Chapter 3 : Nationalism in India - Ncert Solutions for Class 10 History CBSE
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Chapter 3 - Nationalism in India Excercise 74
The growth of modern nationalism was closely associated to the anti-colonial movement in almost all those countries which were the victims of imperialist conquests. Nationalism prospered in India in the real sense only in the 19th century when the consolidation of British power had led to the political unification of the country. The destruction of India's old political system, emergence of new social classes and the social and religious reform movements had laid the foundation for the growth of modern nationalism.
Also, almost all sections of the Indians perceived British rule as detrimental. Therefore, the growth of nationalism naturally manifested itself in a nationalist struggle against British colonial rule.
The outbreak of the First World War had created a new economic and political situation. It had increased the defence expenditure of the government manifold. This was financed by raising custom duties and introduction of income tax. The war years also saw a steep rise in commodity prices hence increasing the hardships of Indians already reeling under colonial exploitation. Forced recruitment from the rural hinterland was a major issue along with crop failure, food shortages and numerous epidemics. It was hoped that the problems would cease after the conclusion of the war, however, this did not happened. As a result, it helped in the growth of the Indian national movement.
Indians were enraged by the Rowlatt Act because of the following reasons:
- It gave the government enormous powers to repress any and all nationalist political activity.
- The Act gave the government the right to detain political prisoners for two years without a trial.
- Since it was blatantly unsympathetic to the political rights and aspirations of the Indian people, it had met with united opposition. However, the government disregarded this opposition and passed it in the Imperial Legislative Council nevertheless.
Mahatma Gandhi withdrew the non-cooperation movement because he felt that the movement was turning violent in many places. He felt that the Indians were not yet ready to practice the method of Satyagraha, since it involved total abstinence from violence in all forms, whether provoked or unprovoked. He arrived at the decision after the unfortunate incident at Chauri-Chaura in Gorakhpur, UP. Here a peaceful demonstration of satyagrahis was attacked by the police. The agitators replied by attacking the police station and killing twenty-two policemen. Seeing the intensity of this violent incident, Gandhiji thought it better to withdraw the movement.
Mahatma Gandhi is known to have used the novel method of mass agitation - satyagraha - against the racist regime in South Africa. The idea of satyagraha emphasises the power of truth and the need to search for truth. It suggests that if the cause is true and is arrayed against injustice, then physical force is not necessary to fight the oppressor. A Satyagrahi can win the battle, not necessarily by seeking vengeance or being aggressive, but through non violence, by appealing to the conscience of the oppressor. Satyagraha proposes that people, including the oppressors, have to be persuaded to see the truth, instead of being coerced into accepting it through direct or indirect violence. By this struggle, truth is bound to ultimately emerge triumphant.
On 13th April 1919, a crowd of villagers who had come to attend a Baisakhi fair gathered in the enclosed of Jallianwala Bagh. Not hailing from Amritsar, many were absolutely unaware that a martial law was in effect in Amritsar at the point of time and that they were not allowed to gather publicly in such numbers. Some people had also gathered with the express purpose of protesting against the government's repressive measures. General Dyer with his British troops arrived at the scene. He asked the soldiers to block the only exit and opened fire on the crowd without any warning. Hundreds were killed, still more injured. The act attracted widespread criticism and expression of shock and disgust.
The Simon Commission was a statutory commission set up in 1928 under Sir John Simon. The commission was to look into the working of the Government of India Act of 1919 and suggest the necessary changes. The Indian leaders were angry because the Commission did not have any Indian members. Also, it was not bound to consider any of the nationalist demands regarding self rule. When the commission arrived in India, it was greeted everywhere with the slogan 'Go Back Simon'. There were large scale demonstrations against the Commission. In order to pacify the protesters, the Viceroy, Lord Irving, proposed dominion status to India in an unspecified future. However, the radical elements within the Congress were not satisfied by this and demanded complete independence instead.
Germania is the allegory used for the German nation. In images, she is always shown with a crown of oak leaves, as oak is considered to be a symbol of heroism. In one hand, she has a broadsword and in another she carries the German flag.
The Bharat Mata, i.e. the Mother India, is shown in a number of different avatars. The one painted by Abanindranath Tagore depicted her as an ascetic, a pooja mala in one hand, dispensing food, learning, food and clothing. Another portrayal of her showed her holding a trishul, standing next to a lion and an elephant, both symbols of power and authority.
The social groups which joined the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921 were as follows:
- The urban middle class (students, teachers, merchants, traders, professors and lawyers)
- The rural peasantry
- Plantation workers in Assam
- Nai and dhobi
The rural peasantry joined the movement to fight talukdars and landlords who demanded high rents and demanded begar and denied security of tenure. For them, non-cooperation meant that they would have to pay no taxes and hoped their land would be redistributed among the poor. The peasants demanded reduction of revenue, abolition of begar and social boycott of oppressive landlords.
The tribals participated in the movement because the British government had closed large areas of the forests and deprived them of their traditional rights over the forest produce. The government also forced them to do begar for road building. By their participation in the movement, the tribals hoped to regain their traditional rights over the forests and its produce.
The plantation workers joined the Non-Cooperation Movement because under the Inland Emigration Act, 1859, they were not permitted to leave without permission. As a result, the plantation workers had joined the movement in order to liberate themselves from the oppressive conditions of work then existent in the plantations.
Mahatma Gandhi found in salt a powerful symbol that could unite the nation.
- On 31st January, 1930, he sent a letter to Viceroy Irwin stating eleven demands, one of which was the demand to abolish the salt law.
- Salt was and is one of the most essential food items, consumed by the rich and poor alike and a tax on it was considered completely unjust.
- Gandhi’s letter was an ultimatum and if his demands were not fulfilled by March 11, he had threatened to launch a civil disobedience campaign.
- The British government did not take note of the demands and therefore Gandhi launched his famous salt march accompanied by 78 of his trusted volunteers. The march was over 240 miles, from the ashram in Sabarmati to the Gujarati coastal town of Dandi.
- The volunteers walked for about 24 days, 10 miles a day. On the way, many people joined in and the number of marchers increased manifold.
- On 6th April, Gandhi reached Dandi and ceremonially violated the salt law by boiling sea water and producing salt. This marked the beginning of the civil disobedience movement.
As a woman participant in the civil disobedience movement, I was thrilled to see the Father of the Nation at work. I saw him talking to people, mixing with them, treating men and women alike without any bias or hesitance. People may say he is a great politician and even a miracle worker. To me he just seemed like a man who is at peace with himself and understands his own people like no other. We marched from my village to Dandi by walking many miles a day. It was riveting experience to be out in the open, participating in an actual political activity, being part of a unit. After the end of the march, I feel even more determined to participate in the Civil Disobedience Movement furthermore.
Separate electorates were a brainchild of the British government. It was meant to enable people of one religious community to vote for only the candidate of their own religion. This was aimed at dividing Indians and weakening their struggle for political independence. The Congress leaders opposed this policy since such a policy would divide the religious communities even further and hence prolong British colonial occupation of India.
Muslim leaders like Mohammed Ali Jinnah supported separate electorates because they thought this was the best way to safeguard the interests of Muslims in a Hindu majority India. Dr. Ambedkar also supported separate electorates as he felt this was the only way by which the depressed classes could exercise political power. Later even though he agreed for joint electorates under the Poona Pct, he did so only under the pre-condition that the seats for depressed classes would be reserved in the Provincial and Central Legislative Councils.
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