A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum) PDF

A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum) PDF

A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum) PDF

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    Spectrum's A brief history of MODERN INDIA

    The Revolt of 1857 The revolt of 1857 was a product of the character and policies of rule. The cumulative effect of British expansionist policies, economic exploitation and administrative innovations over the years had adversely affected the positions of all— rulers of Indian states, sepoys, zamindars, peasants, traders, artisans, pundits, maulvis, etc. The simmering discontent burst in the form of a violent storm in 1857 which shook the British empire in India to its very foundations. The causes of the revolt emerged from all aspects— socio-cultural, economic and political—of daily existence of Indian population cutting through all sections and classes. These causes are discussed below.
    ECONOMIC CAUSES The colonial policies of the East India Company destroyed the traditional economic fabric of the Indian society. The peasantry were never really to recover from the disabilities imposed by the new and a highly unpopular revenue settlement (see chapter on "Economic Impact of British Rule in India" for details). Impoverished by heavy taxation, the peasants resorted to loans from moneylenders/traders at usurious rates, the latter often evicting the former on non-payment of debt dues. These moneylenders and traders emerged as the new landlords. While the scourge of indebtedness has continued to plague Indian society to this day.
    British rule also meant misery to the artisans and handicraftsmen. The annexation of Indian states by the Company cut off their major source of patronage. Added to this, British policy discouraged Indian handicrafts and promoted British goods. The highly skilled Indian craftsmen were forced to look for alternate sources of employment that hardly
    A Brief History of Modern India
    existed, as the destruction of Indian handicrafts was not accompanied by the development of modern industries. Karl Marx remarked in 1853: "It was the British intruder who broke up the Indian handloom and destroyed the spinning-wheel. England began with depriving the Indian cottons from the European market; it then introduced twist into Hindustan and in the end inundated the very mother country of cotton with cottons.
    Zamindars, the traditional landed aristocracy, often saw their land rights forfeited with frequent use of a quo warranto by the administration. This resulted in a loss of status for them in the villages. In Awadh, the storm center of the revolt, 21,000 taluqdars had their estates confiscated and suddenly found themselves without a source of income, "unable to work, ashamed to beg, condemned to penury". These dispossessed taluqdars seized the opportunity presented by the sepoy revolt to oppose the British and regain what they had lost.
    The ruination of Indian industry increased the pressure on agriculture and land, the lopsided development in which resulted in pauperization of the country in general.
    POLITICAL CAUSES The East India Company's greedy policy of aggrandizement accompanied by broken pledges and oaths resulted in loss of political prestige for it, on the one hand, and caused suspicion in the minds of almost all ruling princes in India, on the other, through such policies as of 'Effective Control', 'Subsidiary Alliance' and 'Doctrine of Lapse'. The right of succession was denied to Hindu princes. The house of Mughals was humbled when on Prince Faqiruddin's death in 1856, whose succession had been recognized conditionally by Lord Dalhousie. Lord Canning announced that the next prince on succession would have to renounce the regal title and the ancestral Mughal palaces, in addition to renunciations agreed upon by Prince Faqiruddin.
    The collapse of rulers—the erstwhile aristocracy—also The Revolt of 1857 adversely affected those sections of the Indian society which derived their sustenance from cultural and religious pursuits.
    ADMINISTRATIVE CAUSES Rampant corruption in the Company's administration, especially among the police, petty officials and lower law courts, and the absentee sovereigntyship character of British rule imparted a foreign and alien look to it in the eyes of Indians.
    SOCIO-RELIGIOUS CAUSES Racial overtones and a superiority complex characterized the British administrative attitude towards the native Indian population. The activities of Christian missionaries who followed the British flag in India were looked upon with suspicion by Indians. The attempts at socio- religious reform such as abolition of sati, support to widow-remarriage and women's education were seen by a large section of the population as interference in the social and religious domains of Indian society by outsiders. These fears were further compounded by the Government's decision to tax mosque and temple lands and legislative measures, such as the Religious Disabilities Act, 1856, which modified Hindu customs, for instance declaring that a change of religion did not debar a son from inheriting the property of his heathen father.
    INFLUENCE OF OUTSIDE EVENTS The revolt of 1857 coincided with certain outside events in which the British suffered serious losses—the First Afghan War (1838-42), Punjab Wars (1845-49), Crimean Wars (1854-56), Santhal rebellion (1855-57). These had obvious psychological repercussions.
    DISCONTENT AMONG SEPOYS The conditions of service in the Company's Army and cantonments increasingly came into conflict with the religious beliefs and prejudices of the sepoys. Restrictions on wearing caste and sectarian marks and secret rumors of proselytizing
    4 A Brief History of Modern India
    activities of chaplains (often maintained on the Company's expenses) were interpreted by Indian sepoys, who were generally conservative by nature, as interference in their religious affairs. To the religious Hindu of the time, crossing the seas meant loss of caste. In 1856 Lord Canning's Government passed the General Service Enlistment Act which decreed that all future recruits to the Bengal Army would have to give an undertaking to serve anywhere their services might be required by the Government. This caused resentment.
    The Indian sepoy was equally unhappy with his emoluments compared to his British counterpart. A more immediate cause of the sepoys' dissatisfaction was the order that they would not be given the foreign service allowance (Matta) when serving in Sindh or in Punjab. The annexation of Awadh, home of many of the sepoys, further inflamed their feelings.
    The Indian sepoy was made to feel a subordinate at every step and was discriminated against racially and in matters of promotion and privileges. The discontent of the sepoys was not limited to matters military; it reflected the general disenchantment with and opposition to British rule. The sepoy, in fact, was a 'peasant in uniform' whose consciousness was not divorced from that of the rural population. "The Army voiced grievances other than its own; and the movement spread beyond the Army", observes Gopal.
    Finally, there had been a long history of revolts in the British Indian Army—in Bengal (1764), Vellore (1806), Barrackpore (1825) and during the Afghan Wars (1838-42) to mention just a few.
    BEGINNING AND SPREAD The reports about the mixing of bone dust in rtta (flour) and the introduction of the Enfield rifle enhanced the sepoys' growing disaffection with the Government. The cartridge of the new rifle had to be bitten off before loading and the grease was reportedly made of beef and pig fan The Army The Revolt of 1857
    administration did nothing to allay these fears, and the sepoys felt their religion was in grave danger.
    The greased cartridges did not create a new cause of discontent in the Army, but supplied the occasion for the simmering discontent to come out in the open. The revolt began at Meerut, 58 km from Delhi, on May 10, 1857 and then, gathering force rapidly, soon embraced a vast area from the Punjab in the north and the Narmada in the south to Bihar in the east and Rajputana in the west.
    Even before the Meerut incident, there were rumblings resentment in various cantonments. the 19th Native Infantry at Berhampur, which refused to use the newly introduced Enfield rifle and broke out in mutiny in February 1857 was disbanded in March 1857. A young sepoy of the 34th Native Infantry, Mangal Pande, went a step further and fired at the sergeant major of his unit at Barrackpore. He was overpowered and executed on April 6 while his regiment was disbanded in May. The 7th Awadh Regiment which defied its officers on May 3 met with a similar
    fate. And then came the explosion at Meerut. On April 24, ninety men of 3rd Native Cavalry refused to accept the greased cartridges. On May 9, eighty-five of them were dismissed, sentenced. to 10 years' imprisonment and put in fetters. This sparked off a general mutiny among the Indian soldiers stationed at Meerut. The very next day, on May 10, they released their imprisoned comrades, killed their officers and unfurled the banner of revolt. They set off for Delhi after sunset. In Delhi, the local infantry joined them, killed their own European officers including Simon Fraser, the political agent, and seized the city. Lieutenant Willoughby, the officer-in charge of the magazine at Delhi, offered some resistance, but was overcome. The aged and powerless Bahadur Shah Zafar was proclaimed the emperor of India.
    Delhi was soon to become the centre of the Great Revolt and Bahadur Shah, its symbol. This spontaneous raising of the last Mughal king to the leadership of the country was a recognition of the fact that the long reign of Mughal dynasty
    6 A Brief History of Modern India
    had become the traditional symbol of India's political unity. With this single act, the sepoys had transformed a mutiny of soldiers into a revolutionary war, while all Indian chiefs who took part in the revolt hastened to proclaim their loyalty to the Mughal emperor.
    Bahadur Shah, after initial vacillation, wrote letters to all the chiefs and rulers of India urging them to organize a confederacy of Indian states to fight and replace the British regime. The entire Bengal Army soon rose in revolt which spread quickly. Awadh, Rohilkhand, the Doab, the Bundelkhand, central India, large parts of Bihar and East Punjab shook off British authority.
    The revolt of the sepoys was accompanied by a rebellion of the civil population, particularly in the north-western provinces and Awadh. Their accumulated grievances found immediate expression and they rose en masse to give vent to their opposition to British rule. It is the widespread participation in the revolt by the peasantry, the artisans, shopkeepers, day laborers, zamindars, religious mendicants, priests and 'civil servants which gave it real strength as well as the character of a popular revolt. Here the peasants and petty zamindars gave free expression to their grievances by attacking the moneylenders and zamindars who had displaced them from the land. They took advantage of the revolt to destroy the moneylenders' account books and debt records. They also attacked the British-established law courts, revenue offices (tehsils), revenue records and police stations.
    According to one estimate, of the total number of about 1,50,000 men who died fighting the English in Awadh, over 1,00,000 were civilians.
    Within a month of the capture of Delhi, the revolt spread to different parts of the country.
    At Delhi the nominal and symbolic leadership belonged to the Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah, but the real command lay with a court of soldiers headed by General Bakht Khan who
    THE Revolt of 1857 7
    had led the revolt of Bareilly troops and brought them to Delhi. The court consisted of ten members, six from the army and four from the civilian departments. The court conducted the affairs of the state in the name of the emperor. Emperor Bahadur Shah was perhaps the weakest link in the chain of leadership of the revolt. His weak personality, old age and lack of leadership qualities created political weakness at the nerve centre of the revolt and did incalculable damage to it.
    At Kanpur, the natural choice was Nana Saheb, the adopted son of the last Peshwa, Baji Rao II. He was refused the family title and, banished from Poona, was living near Kanpur. Nana Saheb expelled the English from Kanpur, proclaimed himself the Peshwa, acknowledged Bahadur Shah as the emperor of India and declared himself to be his governor. Sir Hugh Wheeler, commanding the station, surrendered on June 27, 1857.
    Begum Hazrat Mahal took over the reigns at Lucknow where the rebellion broke out on June 4, 1857 and popular sympathy was overwhelmingly in favour of the deposed Nawab. Her son, Birjis Qadir, was proclaimed the Nawab and a regular administration was organized with important offices shared equally by Muslims and Hindus. Henry Lawrence, the British resident, the European inhabitants and a few hundred loyal sepoys took shelter in the residency. The residency was besieged by the Indian rebels and Sir Henry was killed during the siege. The command of the besieged garrison devolved on Brigadier Inglis who held out against heavy odds. The early attempts of Sir Henry Havelock and Sir James Outrarn to recover Lucknow met with no success. Finally, Sir Colin Campbell, the new commander-in-chief, evacuated the Europeans with the help of Gorkha regiments. In March 1858, the city was finally recovered by the British, but guerrilla activity continued till September of the same year.
    At Bareilly, Khan Bahadur, a descendant of the former ruler of Rohilkhand, was placed in command. Not enthusiastic about the pension being granted by the British, he organized
    8 A Brief History of Modern India
    The Revolt of 1857. An army of 40,000 soldiers and offered stiff resistance to the British.
    In Bihar, the revolt was led by Kunwar Singh, the zamindar of Jagdishpur. An old man in his seventies, he nursed a grudge against the British who had deprived him of his estates. He unhesitatingly joined the sepoys when they reached Arrah from Dinapore.
    Maulvi Ahmadullah of Faizabad was another outstanding leader of the revolt. He was a native of Madras and had moved to Faizabad in the north where he fought a stiff battle against the British troops. He emerged as
    one of the revolt's acknowledged leaders once it broke out in Awadh in May 1857. The most outstanding leader of the revolt was Rani Laxmibai, who assumed the leadership of the sepoys at Jhansi. Lord Dalhousie, the governor- general, had refused to allow her adopted son to succeed to the throne after her husband Raja Ganbadhar Rao died, and had annexed the state by the application of the infamous 'Doctrine of Lapse'. Driven out of Jhansi by British forces, she gave the battle cry—"main apni Jhansi nahi doongi" (I shall not give away my Jhansi). She was joined by Tantia Tope, a close associate of Nana Saheb, after the loss of Kanpur. Rani of Jhansi and Tantia Tope marched towards Gwalior where they were hailed by the Indian soldiers. The Scindhia, the local ruler, however, decided to side with the English and took shelter at Agra. Nana Saheb was proclaimed the Peshwa and plans were chalked out for a march into the south. Gwalior was recaptured by the English in June 1858.
    For more than a year the rebels carried on their struggle against heavy odds.
    The revolt was finally suppressed. The British captured Delhi on September 20, 1857 after prolonged and bitter fighting. John Nicholson, the leader of the siege, was badly wounded and later succumbed to his injuries. Bahadur Shah was taken prisoner. The royal princes were captured and butchered on the spot, publicly shot at point blank range, by Lieutenant Hudson himself. The emperor was exiled to Rangoon where he died in 1862. Thus the great House of Mughals was finally and completely extinguished. Terrible vengeance was wreaked on the inhabitants of Delhi. With the fall of Delhi the focal point of the revolt disappeared.
    One by one, all the great leaders of the revolt fell. Military operations for the recapture of Kanpur were closely associated with the recovery of Lucknow. Sir Colin Campbell occupied Kanpur on December 6, 1857. Nana Saheb, defeated at Kanpur, escaped to Nepal in early 1859, never to be heard of again. His close associate Tantia Tope escaped into the jungles of central India, was captured while asleep in April 1859 and put to death. The Rani of Jhansi had died on the battlefield earlier in June 1858. Jhansi was recaptured through assault by Sir Hugh Rose, By 1859, Kunwar Singh, Bakht Khan, Khan Bahadur Khan of Bareilly, Rao Sahib (brother of Nana Saheb) and Maulvi Ahmadullah were all dead, while the Begum of Awadh was compelled to hide in Nepal. At Benaras a rebellion had been organized which was mercilessly suppressed, by Colonel Neil, who put to death all suspected rebels and even disorderly sepoys. By the end of 1859, British authority over India was fully re- established. The British Government had to pour immense supplies of men, money and arms into the country, though Indians had to later repay the entire cost through their own suppression.
    Limited territorial spread was one factor; there was no all-India veneer about the revolt. The eastern, southern and western parts of India remained more or less unaffected.
    Certain classes and groups did not join and, in fact, worked against the revolt. Big zamindars acted as "breakwaters to storm"; even Awadh tahacildars backed off once promises
    10 A Brief History of Modern India
    of land restitution were spelt out. Moneylenders and merchants suffered the wrath of the mutineers badly and anyway saw their class interests better protected under British patronage. Modern educated Indians viewed this revolt as backward looking, and mistakenly hoped the British would usher in an era of modernisation. Most Indian rulers refused to join and often gave active help to the British. By one estimate, not more than one-fourth of the total area and not more than one-tenth of the total population was affected.
    The Indian soldiers were poorly equipped materially, fighting generally with swords and spears and very few guns and muskets. On the other hand, the European soldiers were equipped with the latest weapons of war like the Enfield rifle. The electric telegraph kept the commander-in-chief informed about the movements and strategy of the rebels.
    The revolt was poorly organized with no coordination or central leadership. The principal rebel leaders—Nana Saheb, Tantia Tope, Kunwar Singh, Laxmibai—were no match to their British opponents in generalship. On the other hand, the East India Company was fortunate in having the services of men of exceptional abilities in the Lawrence brothers, John Nicholson, James Outram, Henry Havelock, Edward, etc.
    The mutineers lacked a clear understanding of colonial rule; nor did they have a forward looking programme, a coherent ideology, a political perspective or a societal alternative. The rebels represented diverse elements with differing grievances and concepts of current politics.
    The lack of unity among Indians was perhaps unavoidable at this stage of Indian history. Modern nationalism was yet unknown in India. In fact, the revolt of 1857 played an important role in bringing the Indian people together and imparting to them the consciousness of belonging to one country.
    During the entire revolt, there was complete cooperation between Hindus and Muslims at all levels—people, soldiers,
    The Revolt of 1857
    leaders. All rebels acknowledged Bahadur Shah Zafar, a Muslim, as the emperor and the first impulse of the Hindu sepoys at Meerut was to march to Delhi, the Mughal imperial capital. Rebels and sepoys, both Hindu and Muslim, respected each other's sentiments. Immediate banning of cow
    slaughter was ordered once the revolt was successful in a particular area Both Hindus and Muslims were well represented in leadership, for instance Nana Saheb had Azimullah, a Muslim and an expert in political propaganda, as an aide, while Laxmibai had the solid support of Afghan soldiers.
    Thus, the events of 1857 demonstrated that the people and politics of India were not basically communal before 1858.
    Views differ on the nature of the 1857 revolt. It was a mere 'Sepoy Mutiny' to some British historians—"a wholly unpatriotic and selfish Sepoy Mutiny with no native leadership and no -popular support", said Sir John Seeley. However, it is not a complete picture of the event as it involved many sections of the civilian population and not just the sepoys. The discontent of the sepoys was just one cause of the disturbance.
    Dr K. Datta considers the revolt of 1857 to have been "in the main a military outbreak, which was taken advantage of by certain discontented princes and landlords, whose interests had been affected by the new political orc:er". The last mentioned factor gave it an aura of a popular uprising in certain areas. It was "never all-Indian in character, but was localised, restricted and poorly organized". Further, says Datta, the movement was marked by absence of cohesion and unity of purpose among the various sections of the rebels.
    It was at the beginning of the twentieth century that the 1857 revolt came to be interpreted as a "planned war of national independence", by V.D. Savarkar in his book, First War of Indian Independence. Dr S.N. Sen in his Eighteen FiftySeven considers the revolt as having begun as a ttfight for religion but ended as a war of independence. Dr R.C.
    12 A Brief History of Modern India
    Majumdar, however, considers it as neither the first, nor national, nor a war of independence as large parts of the country remained unaffected and many sections of the people took no part in the upsurge.
    According to Marxist historians, the 1857 revolt was "the struggle of the soldier-peasant democratic combine against foreign as well as feudal bondage". However, this view does not stand scrutiny in the light of the fact that the leaders of the revolt themselves came from a feudal background.
    The revolt of 1857 is not easy to categorise. While one can easily dismiss some views such as those of L.E.R. Rees who considered it to be a war of fanatic religionists against Christians or T.R. Holmes who saw in it a conflict between civilisation and barbarism, one cannot quite go so far as to accept it as a war for independence. It had seeds of nationalism and anti-imperialism but the concept of common nationality and nationhood was not inherent to the revolt of 1857.
    One may say that the revolt of 1857 was the first great struggle of Indians to throw off British rule. It established local traditions of resistance to British rule which were to pave the a y for the modern national movement.
    The revolt of 1857 marks a turning point in the history of India. It led to changes in the system of administration and the policy of the Government.
    (i) The direct responsibility for the administration of the
    country was assumed by the British Crown and Company rule was abolished. The assumption of the Government of India by the sovereign of Great Britain was announced by Lord Canning at a durbar at Allahabad in the 'Queen's Proclamation' issued on November 1, 1858.
    (ii) The era of annexations and expansion ended and the British promised to respect the dignity and rights of the native princes.
    The Revolt of 1857 13
    (ii) The Indian states were henceforth to recognise the
    paramountcy of the British Crown and were to be treated as parts of a single charge.
    (iii) The Army, which was at the forefront of the outbreak, was
    thoroughly reorganised and British military policy came to be dominated by the idea of "division and counterpoise".
    (v) Racial hatred and suspicion between the Indians and the English was aggravated.
    It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the so-called Firs
    National War of Independence of 1857 is neither First, not National, nor War of Independence.
    R.C. Majumdar, The Mutiny became a Revolt and assumed a political character when the mutineers of Meerut placed themselves under the king of Delhi a section of the landed aristocracy and civil population decided in his favour. What began as a fight for religion ended as a war of independence. S.N. Sen had a single leader of ability arisen among them (the rebels), we must have been lost beyond redemption. John Lawrence, The revolt of 1857 was a struggle of the soldier-peasant democratic combine against foreign imperialism as well as indigenous landlordism.
    Marxist Interpretation Here lay the woman who was the only man among the rebels.
    Hugh Rose (a tribute to the Rani of Jhansi from the man who defeated her)
    It was far more than a mutiny, yet much less than a first war of independence. taniey vvolpert
    14 A Brief History of Modern India
    Summary Revolt—a product of character and policies of colonial rule.
    Economic causes— Heavy taxation under new revenue settlement, Summary evictions, Discriminatory tariff policy against Indian products, Destruction of traditional handicrafts industry, and Absence of concomitant industrialisation on modern lines that hit peasants, artisans and small zamindars.
    Political causes— Greedy policy of aggrandisement, Absentee sovereigntyship character of British rule, British interference in socio-religious affairs of Indian public.
    Military causes— Discontent among sepoys for economic, Psychological and religious reasons, Coupled with a long history of revolts.
    CENTRES OF REVOLT AND LEADERS Delhi - General Khan Kanpur - Nana Saheb Lucknow - Begum Hazrat Mahal Bareilly - Khan Bahadur Bihar - Kunwar Singh Faizabad - Maulvi Ahmadullah Jhansi - Rani Laxmibai
    THE BRITISH RESISTANCE Delhi -- John Nicholson, Kanpur Lucknow Jhansi Benaras - Lieutenant Willoughby, Lieutenant Hudson - Sir Hugh Wheeler, Sir Colin Campbell - Henry Lawrence, Brigadier Inglis, Henry Havelock, James Outram, Sir Colin Campbell - Sir Hugh Rose - Colonel James Neill
    CAUSES OF FAILURE Limited territorial and social base. Crucial support of certain sections of Indian public to British authorities.
    Lack of resources as compared to those of the British. Lack of coordination and a central leadership. Lack of a coherent ideology and a political perspective.
    NATURE Not quite the first war of independence but sowed the seeds of nationalism and quest for freedom from alien rule.
    EFFECT Crown took over. Company rule abolished. Queen's Proclamation altered administration. Army reorganised. Racial hatred deepened.
    Religious and Social Reform Movements
    The dawn of the nineteenth century witnessed the birth of a new vision—a modern vision among some enlightened sections of the Indian society. This enlightened vision was to shape the course of events for decades to come and even beyond. This process of reawakening, sometimes, but not with full justification, defined as the 'Renaissance', did not always follow the intended line and gave rise to some undesirable by-products as well, which have become as much a part of daily existence in the whole of the Indian subcontinent as have the fruits of these reform movements.
    The presence of a colonial government on Indian soil played a complex, yet decisive role in this crucial phase of modern Indian history. The impact of British rule on Indian society and culture was widely different from what India had known before. Most of the earlier intruders who came to India had settled within her frontiers, were absorbed by her superior culture and had become part of the land and its people. However, the British conquest was different. It came at a time when India, in contrast to an enlightened Europe of the eighteenth century affected in every aspect by science arid scientific outlook, presented the picture of a stagnant civilisation and a static and decadent society.
    Indian society in the nineteenth century was caught in a vicious web created by religious superstitions and social obscurantism. Hinduism had become a compound of magic, animism and superstition. The priests exercised an overwhelming and, indeed, unhealthy influence on the minds of the people. Idolatry and polytheism helped to reinforce
    15 16 A Brief History of Modern India
    their position, and their monopoly of scriptural knowledge imparted a deceptive character to all religious systems. There was nothing that religious ideology could not persuade people to do.
    Social conditions were equally depressing. The most distressing was the position of women. The birth of a girl was unwelcome, her marriage, a. burden and her widowhood inauspicious. Attempts to kill female infants at birth were not unusual. Several women hardly had a married life worth the name, yet when their husbands died they were expected to commit sati which Raja Ram mohan Roy described as a 'murder according to every shastra. If they succeeded in overcoming this social coercion, they were condemned as widows to life-long misery, neglect and humiliation.
    Another debilitating factor was caste. It sought to maintain a system of segregation, hierarchically ordained on the basis of ritual status. At the bottom of the ladder came the untouchables or scheduled castes, as they came to be called later, who formed about twenty per cent of the Hindu population. The untouchables suffered from numerous and severe disabilities and restrictions. The system splintered people into numerous groups. In modern times it became a major obstacle in the growth of a united national feeling and the spread of democracy. It may also be noted that caste consciousness, particularly with regard to marriage, prevailed also among Muslims, Christians and Sikhs who practised untouchability, though in a less virulent form. The rules and regulations of caste hampered social mobility, fostered social divisions and sapped individual initiative. Above all, the humiliation of untouchability militated against human dignity.
    The establishment of colonial rule in India was followed by a systematic attempt to disseminate colonial culture and ideology as the dominant cultural current. Faced with the challenge of the intrusion of colonial culture and ideology, an attempt to reinvigorate traditional institutions and to realise the potential of traditional culture developed during the nineteenth century.
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 17
    The impact of modern Western culture and consciousness of defeat by a foreign power gave birth to a new awakening. There was an awareness that a vast country like India had been colonised by a handful of foreigners because of internal weaknesses within the Indian social structure and culture. For some time it seemed that India had lagged behind in the race of civilisation. This produced diverse reactions. Some English educated Bengali youth developed a revulsion for Hindu religion and culture, gave up old religious ideas and traditions and deliberately adopted practices most offensive to Hindu sentiments, such as drinking wine and eating beef. The response, indeed, was varied but the need to reform social and religious life was a commonly shared conviction.
    During the last decades of the nineteenth century, the rising tide of nationalism and democracy also found expression in movements to reform and democratise the social institutions and religious outlook of, the Indian people. Factors such as growth of nationalist sentiments,
    emergence of new economic forces, spread of education, impact of modern Western ideas and culture and increased awareness of the world strengthened the resolve to reform.
    The socio-cultural regeneration of the India of the nineteenth century was occasioned by the colonial presence, but not created by it.
    Social Base The social base of this quest was the newly emerging middle class and traditionally as well as western educated intellectuals, but there was a significant contrast between the broacily bourgeois ideals derived from a. growing awareness of contemporary developments in the West, and a predominantly non-bourgeois social base. nineteenth century intelligentsia searched for its model in the European 'middle class', which, as it learnt through western education, had brought about the great transformation in the West from medieval to modern times through movements like the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment and democratic revolution, or reform. Yet its own social roots lay not in industry or trade, increasingly
    18 A Brief History of Modern India
    controlled by British managing agency firms and their Marwari subordinates, but in government service or the professions of law, education, journalism or medicine—with which was very often combined some connection with land in the shape of the intermediate tenures.
    Ideological Base The important intellectual criteria which gave these reform movements an ideological unity were rationalism, religious universalism and humanism. Social relevance was judged by a rationalist critique. Raja Rammohan Roy upheld the principle of causality linking the whole phenomenal universe and demonstrability as the sole criterion of truth. Akshay Kumar Dutt, while proclaiming that 'rationalism is our only preceptor", held that all natural and social phenomena could be analysed and understood by purely mechanical processes. This perspective enabled them to adopt a rational approach to tradition and evaluate the contemporary socio-religious practices from the standpoint of social utility and to replace faith with rationality. For instance, in the Brahmo Samaj the repudiation of the infallibility of the Vedas was the result, while the Aligarh movement emphasised reconciliation of Islamic teachings with the needs of the modern age. Syed Ahmed Khan went to the extent of emphasising that religious tenets were not immutable.
    Many of the intellectuals abandoned, though in varying degrees, the principle of authority in religion and evaluated truth in any religion by the criteria of logic; reason or science. Swami Vivekananda held that the same method of investigation which applies to other sciences should form the basis on which religion is to> justify itself. Although, some reformers tended to appeal to faith and ancient authority to bolster their appeal, overall a rational and secular outlook was very much evident in posing an alternative to prevalent social practices. For instance, Akshat cited medical against child marriage. to the past was
    to be used only as an aid and an instrument. Neither a revival of the past nor a total :break with tradition was envisaged.
    Though the reformers tried to reform their religions,
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 19
    their religious perspective was universalistic. Raja Rammohan Jeligiar2 sasaalial embodiments of universal th was a defender of the basic and universal principles of a religions-such as the monotheism of the Vedas and– mall attacking polytheism ofand trinitarianism of Christianity said that all had the same 'din (faith) ever Keshub Chandra SenTheld that:our position is not that truths are to be found all religions, but that all establishes The universalist perspective was an attempt part of social reformers to contend with the influence religious identity on the social and political outlook of the people which was indeed strong. However, under the onslaught of colonial culture and ideology, instead of providing the basis for the development of a secular ethos, universalism retreated into religious particularism towards the second half of the nineteenth century.
    The social reform movements were also an embodiment of a new humanitarian morality which included the notion that humanity can progress and has progressed, and that moral values are ultimately those which favour human progress. An emphasis on the individual's right to interpret religious scriptures in the light of human reason and human welfare and a general attack on priestly domination of religious practices underlined the humanist aspect of religious reform movements.
    Religious reformation was the major but not the exclusive concern of these movements. Instead of other-worldliness and salvation, attention was focussed on worldly existence. Because of the strong religious coefficient of social practices and the fact that religion was the dominant ideology of the times, it was not possible to undertake arty social action without coming to grips with it
    These movements embraced the entire cultural existence, the way of life and all significant practices like language,
    20 A Brief History of Modern India
    religion, art and philosophy. The evolution of an alternative cultural- ideological system and the generation of traa emerge as twin movement, which to reconstruct traditional knowledge, cultivation of vernacular languages, creation of an alternate system of education, defence of religion, efforts to regenerate Indian art and literature, emphasis on Indian dress and food, attempts to revitalise the Indian systems of medicine and to probe the potentialities of pre- colonial technology.
    These reform movements could broadly be classified in two categories— reformist movements like the Brahmo Samaj, the Prarthana Samaj, the Aligarh movement, and the revivalist movements like Arya Samaj and the
    Deoband movement. Both the reformist and revivalist movements depended, with varying degrees, on an appeal to the lost, purity of the religion they sought to reform. The only difference between one reform movement and the other lay in the degree to which it relied on tradition or on reason and conscience.
    SOCIAL REFORM The humanistic ideals of social equality and the equal worth of all individuals which inspired the newly educated middle class had a major impact on the field of social reform. This enlightened section of society was disgusted with the prevailing social ills and inhuman social practices. The social reform movements formed an integral part of the religious reforms primarily because nearly all the effort towards social ills like untouchability and gender-based inequity derived legitimacy from religion in one way or the other. In later years though, the social reform movement gradually dissociated itself from religion and, adopted a secular approach. Also, earlier the reform movements had a rather narrow social base—they were limited to the upper and middle classes and upper castes who tried to adjust their modernised views with respect to the existing social conditions. But later on, the social reform movements penetrated the lower strata of society to revolutionise and reconstruct the social sphere.
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 21
    In the beginning, organisations such as the Social Conference, Servants of India Society and the Christian missionaries were instrumental in social reform along with many enlightened individuals like Jyotiba Phule, Gopalhari Deshmukh, K.T. Telang, BM. Malabari, D.K. Karve, Sri Narayana Guru, E.V. Ramaswami Naicker and B.R. Ambedkar. In later years, especially with the onset of the twentieth century, the national movement provided the leadership and organisation for social reform. To reach the masses, propaganda in Indian languages was the modus operandi of the reformers who used a variety of media such as novels, dramas, poetry, short stories, the press and, in the 1930s and later on, the cinema to spread their views. Broadly, the social reform movements had a two-joint—fight for bstterfrtent of status of fo remove disability arising out of untouchatlity.
    Fight for Betterment of Position of Women The reformers had to work against great odds. Women were generally accorded a low status, and were considered to be inferior adjuncts to men, with no identity of their own. Their desire to give expression to their talents and energies were further suppressed by practices such as purdah, early marriage, ban on widow-remarriage, sati, etc. Both Hindu and Muslim women were economically and socially dependent, while education was generally denied to them. The Hindu women had no right to inherit property or to terminate an undesirable marriage. The Muslim women could inherit but only half as much as men could, while in matters of divorce there was no equality between men and women. Polygamy was prevalent among Hindus as well as Muslims.
    Their glorification as wives and mothers was the only way in which the society recognised the contribution of women as members of society. The struggle for the improvement of the status of women in the society was considered to be vital, since a radical change in the domestic sphere— where initial socialisation of the individual takes place
    22 A Brief History of Modern India
    and where a crucial role is played by women—was the need of the hour. There was a clear understanding that this change would translate into reformed homes and reformed men, and that no country whose females were sunk in ignorance could ever make significant progress in civilisation.
    The social reform movements, the freedom struggle, movements led by enlightened women themselves and, later, free India's Constitution have done much for the emancipation of women.
    The reformers basically appealed to the doctrines of individualism and equality, and argued, to bolster their appeal, that true religion did not sanction an inferior status to women. They raised their voice against degrading customs such as polygamy, purdah, child marriage, restrictions on widow remarriage, and worked relentlessly to establish educational facilities for women, to persuade the Government to enact favourable legislations for women and in general to propagate giving up of medieval, feudal attitudes.
    Because of the indefatigable efforts of the reformers, a number of administrative measures were adopted by the Government to improve the condition of women.
    Abolition of Sati Influenced by the frontal attack launched by the enlightened Indian reformers led by Raja Rammohan Roy, the Government declared the practice of sad or the burning alive of widows illegal and punishable by criminal courts as culpable homicide. The regulation of 1829 was applicable in the first instance to Bengal Presidency alone, but was extended in slightly modified forms to Madras and Bombay Presidencies in 1830.
    Female Infanticide The practice of murdering female infants immediately after birth was common among upper class Bengalis and Rajputs who considered females to be an economic burden. The Bengal regulations of 1795 and 1804 declared infanticide illegal and equivalent to murder, while an Act passed in 1870 made, it compulsory for parents to register the birth of all babies and provided for verification of female
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 23
    children for some years after birth, particularly in areas where the custom was resorted to in utmost privacy.
    Widow Remarriage
    The Brahmo Samaj had the issue of widow remarriage high on its agenda and did much to -popularise it. But it was mainly due to the efforts of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820-91), the principal of Sanskrit College, Calcutta, that the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, 1856, which legalised marriage of widows and declared issues from such marriages as legitimate, was passed by the Government. Vidyasagar cited Vedic texts to prove that the Hindu religion sanctioned widow remarriage.
    Jagannath Shankar Seth and Bhau Daji were among the active promoters of girls' schools in Maharashtra. Vishnu Shastri Pandit founded the Widow Remarriage Association in the 1850s. Another prominent worker in this field was Karsondas Mulji who started the Satya Prakash in Gujarati in 1852 to advocate widow remarriage.
    Similar efforts were made by Professor D.K. Karve in western India and by Veerasalingarn Pantulu in Madras. Karve himself married a widow in 1893. He dedicated his life to the upliftment of Hindu widows and became the secretary of the Widow Remarriage Association. He opened a widows' home in Poona to give the high caste widows an interest in life by providing them with facilities for vocational training. He crowned his work by setting up an Indian Women's University at Bombay in 1916. The right of, widows to remarriage was also advocated by B.M. Malabari, Narmad, Justice Govind Mahadeo Ranade and K. Natarajan 'among others.
    Child Marriage The Native Marriage Act (or Civil Marriage Act) signified the coming of legislative action in prohibiting child marriage in 1872. It had a limited impact as the Act was not applicable to Hindus, Muslims and other recognised faiths. The relentless efforts of a Parsi reformer, B.M. Malabari, were rewarded, by the enactment of the Age of Consent Act (1891) which forbade the marriage of girls below the age of 12. The Sarda Act (1930) further pushed up
    24 A Brief History of Modern India
    the marriage age to 18 and 14 for boys and girls respectively. In free India, the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1978 raised the age of marriage for girls from 15 to 18 years and for boys from 18 to 21.
    Education of Women The Christian missionaries were the first to set up the Calcutta Female Juvenile Society in 1819. The Bethune School, founded by J.E.D. Bethune, president of the Council of Education in Calcutta in 1849 was the first fruit of the powerful movement for women's education that arose in the 1840s and 1850s. Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was associated with no less than 35 girls' schools in Bengal and is considered one of the pioneers of women's education. Charles. Wood's Despatch on Education (1854) laid great stress on the need for female education. In 1914, the Women's Medical Service did a lot of work in training nurses and midwives. The Indian Women's University started by Professor Karve in 1916 was one of the outstanding institutions imparting education to women. In the same year Lady Hardinge Medical College was opened in Delhi.
    Health facilities began to be provided to women with the opening of Dufferin Hospitals in the 1880s.
    Participation in the swadeshi and anti-partition and the Home Rule movements during the opening decades of the twentieth century was a major liberating experience for the otherwise home-centred Indian women. After 1918, they faced lathis and bullets and were jailed during political processions, picketing, etc. They actively participated in trade union and kisan movements, or revolutionary movements. They voted in, stood for and got elected to various legislatures and local bodies. Sarojini Naidu went on to become the president of the Indian National Congress (1925) and later the governor of the United Provinces (1947- 49).
    After 1920, aware and self-confident women led a women's movement. Many organisations and institutions such as the All India Women's Conference (established in 1927) came up.
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 25
    Legislative Measures in Free India Free India's Constitution provides legal equality to women and prohibits any discrimination by the state on the basis of gender (Articles 14 and 15). The Specially marriageAs1125 permits intercaste and interreligious marriage. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 abolished bigamy and permitte issolution of marriage on specific grounds. The Hindu Succession Act 1956 made the daughter equal co-eir with son, thus abolishing discrimination with respect to inheritance laws. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act enhanced the status of women in matters off adoption. was amended in April 1976 to cover women who do not fall within the purview of the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948. The Directive Principles of State Policy provide for equal pay for equal work for both men and women. provided for equal remuneration to men and women workers and prevention of discrimination against women in matters of employment. The Factories Act 1976 provided for establishment of creches where 30 women (as against 50 previously) are employed. The Criminal bills passed by Parliament 83 amended the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and Criminal Procedure Code to make laws against rape and other such crimes against women much more stringent and also to add a new provision in the Indian Penal Code to make cruelty against a woman by her husband and other relations punishable. Traffic was amended and retitled as Immoral TraffisErevestoril Act 1986 to cover all persons—male or female—who are sexually exploited for commercial purposes. The Dowry Prohibition amended in 1986 made the giving and taking of dowry an offence. In 1987, an Act was passed making the glorification of sati a cognisable offence.
    Struggle Against Caste-Based Exploitation The original four-fold division of Hindu society got further sub-divided into numerous castes (jatis) and sub-castes due to racial admixture, geographical expansion and diversification of crafts which gave rise to new vocations.
    26 A Brief History of Modern India
    According to concept of Hindu chaturvarnashrama, the caste of a person determined the status and relative purity of different sections of population. Caste, determined who could get education or ownership of landed property, the kind of profession one should pursue, whom one could dine with or marry, etc. In general, the caste of a person decided his/ her social loyalties even before birth. The dress, food, place of residence, sources of water for drinking and irrigation, entry into temples—all these were regulated by the caste coefficient.
    The worst-hit by the discriminatory institution' of caste were the untouchables or the scheduled castes, as they came to be called later on The disabilities imposed on the lower castes were humiliating, inhuman and based on the antidemocratic principle of inequality by birth.
    Factors which Undermined Caste Rigidities The pressure of British rule in India unleashed certain forces, sometimes through direct administrative measures and sometimes indirectly by creating favourable circumstances. For instance, the creation of private property in land and free sale of land upset caste equations. A close interlink between caste and vocation could hardly continue in a state of destruction of village autarchy. Besides, modern commerce and industry gave birth to several economic avenues while growing urbanisation and modern means of transport added to the mobility of populations. The British administration introduced the concept of equality before law in a., uniformly applied system of law which dealt a severe blow to social and legal inequalities, while the judicial functions of caste panchayats were taken away. The administrative services were made open to all castes and the new education system was on totally secular lines.
    The social reform movements also strove to undermine caste-based exploitation. From the mid-19th century onwards, numerous, organisations and groups such as the Brahmo Samaj, Prarthana Samaj, Arya Samaj, Ramakrishna Mission, the Theosophists, the Social Conference and individuals
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 27
    worked to spread education among the untouchables and remove restrictions imposed on them from entering temples or using ponds, tanks, etc. Although many of them defended the chaturvarna system, they criticised the caste system, especially untouchability. The social reformers attacked the rigid hereditary basis of caste distinctions and the law of karma which formed the basis of the religio-philosophic defence of the undemocratic authoritarian caste institution. They called on people to work for betterment in the real world in which they lived, rather than strive for salvation after death. For instance, the Arya Samaj while crusading against disintegration of Hindu society into myriad sub-castes, aimed at reconstructing it on the original four-fold division and upholding the right of even, the lowest castes to study the scriptures.
    The national movement with its thrust against the forces which tended to divide the society took inspiration from the principles of liberty and
    equality. The national leaders and organisations opposed caste privileges, fought for equal civic rights and free development of the individual. The caste divisions were diluted, although in a limited 'manner, because of mass participation in demonstrations, meetings and satyagraha struggles. The Congress governments in various provinces after 1937 did some useful work for the upliftment of the depressed classes; for instance, free education for Harijans (untouchables) was introduced in some provinces. The rulers of states like Travancore, Indore and Devas themselves took the initiative in opening all state temples by proclamation.
    Gandhi always had in mind the objective of eradicating untouchability by root and branch. His ideas were based on the grounds of humanism and reason. He argued that the Shastras did not sanction untouchability and even if they did, they should be ignored since truth cannot be confined within the covers of a book. In 1932, he founded the All India Harijan Sangh.
    With increasing opportunities of education and general
    28 A Brief History of Modern India
    awakening, there were stirrings among the lower castes themselves which gradually developed into a powerful movement in defence of their rights and against upper caste oppression. In Maharashtra, Jyotiba Phule, born in a low caste Mali family, led a movement against the brahrninical domination of Hindu society. He accorded the highest priority to education of lower castes, especially girls for whom he opened several schools. Babasaheb Ainbedkar, who had experienced the worst form of casteist discrimination during his childhood, fought against upper caste tyranny throughout his life. He organized the All India Scheduled Castes Federation, while several other leaders of the depressed classes founded the All India Depressed Classes Association. Ambedkar condemned the hierarchical and insular caste system and advocated the annihilation of the institution of caste for the real progress of the nation. The struggle of the depressed classes was rewarded with special representation for these classes in the Government of India Act, 1935.
    Others in the 1900s, the Maharaja of Kolhapur encouraged the non-brahmin movement which spread to> the southern states in the first decade of the twentieth century and was joined by the Kammas, Reddis, Vellalas, (the powerful intermediate castes) and the Muslims.
    During the 1920s in South India, the non-brahmins organized the Self- Respect Movement led by E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker. There were numerous other movements demanding lifting of ban on entry of lower castes into temples; for instance Sri Narayana Guru in Kerala led a lifelong struggle against upper caste domination. He coined the slogan "one religion, one caste, one God, for mankind", which his disciple Sahadaran Ayyapan changed into "no religion, no caste, no God for mankind".
    But the struggle against caste could not be successful during the British rule. The foreign government had its limitations—it could not afford to invite hostile reaction from the orthodox sections by taking
    up any radical measures. Also, no social uplift was possible without economic and political
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 29
    upliftment. All this could be realised only under the government of a free India. The Constitution of free India abolishes untouchability and declares the endorsement of any disability arising out of untouchability as unlawful. It also forbids any restriction on access to wells, tanks, bathing ghats, hotels, cinemas, clubs, etc. In one of the Directive Principles, the Constitution has laid down that "the state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by, securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice—social, economic and political—shall inform all the institutions of the national life".
    A GENERAL SURVEY OF SOCIO-CULTURAL REFORM MOVEMENTS AND THEIR LEADERS Raja Rammohan Roy and Brahmo Samaj Raja Rammohan Roy, the father of Indian Renaissance, was a man of versatile genius. The Brahmo Samaj established by him was the earliest reform movement of the modern type greatly influenced by modern western ideas.
    As a reformist ideologue, Roy believed in the modern scientific approach and principles of human dignity and social equality. He put his faith in monotheism. He wrote Gift to Monotheists (1809) and translated into Bengali the Vedas and the five Upanishads to prove his conviction that ancient Hindu texts support monotheism. In 1814, he set up Atmiya Sabha in Calcutta to campaign against idolatry, caste rigidities, meaningless rituals and other social ills. Strongly influenced by rationalist ideas, he declared that the Vedanta is based on reason and that, if reason demanded it, even a departure from the scriptures is justified. He said the principles of rationalism applied to other sects also, particularly to the elements of blind faith in them. In Precepts of Jesus (1820), he tried to separate the moral and philosophical message of the New Testament, which he praised, from its miracle stories. He earned the wrath of missionaries over his advocacy to incorporate the message of Christ in Hinduism. He stood for a creative and intellectual process of selecting the best from eastern and western
    30 A Brief History of Modern India
    cultures, over which, again, he faced orthodox reaction. He founded the Brahmo Sabha (later Brahmo Samaj) in order to institutionalise his ideas and mission. His ideas and activities were aimed at political uplift of the masses through social reform and to that extent can be said to have had nationalist undertones.
    Roy was a determined crusader against the inhuman practice of sati. He started his anti-sati struggle in 1818 and he cited sacred texts to prove his contention that no religion sanctioned the burning alive of widows, besides appealing to humanity, reason and compassion. He also visited the cremation grounds, organized vigilance groups and filed counter petitions to the Government during his struggle against sati. His efforts were rewarded by the Government Regulation in 1829 which
    declared the practice of sati a crime. As a campaigner for women's rights, Roy condemned the general subjugation of women and opposed prevailing misconceptions which formed the basis of according an inferior social status to women. Roy attacked polygamy and the degraded state of widows and demanded the right of inheritance and property for women.
    Rammohan Roy did much to disseminate the benefits of modern education to his countrymen. He supported David Hare's efforts to found the Hindu College in 1817, while Roy's English school taught mechanics and Voltaire's philosophy. In 1825, he established a Vedanta college whei'e courses in both Indian learning and Western social and physical sciences were offered. He also helped enrich the Bengali language by compiling a Bengali grammar book and evolving a modern elegant prose style.
    Roy was a gifted linguist He knew more than a dozen languages including Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, English, French, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. A knowledge of different languages helped him broadbase his range of study. As a pioneer in Indian journalism, Roy brought out journals in Bengali, Hindi, English, Persian to educate and inform the public and represent their grievances before the Government. Asapalli cal activist,
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 31
    Roy condemned oppressive practices of Bengali zamindars and demanded fixation of maximum rents. He also demanded abolition of taxes on tax- free lands. He called for a reduction Of export duties on goods abroad and abolition of the East India Company's trading rights. He demanded the executive from the and Europeans and that trial be held
    Roy was an internationalist' with a vision beyond his times. He stood for cooperation of thought and activity and brotherhood among nations. His understanding of the international character of the principles of liberty, equality and justice indicated that he well understood the significance of the modern age. He supported the revolutions of Naples and Spanish America and condemned the oppression of Ireland by absentee English landlordism and threatened emigration from the empire if the reform bill was not passed.
    Roy had David Hare, Alexander Duff, Debendranath Tagore, P.K. Tagore, Chandrashekhar Deb and Tarachand Chakraborty as his associates.
    Raja Rarnmohan Roy founded the Brahmo Sabha in August 1828; it was later renamed, Brahmo Samaj. The Samaj, was committed to "th amcl ask rational the Eternal, Unsearchable, Immutable Being who is the Author, Preseyver of the Universe". Prayers, meditation of the Upanishads were to be the forms of worship and no graven image, statue or sculpture, carving, painting, picture, portrait etc, were to be allowed in the Samaj buildings, thus underlining the Samaj's opposition to idolatry and meaningless rituals. The long-term agenda of the Brahmo Samaj—to purify Hinduism and to preach monotheism—was based on the twin pillars of reason and the Vedas and Upanishads. The Samaj also tried to incorporate teachings of other religions and kept its emphasis on human dignity, opposition to idolatry and criticism of social evils such as sati.
    Roy did not want to establish a new religion. He only wanted to purify Hinduism of the evil practices which had
    32 A Brief History of Modern India
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 33
    crept into it. Roy's progressive ideas met with;strong opposition from orthodox elements like Raja Radhakant Deb who organized the Dharma Sabha to counter Brahmo Samaj propaganda. Roy's death in 1833 was a setback for the Samaj's. mission.
    Maharishi Debendranath Tagore (1817-1905), father of Rabindranath Tagare and a product of the best m traditional Indian learning and western thought, gave a new life to Brahma Samaj and a definite form and shape to the theist movement, when he joined the Samaj in 1842. Earlier, Tagore headed the Tattvabodhini Sabha (founded in 1839) which, along with its organ Tattvabodhini Pat fika in Bengali, was devoted to the systematic study of India's past with a rational outlook and to the propagation of Roy's ideas. A new vitality and strength of membership came to be associated with the Brahmo Samaj due to the informal association of the two sabhas. Gradually, the Brahmo Samaj came to include prominent followers of Roy, the Derozians and independent thinkers such as Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Ashwini Kumar Datta. worked on two the Brahmo movement- outside it resolutely oosed the Christian missionaries for their criticism of the Hinduism and their attempts at conversion. Thei-evitalised Samaj supporiea—Wi-d–ow remarriarrTeiys education, abolition of improvement in ryots' conditions and temperence.
    The Bramho Samaj experienced another phase of energy, vigour and eloquence when Keshub Chandra Sen was made the acharyct by Debendranath Tagore soon after the former joined the Samaj in 1858. Keshub was instrumental in popularising the movement, and branches of the Samaj were opened outside Bengal in the United Provinces, Punjab, Bombay, Madras and other towns. Unfortunately, Debendranath did not like some of . Sen's ideas which he found too radical, such as cosmopolitanisation of the Samaj's meetings by inclusion of teachings from all religions and his strong views against the caste system, even open support to inter- caste marriages. Keshub Chandra Sen was dismissed from the office of acharya in 1865. Keshub and his followers founded the Brahmo Samaj of India in 1866, while Debendranath Tagore's Sarnaj came to be known as the Adi Brahmo Samaj.
    In 1878, Keshub's inexplicable act of getting his thirteenyear-old daughter married with the minor Hindu Maharaja of Cooch-Behar with all, the orthodox Hindu rituals caused another split in Keshub's Brahma Samaj of India. Earlier, Keshub had begun to be considered as an incarnation by some of his followers, much to the dislike of his progressive followers. Further, Keshub had begun to be accused of authoritarianism. After 1878, the disgusted followers of Keshub set up a new organisation, the Sadharan Brahma Samaj.
    A number of Brahmo centres were opened in Madras state. In Punjab, the Dayal Singh Trust sought to implant Brahmo ideas by, the opening of Dayal Singh College at Lahore in 1910.
    According to H.C.E. Zacharias, "Raja Rammohan Roy and his Brahmo Samaj form the starting point for all the various reform movements—whether in Hindu religion, society or politics—which have agitated. modern India." The overall contribution of Brahmo Samaj may be summed thus—
    (i) it denounced polytheism and idol worship; (ii) it discarded faith in divine avataras (incarnations); (iii) it denied that any scripture could enjoy the status of ultimate authority transcending/ human reason and conscience; (iv) it took no definite stand on the doctrine of;karma and transmigration of soul and left it to- individual Brahmos to believe either way;
    (iv) it criticised the caste system. In matters of social reform, the Samaj attacked many dogmas and superstitions. It condemned the prevailing Hindu prejudice against going abroad. It worked for a respectable status for women in society—condemned sati, worked for abolition, of purdah system, discouraged child marriages and polygamy, crusaded for widow remarriage and for provisions
    34 A Brief History of Modern India
    of educational facilities, etc. It also attacked casteism and untouchability though in these matters it attained only limited success.
    Prarthana Samaj In 1863, Keshub Chandra Seri helped found the Prarthana Samaj in Bombay. Earlier, the Brahmo ideas spread in Maharashtra where the Paramhansa Sabha was founded in 1849. Here the emphasis was on monotheism, on 'works' rather than on faith. They relied on education and persuasion and not on confrontation with Hindu orthodoxy. There was a four-point social agenda also: (i) disapproval of caste system, (ii) women's education, (iii) widow remarriage, and (iv) raising the age of marriage for both males and females. The Prarthana Samaj had as its prominent leaders Mahadeo Govind Ranade (1842-1901), R.G. Bhandarkar (18371925) and N.G. Chandavarkar (1855-1923).
    Young Bengal Movement and Henry Vivian Derozio (1809-31) During the late 1820s and early 1830s, there emerged a radical, intellectual trend among the youth in Bengal, which came to be known as the 'Young Bengal Movement'. A young Anglo-Indian, Henry Vivian Derozio, who taught at the Hindu College from 1826 to 1831, was the leader and inspirer of this progressive trend. Drawing inspiration from the great French Revolution, Derozio inspired his pupils to think freely and rationally, question all authority, love liberty, equality and freedom, and oppose decadent customs and traditions. The Derozians also supported women's rights and education. Also, Derozio was perhaps the first nationalist poet of modern India.
    The Derozians, however, failed to have a long-term impact. Derozio was removed from the Hindu College in 1831 because of his radicalism. The
    main reason for their limited success was the prevailing social conditions at that time, which were not ripe for the adoption of radical ideas. Further, support from any other social group or class was absent. The Derozians lacked any real link with the masses; for instance, they failed to take up the peasants' cause. In fact, their radicalism was bookish in character. But, despite their
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 35
    limitations, the Derozians carried forward Roy's tradition of public education on social, economic and political questions. For instance, they demanded induction of Indians in higher grades of services, protection of ryots from oppressive zamindars, better treatment to Indian labour abroad in British colonies, revision of the Company's charter, freedom of press and trial by jury.
    Later, Surendranath Banerjee was to describe the Derozians as "the pioneers of the modern civilisation of Bengal, the conscript fathers of our race whose virtues will excite veneration and whose failings will be treated with gentlest consideration".
    Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar The great scholar and reformer, Vidyasagar's ideas were a happy blend of Indian and western thought. He believed in high moral values, was a deep humanist and was generous to the poor. In 1850, he became the principal of Sanskrit College. He was determined to break the priestly monopoly of scriptural knowledge, and for this he opened the Sanskrit College to non-brahmins. He introduced western thought in Sanskrit College to break the self-imposed isolation of Sanskritic learning. Also, as an academician, he evolved a new methodology to teach Sanskrit. He also devised a new Bengali primer and evolved a new prose style.
    Vidyasagar started a movement in support of widow remarriage which resulted in legalisation of widow remarriage. He was also a crusader against child marriage and polygamy. He did much for the cause of women's education. As government inspector of schools, he helped organize thirtyfive girls' schools many of which he ran at his own expense. As secretary of Bethune School (established in 1849), he was one of the pioneers of higher education for women in India.
    The Bethune School, founded in Calcutta, was the first fruit of the powerful movement for women's education that arose in the 1840s and 1850s. The movement had to face great difficulties. The young students were shouted at and abused and sometimes even their parents subjected to social boycott.
    36 A Brief History of Modern India
    Many believed that girls who had received western education would make slaves of their husbands.
    Bal Shastri Jambekar One of the pioneers in Bombay, he attacked brahminical orthodoxy and tried to reform popular Hinduism He started the weekly Darpan in 1832,
    Students' Literary and Scientific Societies Also called the Gyan Prasarak Mandalis they had two branches—Marathi and Gujarati—and were formed by some educated young men in 1848. These Mandalis organized lectures on popular sciences and social questions. One of their aims was to start schools for girls.
    Paramhansa Mandalis Founded in 1849 in Maharashtra, the founders of these Mandalis believed in one God. They were primarily interested in breaking caste rules. At their meetings food cooked by lower caste people was taken by the members. These Mandalis also advocated widow remarriage and women's education. Branches of Paramhansa Mandalis existed in Poona, Satara and other towns of Maharashtra.
    Satyashodhak Samaj and Jyotiba Phule Jyotiba Phule belonged to the Mali (gardener) community and organized a powerful movement against upper caste domination and brahminical supremacy. Phule founded the Satyashodhak Samaj (Truth Seekers' Society) in 1873, with the leadership of the Samaj coming from the backward classes, Malis, Telis, Kunbis, Saris and Dhangars. The main aims of the movement were (i) social service, and (ii) spread of education among women and lower caste people. Phule's works, Sarvajanik Satyadharma and Gulamgin, became sources of inspiration for the common masses. Phule used the symbol of Rajah Bali as opposed to the, brahmins' symbol of Rama. Phule aimed at the complete abolition of the caste system and socio-economic inequalities; he was against Sanskritic Hinduism. This movement gave a sense of identity to the depressed communities as a class against the brahmins, who were seen as the exploiters. Phule opened, with the help of his wife, a girls' school at Poona and was a pioneer of, widow remarriage movement in Maharashtra.
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 37
    Gopalhari Deshmukh Lokahitawadi, He advocated a reorganisation of Indian society onrationalpmcIples and modern, humanistic,. secular values. He attacked Hindu orthodoxy and supported social and religious equality. He said, "If religion does not sanction social reform, then change religion."
    Gopal Ganesh Agarkar A strong advocate of the power of human reason, he criticised from the blind dependence on tradition and false glorification of the past.
    The Servants of India Society Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the liberal leader of Indian National Congress, founded the Servants of India Society in 1905. The aim of the society was to train national missionaries for the service of India; to promote, by all constitutional means, the, true interests of the Indian people; and to prepare a cadre of selfless workers who were to devote their lives to the cause of the country in a religious spirit. After Gokhale's death (1915), Srinivasa Shastri took over as president:
    Social Service League Another Gokhale follower Narayan Malhar Joshi founded the Social Serince League in Bombay with an aim to secure for
    the masses better and reasonable conditions of life and work They organized many schools, libraries, reading rooms, day nurseries and cooperative societies. Their activities also included police court agents' work, legal aid and advice to the poor and illiterate, excursions for slum dwellers, facilities for gymnasia and theatrical performances, sanitary work, medical relief and boys' clubs and scout corps. Joshi also founded the All India Trade Union (1920).
    The Ramakrishna Movement The didactic nationalism of the Brahma Samaj appealed more to the intellectual elite in Bengal, while the average Bengali found more emotional satisfaction in the cult of bhakti and yoga. The teachings of Ramakrishna Paramhansa (1834-86), a poor priest at the Kali temple in Dakshineshwar, Calcutta, formed the basis of the Ramakrishna Movement. Two objectives of the movement were—(i) to bring into existence a band of monks dedicated
    38 A Brief History of Modern India
    to a life of renunciation and practical spirituality, from among whom teachers and workers would be sent out to spread the universal message of Vedanta as illustrated in the life of Ramakrishna, and (ii) in conjunction with lay disciples to carry on preaching, philanthropic and charitable works, looking tapon all men, women and children, irrespective of caste, creed or colour, as veritable manifestations of the Divine. Parainhansa himself founded the Ramakrishna Math with his young monastic disciples as a nucleus to fulfil the first objective. The second objective was taken up by Swami Vivekananda after Ramakrishna's death when he founded the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897. The headquarters of the Mission are at Belur near Calcutta.
    Paramhansa sought salvation through traditional ways of renunciation, meditation and bhakti amidst increasing westernisation and modernisation. He recognised the fundamental oneness of all religions and emphasised that Krishna, Hari, Ram, Christ, Allah are different names for the same God, and that there are many ways to God and salvation. Paramhansa's spirituality and compassion for the suffering humanity inspired those who listened to him. He used to say, "Service of man is the, service of God."
    Narendranath Datta (1862-1902), who later came to be known as Swami Vivekananda spread Ramakrishna's message and tried to reconcile it to the needs of contemporary Indian society. He emerged as the preacher of neo-Hinduism. Certain spiritual experiences of Ramakrishna, the teachings of the Upanishads and the Gita and the examples, of the Buddha and Jesus are the basis of Vivekananda's message to the world about human values. He subscribed to the Vedanta which he considered a fully rational system with a superior approach. His mission was to bridge the gulf between ararnartha (service) and vyavahara (behaviour), and between spirituality believed in the fundamental oneness of God and said, "For our own motherland a junction of the two great systems, Hinduism and Islam, is the only hope." Emphasising social action, he declared that knowledge without
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 39
    action is useless. He lamented the isolationist tendencies and the touch- me-not attitude of Hindus in religious matters. He frowned at religion's tacit approval of the opptession of the poor by the rich. He believed that it was an insult to God and humanity to teach religion to a starving man. He called upon his countrymen to imbibe a spirit of liberty, equality and free thinking.
    Vivekananda was a great humanist and used the Ramakrishna Mission for humanitarian relief and social work. The Mission stands for religious and social reform. Vivekananda advocated the doctrine of service—the service of all beings.
    is itself is religion. service, the Divine exists within man. Vivekananda was for using technology and modern science in the service of mankind. Ever since its inception, the Mission has been running a number of schocies. It offers help to the affected ofcalamities like famines, floods and epidemics. a worldwide organisation. It is a deeply religious body, but it is not a proselytising body. It does not consider itself to be a sect of Hinduism. In fact, this is one of the strong reasons for the success of the Mission. Unlike the Arya Samaj, the Mission recognises the utility and value of image worship in developing spiritual fervour and worship of the eternal omnipotent God, although it emphasises the essential spirit and not the symbols or rituals. It believes that the philosophy of Vedanta will make a Christian a better Christian, and a Hindu a better Hindu.
    At the Parliament of Religions held at Chicago in 1893, Swami Vivekananda made a great impression on people by his learned interpretations. The keynote of his opening,address was the need for a healthy balance between spiritualism and materialism. Envisaging a new culture for the whole world, he called for a blend of the materialism of the West and the spiritualism of the East into a new harmony to produce happiness for mankind.
    Vivekananda never gave a political message; still, he
    40 A Brief History of Modern India
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 41
    infused into the new generation a sense of pride in India's past, a new faith in India's culture, and a rare sense of confidence in India's future. His emphasis was not only on personal salvation, but also on social, good and reform. About his place in modern Indian history, Subhash Bose wrote: "So far as Bengal is concerned Vivekananda may be regarded as the spiritual father of the modern nationalist movement."
    Dayanand Saraswati and Arya Samaj The Arya Samaj Movement, revivalist in form though not in content, was the result of a reaction to western influences. Its founder, Dayanand. Saraswati (or Mulshankar, 1824-83) was born in the old Morvi state in
    Gujarat in a brahmin family. He wandered as an ascetic for fifteen years (1845-60) in search of truth. The first Arya Samaj unit was formally set up by him at Bombay in 1875 and later the headquarters of the Samaj were established at Lahore.
    Dayanand's views were published in his famous work, Satyarth Prakash (The True Exposition). Dayanand's vision of India ineuded a classless and casteless society, a united India (religiously, socially and nationally), and an India free from foreign rule, with Aryan religion being the common religion of all He took inspiration from the Vedas and considered them to be "India's Rock of Ages", the infallible and the true original seed of Hinduism He gave the slogan "Back to the Vedas". He had received education on Vedanta from a blind teacher named Swami Virajananda in Mathura. Along with his emphasis on Vedic authority, he stressed the significance of individual interpretation of the scriptures and said that every person has the right of access to God. He criticised later Hindu scriptures such as the Purcinas and the ignorant priests for perverting Hinduism. Dayanand launched a frontal attack on Hindu orthodoxy, caste rigidities, untouchability, idolatry, polytheism, belief in magic, charms and animal sacrifices, taboo on sea voyages, feeding the dead through shraddluzs, etc. Dayanand subscribed to the Vedic notion of chaturvarna system in which a person was not born in any caste but was identified as a brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya or shudra according to the occupation the person followed.
    The Samaj fixed the minimum marriageable age at twenty-five years for boys and sixteen years for girls. Swami once lamented the Hindu race as "the children of children". Intercaste marriages and widow remarriages were also encouraged. Equal status for women was the demand of the Samaj, both in letter and in spirit The Samaj also helped the people in crises like floods, famines and earthquakes. It attempted to give a new direction to education. The nucleus for this movement was provided by the Dayanand AngloVedic (D.A.V.) schools, established first at Lahore in 1886, which sought to emphasise the importance of western education. Swami Shraddhanand started the Gurukul at Hardwar in 1902 to impart education in the traditional framework.
    Dayanand strongly criticised the escapist Hindu belief in maya (illusion) as the running theme of all physical existence and the aim of human life as a struggle to attain moksha (salvation) through escape from this evil world to seek union with God. Instead, he advocated that God, soul and matter (prakriti) were distinct and every individual t is the or t e eterna trinci•les overni uman coffin uct. us e attac ed the prevalent popular belief that every individual contributed and got back from the society according the principles of niyati (destiny) and karma (deeds). He held the world to be a battlefield where every individual has to salyanon should be clearly understood that Dayanand's slogan of 'Back to the Vedas' was a call for a revival of Vedic learning and Vedic purity of religion and not a revival of Vedic times. He accepted modernity and displayed a patriotic attitude to national problems.
    The ten guiding principles of the Arya Samaj are—
    (i) God is the primary source of all true knowledge;
    (ii) God, as all-truth, all-knowledge, almighty, immortal, creator of Universe, is alone worthy of worship; (ii) the Vedas are the right ee s, an t at human beings are
    controlled by
    42 A Brief History of Modern India
    books of true knowledge; (iv) an Arya should always be ready to accept truth and abandon untruth;
    (iii) dharma, that is, due consideration of right and wrong,
    should be the guiding principle of all actions; (iv) the principal aim of the Samaj is to promote world's well- being in the material, spiritual and social sense; (v) everybody should be treated with love and justice; (vi) ignorance is to be dispelled and knowledge increased;
    (ix) one's own progress should depend on uplift of all others; (x) social well-being of mankind is> to be placed above an individual's well-being.
    The Arya Samaj's social ideals comprise, among others, the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of Man, equality of all sexes, absolute justice and fairplay between man and man and nation and nation. Dayanand also met other reformers of the time,Keshub Chandra Sen, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Ranade, Deshmukh, etc. The work of the Swami after his death was carried forward by Lala Hansraj, Pandit Gurudutt, Lala Lajpat Rai and Swami Shraddhanand, among others.
    The Arya Samaj was able to give self-respect and selfconfidence to the Hindus which helped to undermine the myth of superiority of whites and the western culture. In its zeal to protect the Hindu society from the onslaught of Christianity and Islam, the Samaj started the shuddhi (purification) movement to reconvert to Hindu fold the converts to Christianity and Islam. This led to increasing communalisation of social life during the 1920s and later snowballed into communal political consciousness.
    Seva Sadan A Parsi social reformer, M. Malabari, founded the Seva Sadan in 1885. The organisation specialised in taking care of use women who were exploited and then discarded by society. It catered to all castes and women with education, medical and welfare services.
    Deva Samaj Founded in 1887 at Lahore by Shiv Narain Agnihotri, this sect emphasised of the soul, the suremac of the uru, and the need for good action. It
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 43
    called for an ideal social behaviour such as not accepting bribes, avoiding intoxicants and non-vegetarian and keeping away from violemt actions. Its teachings were corn fled
    Dharma Sabha Radhakant Deb founded this sabha in 1830. An orthodox society, it stood for the preservation of the status quo in socio-religious matters, opposing even the abolition of sati. However, it favouretion of western education, even for girls.
    Bharat Dharma Mahamandala An all-India organisation of the orthodox educated Hindus, it stood for a defence of orthodox Hinduism against the teachings of the Arya Samaj, the Theosophists, and the Ramakrishna Mission. Other organisations created to defend orthodox Hinduism were the Sanatana Dharma Sabha (1895), the Dharma Maha Parishad in South India, and. Dharma Mahamandaii in Bengal. These organisations combined in 1902 to form the single organisation of Bharat Dharma Mahamandala, with headquarters at Varanasi. This organisation sought to introduce proper management of Hindu religious institutions, open Hindu educational institutions, etc. Pandit Madan -Mohan Malaviya was a prominent figure in this movement.
    Radhaswami Movement Tulsi Ram, a banker from Agra, also known as Shiv DayalSaheb, founded this movement in 1861. The R. d. i , one supreme being supremacy of the Spiritual attainment, they believe doeg not call for renunciation of the worldly life. They consider all religions to be true. While the sect has no belief in temples, shrines and sacred places, it considers as necessary duties, works of faith and charity, service and prayer.
    Sri Narayana Guru Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Movement This movement was an example of a regional movement born out of conflict between the depressed, classes and upper non-Brahmin castes. It was started by. Sri Narayana, Guru Swamy among the Ezhavas of Kerala, who were a caste
    44 A Brief History of Modern India
    of toddy-tappers and were considered to be untouchables. The Ezhavas were the single largest caste group in Kerala constituting 26 per cent of the total population. Sri Narayana Guru initiated a programme of action—the Sri Narayana Guru Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogarn—in 1902. The SNDP took of admission to public schools uitment to :government services, (iii) access to roads and entriliesz. The movement as a whole brought transformative structural changes such as upward social mobility, shift in traditional distribution of power and a federation of 'backward castes' into a large conglomeration.
    Vokkaliga Sangha This Sangha in Mysore launched an anti-brahmin movement in 1905.
    Justice Movement This movement in Madras Presidency was started by C.N. Mudaliar, T.M. Nair and P. Tyagaraja to secure jobs and representation for the non-
    brahmins in the legislature In 1917, Madras Presidency Association was formed which demanded separate representation for the lower castes in the legislature.
    Self-Respect Movement This movement was started by E.V. kaMaswamRarcrer, a Balija Naidu, in the mid-1920s. The movementaimed at nothing short of a rejection of the brahmanical religion and culture which Naicker felt was the prime instrument of exploitation of the lower castes. He sought to undermine the position of brahmin priests by formalising weddings without brahmin priests.
    Aravippuram Movement On the occasion of Sivarathri in 1888, Sri Narayana Guru, despite belonging to a lower caste, installed an idol of Siva at Aravippuram in Kerala in his effort to show that the consecration of a god's image was not a monopoly of the brahmins. On the wall of the temple he got inscribed the words, "Devoid of dividing walls of caste or race, or hatred of rival faith, we all live here in brotherhood." The event inspired several socio-religious reform movements in the South, especially the Temple Entry Movement.
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 45
    Temple Entry Movement Significant work in this direction had already been done by reformers and intellectuals like Sri Narayana Guru, N. Kumaran Asan, T.K. Madhavan etc. In 1924, Vaikom Satyagraha led by K.P. Kesava, was launched in Kerala demanding the throwing open of Hindu temples and roads to the untouchables. The satyagraha was reinforced by jathas from Punjab and Madurai. Gandhi undertook a tour of Kerala in support of the movement.
    Again in 1931 when the Civil Disobedience Movement was suspended, temple entry movement was organized in Kerala. Inspired by K. Kelappan, poet Subramaniyam Tirurnambu (the 'singing sword of Kerala') led a group of sixteen volunteers to Guruvayur. Leaders like P. Krishna Pillai and A.K. Gopalan were among the satyagrahis. Finally, in 1936 the Maharaja of Travancore issued a proclamation throwing open all government-controlled temples to all Hindus. A similar step was taken by the C. Rajagopalachari administration in Madras in 1938.
    Indian Sr :al Conference Founded by M.G. Ranade and Raghunath Rao, the conference met annually from its first session in Madras in 1887 at the same time and venue as the Indian National Congress. It focussed attention on the social issues of importance; it could be called the social reform cell of the Indian National Congress, in fact. The conference advocated inter-caste marriages, opposed polygamy and kulinism. It launched the "Pledge Movement" to inspire people to take a pledge against child marriage.
    Wahabi/Walliullah Movement Shah Walliullah (1702-62) inspired this essentially revivalist response to western influences and the degeneration which had set in among Indian Muslims. He was the first Indian Muslim leader of the 18th century to organize Muslims around the
    two-fold ideals of this movement: (i) desirability of harmony among the four schools of Muslim jurisprudence which had divided the Indian Muslims (he sought to integrate the best elements of the four schools); (ii) recognition of the role of individual conscience in religion
    46 A Brief History of Modern India
    where conflicting interpretations were derived from the Quran and the Hadis.
    The teachings of Walliullah were further popularised by Shah Abdul Aziz and Syed Ahmed Barelvi who also gave them a political perspective. India was considered to be dar-ul-Harb (land of the kafirs) and it needed to be converted to dar-ulIslam (land of Islam). Initially the movement was directed at Sikhs in Punjab but after the British annexation of Punjab (1849), the movement was directed against the British. The movement fizzled out in the face of British military might in the 1870s.
    Titu Mir's Movement Mir Nithar Ali, popularly known as Titu Mir, was a disciple of Sayyid Ahmed Raebarelvi, the founder of the Wahabi Movement. Titu Mir organized the Muslim peasants of Bengal against the Hindu landlords and the British indigo planters. The movement was not as militant as the British records made it out to be; only in the last year of Titu's life was there a confrontation between him and the British police. He was killed in action in 1831.
    Faraizi Movement The movement, also called the Fara'idi Movement because of its emphasis on the Islamic pillars of faith, was founded by Haji Shariat-Allah. Its scene of action was East Bengal, and it aimed at the eradication of social innovations current among the Muslims of the region. Under the leadership of Haji's son, Dudu Mian, the movement became revolutionary from 1840 onwards. He gave the movement an organisational system from the village to the provincial level with a khalifa or authorised deputy at every level. The Fara'idis organized a paramilitary forces armed with clubs to fight the Hindu landlords and even the police. Dudu Mian was arrested several times, and his arrest in 1847 finally weakened the movement. The movement survived merely as a religious movement without political overtones after the death of Dudu Mian in 1862.
    Ahmadiya Movement This movement was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed in 1889. It was based on liberal
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 47
    principles. It described itself as the standard-bearer of Mohammedan Renaissance, and based itself, like the Brahmo Samaj, on the principles of universal religion of all humanity, opposing jihad (sacred war against non-Muslims). The movement spread western liberal education among the Indian Muslims. However, the Ahmadiya Movement, like Baha'ism which flourished in the West Asian countries, suffered from mysticism.
    Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and the Aligarh Movement The official view on the revolt of 1857 held the Muslims to be the main conspirators. This view was further strengthened by the activities of the Wahabis. But later, an opinion got currency among the rulers that the Muslims could be used as allies against a rising tide of nationalist political activity represented, among others, by the foundation of the Indian National Congress. This was to be achieved through offers of thoughtful concessions to the Muslims. A section of Muslims led by Syed Ahmed Khan was ready to allow the official patronage to stimulate a process of growth among Indian Muslims through better education and employment opportunities.
    Syed Ahmed Khan, born in 1817 in a respectable Muslim family, was a loyalist member of the judicial service of the Government. After retirement in 1876, he became a member of the Imperial Legislative Council in 1878. His loyalty earned him a knighthood in 1888. He wanted to reconcile western scientific education with the teachings of the Quran to be interpreted in the light of contemporary rationalism and science even though he also held the Quran to be the ultimate. He said that religion, should be adaptable with time or else it would become fossilised, and that religious tenets were not immutable. He advocated a critical approach and freedom of thought and no dependence on tradition or custom. He was also a zealous educationist—as an official, he opened schools in towns, got books translated into Urdu and started the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh in 1875. He also struggled to bring about an improvement in the position of women through better education by
    48 A Brief History of Modern India
    opposing purdah and polygamy, advocating easy divorce, and condemning the system of piri and muridi. He believed in the fundamental underlying unity of religions or 'practical morality'. He also preached the basic commonality of. Hindu and Muslim interests.
    He argued that Muslims should first concentrate on education and jobs and try to catch up with their Hindu counterparts who had gained the advantage of an early start. Active participation in politics at that point, he felt, would invite hostility of the Government towards the Muslim masses. Therefore, he opposed political activity by the Muslims. Unfortunately, in his enthusiasm to promote the educational and employment interests of the Muslims, he allowed himself to be used by the colonial government in its obnoxious policy of divide and rule and, in later years, started propagating divergence of interests of Hindus and Muslims.
    Syed's progressive social ideas were propagated through his magazine Tandhib-ul-Akhlaq (Improvement of Manners and Morals).
    The Aligarh Movement emerged as a liberal, modern trend among the Muslim intelligentsia based in Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh. It aimed at spreading (i) modern education among Indian Muslims without weakening their allegiance to Islam; (ii) social reforms among Muslims
    relating to purdah, polygamy, widow remarriage, women's education, slavery, divorce, etc. The ideology of the followers of the movement was based on a liberal interpretation of the Quran and they sought to harmonise Islam with modern liberal culture. They wanted to impart a distinct socio-cultural identity to Muslims on modern lines. Soon, Aligarh became the centre of religious and cultural revival of the. Muslim community.
    The Deoband School The Deoband Movement was organized by the orthodox section among the Muslim ulema as a revivalist movement with the twin objectives of propagating pure teachings of the Quran and Hadis among Muslims and keeping alive the spirit of jiliad against the foreign rulers.
    Religious and Social Reform MoveMents 49
    The Deoband Movement was established in Deoband in Saharanpur district (United Provinces) in 1866 by Mohammad Qasim Nanotavi (1832-80) and Rashid Ahmed,cangohi (18281905) to train religious leaciers tor tne iviusum conununuy.
    contrast to> the Ahgarn ivievemenr, 4 L al of Muslim& through western education and support of the British Government, the aim of the Deoband Movement was moral and religious regeneration of the Muslim community. The instruction imparted at Deoband was in original Islamic religion.
    On the political front, the Deoband school welcomed the formation of the Indian National Congress and in 1888 issued a fatwa (religious decree) against Syed Ahmed Khan's organisations, The United Patriotic Association and the 1V1ohammaden Anglo-Oriental Association. Some critics attribute Deoband's support to the nationalists more to its determined opposition to Syed Ahmed Khan than to any positive political philosophy.
    Mahmud-ul-,Flasan, the new Deoband leader, gave a political and intellectual content to the religious ideas of the school. He worked' 'out a synthesis of Islamic principles and nationalist aspirations. The Jamiat-ul-Ulema gave a concrete shape to Hasan's ideas of protection of the religious and political rights of the Muslims in the overall context of Indian unity and national objectives.
    Shibli Numani, a supporter of the Deoband, school, favoured the inclusion of English language and European sciences in the system of education. He founded the Nadwatal Ulama and DarI hum in Lucknow in 1894-96. He believed in the idealism of the Congress and cooperation between the Muslims Hindus of Iriaia to create a state in which both could live amicably.
    Parsi Reform Movements The Rahnumai Mazdayasnan Sabha (Religious Reform Association) was founded in 1851 by a, group of English-educated Parsis for the "regeneration of the social conditions of the Parsis and the restoration of the Zoroastrian religion to its pristine purity". The movement had
    50 A Brief History of Modern India
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 51
    Naoroji Furdonji, Dadabhai Naoroji, K.R. Carna and S.S. Bengalee as its leaders. The message of reform was spread by the newspaper Rast Goftar (Truth-Teller). Parsi religious rituals and practices were reformed and the Parsi creed redefined. In the social sphere, attempts were made to uplift the status of Parsi women through removal of the purdah system, raising the age of marriage and education. Gradually, the Parsis emerged as the most westernised section of the Indian society.
    Sikh Reform Movements The Sikh community could not remain untouched by the rising tide of rationalist and progressive ideas of the nineteenth century. The Singh Sabha Movement was founded at Amritsar in 1873 with a two-fold objective—-(i) to make available modern western education to the Sikhs, and (ii) to counter the proselytising activities of Christian missionaries as well as Hindu revivalists. For the first objective, a network of Khalsa schools was established by the Sabha throughout Punjab. The Akali movement was an offshoot of the Singh Sabha Movement. It aimed at liberating the Sikh gurudwaras from the control of corrupt Udasi Mahants who were a loyalist and reactionary lot, enjoying government patronage. The Government tried its repressive policies against the non-violent non-cooperation satyagraha launched by the Akalis in 1921, but had to bow before popular demands and passed the Sikh Gurudwaras Act in 1922 (amended in 1925) which gave the control of gurudwaras to the Sikh masses to be administered through Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) as the apex body.
    The Akali Movement was a regional movement but not a communal one The Akali leaders played a notable role in the national liberation struggle though some dissenting voices were heard occasionally.
    The Theosophical Movement
    A group of westerners led by Madame H.P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Colonel M.S. who were inspired by Indian thought and culture, founded the Theosophical Society in United States in 1875.
    In 1882, they shifted their headquarters to Adayar, on the outskirts of Madras. The society believed that a special relationship could be established between a person's soul and Gay contemplation, Ri-ayer, revelation, etc. It accepted the Hindu beliefs in reincarnation and karma, and drew inspiration from the philosophy of the Upanishads and samkhya, yoga and Vedanta schools of thought. It aimed to work for universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour. The society also sought to investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man. The
    Theosophical Movement came to be allied with the Hindu renaissance. In India, the movement became somewhat popular with the election of Annie Besant (1847-1933) as its president after the death of Olcott in 1907. Annie Besant had come to India in 1893. She laid the foundation of the Central Hindu College in Benaras in 1898 where both Hindu religion and
    western scientific subjects were taught. The college became the nucleus for the formation of Benaras Hindu University in 1916. Annie Besant also did much for the cause of the education of women.
    The Theosophical Society provided a common denominator for the various sects and fulfilled the urge of educated Hindus. However, to an average Indian the Theosophist philosophy seemed to be vague and lacking a positive programme; to that extent its impact was limited to a small segment of the westernised class. As religious revivalists, the Theosophists did not attain much success, but as a movement of westerners glorifying Indian religious and philosophical traditions they gave much needed self-respect to the Indians fighting British colonial rule. Viewed from another angle, the Theosophists also had the effect of giving a false sense of pride to the Indians in their outdated and sometimes backwardlooking traditions and philosophy.
    POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS OF REFORM MOVEMENTS The orthodox sections of society could not accept the scientific ideological onslaught of the socio-religious rebels. As a result
    52 A Brief History of Modern India
    of this, the reformers were subjected to abuse, persecution, issuing of fatwas and evert assassination attempts by the reactionaries.
    However, in spite of opposition, these movements contributed towards liberation of the individual from the conformity born out of fear and from uncritical submission to exploitation by the priests. The translation of religious texts into vernacular languages, emphasis on an individual's right to interpret, the scriptiffes aria—simplification of rituals experience. The move-Me-as emphasised the human intellect's capacity to think and reason. wTedinout corrupt elements, religious leaders and pr-a-crices,
    the reformers enabled their followers to meet the official taunt that their religiisA,&sqw2E5ent andinfei:Kii. It gave the rising middle classes the much needed to cling to, and served the purpose of reducing the sense of humiliation which the conquest by a foreign power had produced.
    A realisation of the special needs of modern times, especially in terms of scientific knowledge, and thus promoting a modern, this-worldly, secular and rational outlook was a major contribution of these reform movements. Socially, this attitude reflected in a basic change in the notions of 'pollution and purity'. Although traditional values and customs were a prominent target of attack from the reformers, yet the reformers aimed at modernisation rather than outright westernisation based on blind imitation of alien western cultural values. In fact, the reform movements sought to create a favourable social climate for modernisation. To that extent, these movements ended India's cultural and intellectual isolation from the rest of the world. The reformers argued that modern ideas and culture could be best imbibed by integrating them into Indian cultural streams.
    The underlying concern of these reformist efforts was revival of the native cultural personality which had got distorted by colonial domination. This cultural ideological struggle was to prove to be an important instrument of
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 53
    evolution of national consciousness and a part of Indian national resolve to resist colonial cultural and ideological hegemony. However, not all these progressive, nationalist tendencies were able to outgrow the sectarian and obscurantist outlook. This was,possibly due to divergent duality of cultural and political struggles, resulting in cultural backwardness despite political advancement.
    NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF REFORM MOVEMENTS Qne of the major limitations of these religious reform movements was that they had a narrow social base, namely the educated and urban middle classes, while the needs of vast masses of peasantry and the urban poor were ignored.
    The tendency of reformers to appeal to the greatness of the past and, to rely on scriptural authority encouraged mysticism m new garbs and fostered pseudo-scientific thinking while exercising a check on hill acceptance of the need for a modern scientific outlook. But, above all, these tendencies contributed, at least to some extent, in compartmentalising Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Parsis, as also alienating high caste Hindus from low caste Hindus.
    An overemphasis on religious and philosophical ,as aspects of heritage,got somewhat magnified by insufficient emphasis on other aspects of culture—art, architecture, literature, music, science and technology. To make matters worse, the Hindu reformers co their praise of the indian past to its ancient period and looked upon the medieval period of Indian history essentially as an era of decadence. This teride— to create a notion of two separate peoples, on the one hand; on the other, an uncritical praise of the past was not acceptable to the low caste sections of society which had suffered under religiously sanctioned exploitation precisely during the ancient period. Moreover, the past itself tended to be placed into compartments on a partisan basis. Many in the Muslim middle classes went to the extent of turning to, the history of West Asia for their traditions and moments of pride.
    54 A Brief History of Modern India
    The process of evolution of a composite culture which was evident throughout Indian history showed signs of being arrested with the rise of another form of consciousness— communal consciousness—along with national consciousness among the middle classes.
    Many other factors were certainly responsible for the birth of communalism in modern times, but undoubtedly the nature of religious reform movements also contributed to it. On the whole, however, whatever
    the net outcome of these reform movements, it was out of this struggle that a new society evolved in India.
    I regret to say that, the present system of religion adhered by the Hindus is not well calculated to promote their political interests. it is, I think, necessary that some change should' take place in their religion at least for the sake of their political advantage and social comfort, Raja Rammohan Roy.
    No other religion preaches the dignity of humanity in such a lofty strain as Hinduism and no other religion on earth treads upon the poor and the low in such a fashion as Hinduism, Swami Vivekananda.
    A country where millions have nothing to eat and where few thousand holy men and brahmins suck the blood of the poor and do nothing at -all for them, is not a country but a living hell. Is this religion or a dance of death? Swami Viveicananda.
    Nationalist power to stir up discontent would be immensely increased if every cultivator could read, Bombay Governor, in a private letter to the Viceroy (1911).
    The rising middle clasres were politically inclined and were not so much in search of a religion; but they wanted some cultural roots to cling on to, that would reduce the sense of frustration and humiliation that foreign conquest and rule had produced, Jawaharlal Nehru.
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 55
    The dead and the buried are aead, buried and burnt once for all and the dead past cannot, therefore, be revived except by a reformation df the old materials into new organized forms. Mahadeo Govind Ranade
    Unfortunately, no brahmin scholar has so far come forward to play the part of a Voltaire who had the intellectual honesty to rise against the doctrines of the Catholic church on which he was brought up. A Voltaire among the brahmins would be a positive danger to the maintenance of a civilisation which is contrived to maintain brahminic supremacy. B.R. Ambedkar
    Untouchability question is one of life and death for Hinduism, if untouchability lives, Hinduism perishes, and even India perishes; but if untouchability is eradicated from the Hindu heart, root and branch, then Hinduism has a definite message for the world. M.K. Gandhi
    Whoever worships the True God daily must learn to recognise all his fellow countrymen as brethren. Keshub Chandra Sen
    Forget not that the lower classes, the ignorant, the poor, the illiterate, the cobbler, the sweeper are thy flesh and blood, thy brothers. Swami Vivekananda
    I want the culture of all lands to be blown about 'my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people's houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave. M.K. Gandhi
    FACTORS WHICH GAVE RISE TO REFORM MOVEMENTS Presence of colonial government on Indian soil. Various ills plaguing Indian society—obscurantism, superstition, polytheism, idolatry, degraded position of women, exploitative caste hierarchy. Spread of education and increased awareness of the world. Impact of modern western culture and consciousness of defeat by a foreign power.
    56 A Brief History of Modern India
    Religious and Social Reform Movements 57
    Rising :tide of nationalism and democracy during the late 19th century.
    SOCIAL BASE Emerging middle class and western-educated intellectuals.
    IDEOLOGICAL BASE Rationalism, religious universalism, humanism, secularism.
    SOCIAL REFORM COMPONENTS Betterment of Position of Women Degraded position due to Purdah system Early marriage Lack of education Unequal rights in marriage, divorce, inheritance Polygamy Female infanticide Restrictions on widow remarriage Sati
    Major Contributors to Reforms Social reform movements, freedom struggle, movements led by enlightened women, free India's Constitution.
    Legislative Measures for Women Bengal Regulation (1829) banning sati Bengal Regulations (1795, 1804)—declaring infanticide illegal. Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, 1856. Age of Consent Act, 1891 Sarda Act, 1930 Special Marriage Act, 1954 Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 Hindu Succession Act, 1956
    Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1978 Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act in Women and Girls, 1956 (amended in 1986) Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (amended in 1986)
    STRUGGLE AGAINST CASTE-BASED EXPLOITATION Factors Undermining Caste Rigidities Forces unleashed by colonial administration Social reform movements National movement Gandhi's campaign against untouchability Stirrings among lower castes due to better education and employment Free India's Constitution
    REFORM MOVEMENTS: AMONG HINDUS Bengal Raja Ram-mohan Roy and Brahmo Samaj Debendranath Tagore and Tattvabodhini Sabha Keshub Chandra Sen and Brahmo Samaj of India Prarthana Samaj Derozio and Young Bengal Movement Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Western India Bal Shastri Jambekar Students' Literary and Scientific Societies Pararnhansa Mandalis Jyotiba Phule and Satyashodhak Samaj Gopalhari Deshmukh Lokahitawadi' Gopal Ganesh Agarkar Servants of India Society Southern India Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Movement Vokkaliga Sangha Justice Movement Self-respect Movement Temple Entry Movement All India Ramakrishna Movement and Vivekananda Dayanand Saraswati and Arya Samaj Theosophical Movement
    58 A Brief History of Modern India
    • AMONG MUSLIMS Wahabi/Walliullah Movement Ahmadiya Movement Syed Ahmed Khan and Aligarh Movement Deoband Movement
    AMONG PARSIS Rahnumai Mazdayasnan Sabha
    AMONG SIKHS Singh Sabha Movement Akali Movement
    POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS Liberation of individual from conformity out of fear psychosis. Worship made a more personal affair Cultural roots to the middle classes—thus mitigating the sense of humiliation; much needed self-respect gained Fostered secular outlook Encouraged social climate for modernisation Ended India's cultural, intellectual isolation from rest of the world Evolution of national consciousness
    Narrow social base Indirectly encouraged mysticism Overemphasis on religious, philosophical aspects of culture while underemphasising secular and moral aspects Hindus confined their praise to ancient Indian history and Muslims to medieval history—created a notion of two separate peoples and increased communal consciousness Historical process of evolution of composite culture arrested to some extent.
    The Struggle Begins
    MODERATE PHASE AND EARLY CONGRESS (1858-1905) The rise and growth of Indian nationalism has been traditionally explained in terms of Indian response to the stimulus generated by the British Raj through creation of new institutions, new opportunities, resources, etc. In other nationalism grew Eutly.was a result of colonial policies reaction. In fact, it would be more correct to see Indian nationalism as a product of a mix of various factors.
    (i) Worldwide upsurge of the concepts of nationalism and right of
    self-determination initiated by the French Revolution. (ii) Indian Renaissance.
    , (iii) Offshoot of modernisation initiated by the British in India. (iv) Strong reaction to British imperialist policies in India.
    Understanding of Contradiction in Indian and Colonial Interests People came to realise that colonial rule was the major cause of India's economic backwardness and that the interests of the Indians involved the interests of all sections and classes—peasants, artisans, handicraftsmen, workers, intellectuals, the educated and the capitalists. The nationalist movement arose to take up the challenge of these contradictions inherent in the character and policies of colonial rule.
    Political, Administrative and Economic Unification of the Country The British rule in the Indian subcontinent extended—from the Himalayas in the north to the Cape Comorinirt the south and from Assam in the east to Khyber Pass in the west. The British created a larger state than that
    59 60 A Brief History of Modern India
    of the Mauryas or the great Mughals. While Indian provinces were under 'direct' British rule, Indian states were under 'indirect' British rule. The British sword imposed political unity in India. A professional civil
    service, a unified judiciary and codified civil and criminal laws throughout the length and breadth of the country imparted a new dimension of political unity to the hitherto cultural unity that had existed in India for centuries. The necessities of administrative convenience, considerations of military defence and the urge for economic penetration and commercial exploitation were the driving forces behind the planned development of modern means of transport and communication such as railways, roads, electricity and telegraph.
    From the nationalists' point of view, this process of unification had a two-fold effect: (i) Economic fate of the people of different regions got linked together; for instance, failure of crops in one region affected the prices and supply in another region. (ii) Modern means of transport and communication brought people, especially the leaders, from different regions together. This was important for exchange of political ideas and for mobilisation and organisation of public opinion on political and economic issues.
    Western Thought and Education The introduction of a modern system of education afforded opportunities for assimilation of modern western ideas. This, in turn, gave a new direction to Indian political thinking, although the English system of education had been conceived by the rulers in the interest of efficient administration. The liberal and radical thought of European writers like Milton, Shelley, John Stuart Mill, Rousseau, Paine, Spencer and Voltaire helped many Indians imbibe modern rational, secular, democrAtic and nationalist ideas.
    The English language helped nationalist leaders from different linguistic regions to communicate with each other. Those among the educated who took up liberal professions (lawyers, doctors, etc.) often visited England for higher
    The Struggle Begins 61
    education. There they saw the working of modern political institutions in a free country and compared that system with the Indian situation where even basic rights were denied to the citizens. This ever- expanding English educated class formed the middle class intelligentsia who constituted the nucleus for the newly arising political unrest. It was this section which provided leadership to the Indian political associations.
    Role of Press and Literature The second half of the nineteenth century saw an unprecedented growth of Indian owned English and vernacular newspapers, despite numerous restrictions imposed on the press by the colonial rulers from time to time. In 1877, there were about 169 newspapers published in vernacular languages and their circulation reached the neighbourhood of 1,00,000.
    The press while criticising official policies, on the one hand, urged the people to unite, on the other. It also helped spread modern ideas of self-government, democracy, civil rights and industrialization. The newspapers, journals, pamphlets and nationalist literature helped in the
    exchange of ,political ideas among nationalist leaders from different regions.
    Rediscovery of India's Past The historical researches by European scholars, such as Max Mueller, Monier Williams, Roth and Sassoon, and by Indian scholars such as R.G. Bhandarkar, R.L. Mitra and later Swami Vivekananda, created an entirely new picture of India's past. This picture was characterized by well- developed political, economic and social institutions, a flourishing trade with the outside world, a rich heritage in arts and culture and numerous cities. The theory put forward by European scholars, that the Indo-Aryans belonged to the same ethnic group from which other nations of Europe had evolved, gave a psychological boost to the educated Indians. The self-respect and confidence so gained helped the nationalists to demolish colonial myths that India had a long history of servility to foreign rulers.
    Progressive Character of Socio-religious Reform Movements These reform movements sought to remove social evils which divided the Indian society; this had the effect
    62 A Brief History of Modern India
    of bringing different sections together, and proved to be an important factor in the growth of Indian nationalism.
    Rise of Middle Class Intelligentsia British administrative and economic innovations gave rise to a new urban middle class in towns. According to Percival Spear, "The new middle class was a well-integrated all-India class with varied background but a common, foreground of knowledge, ideas and values. It was a minority of Indian society, but a dynamic minority. It had a sense of unity of purpose and of hope.
    This class, prominent because of its education, new position and its close ties with the ruling class, came to the forefront. The leadership to the Indian National Congress in all its stages of growth was provided by this class. Impact of Contemporary Movements Worldwide Rise of a number of nations on the ruins of Spanish and Portuguese empires in South America, and the national liberation movements of Greece and Italy in general and of Ireland in particular deeply influenced the nationalist ranks.
    Reactionary Policies and Racial Arrogance of Rulers Racial myths of white superiority were sought to be perpetuated by a deliberate policy of discrimination and segregation. Indians felt deeply hurt by this. Lytton's reactionary policies such as reduction of maximum age limit for the I.C.S. examination 'from 21 years to 19 years (1876), the grand Delhi Durbar of 1877 when the country was in the severe grip of famine, the Vernacular Press Act (1878) and the Arms Act (1878) provoked a storm of opposition in the country. Then came the Ilbert Bill controversy. Ripon's Government had sought to abolish, "judicial disqualification based on race distinctions" and to give the Indian
    members of the covenanted civil service the same powers and rights as those enjoyed by their European colleagues. Ripon had to modify the bill, which almost defeated the original purpose, because of stiff opposition from the European community.
    It became clear, to the nationalists that justice and fair play could not be expected where interests of the European community were involved. However, the organized agitation
    The Struggle Begins 63
    by the Europeans to revoke the. Ilbert Bill also taught the nationalists how to agitate for certain rights and demands.
    POLITICAL ASSOCIATIONS BEFORE THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS The political associations in the early half of the nineteenth century were dominated by wealthy and aristocratic elements, local or regional in character, and through long petitions to the British Parliament demanded— * administrative reforms, * association of Indians with the administration, and * spread of education. The political associations of the second half of the nineteenth century came to be increasingly dominated by the educated middle class—the lawyers, journalists, doctors, teachers, etc. and they had a wider perspective and a larger agenda.
    Political Associations in Bengal The Bangabhasha Prakasika Sabha was formed in 1836 by associates of Raja Rammohan Roy.
    The Zamindari Association, more popularly known as the 'Landholders' Society', was founded to safeguard the interests of the landlords. Although limited in its objectives, the Landholders' Society marked the beginning of an organized political activity and use of methods of constitutional agitation for the redressal of grievances.
    The Bengal British India Society was founded in 1843 with the object of the collection and dissemination of information relating to the actual condition of the people of British India and to employ such other means, of peaceful and lawful character as may appear calculated to secure the welfare, extend the just rights and advance the interests of all classes of our feliow subjects.
    In 1851, both the Landholders' Society and the Bengal British India Society merged into the British Indian Association. It sent a petition to the British Parliament demanding
    64 A Brief History of Modern India
    inclusion of some of its suggestions in the renewed Charter of the Company, such as
    (i) establishment of a separate legislature of a popular Character
    (iii) separation of executive from judicial functions (iv) reduction in salaries of higher officers
    (iv) abolition of salt duty, abkari and stamp duties.
    These were partially accepted when the Charter Act of 1853 provided for the addition of six members to the governorgeneral's council for legislative purposes.
    The East India Association was organized by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1866 in LondbiiiO disctiSs the Indian question and influence public men in England to promote Indian welfare. Later, branches of the association were started in prominent Indian cities.
    The Indian League was started in 1875 by Sisir Kumar Ghosh with the object of "stimulating the sense of nationalism amongst the people" and of encouraging political education.
    The Indian Association of Calcutta superseded the Indian League and was founded in 1876 by younger nationalists of Bengal led by Surendranath Banerjee and Ananda Mohan Bose, who were getting discontented with the conservative and pro-landlord policies of the British Indian Association. The Indian Association of Calcutta was the most important of preCongress associations and aimed to (i) create a strong public opinion on political questions, and (ii) unify Indian people on a common political programme. Branches of the association were opened in other towns and cities of Bengal and even outside Bengal. The membership fee was kept low in order to attract the poorer sections to the association.
    Political Associations in Bombay The Poona Sarvajanik Sabha was founded in 1867 by M.Mahadeo Govind Ranade and others, with the object of serving as a bridge between the government and the people.
    The Struggle Begins 65
    The Bombay Presidency Association was started by Badruddin Tyabji, Pherozshah Mehta and K.T. Telang in 1885.
    Political Associations in Madras The Madras Mahajan Sabha was founded in 1884 by M. Viraraghavachari, B. Subramaniya Aiyer and P. Anandacharlu.
    PRE-CONGRESS CAMPAIGNS These associations organized various campaigns before the first—all- India association—the Indian National Congress appeared on the scene. These campaigns were—
    (i) for imposition of import duty on cotton (1875)
    (ii) for Indianisation of government service (1878-79) (iii) against Lytton's Afghan adventure (iv) against Arms Act (1878) (v) against Vernacular Press Act (1878)
    (vi) for right to join volunteer corps (vii) against plantation labour and against Inland Emigration Act (viii) in support of Ilbert Bill (ix) for an All India Fund for Political Agitation (x) campaign in Britain to vote for pro-India party (ii) against reduction in maximum age for appearing in Indian
    Civil Service; the Indian Association took up this question and organized an all-India agitation against it, popularly known as the Indian Civil Service agitation. (iii) INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS—ITS AIMS AND OBJECTIVES Solid ground had thus been prepared for the establishment of an all- India organisation. The final shape to this idea was given by a retired English civil servant, A.O. Hume, who mobilised. leading intellectuals of the time and with their cooperation organized the first session of the Indian National Congress at Bombay in December 1885. As a prelude to this, two sessions of the Indian National Conference had been held
    66 A Brief History of Modern India
    in 1883 and 1885, which had representatives drawn from all major towns of India. Surendranath Banerjee and Ananda Mohan Bose were the main architects of the Indian National Conference.
    The first session of the Indian National Congress was, attended by 72 delegates and presided over by Vomesh Chandra Bonnerjee. Hereafter, the Congress met every year in December, in a different part of the country each time. Some of the great presidents of the Congress during this early phase were Dadabhai Naoroji (thrice president), 13adruddin Tyabji, Pherozshah Mehta, P. Anandacharlu, Surendranath Banerjee, Romesh Chandra Dutt, Ananda Mohan Bose and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Other prominent leaders included Mahadeo Govind Ranade, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sisir Kumar Ghosh, Motilal Ghosh, Madan Mohan Malaviya, G. Subramaniya Aiyar, C. Vijayaraghavachariar, Dinshaw E. Wacha.
    In 1890, Kadambiny the first woman graduate of Caktiffa University addressed the Congress session, which symbolised the commitment of the freedom struggle to give the women of India their due status in national life.
    Apart from the Indian National Congress, nationalist activity was carried out through provincial conferences and associations, newspapers and literature.
    Aims and Objectives of the Congress These were to— (i) found a democratic, nationalist movement; (ii) politicise and politically educate people; (iii) establish the headquarters for a 'movement; (iv) promote friendly relations among nationalist political workers from different parts of the country; (v) develop and propagate an anti-colonial nationalist ideology;
    (vi) formulate and present popular demands before the Government with a view to unifying the people over a common economic and political programme; (vii) develop and consolidate a feeling of national unity among people irrespective of religion, caste or province. (viii) carefully promote and nurture Indian nationhood.
    The Struggle Begins 67
    Was It a Safety Valve? There is a theory that Hume formed the Congress with the idea that it would prove to be a 'safety valve' for releasing the growing discontent of the Indians. To this end he convinced Lord Dufferin not to obstruct the formation of the Congress. Modern Indian historians, however, dispute the idea of 'safety valve'. In their opinion the Indian National Congress represented the urge of the politically conscious Indians to set up a national body to express the political and economic demands of the Indians. If the Indians had convened such a body on their own, there would have been unsurmountable opposition from the officials; such an organisation would not have been allowed to form. In the circumstances, as Bipin Chandra observes, the early Congress leaders used Hume as a 'lightning conductor' i.e., as a catalyst to bring together the nationalistic forces even if under the guise of a 'safety valve'.
    METHODS OF POLITICAL WORK OF THE EARLY MODERATES (1885-1905) The national leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozshah Mehta, D.E. Wacha, W.C. Bonnerjee, S.N. Banerjee who dominated the Congress policies during this period were staunch believers in 'liberalism' and 'moderate' politics ancrainT-LobelaTe117d as Moderates To distin om the neo- nationalists of the early twentieth century who were referred to as the Extremists.
    The moderate political activity involved constitutional agitation within the confines of law and showed a slow but orderly political progress. The Moderates believed that the British basically wanted to be just to the Indians but were not aware of the real conditions. Therefore, if public opinion could be created, in the country and public demands be presented to the Government through resolutions, petitions, meetings, etc., the authorities would concede these demands gradually.
    To achieve these ends, they worked on a two-pronged methodology—one, create a consciousness and national spirit and then educate and unite people on common political e
    The Struggle Begins 69
    68 A Brief History of Modern India
    British Government and British public opinion to introduce reforms in India on the lines laid out by the nationalists. For this purpose, a British committee of the Indian National Congress was established in London in 1899 which had Indiri as its organ. Dadabhai Naoroji spent a portion of his life and income campaigning for India's case abroad:in1890, it was decided to hold a session of the Indian National
    Congress in London in 1892, but owing to the British elections of 1891 the proposal was postponed and never revived later.
    The Moderate leaders believed that political connections with Britain were in India's interest at that stage of history and that the time was not ripe for a direct challenge to the British rule. Therefore, it was considered to be appropriate to try and transform the colonial rule to approximate to a national rule.
    Economic Critique of British Imperialism The early nationalists, led by Dadabhai Naoroji, R.C. Dutt, Dinshaw Wacha and others, carefully analysed the political economy of British rule in India, and put forward, the to explain British exploitation of India. They opposed the transformation of a basically self-sufficient Indian economy into a colonial economy (i.e., a supplier of raw materials and fooes an importer of finished goods and a field of investment for British capital). Thus, the Moderates were able to create an all-India public opinion that British rule in India was the major cause of India's poverty and economic backwardness.
    To mitigate the deprivation characterising Indian life, the early nationalists demanded severance of India's economic subservience to Britain and development of an independent economy through involvement of Indian capital and enterprise. The early nationalists demanded reduction in land revenuer abolition of salt tax, improvement in working conditions of plantation labour, reduction in military expenditure, and encouragement to modern industry through tariff protection and direct government aid. (Also refer to chapter on Economic Impact of British Rule in India.)
    Constitutional Reforms and Propaganda in Legislature Legislative councils in India had no real official power till 1920. Yet, work done in them by the nationalists helped the growth of the national movement. The Imperial Legislative Council constituted by the Indian Councils Act (1861) was an impotent body–deSigned to disguise official measures as having been passed by a > representative body. Indian members were few in number—thirty years from 1862 to 1892 only for brLfiye. Indians were nominated to it most of them being wealthy, landed and, loyalist, interests. Only a handful of political figures and intellectuals such as Ahmed Khan, Kristodas Pal, V.N. Mandlik, K.L. Nulkar and Rashbehari Ghosh were nominated.
    From 1885 to 1892, the nationalist demands for constitutional reforms were centred around 1. expansion of councils—i.e., greater participation of Indians in councils, 2. reform of councils—i.e., more powers to councils, especially greater control over finances.
    The early nationalists worked with the long-term objective of a democratic self-government. Their demands for constitutional reforms were conceded in 1892 in the form of the Indian Councils Act.
    These reforms were severely criticised at Congress sessions, where the nationalists made no secret of their dissatisfaction with them. Now, they demanded (i) a majority of elected Indians, and (ii) control over the budget i.e., the 'power to vote upon and amend the budget. They gave the slogan—"No taxation without representation'. Gradually, the scope of constitutional demands was widened and Dadabhai Naoroji (1904), Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1905) and Lokmanya Tilak (1906) demanded self- government like the self-governing colonies of Canada and Australia. Also, leaders like Pherozshah Mehta and Gokhale put government policies and proposals to severe criticism.
    The British had intended to use the councils to incorporate the more vocal among Indian leaders, so as to allow them to let off their "political steam", while the impotent councils
    70 A Brief History of Modern India
    Indian Councils Act 1892.
    The main provisions of this Act were as follows.
    • Number of additional members in Imperial Legislative Councils and the Provincial Legislative Councils was raised. In Imperial Legislative Council, now the governor-general could have ten to sixteen non- officials (instead of six to ten previously).
    • Some of these additional members could be indirectly elected Thus an element of election was introduced for the first time.
    • Budget could be discussed.
    • Questions could be asked. But there were certain limitations of these reforrns.
    • The officials retained their majority in the council, thus leaving ineffective the non-official voice.
    • The 'reformed' Imperial Legislative Council met, during its tenure till 1909, on an average for only thirteen days in a year, and the number of unofficial Indian members present was only five out of twenty- four.
    • The budget could not be voted upon, nor could any amendments be made to it.
    • Supplementaries could not be asked, nor could answers be discussed.
    could afford to remain, deaf to their criticism. But the nationalists were able to transform these councils into forums for;ventilating popular grievances, for exposing the defects of an indifferent bureaucracy, for criticising government policies/proposals, raising basic economic issues, especially regarding public finance.
    The nationalists were, thus, able to enhance their political stature and build a national movement while undermining the political and moral influence, of imperialist rule. This helped in generating anti- imperialist sentiments among the public. But, at the same time, the nationalists failed to widen the democratic base of the movement by not including the masses, especially women, and not demanding the right to vote for all.
    Campaign for General Administrative Reforms These included the following: Indianisation of government service: on the economic grounds that British civil servants expected very high emoluments
    The Struggle Begins 71
    while inclusion of Indians would be more economical; on political grounds that, since salaries of British bureaucrats were remitted back home and pensions paid in England, this amounted to economic drain; and on moral grounds that Indians were being discriminated against by being kept away from positions of trust and responsibility.
    Separation from, executive functions.
    CriticismotaaQ1qrrannicalbureaucracy and an expensive and time-consuming judicial system. Criticism aggressive forei:7n policy which resulted in Afghanistan war and suppression of tribals in the North-West.
    Increase in expenditure on welfare (i.e., health, sanitation), education—especial and technical— irrigation works and improvement of agriculture, agricultural banks for cultivators, etc. Better treatment for Indian labour abroad in other British colonies, who faced oppression and racial discrimination there.
    Defence of Civil Rights These rights included the right to speech, thought, association and expression an incessant campaign, the nationalists were able to spread modern democratic ideas, and soon the defence of civil rights became an integral part of the freedom struggle. It was due to the increased consciousness that there was a great public outrage at the arrest of Tilak and several other leaders and journalists in 1897 and at the arrest and deportation of the Natu brothers without a trial. (Also refer to chapter on Development of Press in India.)
    AN EVALUATION OF THE EARLY NATIONALISTS (i) They represented the most progressive forces of the time. (ii) They were able to create a wide national awakening of all Indians having common interests and the need to rally around a common programme against a common enemy, and above all, the feeling of belonging to one nation. (iii) They trained people in political work and popularised modern ideas.
    72 A Brief History of Modern India
    (iv) They exposed the basically exploitative character of colonial rule, thus undermining its moral foundations. (v) Their political work was based on hard realities, and not on shallow sentiments, religion, etc. (vi) They were able to establish the basic political truth that India should be ruled in the interest of Indians.
    (vii) They created a solid base for a more vigorous, militant, mass- based national movement in the following years.
    (vii) However, they failed to widen their democratic base and the
    scope of their demands.
    ROLE OF MASSES The moderate phase ofthe national movement had a narrow social base and the masses played a passive role. This was because the early nationalists lacked political faith in the masses; they felt that there were numerous' divisions and subdivisions in the Indian society, and the generally ignorant and had conservative ideas and thoughts. These heterogeneous elements had first to be welded into a nation before their entry into the political sphere. But they failed to realise that it was only during the freedom struggle and political participation that these diverse elements were to come together. Because of the lack of mass participation, the Moderates could not take militant political positions against the authorities. The later nationalists differed from the Moderates precisely on this point. Still, the early nationalists represented the emerging Indian nation against colonial interests.
    ATTITUDE OF THE GOVERNMENT The British Indian Government was hostile to the Congress from the beginning despite the latter's moderate methods and emphasis on loyalty to the British Crown. The official attitude stiffened further after 1887 when the Government failed to persuade ,the Congress to confine itself to social questions while the Congress was becoming increasingly critical of the colonial rule. Now, the Government resorted to open
    The Struggle Begins 73
    condemnation of the Congress, calling the nationalists "seditious, brahmins", "disloyal babus", etc,,Dufferin called, the Congress "a factory of sedition". Later, the Government adopted a 'divide and rule' policy towards the Congress., The officials encouraged reactionary elements and Raja Shiv Prasad Singh of Benaras to organize the United Patriotic Association to counter, Congress propaganda. The Government also tried to divide the nationalists on the basis and, through a policy of 'carrot and stick', pitted the Mocleratesaaain.st the Extremists. But the Government failed' to check the rising tide of Aationatism.
    "You don't realise our place in the history of our country. These memonais are nominally auuresseuU IC reality they are addressed to the people, so mat tney may learn how to think in these matters. This work must be done for many years, without expecting any other results, because politics of this kind is altogether new in this land." Justice Mahadeo Govind Ranade to Gokhale (1891) We cannot blame them for the attitude they adopted as pioneers of Indian political reform any more than we can blame the brick and mortar that is buried six feet deep in the foundation and, plinth of a modern edifice. They have made possible the superstructure, storey by storey, by
    colonial selfgovernment, home rule within the empire, swaraj and on the top of all, complete independence. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
    The period from 1858 to 1905 was the seed time of Indian nationalism; and the early nationalists sowed the seeds well and deep. Bipin Chandra
    It was at,best an opportunist movement. It opened opportunities for treacheries and hypocrisies. It enabled some people to trade in the name of patriotism. Lala Lajpat Rai
    The Congress is tottering to its fall, and one of my great ambitions while in India is to assist it to a peat:awl 14
    74 A. Brief Histor'Y of Modern India
    FACTORS IN GROWTH OF MODERN "NATIONALISM Understanding of contradictions in Indian and colonial interests Political, administrative and economic unification of the country. Western thought and education Role of press and literature Rediscovery of India's past-historical researches Rise of middle class intelligentsia Impact of contemporary movements worldwide Reactionary policies and racial arrogance of rulers
    1836—Bangabhasha Prakasika Sabha Zamindari Association or Landholders' Society 1843—Bengal British India Society 1851—British Indian Association 1866—East India Association 1875—Indian League 1876—Indian Association of Calcutta 1867—Poona Sarvajanik Sabha 1885—Bombay Presidency Association 1884—Madras Mahajan Sabha
    EARLY NATIONALIST METHODOLOGYConstitutional agitation within four walls of law Create public opinion in India and campaign for support to Indian demands in England Political education of people Political connections with Britain in India's interests at that stage Time not ripe for direct challenge to colonial rule
    CONTRIBUTIONS OF MODERATE NATIONALISTS Economic critique of British imperialism Constitutional reforms and propaganda in legislature Campaign for general administrative reforms Defence of civil rights.
    National Movement-1905-1918
    WHY MILITANT NATIONALISM GREW? A radical trend of a militant nationalist approach to political activity started emerging in the 1890s and it took a concrete shape by 1905. As an adjunct to this trend, a revolutionary terrorist wing also took shape. But why did this militant trend emerge?
    1. Recognition of the True Nature of British Rule: Having seen that, the Government was not conceding any of their important demands, the more militant among those politically conscious got disillusioned and started looking for a more effective mode of political action. Also, the feeling that only an Indian Government could bring India on a path of progress started attracting more and more people. The economic miseries of the 1890s further exposed the exploitative character of colonial rule. Severe famines killed 90 lakh persons between 1896 and 1900. Bubonic plague affected large areas of the Deccan. There were large-scale riots in the Deccan. The nationalists were wide awake to the fact that instead of giving more rights to the Indians, the Government was taking away even the existing ones.
    1892 The Indian Councils Act was criticised by nationalists as it failed to satisfy them. 1897 — The Natu brothers were deported without trial and Tilak and others, imprisoned on charges of sedition. 1898 — Repressive laws under IPC Section 124 A were further amplified with new provisions under IPC Section 156 A 1899 — Number of Indian members in Calcutta Corporation were reduced.
    75 76 A Brief History of Modern India
    1904 1904 Official Secrets Act curbed freedom of press. Indian Universities Act ensured greater government control over universities, which it described as factories producing political revolutionaries. Also, British rule was no longer progressive—socially and culturally. It was suppressing the spread of education, especially mass and technical education.
    2. Growth of Confidence and Self-Respect: With this grew the faith in
    self-effort. Tilak, Aurobindo and Bipin Chandra Pal repeatedly urged the nationalists to rely on the character and capacities of the Indian people. A feeling started gaining currency that only the masses were capable of making the immense sacrifices needed to win freedom.
    3. Growth of Education: While, on the one hand, the spread of
    education led to an increased awareness among the masses, on the other hand, the rise in unemployment and underemployment among the educated drew attention to poverty and the underdeveloped state of
    the country's economy under colonial rule. This added to the already simmering discontent among the more radical nationalists.
    4. International Influences: Remarkable progress made by Japan after
    1868 and its emergence as an industrial power opened the eyes of Indians to the fact that economic progress was possible even by an Asian country without any external help. The defeat of the Italian army by Ethiopians (1896), the Boer wars (1899-1902) where the British faced reverses and Japan's victory over Russia (1905) demolished myths of European invincibility. Also, the nationalists were inspired by the nationalist movements worldwide—in Ireland, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, Persia and China. The Indians realised that a united people willing to make sacrifices could take on the mightiest of empires.
    5. Reaction to Increasing Westernisation: The new leadership felt the stranglehold of excessive westernisation and sensed colonial designs to submerge the Indian national
    National Movement-1905-1918 77
    If there is a sin in the world, it is weakness; avoid all weakness. Weakness is sin, weakness' is death. Swami Vivekananda The Extremists of today will be the Moderates of tomorrow, just as the Moderates of today were the Extremists of yesterday. B.G. Tilak What one Asiatic has done, others can. If Japan can drub Russia, India can drub England with equal ease... let us drive the British into the sea and take our place side by side with Japan among the great powers of the world. Karachi Chronicle (June 18, 1905)
    identity in the British Empire The intellectual and moral inspiration of the new leadership was Indian. Intellectuals like Swami Vivekananda, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Swami Dayanand Saraswati inspired many young nationalists with their forceful alai articulate arguments, painting India's past in brighter colours than the British ideologues had. These thinkers exploded the myth of western superiority by referring to the richness of Indian civilisation in the past Dayartand's 'India for the Indians'.
    6. Dissatisfaction with Achievements of Moderates: The younger elements within the Congress were dissatisfied with the achievements of the Moderates first 15-20 years. They were strongly critical of the methods of peaceful and constitutional agitation, popularly known as the "Three 'P's"— prayer, petition andprotest—and described these methods as 'political mendicancy'.
    7. Reactionary Policies of Curzon: A sharp reaction was created in the Indian mind by Curzon's seven-year rule in India which'was full of
    missions, commissions and orrussions. He refused to recognise India as a to Indian nationalists and the intelligentsia by describing their activities as "ie-tfin:oflofgrs'. He spoke derogatorily of Indian
    78 A Brief History of Modern India
    character in general. Administrative measures adopted during his rule— the Official Secrets Act, the Indian UniversitiesAct, the calcration Act and,, above all, the partition of Bengal—left no doubts . in Indian minds about the basically reactionary nature of British rule in India.
    Existence of a Militant School, of Thought By the dawn of the twentieth century, a band of nationalist thinkers had emerged who advocated a more militant approach to political work. These included Raj Narain Bose, Ashwini Kumar Datta, Aurobindo Ghosh and Bengal; Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar and Tilak. in Maharashtra; and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab. as the most outstanding representative of this school of thought. The bask' tenets of this school of thought were: hatred for foreign rule; since no hope could be derived from it, Indians should work out their own salvation;
    • swaraj to be the goal of national movement; direct political action required; • belief in capacity Of the masses to challenge the authority;
    • personal sacrifices required and a true nationalist to be always ready for it.
    9. A Trained Leadership Had Emerged This leadership could provide a proper diannelisation of the immense potential for political struggle which the masses possessed and, as the militant nationalists thought, were ready to give expression to. This energy of the masses got a release during the movement against the partition of Bengal, which acquired the form of the swadeshi agitation.
    THE SWADESHI AND BOYCOTT MOVEMENT The Swadeshi Movement had its genesis, in the anti-partition movement which was started to oppose the British decision to partition Bengal.
    The Government's decision to partition Bengal had been made public in December 1903. The official reason. given for the decision was that Bengal with a population of 78 million
    National Movement-1905-1918 79
    (about a quarter of the population of British India) had become too big to be administered. This was true to some extent, but the real motive behind the partition plan was the British desire to weaken Bengal, the nerve centre of Indian nationalism. This it sought to achieve by putting the Bengalis under two administrations by dividing them (i) on the basis of language (thus reducing the Bengalis to a minority in Bengal itself as in the new proposal Bengal proper was to have 17 million Bengalis and 37 million Hindi and Oriya speakers), and (ii) on the basis of religion, as the western half was to be a Hindu majority area (42 million out of a total 54 million) and the eastern half was to be a Muslim majority area (18 million out of a total of 31 million). Trying
    to woo the Muslims, Curzon, the viceroy at that time, argued that Dacca could become the capital of the new Muslim majority province, which would provide them with a unity not experienced by them since the days of old Muslim viceroys and kings. Thus, it was clear that the Government was up to its old policy of propping up Muslim communalists to counter the Congress and the national movement.
    Anti-Partition Campaign Under Moderates (1903-05) During this period, the leadership was provided by men like Surendranath Banerjee, K.K. Mitra and Prithwishchandra Ray. The methods adopted were petitions to the Government, public meetings, memoranda, and propaganda through pamphlets and newspapers such as Hitabadi, Sanjibani and Bengalee. Their objective was to exert sufficient pressure on the Government through an educated public opinion in India and England to prevent the unjust partition of Bengal from being implemented.
    The Announcement Ignoring a loud public opinion against the partition proposal, the Government announced partition of Bengal in July 1905. Within days, protest meetings were held in small towns all over Bengal. It was in these meetings that the pledge to boycott foreign goods was first taken. On August 1905, with the passage of Boycott Resolution in a massive meeting held in the Calcutta Town hall,
    80 A Brief History of Modern India
    National Movement-1905-1918 81
    the formal proclamation of Swadeshi Movement was made. After this, the leaders dispersed to other parts of Bengal to propagate the message of boycott of Manchester cloth and Liverpool salt.
    October 16, 1905, the day the partition formally came into force, was observed as a day of mourning through out Bengal. People fasted, bathed in the Ganga and walked barefoot in processions singing Bande Mataram (which almost spontaneously became the theme song of the movement). People tied rakhis on each other's hands as a symbol of unity of the two halves of Bengal. Later in the day, Surendranath Banerjee and Ananda Mohan Bose addressed huge gatherings (perhaps the largest till then under the nationalist banner). Within a few hours of the meeting, Rs 50,000 were raised for the movement.
    Soon, the movement spread to other parts of the country—in Poona and Bombay under Tilak, in Punjab under Lala Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh, in Delhi under Syed Haider Raza, and Madras under Chidambaram Pillai.
    The Congress's Position The Indian National Congress, meeting in 1905 under the presidentship of Gokhale, resolved to (i) condemn the partition of Bengal and the reactionary policies of Curzon, and (ii) support the anti-partition and Swadeshi Movement of Bengal.
    The militant nationalists led by Tilak, Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh wanted the movement to be taken outside Bengal to other parts of the country and go beyond a boycott of foreign goods to
    become a full-fledged political mass struggle with the goal of attaining swaraj. But the Moderates, dominating the Congress at that time, were not willing to go that far. However, a big step forward was taken at the Congress session held at Calcutta (1906) under the presidentship of Dadabhai Naoroji, where it was declared that the goal of the Indian Tess was 'selfgovernment or swaraj like the United Kingdom or the colonies. The Moderate-Extremist dispute over the pia of the movement and techniques of struggle reached a deadlock at the Surat session of the Indian National Congress (1907) where the party split with serious consequences for the Swadeshi Movement.
    THE MOVEMENT UNDER MILITANT LEADERSHIP After 1905, the Extremists acquired a dominant influence over the Swadeshi Movement in Bengal. There were three reasons for this: 1. The Moderate-led movement had failed to yield results. 2. The divisive tactics of the Governments of both the Bengals had embittered the nationalists. 3. The Government had resorted to suppressive measures, which included atrocities on students—many of whom were given corporal punishment; ban on public singing of Bande Mataram; restriction on public meetings; prosecution and long imprisonment of swadeshi workers; clashes between the police and the people in many towns; arrests and deportation of leaders; and suppression of freedom of the press.
    The Extremist Programme Emboldened by Dadabhai Naoroji's declaration at the Calcutta session (1906) that selfgovernment or swaraj was to be the goal of the Congress, the Extremists gave a call for passive resistance in addition to swadeshi and boycott which would include a boycott of government schools and colleges, government service, courts, legislative councils, municipalities, government titles, etc. so as to, as Aurobindo put it, "make the administration under present conditions impossible by an organized refusal to do anything-which will help either the British commerce in the exploitation of the country or British officialdom in the administration of
    The militant nationalists tried to transform the antipartition and Swadeshi Movement into a mass struggle and gave the slogan of India's independence from foreign rule. "Political freedom is the lifebreath of a nation," declared Aurobindo. Thus, the Extremists gave the idea of India's independence the central place in India's politics. The goal of independence was to be achieved through self-sacrifice.
    82 A Brief History of Modern India
    New Forms of Struggle The militant nationalists put forward several fresh ideas at the theoretical, propaganda and programme levels. Among the several forms of struggle thrown up by the movement were Boycott of foreign goods: This included boycott and public burning of foreign cloth, boycott of foreign made salt or sugar, refusal by priests to rihmlise marriages involving exchange of foreign goods, refusal by washermen to wash foreign clothes. This form of protest met with great success at the practical and popular level.
    Public meetings and processions: These emerged as major methods of mass mobilisation and simultaneously as forms of popular expression. Corps of volunteers or 'samitis: Samitis such as the Swadesh Bandhab Samiti of Ashwini Kumar Dutta (in Barisal) emerged as a very popular and powerful method of mass mobilisation. These samitis, generated political consciousness among the masses through magic lantern lectures, swadeshi songs, physical and moral training to their members, social work during famines and epidemics, organisation of schools, training in swadeshi crafts and arbitration courts. Imaginative use of traditional popular festivals and, melas: The idea was to use such occasions as a means of reaching out to the masses and spreading political messages. For instance,. Tilak's Ganapati and Shivaji festivals became a medium of swadeshi propaganda not only in western India, but also in Bengal. In, Bengal also, the traditional folk theatre forms were used for this purpose. Emphasis given to self-reliance or 'atma shaktz: This implied re- assertion of national dignity, honour and confidence and social and economic regeneration of the villages. In practical terms, it included social reform di-id campaigns against caste oppression, early marriage, dowry system, consumption of alcohol, etc. Programme of swadeshi or national education: Bengal National College, inspired by Tagore's Shantiniketan was set
    National Movement-1905-1918 83
    up with Aurobindo Ghosh as its principal. Soon national schools and colleges sprang up in various parts of the country. On August 15, 1906, the National Council of Education was set up to organize a system of education—literary, scientific and technical—on national lines and under national control. Education was to be imparted through the medium of vernaculars. A Bengal Institute of Technology was set up for technical education and funds were raised to send students to Japan for advanced learning.
    Swadeshi or indigenous enterprises The swadeshi spirit also found expression in the establishment of swadeshi textile mills, soap and match factories, tanneries, banks, insurance companies, shops etc. These enterprises were based more on patriotic zeal than on business acumen.
    Impact in the cultural sphere The nationalists of all hues took inspiration from songs written by Rabindranath Tagore, Rajnikartt Sen, Dwijendralal Ray, Mukunda Das, Syed Abu, Mohammad and others. Tagore's' Amar Sonar Bangla written on this occasion was later to inspire the liberation struggle of Bangladesh and was adopted by it as its 'national anthem.
    In painting, Abanindranath Tagore broke the domination of Victorian naturalism over Indian art and took inspiration from Mughal, Ajanta and kajput paintings. Nandlal Bose, who left a major imprint on Indian art, was the first recipient of a scholarship offered by the Indian Society of Oriental Art, founded in 1907.
    In science, JagdishChanclra Bose, Prafullachandra Roy and others pioneered original research which was praised the world over.
    EXTENT OF MASS PARTICIPATION Students came out in large numbers to propagate and practise swadeshi, and to take a lead in organising picketing of shops selling foreign goods. Police adopted a repressive attitude towards the students. Schools and colleges whose students participated in the agitation were to be penalised by disaffiliating them or stopping of grants and privileges to them. Students
    84 A Brief History of Modern India
    who were found guilty of participation were to be disqualified for government jobs or for government scholarships, and disciplinary action— fine, expulsion, arrest, beating, etc —was to be taken against them.
    Women, who were traditionally home-centred, especially those of the urban middle classes, took active part in processions and picketing. From now onwards, they were to play a significant role in the national movement.
    Some of the Muslims participated—Barrister Abdul Rasul, Liaqat Hussain, Guznavi, Maulana Azad (who joined one of the revolutionary terrorist groups)—but most of the upper and middle class Muslims stayed away or, led by Nawab Salimullah of Dacca, supported the partition on the plea that it would give them a Muslim-majority East Bengal.
    Thus, the social base of the movement expanded to include certain sections of the zamindars, the students, the women, and the lower middle classes in cities and towns. An attempt was also made to give political expression to economic grievances of the working class by organising strikes in Britishowned concerns such as Eastern Indian Railways. But the movement was not able to garner support of the Muslims, especially the Muslim peasantry, because of a conscious government policy of divide and rule helped by overlap of class and community at places. To further government interests, the All India Muslim League was propped up in 1907 as an anti-Congress front and reactionary elements like Nawab Salimullah of Dacca were encouraged.
    ALL INDIA ASPECT Movements in support of Bengal's unity and the swadeshi and boycott agitation were organized in many parts of the country. Tilak, who played a leading role in the spread of the movement outside Bengal, saw in this the ushering in of a new chapter in the history of the national movement. He realised that here was a challenge and an opportunity to organize popular mass struggle against the British rule to unite the country in a bond of common sympathy.
    National Movement-1905-1918 85
    ANNULMENT OF PARTITION It was decided to annul the partition of Bengal in 1911 mainly to curb the menace of revolutionary terrorism. The annulment came as a rude shock to the Muslim political elite. It was also decided to shift the
    capital to Delhi as a sop to the Muslims, as it was associated with Muslim glory, but the Muslims were not pleased. Bihar and Orissa were taken out of Bengal and Assam was made a separate province.
    WHY DID THE SWADESHI MOVEMENT FIZZLE OUT? By 1908, the open phase (as different from the underground revolutionary phase) of the movement was almost over This was due to many reasons-
    1. There was severe government repression. 2. 2. The movement failed to create an effective organisation or a party structure. It threw up an entire gamut of techniques that came to be associated with Gandhian politics—noncooperation, passive resistance, filling of British jails, social reform and constructive work—but failed to give these techniques a disciplined focus. 3. The movement was rendered leaderless with most of the leaders either arrested or deported by 1908 and with Aurobindo-Ghosh and Bipin. Chandra Pal retiring from active politics. 4. Internal squabbles among leaders, magnified by the Surat split (1907), did much harm to the movement. 5. The movement aroused the people but did not know how to tap the newly released energy or how to find new forms to give expression to popular resentment. 6. The movement largely remained confined to the upper and middle classes and zamindars, and failed to reach the masses—especially the peasantry. 7. Non-cooperation and passive resistance remained mere ideas. 8. It is difficult to sustain a mass-based movement at a high pitch for too long.
    86 A Brief History of Modern India
    Bengal united is a power. Bengal divided will pull in several different ways One of our main objects is to split up and thereby to weaken a solid body of opponents to our rule. Risley (home secretary to the Government of India, 1904) Swaraj or self-government is essential for the exercise of swadharma. Without swaraj there could be no social reform, no industrial progress, no useful education, no fulfilment of national life. That is what we seek, that is why God has sent us to the world to fulfil Him. B.G. Tilak Swadeshism during the days of its potency coloured the entire texture of our social and domestic life. Surendranath Banerjee. Swaraj is the fulfilment of the ancient life of India under modern conditions, the return of satyuga of national greatness, the resumption by her of her great role of the teacher and guide, self-liberation of the people for final fulfilment of the Vedantic idea in politics, that is the true swaraj for India. Aurobindo Ghosh
    ASSESSMENT Despite its gradual decline into inactivity, the movement was a turning point in modern Indian history.
    1. It proved to be a "leap forward" in more ways than one. Hitherto
    untouched sections—students, women, some sections of urban and rural population—participated. All major trends of the national movement, from conservative moderation to political extremism, from revolutionary terrorism to incipient socialism, from petitions and prayers to passive resistance and non-cooperation, emerged during the Swadeshi Movement. 2. The richness of the movement was not confined to the political sphere alone, but encompassed art, literature, science and industry also.
    2. People were aroused from slumber and now they learned to take bold political positions and participate in new forms of political work.
    National Movement-1905-1918 87
    3. The swadeshi campaign undermined the hegemony of colonial ideas
    and institutions. 4. The future struggle was to draw heavily from the experience
    Thus, with the coming of Swadeshi and Boycott Movement, it became clear that the Moderates had outlived
    Differences Between Moderates and Extremists
    1. Social base—zamindars and upper middle classes in towns. 2. Ideological inspiration— western liberal thought and European history. 3. Believed in England's providential mission in India. 4. Believed political connections with Britain to be in India's social, political and cultural interests. 5. Professed loyalty to the British Crown. 6. Believed that the movement should be limited to middle class intelligentsia; masses not yet ready for participation in political work. 7. Demanded constitutional reforms and share for Indians in services. 8. Insisted on the use of constitutional methods only. 9. They were patriots and did not play the role of a comprador class.
    Extremists 1. Social base educated middle classes in towns and lower middle class. 2. Ideological inspiration—Indian history, cultural heritage and Hindu traditional symbols. 3. Rejected 'providential mission theory' as an illusion. 4. Believed that political connections with Britain would perpetuate British exploitation of India. 5. Believed that the British Crown was unworthy of claiming Indian loyalty. 6. Had immense faith in the capacity of masses to participate and to make sacrifices.
    7. Demanded swaraj as panacea for Indian ills. 8. Did not hesitate to use extraconstitutional methods like boycott and passive resistance to achieve their objectives. 9. They were patriots who made sacrifices for the sake of the country.
    88 A Brief History of Modern India
    their utility and their politics of petitions and speeches had become obsolete. They had not succeeded in keeping pace with time, and this was highlighted by their failure to get the support of the younger generation for their style of politics. Their failure to work among the masses had meant that their ideas did not take root among the masses. Even the, propaganda by the Moderates did not reach the masses. No all- India campaigns of the scale of Swadeshi and Boycott Movement had been organized earlier by the Moderates and, in this campaign, they discovered that they were not its leaders, which was rather natural.
    The Extremist ideology and its functioning also lacked consistency. Its advocates ranged from open members and secret sympathisers to those opposed to any kind of political violence. Its leaders—Aurobindo, Tilak, B.C. Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai—had different perceptions of their goal. For Tilak, swaraj meant some sort of self-government, while for Aurobindo, it meant complete independence from foreign rule. But at the politico-ideological level, their emphasis on mass participation and on the need to broaden the social base of the movement was a progressive improvement upon the Moderate politics. They raised patriotism from a level of 'academic pastime' to one of 'service and sacrifice for the country'. But the politically progressive Extremists proved to be social reactionaries. They had revivalist and obscurantist undertones attached to their thoughts. Tilak's opposition to the Age of Consent Bill (which would have raised the marriageable age for girls from 10 years to 12 years, though his objection was mainly that such reforms must come from people governing themselves and not under an alien rule), his organising of Ganapati and Shivaji festivals as national festivals, his support to anti-cow killing campaigns., etc. portrayed him as a Hindu nationalist. Similarly B.C. Pal and Aurobindo spoke of a Hindu nation and Hindu interests.
    Though the seemingly revivalist and obscurantist tactics of the Extremists were directed against the foreign rulers, they had the effect of promoting a very unhealthy relationship
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    between politics and religion, the bitter harvests of which the Indians had to reap in later years.
    THE SURAT SPLIT The Congress split at Surat came in December 1907, around the time when revolutionary terrorism had gained momentum. The two events were not unconnected.
    Run-up to Surat
    In December ,19 at the Benaras session of the Indian National Congress presided over by Gokhale, the Moderate-Extremist differences came to the fore. The Extremists wanted to extend the Boycott and Swadeshi Movement to regions outside Bengal and also to include all forms of associations (such as government service, law courts, legislative councils, etc.) within the boycott programme and thus start a nationwide mass movement. The Extremists wanted a strong resolution supporting their programme at the Benaras session. The Moderates, on the other hand, were not in favour of extending the movement beyond Bengal and were totally opposed to boycott of councils and similar associations. They advocated strictly constitutional methods to protest against the partition of Bengal. As a compromise, a relatively mild resolution condemning the partition of Bengal and the reactionary policies of Curzon and supporting the swadeshi and boycott programme in Bengal was passed. This succeeded in averting a split for the moment.
    At the Calcutta session of the Congress in December 1906, the Moderate enthusiasm had cooled a bit because of the popularity of the Extremists and the revolutionary terrorists and because of communal riots. Here, the Extremists wanted either Tilak or Lajpat Rai as the president, while the Moderates proposed the name of Dadabhai Naoroji, who was widely respected by all the nationalists. Finally, Dadabhai Naoroji was elected as the president and as a concession to the militants, the goal of the Indian National Congress was defined as swarajya or self-government like the United Kingdom or the colonies'. Also a resolution supporting the programme of swadeshi, boycott and national education
    90 A Brief History of Modern India
    was passed. The word swaraj was mentioned for the first time, but its connotation was not spelt out, which left the field open for differing interpretations by the Moderates and the Extremists.
    The Extremists, emboldened by the proceedings at the Calcutta session, gave a call for wide passive resistance and boycott of schools, colleges, legislative councils, municipalities, law courts, etc. The. Moderates, encouraged by the news that council reforms were on the anvil, decided to tone down the Calcutta programme. The two sides seemed to be heading for a showdown. The Extremists thought that the people had been aroused and the battle for freedom had begun. They felt the time had come for the big push to drive the British out and considered the Moderates to be a drag on the movement. They concluded that it was necessary to part company with the Moderates, even if it meant, a split in the Congress. The Moderates thought that it would be dangerous at that stage to associate with the Extremists whose anti-imperialist agitation, it was felt, would be ruthlessly suppressed by the mighty colonial rule. The Moderates saw in the council reforms an opportunity to realise their dream of Indian participation in the administration. Any hasty action by the Congress, the Moderates felt, under Extremist pressure was bound to annoy the Liberals in power in England then. The Moderates were no less willing to part company with the Extremists.
    The Moderates did not realise that the council reforms were meant by the Government more to isolate the Extremists than to reward the Moderates.
    The Extremists did not realise that the Moderates could act as their outer line of defence in face of state repression. Both sides did not realise that in a vast country like India ruled by a powerful imperialist country, only a broad-based nationalist movement could succeed.
    The Extremists wanted the 1907 session to be held in Nagpur (Central Provinces) with Tilak or Lajpat Rai as the president and reiteration of the swadeshi, boycott and national education resolutions. The Moderates wanted the session at Surat in order to exclude Tilak from the presidency,
    National Movement-1905-1918 91
    since a leader from the host province could not be session president (Surat being in Tilak's home province of Bombay). Instead, they wanted Rashbehari Ghosh as the president and sought to drop the resolutions on swadeshi, boycott and national education. Both sides adopted rigid positions, leaving no room for compromise. The split became inevitable, and the Congress was now dominated by the Moderates who lost no time in reiterating Congress commitment to the goal of selfgovernment within the British Empire and to constitutional methods only to achieve this goal.
    The Government launched a massive attack on the Extremists. Between 1907 and 1911, five new laws were enforced to check anti-government activity. These legislations included the Seditious Meetings Act, 1907; Indian Newspapers (Incitement to Offences) Act, 1908; Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908; and the Indian Press Act, 1910. Tilak, the main Extremist leader, was sent to Mandalay (Burma) jail for six years. Aurobindo and B.C. Pal retired from active politics. Lajpat Rai left for abroad. The Extremists were not able to organize an effective alternative party to sustain the movement. The Moderates were left with no popular base or support, especially as the youth rallied behind, the Extremists.
    After 1908, the national movement as a whole declined for a time. In 1914, Tilak was released and he picked up the threads of the movement. THE GOVERNMENT STRATEGY The British Government in India had been hostile to the Congress from the beginning. Even after the Moderates, who dominated the Congress from the beginning, began distancing themselves from the militant nationalist trend which had become visible during the last decade of the nineteenth century itself, government hostility did not stop. This was because, in the Government's view, the Moderates still represented an anti-imperialist force consisting of basically patriotic and liberal intellectuals.. With the coming of Swadeshi and Boycott Movement
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    and the emergence of militant nationalist trend in a big way, the Government modified its strategy towards the nationalists. Now, the policy was to be of 'rallying them' (John Morley— the secretary of state) or the policy of 'carrot and stick'. It may be described as a three-
    pronged approach of repression, conciliation, suppression. In the first stage, the Extremists were to be repressed mildly, mainly to frighten the Moderate& In the second stage, the Moderates were to be placated through some concessions, and hints were to be dropped that more reforms would be forthcoming if the distance from the Extremists was maintained. This was aimed at isolating the Extremists. Now, with the Moderates on its side, the Government could suppress the Extremists with its full might. The Moderates could then be ignored.
    Unfortunately, neither the Moderates nor the Extremists understood the implications of the strategy. The Surat split suggested that the policy of carrot and stick had brought rich dividends to the Government.
    REVOLUTIONARY TERRORISM Revolutionary terrorism was a by-product of the process of the growth of militant nationalism in India. It acquired a more activist form as a fallout of the Swadeshi and Boycott Movement.
    After the decline of the open movement, the younger nationalists who had participated in the movement found it impossible to disappear into the background. They looked for avenues to give expression to their patriotic energies, but were disillusioned by the failure of the leadership, even from the Extremists, to find new forms of struggle'to bring into practice the new militant trends The Extremist leaders, although they called upon the youth to make sacrifices, failed to create an effective organisation or find new forms of political work to tap these revolutionary energie& The youth, finding all avenues of peaceful political protest closed to them under government repression, thought that if nationalist goals of independence were to be met, the British must be expelled physically.
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    The Revolutionary Terrorist Programme The revolutionary terrorists considered but did not find it practical at that stage the options of creating a violent mass revolution throughout the country or, of trying to subvert the loyalties of the Army. Instead they opted to follow in the footsteps of Russian nationalists or the Irish nationalists. This methodology involved individual heroic actions, such as organising assassinations of unpopular British officials and of traitors and informers among the revolutionaries themselves; conducting swadeshi dacoities to raise funds for revolutionary activities; and (during the First World War) organising military conspiracies with expectation of help from the enemies of Britain.
    The idea was to strike terror in the hearts of the rulers, arouse people and remove the fear of authority from their minds. The revolutionaries intended to inspire the people by appealing to their patriotism, especially the idealist youth who would finally drive the British out. The Extremist leaders failed to ideologically counter the revolutionaries by not highlighting the difference between a revolution based on activity of the masses and one based on individual terrorist
    activity, thus allowing the individualistic terrorist activities to take root.
    A Survey of Revolutionary Terrorist Activities Following is a brief survey of revolutionary terrorist activities in different parts of India and abroad before the First World War.
    Bengal By the 1870s, Calcutta's student community was honeycombed with secret societies, but these were not active. The first revolutionary groups were organized in 1902 in Midnapore (under jnanendranath Basu) and in Calcutta (the Anushilan Samiti founded by Promotha Mitter, and including jatindranath Banerjee, Barindra Kumar Ghosh and others.) But their activities were limited to giving physical and moral training to' the members and remained insignificant till 1907- 08. In April 1906, an inner circle within Anushilan (Barindra Kumar Ghosh, Bhupendranath Dutta) started the weekly Yugantar and conducted a few abortive 'actions'. By 1905-06, several newspapers had started advocating revolutionary terrorism. For instance, after severe police brutalities on 94 A Brief History of Modern India
    participants of the Barisal Conference, the Yugantar wrote "The remedy lies with the people. The 30 crore people inhabiting India must raise their 60 crore hands to stop this curse of oppression. Force must be stopped by force." Rashbehari Bose and Sachin Sanyal had organized a secret society covering far-flung areas of Punjab, Delhi and United Provinces while some others like Hernachandra Kanungo went abroad for military and political training. In 1907, an abortive attempt was made on the life of the very unpopular West Bengal Lt. Governor, Fuller, by the Yugantar group. In 1908, Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose threw a bomb at a carriage supposed to be carrying a particularly sadistic white judge, Kingsford, in Muzaffarnagar. Two ladies, instead, got killed. Prafulla Chaki shot himself dead while Khudiram Bose was tried and hanged. The whole gang was arrested including the Ghosh brothers, Aurobindo and Barindra, who were tried in the Alipore conspiracy case. During the trial, Narendra Gosain, who had turned approver, was shot dead in jail. In February 1909, the public prosecutor was shot dead in Calcutta and in February 1910, a deputy superintendent of police met the same fate while leaving the Calcutta High Court. In 1908, Barrah dacoity was organized by Dacca Anushilan under Pulin Das. Rashbehari Bose and Sachin Sanyal staged a spectacular bomb attack on Viceroy Hardinge while he was making his official entry into the new capital in a procession through Chandni Chowk in Delhi in December 1912.
    The newspapers and journals advocating revolutionary terrorism included Sandhya and Yugantar in Bengal, and Kal in Maharashtra. In the end, revolutionary terrorism emerged as the most substantial legacy of swadeshi Bengal which had a spell on educated youth for a generation or more. But, an overemphasis on religion kept the Muslims aloof while it encouraged quixotic heroism. No involvement of masses was envisaged, which, coupled with, the narrow upper caste social base of the movement in Bengal, severely limited the scope of the revolutionary terrorist
    activity. Lacking a mass base, it failed to withstand the weight of state repression.
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    Maharashtra, The first of the revolutionary activities here was the organisation of the Ramosi Peasant Force by Vasudev Balwant Phadke in 1879, which aimed to rid the country of the British by instigating an armed revolt by disrupting communication lines. It hoped to raise funds for its activities through dacoities. It was suppressed prematurely. During the 1890s, Tilak propagated a spirit of militant nationalism, including use of violence through Ganapati and Shivaji festivals and his journals Kesari and Maratta. Two of his disciples—the Chapekar brothers, Damodar and Balkrishna—murdered the Plague Commissioner of Poona, Rand, and one Lt. Ayerst in 1897. Savarkar and his brother organized Mitra Mela, a secret society, in 1899 which merged with Abhinav Bharat (after Mazzinni's 'Young Italy') in 1904. Soon Nasik, Poona and Bombay emerged as centres of bomb manufacture. In 1909, Jackson, the district magistrate of Nasik, was killed.
    Punjab, The Punjab extremism was fuelled by issues such as frequent famines coupled with rise in land revenue and irrigation tax, practice of 'begar' by zamindars and by the events in Bengal. Among those active here were Lala Lajpat Rai who brought out Punjabee (with its motto of self-help at any cost) and Ajit Singh (Bhagat Singh's uncle) who organized the extremist Anjurnan-i-Mohisban-i-Watan in Lahore with its journal, Bharat Mata. Before Ajit Singh's group turned to extremism, it was active in urging non-payment of revenue and water rates among Chenab colonists and Bari Doab peasants. Other leaders included Aga Haidar, Syed Haider Raza, Bhai Parmanand and the radical Urdu poet, Lalchand Falak'.
    Extremism in the Punjab died down quickly after the Government struck in May 1907 with a ban on political meetings and the deportation of Lajpat Rai and Ajit Singh. After this, Ajit Singh and a few other associates— Sufi Ambaprasad, Lalchand, Bhai Parmanand, Lala Hardayal— developed into full-scale revolutionary terrorists.
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    Abroad, The need for shelter, the possibility of bringing out revolutionary literature that would be immune from the. Press Acts and the quest for arms took Indian revolutionaries abroad. Shyamji Krishnavarma had started in London in 1905 an Indian Home Rule Society— 'India House'—as a centre for Indian students, a scholarship scheme to bring radical youth from India, and a journal The Sociologist. Revolutionaries such as Savarkar and Hardayal became the members of India House. Madanlal Dhingra of this circle assassinated, the India office bureaucrat Curzon Wyllie in 1909. Soon London became too dangerous for the revolutionaries, particularly after Savarkar had been extradited in 1910 and transported for life in the Nasik conspiracy case. New centres emerged on the continent— Paris and Geneva—from where Madam Bhikaji Cama, a Parsi revolutionary who had developed contacts with French socialists and who brought out Bande Mataram, and Ajit Singh
    operated. And after 1909 when Anglo-German relations deteriorated, VirendranathChattopadhyaya chose Berlin as his base.
    Thee ultimate object of the revolutionaries is not terrorism but revolution and the purpose of the revolution is to install a national government. Subhash Chandra Bose Will you not see the writing that these terrorists are writing with their blood. M.K. Gandhi Neither rich nor able, a poor son like myself can offer nothing but his blood on the altar of mother's, deliverance. may I be reborn of the same mother and may I redie in the same sacred cause, till my mission is done and she stands free for the good of humanity and to the glory of God. Madanlal Dhingra. God has not conferred upon the foreigners the grant inscribed on a copper plate of the kingdom of Hindustan. Do not circumscribe your vision a frog in a well; get out of the venal and enter the extremely high atmosphere of the mar tinagvaa usta and consider the actions of great men. Tilak in Kesari (June 15, 1897).
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    MORLEY-MINTO REFORMS—1909 The Morley-Minto Reforms, so named after Morley, the secretary of state, and Minto, the viceroy at that time, were preceded by two important events. In 1906, a group of Muslim elites called led by the Agha Khan, met Lord Minto and demanded separate electorates for the Muslims and representation in excess of their numerical strength in view of 'the value of the contribution' Muslims were making to the defence of the empire'. The same group quickly took over the Muslim League, initially floated by Nawab Salimullah of Dacca along with Nawabs Mohsin-u1Mulk and Waqar-ul-Mulk in December 1906. Muslim League intended to preach loyalty to the empire and to keep the Muslim intelligentsia away from the Congress.
    The Reforms
    • The number of elected members in the Imperial Legislative Council and the Provincial Legislative Councils was increased. In the Provincial Councils, non-official majority was introduced, but since some of these non-officials were nominated and not elected, the overall non-elected majority remained.
    • In the Imperial Legislative Council, of the total 68 members, 36 were to be the officials and of the 32 non-officials, 5 were to be nominated. Of the 27 elected non-officials, 8 seats were reserved for the Muslims under separate electorates (only Muslims could vote here for the Muslim candidates), while 6 seats were, reserved for the British capitalists, 2 for the landlords and 13 seats came under general electorate. The elected members were to be indirectly elected. The local bodies were to elect an electoral college, which in turn would elect members of provincial legislatures, who in turn would elect members of the central legislature.