Indian independence movement
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History of South Asia ( Indian Subcontinent) Stone Age Mehrgarh Culture Indus Valley Civilization Late Harappan Culture Vedic period Iron Age Maha Janapadas Magadha Empire Maurya Empire Middle Kingdoms Chera Empire Chola Empire Satavahana Kushan Empire Gupta Empire Pala Empire Chalukya Dynasty Rashtrakuta 70,0003300 BCE 70003300 BCE 33001700 BCE 17001300 BCE 1500500 BCE 1200300 BCE 700300 BCE 545 BCE 550 321184 BCE 300 BCE1279 CE 300 BCE200 CE 250 BCE1070 CE 230 BCE220 CE 60240 CE 280550 7501174 543753 753982
Kakatiya Empire Islamic Sultanates Delhi Sultanate
Deccan Sultanates 14901596 Ahom Kingdom 12281826
Vijayanagara Empire 13361646 Mughal Empire Maratha Empire Sikh Confederacy Sikh Empire British East India Company British Raj Modern States 15261858 16741818 17161799 17991849 17571858
The term "Indian independence movement" is diffuse, incorporating various national and regional campaigns, agitations and efforts of both Nonviolent and Militant philosophy and involved a wide spectrum of political organizations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending the British Colonial Authority as well as other colonial
administrations in South Asia. The initial resistance to the movement can be traced back to the very beginnings of Colonial Expansion in Karnataka by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the British East India Company in Bengal, in the middle and late 1700s. The first organised militant movement was in Bengal, that later took political stage in the form of mainstream movement from the latter part of the 1800s was increasingly led by the leaders of the then newly formed Indian National Congress with prominent moderate leaders seeking only their basic rights to appear for civil services examinations and more rights, economic in nature, for the people of the soil. They used moderate methods of prayer, petition and the press (3p's). Beginning of early 1900s saw a more radical approach towards political independence proposed by leaders as the Lal Bal Pal and Sri Aurobindo. Militant nationalism also emerged in the first decades, culminating in the failed Indo-German Pact and Ghadar Conspiracy during the World War I. The end of the war saw the Congress adopt the policies of nonviolent agitation and civil disobedience led by Mahatma Gandhi. Other leaders, such as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, later came to adopt a military approach to the movement. The World War II period saw the peak of the movements like INA movement led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
from East Asia and Quit India movement. India remained a Dominion of The Crown till 26 January 1950, when it adopted its Constitution to proclaim itself a Republic. Pakistan proclaimed itself a Republic in 1956 but faced a number of internal power struggles that has seen suspensions of democracy. In 1971, the Pakistani Civil War culminating in the 1971 War saw the splintering-off of East Pakistan into the nation of Bangladesh. The independence movement also served as a major catalyst for similar movements in other parts of the world, leading to the eventual disintegration and dismantling of the British Empire and its replacement with the Commonwealth of Nations. Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolent resistance inspired the American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968) led by Martin Luther King, Jr., the quest for democracy in Myanmar led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the African National Congress's struggle against apartheid in South Africa led by Nelson Mandela. However not all these leaders adhered to Gandhi's strict principle of nonviolence and nonresistance. European rule Robert Clive, 1st Baron Clive with Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey European traders came to Indian shores with the arrival of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1498, Capad beach, at the port of
Calicut in search of the lucrative spice trade. After the 1757 Battle of Plassey, during which the British army under Robert Clive defeated the Nawab of Bengal, the British East India Company established itself. This is widely seen as the beginning of the British Raj in India. The Company gained administrative rights over Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa in 1765 after the Battle of Buxar. They then annexed Punjab in 1849 after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 and the First Anglo-Sikh War (18451846) and then the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848 49). The British parliament enacted a series of laws to handle the administration of the newly-conquered provinces, including the Regulating Act of 1773, the India Act of 1784, and the Charter Act of 1813; all enhanced the British government's rule. In 1835 English was made the medium of instruction. Western-educated Hindu elites sought to rid Hinduism of controversial social practices, including the varna (caste) system, child marriage, and sati. Literary and debating societies initiated in Bombay and Madras became forum for open political discourse. The educational attainment and skillful use of the press by these early reformers created the growing possibility for effecting broad reforms within colonial India, all without compromising larger Indian social values and religious practices.
Even while these modernizing trends influenced Indian society, Indians increasingly despised British rule. The memoirs of Henry Ouvry of the 9th Lancers record many "a good thrashing" to careless servants. A spice merchant, Frank Brown, wrote to his nephew that stories of maltreatment of servants had not been exaggerated and that he knew people who kept orderlies "purposely to thrash them". As the British increasingly dominated the continent, they grew increasingly abusive of local customs by, for example, staging parties in mosques, dancing to the music of regimental bands on the terrace of the Taj Mahal, using whips to force their way through crowded bazaars (as recounted by General Henry Blake), and mistreating sepoys. In the years after the annexation of Punjab in 1849, several mutinies among sepoys broke out; these were put down by force.  Regional movements prior to 185 7 Sannyasi Rebellion and Conspiracy Of The Pintos and Polygar Wars Several regional movements against foreign rule were staged in various parts of pre-1857 India. However, they were not united and were easily controlled by the foreign rulers. Examples include the rebellion of Abbakka Rani in Karnataka from 1555 to 1570 against the Portuguese, Sannyasi Rebellion in Bengal in the 1770s, the 1787 ethnic revolt against
Portuguese control of Goa known as the Conspiracy Of The Pintos, the revolt of Titumir in Bengal in 1830's and uprisings by South Indian local chieftains like Veerapandya Kattabomman against British rule. Other movements included the Santal Rebellion and the resistance offered to the British by Titumir in Bengal, the Kittur Rebellion led by Rani Chennamma in Karnataka, Polygar Wars in Tamil Nadu, Kutch Rebellion in Saurashtra.  The Indian Rebellion of 1857 Secundra Bagh after the 93rd Highlanders and 4th Punjab regiment fought the rebels, Nov 1857. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a period of uprising in the northern and central India against British rule in 185758. The rebellion was the result of decades of ethnic and cultural differences between Indian soldiers and their British officers. The indifference of the British towards Indian rulers like the Mughals and ex-Peshwas and the annexation of Oudh were political factors triggering dissent amongst Indians. Dalhousies policy of annexation, the doctrine of lapse or escheat, and the projected removal of the descendants of the Great Mughal from their ancestral palace to the Qutb, near Delhi also angered some people. The specific reason that triggered the rebellion was the rumored use of cow and pig fat in .557 calibre Pattern 1853 Enfield (P/53) rifle cartridges. Soldiers had to break the
cartridges with their teeth before loading them into their rifles. So if there was cow and pig fat, it would be offensive to Hindu and Muslim soldiers, respectively. In February 1857, sepoys (Indian soldiers in the British army) refused to use their new cartridges. The British claimed to have replaced the cartridges with new ones and tried to make sepoys make their own grease from beeswax and vegetable oils, but the rumour persisted. In March 1857, Mangal Pandey, a soldier of the 34th Native Infantry in Barrackpore, attacked his British sergeant and wounded an adjutant. General Hearsay, who said Pandey was in some kind of "religious frenzy," ordered a jemadar to arrest him but the jemadar refused. Mangal Pandey was hanged on 7 April along with the jemadar. The whole regiment was dismissed as a collective punishment. On May 10, when the 11th and 20th Cavalry assembled, they broke rank and turned on their commanding officers. They then liberated the 3rd Regiment, and on 11 May the sepoys reached Delhi and were joined by other Indians. The Red Fort, the residence of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur, was attacked and captured by the sepoys. They demanded that he reclaim his throne. He was reluctant at first, but eventually agreed to the demands and became the leader of the rebellion.
Soon, the revolt spread throughout northern India. Revolts broke out in places like Meerut, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow etc. The British were slow to respond, but eventually responded with brute force. British moved regiments from the Crimean War and diverted European regiments headed for China to India. The British fought the main army of the rebels near Delhi in Badlke-Serai and drove them back to Delhi before laying siege on the city. The siege of Delhi lasted roughly from 1 July to 31 August. After a week of street fighting, the British retook the city. The last significant battle was fought in Gwalior on 20 June 1858. It was during this battle that Rani Lakshmi Bai was killed. Sporadic fighting continued until 1859 but most of the rebels were subdued. Some notable leaders were Ahmed Ullah, an advisor of the ex-King of Oudh; Nana Sahib; his nephew Rao Sahib and his retainers, Tantia Topi and Azimullah Khan; the Rani of Jhansi; Kunwar Singh; the Rajput chief of Jagadishpur in Bihar; Firuz Saha, a relative of the Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah and Pran Sukh Yadav who along with Rao Tula Ram of Rewari fought with Britishers at Nasibpur, Haryana.  Aftermath The war of 1857 was a major turning point in the history of modern India. The British abolished the British East India Company and replaced it with direct rule under the British crown. A
Viceroy was appointed to represent the Crown. In proclaiming the new directrule policy to "the Princes, Chiefs, and Peoples of India," Queen Victoria promised equal treatment under British law, but Indian mistrust of British rule had become a legacy of the 1857 rebellion. The British embarked on a program in India of reform and political restructuring, trying to integrate Indian higher castes and rulers into the government. They stopped land grabs, decreed religious tolerance and admitted Indians into the civil service, albeit mainly as subordinates. They also increased the number of British soldiers in relation to native ones and allowed only British soldiers to handle artillery. Bahadur Shah was exiled to Rangoon, Burma where he died in 1862, finally bringing the Mughal dynasty to an end. In 1877, Queen Victoria took the title of Empress of India.  Rise of organized movements The decades following the Sepoy Rebellion were a period of growing political awareness, manifestation of Indian public opinion and emergence of Indian leadership at national and provincial levels. Dadabhai Naoroji formed East India Association in 1867, and Surendranath Banerjee founded Indian National Association in 1876.
Inspired by a suggestion made by A.O. Hume, a retired British civil servant, seventy-three Indian delegates met in Bombay in 1885 and founded the
Indian National Congress. They weremostly members of the upwardly mobile and successful westerneducated provincial elites, engaged in professions such as law, teaching, and journalism. At its inception, the Congress had no well-defined ideology and commanded few of the resources essential to a political organization. It functioned more as a debating society that met annually to express its loyalty to the British Raj and passed numerous resolutions on less controversial issues such as civil rights or opportunities in government, especially the civil service. These resolutions were submitted to the Viceroy's government and occasionally to the British Parliament, but the Congress's early gains were meagre. Despite its claim to represent all India, the Congress voiced the interests of urban elites; the number of participants from other economic backgrounds remained negligible. The influences of socio-religious groups such as Arya Samaj (started by Swami Dayanand Saraswati) and
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Rabindranath Tagore and Dadabhai Naoroji spread the passion for rejuvenation and freedom. By 1900, although the Congress had emerged as an all-India political organization, its achievement was undermined by its singular failure to attract Muslims, who felt that their representation in government service was inadequate. Attacks by Hindu reformers against religious conversion, cow slaughter, and the preservation of Urdu in Arabic script deepened their concerns of minority status and denial of rights if the Congress alone were to represent the people of India. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan launched a movement for Muslim regeneration that culminated in the founding in 1875 of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh (renamed Aligarh Muslim University in 1921). Its objective was to educate wealthy students by emphasizing the compatibility of Islam with modern western knowledge. The diversity among India's Muslims, however, made it impossible to bring about uniform cultural and intellectual regeneration.  Rise of Indian nationalism The first spurts of nationalistic sentiment that rose amongst Congress members were when the desire to be represented in the bodies of government, to have a say, a vote in the lawmaking and issues of administration of India. Congressmen
Brahmo Samaj (founded, among others,by Raja Ram Mohan Roy) became evident in pioneering reform of Indian society. The inculcation of religious reform and social pride was fundamental to the rise of a public movement for complete nationhood. The work of men like Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Sri Aurobindo, Subramanya Bharathy,
saw themselves as loyalists, but wanted an active role in governing their own country, albeit as part of the Empire. This trend was personified by Dadabhai Naoroji, who went as far as contesting, succe...