The Indian National Congress
At the end of 19th century: both the British and Indian resized that Indians need a political body.
1833: Indian Association suggested ….British member of the Parliament wrote for the Times newspaper. That Indians really need a Political Body.
Allan Octavian Hume (former Indian Civil Service member) wrote letters to all graduates of Calcutta University, calling them to take a lead in setting up a political body. Set up Indian National Union with branches in different cities.
28 December 1883: first Indian Nation Union conference Bombay
-Second Conference was held in Calcutta
under the name of Indian National Congress … marked the beginning … of first Indian
Second meeting of India National Congress in 1886
436 delegates who were representatives of their province were now in the Congress.
Aim: United Party and one for all to promote our welfare and the welfare of our mother country.
By educating the public in India and in Britain. Its resolution was printed in newspapers and a British Committee of the Congress formed.
By persuading the British to end unfair practices
Congress had little success: persuade British to introduce Indian Councils Act 1892 (increased the number of Indians in the council).
Bal Gangadhar Tilak made impassionate speeches calling for ‘freedom’ of Indian
peoples. 1897, he was imprisoned for writing a provocative newspaper article
During 1870s, many secret societies sprung up aimed at ridding India of British
1897, British officer along with companion were assassinated.
These activities forced British to take some measures/actions. One of them was Partition of Bengal.
Partition of Bengal
1. Bengal was a very large province geographically and population (54 million total: 42 million Hindus and 12 million Muslims in East Bengal 31 million in West Bengal).
2. It was the demand of Muslims for they wanted a separate province.
3. Muslims wanted to cut the power of Indian National Congress which had started speaking against British agitating people.
4. British claimed that Bengal was too large to govern as a single province.
East Bengal & Assam: Dhaka as its capital. The eastern province would include Assam and three districts previously considered to be a part of West Bengal, Dhaka, Chittagong and Mymensingh. It had a population of 31million people out of which 18 million were Muslims.
West Bengal: Calcutta its capital. It had a population of 54million out of which 45million were Hindus.
The Muslims greatly welcomed the partition and felt jubilant over it because in the newly created East province, they were in majority. On 22nd October 1905 a large number of Muslims met at Dhaka & appreciated thanks giving prayers to celebrate the establishment of the new province. Now at last the Muslims had true recognition – a province in which they were in the majority. This would enable millions of Muslims to escape from the oppression of Hindu rule.
The Hindus on the other hand reacted violently to the partition because they had been holding a privilege position in the socio-economic life of Bengal till the partition took place. They now believed that they lose their status & declared that the partition was an attempt to weaken & divide Bengal and called it “Divide and rule” policy of British. The Hindus greatly opposed this partition & started a movement generally known as “Swadeshi Movement” in which they boycotted all English goods. Many Hindus observed he partition day as the day of National mourning. Even the Indian national congress supported the Hindus.
British Reaction against Hindu’s Reaction
1) Restrictions were placed on newspapers and public meetings
2) Press Act 1908 (even greater control)
3) Prisons filed with ‘revolutionaries’
But soon they realized that attempts to crush Hindus are not sufficient thus reforms showed up (Morley-Minto Reforms)
Reversal of Partition
Since 1908 the Congress leaders had been spreading the story that the government was thinking
of ‘Dividing their Mother India. The government stood firm on its decision, which had taken in
1905, but this did not discourage Hindus. They launched a movement for boycott the British goods. The Muslims were also asked to participate in it but they refused to do so. Their refusal caused more agitation among the Hindus & led to Hindu-Muslim riots. Even there was an assassination attempt from Hindus on the future Viceroy Lord-Minto. The Muslims who were only relying on the assurance given to them by the British which was soon disillusioned when in 1910,
Sir John Jenkins, a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council, made a proposal for the capital of British Indian Empire to be shifted to Delhi from Calcutta and suggested that partition of Bengal should be reversed. Lord Harding the new Viceroy agreed to reverse the partition of Bengal. King George V, who was visiting India, announced the decision at a Durbar in Delhi.
Muslims Reaction to Reversal of Partition
The reversal of the partition was bitterly opposed by the Muslims, but the British were not to be
moved. The Muslims now realized just how vital it was that the Muslim league prospered if Muslim were to receive fair treatment in India. They now had lost all their hopes & created feeling of distrust among the Muslims about British. The deep disappointment caused by annulment of the Partition, however indirectly served to quicken the growth of the Muslim politics. They became politically more conscious. They came to the decision that they could not trust the British Government for the protection of their rights.
Muslims lost faith in British to allow them any real power. Muslims also realized that Minto-Morley reforms did not provide Indians any genuine voice, which resulted as Poor relations between British and Muslims.
Deputation of prominent Muslims led by Aga Khan visited Viceroy-Minto at Simla.
Requested: Muslims’ position should be estimated by their political importance not on their numerical strength. Due to the fact that Muslims were major land owners, and the percentage of Muslims in army was very high. Without separate electorate there would be a communal violence.
in all local/provincial elections Muslims should have their own representatives, elected by Muslims in the council Muslims should have higher percentage of seats than their percentage in population
Secretary of state: John Morley thought it was undemocratic
Lord-Minto agreed on separate representation for Muslims
Muslims watched Hindus reaction on partition of Bengal and decided something had to be
done to protect their identity. Furthermore, National Congress was dominated by Hindus thus Muslims needed a base of their own as their voice for the British (Hindus could not be trusted to favor Muslims). Muslims wanted to stand up and have some rights (They needed to get some reforms and right of separate electorate to protect their interests, religion and language).
Moreover, the new British government (Liberal Party) had stated that they would increase local participation in the government through elections Muslims feared that soon they would be under Hindu dominance.
Thus, they formed they had a meeting with Viceroy Minto in Simla on 8th.
Showed that attempts of Sir Syed and others to restore relations had been successful
Muslims community had decided to ensure secure place in the constitution. Hindu- Muslim rivalry now existed in constitution as well
Muslims had come to the idea that they are different and they should be treated different
Perhaps the first step on the road leading to the formation of Pakistan
All-India Muslim League
‘Counter growing influence of Congress’
Ensure Muslim’s views are presented to British
To protect and advance Muslims’ political rights and interests
Promote loyalty for British government
To remove any misunderstanding amongst Muslims
To prevent the rise of hostility in Muslims towards other communities
A) Hindu Urdu Controversy: In 1898 INC demanded that India should be treated as cultural whole & Hindi should be declared as the official language of India. Some Muslim leaders launched a movement against these actions of INC but no result.
B) Behavior of different Hindu Organization: Hindu extremist group “ARYA SAMAJ” demanded that Muslims should be forcibly converted into Hinduism.
C) Hindu Muslim riots: The frequent and never ending riots between Hindus and Muslims further strengthened the formation of separate political party for the Muslims. These riots generated the spirit on Muslims Nationalism among the Indian Muslims.
D) Reaction of the Hindus to the Partition of Bengal: The negative reaction of the Hindus when the government declared the partition of Bengal in 1905 further convinced the Muslims to establish their own separate political organizations.
E) Simla Deputation (1906): Lord Minto became a Viceroy of India in 1906 & it was felt that some constitution reforms would be introduced in India. Lord Minto was vacationing at Simla where a delegation of Muslims leaders led by Sir Aga Khan met him in 1906. The deputation demanded the seats in the legislatures, quota in government services & seats in courts for the Muslims. They also demanded for separate electorate for the Muslims. Minto accepted most of the demands & it was a great success for the Muslims. After the acceptance of demands from Lord Minto, now Muslims of India realized that it’s high time to organize a political party, which can protect the rights of Muslims in India.
1906 at 20th session of the Muhammaden Educational Conference at Dhaka. It was chaired by Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk.
Morley Minto Reforms, 1909
Also known as the Indian Council Acts. Minto and Morley both believed that Indians’ demand is fully justified. Basically it increased representation of Hindus and Muslims in different councils.
o Imperial Council increased to 60 members (non-official)
o Central Executive Council increased to 60 members (could discuss/advise government o Provincial Council increased to 50 members in large province and 30 in small province o Muslims would be elected by separate electorates
o appeared to give Indians more say, but they had no power, just an advisory role was given
o British did not wanted to that locals have power to change law
o Imp: acceptance of separate electorates, it was major demands of Muslims
o Hindus believed that it was undemocratic
India Before First-World-War
1912-13: The British supported the Balkan states fighting against Turkey (who was a major Islamic state). It showed up as a further example that how British had no interest in supporting Muslims’ rights.
League’s resolution: now demanded for ‘a form of self-government
During this period War Improved League-Congress relations
The war years in India 1914-1918
War broke out in Europe in August 1914…resulting in mix views in India.
The supporters: British admitted ‘the war could have been longer and even not have been won, without the Indian support. Many politicians/ people supported; desired to be rewarded by reforms to give larger role in government for loyalty.
The opportunist: they saw British ‘necessity’ as India’s ‘opportunity’. ‘Anti-British group’ began to take action.
1913: Lala Hardayal (who was exile in America) set up a Mutiny Party. Sent arms to India and arranged armed opposition. However, the supporters were betrayed and killed in a battle with Indian police 1915 Sep.
1915: planned uprising by Indian ‘nationalists’ in Punjab…easily put down by British
A mutiny by Indian troops serving in the British army in Singapore was crushed.
‘Silk Letter Conspiracy’ in which anti-British Muslims proposed a general uprising by the Muslims to free themselves from British rule… also went unsuccessful.
As a result of discontent within India British were forced to pass the Defense of India Act (gave British extraordinary powers to deal with unrest. Hundreds were exiled or imprisoned without proper trail.
The Lucknow Pact, 1916
The failure of The British was to grant more rights moved Congress and League together.
1915: On the persuasion of Jinnah. The two organizations held meeting at Bombay. At the same point a joint council was set up to improve common understanding
British realized they needed to take steps to face not serious political unrest and at the same time they were fighting against Germany and its allies.
So in 1916 Oct: British let it be known that they were considering a group of proposal that will lead to:
1. At least half of the Executive Council members being elected
2. Legislative Council having a majority of elected members
Both League and Congress agreed, which brought them further close together
1916: annual session at city Lucknow. Jinnah represented Muslim League and Mahajan
represented Congress. The Lucknow Pact was drown up. It showed that Congress is ready to make concessions:
1. Muslims had the right for separate electorates (for Imperial/ Provincial Legislative Councils)
2. Muslims would have 1/3 seats in the Councils (they represented ¼)
3. No Act would be passed unless ¾ of that community’s member in the Council supported
1. Number of elected seats of the Council should be increased
2. All provinces should have autonomy
3. Minorities should be protected
4. Motions which were passed by large minorities in the Councils should be accepted as binding by the British government
It marked the first acceptance by the Hindus that a degree of partition would be necessary
The first Agreement between Congress and Muslim League
Sowed that Muslims; have acknowledged they stood more chance if worked with Congress
Marked a high-water marked on Hindu-Muslim unity
Possibility of self-government was now seen
During 1917: two Home Rule Leagues campaigned across India. One led by Tilak and the other by Annie Besant (English woman).
It established Jinnah as the focal point for this agreement and showed his great political abilities. It was done because the Muslim League felt that they needed the support of Congress in its early years. Because they thought they could pressurize British together in accepting their demands.
The Montague Chelmsford Reforms, 1919
Background and Proposal
November 1917: Viceroy of India, Lord Chelmsford, and Secretary of state, Lord Montague
carried out a fact finding tour of India. So in, July 1919: Montague-Chelmsford Report or Mont- ford Report proposed:
1. Legislative Council will be known as Legislative Assembly
2. Legislative Assembly would have 145 members from which 103 would be elected for 3 years
3. Legislative Assembly would hold separate electorate for Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs
4. The Council of State would have 60 members; 33 would be elected
5. A Council of Princes 180 member, no power a ‘talking shop’
6. Role of central administration was further restricted by the power of Viceroy who could pass any law if he felt it was necessary for India’s safety. Executive Council was made for only nominated members ( though 3 were now to be Indians)
7. Extended voting rights? Only 2% could vote
This system was introduced in Provinces
Reversed Subjects Transferred Subjects
Revenue Public Health
Power Resources Public Works
Press/ Publications Forests
Ministers chosen by Legislative Councils by Viceroy himself. Viceroy may also dismiss the provincial Legislative Council. British maintained their grip of power by ensuring Viceroy have authority.
They were bitterly disappointed … because the outcome was not the much the expected unexpected outcome!
Rowlatt Act, 1919- ‘Prison without trial’
This act was passed when the protest over the Mont-Ford reforms started and other minorities began to demand separate electorate. In December 1917, a committee was formed under Justice Rowlatt to investigate revolutionary activity in India.
1919: The British had offered concessions in Montague Chelmsford Reforms, which they hoped would win the support of the Indian people. However, they had every intention of taking strong and effective action against any element in India, which opposed British rule.
Report on April 1918. The Defense of India Act was passed allowing:
1. Arrest without warrant
2. Detention without bail
3. Provincial government ordering people where to live.
M.A Jinnah resigned from the Imperial Legislative Council in protest
Gandhi called strikes against the proposals.
Strikes/ demonstrations caused British to forbid public meeting … the unrest continued…
10 April: two banks were attacked in the city of Amritsar. 5 Europeans were killed.
General Dyer: the British commander was determined to restore order. Banned all public meetings.
Amritsar Massacre: A crowd of about 20,000 in number turned up for a peaceful protest at
Jilianwalah Bagh. The park surrounded by 5 foot wall with narrow entrance.
But the troops of Dayer, without warning shot 1600 rounds killing about 400 people and making
1200 injured. It made sure that people of Punjab understood they should obey Dyer.
Furthermore: A crowded meeting at Gujranwala was bombed from the air. Deaths/ exiles/
Non –Cooperation Movement
March 1920 many Indians joined Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement. British cloths were burned in huge amount. Teachers and students set up their own institutes. Lawyers gave up their practices. 1st elections were rejected. Widespread opposition for the British. Jails were filled with over 30,000 political prisoners. When Non-Cooperation split over into violence Gandhi decided to call of the campaign (February 1922).
Growth of Communalism:
Post-war event brought Hindu and Muslim closer together. The ending of Non-Cooperation Movement led to serious communal rioting across India. Hindu fundamentalism gained more influence.
Arya Samaj founded in 1877:
founder Dayanand Saraswati
strong holdings in western/northern India
Purify Hinduism from impure practices
Hoped: convert Hindus back to Hinduism who had converted into Christians
Powerful agent to spread education/ social reforms
Together with Hindu Mahasbha: militant activities in 1924
Pundit Mohan Malaviya:
1932 brought a number of the Punjab Sabhas (involved in politics)
Into a political party Hindu Mahasabha
1923, elections were won under the name of ‘Swaraj Party’
condemned the partition in 1947…wanted India to be a Hindu
Believed that Gandhi’s tolerance is a treat to Hindu purity
DELHI PROPOSALS (1927)
In 1927 Mohammad Ali Jinnah called a conference of all Muslims leaders in Delhi to discuss the future of constitutional reforms and separate electorates. These demands were known as the Delhi Proposals and were:
1) Sindh should be separated from Bombay with full provincial status and all previous British reforms should be applied to the Frontier Province and Baluchistan.
2) In Punjab and Bengal the allocated fewer seats should be corrected.
3) Muslims should be given one-third of the seats in the central legislature through joint electorates Then the Muslims league would be prepared to give up separate electorates.