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History of India

Modern Indian History (Part - 2)

Rise of Indian Nationalism

Spread of western education and thought through English language, which was made the medium of instruction in schools and colleges in 1835 were the root cause of the rise of the Indian nationalism. Socio-religious reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, etc., created self-confidence among the Indians in themselves and respect for their own religions and culture.

  • In 1893 Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) arrived in the city of Chicago in America with great diffculty, to attend the World Parliament of Religion. In the conference, he was given two minutes to speak on the very first day.
  • In his speech he painted an indelible picture of the culture, religion and knowledge of India. It goes without saying that the credit for establishing a spiritual base for Indian renaissance goes to Swami Vivekananda.
  • In the Parliament of Religions he proclaimed that the Hindu religion was about developing a humanitarian approach to religion and that it was full of the elements of humanism. Thus, he opposed any form of blind faith.
  • The return of Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950) to India, after 14 years stay in England in January 1893, was also significant, as he was the one who provided direction to the spiritual and political ideology of India.
  • In a series of articles, published in 1893, called ‘New Lamp for Old’ he severely criticised the loyality of the Congressmen, their timid language and their inclination towards considering the English rule as a boon.
  • The year 1893 was an important year in the life of Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). This was the year when he went to South Africa in connection with the trial of a Merchant, Abdulla Seth.
  • From the point of view of revolutionary activities also the year 1893 became an important landmark. In Nasik, the Chapekar brothers set up a secret society named as the Society for the Removal, of Obstacles to the Hindu Religion.
  • In 1892 Indian Council’s Act was passed but it rejected the idea of direct election to Central Legislative Councils.
  • In 1892 the value of Indian rupee was reduced from two shilling to one shilling and two pence. Consequently, Indian wealth started flowing speedily towards England. In 1901, the Home charges, (expenses incurred on Indian affairs in England) came to the tune of £ 17 million.
  • The government did not do much to help the people. Only a commission was appointed which tried Bal Gangadhar Tilak for, treason (1897) and sentenced him to 18 months of imprisonment.
  • In 1904, the Administrative Secrecy Act was passed. According to this Act a breach in official secret was considered a criminal offence and was to be punished. Similarly, the freedom of the press was curbed.
  • In 1904, Indian Universities Act was passed which increased government control on the universities. The period of Lord Curzon witnessed another terrible famine during 1899-1900. But he never paid any heed to it and held a Royal Durbar in Delhi in 1903 in order to commemorate the coronation of Edward-VII, which was an expensive affair.
  • The announcement of partition of Bengal on 20 July, 1905 was the ultimate explosion that shook the nationalists and the moderates.
  • Lokmanya Tilak also inspired the ideals of Swarajva, patriotism and personal duty by saying that, “swarajya or self-rule is important for carrying out one’s duties, Without swarajya, social reform, industrial progress, useful education and national life are not possible.
  • Bipin Chandra Pal used the name of Kali and Durga in Bengal to inspire the feelings of self-confidence, self-sacrifice and self-pride amongst the people.
  • In 1896, the victory of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) over Italy, and in 1904-1905 the victory of a small nation like Japan over a big country like Russia encouraged the Indians.
  • The victory of Japan over Russia was considered as the victory of East over West. It also ended the dream of western superiority and led to the flow of confidence, sacrifice, patriotism and self-esteem amongst the Indians.
  • Introduction of the printing press which became the chief instrument for the nationalist Indians to spread the message of patriotism and modern liberal ideas. Reactionary regime of Lord Lytton (1876-­80) gave Indian nationalism a visible form, while the Ilbert Bill Controversy (1883) gave it an organized form.

Partition of Bengal

  • Curzon’s imperialist policy of ‘divide and rule’ manifested itself most glaringly in the partition of Bengal. As regards its necessity, many arguments were proffered before affecting the partition. According to the Britishers the area and population of the Province of Bengal was too large.

  • There was a problem of communication. The network of railways in the province was scarce. Highways were not safe. The incidences of theft and dacoity were rampant. The peasants of this province were a harassed lot.

  • But actually the cause behind the partition was much more political than administrative. Bengal was becoming the nerve centre ‘of nationalist activities in India. In 1874 Assam had been made into a separate province.

  • In 1903 Andrew Frazer, after becoming the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, gave a practical shape to William Ward’s proposal and suggested the merger of Dacca, Mymensingh and Chittagong with Assam. In the same year Curzon endorsed the plan.

  • The Government of India formally proposed the partition of Bengal on 19 July, 1905. According to this proposal Chittagong, Rajshahi and Dacca were merged with Assam to form the new province. Curzon announced the partition of Bengal on 16 October, 1905.

  • From the contemporary speeches of Lord Curzon also it becomes apparent that he wanted to weaken the spirit of nationalism among the Indians by driving a wedge between the Hindus and the Muslims.

  • Surendranath Banerjee likened the declaration of the partition to a bomb shell and regarded it as a systematic assault on the traditions, language and history of Bengal.

  • The famous newspaper from London, ‘The Daily News’ also appealed the Secretary of State to immediately stay the order of partition.

  • Since 16 October, 1905, the reactions against the partition of Bengal started taking shape. This day was observed as a ‘Black Day’. People took holy dip in the Ganga and kept vows. They also tied Rakhi in each other’s hand as symbol of unity.

  • The day partition took effect -16th October 1905 -was declared a day of mourning throughout Bengal. People fasted and no fires were lit at the cooking hearth. In Calcutta a strike was called. People took out processions and band after band walked barefoot, bathed in the Ganges in the morning and then paraded the streets singing

  • Vande Mataram which almost spontaneously, became the theme song of the movement. People tied rakhis on each other’s hands as a symbol of the unity of the two halves of Bengal. Later in the day Anandmohan Bose and Surendranath Banerjea addressed two huge meetings which drew crowds of 50,000 to 75,000 people. These were, perhaps, the largest mass meetings ever to be held under the nationalist banner this far. Within few hours of the meetings, a sum of Rs. 50,000 was raised for the movement.

  • Surendranath Banerjea, Krishna Kumar Mitra, Prithwishchandra Ray and other leaders launched a powerful press campaign against the partition proposals through journals and newspapers like the Bengalee, Hitabadi and Sanjibani.

  • Vast protest meetings were held in the town hall of Calcutta in March 1904 and January 1905, and numerous petitions (sixty nine memoranda from the Dhaka division alone), some of them signed by as many as 70,000 people -a very large number keeping in view the level of politicization in those days -were sent to the Government of India and the Secretary of State. Even, the big zamindars who had hitherto been loyal to the Raj, joined forces with the Congress leaders who were mostly intellectuals and political workers drawn from journalism, law and other liberal professions.

Swadeshi Movement

It began as a anti-partition agitation in Bengal and boycott was first suggested by Krishnakumar Mitra in Sanjivni in 1905. The boycott of British products was followed by the advocacy of swadeshi and to buy indigenously produced goods as a patriotic duty.

Stages of Swadeshi Movement

  • 1905-1909— Movement confined lo Bengal & launched as a protest movement.
  • 1909-1910—Countrywide spread of movement & launching of anti colonial movement
  • 1910-1911—Swadeshi movement merged with revolutionary terrorist movement of 1st phase & led to foundation of numerous secret associations.


  • To encourage indigeneous industries, some Swadeshi Enterprises were setup viz. Calcutta Potteries, Bengal Chemicals and Bengal Lakshmi Cotton Mills. Swadeshi melas or lairs were held for selling handicrafts
  • Charkha (spinning wheel) came to typify the popular concern for country’s economic self-sufficiency.
  • The ‘Carlyle Circular’ withdrew giants and scholarships to educational institutions. Hence, Nationalist educational institutes were founded, e.g. Bengal Technical Institute, Bengal National College and School with Aurobindo Ghosh as its Principal
  • Rabindranath Tagore called for the observance of raksha-bandhan as a symbol of brotherhood
  • A large number of volunteer bodies or Samitis were founded. Swadesh Bandhav Samiti of Barisal founded by Ashwini Dint was the largest.
  • Anushilan Society had two branches. Pulin Das led the Dacca branch. Birendra Ghosh and Jatin Banerjee led the Calcutta Branch.

Moderate-led Anti-Partition Movement (1903-05)

  • Under Surendranath Banerjee, K.K.Mitra. Prithwish Chandra Kay.
  • Public meeting, petitions, memoranda, propaganda through newspapers and pamphlets.

Movement under Extremists (1905-08)

  • Led by Tilak. Bipin Chandra Pal. Lajpat Rai, and Aurobindo Ghosh.
  • The political extremists demanded self-government for India, not under British tutelage or British Paramountcy (as the Moderates wished), but by severing all British connections, and wiping off British influences. Methods included boycott of foreign cloth and other goods, public meeting and
  • Processions, forming corps of volunteers or samitis.
  • Use of traditional popular festivals and melas for propaganda.
  • Emphasis on self-reliance or atma shakti.
  • Launching programme of swadeshi or national education, swadeshi or indigenous enterprises.
  • Initialing new trends in Indian painting, songs, poetry, pioneering research in science.
  • Call for boycott of schools, colleges, councils, government service, etc.
  • The students of Bengal played a prominent part. They practiced & propagated Swadeshi.
  • Remarkable aspect was the involvement of women.
  • Many prominent Muslims including Abdul Rasul, Liaquat Hussain. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad also joined the movemen
  • Tilak played the leading role in spreading the movement lo the rest of the country.

Impact of Swadeshi Movement

  • Swadeshi movement was stepping stone of Nationalist movement. which led to beginning of organized political movement in India.
  • Rise of Neo-Nationalistsmvt
  • Surat split
  • Revival of indigenous industries
  • Boycott of foreign goods Cultural
  • Revival & emergence of nationalist art & literature
  • Concept of national education

Regional Variations

  • Bihar and United Provinces were quiet
  • B C Pal in Madras led Vande Mat ram Movement.
  • Lala Lajpal Rai and Ajit Singh led the movement in Punjab
  • Tilak began the Swadesh Vastra Pracharni Sabine
  • Savarkar founded the Mitra Mela
  • Tilak was imprisoned for 6 years in Mandalay jail and was released in 1914.

Most Important Achievement

“ A leap forward” because hitherto untouched sections participated, major trends of‘ later movement emerged; richness of the movement extended to culture, science and literature; people educated in bolder form of politics; colonial hegemony undermined. Failure of Swadeshi Movement by 1908.

  • Severe government repression. .
  • Lack of effective organization of all leaders
  • Spin in nationalist ranks
  • The Swadeshi leaders refrained from rallying the peasants.
  • Narrow social base.

Acts Passed by the Government to Suppress the Movement

  • Seditious meetings Act (1907)
  • Criminal Law (Amendment) Act (1008)
  • Indian Newspapers (Incitement lo Offences) Act (1908)
  • Explosive Substances Act (1908)
  • Indian Press Act (1910)
  • The Swadeshi movement had its origin in the anti-partition movement. The cries of Bande Mataram reverberate across the whole of Bengal. Everyone pledged to boycott the foreign clothes and adopt in its place Swadeshi clothes. Thus, the movement against the partition of Bengal soon became a Swadeshi movement. People from all communities took part in this movement wholeheartedly. Gradually, the movement spread to other provinces of the country. For example at Amritsar and Rawalpindi in Punjab many meetings were organised in support of Swadeshi and to boycott British goods.

  • Although it is a fact that Bengal with a population of 78 million had become administratively difficult to manage, the real motive for partitioning Bengal was political. Bengal was the nerve­centre of Indian nationalism and the partition was intended to fracture that strength. The struggle for freedom received an impetus with the start of the Swadeshi movement. People from all walks of life joined in and became actively involved in politics. This movement also saw the emergence of all the major political trends of the national movement.

  • The Swadeshi period saw the creative use of traditional popular festivals and melas as a means of reaching out to-the masses. The Ganapati and Shivali festivals, popularized by Tilak, became a medium for Swadeshi propaganda not only in western India but also in Bengal.

  • Rabindranath’s contribution lay in the fact that he prepared his people mentally and emotionally for the Swadeshi movement. He himself plunged into action at the very start. Besides making public speeches, he wrote profusely in Bangla periodicals - essays, short stories, poems aspiring the Bengali mind.

  • The other great contribution was his musical compositions. His patriotic songs swayed the Bengali heart with its lyrical and melodic quality, touching a chord within and filling them with love and pride for their country.

Achievements of the Movement

Economic Achievements:- Self-reliance also meant an effort to set up Swadeshi QS indigenous enterprises. The period saw a mushrooming of Swadeshi textile mills, soap and match factories, tanneries, banks, insurance companies, shops, etc.,While many of these enterprises, whose promoters were more endowed with patriotic zeal than ,with business acumen were unable to survive for long, some others such as Acharya P.C. Ray’s Bengal Chemicals Factory, became successful and famous. Further, the economic policy followed by the British had reduced the Indian craftsmen to a status of farm labourers. As a result of this movement, these craftsmen got their work back.

Cultural Achievements:- It was, perhaps, in the cultural sphere that the impact of the Swadeshi Movement was most marked. The songs composed at that time by Rabindranath Tagore, Rajani Kanta Sen, Dwijendralal Ray, Mukunda Das, moved Abu Mohammed and others later became the moving spirit for nationalists of all hues. Rabindranath’s Amar Sonar Bangla, written at that time, was to inspire liberation struggle of Bangladesh later and was adopted as the national anthem of that country in 1971. The Swadeshi influence could be seen in Bengali folk music, popular among masses. It evoked collections of Indian fairy tales such as Thakurmar Jhuli (Grandmother’s Tales) written by Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumdar which, delights Bengali children to this day.

Political Achievements:- This movement created great enthusiasm amongst the masses at large. The students boycotted government schools and colleges, organized meetings and demonstrations, picketed the shops and burnt foreign goods: Even the women jumped into the field and marched shoulder to shoulder with men in processions, demonstrations, meetings, prabhat pheris, picketing and bonfires. Thus, it encouraged nationalism and patriotism amongst the masses.

Aurbindo Ghosh (1872-1950)

  • He launched a systematic criticism of moderate politics through a series of articles entitled ‘New Lamps for Old’ (1893-94), while serving as a lecturer in Baroda. Sri Aurobindo left Baroda to work in the National College in Calcutta with a view to make education compatible to the national needs.

  • He played an important role in the Anti­Partition movement. Later he became the principal of the Bengal National College started in Calcutta in 1906 as part of the Scheme of national education.

  • He was arrested by the British in 1908 due to his involvement in the Kennedy murders, following which he escaped to Pondicherry in 1910 and concentrated on philosophical, spiritual and literary activities. Some of his books were Savitri (the longest epic poem in English), The Life Divine, etc.

  • His two revolutionary plans, the development of national education and the editing of Bande Mataram, lent exceptional momentum to this movement.The National College in Calcutta had been established on 14 August, 1906.

  • Sri Aurobindo’s second revolutionary contribution was the editing of the Bande Mataram paper. On 6 August 1906, it started as an English daily but later on a weekly edition of the paper was also brought out from 2 June, 1907. Both the daily as well as the weekly editions remained in circulation till 29 October, 1908.

Extrimist Nationalist Phase

  • The Indian youth had come to lose faith in the constitutional methods adopted by its moderate leadership. Two brothers - Damodar and Balkrishna Chapekar began the process of revolutionary activities in India.

  • They formed the ‘Hindu Dharma Sangrakshini Sabha’ in 1893 and started celebrating the birthday of Shivaji and Ganesh Utsavs. It was a time when the city of Pune was facing a terrible situation because of the plague epidemic.In 1896-97 the Chapekar brothers had set up a gymnasium in Pune.

  • The Commissioner of the Pune, Rand and and Lt. Ayrst instead of helping plague infested people were more interested in spreading terror. The Chapekar brothers were aghast at their behaviour and decided to assassinate the two officers, which they did on the very day, (22 June, 1897).

  • The British government arrested the Chapekar brothers on the basis of a first hand report and hanged them.

  • The Savarkar brothers (Ganesh Savarkar, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Narayana Savarkar), like the Chapekar brothers had been infused with a sense of patriotism since their very childhood.

  • Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966) was one of the greatest revolutionaries in the history of India.He was perhaps the first individual who had set fire to foreign clothes and the first student to have been rusticated from a government aided school because of his patriotism.

  • He had protested against organising a condolence meeting (in January 1901) on the death of Queen Victoria. He had also described the coronation ceremony of Edward VII, as a celebration of slavery, show / allegiance to foreign rule and betrayal of the country and the nation.

  • To give shape to his patriotic ideas, V.D. Savarakar had also founded a society known as ‘Abhinav Bharat’. After doing his B.A. lie went to London to study Law. There he organised the New India Association.

  • The India House had been founded by Shyamji Krishna Verma.

  • On 10 May, 1907, Savarkar decided to celebrate the golden jubilee of the revolt of 1857 at the India House. He also published a book on the revolt of 1857 in Marathi, pronouncing it as India’s First War of Independence.

  • In Bengal an organisation by the name of Anushilan Samiti was founded. Aurobindo Ghosh, Barindra Kumar Ghosh, B.P. Mitra, Abinash Bhattacharya and Bhupendranath Dutta were some of its prominent revolutionary members.

  • Barindra Kumar Ghosh and Bhupendranath Dutta had started the paper Yugantar in 1906 in which they had implored the country’s youth to begin an armed revolution.

  • An attempt was made on 30 April, 1908 to assassinate Kingsford, the District Judge of Muzaffarpur (Bihar) .

  • A 15-year old youth, Khudiram Bose had been entrusted with the task of throwing the bomb at his vehicle. But in place of Kingsford, Mrs. Kennedy and her daughter were travelling by the vehicle. Unfortunately, it were they who got killed in the incident. On 11 August, 1908 Khudiram inspite of being a minor was hanged to death while his associate Prafulla Chaki shot himself.

  • The Kisan movements were launched by Lajpat Rai and Sardar Ajit Singh had brought about a tremendous upsurge in nationalist consciousness. The Kisan movements were primarily the results of the economic hardship, which the farmers of Punjab were facing on account of the passing of the 1906 Land Bill, Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Act and heavy increase in the water tax.

  • In 1911, Delhi was formally declared the future capital of the British ­India. A big procession was taken out on 23 December, 1912 in Delhi to celebrate the occasion. Lord Hardinge himself was seated on a bedecked elephant. But when the procession was passing through Chandni Chowk some revolutionaries threw a bomb at the procession from a nearby house. Lord Hardinge somehow escaped with minor injuries but his attendant, who was carrying the umbrella, died on the spot and the procession broke up in a great commotion.

  • 13 people were ultimately arrested among whom Master Amir Chand. Dina Nath, Bihari Lal, Bal Mukund, Basant Kumar Biswas, Hanumant Sahai, Balraj etc. were prominent. Coming under pressure Dina Nath became a Government approver.

  • Lala Hardayal (1884-1938) had played an important role in the Gadar movement of 1915. America was the main centre of this movement though enough efforts were made to spread its activities in India as well.

  • Kamagata Maru:- A number of representatives came to India in this connection. The ship Kamagata Maru reached Hughli on 26 September, 1914 with 351 passengers on board. As per the ordinance passed on 29 August of the same year any one coming to India without valid permission could be considered illegal. Therefore, an attempt was made to prevent the entry of the passengers of Kamagata Maru into India. At Budge Budge near Calcutta the ship was searched following which a clash took place. 18 passengers on board were killed and 25 others were injured.

  • The prominent Indian Revolutionary in England was Shyamji Krishna Verma. In England, he had started a scheme of scholarship for Indian students to continue Indian nationalist activities. His ‘India House’ had thus become a centre of Indian revolutionaries like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Sardar Singh Rana, Madam Bhikaji Kama and Madanlal Dhingra.

  • Sardar Singh Rana remained associated with the revolutionary paper like Bande Mataram, Indian Freedom and Talwar. Madam Kama held aloft the flag of Indian freedom by taking part in International Conference at Stutteguard in Germany on 18 August, 1907.

  • It was in America that the Gadar Movement had taken its birth on 1st November, 1913 when Lala Hardayal had setup the Gadar Party at San Francisco. Sohan Singh Bhakna was the first President of this party. Lala Hardayal himself had been elected as its General Secretary and Kashiram as its treasures. A paper by the name of ‘Gadar’ was also brought out by this party after sometime.

  • Raja Mahendra Pratap had even setup a Government in exile for India’s independence in Kabul. This government had sought to achieve its aim with the support of countries like Germany, Turkey, Iran, Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Demands of Moderates and Extremists

The Moderates

  • It demanded mild constitutional reforms, economic relief, administrative reorganization and protection of civil rights.
  • A strong point made by the nationalists during this phase was about the economic drain of India.
  • Political methods of the moderates were constitutional agitations within four walls
  • Moderates believed that the british people & parliament wanted to be just lo India but did not know the true state of affairs.
  • Organisation of the provincial councils,
  • Simultaneous holding of examinations for the I.C.S in India and England.
  • Reconstitution of the Indian Council, 1892
  • The separation of (he judiciary from the executive, and the repeal of the Arms Act,
  • The appointment of Indians to the . commissioned ranks in the Army,
  • The reduction of military expenditure etc.
  • Indianisation of higher grades of the administrative services on economic, political & moral grounds During the first twenty years (1885-1905) there was practically no change in the Congress programme. The leaders were cautious in their demands. They did not want to annoy the government and incur the risk of suppression.

To pacify them, the government was forced to pass the Indian Councils Act, 1892 but the moderates raised the slogan No taxation without representation. However, during this period, a general impression grew (hat the Moderates were political mendicants. only petitioning and praying to the British Government for petty concessions.

This was because early Congress leaders believed that the presence of the British administration was important for continued political progress in India

The Extremists

Ideological Basis of Extremism

Attachment to rationalism and western ideals had almost alienated the ‘Liberal’ (Moderate) school from the masses in India.

Socio-religious reform also influenced the extremists ideology Movements like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his disciple, Swami Vivekananda Swami Dayananda, and the Arya Samaj founded by him with a strong emphasis in native pride, played a vital role in the birth o( extremist philosophy. They derived inspiration from their traditional cultural values wanted to have relations with other countries in terms of quality and self-respect. They opposed the Moderates who were considered by them to be servile and respectful to the British. They gave a call for passive resistance in addition to Swadeshi & boycott

  • Social Reform Movements like Arya Samaj and Theosophical Society gave impetus to political radicalism. The political radicals derived inspiration from their traditional cultural values.
  • There were three groups of extremists— The Maharashtra Group (headed by Bal Gangadhar Tilak), The Bengal Group (represented by B C Pal and Aurobindo) and the Punjab group (led by Lala Laipat Rai,)
  • Aurobindo published New Lamps for Old in the indu Prakash in 1853-94. It was the first systematic critique of the Moderates
  • Tilak resented any interference by an alien government into the domestic and private life of the people. He quarreled with the reformers over the Age of Consent Bill in 1891.
  • Tilak asserted, Swaraj is My Birth Right and I will have it’. He was also the editor of the Maratta (English) and the Kesari (Marathi)

Reasons for the Emergence of Extremists

1. Realization that the true nature of British rule was exploitative
2. International influences and events, which demolished the myth of while/European supremacy. These included —

  • Abyssinia’s (Ethiopia) victory over Italy.
  • Boer Wars (1899-1802) in which the British faced reverses.
  • Japan’s victory over Russia (I905).
  • Nationalist movements worldwide.

3. Dissatisfaction with the achievements of Moderates.
4. Reactionary policies of Curzon such as the Calcutta Corporation Act (1899). the Official Secrets Act (1904), the Indian Universities Act (1904) and partition of Bengal (1905).
5. Existence of a militant school of thought and the emergence of a trained leadership.

Differences between the Moderates & the Extremists

Moderates. Constituted of zamindars and upper middle classes in towns. Believed that the movement should be limited to middle class intelligentsia and that the masses were not yet ready for participation in political work. Inspired by western liberal thought and European history. Professed loyalty to the British Crown, believed in England’s providential mission in India believed and that political connections with Britain to be in India’s social. political and cultural interests. Demanded constitutional reforms and share for Indians in services and insisted Oil the use of constitutional methods only.

Extremists. Constituted of educated middle and lower middle classes in towns and had immense faith in the capacity of masses to participate and to make sacrifices. Inspired by Indian history, cultural heritage and Hindu traditional symbols. Believed that political connections with Britain would perpetuate British exploitation of India and rejected ‘providential mission theory’ as an illusion. Demanded swaraj as the panacea for India ills.Did not hesitate to use extra constitutional methods like boycott and passive resistance to achieve their objectives.

Muslims in Nationalist Movement

The ‘divide and rule’ policy pursued by the British-India Government caused a chasm to grow between the two communities. With the passage of time, this chasm only widened to ultimately result in the partition of the country.

Aligarh Movement

  • Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan was born in 1817 in Delhi. His father was an officer in the court of the Mughals. Later in 1837, he enrolled himself in the services of the East India Company and soon became a sub­judge.

  • He felt that the relations of the Muslims with the British should be improved and, therefore, he brought out a paper with the title of the ‘Loyal Muhammadans of India. He also inspired the Muslims to adopt the Western education and the Western mode of scientific thinking.

  • He brought out an Urdu Paper with the title of ‘Tahaib-al-Akhlaq’. In 1875 he founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College’ at Aligarh, which later grew into the Aligarh Muslim University in 1920.

  • He persistently opposed practices as polygamy and the subordinate position of women within the Muslim Society. He also opposed the system of Purdah among the Muslim women. The orthodox Muslims got enraged at this and even threatened to kill him on a few occasions.

  • The above movement launched by Sayyid Ahmad Khan came to be known as the Aligarh Movement after the name of the famous centre of education at Aligarh.

  • He also founded the ‘Patriotic Association’ with the assistance of Raja Shivprasad of Banaras. Sayyid Ahmad Khan used to believe in Hindu-Muslim unity. He used to regard India as a beautiful bride of whom the Hindus and Muslims were two glowing eyes.

  • In general, the Islamic reform movement in India remained dominated by them. Therefore, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan and his ideals of modern education came under severe criticism from these people.

Deoband Movement

  • On 30 May, 1866, being influenced by the above ideology, Maulana Qasim Nanautavi founded the ‘Dar-ul-Ullema’ madarsa at Deoband. Though at first it had been named as ‘Madrasa Islamia Arabia’, yet the name was soon changed.

  • Stating the objectives of the ‘Dar-ul-Uloom’, Tayyab Sahib in his book wrote’: “The objectives of our education are to prepare such young people who would be Indians from the point of view of race and colour and Islamic in their hearts and minds and who would have within them Islamic qualities and attributes from the point of view of religion and politics.”

  • In 1885, when the Indian National Congress was established, the Dar­ul-Uloom also took upon itself the challenges of launching a Jihad (holy war) against the British.The Dar-ul-Uloom considered India as ‘Dar-ul-Harb’ because of the presence of a large number of English people in India and therefore spoke of cooperating with the Hindus.

  • The Deoband leaders also promulgated a fatwa (a religious decree) in 1888 against the Moharmmadan Anglo-Oriental Association as well as the United Indian Patriotic Association founded by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan.

  • An 1919, Mufti Liyaqat Ullah Sahib founded the ‘Jamaitul Ulema-i-Hind’ to work along with other top leaders in this direction. In the Khilafal movement particularly his role remained very active.

  • Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan had tried his best to win over the sympathy and cooperation of the British through his writings and speeches. In his book, ‘Asbab-e-Bagawat-e-Hind’, he had described Bahadur Shah II as ‘foolish’ and had called those sections of the Muslim population who had given a call for Jihad against the British, as ‘cunning Maulvis of low birth’.

  • It was due to his efforts that in 1875, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Queen Victoria, a college had been established in Aligarh, which had soon become the centre of reform movements.


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