EARLY PHASE OF NATIONAL MOVEMENT

Growth of Political Awareness
 The series of devastating famines that gripped the country from 1866-1901 shattered the daydreams of guided development and brought home to the intellectuals the stark poverty of the people and the extent of the economic underdevelopment of the country.
 In the political field Britain had discarded the slogan of training Indians for self-govt and declared that the political aim of British rule was to establish permanent benevolent despotism. Indians they said were unfit for selfgovt or democracy.
 The freedom of the press began to be tampered with.
 Even elementary civil rights were increasingly violated and restricted.
 In the post 1857 phase of colonialism the govt resorted to the divisive forces of communalism, casteim and regionalism to maintain their supremacy.
 The British also abandoned all attempts at social reform and began to ally themselves with the most backward traditional and obscurantist cultural, religious and social forces.
 The British government spent less than 3% on education.
 Moreover the Indian intelligentsia suffered from growing unemployment.
 Even the few who found jobs realised that most of the better paid jobs were reserved for the English middle and upper classes.

 The discontent was further heightened by the policies of the British Raj under Lytton and Ripon.It cleared the ground for organised nationalist activity.

Vernacular Press Act

 Lord Lytton wanted to thwart the seditious ambitions of the western educated elite.
 He promulgated the Vernacular Press Act (1878) which imposed severe restrictions on the vernacular press- a major instrument in the hands of the intelligentsia in spreading nationalist ideas.
 The Arms Act which made it mandatory for Indians possessing arms to draw out licenses deeply smacked of racialism and was strongly resisted by the educated elite of India.
 The holding of the Imperial Darbar at Delhi in 1877 when the country was suffering from famine
showed what value the government attached to the welfare of Indians.
 In 1878 the government reduced the maximum age limit for the Civil Service from 21 to 19 years.
Ilbert Bill

 In 1883 Lord Ripon tried to pass a law which gave Indian magistrates the right to try Europeans in criminal cases.
 Backed by the Anglo-Indian press the Europeans in India organized a vehement agitation against the
Ilbert Bill.
 The government of India ultimately bowed before the Europeans and withdrew the bill.
 The Indians were horrified at the racial bitterness displayed by the critics of the bill.
 Their own perceptions of the degradation of foreign rule became sharpened.
 Nationalist Indians realized that they too should organize themselves on a national scale and agitate continuously and unitedly to get their demands accepted.
 These developments paved the way for the organization of the Indian National Congress.
 The Congress became the chief organization representing the will of the Indian people and led the
Indian people in their struggle for freedom.
Partition of Bengal (1905-1914)
 By 1905 there were a large number of leaders who had acquired during the pervious period valuable experience in guiding political agitation.
 Thus the conditions for the development of militant nationalism had developed when in 1905 the partition of Bengal into two parts-eastern Bengal and Assam and the rest of Bengal were announced.
 It was said that the existing province of Bengal was too big to be efficiently administered by a single provincial govt.
 The British authorities thought that by partitioning the province they would succeed in dividing the
Hindu politicians of West and East Bengal and increasing Hindu-Muslim tensions.
 The people and the national leaders realized the real intentions of the government.Hunderds of meetings were held over Bengal to protest against these schemes.
 Opinion in Bengal against the partition was united. Disregarding public opinion the partition came into effect on October 16, 1905.

 The partition of Bengal was regarded as an insult and a challenge to Indian nationalism. A movement was launched to end the partition.
 It was the work of the entire national leadership of Bengal. Initially the leadership was in the hands of moderates.
 Militant and revolutionary leadership took over in the later stages. Some of the prominent leaders of the movement were Surendranath Banerjee, Bipin Chandra Pal, Aurobindo Ghosh, Tilak and Abdul Rasul.New methods of protest were adopted.
 These soon became important features of the struggle for freedom.
 These were Swadeshi and Boycott.
 A large number of people were drawn into the movement. The aims of the national movement become more radical.

Indian National Congress

 The Indian National Movement got a great impetus after the foundation of the Indian National

Congress in 1885 A.D.

 It was A.O Hume a retired member of the Indian Civil Service who took the initiative in this direction.

 The National Movement in its early phase (1885-1905) was dominated by the Moderate leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendra Nath Banerjee, and Pheroze Shah Mehta. Their main objectives during this period were following:
 The early nationalists demanded wider powers for the councils as well as training in self-govt.In the economic field they demanded the removal of poverty by the rapid development of agriculture and modern industries.
 In the administrative field they made a demand for Indianisation of the higher administrative services.

For the defence of their civil rights they demanded the freedom of speech and press.

 The moderate leaders tried to create the national consciousness and raise the public opinion against the

British imperialism.

 Infact during this period (1885-1905) the national leadership tried to give a common political and economic programme to their countrymen and tried to continue the national struggle from a common platform. As the aims of the Congress during 1885-1905 were quite moderate so were its methods.
 The Congress led by the Moderates during this period adopted peaceful means to achieve their aims.
 They had full faith in the British sense of justice so they were friendly towards the British.
 They believed in constitutional reforms.
 They would send petitions year after year to the British Govt hoping that it would grant them freedom of its own accord.
 But as the British Govt refused to take them seriously the national movement after 1905 diverted towards the Extremists who did not hesitate in using extreme means to achieve their aims.

Swadeshi Movement
 Swadeshi literally means of one’s own country. It implied that people should use goods produced within the country. This would help promote Indian industries and strengthen the nation. It would also generate patriotism.
 The promotion of swadeshi was accompanied by the advocacy of boycott. The two were complementary.
 It was realised that by organizing the boycott of foreign goods were mainly British sale of these goods would suffer.
 This would hurt Britain’s economic interests and the British govt would be forced to concede to Indian demands.
 Swadeshi and Boycott led to the strengthening of political activity all over India. British cloth, sugar and other goods were boycotted.
 Shops selling foreign goods were picketed.
 In many places public burnings of cloth were organized.
 The extremists were keen to extend boycott to other things.
 They advocated the relentless boycott of officialized education, justice and executive administration backed by the positive development of swadeshi industries, national schools and arbitration courts.
 This method of agitation against foreign rule came to be known as the passive resistance.
Hind Swaraj

 From 1885 to 1947 the sessions of the Congress were held every year at different stations. One of its important sessions was the Calcutta Session which was held in 1906.
 When the movement against the partition of Bengal was at its height the annual session of the

Congress was held at Calcutta in 1906 under the president ship of Dadabhai Naoroji.

 This session is very important because of the following things.

 It tired to effect conciliation between the Moderates and Extremists.Dadabahi Naoroji’s address formed a remarkable departure from the conventional type of Congress addresses.
 Here he sponsored the new programme of the Congress which had so far been advocated by the extremists. For the first time Calcutta Session (1906) was declared as the aim of the Congress.
 In his own words, “We want self-government or Calcutta Session (1906) like that of the United

Kingdom or dominions.

 The Swadeshi and the Boycott were accorded full support by the Congress. For the first time Boycott was authorised to be used as a political weapon.
 The Congress condemned the Partition of Bengal. In the words of DadaBhai Naoroji it is a bad blunder of England.

 Promotion of education was declared as the aim of the Congress.

Calcutta Session (1906)
 From 1885 to 1947 the sessions of the Congress were held every year at different stations.
 One of its important sessions was the Calcutta Session which was held in 1906.
 When the movement against the partition of Bengal was at its height the annual session of the
Congress was held at Calcutta in 1906 under the president ship of Dadabhai Naoroji.
 This session is very important because of the following things.
 It tired to effect conciliation between the Moderates and Extremists.
 Dadabahi Naoroji’s address formed a remarkable departure from the conventional type of Congress addresses.
 Here he sponsored the new programme of the Congress which had so far been advocated by the extremists.
 For the first time Calcutta Session (1906) was declared as the aim of the Congress.
 In his own words, “We want self-government or Calcutta Session (1906) like that of the United
Kingdom or dominions.
 The Swadeshi and the Boycott were accorded full support by the Congress.
 For the first time Boycott was authorised to be used as a political weapon.
 The Congress condemned the Partition of Bengal. In the words of DadaBhai Naoroji it is a bad blunder of England. Promotion of education was declared as the aim of the Congress.

Surat Session (1907)
 The 23rd Session of the Congress was held at Surat.It very important from points of view. There was an open clash between the Moderates and the Extremists and ultimately it led to a split in the Congress.
 The Extremists wanted to hold the session at Nagpur as was decided at the Calcutta Session of the
Congress but the Moderates wanted to hold the session at Surat.
 The Extremists wanted to make either Tilak or Lala Lajpat Rai as the President of the session while the Moderates wanted to make Sh Ras Bihari Ghosh as the President.
 The Moderates wanted to recede from the policy laid down in the Calcutta Congress and tried to exclude the resolutions on Swadeshi, Boycott and National Education as were passed by the Calcutta Congress.
 But the Extremists were not prepared to do so.
 While the leadership of the Congress remained in the hands of the Moderates for some time more the
Extremists worked separately till 1916.
Lucknow Session (1916)

 The 31st Session of the Congress was held at Lucknow in 1916.
 It was presided over by the Ambica charan Majumdar who was a prominent lawyer and was actively associated with the Congress since its birth.
 After a lapse of about 10 years both the Moderates and Extremists were united again which was a good sign for the national movement.
 In his address the President declared ‘If the United Congress was buried at Sutra it is reborn at
Lucknow in the garden of Wajid Ali Shah.
 After nearly 10 years of painful separation and wanderings through the wilderness of misunderstandings the brother had at first met brothers’. In this session the Congress and the Muslim League came closer to each other and they signed the historic Lucknow Pact.
 A joint Reform Scheme was sent to the Viceroy.
 They decided to make a united demand for self-government.
 They were to join their hands in asking the Government that a majority of the members of the
Legislative Councils to be elected.
 They were to ask the Government that the Legislative Councils be invested with wider powers than before.
 They would make a common demand that at least half the seats in the Viceroy’s Executive Council be filled with Indians.
 Thus this session of 1916 cemented the friendship between the Congress and the Muslim League and promoted goodwill between the Hindus and the Muslims.
 Resolution condemning the Arms Act and Press Act were passed which had virtually reduced the people and the press to a condition of absolute helplessness.

Morley-Minto Reforms (1909)
 The British govt played the game of Divide and Rule and tried to win over moderate nationalist opinion so that the militant nationalist could be isolated and suppressed.
 To placate the moderate nationalists it announced constitutional concessions through the Indian
Council Act of 1909 known as Morley-Minto Reforms.
 In 1911 it also announced the cancellation of the partition of Bengal.
 Western and eastern Bengal was to be united while a new province consisting of Bihar and Orissa was to be created. The capital of British India was shifted to Delhi from Calcutta.
 The reforms increased the number of elected members in the Imperial Legislative Council from 16 to
60 of these 27 were to be elected.
 But most of the members were indirectly elected by landlords, organizations of industrialists and traders and by the provincial legislative councils. Separate representation was given to Muslims.
 The number of members in the provincial councils was increased to 50.
 Less than half of them were to be elected by landlords, organization of traders, universities and local bodies.

Revolutionary Terrorism
 Some nationalists frustrated by the failure of political struggle turned to revolutionary terrorism.
 They felt that the British must be physically expelled from India.
 They resorted to use violence against unpopular British officials, governors and viceroys.
 Certain newspapers like Sandhya and the Yugantar in Bengal and Kal in Maharashtra began to advocate revolutionary terrorism after 1905.
 Soon many secret societies of terrorist youth came into existence.
 The most famous of these was in Anushilan Samiti whose Dacca section alone had 500 branches. The terrorists also established centres of activity abroad.
 The Ghadar party was constituted in 1913 by revolutionaries in USA and Canada.
 They aimed at the overthrow of the British through an armed revolt.
 Prominent revolutionaries were Prafulla Chaki,Khudiram Bose.V Savarkar,Har Dayal and Ajit Singh.
Muslim League
 In 1906 the Muslim League was formed.
 The lead in its formation was taken by the Agha Khan and Nawab Salimulla of Dacca.
 They were encouraged by Viceroy Minto.
 The Muslim League declared that its aims were to promote loyalty to the government ,to protect and advance the interests of Muslims and to ensure that Muslims did not develop feelings of hostility towards other communities in India.
 However in spite of the efforts of the British govt the Muslim masses were drawn into the nationalist movement.
 The reason was the contempt that the Muslim felt for the British govt for waging war against the
Sultan of Turkey who was regarded as the Caliph of the Muslim world.
 Two prominent Muslim leaders Maulana Mohammad Ali and Abul Kalam Azad carried on nationalist propaganda among the people and brought them into the struggle for freedom.
 The Muslim League itself was influenced by the spread of anti-imperialist ideas. In 1913 it adopted the attainment of self-govt as its aim.

Nationalists and the First World War
 In June 1914 the First World War broke out between Great Britain, France, Russia and Japan on one side joined later by Italy and USA and Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey on the other.
 In India the years of the war marked the maturing of nationalism.
 In the beginning the Indian nationalist leaders including Lokmanya Tilak who had been released in June 1914 decided to support the war effort of the government in the mistaken belief that great Britain would repay India’s loyalty with gratitude and enable India to take a long step forward on the road to self-govt.

 They did not realise fully that the different powers were fighting the First World War precisely to safe- guard their existing colonies.

Home Rule League

 Many Indian leaders felt that popular pressure should be brought to bear upon the govt if any real concessions were to be extracted.
 Hence real mass political movement was necessary.

 War had meant heavy taxation and roaring prices of the daily necessities of life.

 The people as a result were getting ready to join any militant movement of protest. Consequently the war years were years of intense nationalist political agitation.
 But this mass agitation had to be carried on outside the Congress for the party was dominated by the moderates.
 Therefore two Home Rule Leagues were started in 1915-1916 one under the leadership of Tilak and the other under the leadership of Annie Besant and S Subramaniyam Iyer.
 The two Home Rule Leagues carried out intense propaganda all over the country in favour of the demand for the grant of Home Rule or self govt to India after the war.
 The other prominent leaders who joined the agitation for Home Rule were Motilal Nehru and C.R Das.
 The Govt resorted to repression.Mrs Annie Besant was arrested and many newspapers were banned.
The war period also saw the growth of revolutionary movement.
 The growing nationalist feeling in the country and the urge for national unity produced two historic developments at the Lucknow Session of the INC in 1916.
 Firstly the two wings of the Congress were reunited. The old controversies had lost their meaning and the split in the congress had not benefited either group. At Lucknow the Congress and the All India Muslim League sank their old differences and put up common political demands before the govt.Congress accepted the principle of separate electorates. This unity is popularly known in history as the Lucknow Pact.
 Unfortunately this unity was based on the notion of bringing together Hindus and Muslims as separate entities.
 This left the way open to the future resurgence of communalism in Indian politics.

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