Freedom Struggle Of India:
The struggle for freedom, by India from the Great Revolt of 1857 and the achievement of freedom in the year 1947 is recounted in this book. While the focus is more on the events and actors, in the books looks at the way India aimed and developed freedom instead of ideologies and personalities. The diminishing of the Mughal Empire and establishment of the British rule, the Great Revolt of 1857, the birth of contemporary India, the rise of nationalism, the movement for reforms, activities related to the revolution, the rise of moderates and extremists, Mahatma Gandhi’s era, effect of events of the world and the partition of Pakistan and India, are covered in this book. The book aims at the generation in today’s times, to make people aware of the meaning of servitude and to respect and cherish sacrifices made by the women and men who made it possible for India to gain freedom.
Prologue: Tryst With Destiny
Main aim of this book is to give an account of the freedom struggle of India to benefit the present generation and its beneficiaries. One great evil was India’s material destituteness. The way the hearts and minds of the Indian people were affected by the political thralldom was by far the worst. In the 19th century, a movement of political and social regeneration started. On 15th August 1947 this reached a foregone conclusion with the Constituent Assembly of India. In 1930, ‘The tryst with Destiny’ leading to this fulfillment was made formal. But the struggle of 17 years for gaining freedom was not the fruit of this struggle. India has always remembered the ideals that made her strong and has never lost sight of that quest, through ill-fortune and good alike. When India gained its freedom that night, those very same ideals were remembered.
Chapter One - Disunity and Loss of freedom
The Mughal Empire’s decline is discussed in the first section of this chapter. The coming of the Europeans is discussed in the second section. England’s overpowering of India is discussed in the third section. The reasons for India’s defeat are discussed in the last section. Major part of India’s subcontinent was occupied by the Mughal Empire, before Aurangzeb died. After the death of Aurangzeb the unifying symbol was eliminated. Wars of succession broke out in a series. AsIndia was in the middle of this general upheaval, foreign aggressors took advantage of this and made India the prey. England and France were opponents in the European wars between 1740 and 1760 were bought into a conflict in India too. After the diplomatic maneuvering and fighting came to an end, the French had to run away from India, literally. In Bengal, the British gained territorial foothold in the process. With this approach, the British could stride into India in a triumphantly.
Chapter Two British Rule and Indian Revolt
India’s administration under the East India Company is described in the first section of this Chapter. The way economy of India got ruined is discussed in the second section. Different policies underwent a change is discussed in the third section. The Great Revolt of 1857 is discussed in the fourth section. India was in a bad situation for which the British were to be blamed. The British initiated and instigated many of the wars and also wrecked Bengal’s prosperity. One important factor that deteriorated the progress of India was the weakness of the people of the country. Indian soldiers were used by the British to conquer India. The cavalry (sowars) and the infantry (sepoys) shared in the general unhappiness of the Indian people besides which they had specific sorrows and grievances of their own, by the year 1857. Against the British rule, India’s first uprising on a large scale was the Great Revolt of 1857. Rebel workers found it difficult to work with each other, due to which the Revolt failed.
Chapter Three - The Birth of Modern India
The rise of new leadership is discussed in the first section of this chapter. The discovering of India's past again is discussed in the second section. Raj Rammohan Roy is discussed in the third section. The Brahmo Samaj and the Young Bengal Movement is discussed in the fourth section. Social reform significance is discussed in the fifth section. India's cultural awakening is discussed in the sixth section. After the Great Revolt's religious revival and reform is discussed in the seventh section. Evaluation of Indian Renaissance is offered in the last section. The Indian Renaissance had one main shortcoming and that is the tension that came up between the Muslims and the Hindus and this was its uniqueness. The new English educated elite constricted the cultural awakening. The Indian Renaissance encouraged the habit of looking backward to old India's heroic days, instead of looking forward. In the process of creating the Indian nation, a vital role was played by the Indian Renaissance, regardless these drawbacks.
Chapter Four – The Rise of Nationalism 1858 – 1900
General factors related to growth of nationalism are discussed in the first section of this chapter. Administration prevailing in India after 1858 is discussed in the second section. Early efforts made at nationalist organization are discussed in the third section. The Ilbert Bill controversy and Lord Ripon is examined in the fourth section. The INC – Indian National Congress is discussed in the last section. The Great Revolt of 1857 was suppressed in a brutal manner which caused a lot of enmity against the British. In India the rule of the British was strongest between 1858 and 1905. England had become such a centre of an empire that contained one quarter of the population and area of the world. For England the most valuable possession they could have, was India. It seemed that the hold they had on India was kind of permanent. However during the same time, all through India, a spell of national current was flowing amongst the people. The stream that swelled after this in the 50 years, helped in sweeping away the powerful British Raj.
Chapter Five The New Freedom Spirit 1900 -1909
The partition of Bengal is described in the first section of this chapter. The Swadeshi Movement is discussed in the second section. Moderates and extremists are described in the third section. Revolutionary activities are looked into in the fourth section. Repression of the government is examined in the fifth section. The Morley-Minto reforms are discussed in the sixth section. The separation of Muslims is considered in the last section. The spirit of Swadeshi spread all through the years 1905 and 1906. This spirit moved physically to Madras, Maharashtra and other provinces from Bengal. It entered the mainstream of politics in India, which is the most important thing. The signs of breakup were seen in the Congress, at this time. Action was quickly taken by the government against the revolutionaries and extremists. Be it in public meetings or in newspapers, restrictions were imposed.
Chapter Six The Ten Years Of Transition 1910 – 1919
The First World War and India are discussed in the first section of this chapter. The Home Rule Movement is considered in the second section. The Montagu-Chelmsford Report is examined in the third section. How repression matches reform is examined in the fourth section Mahatma Gandhi is discussed in the sixth section. The massacre at Amritsar and the anti-Rowlatt Satyagraha are discussed in the seventh section. The Khilafat Movement is discussed in the last section. The sought-after fight against the Rowlatt Bills started much before the passing of the Defense of India Act. Later on, this developed as a campaign all over the nation. ‘With lawless laws’ which not enforced, the campaign outgrew its original concern very soon as a campaign all over the nation. The nationalism of India was lifted to a much higher level. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the leader of this movement who changed not only the history of India but the history of the world. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi became known as the Mahatma.
Chapter Seven Start of the Gandhian Era 1920 – 1928
The non-Cooperation Movement, the return of Communalism, the Simon Commission, the Swaraj Party, other movements and parties are discussed in this chapter. To elaborate the doctrine of non-violent non-cooperation, a manifesto was issued by Mahatma Gandhi in March 1920. This technique was presented to the public for the first time which dominated the Indian scene for the next few years. This doctrine also altered the course of freedom struggle in India. Communists in India were devoted to curbing the power of the richer classes of people and the removal of inequalities in society. However there was one thing that they never lost sight of the primary need of India and that was gaining independence for India. For the communists the immediate task was not of preaching communism but of organizing the national revolution. Main role the communist party had to play is to wholeheartedly be a part of the revolutionary nationalist party.
Chapter Eight The Country Shows its Strength 1928 – 1934
A number of topics are discussed in this chapter including the Lahore Congress and Independence Day, the Nehru Report, the Round Table Conferences, Jinnah and the Fourteen Points, the first two phases of the Civil Disobedience Movement, the anti Simon agitation, the revolution of militants in the 1920s and 1930s and the issue of untouchability. In the struggle for freedom in India, a big turning point was the agitation against the Simon Commission. The struggle led to a second huge mass movement that exhibited the strong determination of India to be free from the British rule. The determination was so strong that the British had no choice but deal with the leaders of India as equals. During this period, negotiations initiated which further laid down foundation of the constitution of independent India. All over the country, a hush seems to fall in the year 1934. The physical-force movement silences with the Civil Disobedience police repression.
Chapter Nine In Power In The Provinces 1935 -1939
The different topics discussed in this chapter include the Government of India Act, the situation prevailing after the Civil Disobedience Movement, the Congress Ministries and their work, reactions of India to the new Government of India Act, the formation of ministries and provincial elections, the new ministries and the Muslims, the struggle in the states and the rise of the Congress Left Wing. One thing the Civil Disobedience Movement demonstrated is that the people of India are ready to sacrifice to attain their goal of independence. However, the British were in power and had strong determination to retain it, as long as it is possible. The longest piece of legislation was the Government of India Act which the British Parliament had ever passed. The main intention of introducing this Act was to be a base for an enduring Anglo-India Raj. However, only a part of it was put into effect, in the event, which endured for just about 24 months.
Chapter Ten The Impact Of World Events – 1939 – 1945
A number of things are described in this chapter including the approach of the Second World War, the Cripps proposals, the plan of using ‘the Quit India Resolution’ to end the rule of the British in India, the Indian National Army and Subhas Chandra Bose, the 1942 Great Revolt, the Simla Conference and the Wavell Plan. Gradually the people of India became more and more aware of their nationhood India started taking its place in the comity of nations. The Cripps Mission failed after which the attitude of Mahatma Gandhi towards the British underwent a fundamental change. On 8th August 1942, the Quit India Resolution’ was endorsed by the All India Congress Committee. The beginning of a mass struggle was authorized with the Quit India Resolution, on the widest possible scale but on the lines of non-violence.
Chapter Eleven Pathway to Pakistan
This chapter describes the Hindu-Muslim issue, the strategy of ‘divide and rule’ by the British, the causes of intolerance and the secular state, the idea about growth of Pakistan, the resolution made by Pakistan, the Rajagopalachari formula and the last attempts to prevent partition. Disunity was encouraged between the Muslims and Hindus for which the British had good reasons. People in millions were ruled in India by foreign officials in a handful. The army on which the rulers depended upon outnumbered the Europeans at the ration 2:1. If a united front was presented by the Indians against them then the British wouldn’t be able to sustain in India even for less than a month. In the political struggle, a triumphant conclusion would be seen in the years 1946 and 1947. However the prevailing communal issue would not be resolved with success. If it did not succeed then the bitterness experienced would mar the savor of the win.
Chapter Twelve – Divided Freedom 1945 – 1947
A changed situation including the revolt of the naval ratings and the INA trial in the period 1945-1946 is described in this chapter. Other situations described include the Constituent Assembly and the interim government, the ‘Direct Action’ Day, the 3rd June Plan, Lord Mountbatten, difficulties experienced by the states and the granting of independence to India. The chance of independence was directly admitted by the proposal made by the British called the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946. Before the completion of two years, the possibility of gaining freedom became a reality. Not many were of the belief that the freedom sought after in 1945 could be attained with so quickly. The Indian Independence Act was given effect legally by the June 3rd Plan. On 4th July 1947, introduction of the bill was done in the British parliament. The Bill was passed fast and without any changes made in it. Two dominions were created by this Act. India did gain her freedom however, partition was the price paid for it.
Epilogue The Challenge of the Future
15th August was the day, India gained freedom. The whole country had got out into the new, from the old. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave a stirring speech on the eve of independence. He expressed his feelings to the soul of India. Struggles of India’s past were reviewed, the sorrows and joys of the present were summed up and his sight moved towards the glorious future that the country beckoned. Nehru made a note of things yet to be accomplished by the nation. He stressed that serving the country means serving the millions of people who suffer. Such a service would help in putting an end to inequality of opportunity, ignorance, disease and poverty. To achieve all these goals, India had put in lots of efforts and taken great strides. Framing the Constitution for India was the biggest task for independent India. The Constituent Assembly was entirely responsible for making the Constitution.