This section of the web site offers readings, images, and maps that can help students to further understand course assignments, but which are not required reading. In other words, the readings on this page are for your Information (FYI). Links from the five sections of the course come here, and are marked thus: Optional (FYI) Reading.
|The British policy changed the social, economic and political life in India. This made the Indian people unite and challenge the British domination. The lead in organising political activity at the national level was taken by the Indian intelligentsia. The response of the organisation was fairly positive; as they believed that the reshaping and transforming of India would occur under the British. This support they gave even during the revolt of 1857. But gradually they began to understand the true nature and character of the British rule.|
|The major drawback of the early nationalists was that the movement was confined to educated Indians and the middle class and was concentrated in the Presidencies. The method of functioning was within the law and slow. The Indian leaders gradually became disillusioned with the British Government and the new leaders began to assert for the attainment of Swaraj, which could be achieved only by working among the masses and their participation in political affairs. They used popular festivals like Ganesh Utsav in Maharashtra, to spread the new awakening. They also used political agitations like Hartal and boycott of foreign goods.
The prominent leaders, called extremists, were Lala Lajpat Rai (1865-1928), from Punjab, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) from Maharashtra, Bipin Chandra Pal from Bengal. They together formed the famous trio, Lal-Bal-Pal, whose activities were a source of alarm for the British. Tilak raised the famous slogan Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it and his paper Kesari in Marathi and Maratha in English became the mouthpiece of the new group of nationalists.
|In November 1945, a British move to put the soldiers of the INA on a trial sparked off a massive demonstration. Even more significant was the probable link between the INA and the wave dissatisfaction in the British Indian Army during 1945-46 which resulted in the great Bombay Naval strike. Thus between 1942 - 1946, the foundation of British power in India was badly shaken. The Quit India movement had manifested the strong anti-British feeling of the Indian people.
The Indian Army, Navy and the Airforce were the three strong pillars on which the British rule in India had rested for years. Even these forces were now displaying an anti-British sentiment. All these events convinced the British Rulers that they would not be able to hold India for long. The end of British imperialism was now clearly in sight. Although England emerged victorious in World War II, it no longer remained a powerful nation and lost its absolute power in the world scenario. In a general election held in England, Churchill was replaced by Clement Atlee. Prime minister Atlee announced his intention to grant independence to India. Britain sent the Cabinet Mission to India on March 1946 to negotiate with Indian leaders for terms of transfer of power.
Naval strike in Bombay