Birth of Indian National Congress, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Gandhian Era

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Birth of Indian National Congress

  • The birth of Indian National Congress was a great achievement for the unity of India. The Indian National Congress was founded by A.O.Hume in 1885, during the Governor-General ship of Lord Duffer in. The first session of the Indian National Congress was the training and organisation of public opinion in the country. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 gave a new lease of life to the nationalist movement. On the outbreak of World War I, some of the Indian revolutionaries thought of alliance into Germany against England. A young Tamil named Champak Raman Pillai, President of a body in Zurich, called the International Pro-India Committee, went to Berlin to work under the German Foreign Office. He started the Indian National Party which was attached to the German General Staff. In early 1915, Mrs. Annie Besant launched a campaign through her two papers.

  • New India and Commonweal and organised public meetings and conferences to demand that India be granted self-government. In April 1916, Tilak set up the Home Rule League. Annie Besant announced the formation of her Home Rule League, with George Arundale, as the organising secretary. She also organised Theosophical Society at Adyar.

  • The two leagues worked in co-operation demarcating their area of activity, at Belgaum meeting, Tilak declared “Swaraj is my birth right and I will have it”. At another meeting he told the people: “Do not ask for crumbs; ask for the whole bread”. Jawaharlal Nehru joined both the Home Rule Leagues, but worked mostly for Annie Besant’s Home Rule League. Tilak joined the Lucknow Session of the Congress in 1916 and with the co-operation of Annie Besant and Bipin Chandra Paul secured control of the Congress.

Gandhian Era

  • During the war years, 1914-1918, Nationalism gathered its forces; Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar in Saurashtra. He proceeded to England in 1888 and returned to India as Barrister-at-Law. He proceeded to Natal in South Africa and fought for the Indian Congress and also a newspaper called “Indian Opinion” with a view to educating Indians in political matters.

  • Gandhiji returned to India in January 1915, and was warmly welcomed. His first involvement was in Champaran in Bihar and the second in Kheda (Kaira). Gandhiji organised Satyagraha and asked the cultivators not to pay the land revenue. The Government yielded and a compromise was reached.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

  • On the afternoon of April 13, 1919 a public meeting was held in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, despite a ban on meetings. Sir Michael O Dyer, the Lt. Governor took command of the troops and ordered fire.

  • Many innocent people died on the spot. Rabindranath Tagore renounced his ‘Knighthood’ as a measure of protest.

  • Gandhiji returned the ‘Kaiser-i-Hind’ medal given to him for his work during the Boer War.

Non-Co-Operation Movement

  • The Non-Co-operation Movement was launched by Gandhiji on August 1920. Tilak died on the same day. Tilak’s last message to the nation was ‘Unless Swaraj is achieved, India shall not prosper.

  • It is required for our existence’. Gandhiji withdrew the Non-Co-operation Movement when an angry crowd burnt the police station at Chauri Chaura (U.P.).

Lahore Congress “Purna Swaraj”

  • The Congress assembled at Lahore towards the end of December 1929. The Lahore Congress declared that the agreement to Dominion Status in the Nehru Report had lapsed and committed the Congress to full Swaraj.

  • At midnight on December 31, 1929. Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the tri-colour national flag on the banks of the Ravi.

Civil Disobedience Movement

  • The Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930-31 marked a critically important stage in the progress of the anti-imperialist struggle. Gandhi launched Civil Disobedience Movement by organising the Dandi March with a view to break the salt law.

  • Organisation of country-wide demonstrations and hartals, boycott of the foreign goods and refusal to pay taxes were stages of Civil Disobedience Movement.

  • As a result of Gandhi - Irwin Pact of 1931, Congress agreed to withdraw the Civil Disobedience Movement and took part in the Round Table Conference.

Bardoli Satyagraha

  • In Gujarat, a conflict developed between the peasantry and the Government. The Government attempted to increase revenue, Vallabhbhai Patel took up the cause of the peasants and the struggle was known as the Bardoli Satyagraha.

  • The Struggle met with success and Vallabhbhai Patel came to be called Sardar.

Quit India Movement

In 1942, the Congress decided to launch the Quit India Movement with a view to compel the British Government to offer more favourable terms.

Cabinet Mission

The Cabinet Mission came to India to evolve a consensus on the constitutional question. In 1945, when Mr. Atlee of the Labour Party became the Prime Minister of Britain, he took a realistic view for the fulfilment of India’s dream for freedom.

Mountbatten Plan

  • The Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947 contained a solution for the political and constitutional deadlock created by the refusal for the Muslim League to join the Constituent Assembly, formed to frame the Constitution of India.

  • It laid down detailed principles for the partition of India and the speedy transfer of political power in the form of Dominion Status to the newly born Dominions of India and Pakistan.

  • A Bill containing the main provisions of the Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947 was introduced in the British Parliament and passed as the Indian Independence Act of 1947.

  • Lord Atlee was the Prime Minister of England when India got Independence. India thus obtained Independence on the 15th of August 1947 and became a Sovereign, Secular, Democratic and Republic State on the 26th January 1950.

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