Chapter 3 Nationalism in India
(a) Why the growth of nationalism in the colonies is linked to an anti-colonial movement?
(b) How the First World War helped in the growth of the National Movement in India?
(c) Why Indians were outraged by the Rowlatt Act?
(d) Why Gandhiji decided to withdraw this Non-Cooperation Movement?
- In India, as in Vietnam and many other colonies, the growth of modem nationalism is intimately connected to the Anti-colonial Movement. People began discovering their unity in the process of their struggle with colonialism. The sense of being oppressed under colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups together.
- The European powers considered their culture more civilised, modern, and superior. They forcefully started imposing their culture on the colonies. This also aroused the feeling of nationalism.
- Gandhiji used ‘Satyagraha’ against the Britishers. This also promoted the spirit of nationalism among the people.
- The anti-colonial movement was a united struggle by the people against foreigners. The united struggle was responsible for arousing the spirit of nationalism.
(b) The War created a new economic and political situation :
- It led to a huge increase in defence expenditure which was financed by war loans and increasing taxes, customs duties were raised, and income tax introduced.
- Through the war years, prices increased – doubling between 1913 and 1918 – leading to extreme hardships for the common people.
- Villagers were called upon to supply soldiers, and forced recruitment in rural areas caused widespread anger.
- Rowlatt Act was passed through the Imperial Legislative Council on a report of the Sedition Committee, headed by Justice Rowlatt.
- It was the black act which gave the government and the police to repress political activities and allowed detention of political prisoners without tried for two years.
The Act was passed despite the united opposition of the Indian members of the Council.
This Act became one of the factors due to which Gandhiji launched the Non-Cooperation Movement.
(d) In February 1922, Gandhiji decided to withdraw the Non-Cooperation Movement due to the following reasons:
- The movement was turning violent. At Chauri-Chaura in Gorakhpur, a peaceful demonstration in a Bazar turned into a violent clash in which more than 20 policemen were killed.
- Gandhiji felt that the Safyagrahis needed to be properly trained before they would be ready for mass struggle.
- Within the Congress, some leaders were tired of mass struggles and wanted to participate in elections to the provincial councils, which were set up under the Government of India Act, 1919.
- Industrialists, workers, peasants etc. interpreted the term ‘Swaraj’ in their own way. At many places like that of Andhra Pradesh, leaders like Alluri Sitaram Raju asserted that India could be liberated only by the use of force. But their values were not approved by the Congress.
What is meant by the idea of Satyagraha ?
- It was a non-violent method of mass agitation against the Oppressor.
- It emphasised the power of truth and the need to search the truth.
- It suggested that if the cause was true if the struggle was against injustice, there is no need for physical force to fight the oppressor.
- People-including the oppressors had to be persuaded to see the truth instead of being forced to accept truth through the use of violence.
- By this struggle, the truth was bound to be victorious.
Write a newspaper report on :
(a) The Jallianwalla Bagh massacre.
(b) The Simon Commission.
(a) The Jallianwala Bagh massacre :
13 April 1919
Today is Baisakhi day. The people of Punjab celebrate this day with pomp and show. The festival commemorates the establishment of the Khalsa panth or Sikh order by tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh on Baisakhi Day on April 13, 1699. It also marks the start of the harvest season in Punjab and Haryana.
Today to celebrate Baisakhi a large crowd of non-violent protesters against the policy of the government along with pilgrims gathered in Jallianwala Bagh. There were thousands of men, women and children. People had come from the villages around Amritsar. It was a peaceful gathering and people were enjoying the festival.
General Dyer had imposed Martial Law in the city. However, it was not announced properly. People who had come from outside did not know about it.
The Bagh-space comprised 6 to 7 acres and was walled on all sides. General Dyer could not tolerate the gathering. He came with his troops and ordered them to fire on the crowd for ten minutes directing their bullets largely towards the gates through which people were trying to flee. The firing went on till the ammunition was exhausted. After the massacre, the wounded were left without medical help. The exact number of casualities is not known. It included people of all ages i.e., children, women, young and old. It is injustice with the people of Punjab.
(b) Simon Commission :
15 January 1928
The new Tory government in Britain has appointed a Statutory Commission under Sir John Simon in response to the nationalist movement in India. The Commission will look into the functioning of the constitutional system in India and suggest changes. It is really strange that though object of the commission is to look into an -indian problem but no Indian has been appointed as its member. All the members were Britishers. This is gross injustice. Indians must raise their voice against it and resist the Commission at all levels so that the British government may include Indians in the Commission.
Compare the images of Bharat Mata in this chapter with the image of Germania in Chapter I.
There are two images of Bharat Mata one by Abanindranath Tagore and the second by another artist. In the image by Tagore, Bharat Mata is portrayed as an ascetic figure. She has been shown as calm, composed, divine and spiritual. She is shown also as dispensing learning food and clothing. Abanindranath Tagore tried to develop a style of painting that could be seen as truly Indian.
In the second figure, Bharat Mata is shown with a trishul, standing beside a lion and an elephant both symbols of power and authority. This figure is a contrast to the one painted by Abanindranath Tagore. On the other hand, the image of Germania by Philip Veet wears a crown of oak leaves which stands for heroism. Thus, there is one similarity between Bharat Mata and Germania – both have an element of bravery i.e., power, authority, and heroism.