


Reactions of Hindu Mahasabha

  • The Hindu Mahasabha was strongly against freedom giving to provinces to accept/reject constitution.


Reactions of Sikhs of Punjab

  • Sikhs also rejected Cripps Proposal because freedom giving to Peasants to accept/reject constitution. They were apprehensive that if Punjab rejected it, new constitution the Sikh would leave at mercy of Muslims.


Reaction of Depressed Classes

  • Depressed Classes by Bhimrao Ambedkar also rejected Cripps Proposal because if didn’t contain any provision to safeguard their interest.


Reaction of Muslim League

  • The Muslim League rejected Cripps Proposal on the ground that its demand of separate state was not accepted clearly.
  • League also opposed to formula proposed by Cripps Proposal for election of members of Central Authority.
  • League wanted that members of constitute assembly should be elected by using separate system of electorate.



Critical & Comparative Analysis of Cripps Proposal and August Offer

  • Competitive analysis of Cripps Proposal & that of August Offer revealed that Cripps Proposal was an improvement over August Offer on at least four grounds.
  • August Offer proposed dominion status because British were to remain responsible for Indian defense & foreign affairs.
  • Cripps Proposal proposed that India could secede from Commonwealth games & India can attain complete Independence.
  • August Offer provided that steps will be taken from setting up Central Authority after end of war.
  • The Cripps Proposal went step furniture & proposed formula for election of member for Central Authority.
  • Over emphasis on safeguard of minorities was important limitation of August Offer but no such emphasize was visible in Cripps Proposal.
  • System of separate electorate followed by British for abundant & members of Central Authority were be elected by members of provincial legislature through system of proportional representation.
  • System of proportional representation ensured that all the members of Central Authority would be Indians.
  • August Offer invited Indians to participate in Government Generals executive councils & war advisory council.
  • The Cripps Proposal invited Indians to participate in councils of League of nations & British Commonwealth.


Quit India Movement

  • Quit India Movement launched by Congress under leadership of Gandhiji was response & reaction to circumstances prevailing in India at that time.
  • The colonial characteristic of British Rule was the most fundamental reason behind launching of Quit India Movement.
  • Economic hardship being faced by common masses & intensified Anti-British discontents. Items of common use were being exported to meet need of armed forces. As a result of this, Famine like situation had developed in Bengal.
  • Policy of repression & suppression being followed by British rule also forced Gandhiji to give a call for launching of Mass Movement.
  • The bitter experience of post World War I had also tied hands of Indian nationalist
  • Indians had supported British during World War I whole heartedly but reward of this cooperation was received in form of Rowlatt act & Jalianwalan Bagh massacre.
  • Indian Nationalist didn’t want to commit same mistake again.
  • The impending threat of Japanese invasion left Indian nation with no choice but to launch an all-out struggle against Britain because Gandhiji knew very well that the presence of British was inviting Japan as there was no traditional hostility between India & Japan.
  • Under these circumstances, Congress working committee in Wardha on 14th July 1942, authorized Gandhi to launch Mass Movement
  • On 8th August 1942, All India Congress Committee assembled at Gawaliya Tank Ground, Mumbai & adopted Quit India resolution. The movement commenced next day as spontaneous resolve.


Impact of Quit India Movement

  • The launching of Quit India Movement transformed the character of Anti British Struggle completely. Instead of just being National Movement, the India’s struggle against British Rule became an all-out war against foreign domination.
  • Movement was launched by Gandhiji with the slogan “do or die”.
  • The movement commenced as spontaneous revolutions. It appeared as if people were waiting on Fringe & one call of Gandhiji lacks of Indians jumped into Anti British Struggle immediately.
  • The launching of Quit India Movement greatly radicalizes Anti British Struggle because in spite of many violent incidents the movement was never called off or suspended by Gandhi. In spite Gandhiji held British responsible for these violent incidents.
  • Gandhian Movement of Struggle Truce Struggle was abounded in favor of socialist strategy “sustained struggle.”
  • The Quit India Movement was the first time Pan India movement because for the first time the National Scale struggle was extended to native state. Whole of India participated in movement for liberation.
  • The role of women was very important in Quit India Movement.
  • Women leaders like Usha Mehta contributed greatly to fight against British Rule.
  • Aruna Asaf Ali laid the Anti British agitation in the streets.
  • Usha Mehta set up secret Congress radio to propagate nationalist message.
  • The level of nationalist was awakening was carried to new height.

Even the Bureaucracy & military forces came under influence of nation.

  • British Rule officials realized that the days of British Rule in India were less. They knew that very soon the power would get transferred into Indian hands. So officers didn’t take any strong measure against National Leaders.
  • The Royal Indian Mutiny of Feb 1946 prevails that British couldn’t longer rely on support & loyalty of Indian soldier.
  • Steel pillars on which structure of British Indian Empire resting had started crumbling. Here after, it was just matter of time before British Rule would come to end.
  • The Quit India Movement exhibited the maturity of Indian nationalism because in spite of arrest of all prominent National Leaders in early morning of 9th August, movement commenced with great intensity. The local leaders jumped to fore front to lead anti British struggle & as result of this movement left lasting impact on India’s struggle against British Rule.
  • The activities during Quit India Movement, revealed great influence of socialist idea, Gandhi’s speech of moderation was no longer visible an extremely aggressive outlook in December 1942. He was in strange and militant mood during Quit India Movement.
  • British Indian administration had got paralyzed completely as result of launching of Quit India Movement at many places viz. Balia (Uttar Pradesh) Tamluk (Midnapur, Bengal) & Satara, II government were formed by Indian Nationalist. This government ran for many months successfully.
  • It was pressure of Quit India Movement that convinced the British that the days of colonial rule on India were over. As a result of this, British started to plan to leave India immediately after end of World War II.


Movement of Separatist/Separate State

  • Around middle of 19th Century when spirit of nationalism was becoming visible among western educated, Indian middle class. At the same time a separatist movement, also started raising his head in India.
  • Separatism as well as nationalism was work of middle class. Gradually this separatist movement based on cultural identity got transformed into movement for separate state.
  • In spite, the fact Hindus & Muslims fought together against British Rule during revolt of 1857, separatist tendencies had started becoming soon after. It was the movement separate state launched by these separatist forces that made India to bear the pain of partition along with joy for Independence.

Muslim Separatist Movement

  • Larger background of separatist movement of India could be traced to offers made by sections of Muslim intellectual like Abdul Latif, Sayyad Amit Ali, Sayyad Amit Hussain and Sayyad Ahmad Khan.
  • By the middle of 19th Century, the Hindu society had progressed quite significantly because of the effect of the Hindu Socio reform movements.
  • These reform movements laid by leaders like Raja Rammohan Roy, Debendranath Tagore Keshavchandra Sen were liberal & progressive. These reformers strongly supported spread of western education as a result of which Hindus could enter government services & they could absorb the liberal and progressive ideas of enlightenment.
  • While impact of Hindu socio reform movement was the, the impact of Muslim socio-reform movement was negative in Muslim society.
  • The Muslim socio-reform movement was background looking. These movements like “Wahabi Movement.” of Sayyad Ahmad of Raibareli, “Ahmadi Movement” of Mirza Gulam Ahmad emphasizing on restoring purify of Islam. They opposed western educations & western ideas.
  • As a result of background looking character of Muslims socio-religious reform movement, Muslim society couldn’t merge ahead on path of modernity and Muslims remained trapped in backwardness.
  • By middle of 19th Century, the socio-economic difference between Muslim-Hindu was quite contrasting & to bridge this difference, the leader like Abdul Latif & Sayyad Ahmad Khan made efforts.
  • Anjuman-i-Islamia was established as 1st organization by group of Muslim intellectuals in 1855 to spread western education among Muslim.
  • Mohammedan-literally & scientific society was established by Abdul Latif in 1863.
  • In 1864, Sayyad Ahmad Khan established Science Society also known as translation society so that English works could be translated into Urdu & Persian for use of Muslim.
  • In 1870, Sayyad Ahmad Khan started publications of “Tahzib-ul-Akhlaq” in Urdu to propagate his idea among Muslims.
  • Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College was established at Aligarh at 1875 to spread modern education among Muslim.
  • In 1877, National Mohammedan Association was established at Calcutta by Sayyad Amir Ali & Sayyad Amir Hussain.
  • There was nothing Anti-Hindu in act of Muslim intellectuals. Communal outlook was absent in their activities but since the Hindus were taken as reform to measure progress, spirit of competition entered into activities of Muslim intellectual gradually. This paved way for emergence & growth of Muslim separatist movement later on.


Emergency of Separation

Muslim League meeting

  • Foundation of Congress in Dec 1885 resulted in beginning of Indian National Movement.
  • By 1888, the real nationalist character of Congress came out in open. The nationalist pressure on British colonial rule forced British to give new orientation to their policy of divide and rule.
  • Muslim separatism & growth of communal outlook among Muslim were the outcome of same.
  • Muslim intellectuals like Sayyad Ahmad Khan were convinced that demands of Congress for a democratic political system were against Muslim interest because in democracy majority rules.
  • Since Muslim were in minority in India. It was emphasized that in democratic political system Muslims would be left on mercy of Hindu forever.
  • This British politics of “divide and rule” produced a desired effect. The leaders like Sayyad Ahmad Khan lost his faith in efficacy of Hindu-Muslim unity & they became communal.
  • By 1888, Sayyad Ahmad Khan had got transformed into a communal leaders, while speaking at Meerut at 1888 he commented that Hindu & Muslim were two varying communal & they can never live together peaceful.
  • United India Patriotic Association” was founded by Sayyad Ahmad Khan in 1888 to counter the growing influence of Congress.
  • In 1893, “Mohammedan Anglo Oriental defense Association” was founded by him to organize radical propaganda against Congress.
  • Partition of Bengal was carried out British to strengthen communal forces & widen gulf between Hindu & Muslim. By creating new Muslim majority province of East Bengal British wanted to convince that they were their true savior.
  • Partition of Bengal was welcomed by Muslim communal leaders like Nawab Wakar-ul-Mulk, Mohsin-u-Mulk, and Aga Khan.
  • They celebrated the implementation of partition & 1st anniversary of Partition of Bengal was celebrated by them as day of rejoicing.
  • Foundation of Muslim League was blessed by British Rule.
  • On 1st Oct 1906, a delegation of 35 Muslim leaders met government general Minto-II at Shimla to take his blessing.
  • The league came into existence in Dec 1906.
  • Grant of Separatist electorate to Muslim in 1909 through Minto-Morle reform was another British initiative to strengthen communal forces.
  • Condemnation to separatist of electorate by Congress also added fuel to fire of separatist.
  • Sudhi & sanghathan movement organized by radical Hindu elements added further fuel to separatist in India.

Emergency of Movement

  • The outcome of general election of 1937 and developments that followed transformed Muslim cultural movement into a movement for separate state revolving idea around “Pakistan”.
  • The idea of separate state was put forward for 1st time by two brothers named Abdul Sattar and Abdul Jabbar. They were communist leaders, they went to Moscow to attained 2nd CI (Communist International), WWGC (World Wide gathering of communist) (1916) and here they demanded Separate State for Muslim.
  • In 1924, Lala Lajpat Rai put forward the view that Muslims should be divided into separate state on religious line.
  • In 1930, at Allahabad session of Muslim League, Md. Iqbal put forward view that creation of an autonomous unit in North Western Region of Indian Subcontinent would be in larger interest of Muslim League.
  • In 1933, Choudhry Rahmat Ali as undergraduate student in Cambridge belonging to Punjab coined term “PAKISTAN”. It was following Iqbal
  • He was expecting that Iqbal would raise demand of separate state in RT conference and where Iqbal was failed to do so, Rahmat Ali felt hurted.
  • He published a pamphlet titled as “now or never” and in this he used termed Pakistan for 1st
  • The word Pakistan made by letter of taken from Muslim majority provinces.
  • He started Pakistan National Movement to provogate the idea. Munistan (Bengal), Usministan (Hyderabad).
  • Before 1937, idea of separate state was not supported by any prominent leader or party in India.
  • When Md. Ali Jinnah heard that Pakistan was demanded by Rahmat Ali, he had commented that Rahmat Ali was kid and he was not aware of realities of India.

General Election of 1937 and Emergence of Demand of Separate State

  • The emergence of separate state was response & reaction to the development that followed general election of 1937.
  • In this election, Congress was highly successful as it could win majority in six provinces. It was a big party in North West Frontier Province & Assam. In these provinces, Congress formed coalition government (8/11).
  • On other hand, Muslim League was a miserable failure. It couldn’t win majority in any of provinces. The league couldn’t even open its account in Bihar, Central Province, Sindh, and Odisha.
  • Other Muslim parties such as “Unionist Party” of Sikander Hayat Khan (Formed Government in Punjab), “United Sindh Party” of Allahabad and “Krishak Praja Party” of Fazal-ul-Haq (Bengal) were highly successful.
  • In the election of 1937, Congress and Muslim League enjoyed a secrete understanding, their manifestos were similar & leaders were conscious not to attack each other during elections.
  • Both the parties reached to an understanding that irrespective of outcome of election, they will form government together.
  • The outcome of election turned these parities away. As politics of Muslim League was badly rejected by people, Congress didn’t invite Muslim League to join the ministries because such an invitation would have been an insult to electorates.
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah wrote number of letters to Congress leaders and Gandhiji but they stacked to ground and refused to invite Muslim league for joining ministries.
  • Analysis of outcome of elections revealed that Congress didn’t receive much support from poor section of Muslim peasantry. To overcome this limitation, Congress decided to launch mass contact program. This was step in right direction but it antagonized Muslim League as comparatively poor Muslim peasantry was base of Muslim League.
  • These developments turned Muslim League into a corner league realized that its political existence come to end very soon.
  • This struggle for survival pushed Muslim League into extremely radical politics based on religious polarization.
  • Muslim League abounded the old slogan, “Muslim interest are in danger”. It adopted a new slogan that “Islam is in danger under Hindu majority rule in Congress”.
  • To support this radical propaganda, a number of fabricated reports were published in the form of Pirpur report (1938), Sharif report (1939) and Fazal-ul-Haq’s report (1939). These reports highlighted the destruction of Mosque, burning of holy Quran dishonoring of Muslim women & killing of Muslim children in Congress ruled state.
  • This radical propaganda of Muslim League of was highly successful. Within short period, thousands of branches of Muslim League energized all over India.
  • Other Muslim parties pressurized to either merge in Muslim League or join hands with it. “Sikander-Jinnah pact” signed in 1937 through which members of Unionist party could become members of Muslim League.
  • When Congress provincial ministries resigned on 27th Oct 1939, their resignation was celebrated as deliverance from Hindu exploitative rule. 22nd Dec 1939 organized as day of deliverance.
  • In March 1940, Muslim League adopted Lahore resolution in which 1st time it demanded separate state.
  • In response to Quit India resolution of Congress, the league adopted Karachi resolution in Dec 1943 in which it demanded that British should divide and Quit India.
  • All these post 1937 developments had transformed Congress and Muslim League into hardcore political opponents. Serious political deadlock had development in India as two main Indian parties were busy in entirely different types of politics while Congress was string hard to win Independence from British Rule, the league was busy in widening its mass base by using radical colonizing politics.
Sikander-Jinnah pact- Elections in early 1937, the Congress winning in six out of total eleven provinces of British India changed the tone and tenor of the Congress leadership. It started behaving as if it were the political masters of South Asia. The minorities particularly the Muslims, whether they belonged to All India Muslim League or others, were deeply hurt with this behavior of the Congress, wanted the Muslims to pack up their positions. Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, Chief Minister of the Punjab, and head of the Unionist Party in the Punjab, joined Lucknow gatherings of the Muslims League in October 1937 and concluded a pact with Jinnah by which he became member of the Muslim League Council. This paved the way for other Muslim leaders different from the Muslim League to cooperate with Jinnah as President of the All India Muslim League in the interest of the Muslims at South Asia level. Thus this pact affected All India Muslim politics.