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A BRIEF HISTORY OF MODERN INDIA (SPECTRUM)
                        
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Page 2

MODERN INDIA

CHAPTER 1


The Revolt of 1857

The revolt of 1857 was a product of the character and policies of rule.

The cumulative effect of British expansionist policies, economic

exploitation and administrative innovations over the years had adversely

affected the positions of all�² rulers of Indian states, sepoys,
zamindars, peasants, traders, artisans, pundits, maulvis, etc. The

simmering discontent burst in the form of a violent storm in 1857 which

shook the British empire in India to its very foundations.

The causes of the revolt emerged from all aspects�² socio-cultural,
economic and political�²of daily existence of Indian population cutting
through all sections and classes. These causes are discussed below.



ECONOMIC CAUSES

The colonial policies of the East India Company destroyed the traditional

economic fabric of the Indian society. The peasantry were never really to

recover from the disabilities imposed by the new and a highly unpopular

revenue settlement (see chapter on "Economic Impact of British Rule in

India" for details). Impoverished by heavy taxation, the peasants

resorted to loans from moneylenders/traders at usurious rates, the latter

often evicting the former on non-payment of debt dues. These

moneylenders and traders emerged as the new landlords. While the scourge

of indebtedness has continued to plague Indian society to this day.



British rule also meant misery to the artisans and handicraftsmen. The

annexation of Indian states by the Company cut off their major source of

patronage. Added to this, British policy discouraged Indian handicrafts

and promoted British goods. The highly skilled Indian craftsmen were

forced to look for alternate sources of employment that hardly



A Brief History of Modern India



existed, as the destruction of Indian handicrafts was not accompanied by

the development of modern industries. Karl Marx remarked in 1853: "It was

the British intruder who broke up the Indian handloom and destroyed the

spinning-wheel. England began with depriving the Indian cottons from the

European market; it then introduced twist into Hindustan and in the end

inundated the very mother country of cotton with cottons.



Zamindars, the traditional landed aristocracy, often saw their land

rights forfeited with frequent use of a quo warranto by the

administration. This resulted in a loss of status for them in the

villages. In Awadh, the storm center of the revolt, 21,000 taluqdars had

their estates confiscated and suddenly found themselves without a source

of income, "unable to work, ashamed to beg, condemned to penury". These

dispossessed taluqdars seized the opportunity presented by the sepoy

revolt to oppose the British and regain what they had lost.

Page 143

REASONS FOR GROWTH OF COMMUNALISM

1. Socio - economic backw ardness concessions used as a tool to fuel

communalism by colonial rulers.

2. British policy of divide and rule.

3. Communalism in history writing.

4. Chauvinist elements of sobio - religious reform movements.

5. Side - effects of militant nationalism.

6. Communal reaction by majority community.



SIMON COMMISSION Came in 1928 to explore possibility of further

constitutional advance. Boycotted by Indians because no Indian

r epresented in the commission.



NEHRU REPORT (1928) First Indian effort to draft constitutional scheme.

Recommended�²
* dominion status

* not separate electorates, but joint electorates with r eserved seats

for minorities.

* linguistic provinces.

* 19 fundamental rights.

* responsible governmen t at centre and in provinces.



CALCUTTA CONGRESS SESSION (DECEMBER 1928) One year ultimatum to

Government to accept dominion status or else civil disobedience to be

launc hed for complete independence.



LAHORE CONGRESS SESSION (DECEMBER 1929) Congress adopted complete

independence as its goal. Congress decided to launch a civil

disobedience movement. January 26, 1930 celebrated as the first

Independe nce Day all over the country.



DANDI MARCH (MARCH 12- APRIL 6, 1930) . Led by Gandh i; resulted in spread

of salt satyagraha to Tamil Nadu, Malabar, Andhra, Assam, Bengal.



Spread of the movement

Khudai Khidmatgars active in NWFP.

Texti le workers active in Sholapur.



199



Summary



Salt satyagraha in Dharsana. No - chowkidara tax campaign i n Bihar. Anti -

chowkidara and anti - union - board tax in Bengal. No - tax movement in

Gujarat. Civil disobedience of forest laws in Maharashtra, Karnataka and

Central Provinces. Agitation against "Cunningham Circular" in Assam. No

rent campaign in UP. Mas s participation of women, students, some

sections of Muslims, merchants and petty traders, tribals, workers and

peasants.



�‡�����)�,�5�6�7���5�7�&�����1�2�9�(�0�%�(�5����������- JANUARY 1931) Congress did not attend.
�‡���*�$�1�'�+�,- IRWIN PACT (MARCH 1931) Congress agre ed to attend Seco nd RTC
and to withdraw CDM.

Page 144

�‡�����.�$�5�$�&�+�,���&�2�1�*�5�(�6�6���6�(�6�6�,�2�1�����0�$�5�&�+�����������������(�Q�G�R�U�V�H�G���'�H�O�K�L���3�D�F�W���E�H�W�Z�H�H�Q��
Gandhi and Irwin. Passed resolutions on economic programme and

fundamental rights.



�‡�����6�(�&�2�1�'���5�7�&�����'�(�&�(�0�%�(�5�����������������5�L�J�K�W���Z�L�Q�J���L�Q���%�U�L�W�D�L�Q���D�J�D�L�Q�V�W���F�R�Q�F�H�V�V�L�R�Q�V
to Indians. Session got deadlocked on question of safeguards to

minorities. December 1931 - April 1934 Second phase of CDM.



�‡�����&�2�0�0�8�1�$�/���$�:�$�5�'�������������������3�U�R�Y�L�G�H�G���V�H�S�D�U�D�W�H���H�O�Hctorates to depressed
classes. Nationalists felt this to be a threat to national unity.

Gandhi's fast unto death (September 1932) led to Poona Pact which

abandoned separate electorates for depressed classes in favour of

increased reserved seats for them.



�‡�����*�2�9�(�5�1�0�(�1�7���2�)���,�1�'�,�$���$�&�7�����������������3�U�R�S�R�V�H�G�²an All India Federation;
bicameral legislature at the centre; provincial autonomy; three lists

for legislation�²federal, provincial and concurrent. At centre, subjects
to be administered divided into reserved and transferred categories.

Provincial legislators to be directly elected. Early 1937�²elections to
provincial assemblies held. Congress ministries formed in Bombay,

Madras, Central Provinces, United Provinces, Bihar, Orissa, Assam and

NWFP.



200



CHAPTER 6


National Movement Towards Freedom and Partition 1939-1947



SECOND WORLD WAR AND NATIONALIST 'RESPONSE



September 1, 1939: Germany attacks Poland, Second World War starts.

September 3, 1939: Britain declares war against Germany and declares

India's support for the war without consulting Indian opinion.

June 1941: Germany attacks Russia and Russia is dragged into the War.

December 1941: Japan attacks Pearl Harbour. March 1942: After having

overrun almost the whole of SouthEast. Asia, Japan occupies Rangoon.



Congress Position Before War

The Congress' hostility to Fascism, Nazism, militarism and imperialism

had been much more consistent than the British record. But the Indian

offer to cooperate in the war effort had two basic conditions:

1. After the war, a constituent assembly should be convened to determine

political structure of a free India.

2. Immediately, some form of a genuinely responsible government should

be established at the centre.

The offer was rejected by Linlithgow, the viceroy. The Congress argued

that these conditions were necessary to win public opinion for war.



CWC Meeting at Wardha (September 10-14, 1939): Different opinions were

voiced on the question of Indian support to British war efforts�²

Page 286

Bombay Chronicle (a daily)



The Hindustan Times

The Milap (Urdu daily) Leader (in English) Kirti Bahishkrit Bharat

(Mara thi fortnightly) Kudi Arasu (Tamil)

Kranti Langal and Ganabani Bandi Jivan National Herald (daily)



1913, Bombay

1920, Delhi 1923, Lahore 1926, Punjab 1927

1910 1927, Maharashtra 1927, Bengal Bengal 1938



Started by Pherozeshah Mehta, Editor—B.G. Horniman (Englishman) Founded

by Panikkar as part of the Akali Dal Movement Founded by MK. Chand

Madan Mohan Malaviya Santosh Singh B.R. Ambedkar

E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar) S.S. Mirajkar, K.N. Joglekar, S.V.

Gha te Gopu Chakravarti and Dharani Goswami Sachindranath Sanyal

Started by Jawaharlal Nehru



a o



a

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