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Question 1

 Why were people dissatisfied with British rule in the 1870s and 1880s?

The dissatisfaction with British rule intensified in the 1870s and 1880s. The main reason was the two Acts was passed by the British.
  • The Arms Act, 1878

  • The Vernacular Press Act, 1878

  • The Arms Act disallowed Indians from possessing arms and the Vernacular Press Act allowed the government to confiscate the assets of newspapers including their printing presses if the newspapers published anything that was found "objectionable".

    Question 2

    Who did the Indian National Congress wish to speak for?

    Indian National Congress wished to speak for all the people of India, irrespective of class, colour, caste, creed, language, or gender. It stated that India, its resources and systems were not of any one class or community of India, but of all the different communities of India.

    Question 3

    What economic impact did the First World War have on India?

    The First World War changed the economic and political situation in India. There was a huge rise in the defence expenditure of the Government of India. The government increased taxes on individuals and businesses. The price of all commodities increased putting the common man into a lot of hardship. There was a great demand for industrial goods due to the war and this resulted in the decline of European goods being imported into India. This in turn gave the Indian industrialists a chance to expand their production.

    Question 4

    What did the Muslim League resolution of 1940 ask for?

    In 1940 the Muslim League passed a resolution demanding "Independent States" for Muslims in the north-western and eastern areas of the country. The resolution did not mention partition or Pakistan.

    Question 5

    Who were the Moderates? How did they propose to struggle against British rule?

    During the first 20 years, after it was formed the Congress was "moderate" in its objectives and methods. Some of the ‘Moderate’ leaders were Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Badruddin Tyabji, W.C. Bonnerji, Surendranath Banerji, Romesh Chandra Dutt and S. Subramania Iyer.

    They proposed to struggle against the British in a non- violent manner, which the Radicals called the "politics of prayers".

    The Moderate leaders wanted to develop public awareness about the unjust nature of British rule. They published newspapers, wrote articles, and showed how British rule was leading to the economic ruin of the country. They criticised British rule in their speeches and sent representatives to different parts of the country to mobilise public opinion. They felt that the British had respect for the ideals of freedom and justice, and so they would accept the just demands of Indians. What was necessary, therefore, was to express these demands, and make the government aware of the feelings of Indians.

    Question 6

    How was the politics of the Radicals within the Congress different from that of the Moderates?

    In Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab, many leaders adapted more radical means to gain freedom from the British. They were Bepin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai

    Bepin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai were known as the Triumvirate or the three militant patriots of the Congresses - "Lal Bal Pal". The trio was responsible for initiating the first popular upsurge against British colonial policy in the 1905 partition of Bengal, before the advent of Gandhi into Indian politics. Bepin Chandra Pal was also the founder of the nationalistic journal Bande Mataram.

    They argued that people must rely on their own strength, not on the "good" intentions of the government. They felt that the people must fight for Swaraj.

    Question 7

    Discuss the various forms that the Non-Cooperation Movement took in different parts of India. How did the people understand Gandhiji?

    During 1921 and 1922 the Non-Cooperation Movement gained impetus. Thousands of students left government controlled schools and colleges and lawyers gave up their practices. Many Indians surrendered their British titles and Legislatures were boycotted.

    People publicly burnt foreign cloth. The Non-Cooperation Movement was only a precedent to the large scale revolt against the British that was yet to come.

    Slowly people from all walks of live joined in the movement for Swaraj. Some took the route of non-violence as advocated by Gandhiji, while others protested in their own way.

    The Patidar peasants who belonged to Gujarat organised non-violent campaigns against the high land revenue demanded by the British. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, liquor shops were attacked and the tribals and poor peasants of Guntur, in Andhra Pradesh, staged forest satyagrahas, for the British did not allow them to use the forests for grazing their cattle.

    In Sind, Muslim traders and peasants supported the Khilafat call, while in Bengal the Khilafat-Non-Cooperation alliance gave enormous communal unity and strength to the national movement. In Punjab, the Akali agitation of the Sikhs wanted the corrupt mahants who supported by the British removed from the Gurdwaras.

    In Assam, tea garden demanded a big increase in their wages. They left the British-owned plantations amidst declarations that they were following Gandhiji’s wish.

    Many Indians regarded Gandhiji as a saviour, who would free India from the clutched of the British and help them over come their misery and poverty. The peasants hoped that Gandhiji would help them in their fight against zamindars. Agricultural labourers believed he would provide them land. The peasants of Pratapgarh in the Uttar Pradesh managed to stop illegal eviction of tenants; but they felt it was Gandhiji who had won this demand for them. Many a time peasants used Gandhi’s name and indulged in un-Gandhian activities.

    Question 8

    Why did Gandhiji choose to break the salt law?

    The British introduced a law stating that the Government had control over the manufacture and sale of salt. It also imposed a tax on the sale of salt. Mahatma Gandhi and other national leaders felt that it was wrong to impose tax on salt which was an essential commodity for food. The leaders decided to oppose this tax.

    In 1930, Gandhiji declared that he would lead a march to break the salt law. The Salt March was related to the desire for freedom felt by everyone, the rich and the poor alike.

    Gandhiji and his followers marched for over 240 miles from Sabarmati to the coastal town of Dandi where they broke the government law by gathering natural salt found on the seashore, and boiled sea water to produce salt.

    Peasants, tribals and women participated in large numbers. Pamphlets were published on the Salt Satyagraha.

    Question 9

    Discuss those developments of the 1937-47 period that led to the creation of Pakistan

    In 1937 the government announced elections to the provincial legislatures. The Congress was victorious in 7 out of 11 provinces and formed governments in the 7 provinces.

    A new phase of civil disobedience movement was started by Gandhiji. The ‘Quit India was initiated. The British did their best to suppress the movement. Finally the British began accepting the demand for freedom by the Indians.

    In 1940 the Muslim League passed a resolution demanding "Independent States" for Muslims in the north-western and eastern areas of the country.

    The Muslims feared that they may be suppressed by the Hindus as the Hindus were a majority in India. A social divide was created between the Hindus and the Muslims increased as the Congress failed to mobilise the Muslim masses.

    At the end of the Second World War in 1945, the British opened talks with the Congress, the League for the independence of India. The talks failed because the League saw itself as the sole spokesperson of India’s Muslims. The Congress could not accept this claim since a large number of Muslims still supported it.

    In 1946 elections to the provinces were held. The divide between the congress and the Muslim League became more evident after the elections. The Congress did well in the "General" constituencies, at the same time the Muslim League succeeded in areas where seats were reserved for Muslims. The League persisted with its demand for "Pakistan".

    In March 1946 the British cabinet sent a three-member mission to Delhi to examine the best suited political framework for a free India. It was suggested that India should remain united with some autonomy for Muslim-majority areas. The Congress and the Muslim League were unable to come to a consensus and partition became inevitable.

    After the failure of the Cabinet Mission, the Muslim League decided on mass agitation for an independent state of Pakistan.

    It announced 16 August 1946 as "Direct Action Day". Riots broke out in Calcutta which lasted for many days. Thousands of people died in these riots.

    By March 1947 violence spread to different parts of northern India. Many hundred thousand people were killed and numerous women had to face atrocities.

    Millions of people were forced to flee their homes.

    The state of Pakistan was born. The partition brought untold misery to millions of Indians.

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