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The Persians followed by the Iranians and Parsis immigrated to India. Then came the Moghuls and they too settled down permanently in India. Chengis Khan, the Mongolian, invaded and looted India many times. Alexander the Great too, came to conquer India but went back after a battle with Porus. He-en Tsang from China came in pursuit of knowledge and to visit the ancient Indian universities of Nalanda and Takshila.

Columbus wanted to come to India, but instead landed on the shores of America. Vasco da Gama from Portugal came to trade his country's goods in return for Indian species. The French came and established their colonies in India. Lastly, the Britishers came and ruled over India for nearly years. After the battle of Plassey in , the British achieved political power in India. And their paramountcy was established during the tenure of Lord Dalhousie, who became the Governor- General in He annexed Punjab, Peshawar and the Pathan tribes in the north-west of India.

And by , the British conquest and its authority were firmly established. A Muslim deputation met with the Viceroy, Minto —10 , seeking concessions from the impending constitutional reforms, including special considerations in government service and electorates. The British recognised some of the Muslim League 's petitions by increasing the number of elective offices reserved for Muslims in the Indian Councils Act The Muslim League insisted on its separateness from the Hindu-dominated Congress, as the voice of a "nation within a nation".

The temperance movement in India became aligned with Indian nationalism under the direction of Mahatma Gandhi , who saw alcohol as a foreign importation to the culture of the subcontinent. In July , Lord Curzon , the Viceroy and Governor-General — , ordered the partition of the province of Bengal supposedly for improvements in administrative efficiency in the huge and populous region. The Bengali Hindu intelligentsia exerted considerable influence on local and national politics.

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The partition outraged Bengalis. Not only had the government failed to consult Indian public opinion, but the action appeared to reflect the British resolve to divide and rule. Widespread agitation ensued in the streets and in the press, and the Congress advocated boycotting British products under the banner of swadeshi , or indigenous industries. A growing movement emerged, focussing on indigenous Indian industries, finance, and education, which saw the founding of National Council of Education , the birth of Indian financial institutions and banks, as well as an interest in Indian culture and achievements in science and literature.

Hindus showed unity by tying Rakhi on each other's wrists and observing Arandhan not cooking any food. During this time, Bengali Hindu nationalists like Sri Aurobindo , Bhupendranath Datta , and Bipin Chandra Pal began writing virulent newspaper articles challenging legitimacy of British rule in India in publications such as Jugantar and Sandhya , and were charged with sedition. Brahmabhandav Upadhyay, a Hindu newspaper editor who helped Tagore establish his school at Shantiniketan, was imprisoned and the first to die in British custody in the twentieth-century struggle for self-rule.

The movement also witnessed violent revolutionary movement for Indian independence , notable revolutionary being Khudiram Bose , who planted bombs near British government officials and police stations. Due to his activities against the British, he was arrested and hanged. At the time of his hanging, he was 18 years, 8 months 8 days old, making him one of the youngest revolutionaries in India. The British newspaper, The Empire , wrote: Khudiram Bose was executed this morning; It is alleged that he mounted the scaffold with his body erect.

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He was cheerful and smiling. The All-India Muslim League was founded by the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference at Dhaka now Bangladesh , in , in the context of the circumstances that were generated over the partition of Bengal in Like most of the Congress at the time, Jinnah did not favour outright self-rule, considering British influences on education, law, culture and industry as beneficial to India. Jinnah became a member of the sixty-member Imperial Legislative Council.

The council had no real power or authority, and included a large number of un-elected pro-Raj loyalists and Europeans. Nevertheless, Jinnah was instrumental in the passing of the Child Marriages Restraint Act , the legitimisation of the Muslim waqf religious endowments and was appointed to the Sandhurst committee, which helped establish the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun. The First World War began with an unprecedented outpouring of support towards Britain from within the mainstream political leadership, contrary to initial British fears of an Indian revolt.

India contributed massively to the British war effort by providing men and resources. However, Bengal and Punjab remained hotbeds of anti colonial activities. Nationalism in Bengal, increasingly closely linked with the unrests in Punjab , was significant enough to nearly paralyze the regional administration, whilst failed conspiracies were made by revolutionaries to trigger nationalist revolt in India. None of the revolutionary conspiracies had significant impact inside India.

The prospect of subversive violence and its effect on the popular war effort drew support amongst Indian population for special measures against anti-colonial activities in the form of Defence of India Act , and no major mutinies occurred. However, the war-time conspiracies did lead to profound fears of insurrection among British officials, preparing them to use extreme force to frighten the Indians into submission. In the aftermath of the First World War, high casualty rates, soaring inflation compounded by heavy taxation, a widespread influenza epidemic and the disruption of trade during the war escalated human suffering in India.

The pre-war nationalist movement revived as moderate and extremist groups within the Congress submerged their differences in order to stand as a unified front. They argued their enormous services to the British Empire during the war demanded a reward, and demonstrated the Indian capacity for self-rule. In , the Congress succeeded in forging the Lucknow Pact , a temporary alliance with the Muslim League over the issues of devolution of political power and the future of Islam in the region.

The British themselves adopted a "carrot and stick" approach in recognition of India's support during the war and in response to renewed nationalist demands.

History of India's Struggle for Independence

In August , Edwin Montagu , the secretary of state for India, made the historic announcement in Parliament that the British policy for India was "increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration and the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British Empire. The act also expanded the central and provincial legislatures and widened the franchise considerably.

Diarchy set in motion certain real changes at the provincial level: Gandhi had been a leader of the Indian nationalist movement in South Africa and had been a vocal opponent of basic discrimination and abusive labour treatment as well as suppressive police control such as the Rowlatt Acts. During these protests, Gandhi had perfected the concept of satyagraha , which had been inspired by the philosophy of Baba Ram Singh famous for leading the Kuka Movement in the Punjab in The legislation against Indians was repealed and all Indian political prisoners were released by General Jan Smuts.

Gandhi returned to India on 9 January , and initially entered the political fray not with calls for a nation-state, but in support of the unified commerce-oriented territory that the Congress Party had been asking for. Gandhi believed that the industrial development and educational development that the Europeans had brought with them were required to alleviate many of India's problems.

Gandhi's ideas and strategies of non-violent civil disobedience initially appeared impractical to some Indians and Congressmen. In Gandhi's own words, "civil disobedience is civil breach of immoral statutory enactments. Gandhi had great respect for Lokmanya Tilak. His programmes were all inspired by Tilak's "Chatusutri" programme. It was at this point he met the prophet Ryan Chart, where he founded some of his most spiritual messages with his British colleague. The positive impact of reform was seriously undermined in by the Rowlatt Act , named after the recommendations made the previous year to the Imperial Legislative Council by the Rowlatt Committee.

The commission was set up to look into the war-time conspiracies by the nationalist organisations and recommend measures to deal with the problem in the post-war period. Rowlatt recommended the extension of the war-time powers of the Defence of India act into the post-war period.

The war-time act had vested the Viceroy's government with extraordinary powers to quell sedition by silencing the press, detaining political activists without trial, and arresting any individuals suspected of sedition or treason without a warrant. It was increasingly reviled within India due to widespread and indiscriminate use. Many popular leaders, including Annie Beasant and Ali brothers had been detained. Rowlatt act was, therefore, passed in the face of universal opposition among the non-official Indian members in the Viceroy's council. The extension of the act drew widespread opposition and criticism.

In protest, a nationwide cessation of work hartal was called, marking the beginning of widespread, although not nationwide, popular discontent. The agitation unleashed by the acts led to British attacks on demonstrators, culminating on 13 April , in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre also known as the Amritsar Massacre in Amritsar , Punjab. The British military commander, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer , blocked the main, and only entrance, and ordered his soldiers to fire into an unarmed and unsuspecting crowd of some 15, men, women and children.

They had assembled peacefully at Jallianwala Bagh, a walled courtyard, but Dyer had wanted to execute the imposed ban on all meetings and proposed to teach all Indians a lesson the harsher way. From to , Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation Movement. At the Kolkata session of the Congress in September , Gandhi convinced other leaders of the need to start a non-co-operation movement in support of Khilafat as well as for dominion status.

The first satyagraha movement urged the use of khadi and Indian material as alternatives to those shipped from Britain. It also urged people to boycott British educational institutions and law courts; resign from government employment; refuse to pay taxes; and forsake British titles and honours. Although this came too late to influence the framing of the new Government of India Act , the movement enjoyed widespread popular support, and the resulting unparalleled magnitude of disorder presented a serious challenge to foreign rule.

However, Gandhi called off the movement because he was scared after Chauri Chaura incident , which saw the death of twenty-two policemen at the hands of an angry mob.

African Americans and World War I

Membership in the party was opened to anyone prepared to pay a token fee, and a hierarchy of committees was established and made responsible for discipline and control over a hitherto amorphous and diffuse movement. The party was transformed from an elite organisation to one of mass national appeal and participation. Gandhi was sentenced in to six years in prison, but was released after serving two.

This era saw the emergence of new generation of Indians from within the Congress Party, including C. Rajagopalachari , Jawaharlal Nehru , Vallabhbhai Patel , Subhas Chandra Bose and others- who would later on come to form the prominent voices of the Indian self-rule movement, whether keeping with Gandhian Values, or, as in the case of Bose's Indian National Army , diverging from it. The Indian political spectrum was further broadened in the mids by the emergence of both moderate and militant parties, such as the Swaraj Party , Hindu Mahasabha , Communist Party of India and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Regional political organisations also continued to represent the interests of non- Brahmins in Madras , Mahars in Maharashtra , and Sikhs in Punjab. However, people like Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi , Vanchinathan and Neelakanda Brahmachari played a major role from Tamil Nadu in both self-rule struggle and fighting for equality for all castes and communities. Following the rejection of the recommendations of the Simon Commission by Indians, an all-party conference was held at Mumbai in May This was meant to instill a sense of Liberation among people.

The conference appointed a drafting committee under Motilal Nehru to draw up a constitution for India. The Kolkata session of the Indian National Congress asked the British government to accord dominion status to India by December , or a countrywide civil disobedience movement would be launched.

By , however, in the midst of rising political discontent and increasingly violent regional movements, the call for complete sovereignty and end of British rule began to find increasing grounds within the Public. Under the presidency of Jawaharlal at his historic Lahore session in December , the Indian National Congress adopted the idea of complete self-rule and end of British rule.

It authorised the Working Committee to launch a civil disobedience movement throughout the country. It was decided that 26 January should be observed all over India as the Purna Swaraj complete self-rule Day. Many Indian political parties and Indian revolutionaries of a wide spectrum united to observe the day with honour and pride. In March , the Gandhi-Irwin Pact was signed, and the government agreed to set all political prisoners free Although, some of the great revolutionaries were not set free and the death sentence for Bhagat Singh and his two comrades was not taken back which further intensified the agitation against Congress not only outside it but within the Congress itself.

Indian Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)

For the next few years, the Congress and the government were locked in conflict and negotiations until what became the Government of India Act could be hammered out. By then, the rift between the Congress and the Muslim League had become unbridgeable as each pointed the finger at the other acrimoniously.

The Muslim League disputed the claim of the Congress to represent all people of India, while the Congress disputed the Muslim League's claim to voice the aspirations of all Muslims. The Civil Disobedience Movement indicated a new part in the process of the Indian self-rule struggle. As a whole, it became a failure by itself, but it brought the Indian population together, under the Indian National Congress's leadership.

Freedom Struggles — Adriane Lentz-Smith | Harvard University Press

The movement made the Indian people strive even more towards self-rule. The movement allowed the Indian community to revive their inner confidence and strength against the British Government. In addition, the movement weakened the authority of the British and aided in the end of the British Empire in India.


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Overall, the civil disobedience Movement was an essential achievement in the history of Indian self-rule. The Government of India Act , the voluminous and final constitutional effort at governing British India , articulated three major goals: The federal provisions, intended to unite princely states and British India at the centre, were not implemented because of ambiguities in safeguarding the existing privileges of princes. In February , however, provincial autonomy became a reality when elections were held; the Congress emerged as the dominant party with a clear majority in five provinces and held an upper hand in two, while the Muslim League performed poorly.

In , the Viceroy Linlithgow declared India's entrance into the Second World War without consulting provincial governments. In protest, the Congress asked all of its elected representatives to resign from the government. Muhammad Ali Jinnah , the president of the Muslim League , persuaded participants at the annual Muslim League session at Lahore in to adopt what later came to be known as the Lahore Resolution , demanding the division of India into two separate sovereign states, one Muslim, the other Hindu; sometimes referred to as Two Nation Theory.

Although the idea of Pakistan had been introduced as early as , very few had responded to it. However, the volatile political climate and hostilities between the Hindus and Muslims transformed the idea of Pakistan into a stronger demand. Apart from a few stray incidents, armed rebellions against the British rulers did not occur before the beginning of the 20th century. The Indian revolutionary underground began gathering momentum through the first decade of the 20th century, with groups arising in Bengal, Maharashtra , Odisha , Bihar, Uttar Pradesh , Punjab , and the Madras Presidency including what is now called South India.

More groups were scattered around India. Particularly notable movements arose in Bengal, especially around the Partition of Bengal in , and in Punjab after In Bengal, the Anushilan Samiti emerged from conglomerations of local youth groups and gyms Akhra in Bengal in , forming two prominent and somewhat independent arms in East and West Bengal identified as Dhaka Anushilan Samiti in Dhaka modern day Bangladesh , and the Jugantar group centred at Calcutta respectively.

The Samiti was involved in a number of noted incidences of revolutionary terrorism against British interests and administration in India within the decade of its founding, including early attempts to assassinate Raj officials whilst led by Ghosh brothers. In the meantime, in Maharashtra and Punjab arose similarly militant nationalist feelings. The District Magistrate of Nasik , A. In London India House under the patronage of Shyamji Krishna Verma came under increasing scrutiny for championing and justifying violence in the cause of Indian nationalism, which found in Indian students in Britain and from Indian expatriates in Paris Indian Society avid followers.

Savarkar were able to obtain manuals for manufacturing bombs. India House was also a source of arms and seditious literature that was rapidly distributed in India. Direct influences and incitement from India House were noted in several incidents of political violence, including assassinations, in India at the time. Jackson , by Anant Kanhere in December The arms used were directly traced through an Italian courier to India House. Ex-India House residents M. Aiyar were noted in the Rowlatt report to have aided and influenced political assassinations, including the murder of Robert D'Escourt Ashe.

Following this, the nucleus of networks formed in India House , the Anushilan Samiti , nationlalists in Punjab, and the nationalism that arose among Indian expatriates and labourers in North America, a different movement began to emerge in the North American Ghadar Party , culminating in the Sedetious conspiracy of World War I led by Rash Behari Bose and Lala Hardayal. However, the emergence of the Gandhian movement slowly began to absorb the different revolutionary groups. The Bengal Samiti moved away from its philosophy of violence in the s, when a number of its members identified closely with the Congress and Gandhian non-violent movement.

Revolutionary nationalist violence saw a resurgence after the collapse of Gandhian Noncooperation movement in A spate of violence led up to enactment of the Bengal Criminal Law Amendment in the early s, which recalled the powers of incarceration and detention of the Defence of India Act. In north India, remnants of Punjab and Bengalee revolutionary organisations reorganised, notably under Sachindranath Sanyal , founding the Hindustan Republican Association with Chandrashekhar Azad in north India.

The HSRA had strong influences from leftist ideologies. Kakori train robbery was done largely by the members of HSRA. A number of Congress leaders from Bengal, especially Subhash Chandra Bose , were accused by the British Government of having links with and allowing patronage to the revolutionary organisations during this time.

The violence and radical philosophy revived in the s, when revolutionaries of the Samiti and the HSRA were involved in was involved in the Chittagong armoury raid and the Kakori conspiracy and other attempts against the administration in British India and Raj officials. Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb inside the Central Legislative Assembly on 8 April protesting against the passage of the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill while raising slogans of " Inquilab Zindabad ", though no one was killed or injured in the bomb incident.

Bhagat Singh surrendered after the bombing incident and a trial was conducted. Sukhdev and Rajguru were also arrested by police during search operations after the bombing incident. Allama Mashriqi founded Khaksar Tehreek in order to direct particularly the Muslims towards the self-rule movement. The Jugantar branch formally dissolved in However, the revolutionary movement gradually disseminated into the Gandhian movement.

Many past revolutionaries joined mainstream politics by joining Congress and other parties, especially communist ones, while many of the activists were kept under hold in different jails across the country. Within a short time of its inception, these organisations became the focus of an extensive police and intelligence operations. The intelligence operations against India House saw the founding of the Indian Political Intelligence Office which later grew to be the Intelligence bureau in independent India.

Heading the intelligence and missions against Ghadarite movement and India revolutionaries was the MI5 g section, and at one point invokved the Pinkerton's detective agency. Hindu — German Conspiracy. Mahatma Gandhi returns to India. Champaran and Kheda Satyagraha. Montagu — Chelmsford Reforms.

Indian independence movement

Rowlatt Act is passed. Hindustan Socialist Republican Association is formed. Salt Satyagraha, the civil disobedience movement, begins with the Dandi march. Round Table Conferences India First. Gandhi — Irwin Pact.