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Britain and the Nationalist Challenge in India, 1900-47

time line * *detailed

Christopher Shenkman

on 15 January 2014

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Transcript of Britain and the Nationalist Challenge in India, 1900-47

Time line 1900-45
Partition of Bengal:
Administration in Bengal had been an isue for a while. Population increase % (78 million) --> prone to famine.
Felt this would be easier to control
Curzon believed that they were going to strike + rise up against a weaker British gov. --> therefore decided to SPLIT Bengal without any consultation of affluent locals war lords. Plan was set in action -->
16th October
Western Bengal : 42 million Hindus + 9 million Muslims
Eastern Bengal : 12 million Hindus + 18 million Muslims
Muslims were delighted because they had a majoirty in East.
National protest developed SWADEESH- campaigns against the partition: boycotted British goods --> publicly burned Lancashire cotton
Split of INC:
Muslims formed there own organisation: AIML (All Indian Muslim Leaugue) - congress became a predominantly Hindu organisation, AIML represented Muslim interests

Congress splits at Surat - sparked growing tension between those who belived in lawful, peacful methods and those who belived in urgent, istant and violent reaction
Morley Minto Reforms:
Newly elected Liberal government in Briain decided to addopt a less paternalistic and more trusting relationship with India.
Government had been caught out by swadeesh - the mass protest sparked concerns of a mutiny. The British acted accordingly
Royal Comision on Decentralisation set up to recomend improvements to administration of India politically and strategically
Hoped to increase public contact in the way India was run.
Report recomended an icrease in the numbers of Indians on local legislative councils

However, the reforms aimed to produce better informed and more efficient ruling by the British, not the Home Rule that Gokhale and the Indian people were seekin
1909 Indian Councils Act
Morely Minto Reforms became law in 1909 under Indian Councils Act

Modest changes to following aspects of Indian gov.

However, most councils retained a majority of officials rather than elected members as the reforms suggested . The Indian people were only allowed to suggest
who they wanted represtning them. Seen as an advisory body, not one to be taken seriously. Soon became clear to the Indian people that these reforms changed vitually nothing.
By 1917 76 out of 168 were rejected and 68 removed and 24 accepted (14% success rate)
Outbreak of WW1
Generally the Indians were very supportive of British decision to go to war. Wanted to support Empire + felt they would surely achieve sacrifices in the constitutional process.
they were wrong
Indians saw that the British were not infallible - believed that after the war Britiain would be happy to grant concessions.
The Ghadr movement - planned up rising during the war - hoped to rise up when British were at there weakest - varied in size
1915, British secret police broke up a planned uprising - 5,000 arrested, 200 jailed, 46 hanged

Home Rule Leagues
At begining of war both INC and AIML had declared support for war --
hoped that by doing this they would be rewarded for their loyalty with HOME RULE at the end of the war.
Two new political organisations launched to help campagin for HR in India: One led by Tilak and the other by Annie Besant (69 year old British lady)
"freedom without seperation" - Tilak
Rapidly gained a following, gainede 32,000 members - soon Tilak + Bessant joined forces.
Decembed 1916- Lucknow Pact

AIML + INC got together and set aside differences.
Agreed to meet every year in Bombay
Demands for mutual self governing were set out
Agreed that Muslims would be given 1/3 representation in central govt. when self- government came to be
Huge step forward for both parties. UNITY
The Montagu declaration
July 1917
Edwin Montague, a passionate liberal who had worked for John Morley (Morley Minto reforms) wanted to make policy in Inia as clear as possible. Worked together with Lord Chelmsford (Viceroy) + the Declaration was formulated.
Britian implicitly commited to allowing India to govern herself -
within the context of British Empire

Montagu would visit India to 'considver views' etc.
The Montagu -Chelmsford Report and the Government of India Act (1919)
Proposals decided by Secretary Montagu and Viceroy Chelmsfor in
July 1918
. Became law as Government of India Act (GOI) in
December 1919
Viceroy to be advised by a council of six civilians of wom 3 of 6 had to be Indian
Provincial/ central legislature was enlarged
Provincial councils given control over Indian education, agriculture, health etc
Raj retained control of military/foreign affair matters
Many Idians welcomed the Act - step in the right dirrection
Any Indians hoping for 'Home Rule' were disappointed. Unrest + Violence incresed (Punjab). INC rejected the reforms + boycotted 1st elections held under it.
Rowlatt Acts
Passed in
March 1919
- used in an attempt to control the growing revolutionary activity in Bengal, Bombay and Punjab regions: old war time controls
imprisonment with out trial
trial by judges sitting without jury
censorship + house arrest for suspects
Period of non-cooperation lead by Gandhi, started in
April 1919
- series of hartals (strikes) held throuhout India.
Amritsar Masacre
Authorities arrested two men protesting against the Rowlatt act. Trouble broke out on LARGE scale.
Rioting began in Amritsar on 10th April - soon turned into a European atack. 3 killed + banks, shops set on fire
11th April
Marcia Sherwood viciously beated by Indian youths - women + children fled to refuge in fear of saftey
Gerneral Red Dyer called in - had with him 1000 troops + two armoured cars equiped with machine guns.
13th april
, Dyer certain that an uprising was iminent entered Amritsar. Entered the 'Bagh' (square) where 15,000 to 50,000 Indians had gathered in protest.
Dyer sent the troops in. Withouth warning they opendfire. Fired 1650 rounds in 10 mins - killed 400 people + wounded 1500
Simon Comission
In 1927 parlimentary delegation sent out to India to see how 1919 GOI Act was working. There message clearly indicated that the future of India would be decided in Westminster - Indians would have no say
Recieved badly: All members of congress boycotted the comission and refused to give evidence. Gandhi prommised a new campaign of civil disobediance if Britain would not grant Dominion status following the review
1921 - Ganhi asumes role of leader of congress
Nehru Report
Written in 1928, to support this reprsentatives from all nationalist groups drated a report outlining the recomendations for an India with Dominion Status i.e granting the Simon Comission useless.
At the anual meet in December they all demmanded instant Dominion Status
Bose proposed more radical morion : British to withdraw completely by 31st Dec 1929.
Nationalistic Policy that they were ALL willing to to campagin for

However, Muslims were unhappy with the terms drawn out for Dominion Status as it would mean that the Hindus were a permament majority within central government
- render all protections granted by the Lucknow Pact (1916) useless.
Salt March 1930
Gandhi organised a satygraha - Salt March
Salt was used because it was very valuble to the British
People walked 400 km to the sea
Collected salt illegaly disobeying tax laws.
Gandhi used the media to attract attention. Soon the satygrahah had a huge following
It affectively encouraged disobedience - lead onto the civil disobedience campaign.

It effectively caused the British to directly negotiate with Gandhi - seen as Indias representitive, especially considering the failure for the 1st Round Table Conference which Gandhi did not turn up to
Irwin Decleration
31st October 1929
- issued by Viceroy Lord Irwin. It reiterated the Montageu Decleration: Dominion Status was officially declared as Indias future prospects. Indian representitives were invited to travel to London to sit at a round table conffrecne where a new constitution would be drawn out
however, Gandhi saw this as political suicide, he did not attend the 1st Round Table Conference in 1930 (therefore it was a failure) . INSTEAD HE DECLARED 'purna swaraj' (complete indipendence)
Gandhi + India were poised for another wave of Satyagraha's

such as the Salt March in 1930
GandhI-Irwin Pact
Occured in
March 1931
Gandhi: civil disobedience movement halted + congress agreed to participate in a round table conference.
Irwin: inquiry into Police brutality + policitical prisoners not guilty of violent crimes released + oranisations unbanned & officials re-employed + required India to support sales of British goods & Indian goods
(British took priority)
+ Britsh Gov prommised all future political changes would be in Indian interests.
Terms of the pact:
Things had changed for the 2nd Round Table Conference. Politically the Labour Government had been kicked out and was replaced by a Tory dominated coalition, Gandhi went as the sole representative of congress - did not show the 'unity' he wanted, but instead highlighted his arogance asuming he could speak for India, little was achieved and things seemed to be regressing instead of progressing
The 2nd Round Table Confference
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