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India has always been attractive to the people from all over the world. The Aryans, the Persians, the Mongolians, the Chinese, the Portuguese and the British traded with the Indians or invaded this country because of its resources and authentic culture. The British began ruling in India in the 18th century and their invasion lasted for 200 years. Needless to say but the Indians wanted to get rid of their conquerors. There were numerous rebels aimed at the restoration of the complete independence of India. The current understanding of the Indian freedom movement is associated with the complex of local and national campaigns on the territory of the British Raj. The rebels utilized non-violence methods and armed struggle to reach their goal. Why do the Hindu wanted to achieve freedom? This aspiration is natural and sensible, because there is hardly a country in the world that has managed to build its strong economy being a part of an empire. Such countries are not prospective and they cannot be wealthy and self-sufficient. The Hindu understood it in the second part of the 19th century. This period is characterized with the rapid development of the Indian nationalism and anti-colonial ideas.
The first cases of rebellions occurred in the 19th century when the Hindu soldiers became to be recruited into the army. The British officers treated them like second-rate people. Moreover, they did not respect their traditions and values. The local people felt the pressure of Christianity. Mangal Pandey is believed to be the first man who encouraged the Indian people to rise against the British rule in Meerut. He killed a British officer and was sentenced to death. Then, the people of Meerut continue the rebellion and killed numerous Europeans and Christians. The rebellion of 1857 was vital for the freedom movement in India, because it changed the policy of the Crown in this country. Queen Victoria had to change something in order to have influence in India. Therefore, the local orders, laws, religion and traditions were tolerated by the British.
The organized movement developed in 1885 in Bombay when the Indian National Congress was founded. It is supposed to be one of the oldest political parties in the world. It was created by the representatives of the western-educated intellectual elite (Allan Octavian Hume, Dinshaw Wacha, etc.). They represented such professions as law, education and journalism. As might be expected, the INC did not possess its strict ideology at first. It functioned like a debating society that discussed such problems as inequality and civil rights. They wanted to make the British government provide the Indian people with the right to occupy the civil service. Finally, the initial ineffectiveness of the INC is explained by the fact that they voiced the interests of the Hindu elite omitting the needs of other social classes. Very soon, the INC became the largest party in the world inasmuch as it contained more than 70 million members who struggled against the British rule.
In 1907, the INC split into two sections. The first party was radical. Its leader, Bal Gangadhar Tilak proclaimed the idea of the direct revolution against the British Empire. The second party was moderate. Headed by Nadabhai Naoroji, it supported the idea of the reforms in India under the British rule. Both leaders could not find a compromise and the organization lost its popularity among people.
World War 1 was a tragedy for India whereas the country had to provide the Empire with 1.3 million soldiers and resources. The Crown was afraid of rebellions that could have occurred in India and was ready to apply force to crush them. Thus, the non-violent methods of resistance were dominant at that period. These methods are associated with the leader of the INC Mahatma Gandhi. He started his non-cooperation movement in 1920 after the adoption of the Rowlatt Acts and Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The entire country understood that they could not live in peace and prosperity under the British rule. During World War 2, such military nationalistic organizations as the Indian National Army and the Quit India Movement became popular in the country. Undoubtedly, these movements exhausted the British Empire and it had to agree to the Partition of India. In 1947, India was divided into two sovereign states – the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. India existed as a dominion of the Crown by 1950 when the country created its constitution and became a republic.
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This was the speech made by Jawaharlal Nehru, as the Prime Minister of an Independent India, addressing the constituent assembly and the Indian nation on 15 th august 1947.
Now, as we are about to celebrate 67 years of our Independence, we pay our tributes to all those people, who had laid down their lives in an attempt to liberate India from the clutches of British imperialism.
The period from 1885 to 1905 was the time for sowing the seeds of Indian nationalism. The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885, under the leadership of A.O. Hume, a retired British civil servant. In 1905, Viceroy Curzon initiated the partition of Bengal to curb the nationalist feelings among the people of India. This led to the launch of the Swadeshi movement and boycott of British goods and contrary to Curzon's plan, led to the unity of all Indians.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh advocated for Swaraj, a year later. In1919, there was a widespread national campaign against the Rowlatt Act, under the leadership of Lala Lajpat Rai and others, in which he was injured fatally.
It was at this time that Gandhi appeared on the scene. His main contribution was his non-violent revolution and Satyagrah. He believed in truth, non-violence and love for fellow human beings. Gandhi launched the Salt Satyagraha, starting his march from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi. During the Second World War, Subhash Chandra Bose turned out to be one of the dynamic leaders of the time. He gave his leadership to the Ajad Hind Fauz.
There were many women who took part in the freedom struggle during this period. Some important women freedom fighters were Aruna Asaf Ali, Sarojini Naidu, Bhikaji Cama and Sucheta Kripalani.
The Quit India resolution was adopted in 1942, urging the British to quit India at the very earliest. By June 1947, Lord Mountbatten announced his plans for partition of India. By August 1947, India was divided into two nations, the Muslim Pakistan and a secular India. British left India and there was freedom at midnight.
Impact and aftermath of Partition
But the question still arises, whether the Partition was wise and was it inevitable? The partition left both the nation devastated. The subsequent migration of the people led to endless sufferings and miseries. Not only was the country divided, but provinces of Punjab and West Bengal were also partitioned, which caused many riots and claimed many lives. Hindus and Muslims used women as instruments of power. Many were raped and looted.
India and Pakistan are still healing their wounds of partition. Boundary issues have caused many wars between the two nations. Even the imposition of an official boundary has not resolved these conflicts. They are deadlocked over the issues of possession of Kashmir. In recent times too, they have fought over issues of L.O.C. in the Kargil war. Both the nations are still in a state of constant hostility.
India has come a long way since its days of Independence. It has made wide scale progress and development in many fields. Be it in the field of science and technology, information technology or in any other field like health care, education etc., India has achieved great heights. India has made substantial progress in the health sector. The birth rates and death rates have come down considerably in the entire country. The literacy rate of the nation has also increased over the years.
India has made great progress in the field of nuclear power. In today's world scenario, India is one of the major nuclear powers. Besides, India has achieved a lot of success in information technology. Indian I.T. sector is in great demand these days all over the world. India is also one the few countries to have launched various satellites.
India has achieved a lot since it became independent. But there is still a long way to go. India is yet to become one of the most advanced countries in the world. It is poised to make some great advancement in the future.
Last Updated on : 01/07/2013