Chapter 5 – Modern India: Nationalist Movement, the Home Rule Movement and Achievement of Independence

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British imperialistic colonialism was the chief cause of India’s backwardness in every sphere.

Nationalist Movement

  • Indians were now coming to realise this truth. The peasants and the workers were the worst victims of British greed and apathy.

  • The industrialists and the capitalists were also not satisfied with the British rule.

  • The Intelligentsia at this time played a significant role. They were the first ones to realise the true nature of British rule in India.

  • Their initial hope that the British would be benevolent rulers was shattered.

  • Now they could see that the British were greedy and selfish, guided by sheer personal self-interest and that of Britain in general.

  • Modern ideas of democracy, humanism, nationalism and sovereignty of the people started guiding Indians towards nationalism.

  • The press and literature played an equally important role in spreading nationalistic feelings.

  • The History of the Indian National Congress became the history of the nationalist movement in India. The congress did not achieve much politically during awareness and a feeling of unity. This phase can be called an era moderated in the national movement.

The Home Rule Movement

  • The First World War broke out in 1914. The congress decided to support the British. It was believed, especially by the Moderated, that the British would be obliged to grant freedom to India after the war.

Image of Home Rule Movement

Image of Home Rule Movement

  • The movement avoided violent or revolutionary methods. The Home Rule Leagues worked as auxiliary units of the congress.

Achievement of Independence

  • In 1935, Government of India Act was passed. It evolved a concept of All India Federation. Provincial Autonomy was introduced. Only 14% of the population could vote.

  • Separate electorates were provided for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indian and Europeans, among others.

  • The Act discouraged the emergence of national unity, encouraging separation and communalism. The Congress condemned the Act, but it decided to take part in the elections.

  • The British policy of divide and rule led to communalism. The British rulers started playing one community against another.

  • As a result of communalism the two nation theory was evolved in 1983 and clearly spelt out by Jinnah in 1940.

  • After the end of the war, elections were held in India in the beginning of 1946. The congress won most of the seats.

  • The cabinet Mission came to India in March, 1946 to speed up the transfer to power to Indians.

  • The congress had to accept the partition of India due to many pressures, especially because of the widespread communal bloodshed and the uncompromising attitude of the League and Jinnah.

  • India became free on 15th August, 1947 after partition. At the stroke of midnight transfer of power took place.

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