Ans. Consequences of partition of Bengal
i. The partition of Bengal infuriated people all over India. All sections of the Congress – the Moderates and the Radicals, opposed it.
ii. Large public meetings and demonstrations were organised and novel methods of mass protest developed.
iii. The struggle that unfolded came to be known as the Swadeshi movement, strongest in Bengal but with echoes elsewhere too – in deltaic Andhra for instance, it was known as the Vandemataram Movement.
Ans. In September 1939, after two years of Congress rule in the provinces, the Second World War broke out. Critical of Hitler, Congress leaders were ready to support the British war effort. But in return they wanted that India be granted independence after the war. The British refused to concede the demand. The Congress ministries resigned in protest. Mahatma Gandhi decided to initiate a new phase of movement against the British in the middle of the Second World War. The British must quit India immediately, he told them. To the people he said, “do or die” in your effort to fight the British – but you must fight non-violently.
Ans. The First World War altered the economic and political situation in India. It led to a huge rise in the defence expenditure of the Government of India. The government in turn increased taxes on individual incomes and business profits. Increased military expenditure and the demands for war supplies led to a sharp rise in prices which created great difficulties for the common people. On the other hand, business groups reaped fabulous profits from the war. The war created a demand for industrial goods (jute bags, cloth, rails) and caused a decline of imports from other countries into India. So Indian industries expanded during the war, and Indian business groups began to demand greater opportunities for development.
Ans. Dandi march
i. Gandhiji declared that he would lead a march to break the salt law.
ii. According to this law, the state had a monopoly on the manufacture and sale of salt.
iii. Gandhiji and his followers marched for over 240 miles from Sabarmati to the coastal town of Dandi where they broke the government law by gathering natural salt found on the seashore, and boiling sea water to produce salt.
iv. Peasants, tribals and women participated in large numbers. A business federation published a pamphlet on the salt issue.
v. The government tried to crush the movement through brutal action against peaceful satyagrahis. Thousands were sent to jail.
Ans. People were dissatisfied with British rule in the 1870s and 1880s due to the following reasons:
i. The Arms Act was passed in 1878, disallowing Indians from possessing arms.
ii. In the same year the Vernacular Press Act was also enacted in an effort to silence those who were critical of the government. The Act allowed the government to confiscate the assets of newspapers including their printing presses if the newspapers published anything that was found “objectionable”.
iii. In 1883, there was a furore over the attempt by the government to introduce the Ilbert Bill. The bill provided for the trial of British or European persons by Indians, and sought equality between British and Indian judges in the country. But when white opposition forced the government to withdraw the bill, Indians were enraged.
Ans. The Congress in the first twenty years was “moderate” in its objectives and methods. During this period it made several demands.
i. The Congress demanded a greater voice for Indians in the government and in administration.
ii. It wanted the Legislative Councils to be made more representative, given more power, and introduced in provinces where none existed.
iii. It demanded that Indians be placed in high positions in the government. For this purpose it called for civil service examinations to be held in India as well, not just in London.
iv. The demand for Indianisation of the administration was part of a movement against racisim, since most important jobs at the time were monopolised by white officials.
v. Other demands included the separation of the judiciary from the executive, the repeal of the Arms Act and the freedom of speech and expression.
vi. It demanded reduction of revenue, cut in military expenditure, and more funds for irrigation.
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