Colonial Fight For Freedom Essay In Hindi
For independence movements of American Indians, see Native American self-determination.
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The Indian independence movement encompassed activities and ideas aiming to end the East India Company rule (1757–1857) and the British Indian Empire (1857–1947) in the Indian subcontinent. The movement spanned a total of 90 years (1857–1947).
The first organised militant movements were in Bengal, but they later took movement in the newly formed Indian National Congress with prominent moderate leaders seeking only their basic right to appear for Indian Civil Service (British India) examinations, as well as more rights, economic in nature, for the people of the soil. The early part of the 20th century saw a more radical approach towards political self-rule proposed by leaders such as the Lal, Bal, Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai. The last stages of the self-rule struggle from the 1920s onwards saw Congress adopt Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's policy of nonviolence and civil disobedience, and several other campaigns. Nationalists like Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh preached armed revolution to achieve self-rule. Poets and writers such as Subramania Bharati, Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammad Iqbal, Josh Malihabadi, Mohammad Ali Jouhar, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Kazi Nazrul Islam used literature, poetry and speech as a tool for political awareness. Feminists such as Sarojini Naidu and Begum Rokeya promoted the emancipation of Indian women and their participation in national politics. B. R. Ambedkar championed the cause of the disadvantaged sections of Indian society within the larger self-rule movement. The period of the Second World War saw the peak of the campaigns by the Quit India Movement led by Congress, and the Indian National Army movement led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The Indian self-rule movement was a mass-based movement that encompassed various sections of society. It also underwent a process of constant ideological evolution. Although the basic ideology of the movement was anti-colonial, it was supported by a vision of independent capitalist economic development coupled with a secular, democratic, republican, and civil-libertarian political structure. After the 1930s, the movement took on a strong socialist orientation, owing to the influence of Bhagat Singh's demand of Purn Swaraj (Complete Self-Rule). The work of these various movements led ultimately to the Indian Independence Act 1947, which ended the suzerainty in India and the creation of Pakistan. India remained a Dominion of the Crown until 26 January 1950, when the Constitution of India came into force, establishing the Republic of India; Pakistan was a dominion until 1956, when it adopted its first republican constitution. In 1971, East Pakistan declared independence as the People's Republic of Bangladesh.
Early British colonialism in India
Main articles: Colonial India, East India Company, Company rule in India, and British Raj
European traders first reached Indian shores with the arrival of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1498 at the port of Calicut, in search of the lucrative spice trade. Just over a century later, the Dutch and English established trading outposts on the subcontinent, with the first English trading post set up at Surat in 1613. Over the course of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the British defeated the Portuguese and Dutch militarily, but remained in conflict with the French, who had by then sought to establish themselves in the subcontinent. The decline of the Mughal Empire in the first half of the eighteenth century provided the British with the opportunity to establish a firm foothold in Indian politics. After the Battle of Plassey in 1757, during which the East India Company's Indian army under Robert Clive defeated Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, the Company established itself as a major player in Indian affairs, and soon afterwards gained administrative rights over the regions of Bengal, Bihar and Midnapur part of Orissa, following the Battle of Buxar in 1764. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan, most of South India came either under the Company's direct rule, or under its indirect political control as part a princely state in a subsidiary alliance. The Company subsequently gained control of regions ruled by the Maratha Empire, after defeating them in a series of wars. The Punjab was annexed in 1849, after the defeat of the Sikh armies in the First (1845–1846) and Second (1848–49) Anglo-Sikh Wars.
English was made the medium of instruction in India's schools in 1835, and many Indians increasingly disliked British rule. The English tried to impose the Western standards of education and culture on Indian masses, believing in the 18th century racist notion of the superiority of Western culture and enlightenment.
Puli Thevar was one of the opponents of the British rule in India. He was in conflict with the Nawab of Arcot who was supported by the British. His prominent exploits were his confrontations with Marudhanayagam, who later rebelled against the British in the late 1750s and early 1760s. Nelkatumseval the present Tirunelveli Dist of Tamil Nadu state of India was the headquarters of Puli Thevan.
Toughest resistance company experienced offered by Mysore. The Anglo–Mysore Wars were a series of wars fought in over the last three decades of the 18th century between the Kingdom of Mysore on the one hand, and the British East India Company (represented chiefly by the Madras Presidency), and Maratha Confederacyand the Nizam of Hyderabad on the other. Hyder Ali and his successor Tipu Sultan fought a war on four fronts with the British attacking from the west, south and east, while the Marathas and the Nizam's forces attacked from the north. The fourth war resulted in the overthrow of the house of Hyder Ali and Tipu (who was killed in the final war, in 1799), and the dismantlement of Mysore to the benefit of the East India Company, which won and took control of much of India.
Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja was one of the earliest freedom fighters in India. He was the prince regent of the princely state of Kottiyur or Cotiote in North Malabar, near Kannur, India between 1774 and 1805. He fought a guerrilla war with tribal people from Wynad supporting him. He was caught by the British and his fort was razed to the ground.
Rani Velu Nachiyar (1730–1796), was a queen of Indian Sivaganga from 1760 to 1790. She was the first queen to fight against the British in India. Rani Nachiyar was trained in war match weapons usage, martial arts like Valari, Silambam (fighting using stick), horse riding and archery. She was a scholar in many languages and she had proficiency with languages like French, English and Urdu. When her husband, Muthuvaduganathaperiya Udaiyathevar, was killed by British soldiers and the son of the Nawab of Arcot, she was drawn into battle. She formed an army and sought an alliance with Gopala Nayaker and Hyder Ali with the aim of attacking the British, whom she did successfully fight in 1780. When Rani Velu Nachiyar found the place where the British stored their ammunition, she arranged a suicide attack: a faithful follower, Kuyili, doused herself in oil, set herself alight and walked into the storehouse. Rani Velu Nachiyar formed a woman's army named "udaiyaal" in honour of her adopted daughter, Udaiyaal, who died detonating a British arsenal. Rani Nachiyar was one of the few rulers who regained her kingdom, and ruled it for ten more years.
Veerapandiya Kattabomman was an eighteenth-century Polygar and chieftain from Panchalankurichi in Tamil Nadu, India who waged a war against the East India Company. He was captured by the British and hanged in 1799 CE. Kattabomman refused to accept the sovereignty of East India Company, and fought against them.Dheeran Chinnamalai was a Kongu chieftain and Palayakkarar from Tamil Nadu who fought against the East India Company. After Kattabomman and Tipu Sultan's deaths, Chinnamalai sought the help of Marathas and Maruthu Pandiyar to attack the British at Coimbatore in 1800. British forces managed to stop the armies of the allies and hence Chinnamalai was forced to attack Coimbatore on his own. His army was defeated and he escaped from the British forces. Chinnamalai engaged in guerrilla warfare and defeated the British in battles at Cauvery in 1801, Odanilai in 1802 and Arachalur in 1804.
In September 1804, the King of Khordha, Kalinga was deprived of the traditional rights of Jagannath Temple which was a serious shock to the King and the people of Odisha. Consequently, in October 1804 a group of armed Paiks attacked the British at Pipili. This event alarmed the British force. Jayee Rajguru, the chief of Army of Kalinga requested all the kings of the state to join hands for a common cause against the British. Rajguru was killed on 6 December 1806. After Rajguru's death, Bakshi Jagabandhu commanded an armed rebellion against the East India Company's rule in Odisha which is known as Paik Rebellion.
The rebellion of 1857
Main article: Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian rebellion of 1857 was a large-scale rebellion in the northern and central India against the British East India Company's rule. It was suppressed and the British government took control of the company. The conditions of service in the company's army and cantonments increasingly came into conflict with the religious beliefs and prejudices of the sepoys. The predominance of members from the upper castes in the army, perceived loss of caste due to overseas travel, and rumours of secret designs of the government to convert them to Christianity led to deep discontent among the sepoys. The sepoys were also disillusioned by their low salaries and the racial discrimination practised by British officers in matters of promotion and privileges. The indifference of the British towards leading native Indian rulers such as the Mughals and ex-Peshwas and the annexation of Oudh were political factors triggering dissent amongst Indians. The Marquess of Dalhousie's policy of annexation, the doctrine of lapse (or escheat) applied by the British, and the projected removal of the descendants of the Great Mughal from their ancestral palace at Red Fort to the Qutb Minaar (near Delhi) also angered some people.
The final spark was provided by the rumoured use of tallow (from cows) and lard (pig fat) in the newly introduced Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle cartridges. Soldiers had to bite the cartridges with their teeth before loading them into their rifles, and the reported presence of cow and pig fat was religiously offensive to both Hindu and Muslim soldiers.
Mangal Pandey, a 29-year-old sepoy, was believed to be responsible for inspiring the Indian sepoys to rise against the British. Pandey revolted against his army regiment for protection of the cow, considered sacred by Hindus. In the first week of May 1857, he killed a higher officer in his regiment at Barrackpore for the introduction of the rule. He was captured and was sentenced to death when the British took back control of the regiment. On 10 May 1857, the sepoys at Meerut broke rank and turned on their commanding officers, killing some of them. They reached Delhi on 11 May, set the company's toll house on fire, and marched into the Red Fort, where they asked the Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II, to become their leader and reclaim his throne. The emperor was reluctant at first, but eventually agreed and was proclaimed Shehenshah-e-Hindustan by the rebels. The rebels also murdered much of the European, Eurasian, and Christian population of the city.
Revolts broke out in other parts of Oudh and the North-Western Provinces as well, where civil rebellion followed the mutinies, leading to popular uprisings. The British were initially caught off-guard and were thus slow to react, but eventually responded with force. The lack of effective organisation among the rebels, coupled with the military superiority of the British, brought a rapid end to the rebellion. The British fought the main army of the rebels near Delhi, and after prolonged fighting and a siege, defeated them and retook the city on 20 September 1857. Subsequently, revolts in other centres were also crushed. The last significant battle was fought in Gwalior on 17 June 1858, during which Rani Lakshmibai was killed. Sporadic fighting and guerrilla warfare, led by Tatya Tope, continued until spring 1859, but most of the rebels were eventually subdued.
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major turning point in the history of modern India. While affirming the military and political power of the British, it led to significant change in how India was to be controlled by them. Under the Government of India Act 1858, the Company was deprived of its involvement in ruling India, with its territory being transferred to the direct authority of the British government. At the apex of the new system was a Cabinet minister, the Secretary of State for India, who was to be formally advised by a statutory council; the Governor-General of India (Viceroy) was made responsible to him, while he in turn was responsible to the government. In a royal proclamation made to the people of India, Queen Victoria promised equal opportunity of public service under British law, and also pledged to respect the rights of the native princes. The British stopped the policy of seizing land from the princes, decreed religious tolerance and began to admit Indians into the civil service (albeit mainly as subordinates). However, they also increased the number of British soldiers in relation to native Indian ones, and only allowed British soldiers to handle artillery. Bahadur Shah was exiled to Rangoon, Burma, where he died in 1862.
In 1876, in a controversial move Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli acceded to the Queen's request and passed legislation to give Queen Victoria the additional title of Empress of India. Liberals in Britain objected that the title was foreign to British traditions.
Rise of organised movements
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Main article: Nationalist Movements in India
See also: Indian National Congress
The decades following the Rebellion were a period of growing political awareness, manifestation of Indian public opinion and emergence of Indian leadership at both national and provincial levels. Dadabhai Naoroji formed the East India Association in 1867 and Surendranath Banerjee founded the Indian National Association in 1876. Inspired by a suggestion made by A.O. Hume, a retired British civil servant, seventy-two Indian delegates met in Bombay in 1885 and founded the Indian National Congress. They were mostly members of the upwardly mobile and successful western-educated provincial elites, engaged in professions such as law, teaching
The popular view of India’s journey to independence from British rule is the famous story of Mohandas Gandhi’s extraordinary campaign of non-violent protest. It is a heritage still marked today during international state visits.
But there was another, often forgotten – and much less peaceful – side to the struggle for Indian independence.
British colonial rule in India had been established through a series of wars fought across the subcontinent from the mid-18th century onwards. It was bloody and gradual, and rested on a thin foundation of coercion and military dominance.
This was made painfully clear by the uprising of 1857, in which a series of rebellions erupted across northern India, seriously undermining imperial confidence. Although the mutiny was crushed, the memory of it continued to inspire generations of Indian anti-colonialists, who would later refer to it as the First War of Independence.
While the events of 1857 were described by the colonial authorities in various terms including “mutiny”, “rebellion” and “insurgency”, the first act of anti-colonial violence to be given the label of “terrorism”, was carried out 40 years later.
In 1897, two brothers assassinated WC Rand, a civil service officer responsible for dealing with an outbreak of bubonic plague in the city of Pune, whose measures of forced home entry, bodily examinations and segregation were considered extremely heavy-handed.
Later, after colonial officials decided to partition the prosperous province of Bengal in 1905, non-violent forms of popular protest were accompanied by the growth of secret cells of revolutionaries who sought to undermine British imperial authority using targeted assassinations and bomb attacks.
Even though the partition was annulled in 1911, the revolutionary organisations it spawned did not disappear. In fact, they expanded massively.
On November 1 1913, Indian revolutionaries living in San Francisco published the first issue of Ghadar, or Mutiny, a radical weekly newspaper that quickly developed a global readership. By the summer of 1914, the Ghadar Party they founded was an international organisation, with more than 6,000 members and networks throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
In February 1915, revolutionaries connected to the Ghadar party attempted to overthrow British rule through an ambitious uprising across northern India. Led by Rash Behari Bose, a veteran revolutionary who had personally attempted to assassinate the Viceroy of India in 1912, the revolutionaries tried to convince the Indian Army to mutiny by disseminating propaganda in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Meerut.
The plot was foiled after a British-paid spy penetrated the organisation, prompting a huge crackdown in which hundreds of radicals were detained. Bose was forced to flee India, escaping to Japan where he would live out the rest of his life in exile.
The following month, Ghadar revolutionaries in the US acquired two ships, the Annie Larsen and the Maverick. They planned to land a huge arms shipment in Calcutta on Christmas Day. It was timed to coincide with another planned uprising in Burma, then still a part of British India, and a raid on the prison islands of the Andamans, in which incarcerated radicals would be liberated to take up arms against the British.
Like the February uprising, the Christmas Day plot was detected and foiled by the colonial intelligence services, which had expanded their operations to a global scale in response to the transnational reach of Ghadar.
With the implementation of strict wartime legislation such as the Defence of India Act, 1916 was a turning point for the revolutionary campaign, which was driven underground by imperial intelligence services, who detained several hundred suspected revolutionaries.
India’s revolutionary organisations did not vanish after World War I. As the war measures expired, the colonial government implemented the 1919 Rowlatt Act in an effort to extend executive powers into the postwar period. The proposed legislation permitted suspects to be interned without trial and allowed political cases to be tried without juries. This provoked outrage among the majority of the Indian population, who viewed it as an insult to their loyal service during the war.
At a gathering in Amritsar in April 1919, imperial troops opened fire on a crowd of unarmed protesters, killing at least 379 people and sparking nationwide anger.
Peace in his time
This is the context in which Mohandas Gandhi (usually called Mahatma out of respect) emerged to lead the Indian nationalist movement, which he rallied with a message of peaceful non-cooperation and non-violent resistance. Nonetheless, the more violent anti-colonial organisations formed in the years before and after World War I influenced both anti-colonial politics and imperial security right up until India’s independence and partition in 1947.
After the Second World War, many British officials were unsettled by fear of the Indian National Army, a military organisation made up of Indian prisoners of war released from Japanese custody and led by the famous nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose.
Despite being defeated militarily, the INA strengthened British unease that the continued occupation of India would be met by violent resistance. Following the end of the war, the trial of INA prisoners provided a serious problem for colonial legitimacy and helped to stoke the mass nationalism that forced Britain to withdraw in 1947.
So while it is the memory of Gandhi and non-violence that is now marked by British politicians when they visit India, the other side to the story is very real, and should not be forgotten.
Recalling the history of Indian revolutionaries isn’t just a matter of filling in historical gaps. It can help us gain some perspective on modern society by looking at the recent past.
And now a visit to India by the British Prime Minister Theresa May has included a pledge with the Indian PM Narendra Modi that India and the UK will work together to fight terrorism in both countries. It is not known whether or not they discussed the role that terrorism played in securing India’s independence from Britain. But perhaps they should have done – they would have had plenty to talk about.