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How Nationalism Led to Independence - India and Vietnam
Transcript of How Nationalism Led to Independence - India and Vietnam
In the 1660s, Britain
became trading partners with India through the East India Trading Company, but by 1760 Britain had gained political and economic power over all of India.
Indians under British rule began to resent being ruled by a foreign country. They distrusted the government and the cultural practices of the British.
A feeling of nationalism began to surface in India in
the 1800s. People began to be upset that their country was a part of the British colonial empire.
They were second-class citizens in their own country.
The best jobs and best education were set
aside for the British. Indian craftsmen
were not allowed to run their
traditional businesses if it meant
competition for the
The first two groups
of Indians that formed
to work for the rights of
Indians were the Indian National Congress, organized in 1885, and the Muslim League, which began in 1906.
The Indian National Congress attracted mainly Indian Hindus, and the Muslim League attracted Indians who practiced
Islam. As the groups gained more
members and became better
organized, they began to call for
Indian independence from
Years of contact
with the British had taught
Indians about western ideas of democracy and self-government. However, the British did not want to share these two ideals with their colonies.
During WWI, many Indians joined forces with the British, hoping that their service would be
rewarded with more control over their own government. The British Parliament even promised that when the war ended, India would be able to work towards self- government. However, after
the war nothing changed.
A new act was passed
called the Rowlatt Act. Under
this act, the British had the power to send Indians to jail for up to two years without a trial.
In 1919, British authorities opened fire on a large gathering of Indians in the town of Amristar, claiming they were gathering illegally. Over 400 people were killed and another 1200 wounded.
This massacre made Indians all over the
country furious, and almost overnight
they were united in a call for
After the slaughter at
Amritsar, Mohandas Gandhi began
to urge Indians to refuse to cooperate
with British laws that they felt were unjust.
He urged them to be sure they did nothing violent in their protests. His goal was to show the world the injustice of British colonial rule in India.
Gandhi used the term civil disobedience to describe
his plan. Civil disobedience is the non-violent
refusal to obey an unfair law. Indians all over the country began to follow Gandhi's lead,
boycotting British-made goods, refusing
to attend second-class schools, and refusing
to pay unfair taxes.
This began to hurt the British economy, so British authorities responded
with arrests and beatings.
In 1935, the British
government gave up and passed
the Government of India Act that gave India some self-government. This was a start, but not the independence that most Indians wanted. When WWII broke out, Great Britain offered India dominion (control) status in the British Empire if they would help with the war. Gandhi and the Indian National Congress refused the offer. They announced that they would not take sides in Britain's war with Japan and Germany. However, the Muslim League began to worry that they would end up being ruled by the Hindus, so they supported the British. They that they would be rewarded in the end.
By the end of WWII,
the British decided to grant India
independence, but by this time there were already serious disputes between the Indian Hindus and the Indian Muslims about how power in the new country should be organized. The British colonial leader Lord Louis Mountbatten decided that the only way was to divide the entire country into Hindu and Muslim sections.
The three new countries were Hindu India, East Pakistan, and West Pakistan. Hindu India was for the Hindu's, and East and West Pakistan was for the Muslims.
Millions of people had to leave their homes in order to follow the new government rules, and this resentment led to fighting between Muslims and Hindus. Many people lost their lives.
On August 15, 1947, British rule in India came to an end, and religion ended up becoming the most important factor in
determining where people chose to