Nationalism in India Chapter Notes: Get comprehensive notes for revision of the NCERT History Class 10 Chapter ‘ Nationalism in India’. Notes are given with proper headings and main key note-points to help draft fine quality answers.
History Class 10 Notes: Chapter – Nationalism in India
The Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22)
Early Satyagraha Movements
i. Gandhiji returned to India from South Africa in January, 1915 after fighting the racist regime using the weapon of satyagraha or the power of truth.
ii. Gandhiji successfully organized satyagraha movements in various places: Champaran satyagraha (1916) against the plantation system, Kheda satyagraha (1917) in support of peasants who were demanding relaxation in revenue collection due to crop failure and plague epidemic and Ahmedabad satyagraha (1918) in support of cotton mill workers.
Rowlatt Satyagraha and Jallianwala Bagh massacre
i. The success of these movements encouraged Gandhiji to launch nationwide satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act (1919) which gave the government the power to detain political prisoners without trial for two years.
ii. Workers went on strikes, rallies were organized, government buildings were attacked and shops were closed down. Martial law was imposed in Amritsar and General Dyer took command.
iii. On 13 April, 1919, a large crowd gathered at Jallianwala Bagh to attend the Baisakhi fair unaware of the imposition of Martial law. General Dyer entered the area, blocked the exit and opened fire killing hundreds of people. His aim was to create fear in the minds of the satyagrahis.
iv. The news of Jallianwala Bagh spread like wild fire leading to wide spread protests and strikes. The government responded brutally by humiliating the satyagrahis and bombing villages. Looking at the widespread violence, Gandhiji called off the movement.
v. Gandhi felt that Rowlatt satyagraha was limited to towns and cities and aimed to launch a nationwide movement with the support of Hindus and Muslims.
i. A Khilafat Committee was formed in Bombay in March 1919 to defend the temporal powers of Khalifa (spiritual head of the Islamic world) after the defeat of Ottoman Turkey in First World War. Muslim leaders like Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali discussed with Gandhiji about the possibility of a united struggle which was accepted by Gandhiji.
ii. Gandhiji convinced other leaders to start the Non-Cooperation movement in support of swaraj and Khilafat at the Calcutta session of 1920 which led to the beginning of Non-Cooperation Movement.
Different Proposed Stages of Non-Cooperation Movement
i. Mahatma Gandhi in his book Hind Swaraj stated that British rule was established with the support of Indians. If Indians do not support the rule, the British rule would collapse.
ii. According to Gandhiji, the movement should unfold in stages beginning with the surrender of government awarded titles, boycott of police, army, civil services, courts and legislative councils.
iii. If the government used repression, the Non-Cooperation movement would be launched.
Congress Debates over Non-Cooperation Movement
i. Many in the Congress were reluctant to boycott the council elections to be held in November, 1920 as they feared that the movement would turn violent.
ii. After intense debates and discussions, the Congress finally adopted the Non-Cooperation programme at Nagpur Congress session held in December, 1920.
Contribution of different sections of society in the Non-Cooperation Movement
Movement in towns
i. The Non-Cooperation – Khilafat Movement began in January 1921, and various social groups took part in the movement with their own set of aspirations.
ii. The movement began in the cities with the participation of middle-class sections, who gave up their government jobs or left government-controlled schools and colleges. Council elections were also boycotted in many provinces.
iii. On the economic front, foreign goods were boycotted, liquor shops were picketed, foreign cloth was burnt in bonfires. People began wearing Indian clothes, thus leading to an increase in textile mills and handlooms.
iv. The movement gradually slowed down. Poor sections of society could not afford to buy khadi cloth as it was more expensive than mill cloth.
v. Also, Indian institutions could not be set up quickly. So, students and teachers too went back to government schools and colleges and lawyers resumed their practice in courts.
Movement in the countryside
i. From the cities, the Movement spread to the countryside and farmers and tribals joined the struggle. The peasants of Awadh were led by Baba Ramchandra. The movement focused on reduction of revenue, social boycott of oppressive landlords and abolition of begar.
ii. In June 1920, Jawaharlal Nehru toured the villages of Awadh in order to understand the issues faced by the peasants.
iii. The Oudh Kisan Sabha was established in October 1920 and was headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, Baba Ramchandra and a few other persons. The struggles of Awadh peasants were integrated into the Non-Cooperation Movement.
iv. As the movement progressed, the houses of talukdars and merchants were attacked, grain hoards were taken over and bazaars were looted.
v. In the Gudem hills of Andhra Pradesh, tribal peasants started a militant guerrilla movement in the early 1920s when the colonial government forced them to contribute begar for road building.
Movement in the plantations
i. Under the Inland Emigration Act of 1859, plantation workers were not allowed to leave tea gardens without permission. For them, freedom meant the right to move freely and retain the link with their villages. They believed that the Non-Cooperation Movement would give them this freedom, but in vain.
ii. Thousands of workers left the plantations and headed to their village. But they were stranded on the way and were caught by the police and mercilessly beaten up.
iii. The tribals interpreted the term swaraj in their own ways, but when they raised slogans like ‘Swatantra Bharat’, they were relating to an all-India Movement.
Calling off the movement
The non-cooperation was turning violent. In Gorakhpur, at Cauri-Chaura (4 Feb, 2022) violent incident took place in which a police station was set on fire that took life of 22 police men. Gandhi realised that the peopele were not yet trained enough for a non-violent movement and called off the non-cooperation movement.
The Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-32)
Formation of Swaraj Party
i. Gandhiji withdrew the Non-Cooperation Movement in February 1922 as he felt that it was becoming violent and that satyagrahis needed proper training for a mass struggle.
ii. Some leaders in the Congress party wanted to continue non-cooperation, while others like Motilal Nehru and C R Das wanted to participate in elections to the provincial councils.
iii. The Swaraj party was formed within the Congress by C R Das and Motilal Nehru to argue for a return to council politics.
iv. S C Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru chose mass agitation and struggle for complete independence.
Effects of Economic Depression of 1920s
i. In addition to this internal debate, worldwide economic depression during the late 1920s worsened the situation.
ii. Agricultural prices went down, the demand for agricultural goods decreased, and their export declined.
iii. As a consequence, peasants were unable to sell their harvests and pay revenue. Consequently, the Indian countryside was in turmoil.
Simon Commission 1928
i. A Statutory Commission headed by Sir John Simon was set up by the Tory government in Britain to examine, as well as to suggest changes in, the constitutional system of India.
ii. However, the commission was all British and did not have a single Indian, much to the disappointment of Indians.
iii. The Simon Commission reached India in 1928 and was greeted with the slogan ‘Go Back, Simon’.
iv. The Muslim League and the Congress participated in demonstrations against the Commission.
Historic 1929 Lahore Session and Demand for Purna Swaraj
i. In an effort to win over opponents, Lord Irwin, the Viceroy, offered ‘Dominion Status’ for India and a Round Table Conference to discuss a future Constitution. The Congress leaders were unsatisfied with both.
ii. In the Lahore Congress of 1929 presided over by Jawaharlal Nehru, the demand for ‘Purna Swaraj’ was formalised. It was decided that 26th January 1930 would be celebrated as Independence Day when people would take an oath to fight for complete independence.
Salt March: Civil Disobedience Movement
i. MK Gandhi sent a letter to Viceroy Irwin stating eleven demands, the most significant of which was the abolition of salt tax.
ii. MK Gandhi felt that a tax on salt, which was an essential food item, was unjust and revealed the cruel face of British rule.
iii. MK Gandhi stated that if the demands were not met by 11 March 1930, the Congress would start the Civil Disobedience Movement.
iv. Viceroy Irwin did not pay heed, and so Mahatma Gandhi, on 11 March, began his famous march from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, on which he was accompanied by 78 of his trusted volunteers.
v. Mahatma Gandhi reached Dandi on 6 April and ceremonially violated the law, manufacturing salt by boiling sea water, which marked the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Spread of the Civil Disobedience Movement & the Govt. Repressive Measures
i. The movement began with the breaking of salt laws but, it went beyond them. As the movement spread, foreign cloth was boycotted and liquor shops were picketed.
ii. In many places forest people broke forest laws, village officials resigned and peasants refused to pay land revenue.
iii. The colonial government, alarmed by the developments, began arresting Congress leaders, leading to violent clashes in many places.
iv. For instance, when Abdul Gaffar Khan was arrested in April 1930, people demonstrated in the streets of Peshawar. When MK Gandhi was arrested the following month, Sholapur mill workers attacked government offices. Women and children were beaten, and over one lakh satyagrahis is were arrested.
Gandhi Irwin Pact 1931
i. Due to increase in violence, MK Gandhi decided to call off the movement and entered into a pact with Irwin on 5 March 1931.
ii. Under this pact, MK Gandhi agreed to participate in the Second Round Table Conference in London, and the government agreed to release political prisoners.
iii. The negotiations in the Conference failed, and MK Gandhi returned to India disappointed, only to discover that the colonial government was becoming increasingly repressive.
iv. He relaunched the Civil Disobedience Movement, but by 1934, it lost momentum.
People’s Participations in the Civil Disobedience Movement
Participation of Peasants in the Movement
i. Rich peasant communities like the Patidars of Gujarat and Jats of Uttar Pradesh supported the Civil Disobedience Movement and also forced reluctant members to join the movement.
ii. They viewed the fight for swaraj as a struggle against high revenues. They were upset that the movement was called off even though the revenue rates were not revised. In 1932, when the movement restarted, many refused to join.
iii. The poorer peasants apart from the lowering of revenue demand also wanted the unpaid rent to be remitted by the landlord.
iv. They joined several radical movements led by socialists and communists while their relationship with Congress remained uncertain due to Congress support to landlords and rich peasants.
Participation of the Industrial class
i. Prominent Indian industrialists like Purshottamdas Thakurdas, G.D Birla and few others formed the Indian industrial and Commercial Congress in 1920 and Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) in 1927 to organize business interests.
ii. They gave financial support to Civil Disobedience Movement but after the failure of Round Table Conference, the level of enthusiasm of the business class reduced.
Participation of Industrial workers
i. Many industrial workers stayed away from the Civil disobedience Movement while few adopted ideas of Gandhian programmes like boycott of foreign goods in their struggle against low wages and poor conditions.
ii. In 1930, many workers of Chotanagpur tin mines wore Gandhi caps and participated in boycott campaigns.
iii. The Congress was hesitant to include women’s demands as part of their programme for the struggle as they felt it would alienate the Congress.
Participation of Women
i. The Civil disobedience Movement saw wide scale women’s participation. Many women participated in the manufacture of salt, protest marches and picketing of cloth and liquor shops. Their participation did not mean any radical change in the way their position was visualized.
ii. The Congress for a long time was reluctant to give important positions to women and was keen only to have their symbolic presence.
limitations of the Civil Disobedience Movement?
Little Participation of Dalit
i. The Civil Disobedience Movement did not have the participation of the ‘dalit’, or oppressed, sections of Indian society. The Congress had avoided dalits due to the fear of offending the sanatanis, or orthodox high caste Hindus.
ii. Dalit leaders like BR Ambedkar believed that political empowerment would help resolve the issue of social discrimination.
iii. Dalit leaders demanded reservation in educational institutions and a separate electorate for dalits in legislative councils.
iv. In 1930, Dr BR Ambedkar organised ‘dalits’ into the Depressed Classes Association. His opinions with respect to separate electorates for dalits clashed with MK Gandhi’s views at the Second Round Table Conference. The British accepted Ambedkar’s demand, but Mahatma Gandhi opposed the decision.
v. Finally, Ambedkar accepted Gandhi’s position and signed the Poona Pact in 1932.The pact gave reserved seats to the depressed classes in the Provincial and Central Legislative Councils on condition that they were to be voted in by the general electorate.
Lukewarm Muslim participation in Civil Disobedience Movement
i. Some Muslim organisations gave a lukewarm response to the Civil Disobedience Movement because many Muslims stayed aloof from Congress after the decline of the Non-Cooperation and Khilafat movements.
ii. Congress and Muslim League made several attempts to forge an alliance. Muhammad Ali Jinnah stated that he would give up the demand for separate electorates if Muslims were assured reserved seats in Central Assembly and representation in proportion to population in Punjab and Bengal (Muslim-dominated areas).
iii. However, M. R Jayakar of Hindu Mahasabha opposed all efforts towards compromise.
iv. Many Muslim leaders could not respond to the call of united struggle as they felt alienated from the Congress and were concerned about the status of Muslims as a minority in a Hindu-dominated nation, India.
Forming the Sense and Idea of National Movement
Idea of nationalism
i. The idea of nationalism spreads when people begin to discover that there is some common principle that binds them together, thus making them believe that they are part of the same nation.
ii. This sense of belonging comes partly through the experience of collective struggles.
iii. Fiction, folklore, songs, popular prints and symbols have played a vital role in developing the sense of nationalism and encouraging people to believe that they are part of the same nation.
Idea of nationalism through paintings
i. The identity of the nation is sometimes equated with a figure or image.
ii. The identity of India was associated with the image of Bharat Mata, which was first created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, the writer of the hymn ‘Vande Mataram’.
iii. Abanindranath Tagore, inspired by the swadeshi movement, painted Bharat Mata as a calm, composed and divine figure.
iv. Later, the image of Bharat Mata acquired many different forms.
Idea of nationalism through folklore
i. Nationalists in the late 19th century recorded folk tales sung by bards who travelled from one village to another. They believed that these tales depicted the traditional culture that had been distorted by external forces.
ii. Rabindranath Tagore collected ballads and myths and led the folk revival in Bengal while Natesa Sastri published The Folklore of Southern India, a collection of Tamil folk tales.
iii. This not only helped in the preservation of folk traditions but also helped to develop a sense of identity, common belonging and pride in the past.
Idea of nationalism through the national flag
i. As the national movement progressed, leaders became aware of symbols that could unify and inspire people.
ii. The tricolour flag with eight lotuses and crescent moon was designed during the swadeshi movement in Bengal.
iii. Gandhiji designed the swaraj flag, which was a tricolour flag (red, green and white) with a charkha in the centre.
iv. These symbols helped in uniting people and instilling the feeling of nationalism in them.
Reinterpretation of history
i. By the end of the 19th century, Indians began to reinterpret history and began to celebrate the achievements of India’s glorious past in the fields of art, architecture, religion, law, mathematics, crafts science and trade. This was in response to the British view that Indians were backward and primitive.
ii. These writings instilled a feeling of pride and achievement in the people.
Since the images celebrated were drawn from Hindu iconography, members of other communities felt left out.
A Critical Evaluation of National Movement
Attempts of Congress to forge unity
i. The Congress led by Gandhiji tried to channelise the grievances of various sections to organised movements for independence.
ii. Different groups participated in the movement with their own set of aspirations, and freedom from colonial rule meant different things to different people.
iii. The Congress tried to resolve differences and to ensure that the demands of one group did not alienate another group. These differences often led to the breakdown of unity in the movement.
iv. High points of Congress activity and nationalist unity were followed by phases of disunity and inner conflict.
The Quit India Movement
i. The failure of Cripps mission and the effects of World War II provoked Gandhiji to launch the Quit India Movement.
ii. The historic Quit India resolution was passed by the Congress Working Committee in Wardha on 14 July 1942.
iii. On 8 August 1942, the All India Congress Committee endorsed the resolution and called for a non-violent struggle throughout the country.
iv. Gandhiji delivered the famous ‘Do or Die’ speech in Mumbai.
Unfolding of Quit India Movement
i. People observed hartals, participated in street demonstrations, sang nationalist songs and shouted slogans.
ii. The movement was truly a mass movement. It was widely supported by students, workers and peasants.
iii. Leaders like Jayprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and many women leaders such as Aruna Asaf Ali, Matangini Hazra in Bengal, Kanaklata Barua in Assam and Rama Devi in Odisha participated actively in the movement.
iv. The colonial authorities used force to weaken the movement, yet it took over a year to suppress it.