INDIA 1900 - The Student Room

UNIT 2 – India 1900-1947 – TIMELINE
Indian nationalists
Campaign against Curzon’s partition
of Bengal
- Bengal was large, densely
populated & had always been
difficult to control
- Hindu west and mainly Muslimeast. Wanted to split the two for
efficiency, interests of admin
- nationwide protests, a number of
murders & a boycott of British
Simla Deputation. Muslim League formed
[Lord Curzon Viceroy 1899– 905]
He was convinced of the importance of India as
GB's "jewel in the crown". "For as long as we rule
India", he said, "we are the greatest power in the
Delhi Durbar
Liberals take power – Morley Sec. for India (Dec).
Lord Minto Viceroy 1905-10
Morley-Minto reforms (Indian Councils Act)
- 60 Indian representatives elected to serve
Viceroy's Executive Council, 27 of whom
were elected from territorial constituencies
& special interest groups; other 33 officials
working for the British.
- The provincial councils were enlarged to
create non-official majorities.
- Separate Muslim electorates created to
make sure the Muslim voice heard. Morley
appointed 2 Indians to his London-based
group of advisers & pressed Minto to also,
but he only appointed one.
- Impact/Reaction: Indians had more
opportunities to be consulted about policy
making in India and Britain.
- However, no acceptance of Indian self-gov
then and decisions could be overruled
Lord Hardinge Viceroy 1910-16
- British war effort supported by: the Princes, the
Muslim League, even Congress.
- 27 of the princely states immediately put their
Imperial Service Troops at the Viceroy's disposal.
- over 800,000 Indians joining the British armed
forces, exceeded expectation – highly motivated
- Impact: Strengthened case for Indian self-gov.
Contributed men and £146mil of Indian revenue
- Allies (esp. USA) said they were fighting for
freedom and self-determinations for people of
Europe. Why not India?
British Raj/world events
Home Rule Leagues set up by Anne
Besant. Gokhale dies in 1915. Fighting for
dominion status after Indian effort in war.
Mass following through rallies, pamphlets
etc. British worried and Besant interned
(imprisoned without trial) in 1917
Lucknow Pact.
- Nationalists movement
strengthened when the League
and Congress join, healing earlier
- Agreed to get fixed no. of seats in
parliament and where they were
Campaign against Rowlatt Acts; Amritsar
Following oppressive Rowlatt Acts,
Congress launches a campaign of protest
against it and was based on Gandhi’s
ideas of non-violence. Campaign meant
to be peaceful but led to violent incidents
as protestors confront British. Following
rioting, a peaceful demonstration takes
place in Amritsar in a defiance of a ban
on public meetings- In a confined space
General Dyer orders troops to open fire
leading to 379 deaths. Alienated many
Indians from British Raj.
Gandhi imprisoned. (Civil Disobedience
- In 1920 Gandhi’s influence so
great he persuades Congress to
adopt non-cooperation tactic and
get Swaraj in one year by making
India ungovernable.
- Done this by not paying taxes,
boycotting exams, lawyers not
- However, some Indians didn’t
understand morality of Satyagraha
and followed own agenda leading
to violence including station being
burnt down killing 22 police men
- Division between League and
Congress reopens at the end of
1922 and in 1924 League breaks
Lord Chelmsford Viceroy 1916-21- India stripped of
British troops, economic hardship, unrest for home
rule, made the Viceroy believing that situation could
become incontrollable and concessions were
needed to stop violence and encourage continuous
support for war. Leads to Montagu (secretary of
state of India) Declaration as British believe Indians
need to be rewarded for loyalty and sacrifice
Therefore, by the end of the war nationalists more
united and bigger and Gandhi becoming well known
figure. By 1920 he was leader of Congress.
Montagu Declaration – A landmark as first time selfgov had ever been accepted by the British as an
eventual goal, however, statement was vague and
gave no time frame
Montagu-Chelmsford reforms (1919 Gov. of India
Act). Rowlatt Acts
- Provincial councils further enlarged,
majority of elected members control local
education, health etc. However, final say
still with British.
- Reaction: Some welcomed it, however,
nationalists not satisfied and react by
boycotting elections and not voting in
- In unsettled atmosphere with eco problems
and influenza, gov. feared Bolshevik plots
and pass oppressive Rowlett acts despite
opposition from every Indian member of
ILC which allowed them to imprison
without trial and censorship. Alienated
Earl of Reading Viceroy 1921-6
- Worked in South Africa before coming back
to India
- By avoiding violence, he made it hard for
the British to deal with him as they prided
themselves on ruling according to law
- Dressed as Hindu holy man so had huge
appeal to Indian masses. Also backed
Khilafat movement to get support of
- However, as he was so Hindu, Muslims
began to feel that Gandhi was fighting for a
Hindu India leading them to start supporting
the League.
away from Congress and holds
separate meetings etc.
Breakdown between Congress and
Jinnah and 14-points
- Opponents of commission set up
conference to consider future
constitution (Nehru report)
- Alarms Jinnah as no guaranteed
voice for Indians as promised in
Lucknow pact.
- Jinnah proposes 14-points which
guaranteed a 3rd of seats being
reserved for Congress, however,
this was rejected as Congress felt
they could ignore him
Salt March
- Campaign thought up by Gandhi,
brilliantly simple and effective.
Were deliberately breaking up
gov. monopoly on the
manufacture of salt.
- Non-violent and attracted mass
people. Also got a lot of media
attention. Done this because gov.
introduced tax on salt (important
- Gandhi walks to Gujarat coast and
picks up sea salt (illegal) and
encourages everyone else to,
leading to mass arrests including
Gandhi and Nehru
Gandhi-Irwin Pact
- Both ides worn out, Viceroy Irwin fearing
Congress may turn to violence so holds
face to face talks with Gandhi leading to
Gandhi-Irwin pact
- Agreed that civil disobedience campaign
to be suspended, Gandhi has to attend next
Round Table conference and 19,000
Congress supporters released.
- Both could have said to have gained but
radicals in Congress believed Gandhi had
sold out and right wingers in England like
Churchill was furious a viceroy was
negotiating was Gandhi as an equal.
Lord Irwin Viceroy 1926-31 (in favour of more
concessions to Indians)
Simon Commission – A Parliamentary delegation
sent to review the working of the 1919 Gov. of India
- Reaction: Met by booing, mass
demonstrations etc.
- Angered Indians as showed them British
politicians will decide there fate, not Indians,
leading to Congress and the League
(Jinnah) not giving any info.
The Irwin Declaration:
- Conservative gov., which even opposed
dominion status, taken over by MacDonald’s
labour gov.
- The Irwin declaration was
- Asserted it’s ‘natural issue’ was to be the
‘attainment of dominion status’
- Indians also invited to London for Round
Table Conference.
1st Round Table Conference.
- Decided in favour of dominion status, but,
settled nothing as it wasn’t representative
- Congress didn’t attend as they thought
British would play of Congress against
people like the Prince’s (who attended)
- Division in Congress between moderates
(Would settle for Dominion status) and
radicals (wanted purna swaraj) were
growing, Gandhi supports radicals and
Nehru, rejecting the dominion status.
With Gandhi in jail a civil-disobedience campaign
also took place form 1930-31, the British struggled
to control them and Congress was also exhausted
leading to stalemate.
2nd Round Table Conference. Earl of Willingdon
Viceroy 1931-6
- Gandhi attends as sole representative of
Congress and claimed to speak for whole of
India, leading to the conference failing.
- His claim to speak for everyone dismissed by
Muslim and untouchable representatives who
wanted separate electorates (Gandhi rejected)
- Gandhi returns to India with diminished
reputation and British respond to unrest by
more oppressive policies.
- Gandhi Imprisoned, Congress outlawed etc.
Indians react by boycotting British goods etc.
After conference, a communal award was
given which would become a part of any
future constitution. It was separate
electorates for Muslims, Sikhs,
untouchables etc. Gandhi responded with
fast unto death.
Government of India Act
- British answer to issue of Indian
Self-gov. Put though Commons
by Stanley Baldwin, who believed
Indian demands couldn’t be
ignored. Opposed by Churchill as
he believed Indians unfit to
govern themselves etc.
- Terms were no.of provinces
increased from 8 to 11 giving
provincial gov. power over
everything apart from foreign
policy and defence.
- Federation planned with elected
federal parliament (Princes
refuse to join and idea
abandoned in 1939)
- I in 6 adults could vote, separate
electorates for minority groups.
Congress-led provincial governments
resign in protest at India being taken into
WW2 without consulting any Indians
(showed they were still the master and
called into question any of its previous
concessions. Gandhi said they should
negotiate peacefully with Germans, even
though everyone including Nehru knew
this was unrealistic. They said they would
willingly fight if they were granted
independence. The Congress Working
Committee’s resolution – (a freely
democratic India will freely associate
herself with other free nations for mutual
defence against aggression...). Indian
independence was last thing on British
mind so was rejected,
Lahore Declaration - Muslim League
calls for an independent Muslim state.
Some aspects were not clear, were the
Bengal and Punjab going to be
independent or self-governing parts of
India (as they were in opposite ends of
India). Always going to be difficult as
Muslims lived in Hindu areas and some
Hindu’s lived in Muslim areas. (Jinnah
used the hostage theory)
Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ campaign – Gandhi
believed the time had come for
Independence, differences to big.
However, Viceroy still in place and
retained the key powers in control of
defence and foreign policy but had an
Executive committee of mainly Indians
Reactions: Failed to satisfy many nationalists.
Congress wanted ‘purna swaraj’, wanted
strong central gov. not provincial gov. and
rejected reserved seats for minorities.
League rejected as didn’t give Muslims
enough power
Despite opposition, this was an opportunity for
Congress who won the vote in 9 of the 11
provincial elections making them effectively a
partner in gov. with British.
Marquess of Linlithgow Viceroy 1936-43
22 Dec was the day in which the last Congress
provincial ministry abandoned its post, Jinnah
labelled this day the ‘day of deliverance’. Jinnah
said this was the day to celebrate Muslim release
from Hindu bondage.
Congress reaction to this – Condemned it, Gandhi
tried to appeal to Jinnah, and Nehru also
denounced the idea of Pakistan.
Muslims reaction to war – Jinnah supported the
Raj- August Offer – was a statement from the
viceroy placing the Muslim League at the centre of
any decision regarding the future of India. It was
also made clear that Congress did not represent
Cripps Mission – Under-pressure from the US to
grant independence to India so Churchill sends
send Cripps (Labour, friend of Nehru and Gandhi,
Congress faced a dilemma, support the
campaign during the war were the
enemies could possible win, or give
Jinnah the upper hand; they decided to
back Gandhi and Swaraj. It was d
delayed decision and due to this the
British were given time to prepare.
Congress leaders arrested. Gandhi tells
his supporters to ‘go out to die, not to
live’. Led to a lot of violence, 3000 serious
injuries result. As this was threatening
supplies during the war, the British used
the RAF who dropped flares, maybe the
machine gun and 35000 troops made
available. Overall, the campaign didn’t
paralyse gov and just bought despair and
Failure of Simla conference. Churchill’s
gov ready to make another attempt to
settle India due to debt to India etc.
Similar to the Cripps mission however
Executive council will be chosen to give
balanced representation of main
communities (equal number of Indians
and Muslims). Was rejected due to
Jinnah’s insistence that all Muslims of the
Executive council should be voted by the
League and Congress stating they were
the exclusive party
Elections; deadlock between Congress &
Muslim League over partition.
Muslim League’s ‘Day of Action’ leads to
rioting in Calcutta & across India. Viceroy
Wavell worried due to Congress
effectively control 3quarters of provincial
gov due to gov on India Act 1935 and
police seemed likely to be loyal to those
who were more likely to be in power.
Atlee declares Britain will leave India by
1948.Viscount Mountbatten Viceroy
1947(Had to try and avoid partition. Had
sympathy for Nationalist movement, a
man of action, could make tough
decisions, didn’t have much time and if
terms couldn’t be agreed they would
sympathetic to India) to lead a delegation to India.
He offered full dominion status after the war, India
can elect an assembly to frame new constitution
etc. Gandhi, Congress rejected this as they were
not willing for states to be able to opt out of India.
However, didn’t work as Indians wanted
At the end of the war, Muslims and Indian were
split, Muslim League grew in power and the British
showed they could still hold India with force.
Viscount Wavell Viceroy 1933-47
Labour election victory –Atlee replaces Churchill.
Traditional links between Labour and Congress.
A Cabinet Mission was sent by Labour to try and
secure a deal which was close to everyone
accepting but a speech by Nehru derailed any
hope. They suggested a United India would be
better. A 2nd Simla Conference held so they could
run through Cabinet Missions proposal. There
would be an all Indian Union responsible for
Defence, foreign policy etc. 3 clusters of Provincial
gov (Congress Hindu places like Bombay,
predominantly Muslim areas like the Punjab and the
Bengal with a mix of religions) who would all have
their own gov responsible for day-to-day things and
a all Indian union. Congress and League accepted
but Nehru’s speech (were he said once congress
control all Indian union they could do whatever they
like and that the Muslim groups will fall apart) led to
Jinnah withdrawing a calling for a day of Direct
Action (1946).
Britain in economic problems, owe India army
money, India had no economic benefit anymore as
British textiles lost their market their.
Nehru sworn in as Prime Minister of interim gov and
Jinnah persuaded to join the gov to try and secure
a separate Pakistan.
Congress accepts partition.
Plan Balkan – First plan that was bought up by
Mountbatten nut Nehru pointed out it would cause
anarchy (he got a look in and Jinnah didn’t ,
A final plan was now produced as they were
leave power to the existing central and
provincial governments. They wanted
India to be there ally and also united due
to the USSR threat of expanding in the
South East. (also needed to keep contact
with commonwealth and oilfields in middle
east). Mountbatten convinced partition the
only way as Nehru and Jinnah said
unless problem I resolved soon, they
won’t be able to control it. Muslim
threatened Civil War if they didn’t get
Pakistan. Violence in Punjab breaks down
between Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.
Gandhi was irrelevant by now, many
people mainly Muslims weren’t bothered
by him anymore.
. Partition & independence for India &
desperate to get out of India and to do this had to
please Jinnah (partition) and Nehru. Riots
everywhere, steel frame of the ICS which held India
together in the early years had fallen apart.
Mountbatten takes the final plan for partition to
London and gets the parliamentary approval.
The boundary commission was led by Sir Cyril
Radcliffe who knew nothing about India and some
of the maps he was given to work with were out of
date, had 5 weeks to draw up a boundary.
Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs terrified in case they
were on the wrong side of the boundary and most
the Muslims heading left were killed by Hindus and
Sikhs and the Hindu’s and Sikhs moving West were
killed by Muslims (around 1 mil massacred)
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