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Unformatted text preview: A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir I.P.S. With contributions from R. Vidya Sabina Madan Shashi Kumar Saxena Kalpana Rajaram Editor Kalpana Rajaram Revised and Enlarged Edition 2019 SPECTRUM BOOKS (P) LTD. A1 291, First Floor, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110 058 Editor’s Note Several books have been written by justly famous authors and historians of India’s struggle for freedom which is the major strand in any consideration of the history of Modern India. But these volumes are extensive and in-depth studies, and often suffer from an overemphasis on one aspect at the cost of another. The present small effort, however, brings together various aspects of the turbulent period (from the arrival of the Europeans on Indian soil and the establishment of British rule in India to the day India won independence and the early years of freedom) in a systematic and succinct manner: major and important details and milestones are effectively discussed while several relevant but little known details are also highlighted. It is not just the mainstream freedom struggle that has been considered; the disparate efforts—small but significant— of several groups have also been discussed. The political and socio-economic developments that have influenced the growth of modern India have been dealt with in independent chapters. The endeavour has been to present complex and truly vast material in a brief and easy-to-understand manner, and we hope our readers find the book of use and interest. The present edition includes chapters on the advent of (iii) Editor’s Note the Europeans in India and the British consolidation of power in India besides incorporating additional information under several chapters. There are also chapters on the challenges that a newly independent nation faced in the wake of a brutal partition. The Nehruvian era is also briefly discussed. A new chapter on India after Nehru has been added that discusses various developments under the governments that came after 1964. A survey of personalities associated with various movements, peasant and tribal movements, tables and charts are also given for quick reference. Suggestions for improvement are welcome. Kalpana Rajaram July 2019 (iv) Contents UNIT 1 SOURCES AND APPROACHES 1 Chapter 1 Sources for the History of Modern India 1 Archival Materials 2 Central Government Archives 2 Archives of the State Governments 3 Archives of Three Presidencies 4 Archives of Other European Powers 4 Judicial Records 5 Published Archives 5 Private Archives 6 Foreign Repositories 6 Biographies, Memoirs and Travel Accounts 7 Newspapers and Journals 8 Oral Evidence 9 Creative Literature 10 Painting 10 Summary 12 Chapter 2 13 Major Approaches to the History of Modern India 13 Colonial Approach/ Historiography 14 Nationalist Historiography/ Approach 14 Marxist Historiography/ Approach 15 Subaltern Approach/ Historiography 16 Communalist Approach 17 Cambridge School 18 Liberal and Neo-Liberal Interpretations 18 (v) Contents Feminist Historiography Summary 18 19 UNIT 2 ADVENT OF EUROPEANS AND CONSOLIDATION OF BRITISH POWER IN INDIA Chapter 3 Advent of the Europeans in India The Portuguese in India The Quest for and Discovery of a Sea Route to India From Trading to Ruling Portuguese State Portuguese Lose Favour with the Mughals Decline of the Portuguese Significance of the Portuguese The Dutch Dutch Settlements Anglo-Dutch Rivalry Decline of the Dutch in India The English Charter of Queen Elizabeth I Progress of the English Company The French Foundation of French Centres in India The Anglo-French Struggle for Supremacy: the Carnatic Wars Causes for the English Success and the French Failure The Danes Why the English Succeeded against Other European Powers Structure and Nature of the Trading Companies Naval Superiority Industrial Revolution Military Skill and Discipline Stable Government (vi) 21 21 22 22 23 28 30 32 34 35 35 36 36 37 37 38 42 42 44 51 53 53 53 54 54 54 54 Contents Lesser Zeal for Religion Use of Debt Market Summary Boxes Portuguese Rise and Fall Formative Years of the East India Company Rise and Fall of Dupleix in India About the Goods in Trade Initially Chapter 4 India on the Eve of British Conquest Challenges before the Mughals External Challenges Weak Rulers after Aurangzeb—An Internal Challenge Causes of Decline of Mughal Empire Shifting Allegiance of Zamindars Jagirdari Crisis Rise of Regional Aspirations Economic and Administrative Problems Rise of Regional States Survey of Regional Kingdoms Nature and Limitations of Regional States Socio-Economic Conditions Agriculture Trade and Industry Status of Education Societal Set-up Developments in Art, Architecture and Culture Summary Boxes Why Many Empire-shaking Battles at Panipat? Causes of the Mughals’ Downfall in a Nutshell Chapter 5 Expansion and Consolidation of British Power in India The British Imperial History Was the British Conquest Accidental or Intentional? When did the British Period Begin in India? (vii) 55 55 55 33 41 47 52 59 59 59 62 64 65 65 68 69 69 70 73 74 74 74 76 76 78 79 61 68 81 81 81 83 Contents Causes of British Success in India Superior Arms, Military and Strategy Better Military Discipline and Regular Salary Civil Discipline and Fair Selection System Brilliant Leadership and Support of Second Line Leaders Strong Financial Backup Nationalist Pride British Conquest of Bengal Bengal on the Eve of British Conquest Alivardi Khan and the English Challenges Before Siraj-ud-daula The Battle of Plassey Mir Kasim and the Treaty of 1760 The Battle of Buxar The Treaty of Allahabad Dual Government in Bengal (1765-72) Mysore’s Resistance to the Company The Wodeyar / Mysore Dynasty Rise of Haidar Ali First Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69) Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84) Third Anglo-Mysore War Fourth Anglo-Mysore War Mysore After Tipu Anglo-Maratha Struggle for Supremacy Rise of the Marathas Entry of the English into Maratha Politics First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-82) Second Anglo Maratha War (1803-1805) Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-19) Why the Marathas Lost Conquest of Sindh Rise of Talpuras Amirs Gradual Ascendancy over Sindh Criticisms of the Conquest of Sindh Conquest of Punjab Consolidation of Punjab under the Sikhs Ranjit Singh and the English Punjab After Ranjit Singh First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46) (viii) 84 84 84 85 85 85 86 86 86 87 87 88 89 90 92 93 94 94 94 95 96 97 98 100 101 101 101 102 104 106 107 109 109 109 113 113 113 115 116 116 Contents Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49) Significance of the Anglo-Sikh Wars Extension of British Paramountcy Through Administrative Policy The Policy of Ring-Fence Subsidiary Alliance Doctrine of Lapse Relations of British India with Neighbouring Countries Anglo-Bhutanese Relations Anglo-Nepalese Relations Anglo-Burmese Relations Anglo-Tibetan Relations Anglo-Afghan Relations John Lawrence and the Policy of Masterly Inactivity Lytton and the Policy of Proud Reserve British India and the North-West Frontier Summary Boxes Robert Clive Estimate of Tipu Sultan Annexation of Awadh 118 119 119 119 120 123 125 125 126 126 128 129 130 131 132 133 92 99 124 UNIT 3 RISING RESENTMENT AGAINST 136 COMPANY RULE Chapter 6 People’s Resistance Against British Before 1857 136 People’s Resistance: Meaning 137 Genesis of People’s Resistance 137 Causative Factors for People’s Uprisings 138 Civil Uprisings 138 Major Causes of Civil Uprisings 138 General Characteristics of Civil Uprisings 139 Important Civil Uprisings 139 Peasant Movements with Religious Overtones 152 Tribal Revolts 153 Different Causes for Mainland and 153 (ix) Contents North-Eastern Tribal Revolts Characteristics of Tribal Revolts Important Tribal Movements of Mainland Tribal Movements of the North-East Sepoy Mutinies Causes Important Mutinies Weaknesses of People’s Uprisings Summary Boxes Tribal Movements: Period, Region, Causes at a Glance North-East Frontier Tribal Movements: Year, Region, Major Causes Chapter 7 The Revolt of 1857 Simmering Discontent The 1857 Revolt: the Major Causes Economic Causes Political Causes Administrative Causes Socio-Religious Causes Influence of Outside Events Discontent Among Sepoys Beginning and Spread of the Revolt The Spark Starts at Meerut Choice of Bahadur Shah as Symbolic Head Civilians Join Storm Centres and Leaders of the Revolt Suppression of the Revolt Why the Revolt Failed All-India participation was absent All classes did not join Poor Arms and Equipment Uncoordinated and Poorly Organised No Unified Ideology Hindu-Muslim Unity Factor Nature of the Revolt (x) 155 155 160 162 162 162 163 164 159 161 167 167 168 168 169 170 170 170 170 171 171 172 172 173 174 176 177 177 177 178 178 178 179 179 Contents Consequences Significance of the Revolt Summary Box White Mutiny 182 185 186 184 UNIT 4 REFORM MOVEMENTS 188 Chapter 8 Socio-Religious Reform Movements: General Features Factors Giving Rise to Desire for Reform Impact of British Rule Social Conditions Ripe for Reform Opposition to Western Culture New Awareness among Enlightened Indians Social and Ideological Bases of Reform Middle Class Base The Intellectual Criteria Two Streams Direction of Social Reform Fight for Betterment of Position of Women Struggle Against Caste-Based Exploitation Summary Chapter 9 A General Survey of Socio-Cultural Reform Movements Socio-Cultural Reform Movements and their Leaders Raja Rammohan Roy and Brahmo Samaj Prarthana Samaj Young Bengal Movement and Henry Vivian Derozio Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Balshastri Jambhekar Paramahansa Mandali Satyashodhak Samaj and Jyotiba or Jyotirao Phule Gopalhari Deshmukh ‘Lokahitawadi’ Gopal Ganesh Agarkar The Servants of India Society (xi) 188 188 189 189 190 190 191 191 192 193 194 195 199 204 206 206 206 211 212 213 214 214 215 215 216 216 Contents Social Service League 216 The Ramakrishna Movement and 217 Swami Vivekananda Dayananda Saraswati and Arya Samaj 220 Seva Sadan 223 Dev Samaj 224 Dharma Sabha 224 Bharat Dharma Mahamandala 224 Radhaswami Movement 225 Sree Narayana Guru Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) 225 Movement Vokkaliga Sangha 226 Justice Movement 226 Self-Respect Movement 226 Temple Entry Movement 227 Indian Social Conference 227 Wahabi/Walliullah Movement 227 Titu Mir‘s Movement 228 Faraizi Movement 228 Ahmadiyya Movement 229 Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and the Aligarh Movement 229 The Deoband School (Darul Uloom) 231 Parsi Reform Movements 232 Sikh Reform Movements 232 The Theosophical Movement 233 Significance of Reform Movements 234 Positive Aspects 234 Negative Aspects 236 Summary 237 UNIT 5 THE STRUGGLE BEGINS Chapter 10 Beginning of Modern Nationalism in India Factors in the Growth of Modern Nationalism Understanding of Contradictions in Indian and Colonial Interests Political, Administrative and Economic Unification of the Country (xii) 239 239 239 240 240 Contents Western Thought and Education Role of Press and Literature Rediscovery of India’s Past Progressive Character of Socio-religious Reform Movements Rise of Middle Class Intelligentsia Impact of Contemporary Movements in the World Reactionary Policies and Racial Arrogance of Rulers Political Associations Before the Indian National Congress Political Associations in Bengal Political Associations in Bombay Political Associations in Madras Pre-Congress Campaigns Summary Chapter 11 Indian National Congress: Foundation and the Moderate Phase Foundation of Indian National Congress Was It a Safety Valve? Aims and Objectives of the Congress Era of Moderates (1885-1905) Important Leaders Moderate Approach Contributions of Moderate Nationalists Economic Critique of British Imperialism Constitutional Reforms and Propaganda in Legislature Campaign for General Administrative Reforms Protection of Civil Rights An Evaluation of the Early Nationalists Role of Masses Attitude of the Government Summary Box Indian Councils Act 1892 (xiii) 241 241 242 242 242 242 243 243 244 245 245 246 246 247 247 248 249 249 249 249 250 250 251 253 253 254 255 255 256 252 Contents UNIT 6 NATIONAL MOVEMENT (1905-1918) Chapter 12 Era of Militant Nationalism (1905-1909) Growth of Militant Nationalism Why Militant Nationalism Grew The Swadeshi and Boycott Movement Partition of Bengal to Divide People Anti-Partition Campaign Under Moderates (1903-05) The Congress’s Position The Movement under Extremist Leadership The Extremist Programme New Forms of Struggle and Impact Extent of Mass Participation All India Aspect Annulment of Partition Evaluation of the Swadeshi Movement The Movement Fizzles Out Movement a Turning Point The Surat Split Run-up to Surat Split Takes Place Government Repression The Government Strategy Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909 The Reforms Evaluation Summary Box Differences between Moderates and Extremists Chapter 13 First Phase of Revolutionary Activities (1907-1917) Why the Surge of Revolutionary Activities The Revolutionary Programme A Survey of Revolutionary Activities Bengal Maharashtra (xiv) 257 257 257 257 261 261 262 263 264 264 265 267 269 269 269 269 270 272 272 274 274 275 276 277 278 279 271 282 282 283 283 283 286 Contents Punjab Revolutionary Activities Abroad Decline Summary Chapter 14 First World War and Nationalist Response Home Rule League Movement Factors Leading to the Movement The Leagues The Home Rule League Programme Government Attitude Why the Agitation Faded Out by 1919 Positive Gains Lucknow Session of the Indian National Congress (1916) Readmission of Extremists to Congress Lucknow Pact between Congress and Muslim League Montagu’s Statement of August 1917 Indian Objections Summary 287 287 291 291 294 295 295 296 297 298 298 299 300 300 300 303 303 304 UNIT 7 ERA OF MASS NATIONALISM BEGINS (1919-1939) Chapter 15 Emergence of Gandhi Why Nationalist Resurgence Now Post-War Economic Hardships Expectations of Political Gains for Cooperation in the War Nationalist Disillusionment with Imperialism Worldwide Impact of Russian Revolution (November 7, 1917) Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms and Government of India Act, 1919 Main Features (xv) 305 305 306 306 306 307 307 308 308 Contents Drawbacks Congress Reaction Making of Gandhi Early Career and Experiments with Truth in South Africa Gandhi’s Experience in South Africa Gandhi’s Technique of Satyagraha Gandhi in India Champaran Satyagraha (1917)—First Civil Disobedience Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918)—First Hunger Strike Kheda Satyagraha (1918)—First Non-Cooperation Gains from Champaran, Ahmedabad and Kheda Rowlatt Act, Satyagraha, Jallianwala Bagh Massacre The Rowlatt Act Satyagraha Against the Rowlatt Act— First Mass Strike Jallianwala Bagh Massacre The Hunter Committee of Inquiry Congress View Summary Box Tolstoy Farm Chapter 16 Non-Cooperation Movement and Khilafat Aandolan Background The Khilafat Issue Development of the Khalifat-Non-Cooperation Programme Congress Stand on Khilafat Question Muslim League Support to Congress The Non-Cooperation Khilafat Movement Spread of the Movement People’s Response Government Response The Last Phase of the Movement Why Gandhi Withdrew the Movement (xvi) 310 311 312 312 315 315 316 316 317 318 319 320 320 321 322 324 326 327 314 328 328 329 330 330 331 331 333 334 336 336 337 Contents Evaluation of Khilafat Non-Cooperation Movement Summary Chapter 17 Emergence of Swarajists, Socialist Ideas, Revolutionary Activities and Other New Forces Swarajists and No-Changers Genesis of Congress-Khilafat Swarajya Party Swarajists’ Arguments No-Changers’ Arguments Agree to Disagree The Swarajist Manifesto for Elections Gandhi’s Attitude Swarajist Activity in Councils Constructive Work by No-Changers Emergence of New Forces: Socialistic Ideas, Youth Power, Trade Unionism Spread of Marxist and Socialist Ideas Activism of Indian Youth Peasants’ Agitations Growth of Trade Unionism Caste Movements Revolutionary Activity with a Turn towards Socialism Revolutionary Activity During the 1920s Why Attraction for Revolutionary Activity after Non-Cooperation Movement Major Influences In Punjab-United Provinces-Bihar In Bengal Official Reaction Ideological Rethinking Summary Chapter 18 Simon Commission and the Nehru Report Appointment of the Indian Statutory Commission Indian Response Police Repression Impact of Appointment of Simon Commission on the National Movement The Simon Commission Recommendations (xvii) 338 339 340 340 340 341 341 341 342 342 343 345 345 346 347 347 347 347 348 348 348 349 349 351 353 353 356 357 357 358 360 360 360 Contents Nehru Report Main Recommendations The Muslim and Hindu Communal Responses Amendments Proposed by Jinnah Nehru Report Found Unsatisfactory Summary Box Dr Ambedkar and the Simon Commission Chapter 19 Civil Disobedience Movement and Round Table Conferences The Run-up to Civil Disobedience Movement Calcutta Session of Congress Political Activity during 1929 Irwin’s Declaration (October 31, 1929) Delhi Manifesto Lahore Congress and Purna Swaraj January 26, 1930: the Independence Pledge Civil Disobedience Movement—the Salt Satyagraha and Other Upsurges Gandhi’s Eleven Demands Why Salt was Chosen as the Important Theme Dandi March (March 12-April 6, 1930) Spread of Salt Law Disobedience Impact of Agitation Extent of Mass Participation Government Response—Efforts for Truce Gandhi-Irwin Pact Evaluation of Civil Disobedience Movement Karachi Congress Session—1931 Congress Resolutions at Karachi The Round Table Conferences First Round Table Conference Second Round Table Conference Third Round Table Conference Civil Disobedience Resumed During Truce Period (March-December 1931) Changed Government Attitude After Second RTC Government Action Popular Response (xviii) 361 362 362 364 365 365 359 366 366 366 367 367 368 368 369 370 370 371 371 372 377 377 378 379 380 381 381 382 382 384 387 388 388 388 389 389 Contents Communal Award and Poona Pact Main Provisions of the Communal Award Congress Stand Gandhi’s Response Poona Pact Impact of Poona Pact on Dalits Gandhi’s Harijan Campaign and thoughts on Caste Ideological Differences and Similarities between Gandhi and Ambedkar Summary Chapter 20 Debates on the Future Strategy after Civil Disobedience Movement The First Stage Debate Nehru’s Vision Nehru’s Opposition to StruggleTruce-Struggle Strategy Finally, Yes to Council Entry Government of India Act, 1935 Main Features Evaluation of the Act Nationalists’ Response The Second Stage Debate Divided Opinion Gandhi’s Position Congress Manifesto for Elections Congress’ Performance Summary Chapter 21 Congress Rule in Provinces Gandhi’s Advice Work under Congress Ministries Civil Liberties Agrarian Reforms Attitude Towards Labour Social Welfare Reforms Evaluation Summary (xix) 389 390 391 391 392 392 393 395 399 401 401 402 402 403 404 404 406 407 408 408 409 409 410 410 411 411 411 412 412 413 414 414 415 Contents UNIT 8 TOWARDS FREEDOM AND PARTITION (1939-1947) Chapter 22 Nationalist Response in the Wake of World War II Congress Crisis on Method of Struggle Haripura and Tripuri Sessions: Subhash Bose’s Views Gandhi and Bose: Ideological Differences Non-Violence versus Militant Approach Means and Ends Form of Government Militarism Ideas on Economy Religion Caste and Untouchability Women Education Second World War and Nationalistic Response Congress Offer to Viceroy CWC Meeting at Wardha Government Attitude and Congress Ministries’ Resignation Government’s Hidden Agenda August Offer Responses Evaluation Individual Satyagraha Gandhi Designates Nehru as his Successor Cripps Mission Why Cripps Mission was Sent Main Proposals Departures from the Past and Implications Why Cripps Mission Failed Summary Chapter 23 Quit India Movement, Demand for Pakistan, and the INA Quit India Movement Why Start a Struggle Now (xx) 430 416 416 417 421 421 422 423 426 426 428 430 430 433 434 434 434 436 436 439 439 440 440 441 442 442 442 443 443 445 447 447 447 Contents The ‘Quit India’ Resolution Gandhi’s General Instructions to Different Sections Spread of the Movement Extent of Mass Participation Government Repression Estimate Gandhi Fasts Famine of 1943 Rajagopalachari ...
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