Showing posts with label Modern India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Modern India. Show all posts

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bihar Earthquake

Civil Disobedience Movement Called Off

The Second Round Table Conference ended in failure in December 1931. Gandhi came back to India without achieving his goal. Meanwhile the government of India renewed its policy of suppressing Indian political movements. Gandhi was utterly disgusted at the attitude of the government and decided to resume the Civil Disobedience Movement in January 1932. The government, on its part, lost no time in taking retaliatory measures. Prominent Congressmen were arrested. The Congress was declared illegal. In spite of the ruthless repression the Civil Disobedience Movement continued and within a short period nearly 120,000 people courted arrest. But as time passed, the leaders who had always been active were imprisoned. The ruthless action of the Government slowed down the movement. Consequently the movement was suspended for three months in May 1933 and ultimately ended in April 1934.
The Civil Disobedience Movement ended without any result. It could bring neither Swaraj nor complete independence to India. It had practically no significant contribution towards the process of constitution making which culminated in the Government of India Act, 1935. Nevertheless, it was an important step in the Indian struggle for independence. It generated political consciousness among the Indian multitude. But it failed to bring about communal harmony between the Hindus and the Muslims, the two major communities of India. It is significant that the Muslims of India, as a community, kept themselves aloof from the movement. Only a few Muslim leaders became involved in it. Gandhi never succeeded in recovering the position among the Muslims, which he had won during the days of the Khilafat movement.

Bihar Earthquake

In 1934, Bihar was shaken by an earthquake, which caused immense damage and loss of property. The quake, devastating by itself, was followed by floods and an outbreak of malaria which heightened misery. Dr. Prasad dove right in with relief work, collecting food, clothes and medicine.

Third Round Table conference, Poona Pact

Third Round Table Conference

The third session began on November 17, 1932. It was short and unimportant. The Congress was once again absent, so was the Labor opposition in the British Parliament. Reports of the various committees were scrutinized. The conference ended on December 25, 1932.
The recommendations of the Round Table Conferences were embodied in a White Paper. It was published in March 1933, and debated in parliament directly afterwards, analyzed by the Joint Select Committee and after the final reading and loyal assent, the bill reached the Statute Book on July 24, 1935.

Poona pact

During the first Round Table Conference, when Ambedkar favoured the move of the British Government to provide separate electorate for the oppressed classes, Gandhi strongly opposed it on the plea that the move would disintegrate the Hindu society. He went for an indefinite hunger strike from September 20, 1932 against the decision of the then British Prime Minister J.Ramsay MacDonald granting communal award to the depressed classes in the constitution for governance of British India.
In view of the mass upsurge generated in the country to save the life of Gandhi, Ambedkar was compelled to soften his stand. A compromise between the leaders of caste Hindu and the depressed classes was reached on September 24,1932, popularly known as Poona Pact. The resolution announced in a public meeting on September 25 in Bombay confirmed -" henceforth, amongst Hindus no one shall be regarded as an untouchable by reason of his birth and they will have the same rights in all the social institutions as the other Hindus have". This landmark resolution in the history of the Dalit movement in India subsequently formed the basis for giving due share to Dalits in the political empowerment of Indian people in a democratic Indian polity.
The following is the text of the agreement arrived at between leaders acting on behalf of the Depressed Classes and of the rest of the community, regarding the representation of the Depressed Classes in the legislatures and certain other matters affecting their welfare
  1. There shall be seats reserved for the Depressed Classes out of general electorate seats in the provincial legislatures as follows: - Madras 30; Bombay with Sind 25; Punjab 8; Bihar and Orissa 18; Central Provinces 20; Assam 7; Bengal 30; United Provinces 20. Total 148. These figures are based on the Prime Minister's (British) decision.
  2. Election to these seats shall be by joint electorates subject, however, to the following procedure – All members of the Depressed Classes registered in the general electoral roll of a constituency will form an electoral college which will elect a panel of tour candidates belonging to the Depressed Classes for each of such reserved seats by the method of the single vote and four persons getting the highest number of votes in such primary elections shall be the candidates for election by the general electorate.
  3. The representation of the Depressed Classes in the Central Legislature shall likewise be on the principle of joint electorates and reserved seats by the method of primary election in the manner provided for in clause above for their representation in the provincial legislatures.

Salt Satyagraha & First Round Table Conference

The 1930 Salt March

Gandhi began a new campaign in 1930, the Salt Satyagraha. Gandhi and his followers set off on a 200-mile journey from Ashram Ahmedabad to the Arabian Ocean where Gandhi wanted to pick up a few grains of salt. This action formed the symbolic focal point of a campaign of civil disobedience in which the state monopoly on salt was the first target. Prior to the beginning of the action, Gandhi sent a letter to the Lord Lieutenant "Dear Friend. Whilst, therefore, I hold the British rule to be a curse, I do not intend harm to a single Englishman or to any legitimate interest he may have in India. My ambition is nothing less than to bring round the English people through non-violence to recognize the injustice they have done to India. I do not intend to be offensive to your people. Indeed, I would like to serve your people as I would my own."
Yet the Lord Lieutenant didn't even reply personally to his letter. Gandhi held his last prayer meeting on the evening of the 11th of March 1930. "There can be no turning back for us hereafter. We will keep on our fight till swaraj is established in India. Those of them that are married should take leave of their wives. We are as good as parting from the Ashram and from our homes. --- Let nobody assume that after I am arrested there will be no one left to guide them. It is not I but Pandit Jawaharlal who is your guide. He has the capacity to lead."
It was hoped that this action would spread across India. Wherever possible, civil disobedience was to be used to counter the salt laws. It was illegal to manufacture salt, regardless of the location. The possession and trading of smuggled salt (natural salt or salt earth) was also illegal. Anyone caught selling smuggled salt was liable to prosecution. To collect salt from the natural deposits at the coast was also illegal.
Gandhi had a large group of well-trained Satyagrahi available to him; as well trained in observation as they were in spreading propaganda among the masses. They were bound by a joint pledge and by the principles of the "Ashram in Exodus", which encompassed three points: prayer, spinning and keeping a diary. They wore uniform clothing (a sort of Khaki uniform) and wore the headwear of prisoners.
After a 24-hour long march to the Indian Ocean, Gandhi picked up a few pieces of salt - a signal to the rest of the sub-continent to do the same. This raw material was carried inland before being processed on the roofs of houses in pans and then sold. Over 50,000 Indians were imprisoned for breaking the salt laws. The entire protest was carried out almost without violence. Indeed, it was this that annoyed the police.
A report from the English journalist, Webb Miller, who witnessed one of the clashes, has become a classic description of the way in which Satyagraha was carried out at the forefront of the battle lines. 2,500 volunteers advanced on the salt works of Dhrasana:
"Gandhi's men advanced in complete silence before stopping about one-hundred meters before the cordon. A selected team broke away from the main group, waded through the ditch and neared the barbed-wire fence. Receiving the signal, a large group of local police officers suddenly moved towards the advancing protestors and subjected them to a hail of blows to the head delivered from steel-covered Lathis (truncheons). None of the protesters raised so much as an arm to protect themselves against the barrage of blows. They fell to the ground like pins in a bowling alley. From where I was standing I could hear the nauseating sound of truncheons impacting against unprotected skulls. The waiting main group moaned and drew breath sharply at each blow. Those being subjected to the onslaught fell to the ground quickly writhing unconsciously or with broken shoulders. The main group, which had been spared until now, began to march in a quiet and determined way forwards and were met with the same fate. They advanced in a uniform manner with heads raised - without encouragement through music or battle cries and without being given the opportunity to avoid serious injury or even death. The police attacked repeatedly and the second group was also beaten to the ground. There was no fight, no violence; the marchers simply advanced until they themselves were knocked down."
Following their action, the men in uniform, who obviously felt unprotected with all their superior equipment of violence, could think of nothing better to do than that which seems to overcome uniformed men in similar situations as a sort of "natural" impulse: If they were unable to break the skulls of all the protesters, they now set about kicking and aiming their blows at the genitals of the helpless on the ground. "For hour upon hour endless numbers of motionless, bloody bodies were carried away on stretchers", according to Webb Miller.
What did the Satyagrahi achieve? Neither was the salt works taken, nor was the Salt Act in its entirety formally lifted. But the world began to realize that this was not the point. The Salt Satyagraha had demonstrated to the world the almost flawless use of a new instrument of peaceful militancy.

First Round Table Conference

The Indian political community received the Simon Commission Report issued in June 1930 with great resentment. Different political parties gave vent to their feelings in different ways.
The Congress started a Civil Disobedience Movement under Gandhi's command. The Muslims reserved their opinion on the Simon Report declaring that the report was not final and the matters should decided after consultations with the leaders representing all communities in India.
The Indian political situation seemed deadlocked. The British government refused to contemplate any form of self-government for the people of India. This caused frustration amongst the masses, who often expressed their anger in violent clashes.
The Labor Government returned to power in Britain in 1931, and a glimmer of hope ran through Indian hearts. Labor leaders had always been sympathetic to the Indian cause. The government decided to hold a Round Table Conference in London to consider new constitutional reforms. All Indian politicians; Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians were summoned to London for the conference.
Gandhi immediately insisted at the conference that he alone spoke for all Indians, and that the Congress was the party of the people of India. He argued that the other parties only represented sectarian viewpoints, with little or no significant following.
The first session of the conference opened in London on November 12, 1930. All parties were present except for the Congress, whose leaders were in jail due to the Civil Disobedience Movement. Congress leaders stated that they would have nothing to do with further constitutional discussion unless the Nehru Report was enforced in its entirety as the constitution of India.
Almost 89 members attended the conference, out of which 58 were chosen from various communities and interests in British India, and the rest from princely states and other political parties. The prominent among the Muslim delegates invited by the British government were Sir Aga Khan, Quaid-i-Azam, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jouhar, Sir Muhammad Shafi and Maulvi Fazl-i-Haq. Sir Taj Bahadur Sapru, Mr. Jaikar and Dr. Moonje were outstanding amongst the Hindu leaders.
The Muslim-Hindu differences overcastted the conference as the Hindus were pushing for a powerful central government while the Muslims stood for a loose federation of completely autonomous provinces. The Muslims demanded maintenance of weightage and separate electorates, the Hindus their abolition. The Muslims claimed statutory majority in Punjab and Bengal, while Hindus resisted their imposition. In Punjab, the situation was complicated by inflated Sikh claims.
Eight subcommittees were set up to deal with the details. These committees dealt with the federal structure, provincial constitution, franchise, Sindh, the North West Frontier Province, defense services and minorities.
The conference broke up on January 19, 1931, and what emerged from it was a general agreement to write safeguards for minorities into the constitution and a vague desire to devise a federal system for the country.

Gandhi Irwin Pact, Second Round Table Conference

Gandhi-Irwin Pact

After the conclusion of the First Round Table Conference, the British government realized that the cooperation of the Indian National Congress was necessary for further advancement in the making of the Indian constitution. Thus, Lord Irwin, the Viceroy, extended an invitation to Gandhi for talks. Gandhi agreed to end the Civil Disobedience Movement without laying down any preconditions.
The agreement between Gandhi and Irwin was signed on March 5, 1931. Following are the salient points of this agreement:
  1. The Congress would discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement.
  2. The Congress would participate in the Round Table Conference.
  3. The Government would withdraw all ordinances issued to curb the Congress.
  4. The Government would withdraw all prosecutions relating to offenses not involving violence.
  5. The Government would release all persons undergoing sentences of imprisonment for their activities in the civil disobedience movement.
The pact shows that the British Government was anxious to bring the Congress to the conference table.

Second Round Table Conference

The second session of the conference opened in London on September 7, 1931. The main task of the conference was done through the two committees on federal structure and minorities. Gandhi was a member of both but he adopted a very unreasonable attitude. He claimed that he represented all India and dismissed all other Indian delegates as non-representative because they did not belong to the Congress.
The communal problem represented the most difficult issue for the delegates. Gandhi again tabled the Congress scheme for a settlement, a mere reproduction of the Nehru Report, but all the minorities rejected it.
As a counter to the Congress scheme, the Muslims, the depressed classes, the Indian Christians, the Anglo-Indians, and the Europeans presented a joint statement of claims which they said must stand as an interdependent whole. As their main demands were not acceptable to Gandhi, the communal issue was postponed for future discussion.
Three important committees drafted their reports; the Franchise Committee, the Federal Finance Committee and States Inquiry Committee.
On the concluding day, the British Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald appealed to the Indian leaders to reach a communal settlement. Failing to do so, he said, would force the British government would take a unilateral decision.
Quaid-i-Azam did not participate in the session of the Second Round Table Conference as he had decided to keep himself aloof from the Indian politics and to practice as a professional lawyer in England.
On his return to India, Gandhi once again started Civil Disobedience Movement and was duly arrested.

Simon Commission Boycott

Simon Commission Boycott

In 1927, however, the Conservative Government of Britain, faced with the prospect of electoral defeat at the hands of the Labour Party, suddenly decided that it could not leave an issue which concerned the future of the British Empire in the irresponsible hands of an inexperienced Labour Government; and it was thus that the Indian Statutory Commission, popularly known as the Simon Commission after its Chairman, was appointed.
The response in India was immediate arid unanimous. That no Indian should be thought fit to serve on a body that claimed the right to decide the political future of India was an insult that no Indian of even the most moderate political opinion was willing to swallow. The call for a boycott of the Commission was endorsed by the Liberal Federation led by Tej Bahadur Sapru, by the Indian Industrial and Commercial Congress, and by the Hindu Mahasabha; the Muslim League even split on the issue, Mohammed Ali Jinnah carrying the majority with him in favour of boycott.
It was the Indian National Congress, however, that turned the boycott into a popular movement. The Congress had resolved on the boycott at its annual session in December 1927 at Madras, and in the prevailing excitable atmosphere, Jawaharlal Nehru had even succeeded in getting passed a snap resolution declaring complete independence as the goal of the Congress. The action began as soon as Simon and his friends landed at Bombay on 3 February 1928. That day, all the major cities and towns observed a complete hartal, and people were out on the streets participating in mass rallies, processions and black-flag demonstration. Everywhere that Simon went - Calcutta, Lahore, Lucknow, Vijayawada, Poona - he was greeted by a sea of black-flags carried by thousands of people. And ever new ways of defiance were being constantly invented.
But the worst incident happened in Lahore where Lala Lajpat Rai, the hero of the extremist days and the most revered leader of Punjab, was hit on the chest by lathis on 30 October and succumbed to the injuries on 17 November 1928. It was his death that Bhagat Singh and his comrades avenged by killing Saunders, in December 1928. The Simon boycott movement provided the first taste of political action to a new generation of youth. Subhash Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru merged as the leaders of this new wave of youth and students, and they traveled from one province to another addressing and presiding over innumerable youth conferences.

Lord Irwin promises Dominion Status

Lord Irwin

On the 1st of April 1926 Lord Irwin succeeded Lord Reading as Viceroy. Lord Irwin had hereditary connections with India. Lord Irwin's grandfather, the first Viscount Halifax had served in India and had been secretary of State for India. Lord Irwin was also a very religious man. It may have been felt by those who appointed him that he was ideal to deal with the religious Mahatma. However, for nineteen months Lord Irwin chose to ignore Gandhi.
During this period Lord Birkenhead was the secretary of State for India. He believed that Indians would not be fit for self-government even in a hundred years. A general election was imminent in Britain and Birkenhead was apprehensive that his Conservative Party might lose the elections to the Labor party, as indeed it did.
The Labor Party was known to be more sensitive to Indian Aspirations. Under the Government of India Act of 1919 a Commission was due to review the constitution of India within about two years. Birkenhead feared that a future Labor government might concede too much power to Indians. He pre-empted any such move by deciding to appoint the Commission prematurely. Sir John Simon was appointed to lead the Commission.
The appointment of the Simon Commission caused widespread resentment. All political parties and factions were unanimous in their opposition to the Simon Commission and they decided to boycott it.
Gandhi emerging from his year of silence and rest was seeking a propitious time to launch another civil disobedience campaign. The resentment caused by the appointment of the Simon Commission provided him the necessary conditions. He decided to act. He revived the plan to conduct civil disobedience in Bardoli, which he suspended earlier in 1922 due to the violence in Chauri Chaura.
The campaign at Bardoli was inspired and orchestrated by Gandhi, from his Ashram. He asked Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to actually move into Bardoli and organize and lead the campaign. Patel was Mayor of Ahmedabad at the time and had to resign his post in order to do so.
Patel a brilliant lawyer proved to be an excellent organizer. He instructed the peasants not to pay a twenty-two percent increase in taxes levied by the British Government.
The British Government confiscated movable property in retaliation. Pots, pans, livestock, carts and horses were taken away from the peasants. The peasants remained non-violent.
Patel asked the peasants to dismantle the carts in order to increase the difficulty of government officials. Accordingly, wheels were removed and the shafts were hidden. The officials were not impeded in any other way.
All of India keenly observed the events taking place in Bardoli. Contribution of funds poured in to help maintain the struggle. Some wanted Gandhi to expand the movement to other provinces. Gandhi resisted any such move. The civil resistors in Bardoli were well organized by Patel and were well disciplined. The population of Bardoli, which was under one hundred thousand, was also manageable. Gandhi did not want to risk degeneration into violence by expanding the struggle to other places with larger populations who were less organized and disciplined.
The British government of India came under pressure from London to crush the movement. In an effort to do so the Government stated that they had auctioned some seized lands and threatened to sell the remainder if taxes were not paid. However it had no effect. The peasants would not submit.
Finally, in a desperate move the Government arrested Patel. Gandhi replaced him as the leader and moved into Bardoli. A few days later the Government capitulated.
In an agreement with Patel the Government promised to cancel the increase in taxes and return all the confiscated property. Patel on behalf of the peasants agreed to pay taxes at the old rates.
In Bardoli Gandhi demonstrated to the British Government and to the Indian people that the method of non-violent civil disobedience was effective. He proved that the British Government could be successfully defied. The British Government would have realized that from henceforth it would be difficult to govern India without the consent of the people. They could no longer act with impunity.
The success at Bardoli quickened the temper of the Congress Party. At the annual Congress session, which met in Calcutta in December 1928, the younger leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose demanded immediate independence. Gandhi suggested that the British be given two years' notice but compromised on one year. It was then agreed that if India had not achieved freedom under Dominion Status by 31 December 1929, there would be a struggle for independence.
In May 1929 the Labor Party won the most number of seats at the General Elections in Britain. They did not have an overall majority but formed a minority Government. Ramsay Macdonald became Prime Minister and Wedgewood Benn the Secretary of State for India.
Lord Irwin visited London to consult the new Government. It was known that the Labor Party was more sympathetic to Indian aspirations.
Soon after his return, the Viceroy Lord Irwin with the consent of the Secretary of State for India, Wedgewood Benn made a momentous announcement. He stated that a Round Table Conference would be held in which the British Government would sit with delegates from British India, and the native states to discuss India's constitutional progress. He envisaged that the natural issue of the conference to be Dominion Status for India.
Gandhi and the elder statesman of the Congress Party welcomed the statement.
However, Lord Irwin was soon to retract the statement. His promise of Dominion Status raised a howl of protest in London. Led by his predecessor Lord Reading, the Conservatives and Liberals combined to condemn the Viceroy. Although Wedgewood Benn defended the Viceroy the minority Government had to defer to the majority pressure exerted by the Conservatives and Liberals in combination.
As a consequence the Viceroy Lord Irwin was non-committal when Gandhi met him to seek clarification. Lord Irwin merely said that he could not prejudge the final outcome of the Round Table Conference. In other words there was not going to be any Dominion Status for India.
The change in the attitude of the British Government did not leave the Congress Party with much choice. At the annual party convention held in December 1929 under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru it was decided to launch a campaign of civil disobedience in the pursuit of complete independence.

Trade Union Split

From the mid-twenties of the present century onwards the communists launched a major offensive to capture the AITUC. A part of their strategy was to start rival unions in opposition to those dominated by the nationalists. By 1928 they had become powerful enough to sponsor their own candidate for election to the office of the President of the AITUC in opposition to the nationalist candidate Nehru. Nehru managed to win the election by a narrow margin. In the 1929 session of the AITUC chaired by Nehru the communists mustered enough support to carry a resolution affiliating the federation to international communist forum. This resolution sparked the first split in the labor movement. The moderates, who were deeply opposed to the affiliation of the AITUC with the League against Imperialism and the Pan - Pacific Secretariat, walked out of the federation and eventually formed the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF). Within two years of this event the movement suffered a further split. On finding themselves a minority in the AITUC, the communists walked out of it in 1931 to form the Red Trade Union Congress. The dissociation of the communists from the AITUC was, however, short-lived. They returned to the AITUC the moment the British banned the Red Trade Union Congress. The British were the most favorably disposed toward the moderate NTUF. N.M. Joshi, the moderate leader, was appointed a member of the Royal Commission.

The Simon Commission

Simon Commission

The Government of India Act of 1919 was essentially transitional in character. Under Section 84 of the said Act, a statutory commission was to be appointed at the end of ten years, to determine the next stage in the realization of self-rule in India.
The British government appointed a commission under Sir John Simon in November 1927. The commission, which had no Indian members, was being sent to investigate India's constitutional problems and make recommendations to the government on the future constitution of India. The Congress decided to boycott the Simon Commission and challenged Lord Birkenhead, Secretary of State for India, to produce a constitution acceptable to the various elements in India.
There was a clear split in the Muslim League. Sir Muhammad Shafi, who wanted to cooperate with the commission, decided to convene a Muslim League session in Lahore in December 1927.
The other faction led by Jinnah stood for the boycott of the commission. This faction held a Muslim League session at Calcutta, and decided to form a subcommittee to confer with the working committee of the Indian National Congress and other organizations, with a view to draft a constitution for India.

Reforms Enquiry committee Report

Maddiman Report

The Muddiman Committee Report officially known as the Report of the Reforms Enqury Committee, 1924 was the product of the Government of India Act, 1919. After the committee was put into operation, resolutions were pressed in the Imperial legislature, especially led by the Swarajists for the revision of the constitution to secure for India full self-governing Dominion status. Plagued by such Indian demands, the Government of India set up a Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Alexander Muddiman. The nine member Committee's terms of reference were: to enquire into the difficulties arising from, or defects inherent in, the working of the Government of India Act and the Rules thereunder in regard to Central Government and the governments of Governors' provinces; to investigate the feasibility and desirability of securing remedies for such difficulties or defects, consistent with the structure, policy and purpose of the Act, or by such amendments of the Act as appear necessary to rectify any administrative imperfections. The Committee rather expeditiously completed its work between August and December 1924. The Committee submitted its report in September 1925. Its appendices contained a list of public leaders and individuals who had tendered evidences to the Committee; memorandum of the legal and constitutional possibilities of advance within the Government of India Act; and a lengthy note by a member Bijoy Chand Mahtab.
The Muddiman Committee did not submit a unanimous report. The majority view was that the existing constitution was working in most provinces and was affording valuable political experience. Detailed recommendations were made for improving machinery of government. The minority view was that diarchy had absolutely failed and could not succeed at all in the future. According to them, it was only a fundamental change in the constitution, which could bring about the improvement.

Civil Disobedience Movement

Civil Disobedience Movement

Civil Disobedience Movement launched in 1930 under MK Gandhi's leadership was one of the most important phases of India's freedom struggle. The simon commission, constituted in November 1927 by the British Government to prepare and finalize a constitution for India and consisting of members of the British Parliament only, was boycotted by all sections of the Indian social and political platforms as an 'All-White Commission'. The opposition to the Simon Commission in Bengal was remarkable. In protest against the Commission, a hartal was observed on 3 February 1928 in various parts of the province. Massive demonstrations were held in Calcutta on 19 February1928, the day of Simon's arrival in the city. On 1 March 1928, meetings were held simultaneously in all thirty-two wards of Calcutta urging people to renew the movement for boycott of British goods.
Following the rejection of the recommendations of the Simon Commission by the Indians, an All-Party Conference was held at Bombay in May 1928 under the president ship of Dr MA Ansari. The Conference appointed a drafting committee under Motilal Nehru to draw up a constitution for India. The Nehru Report was accepted by all sections of Indian society except by a section of Indian Muslims. In December 1928, the Indian National Congress pressed the British Government to accept the Nehru Report in its entirety. The Calcutta Session of the Indian Congress (December 1928) virtually gave an ultimatum to the British Government, that if dominion status were not conceded by December 1929, a countrywide Civil Disobedience Movement would be launched. The British Government, however, declared in May 1929 that India would get dominion status within the Empire very soon.

Moplah Rebellion

Moplah Rebellion

The history of Mujahid movement in Malabar goes back to the mid-1920s after the fall of Ottoman Empire and Khilafat in Turkey. In 1921, the Malabar Muslims, known as Moplahs, started a rebellion against the British raj that they treated as enemies of Islam. The British suppressed the agitation of Moplah Muslims in connivance with the Hindu landlords and deported some leaders of the rebellion to Andaman Islands. The leaderless mob had been floating aimlessly. In early 1940s, the Indian National Congress veterans like Late Mr. Abdurehiman, and even Mahatma Gandhi termed the rebellion as "Freedom Struggle." But some myopic communal historians depicted it as an "anti-Hindu aggression," quoting some isolated incidents from here and there in their apparent bid to give the Movement a communal hue.
The Moplahs were illiterate and in their perception English was the language of their enemy and hence education in that language a taboo. They hated even their mother tongue, Malayalam, which they viewed the language of upper-caste Brahmin landlords who treated Moplah Muslims and other lower-caste communities as slaves solely to work in their paddy fields, rear cattle, and do all other manual work on a pittance. Further during the Moplah rebellion, these landlords helped the British to suppress the uprising against them. On this grudge, Moplahs were reluctant to send their children to schools. Instead, the children were admitted to madrasahs run by obscurantist mullahs. A few of them could read and write Malayalam, that also exclusively written in Arabic script only. The Muslim periodicals, had very few readers, since they were printed in the script of Arabic-Malayalam.
It was during this time that some educated Muslim youths, who had been influenced by the views of Wahabi Movement, came forward to persuade these obscurantist parents to send their children to schools and get them educated. Gradually, the Muslim community in Malabar, who had been immersed in steep poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, and superstitions, could grasp the value of education and the importance of their mother tongue, Malayalam and also the official language, English. Education gave them a new status. The children of the bigot parents were clever, mature and vigilant in fortifying the dignity of their community and the country. Often they proved as real patriots, while comparing them with the upper-caste Brahmin landlords who had been supporting the British rulers as their protectors.

Start of Non-Cooperation Movement

The Khilafat Movement

Khilafat Movement (1919-1924) was a Pan-Islamic movement influenced by Indian nationalism. The Ottoman Emperor Abdul Hamid II (1876-1909) had launched a Pan-Islamic programme to use his position as the Sultan-Khalifa of the global Muslim community with a view to saving his disintegrating empire from foreign attacks and to crush the nationalistic democratic movement at home. The visit of his emissary, Jamaluddin Afghani, to India in the late nineteenth century to propagate Pan-Islamic ideas received a favorable response from some Indian Muslim leaders.
These sentiments intensified early in the twentieth century with the revocation in 1911 of the 1905 partition of Bengal, the Italian (1911) and Balkan (1911-1912) attacks on Turkey, and Great Britain's participation in the First World War (1914-18) against Turkey.
The defeat of Turkey in the First World War and the division of its territories under the Treaty of Sevres (10 August 1920) among European powers caused apprehensions in India over the Khalifa's custodianship of the Holy places of Islam. Accordingly, the Khilafat Movement was launched in September 1919 as an orthodox communal movement to protect the Turkish Khalifa and save his empire from dismemberment by Great Britain and other European powers. The Ali brothers, Muhammad Ali and Shawkat Ali, Maulana abul kalam azad, Dr MA Ansari, and Hasrat Mohani initiated the Movement. Khilafat Conferences were organised in several cities in northern India. A Central Khilafat Committee, with provisions for provincial branches, was constituted at Bombay with Seth Chotani, a wealthy merchant, as its President, and Shawkat Ali as its Secretary. In 1920 the Ali Brothers produced the Khilafat Manifesto. The Central Khilafat Committee started a Fund to help the Nationalist Movement in Turkey and to organise the Khilafat Movement at home.

Mahathma Gandhi leads the Congress - Declaration of Non-Cooperation Movement

Contemporaneously, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi led his non-violent nationalist movement satyagraha, as a protest against government repression evidenced, for example, in the Rowlatt Act of 1919, and the Jalian Wallah Bagh Massacres of April 1919. To enlist Muslim support in his movement, Gandhi supported the Khilafat cause and became a member of the Central Khilafat Committee. At the Nagpur Session (1920) of the indian national congress Gandhi linked the issue of Swaraj (Self-Government) with the Khilafat demands and adopted the non-cooperation plan to attain the twin objectives.
By mid-1920 the Khilafat leaders had made common cause with Gandhi's non-cooperation movement promising non-violence in return for Gandhi's support of the Khilafat Movement whereby Hindus and Muslims formed a united front against British rule in India. Support was received also of Muslim theologians through the Jamiyat-al Ulama-i-Hind (The Indian Association of Muslim Theologians). Maulana mohmmad akram khan of Bengal was a member of its Central Executive and Constitution Committee.
However, the movement's objectives of communal harmony and nonviolence suffered a setback because of the Hijrat (Exodus) to Afghanistan in 1920 of about 18,000 Muslim peasants, mostly from Sind and North Western Provinces, the excesses of Muslims who felt that India was Dar-ul-Harb (Apostate land), the Moplah rebellion in South India in August 1921, and the Chauri-Chaura incident in February 1922 in the United Provinces where a violent mob set fire to a police station killing twenty-two policemen. Soon after Gandhi called off the Non-cooperation movement, leaving Khilafat leaders with a feeling of betrayal.
The extra-territorial loyalty of Khilafat leaders received a final and deadly blow from the Turks themselves. The charismatic Turkish nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal's startling secular renaissance, his victories over invading Greek forces culminating in the abolition of the Sultanate in November 1922, and the transformation of Turkey into a Republic in October 1923, followed by the abolition of the Khilafat in March 1924, took the Khilafatists unaware. By 1924 the Khilafat Movement, had become devoid of any relevance and significance and met its end.
The first stirrings in favour of the Khilafat Movement in Bengal was seen on 30 December 1918 at the 11th Session of the All India muslim league held in Delhi. In his presidential address, ak fazlul huq voiced concern over the attitude of Britain and her allies engaged in dividing and distributing the territories of the defeated Ottoman Empire.
When the Paris Peace Conference (1919) confirmed these apprehensions, Bengali Khilafat leaders such as Maulana Akram Khan, Abul Kasem, and mujibur rahman khan held a Public meeting in Calcutta on 9 February 1919 to enlist public support in favour of preserving the integrity of the Ottoman Empire and saving the institution of Khilafat.
In Bengal, the Khilafat-Non-Cooperation Movement (1918 to 1924) became a mass movement in which both Muslims and Hindus participated. The Bengal movement benefited from coordinated action by and between the Central and Provincial Khilafat leaders. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad propagated Khilafat ideas in rural Bengal. In the initial stage, the movement was popularised by Bengali leaders such as Maulana Akram Khan, maniruzzaman islamabadi, Mujibur Rahman Khan, the brothers Maulana abdullahil kafi and Maulana abdullahil baqi, ismail hossain shiraji, Abul Kasem and AK Fazlul Huq. Maulana Akram Khan and Maniruzzaman Islambadi toured Bengal and organised Khilafat meetings, particularly in Dhaka and Chittagong. In an article Asahojogita-o-Amader Kartabya, Maniruzzaman Islambadi declared that to protect Khilafat and to acquire Swaraj were the twin aims of the movement and that it was the sacred duty of every Indian to support these ideas.
During the observance of the first Khilafat Day on 17 October 1919, most Indian-owned shops remained closed in Calcutta, prayers were offered at different mosques, and public meetings were held all over Bengal. On 23-24 November 1919 the first All-India Khilafat Conference held in Delhi was presided over by AK Fazlul Huq from Bengal. It was resolved that pending a resolution of the Khilafat problem there would be no participation in the proposed peace celebrations, that British goods should be boycotted, and that a policy of non-cooperation with the government would be adopted. In early 1920 the Bengal Provincial Khilafat Committee was organised with Maulana Abdur Rauf as President, Maniruzzaman Islambadi as Vice President, Maulana Akram Khan as General Secretary, and Mujibur Rahman and Majid Baksh as Joint Secretaries respectively. The office of the organisation was located at Hiron Bari Lane of Kolutola Street in Calcutta.
The first Bengal Provincial Khilafat Conference was held at the Calcutta Town Hall on 28-29 February 1920. Several members of the Central Khilafat Committee attended. Prominent Bengali Khilafat leaders such as A K Fazlul Huq, Abul Kasem, Mujibur Rahman participated in the conference and reiterated the view that unless their demands on the Khilafat problem were met non-cooperation and boycott would continue. The conference decided to observe 19 March 1920 as the Second Khilafat Day.
In March 1920 a Khilafat delegation led by Maulana Muhammad Ali went to England to plead for the Khilafat cause. Abul Kasem represented Bengal in this delegation. Local Khilafat Committees were also constituted. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulvi Abdur Rahman became President and Secretary respectively of the Calcutta Khilafat Committee. On 20 December 1919 the Dhaka Committee was founded at the ahsan manzil with Nawab khwaja habibullah as President, Syed Abdul Hafez as alternate President, and Gholam Quddus as Secretary. In response to the demands of the citizens of Dhaka, a "Sadar Khilafat Committee" was formed; Khwaja Sulaiman Kadar was its President, Maulana Abdul Jabbar Ansari, Hafez Abdur Razzak, Hafez Abdul Hakim its Vice-Presidents, and Maulvi Shamsul Huda its Secretary.
On 19 March 1920 the Second Khilafat Day was observed in Bengal. In Calcutta life almost came to a standstill and numerous Khilafat meetings were held in Dhaka, Chittagong and Mymensingh. The largest meeting was held in Tangail and was presided over by abdul halim ghaznavi, the liberal nationalist Muslim zamindar. At this meeting, Maniruzzaman Islambadi urged the public to adopt Satyagraha as the symbol of the Khilafat movement.
Most districts of Bengal witnessed a mushroom growth of Khilafat Committees alongside existing Congress Committees, often with common membership. This was the first significant anti-British mass movement in which Hindus and Muslims participated with equal conviction. The media, both Muslim and Hindu, played a vital role in popularising the movement. 'Mohammadi', 'Al-Eslam' and 'The Mussalman' were publications, which deserve mention. The Khilafat Movement engendered a Muslim political consciousness that reverberated throughout Bengal under the leadership of Maulana Azad, Akram Khan, Maniruzzaman Islambadi, Bipin Chandra Pal and chitta ranjan das. Though the Khilafat movement was orthodox in origin, it did manage to generate liberal ideas among Muslims because of the interaction and close understanding between Hindus and Muslims. Following the example of Calcutta, volunteer organisations were set up in rural Bengal to train volunteers to enforce boycott of foreign goods, courts, and government offices. They were also engaged in spinning, popularising items of necessity, and raising contributions for the Khilafat cause. In some areas in Dhaka, Muslim zamindars extracted 'Khilafat Salami' from Muslim tenants by declaring themselves the representatives of the Sultan of Turkey. Ironically, due to the ignorance of these tenants this custom continued long after the Khilafat was abolished.
Visibly shaken by the popularity of the Movement, through a Notification on 19 November 1921 the Government of Bengal declared the activities of the Khilafat and Congress volunteers illegal. Government officers raided Khilafat offices, confiscated documents and papers, banned meetings, and arrested office bearers. About a hundred and fifty personalities including Maulana Azad, CR Das, Akram Khan, and Ambika Prashad Bajpai were arrested in Calcutta on 10 December 1921.
At this critical juncture, a rift arose between Khilafat and Non-cooperation leaders on the issue of boycotting educational institutions and legislative councils. Some Muslim leaders believed that such boycott would be suicidal for Muslims. They were in favor of participating in the elections under the India Act of 1919 that assured self-governing institutions in India.
Prominent among this group of Swarajist leaders were CR Das, Bipin Chandra Pal, Motilal Nehru, Surendranath Banerjea, Ashutosh Chowdhury, Asutosh Mookerjee and Sarat Chandra Bose. Notable Muslims subscribing to the same ideas were AK Fazlul Huq, Abul Kasem, Khwaja Muhammad Azam, Khwaja Afzal, Nawab Khwaja Habibullah, Hakim Habibur Rahman, Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhury, Sir Syed Shamsul Huda, Sir Abdullah al-Mamun Suhrawardi, Maulana Abu Bakr Siddiky (Pir of Furfura), Shah Ahsanullah, Kazem Ali and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. Indian National Congress and the Muslim nationalists were strongly opposed to the idea of joining the councils.
Eminent Hindu personalities in Bengal who supported the Khilafat movement were Bipin Chandra Pal, Shrish Chandra Chattopadhya, Kaminikumar Bandyopadhaya, Dr Rai Kumar Chakravarty, PC Ghosh, Basanta Kumar Majumdar, Aswini kumar Dutta, Pyarilal Roy, Gurucharan Aich, Sarat Kumar Gupta, Poet Mukunda Das, Haranath Ghosh, Nagendra Bhattacharya, Satindra Sen, Dr Tarini Gupta, Sarol Kumar Dutta, Nishi Kanta Ganguly, Monoranjan Gupta, Sarat Kumar Ghosh, Nagendra Bijoy Bhattacharya, Nalini Das, Sailendra Nath Das, Khitish Chandra Roy Chowdhury and many others.
In addition to the front-rank leaders of the Khilafat movement, a new class of Muslim leaders emerged during this period from urban as well as from distant parts of Bengal. They gained experience in organizing and mobilizing the public. The Khilafat movement provided an opportunity to throw up a new Mofassil based leadership, which played a key role in introducing a coherent self-assertive political identity for Bengali Muslims. After the 1947 Partition, these personalities played effective roles in their respective areas of activity.

The Non-Cooperation Movement

Mahatma Gandhi initiated non-Cooperation Movement. To advance the Indian nationalist cause, the Indian national congress under the leadership of Gandhi decided in 1920 to follow a policy of passive resistance to British rule.
The Rowlatt Act, the Jalliwanwala Bagh massacre and martial law in Punjab had belied the generous wartime promises of the British. The Montage Chelmsford report with its ill-considered scheme of diarchy satisfied few. Gandhi, so far believing in the justice and fair play of the government, now felt that Non-Cooperation with the government must be started. At the same time, the harsh terms of the Treaty of Sevres between the Allies and Turkey was resented by the Muslims in India. The Muslims started the Khilafat movement and Gandhi decided to identify himself with them. Gandhi's 'skilful top level political game' secured in winning over the Muslim support in the coming Non-Cooperation Movement in India.
The movement was launched formally on 1st August 1920, after the expiry of the notice that Gandhi had given to the Viceroy in his letter of 22 June, in which he had asserted the right recognized 'from time immemorial of the subject to refuse to assist a ruler who misrules'. At the Calcutta Session (September 1920) the programme of the movement was clearly stated. It involved the surrender of the titles and offices and resignation from nominated posts in the local bodies. The Non-Cooperators were not to attend Government duties, Durbars and other functions and they were to withdraw their children from schools and colleges and establish national schools and colleges. They were to boycott the British courts and establish private arbitration courts; they were to use swadeshi cloth. Truth and non-violence were to be strictly observed by Non-Cooperators.
The Calcutta decision was endorsed at the Nagpur Session of the Congress (December 1920). There the betterment of party organization was emphasized. Congress membership was thrown open to all adult men and women on payment of 4 annas as subscription. The adoption of the Non- Cooperation resolution by the Congress gave it a new energy and from January 1921, it began to register considerable success all over India. Gandhi along with Ali Brothers undertook a nation-wide tour during which he addressed hundreds of meetings.
In the first month, 9,000 students left schools and colleges and joined more than 800 national institutions that had sprung up all over the country. The educational boycott was particularly successful in Bengal under the leadership of Chitta Ranjan das and subhas chandra bose. Punjab, too, responded to the educational boycott and Lala Lajpat Rai played the leading role. Other areas that were active were Bombay, UP, Bihar, Orissa and Assam; Madras remained lukewarm.
The boycott of law courts by lawyers was not as successful as the educational boycott. Many leading lawyers, like, CR Das, Motilal Nehru, MR Jayakar, S Kitchlew, V Patel. Asaf Ali Khan and others gave up lucrative practices, and their sacrifice became a source of inspiration for many. In number again, Bengal led followed by Andhra, U P, Karnataka and Punjab.
But perhaps, the most successful item of the programme was the boycott of foreign cloth. The value of imports of foreign cloth fell from Rs. 102 crore in 1920-21 to 57 crore in 1921-22.
In July 1921, a new challenge was thrown to the government. Mohammad Ali along with other leaders was arrested for holding the view that it was 'religiously unlawful for the Muslims to continue in the British army'. Gandhi as well as the Congress supported Mohammad Ali and issued a manifesto. The next dramatic event was the visit of the Prince of Wales that began on 17 November 1921. The day the Prince landed in Bombay was observed as a day of hartal all over India. He was greeted with empty streets and downed shutters wherever he went. Emboldened by their successful defiance of the government, Non-Cooperators became more and more aggressive. The Congress volunteer corps emerged as a powerful parallel police, and the sight of its members marching in formation and dressed in uniform was hardly one that warmed the government heart. The Congress had already granted permission to the Provincial Congress Committees to sanction mass civil disobedience including the non-payment of taxes wherever they thought that the people were ready. The Non-Cooperation Movement had other indirect effects as well. In UP it became difficult to distinguish between a Non-Cooperation meeting and a peasant meeting. In Malabar in Kerala it helped to rouse Muslim tenants against their landlords. In Assam, laborers on tea plantations went on strike. In Punjab, the Akali movement was a part of the general movement of Non-Cooperation.
As the Non-Cooperation Movement continued it became clear that the women of Bengal were willing to play an active role in the protest movement. The women nationalists here organised themselves under the Mahila Karma Samaj or the Ladies Organisation Board of the Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee. Women of the Samaj organised meetings and propagated the spirit of Non-Cooperation. Women volunteers were enlisted. Basanti Devi and Urmila Devi, wife and sister respectively of CR Das, Nellie Sengupta, and wife of JM Sengupta, along with others like Mohini Devi, Labanya Prabha Chanda played a prominent role in this movement. Picketing of foreign wine and cloth shops and selling of Khaddar on the streets happened to be the main areas of their activities.
The government promulgated Sections 108 and 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure at various centres of the agitation. Volunteers' Corps was declared illegal and by December, over 30,000 people were arrested from all over India. Among prominent leaders, only Gandhi remained out of jail. In mid-December there was an abortive attempt at negotiations, initiated by Malaviya, but the conditions offered were such that it meant sacrificing the Khilafat leaders, a course that Gandhi would hardly accept. At that time he had been also under considerable pressure from the Congress rank and file to start the phase of mass civil disobedience. Gandhi presented an ultimatum to the government but as the government did not respond he started to initiate the civil disobedience movement in Bardoli taluqa of Surat district. Unfortunately at this time the tragedy of Chauri Chaura occurred which changed the course of the movement. A mob of 3,000 killed twenty-five policemen and one inspector. This was too much for Gandhi who stood for complete non-violence. The result was that he gave order for the suspension of the movement at once. Thus on 12 February 1922, the Non-Cooperation Movement came to an end.
As regards the limitations and achievements of the Non-Cooperation Movement, it apparently failed to achieve its object of securing the Khilafat and making good of the Punjab wrongs. The Swaraj was not attained in a year as promised. Still, the retreat that was ordered on 12 February 1922 was only a temporary one. The battle was over, but the war would continue.

Jallianwalla Baug Massacre

The Protest

As the Defence of India Act was to expire six months after the conclusion of the war, a new set of emergency measures for the detention and containment of 'terrorists' to meet what was termed the 'continuing threat' were planned by the Government of India. These measures were incorporated within the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, known to Indians as the Rowlatt Act after the name of the chairman of the committee that recommended the institution of this legislation. The government could not have known that the Rowlatt Act would become the occasion for the most widespread movement of opposition to British rule since the Rebellion of 1857-58 and indeed the springboard from which the movement for independence would be launched until India was to become irretrievably lost to the British. The Rowlatt Act provided for the trial of seditious crime by benches of three judges; the accused were not to have the benefit of either preliminary commitment proceedings or the right of appeal, and the rules under which evidence could be obtained and used were relaxed. Other preventive measures included detention without the levying of charges and searches without warrants. As the Rowlatt committee noted in its report, "punishment or acquittal should be speedy both in order to secure the moral effect which punishment should produce and also to prevent the prolongation of the excitement which the proceedings may set up."
The history of anti-terrorist legislation in colonial India by no means ends with the Rowlatt Act, but such of it as is here narrated suggests that much in the present legislation had already been anticipated.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre

Jalianwala Bagh massacre of April 13, 1919 was one of the most inhuman acts of the British rulers in India. The people of Punjab have gathered on the auspicious day of Baisakhi at Jalianwala Bagh, adjacent to Golden Temple (Amritsar), to lodge their protest peacefully against persecution by the British Indian Government. General Dwyer apeared suddenly with his armed police force and fired indiscriminately at innocent empty handed people leaving hundreds of people dead, including women and children. General Dwyer, the butcher of Jalianwala Bagh, was later murdered by Udham Singh to avenge this barbaric act.

Defence of India Act

The Cause

Action by armed revolutionaries, characterized as 'extremists' and 'terrorists', with supposed links abroad inspired new and more draconian legislation between 1905-1914, and the advent of World War I served as a pretext for strengthening the forces of the state, of course in the name of 'national security'. In 1908, the government passed the Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Act and the Explosives Substances Act, and shortly thereafter the Indian Press Act, the Criminal Tribes Act, and the Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act.
Although these pieces of legislation have not been etched into the pre-history of anti-terrorist legislation, the purported intent was to prevent 'terrorists' from calling public meetings, publishing material inciting the people to revolt, disseminating revolutionary literature, and so forth. In actual fact, as numerous studies have shown, the legislation was of such wide scope as to render suspect all political activity that was even mildly critical of the British Government of India, and it put an effective end to whatever freedom of expression the Indian press had been allowed. The Foreigners Ordinance of 1914, which restricted the entry of foreigners into India, accomplished the exclusion from India of men harboring evil designs towards the Government of India, ‘suspects’ in the official vocabulary. The 'foreign hand' theory, which is invoked with notorious monotony by the Indian state to the present day to account for the rise of secessionist and communal movements, owes its origins partially to this ordinance. Meanwhile, the Ingress into India Ordinance (1914) allowed the government to indefinitely detain and compulsorily domicile suspects, while the Defence of India Act (1915) allowed suspects to be tried by special tribunals sitting in camera whose decisions were not subject to appeal. Regulation III also continued to be available for the indefinite detention of suspects.

The Legislation

1915 legislation was designed to give the government of British India special powers to deal with revolutionary and German-inspired threats during World War I, especially in the Punjab. A special legal tribunal was set up to deal with such cases without prior commitment and with no appeal. Power was also taken for the internment of suspects.

The Home Rule

The Home Rule

On April 23, 1916 Bal Gangadhar Tilak formed The Home Rule League in Bombay. Six months later Mrs. Annie Besant founded the league in Madras. The Home Rule League became popular and it broke fresh ground even in small towns that hitherto had little or no political consciousness. Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mrs. Annie Besant, the two pivots of the movement, designed a new flag. It comprised five red and four green horizontal stripes arranged alternately, with seven stars denoting the Saptrishi configuration. On the left upper quadrant, towards the hoist it had the Union Jack, and on the upper right quadrant, towards the flag's fly there was a crescent and a star. It is believed to have been hoisted at the 1917 Congress session held in Calcutta for the first time.

Dr. Annie Besant – “New India”

Dr. Annie Besant is one of those foreigners who inspired the love of the country among Indians. She declared in 1918 in her paper "New India": "I love the Indian people as I love none other, and... My heart and my mind... have long been laid on the alter of the Motherland."Annie Besant, born of Irish parents in London on October 1, 1847, made India her home from November 1893. Dr. Besant, said Mahatma Gandhi, awakened India from her deep slumber. Before she came to India, Dr. Besant passed through several phases of life-housewife, propagator of atheism, trade unionist, feminist leader and Fabian Socialist. By 1889, "there was scarcely any modern reform (in England) for which she had not worked, written spoken and suffered. "Dr. Besant started the Home Rule League in India for obtaining the freedom of the country and reviving the country's glorious cultural heritage. She started a paper called "New India." She attended the 1914 session of the Indian National Congress and presided over it in 1917. She could not see eye to eye with Gandhiji in regard to the latter's satyagraha movement.
An orator and writer with poetic temperament, Dr. Besant was a veritable tornado of power and passion. By her eloquence, firmness of convictions and utter sincerity she attracted some of the best minds of the country for the national cause. She was largely responsible for the upbringing of the world-renowned philosopher K. Krishnamurti.
Dr. Besant died in 1933.

The Resolutions

The Resolutions

The occasion for a strong and sustained intervention arose when Lord Curzon became the Governor General of India. He was of the view that Indian education had grown too fast at the secondary and university stages, that its administration had become flabby because of undue freedom given to Indian private enterprise, that standards had deteriorated and that the uncontrolled expansion of secondary and higher education was leading to indiscipline and disaffection against Government. He was, therefore, of the view that the Government of India should no longer be a 'king log' and that a policy of intensive central interest in education must be enunciated and sustained. He created the office of the Director-General of Public Instruction in India under the Central Government (1897).
Lord Curzon also convened a Conference of the Directors of Public Instruction in the Provinces at Simla (1900), appointed the Indian Universities Commission (1902), passed the Indian Universities Act (1904) in the Central Legislature, and issued the Government Resolution on Educational Policy in 1904. He also initiated a system of large Central grants to the Provinces for educational development and these continued to be in vogue for several years afterwards. An Indian Education Service (IES) was also created in 1897 and its officers held all key posts in the Education Departments. A second Government of India Resolution on Educational Policy was also passed in 1913.
The two Resolutions of 1904 and 1913 may also be described as National Policies on Education and form a continuing sequence with the orders of Lord Bentinck, the Educational Despatch of 1854, and the Resolution of the Government [of India on the Recommendations of the Indian Education Commission (1884).

Shift of Imperial Capital

The Calcutta

The revolt of 1857 led to the British Crown assuming complete control of the Indian territories. Queen Victoria assumed the Government of India on 1st November 1858. Calcutta became the Royal Capital of India ruled by a Governor General and Viceroy. Queen Victoria became the Empress of India on 1st January 1877 and Calcutta became the Imperial Capital. The Government house was built between 1799-1803 by Lord Wellesley as he thought that India should be governed from a palace.
As the empire's second city, Calcutta's importance continued to increase and Calcutta became a municipality in 1852. Imposing buildings were built and Calcutta became the "city of palaces". The city got a telegraph line in 1851, railway service in 1854. The University of Calcutta was established in 1857. Public sewerage system in 1859, filtered water supply in 1860, horse drawn tram carriages in 1873, the Hogg Market in 1874, telephone exchange in 1882, electricity supply in 1899, followed by electric trams in 1902. Calcutta grew as an important Asian trading center with the East India Company having a monopoly in jute, tea, saltpetre, indigo and opium.

The Delhi

Delhi, the eternal capital city of India, has had a mixed fortune in governance since the decline of the Mughals. The aftermath of the events of 1857 reduced it to a provincial town of the Punjab, and amenities came to it because of the concerns for the British troops and officials stationed in and around Shahjahanabad, the Walled City. The first municipality of Delhi was created in 1863, ironically in order to "raise funds for the police and for conservancy and such other funds as the members may think fit to expend on works of improvements, education and other local objects..."
Yet, the city charmed Queen Victoria; she held a durbar here upon assuming the title of the Empress of India in 1877, though Calcutta was the capital of British India. Before the durbar was held in 1911 to commemorate the shifting of the capital of India to Delhi, Curzon too held a vice regal durbar in 1903. Obviously, the construction of the new Imperial capital in Delhi created a mixed structure for city governance in which the Central government had strong control.