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Books > History > History of the Freedom Movement in India (Set of 4 Volumes)
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History of the Freedom Movement in India (Set of 4 Volumes)
History of the Freedom Movement in India (Set of 4 Volumes)
Description

ISBN Volume I : 812301290-X

ISBN Volume II : 8123012977

ISBN Volume III : 8123011970

ISBN Volume IV : 8123012896

Volume I

 

About the Book

 

India's freedom movement had a uniqueness about it, compared to similar other movements in contemporary history. It not only transformed the great Indian civilisation into a nation State, but also crystallized benchmarks for great popular movements in history. It was both a struggle against foreign rule, as well as an ethical campaign against unreason, directed against both the foreign rulers and Indians. What began as a sporadic response to colonial atrocities, in mid 19th century years evolved subsequently into one of the subtlest mass movements in recent history under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the saint - statesman of India, whose unprecedented weapons of truth and non-violence empowered the meek Indian millions to fight against the mighty British Raj. The lessons from India's freedom movement have been inspiring generations of world leaders to follow the path of peace and non-violence.

 

The present series of four volumes of History of the Freedom Movement in India is a classic analysis of those testing times by eminent historian and scholar Dr. Tara Chand. This authentic and insightful analysis of the freedom movement has been popular with scholars as well as common readers for over four decades now.

 

Foreword

 

The whole course of human history proves that power as well as excellence has always followed knowledge. It was man's capacity to learn which gave him pre-eminence among all living beings. Among men, pre- eminence has come to those who have the greatest capacity to acquire and use knowledge. Priests and magicians in ancient times exercised their dominance through superior knowledge and sought to guard it as a precious secret. They did not realise that the attempt to hide or restrict knowledge is self-defeating and ultimately leads to loss of knowledge as well as excellence and power. Indian history offers many examples of how the people have suffered through the restriction of knowledge to selected groups and coteries.

 

Unlike material wealth, knowledge increases only through dispersal and distribution. Aurangzeb had in many respects an extremely narrow outlook and sought to maintain his authority on the basis of exclusiveness, but he was also one of the few Indian emperors who realised the importance of knowledge as an instrument for the maintenance of power. When a scholar sought special treatment on the ground of having taught him, Aurangzeb rejected the claim and said, "If you had taught me that philosophy which adapts the mind to reason, and will not suffer it to rest satisfied with anything short of the most solid arguments, if you had made me acquainted with the nature of man, accustomed my always to refer to first principles and given me a sublime and adequate conception of the universe and of the order and regular motion of its parts, I would have been more indebted to you than Alexander was to Aristotle." Aurangzeb also declared that for a ruler, it was necessary to be "acquainted with the distinguishing features of every nation of the earth; its resources and strength; its modes of warfare; its manner, religion, form of government". He recognised that it was part of the training of a king to become, through a regular course of historical reading, "Familiar with the origin of States, their progress and decline, the events, accidents or errors owing to which great changes and mighty revolutions have been effected".

 

It is interesting to speculate what might have been the course of Indian history if Aurangzeb with his undoubted intellectual powers had received such training and learnt that the progress and prosperity of nations depends on the dispensation of equal justice to all citizens regardless of religion, race, political views or social status. In any case, one cannot but accept his contention that those who are charged with the administration of human affairs must have knowledge of the basic principles that govern the growth and decline of states and the ways in which human beings respond to different types of treatment.

 

The importance of such historical studies has increased in the modern age and become a condition for man's survival itself. In the present democratic set-up of the world- and this holds to a large extent even for areas where there is no formal democracy-every individual has a responsibility for the policies and programmes of his country. The interlacing of the fortunes of different countries through the progress of science and technology has further ensured that the responsibility of the individual extends beyond the frontiers of his own land and ultimately encompasses the whole world. Since whatever happens in anyone country has repercussions in all other countries, the individual citizen has thus a greater concern with the fate of mankind today than even kings or princes in earlier times. Aurangzeb had realised that historical education was necessary for princes. Today, such education is essential for all citizens of a democratic republic like India.

 

India's experience of subjection to a foreign power for almost two centuries had made Indians sensitive to the causes of the decline and downfall of peoples. As they won back their freedom step by step, they sought to enshrine the lesson so that there may be no repetition of that earlier tragic story. Besides, both the manner in which India lost her freedom and the way in which she regained it had certain unique features that make her history one of great significance for the whole world. In particular, the technique of non-violent struggle developed by Mahatma Gandhi seems to offer a solution to one of the most vexed problems of human relations. It was therefore not surprising that at the very first meeting of the Indian Historical Records Commission held after India became free, a resolution was passed for preparing an authentic and comprehensive history of the different phases of the Indian struggle for independence. This recommendation found an immediate response from the late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who directed that steps should forthwith be taken to give effect to it.

 

There were some who thought that the work might be executed through an official agency but it was soon realised that such agencies might not prove suitable for the purpose. For one thing, any government organisation is bound to reflect the views and opinions of the government of the day while considerations of national interest as well as historical veracity demand that the history of the Indian freedom movement must be objective and unbiased. For another, the raw materials of such history are scattered throughout the country and often rest with men who had actively participated in the freedom struggle. It seemed doubtful if a government agency with its standardised methods would be able to draw upon their knowledge by accommodating their predilections and idiosyncrasies. An effort on a national scale was thus necessary to collect the vast amount of material lying in government and private archives and with men and women who had actively participated in the later phases of the struggle.

 

As a first step, an expert committee of distinguished scholars was set lip under the Chairmanship of Dr. Tara Chand, then Educational Adviser to the Government of India. Its major terms of reference were to suggest ways and means for organising the collection of material and taking other steps for the preparation of the history. The Committee recommended that besides a central organisation composed of historians and political workers, regional committees with a similar composition should be set up in different parts of the country. Accordingly, a Central Board of Editors was set up with Dr. Syed Mahmud as Chairman and Shri S.N. Ghose as Secretary. Addressing the first meeting of the Board in January 1953, Maulana Azad stressed the need for an objective and impartial account of the history of the freedom movement. With the attainment of independence, it was both possible and necessary to avoid passion, for passion distorts judgement and action based on such judgements would be against the national interest. He also pointed out that while it would be primarily a history of the political struggle, it would have to give weight to national awakening in other fields like literature, education, social reform and scientific and industrial development.

 

The Board functioned for a period of three years and with the help of its regional committees, collected a large volume of material relating to almost every aspect of the national awakening in India. It used not only the Government archives at the Centre and in the States, and both national and local newspapers, but also the evidence of individuals belonging to different political schools and holding diverse social and economic views. It also contacted sources outside India in its effort to make the material as exhaustive as possible.

 

The Board rendered very useful service but it soon became clear that an ad hoc body set up on a temporary basis could not complete the work of collecting the necessary material, still less prepare a unified history by sifting and interpreting the data. It included both academic historians and active politicians and the differences in their approach were seen even at the stage of collection of data. These differences became still more marked when it came to interpreting the material that had already been collected. It was therefore decided to transfer the work of further collection to the National Archives and of interpretation and narration to one single scholar of distinction. Accordingly, Dr. Tara Chand, who had been Chairman of the Planning Committee at an earlier stage and had a special competence for the task, was entrusted with the work of sifting the material and preparing a unified history of the Indian freedom movement.

 

As readers will see for themselves, Dr. Tara Chand has adopted a wide and imaginative approach and presented not only a comprehensive account of conditions in India on the eve of British rule but also undertaken comparative studies in Indian and European history in order to focus our attention on the causes which led to the progress of Britain and the decline of India in the period under review. His treatment is objective and historical and he had sought to award praise and blame according to historical standards rather than national or racial prejudices. The analysis and opinion are his alone, and while one may not accept all his conclusions and interpretations, I am sure that every one will agree that he has marshalled his facts with consummate skill and artistry.

 

The story of the loss and recovery of Indian independence presents one of the most fascinating subjects of study in human history. A people with a proud and glorious past, highly developed arts and crafts and almost unlimited human and material resources had to suffer humiliation and defeat because they had neither learnt that strength lies in the spread of national feeling through all strata of society nor kept abreast of the progress of science and technology in the outside world. Their regeneration began when the humiliation of defeat brought about an enhanced national consciousness and the foreign rulers introduced the explosive forces of modem education and science into an ancient society. The ferment which was initiated is to this day reaching every level of national life and bringing about far-reaching changes in social organisation, intellectual attitudes and even religious beliefs and practices. When the national awakening brought back national self-respect, India again became free, though she was naturally helped in the process by the play of world forces culminating in the Second World War.

 

It is intended that the story of the Indian freedom movement will be told in three volumes of about four to five hundred pages each. The first volume which is being released today-two hundred years after the third battle of Panipat which made British hegemony of India almost inevitable-deals with the social, political, cultural and economic conditions of India in the eighteenth century against the background of the historical processes that had in earlier times shaped the life and history of the Indian people. It also gives an overall picture of the developments which ushered in the modem age in Europe in order to make it easier for us to understand the impact of the new dynamism of the West on the comparatively static Indian society.

 

A work of such magnitude could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of many official and unofficial organisations and of men and women, both in India and abroad. We owe a debt of gratitude to them all for their help in the completion of a national task. We are still more indebted to Dr. Tara Chand and his colleagues for the devotion and care with which they have sifted the voluminous mass of material and sought to discover the underlying principles which have given direction and unity to the diverse and at times conflicting tendencies that characterised Indo-British relations during this transitional but revolutionary period.

 

Preface

 

In undertaking to write the History of the Freedom Movement, I was faced with a number of problems. Where should the history begin? One answer was : from the foundation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. But the Congress was the organised expression of a growing national movement, and without tracing the history of the rise of national consciousness it would be impossible to explain the emergence of the Congress. When did then national consciousness arise? In the-flaming holocaust of 1857, or earlier? It was necessary inevitably to go back to Ram Mohan Roy. But Ram Mohan Roy was the product of the impact of the British conquest. The conclusion was inescapable that the nature of the impact from its earliest stages required study and explanation.

 

Another question was even more difficult to answer. I had to trace the history of the freedom movement and not merely to relate the story of the achievement of independence. Independence is a negative concept. Its implication is absence of dependence; it has no positive connotation; it does not indicate the quality and character of the society which achieves political sovereignty after throwing off alien domination. Freedom is more than the mere absence of foreign control, for it implies a society possessing certain positive attributes-a capacity to order its affairs in accordance with the will of the people, and a democratic way of life guaranteeing liberty and equality to all its members.

 

As a result of the British intervention in the eighteenth century India lost independence, but under British tutelage which lasted for nearly two centuries it gained freedom. This raised two connected problems. Why did India lose independence and what did this loss imply in material and moral terms? And secondly how did India qualify itself for attaining freedom? Europe had progressed from independence to freedom and it had traversed this journey in more than a thousand years-from the settlement of the Teutonic tribes in the provinces of the Roman Empire to the eighteenth century-but it had not experienced foreign occupation and rule. India, on the other hand had to surrender the sovereign power before setting out on the perilous voyage which led to self-government and it had to complete the stages of the journey in one-fifth of the time taken by Europe.

 

It appeared to me that I should explain, howsoever briefly, the experience of the West in order to explain what happened in India. I have therefore ventured to summarise the history of the developments in Europe in the introduction to the story of India's freedom.

 

The achievement of freedom by India is a unique phenomenon. It is the transformation of a civilisation into a nationality. It is the fulfilment of nationality through the establishment of national sovereignty. It is throughout the course of its advance a movement directed as much against the violence of the other as against the unreason of the self. In essence it is an ethical struggle both in relation to the foreigner as well as members of its own body. And where similar struggles have been accompanied with bloodshed, the movement in India, though intense and accompanied with much suffering, was non-violent.

 

The history of freedom is a dialectic process. Its first step was antithetical in so far as it amounted to the destruction of the old order. This is the argument of the process which started in the middle of the eighteenth century and culminated in the revolt of 1857. The second step is the emergence of a new order which gradually gathers momentum during the half century after 1857. The third step is one of conflict and synthesis of the spirit of the old order and the new, of the East and the West, and the coming into the world of a new individual-the Indian nation State.

 

I have treated this dialectical theme in three volumes, of which this first one deals with the first term of the argument.

 

The idea that a history of the freedom movement ought to be written emanated from the late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then Minister of Education, Government of India. Maulana Azad was a rare combination of scholar and statesman, of old-world refinement and culture and modern ardour for freedom and progress. He spent the greater part of his life in the struggle. He staked his all in the service of the cause. All his powers-his matchless eloquence, his balanced judgement, his wise counsel, his broad-minded patriotism, his burning zeal, his pride, his idealism-he laid at the altar of India's freedom. Yet in the midst of the fiercest struggle and during the short intervals of calm, he never deviated from his devotion to learning. He had a prodigious memory and his mind was a storehouse of poetry in many languages-Urdu, Persian and Arabic-of the history of many countries, and of religious lore. He was never more happy than when he was surrounded by his books or engaged in his literary pursuits. Freedom for India was his passion, and after its achievement the narration of its epic story was his dearly cherished wish.

 

I had the privilege of working with him in the Ministry of Education for about four years and he knew of my interest in history. When therefore he asked me to take up this work I gladly accepted the offer. I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to accomplish a task dear to my heart. He arranged to place at my disposal the services of three scholars to help me Dr. V.G. Dighe, Dr. R.K. Parmu and Dr. B.M. Bhatia. They have all worked ungrudgingly and with whole-hearted devotion. They have made a notable contribution in the writing of this book and I am grateful to them for their invaluable assistance in the completion of this volume. My thanks are due to Shri Humayun Kabir, the Minister of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs, for his support. I greatly appreciate his concern and solicitude in this work, for without his interest it would not have been possible to overcome many difficulties, especially those of publication. I am grateful to the Director of the National Archives of India, and the Librarian of the National Library of Calcutta for allowing me free access to their records and books.

Introduction

 

In the eighteenth century India passed under the sway of Britain. Almost for the first time in her history an alien people whose homeland lay at a distance of several thousand miles from India assumed the reins of her government and the guidance of her destinies. Such an occupation of the country was a new experience. For, although in the past India had suffered many invasions, and from time to time parts of the Indian territory had fallen temporarily under the dominion of the conquerors, the occasions had been few and their duration short. For example, the Achaemenian empire of Persia included the border lands of India and extracted tribute from the Indus valley; the Kushans extended their conquests over Kashmir and north-west India and ruled these territories for more than a century. The intrusions of the Pahlavas, Sakas and Hunas were no more than passing incidents. The Ghaznavid dominion included the Punjab, and the Arabs ruled in Sind. Besides these episodes of temporary rule, India suffered many invasions. But the whirlwind campaigns of the invaders harried the land for a while and then passed away. Among them the important ones were Alexander, Timur, Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali. The only conquerors who established permanent empires over the greater part of India were the Turks in the early Middle Ages, and the Chaghtai Mughals later.

 

The Kushan conquerors, who exercised control over north western India, became completely Indianised. They adopted Indian religions, Indian languages and Indian customs. They were merged in the Indian society. The early Muslim conquerors, who came from Afghanistan or Central Asia, however, had a different history. The Muslim soldiers and captains, learned men and merchants who followed in the wake of Mahmud of Ghazni, Shahab-ud-Din Ghori, or Babar, did not, like the Sakas, Yueh Chis and the Hunas, lose their identity in India. They continued to adhere to their religion and retained much of their culture. But they chose to stay permanently in this country, broke with their foreign moorings and cast their lot with the Indian people. Practical needs of life compelled them to enter into increasing social relations with their subjects. Under the pressure of the new environment, and in the interests of administration, they modified their own notions of government, law and order. They shed many of their foreign manners and customs, and absorbed elements of Indian life and culture. India was enriched by the addition of a new religion to her repertory of faiths, and the variety of her multicoloured civilisation was diversified by the infusion of new elements.

 

Thus, although Muslim conquest brought about many political and cultural changes in the ancient societies of India, much of the foundation and structure of her old culture remained. The Indian peoples gave much to the new-corners and received a great deal in return. The)' learnt the new social was introduced by conquerors. The impact of Muslim religion with its emphasis upon strict monotheism and egalitarian philosophy of social organisation evoked reactions, and the Hindu religious and social systems were stirred by movements which brought about an approximation of attitudes and practices between the two. The languages and literatures of the Muslims exercised a pervasive influence on the speech and writing of the Hindus. New words, phrases and literary forms took root in the soil and new motifs and themes enriched their thought. A new literary language was evolved and many of the Middle Indo-Aryan dialects blossomed into modern literary languages. In architecture, painting, music and the minor arts, profound changes occurred and new styles made their appearance in which the elements of both were fused. The process which had begun in the thirteenth century continued for five hundred years.

 

In the sixteenth century Babar overthrew the Afghan dynasty of the Lodi family. His successors identified themselves closely with the interests of India and followed, on the whole, policies which gave a great impetus to the tendencies of political unification and cultural harmony. The expansion of the Mughal empire over the greater parts of India had profound consequences. It steam-rollered the ancient tribal principalities and autonomous states. It reduced the old plurality of political units, whose autonomy was limited from time to time by the over lordship of such empires as that of the Mauryas, Kushans or Guptas, into the near unity of an empire directly administered from the centre, leaving a fringe of semi-independent chieftaincies and a sprinkling of feudatories and dependencies on the border.

 

The mughal emperors and their great functionaries were enlightened patrons of art and literature. Modern Indian languages like Braj, Avadhi, Bengali, Marathi and others, which had become vehicles of reformed Hinduism, and organs of the cult of bhakti (the religion of love and service), received the stimulus of royal favour. The courts of the emperor and his provincial governors became centres of art and culture. The Hindu rulers of the hill states, Rajasthan, central India and the Deccan, imitated the styles evolved under the patronage of the Mughals.

 

The mughal political system and the cultural ideals of India were founded upon a socio-economic base which, apart from modifications of detail, retained substantial identity throughout the ancient and medieval epochs of history. Its beginnings may be traced back to the first settlements of the Aryans in India.

 

This socio-economic continuity is the distinguishing mark of Indian history. The harmony found in the many-sided culture of the peoples of India stems from this source. Thus, although India has many religions, many languages, many races, its fundamental attitudes towards life have persisted through centuries and millennia. There is a peculiarly Indian flavour which pervades the multiplicity of cultures during the ages. It is a remarkable fact that the socio-economic structure of India, which originated in the settlement of the Aryans and their assimilation of the pre-Aryan inhabitants of India, continued without any radical change till the nineteenth century. The explanation appears to be that unlike that of Europe, India's racial mould "as set once and for all and was little disturbed in the succeeding times. This happened when the Aryan migrant groups came-possibly in several waves-and occupied the different regions of the country. In each region the original inhabitants were absorbed in different ways and in different numbers, d thus in these different territories, different social organisms were established. But all bore in varying degrees the stamp of Aryanism, and the traditions once formed were not subsequently altered by racial displacements d disturbances. These traditions were a synthesis of the Aryan, Dravidian d aboriginal elements in India's population. As neither temporary incursions r permanent conquests affected to any appreciable extent the mass of population, there was no root and branch modification of the traditions. The immigration of such tribes as Jats, Gujars, Sakas and Hunas in later times did not prove more than the rush of little rillets into the ocean where they are lost in its immensity.

 

When the Muslim conquerors established their empire in the thirteenth century, a new culture made its entry in India. Then the old and the new met and exchanges took place between them. In the process a complex situation arose.

 

The ethnic and economic basis of society underwent the least change. The village continued to function as the self-sufficient unit of group life. Industry and trade were carried on without any basic modification of organisation or methods. Stratification of Hindu and Muslim society into two classes, of the privileged ruling land owning aristocracy and the unprivileged asses, not participating in governmental functions, persisted. The political system underwent no change. The ties which held the government and the people together were scant and fragile, for the functions of the state were extremely limited-maintenance of an army for purposes of defence and prevention of lawlessness, and collection of revenues for the upkeep of the army, Legislation was beyond its scope, and so was much of judicial ministration. There were no law-making organs, and civil and personal uses were largely determined by non-official agencies.

 

So far as religion was concerned, although the lower classes remained steeped in their superstition, and the intellectuals were little affected, there much of give and take. New sects and creeds arose among the Hindus under the influence of Islam; and Muslim groups of broad-minded sufis and scholars adopted Hindu philosophical doctrines and methods of inner discipline the creative fields of literature and art, there was a great deal of assimilation of the Hindu and Muslim styles. But there was least mutual adaptation the sphere of law.

 

Cultural rapprochement there certainly was; however, it failed to generate national consciousness, for the hard moulds into which groups and communities ere enveloped, did not permit them to be fused together.

 

Contents

 

 

FOREWORD

 

 

PREFACE

 

 

Introduction

 

1.

The decline and fall of the Mughal empire

35

2.

Social organisation in the eighteenth century

55

3.

Indian political systems

100

4.

Economic conditions in the eighteenth century

135

5.

Cultural life - education, arts and literature

155

6.

The British conquest of India

178

7.

The development of British administration upto 1793

214

8.

The development of British administration from 1793 to 1857

245

9.

Social and economic consequences of British rule: Disintegration of rural economy

267

10.

Social and economic consequences of British rule: Decline of trade and industry

284

 

Volume II

 

Preface

 

The second volume of the History of the Freedom Movement in India deals with India's reaction of the British impact during the nineteenth century. This impact was primarily political, its agents were imbued with the spirit of modernism, in contrast with the medieval attitudes prevalent in India. They treated politics in the architectonic sense as a factor which pervades and directs all activities of society. Thus, the British impact on Indian life was both wide in sweep and deeply penetrating. It has both positive and negative effects.

 

The confrontation with the West forced India to make a critical examination of its traditions-values and ideas, customs and institutions-and to repudiate or remould such among them as appeared unreasonable or unwholesome. This was the destructive aspect of the impact. On the other hand, the challenge called forth a response from the unfathomable depths of the Indian consciousness which amounted to a reassertion of the uniqueness of the basic principles of Indian life-principles which for thousands of years had inspired the conduct of me individual and society, which constituted the ethos of Indian culture. its individuality and continuity through the ages.

 

In order to rediscover and resuscitate this ethos and build a new India, political independence was a pre-condition. Such was the regenerative role of foreign domination.

 

The movements of social and religious reform, of intellectual assimilation and literary expression, of economic and political change, were all manifestations of the transformation which was taking place as a result of the ideological and practical thrust of modernism. During the first half of the nineteenth century, when the dawn of modernism was just breaking on the horizon old India was profoundly disturbed by the prospect, for it looked upon the onset of the Western imperialism as a menace to its age-long culture-its economy, polity and religion. In order to avoid this fatality, the old order reacted violently but ineffectually. The earlier uprisings were isolated and incoordinated, and they culminated in the tragic Revolt of 1857.

 

Meanwhile, a new India was taking shape. On the basis of the individuality and continuity of Indian culture, the structure of national unity was being built. Cultural integration, accompanied by political particularism, had been characteristic of Indian history so far. The effort now was to strengthen cultural harmony and to effect a permanent and organic political integration.

 

The second half of the nineteenth century was the formative period for the evolution of Indian nationalism. In the the beginning, the movement was weak and unsure of itself. It affected the middle class strata of society, it poke in many voices, it failed to discriminate between political and religious interests and objectives. It tended to cling to the coat-tails of the British empire. In its naivete and inexperience, it accepted, at their face value, diplomatic assurances and liberal promises of political reform and failed to realise that imperial interests were incompatible with national aspirations. Thus, the organ of national will which had thus been forged was, in its early stages, confused in its aims and mimetic in its methods for achieving those aims.

 

Meanwhile, socio-economic developments were on their way to prepare the ground for the final stage in the struggle for independence. The misery of the masses was on the, increase the middle class were growing in strength and influence. They were becoming more and more conscious of the ills from which India suffered and were slowly realising the futility of the methods so far followed in removing them. They found the most convincing evidence of the hopeless condition of the masses in the series of grievous famines which inflicted untold suffering upon them during the nineteenth century.

 

On the other hand, the movement of religious and social reform and of renaissance in literature and art were manifestations of the rising spirit of nationalism, of the dawning of a new day which promised the end of the night of dependence and misery.

 

Unfortunately, the rulers of India appeared to be oblivious as much to the distress of the people as they were unwilling to recognise the existence of Indian nationalism. In the words of Sir John Strachey, "there is not, and never was an India, or even any country of India." Inevitably, this indifference of the rulers became the main cause of conflict between the people of India and its alien Government. Up to the end of the nineteenth century, the conflict manifested it elf largely in the form of dissent and protest by means of speeches and writings and occasionally through agitation, excited meetings, revolution and petitions. The game of politics was played in accordance with what were known as 'constitutional rules'. The object was to appeal to the good sense of the powers that be and cause them as little annoyance as possible.

 

The last quarter of that century was the time of undisputed hegemony of Britain in international affairs and of a great resurgence of imperialism. Of the two sections of the empire, while the white one was graduating for dominion- status which implied equality with the mother country, the other section, inhabited by coloured races and peoples of different cultures, was being developed as the necessary infra-structure for the support of the grandeur and glory of Britain.

 

Under Curzon's regime, imperial pretentions reached their zenith in India, evoking the inevitable reaction and ushering in the era of militant nationalism.

 

With the turn ·of the century, the story of the movement for freedom enters upon a new stage from where it was carried into the twentieth century and to its fulfilment. This will be the subject of the third volume.

 

In writing this history, the emphasis has not been so much 'on the discovery of new facts as upon the interpretation of the known ones. Interpretation is in its very nature a somewhat subjective enterprise. Interpretation must undoubtedly be based upon facts which constitute the raw materials of historical narration, but the selection and arrangement of facts and their evaluation depends upon the choice, judgement and interest of the historian. And no two historians ever agree in their choice of facts or in their approach to the problems of history. As pointed out by E.H. Carr, "the belief in a hard core of historical facts existing objectively and independently of the interpretation of the historian is a preposterous fallacy." There is much force in the warning of Charles A. Beard that "history as it actually was, as distinguished, of course, from particular facts of history, is not known or knowable, no matter how zealously is pursued me ideal of the effort for objective truth."

 

I am well aware that there is no finality in the writing of history and like Sir Georse C e Chief Editor of the New Cambridge Modem History, I expect my work to be superseded again and again. I, however, hope that I have presented in these volumes a valid and consistent view of the exciting events which form a fascinatingly instructive chapter in the history of human evolution.

 

In my task, I have received valuable aid and assistance from friends and colleagues. I am greatly indebted to Dr. K.K. Datta, Prof. Muhammad Habib, Dr. Nihar Ranjan Ray, Dr. Bisheshwar Prasad and Prof. K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, who have read the manuscript and made useful suggestions for: its improvement. I wish to acknowledge gratefully the help they have rendered ungrudgingly.

 

My colleagues Dr. V.G. Dighe, Dr. R.K. Parmu and Dr. B.M. Bhatia have given to the task the best of their energy and talent. In the composition of the chapters on economic conditions, Dr. Bhatia has made a valuable contribution. No less valuable was the contribution of Dr. Dighe and Dr. Parmu who not only supplied as great deal of material for the rest of the volume, but also verified the references, scrutinised the facts, and revised the script. Dr. Dighe also prepared the index: To them ample thanks are due.

 

Nor would it be right to omit the name of Shri YM. Mulay, Librarian, National Library, Calcutta, Shri K.D. Bhargava and Shri S. Roy, Director and Deputy Director respectively, of the National Archives of India, New Delhi, and their officers from the list of those of whom the author is beholden for their co-operation.

My Personal Secretary, Shri B.R. Ajmani, is responsible for the extremely laborious and highly exacting task of preparing the type script.

 

To all of them are due my thanks. But none of them i responsible for the contents of the history. For what it says and how it says it, I alone am answerable.

 

Contents

 

 

PREFACE

 

1.

Resistance and Insurrections

1

2.

The Revolt of 1857

28

3.

The Indian Middle Class

86

4.

The New Education

135

5.

The Press and Public Opinion

168

6.

Social Reform

183

7.

Economic Background of Indian Nationalism

221

8.

Trend of Muslim Political Thought (1857-1905)

277

9.

Religious and Social Reform movements

310

10.

Education and the Indian Press

341

11.

Imperialism and its Record

372

12.

The Political Movement

418

13.

Literary Renaissance

463

 

Volume III

 

Preface

 

The first two volumes of the History of the Freedom Movement in India were concerned with the preparation of the ground for the emergence of the concept of nationalism and freedom. The marked geographical unity of India provided the necessary condition for the development of the consciousness of the community of the peoples living within the geographical boundaries of the country. Although there were religious diversities and cultural divergencies among them, their similarities were so striking that Babur was constrained to admit the common ways of living of the inhabitants.

 

During the period covered in the third volume, the consciousness of unity developed into the political awareness of a common destiny. The British rulers were alarmed at this development. Their imperial interests demanded refusal of the recognition of India's claim to Nationhood. Till almost the end of the imperialist pretensions and as a consequence of the Second World War, the recession of imperialist claims of the European states and the replacement of the influence of the competing European nations by the two super powers, the USA and the USSR., the leading statesmen of Britain continued to deny the possibility of self-determination to the countries under their yoke.

 

The problem of identity and of difference among the inhabitants of India and the other people arose in the last moiety of the 18th century, after the British had conquered Bengal and established the administration which made a distinction between the white rulers and their brown subjects. The rulers assumed superior authority, monopolised higher posts and excluded the subjects from the exercise of policy-making rights and all positions of influence.

 

The conquered bemoaned their inferiority in status and began devising plans to recover equality with the conquerors. Among the conquered, two schools of thought arose. One advocated the use of force to get rid of the foreign rulers: among them were several groups-revivalists, revolutionaries, terrorists and others. The other school believed in methods of peaceful agitation, of exercising political pressure, of organised opposition.

These schools occupied the stage till the end of the First World War and the inauguration of Gandhiji 's movement of Non-violent Non-cooperation. The movement grew in intensity and acquired unprecedented popularity. It became a powerful instrument of enforcing people's will. The British were convinced that as a result of the losses suffered during the Second World War, they were no longer capable of maintaining their empire over the unwilling subjects.

 

The Third Volume deals with the spread of nationalist ideas and growth of the urge for self-determination. These ideas were propagated through new interpretations of philosophies and religions, both Hindu and Muslim. The object of the interpreters was to rouse the passion for freedom, but the appeal was made through the texts of the ancient sacred literatures.

 

Though both Hindu and Muslim exegesists had similar aims, they wrote in language familiar to one group, but incomprehensible to the other. This lack of understanding was profitable to the rulers and they exerted their influence to widen the differences. As wielders of power and apprehensive of losing their empire, they were loath to believe that Indians possessed the requisite unity and capacity to sustain a united and well-administered India.

 

In writing the Third Volume I received much help from my research officers, especially Dr. R.K. Parmu and Dr. V. G. Dighe. The manuscript was typed by Shri B.R. Ajmani. The officials of the National Archives of India placed the resources of the Archives freely at my disposal, for which I am grateful.

 

Contents

 

PREFACE

 

l.

The State of England and the Eclipse of Imperialism

 

2.

Economic Stagnation: Agriculture

34

3.

Economic Stagnation: Industry and Trade

61

4.

The Philosophical Background

106

5.

Muslim Thought and Politics

181

6.

Curzon and the Partition of Bengal

238

7.

The Anti-Partition Agitation

264

8.

Morley-Minto Reforms

296

9.

The Muslim Problem

314

10.

Search for a New Policy

359

11.

The Non-cooperation and Khilafat Movements

394

 

INDEX

429

 

Volume IV

 

Preface

 

The freedom movement in India is a unique phenomenon. There is hardly any other country, so vast in area, inhabited by such a variety of races, following such different religions, speaking so many languages, professing such diversity of customs, which has developed -in the course of a hundred years the consciousness of national unity, constituting the basis of freedom.

 

Not till the middle of the nineteenth century did the concept of political unity arise among the Indians. However, it has to be remembered that unifying forces had been at work throughout the long history previous to the appearance of the British in India. In the ancient times the cultural outlook of the higher classes was identical, which affected also the attitude of the masses and brought about similarity in their way of thinking and feeling.

 

The Muslim conquest introduced a heterogeneous element in Indian life - an unassimilable religion and a foreign language. The Muslim conquerors were, however, not religious fanatics and they soon adapted themselves to Indian conditions. Their policy of using Persian language as the medium for state purposes was modified, for they patronised Indian languages and evolved Urdu as the language of literary expression and common use.

 

Thus, India had two cultural traditions based on two different religions.

One was cultivated by the Hindus who were in a majority and the other by the Muslims. But the two cultures were influencing each other and coming together.

 

The geographical environment of the two cultures and the physical conditions in which they flourished were identical for both. The isolation of the country from the other lands promoted a similarity of outlook. The Muslims learnt to use Indian languages and to practise modes of life which were common.

 

Till the middle of the 19th century the vast multitude of the Indian people was steeped in medievalism. Politics of the modern conception were only known to a microscopic minority of the western-educated class. Hence the revolutionary movements of the first half of the 19th century were feudal in character. They contemplated no change in the system of government or social order.

 

After 1858 politicisation of the Indian mind began in a milieu which was dominated by religious slogans and guided by sectarian beliefs and customs.

 

The policy of the British rulers was to accentuate the biases of their subjects so as to widen their .differences. In fact, they acted on the principle that consolidation of the Indian people into a single nation was against the imperial interest, and therefore, it was their policy to encourage the growth of diverse group consciousnesses which could be played against one another.

 

The disparities between various groups were emphasized and their complaints, just and unjust, used to create suspicion and distrust among the communities.

 

In the Revolt of 1857-58 the Muslims were regarded as the enemies of the British Raj. But within a short time they were absolved of the accusation and then the Hindus began to be suspect.

 

After 1858 Muslims of the upper classes realised that their anti-British stance was a mistake and that the only proper course was to adopt western, ways and remain loyal to the British connection. The lower classes of Muslims under the guidance of their Ulama, however, continued their hostility towards the rulers; but the lower classes did not command the influence which the upper class did. So the upper class continued to gain the favours of the Government.

 

So far as the Hindus were concerned, their growing sense of solidarity was considered dangerous to British supremacy. Differences between Brahmins and non-Brahmins, upper castes and Depressed Classes, were exploited, as also the rivalry between Hindus and Muslims.

 

In the circumstances the struggle for self-government was an endeavour to bridge the gulf which divided the communities and castes, for it was realised that only a united India could claim the right of self-determination. The history of India since the middle of the nineteenth century is the story of the attempts at political unification of communities, Hindu and Muslim and of castes, higher and lower. The favourable factors were the development of a dynamic economic system which modified the old static class groupism and gave rise to rationalisation of social conditions. A part of the economy of India was brought into the circle of modern conditions, which necessitated the growth of nationalism economic and political.

 

Other factors were the establishment of a modern system of government and of education.

 

The unfavourable factors were the persistence of medieval notions of religion, social order and customs. They were encouraged by the selfish interests of the British Government. The conflict between the favourable and unfavourable factors continued throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

 

The unfavourable factors are deep-rooted and ancient; the favourable factors are modern and of recent origin. The spirit of nationalism is of recent growth. Ram Mohan Roy was the first Indian to apply it to social and political institutions. In politics it made its appearance on the national scale in 1885. But with the turn of the century it made rapid strides and from 1919 it flooded the land.

 

The movement of resurgence began in earnest after the Partition of Bengal in 1905. Its first fruit was the Morley-Minto Scheme of reforms of 1909. The reforms were a clever device to defeat the movement. They were based on the recognition of the separate identity of the Muslim community and laid the foundations of communal division in Indian political affairs. Ten years later, i.e., in 1919, the principle of separation was repeated in the Montagu- Chelmsford Reforms. The two Acts confirmed the vicious theory of two nations which was the basis of British convictions. This was further elaborated in MacDonald's Award after the Second Round Table Conference. A number of new claimants for special treatment were added to the two groups, such as the Depressed Classes, Sikhs and the Indian feudatory states.

 

The question of self-determination was left to the hazards of reconciliation of the antagonistic parties. However, the Second World War intervened. It marked the definite decline of the British Empire. Two dominant states, the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., rose as super powers and Great Britain lost its supremacy. It was obliged to withdraw from its imperial commitment and devote its energies to build up its hattered internal economy.

 

But before abandoning India it took the final step of recognising the separatist claim of the Muslim League and of partitioning the country into two states, India and Pakistan. Having suffered defeat in its efforts to maintain the integrity of the British Empire, Britain successfully imposed its theory of the diversity of the Indian people.

 

History of the Freedom Movement in India records the conflict of British conception of Indian lack of unity and India's claim of unity, and the right of self-determination.

 

In the writing of this history I have received valuable help from my colleague, Dr. V G. Dighe, who was associated with me throughout the period of compiling the history. Dr. Dighe did much research for the project with tireless energy. He worked hard poring over hundreds of files of the National Archives, Government and other publications, old newspapers and journals, Parliamentary Debates, etc., collecting useful material for the history. In the later stages again he finalised the press copy, read the proofs and prepared the index. Dr. R. K. Parmu was equally helpful, but he had to leave at the stage when the third volume was being composed. I am thankful to Shri V. C. Joshi of the Nehru Memorial Museum Library for lending me books. It is owing to the courtesy of Dr. Shri Nandan Prasad that I was able to utilize the extensive material in the National Archives of India. To Dr. Bisheshwar Prasad I owe special thanks for his cooperation in reading the volume, making suggestions and scrutinising the final proofs.

 

B. R. Ajmani, my Personal Assistant and Stenotypist, besides typing the whole book, rendered ungrudging service in various ways.

 

To all of my helpers and assistants I am grateful.

 

Contents

 

 

PREFACE

 

1.

Interlude of Growing Differences

1

2.

Irwin and the Indian Problem

55

3.

The Round Table Conference

126

4.

The New Constitution in Operation

182

5.

Provincial' Autonomy under New Constitution

222

6.

India and the War

251

7.

Pakistan Resolution

290

8.

Cripps Mission

307

9.

Spontaneous Revolution

332

10.

Gandhi-Jinnah Talks

388

11.

The Cabinet Mission and After

417

12.

Partition and Independence

458

 

History of the Freedom Movement in India (Set of 4 Volumes)

Item Code:
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2005
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ISBN Volume I : 812301290-X

ISBN Volume II : 8123012977

ISBN Volume III : 8123011970

ISBN Volume IV : 8123012896

Volume I

 

About the Book

 

India's freedom movement had a uniqueness about it, compared to similar other movements in contemporary history. It not only transformed the great Indian civilisation into a nation State, but also crystallized benchmarks for great popular movements in history. It was both a struggle against foreign rule, as well as an ethical campaign against unreason, directed against both the foreign rulers and Indians. What began as a sporadic response to colonial atrocities, in mid 19th century years evolved subsequently into one of the subtlest mass movements in recent history under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the saint - statesman of India, whose unprecedented weapons of truth and non-violence empowered the meek Indian millions to fight against the mighty British Raj. The lessons from India's freedom movement have been inspiring generations of world leaders to follow the path of peace and non-violence.

 

The present series of four volumes of History of the Freedom Movement in India is a classic analysis of those testing times by eminent historian and scholar Dr. Tara Chand. This authentic and insightful analysis of the freedom movement has been popular with scholars as well as common readers for over four decades now.

 

Foreword

 

The whole course of human history proves that power as well as excellence has always followed knowledge. It was man's capacity to learn which gave him pre-eminence among all living beings. Among men, pre- eminence has come to those who have the greatest capacity to acquire and use knowledge. Priests and magicians in ancient times exercised their dominance through superior knowledge and sought to guard it as a precious secret. They did not realise that the attempt to hide or restrict knowledge is self-defeating and ultimately leads to loss of knowledge as well as excellence and power. Indian history offers many examples of how the people have suffered through the restriction of knowledge to selected groups and coteries.

 

Unlike material wealth, knowledge increases only through dispersal and distribution. Aurangzeb had in many respects an extremely narrow outlook and sought to maintain his authority on the basis of exclusiveness, but he was also one of the few Indian emperors who realised the importance of knowledge as an instrument for the maintenance of power. When a scholar sought special treatment on the ground of having taught him, Aurangzeb rejected the claim and said, "If you had taught me that philosophy which adapts the mind to reason, and will not suffer it to rest satisfied with anything short of the most solid arguments, if you had made me acquainted with the nature of man, accustomed my always to refer to first principles and given me a sublime and adequate conception of the universe and of the order and regular motion of its parts, I would have been more indebted to you than Alexander was to Aristotle." Aurangzeb also declared that for a ruler, it was necessary to be "acquainted with the distinguishing features of every nation of the earth; its resources and strength; its modes of warfare; its manner, religion, form of government". He recognised that it was part of the training of a king to become, through a regular course of historical reading, "Familiar with the origin of States, their progress and decline, the events, accidents or errors owing to which great changes and mighty revolutions have been effected".

 

It is interesting to speculate what might have been the course of Indian history if Aurangzeb with his undoubted intellectual powers had received such training and learnt that the progress and prosperity of nations depends on the dispensation of equal justice to all citizens regardless of religion, race, political views or social status. In any case, one cannot but accept his contention that those who are charged with the administration of human affairs must have knowledge of the basic principles that govern the growth and decline of states and the ways in which human beings respond to different types of treatment.

 

The importance of such historical studies has increased in the modern age and become a condition for man's survival itself. In the present democratic set-up of the world- and this holds to a large extent even for areas where there is no formal democracy-every individual has a responsibility for the policies and programmes of his country. The interlacing of the fortunes of different countries through the progress of science and technology has further ensured that the responsibility of the individual extends beyond the frontiers of his own land and ultimately encompasses the whole world. Since whatever happens in anyone country has repercussions in all other countries, the individual citizen has thus a greater concern with the fate of mankind today than even kings or princes in earlier times. Aurangzeb had realised that historical education was necessary for princes. Today, such education is essential for all citizens of a democratic republic like India.

 

India's experience of subjection to a foreign power for almost two centuries had made Indians sensitive to the causes of the decline and downfall of peoples. As they won back their freedom step by step, they sought to enshrine the lesson so that there may be no repetition of that earlier tragic story. Besides, both the manner in which India lost her freedom and the way in which she regained it had certain unique features that make her history one of great significance for the whole world. In particular, the technique of non-violent struggle developed by Mahatma Gandhi seems to offer a solution to one of the most vexed problems of human relations. It was therefore not surprising that at the very first meeting of the Indian Historical Records Commission held after India became free, a resolution was passed for preparing an authentic and comprehensive history of the different phases of the Indian struggle for independence. This recommendation found an immediate response from the late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who directed that steps should forthwith be taken to give effect to it.

 

There were some who thought that the work might be executed through an official agency but it was soon realised that such agencies might not prove suitable for the purpose. For one thing, any government organisation is bound to reflect the views and opinions of the government of the day while considerations of national interest as well as historical veracity demand that the history of the Indian freedom movement must be objective and unbiased. For another, the raw materials of such history are scattered throughout the country and often rest with men who had actively participated in the freedom struggle. It seemed doubtful if a government agency with its standardised methods would be able to draw upon their knowledge by accommodating their predilections and idiosyncrasies. An effort on a national scale was thus necessary to collect the vast amount of material lying in government and private archives and with men and women who had actively participated in the later phases of the struggle.

 

As a first step, an expert committee of distinguished scholars was set lip under the Chairmanship of Dr. Tara Chand, then Educational Adviser to the Government of India. Its major terms of reference were to suggest ways and means for organising the collection of material and taking other steps for the preparation of the history. The Committee recommended that besides a central organisation composed of historians and political workers, regional committees with a similar composition should be set up in different parts of the country. Accordingly, a Central Board of Editors was set up with Dr. Syed Mahmud as Chairman and Shri S.N. Ghose as Secretary. Addressing the first meeting of the Board in January 1953, Maulana Azad stressed the need for an objective and impartial account of the history of the freedom movement. With the attainment of independence, it was both possible and necessary to avoid passion, for passion distorts judgement and action based on such judgements would be against the national interest. He also pointed out that while it would be primarily a history of the political struggle, it would have to give weight to national awakening in other fields like literature, education, social reform and scientific and industrial development.

 

The Board functioned for a period of three years and with the help of its regional committees, collected a large volume of material relating to almost every aspect of the national awakening in India. It used not only the Government archives at the Centre and in the States, and both national and local newspapers, but also the evidence of individuals belonging to different political schools and holding diverse social and economic views. It also contacted sources outside India in its effort to make the material as exhaustive as possible.

 

The Board rendered very useful service but it soon became clear that an ad hoc body set up on a temporary basis could not complete the work of collecting the necessary material, still less prepare a unified history by sifting and interpreting the data. It included both academic historians and active politicians and the differences in their approach were seen even at the stage of collection of data. These differences became still more marked when it came to interpreting the material that had already been collected. It was therefore decided to transfer the work of further collection to the National Archives and of interpretation and narration to one single scholar of distinction. Accordingly, Dr. Tara Chand, who had been Chairman of the Planning Committee at an earlier stage and had a special competence for the task, was entrusted with the work of sifting the material and preparing a unified history of the Indian freedom movement.

 

As readers will see for themselves, Dr. Tara Chand has adopted a wide and imaginative approach and presented not only a comprehensive account of conditions in India on the eve of British rule but also undertaken comparative studies in Indian and European history in order to focus our attention on the causes which led to the progress of Britain and the decline of India in the period under review. His treatment is objective and historical and he had sought to award praise and blame according to historical standards rather than national or racial prejudices. The analysis and opinion are his alone, and while one may not accept all his conclusions and interpretations, I am sure that every one will agree that he has marshalled his facts with consummate skill and artistry.

 

The story of the loss and recovery of Indian independence presents one of the most fascinating subjects of study in human history. A people with a proud and glorious past, highly developed arts and crafts and almost unlimited human and material resources had to suffer humiliation and defeat because they had neither learnt that strength lies in the spread of national feeling through all strata of society nor kept abreast of the progress of science and technology in the outside world. Their regeneration began when the humiliation of defeat brought about an enhanced national consciousness and the foreign rulers introduced the explosive forces of modem education and science into an ancient society. The ferment which was initiated is to this day reaching every level of national life and bringing about far-reaching changes in social organisation, intellectual attitudes and even religious beliefs and practices. When the national awakening brought back national self-respect, India again became free, though she was naturally helped in the process by the play of world forces culminating in the Second World War.

 

It is intended that the story of the Indian freedom movement will be told in three volumes of about four to five hundred pages each. The first volume which is being released today-two hundred years after the third battle of Panipat which made British hegemony of India almost inevitable-deals with the social, political, cultural and economic conditions of India in the eighteenth century against the background of the historical processes that had in earlier times shaped the life and history of the Indian people. It also gives an overall picture of the developments which ushered in the modem age in Europe in order to make it easier for us to understand the impact of the new dynamism of the West on the comparatively static Indian society.

 

A work of such magnitude could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of many official and unofficial organisations and of men and women, both in India and abroad. We owe a debt of gratitude to them all for their help in the completion of a national task. We are still more indebted to Dr. Tara Chand and his colleagues for the devotion and care with which they have sifted the voluminous mass of material and sought to discover the underlying principles which have given direction and unity to the diverse and at times conflicting tendencies that characterised Indo-British relations during this transitional but revolutionary period.

 

Preface

 

In undertaking to write the History of the Freedom Movement, I was faced with a number of problems. Where should the history begin? One answer was : from the foundation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. But the Congress was the organised expression of a growing national movement, and without tracing the history of the rise of national consciousness it would be impossible to explain the emergence of the Congress. When did then national consciousness arise? In the-flaming holocaust of 1857, or earlier? It was necessary inevitably to go back to Ram Mohan Roy. But Ram Mohan Roy was the product of the impact of the British conquest. The conclusion was inescapable that the nature of the impact from its earliest stages required study and explanation.

 

Another question was even more difficult to answer. I had to trace the history of the freedom movement and not merely to relate the story of the achievement of independence. Independence is a negative concept. Its implication is absence of dependence; it has no positive connotation; it does not indicate the quality and character of the society which achieves political sovereignty after throwing off alien domination. Freedom is more than the mere absence of foreign control, for it implies a society possessing certain positive attributes-a capacity to order its affairs in accordance with the will of the people, and a democratic way of life guaranteeing liberty and equality to all its members.

 

As a result of the British intervention in the eighteenth century India lost independence, but under British tutelage which lasted for nearly two centuries it gained freedom. This raised two connected problems. Why did India lose independence and what did this loss imply in material and moral terms? And secondly how did India qualify itself for attaining freedom? Europe had progressed from independence to freedom and it had traversed this journey in more than a thousand years-from the settlement of the Teutonic tribes in the provinces of the Roman Empire to the eighteenth century-but it had not experienced foreign occupation and rule. India, on the other hand had to surrender the sovereign power before setting out on the perilous voyage which led to self-government and it had to complete the stages of the journey in one-fifth of the time taken by Europe.

 

It appeared to me that I should explain, howsoever briefly, the experience of the West in order to explain what happened in India. I have therefore ventured to summarise the history of the developments in Europe in the introduction to the story of India's freedom.

 

The achievement of freedom by India is a unique phenomenon. It is the transformation of a civilisation into a nationality. It is the fulfilment of nationality through the establishment of national sovereignty. It is throughout the course of its advance a movement directed as much against the violence of the other as against the unreason of the self. In essence it is an ethical struggle both in relation to the foreigner as well as members of its own body. And where similar struggles have been accompanied with bloodshed, the movement in India, though intense and accompanied with much suffering, was non-violent.

 

The history of freedom is a dialectic process. Its first step was antithetical in so far as it amounted to the destruction of the old order. This is the argument of the process which started in the middle of the eighteenth century and culminated in the revolt of 1857. The second step is the emergence of a new order which gradually gathers momentum during the half century after 1857. The third step is one of conflict and synthesis of the spirit of the old order and the new, of the East and the West, and the coming into the world of a new individual-the Indian nation State.

 

I have treated this dialectical theme in three volumes, of which this first one deals with the first term of the argument.

 

The idea that a history of the freedom movement ought to be written emanated from the late Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then Minister of Education, Government of India. Maulana Azad was a rare combination of scholar and statesman, of old-world refinement and culture and modern ardour for freedom and progress. He spent the greater part of his life in the struggle. He staked his all in the service of the cause. All his powers-his matchless eloquence, his balanced judgement, his wise counsel, his broad-minded patriotism, his burning zeal, his pride, his idealism-he laid at the altar of India's freedom. Yet in the midst of the fiercest struggle and during the short intervals of calm, he never deviated from his devotion to learning. He had a prodigious memory and his mind was a storehouse of poetry in many languages-Urdu, Persian and Arabic-of the history of many countries, and of religious lore. He was never more happy than when he was surrounded by his books or engaged in his literary pursuits. Freedom for India was his passion, and after its achievement the narration of its epic story was his dearly cherished wish.

 

I had the privilege of working with him in the Ministry of Education for about four years and he knew of my interest in history. When therefore he asked me to take up this work I gladly accepted the offer. I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to accomplish a task dear to my heart. He arranged to place at my disposal the services of three scholars to help me Dr. V.G. Dighe, Dr. R.K. Parmu and Dr. B.M. Bhatia. They have all worked ungrudgingly and with whole-hearted devotion. They have made a notable contribution in the writing of this book and I am grateful to them for their invaluable assistance in the completion of this volume. My thanks are due to Shri Humayun Kabir, the Minister of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs, for his support. I greatly appreciate his concern and solicitude in this work, for without his interest it would not have been possible to overcome many difficulties, especially those of publication. I am grateful to the Director of the National Archives of India, and the Librarian of the National Library of Calcutta for allowing me free access to their records and books.

Introduction

 

In the eighteenth century India passed under the sway of Britain. Almost for the first time in her history an alien people whose homeland lay at a distance of several thousand miles from India assumed the reins of her government and the guidance of her destinies. Such an occupation of the country was a new experience. For, although in the past India had suffered many invasions, and from time to time parts of the Indian territory had fallen temporarily under the dominion of the conquerors, the occasions had been few and their duration short. For example, the Achaemenian empire of Persia included the border lands of India and extracted tribute from the Indus valley; the Kushans extended their conquests over Kashmir and north-west India and ruled these territories for more than a century. The intrusions of the Pahlavas, Sakas and Hunas were no more than passing incidents. The Ghaznavid dominion included the Punjab, and the Arabs ruled in Sind. Besides these episodes of temporary rule, India suffered many invasions. But the whirlwind campaigns of the invaders harried the land for a while and then passed away. Among them the important ones were Alexander, Timur, Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali. The only conquerors who established permanent empires over the greater part of India were the Turks in the early Middle Ages, and the Chaghtai Mughals later.

 

The Kushan conquerors, who exercised control over north western India, became completely Indianised. They adopted Indian religions, Indian languages and Indian customs. They were merged in the Indian society. The early Muslim conquerors, who came from Afghanistan or Central Asia, however, had a different history. The Muslim soldiers and captains, learned men and merchants who followed in the wake of Mahmud of Ghazni, Shahab-ud-Din Ghori, or Babar, did not, like the Sakas, Yueh Chis and the Hunas, lose their identity in India. They continued to adhere to their religion and retained much of their culture. But they chose to stay permanently in this country, broke with their foreign moorings and cast their lot with the Indian people. Practical needs of life compelled them to enter into increasing social relations with their subjects. Under the pressure of the new environment, and in the interests of administration, they modified their own notions of government, law and order. They shed many of their foreign manners and customs, and absorbed elements of Indian life and culture. India was enriched by the addition of a new religion to her repertory of faiths, and the variety of her multicoloured civilisation was diversified by the infusion of new elements.

 

Thus, although Muslim conquest brought about many political and cultural changes in the ancient societies of India, much of the foundation and structure of her old culture remained. The Indian peoples gave much to the new-corners and received a great deal in return. The)' learnt the new social was introduced by conquerors. The impact of Muslim religion with its emphasis upon strict monotheism and egalitarian philosophy of social organisation evoked reactions, and the Hindu religious and social systems were stirred by movements which brought about an approximation of attitudes and practices between the two. The languages and literatures of the Muslims exercised a pervasive influence on the speech and writing of the Hindus. New words, phrases and literary forms took root in the soil and new motifs and themes enriched their thought. A new literary language was evolved and many of the Middle Indo-Aryan dialects blossomed into modern literary languages. In architecture, painting, music and the minor arts, profound changes occurred and new styles made their appearance in which the elements of both were fused. The process which had begun in the thirteenth century continued for five hundred years.

 

In the sixteenth century Babar overthrew the Afghan dynasty of the Lodi family. His successors identified themselves closely with the interests of India and followed, on the whole, policies which gave a great impetus to the tendencies of political unification and cultural harmony. The expansion of the Mughal empire over the greater parts of India had profound consequences. It steam-rollered the ancient tribal principalities and autonomous states. It reduced the old plurality of political units, whose autonomy was limited from time to time by the over lordship of such empires as that of the Mauryas, Kushans or Guptas, into the near unity of an empire directly administered from the centre, leaving a fringe of semi-independent chieftaincies and a sprinkling of feudatories and dependencies on the border.

 

The mughal emperors and their great functionaries were enlightened patrons of art and literature. Modern Indian languages like Braj, Avadhi, Bengali, Marathi and others, which had become vehicles of reformed Hinduism, and organs of the cult of bhakti (the religion of love and service), received the stimulus of royal favour. The courts of the emperor and his provincial governors became centres of art and culture. The Hindu rulers of the hill states, Rajasthan, central India and the Deccan, imitated the styles evolved under the patronage of the Mughals.

 

The mughal political system and the cultural ideals of India were founded upon a socio-economic base which, apart from modifications of detail, retained substantial identity throughout the ancient and medieval epochs of history. Its beginnings may be traced back to the first settlements of the Aryans in India.

 

This socio-economic continuity is the distinguishing mark of Indian history. The harmony found in the many-sided culture of the peoples of India stems from this source. Thus, although India has many religions, many languages, many races, its fundamental attitudes towards life have persisted through centuries and millennia. There is a peculiarly Indian flavour which pervades the multiplicity of cultures during the ages. It is a remarkable fact that the socio-economic structure of India, which originated in the settlement of the Aryans and their assimilation of the pre-Aryan inhabitants of India, continued without any radical change till the nineteenth century. The explanation appears to be that unlike that of Europe, India's racial mould "as set once and for all and was little disturbed in the succeeding times. This happened when the Aryan migrant groups came-possibly in several waves-and occupied the different regions of the country. In each region the original inhabitants were absorbed in different ways and in different numbers, d thus in these different territories, different social organisms were established. But all bore in varying degrees the stamp of Aryanism, and the traditions once formed were not subsequently altered by racial displacements d disturbances. These traditions were a synthesis of the Aryan, Dravidian d aboriginal elements in India's population. As neither temporary incursions r permanent conquests affected to any appreciable extent the mass of population, there was no root and branch modification of the traditions. The immigration of such tribes as Jats, Gujars, Sakas and Hunas in later times did not prove more than the rush of little rillets into the ocean where they are lost in its immensity.

 

When the Muslim conquerors established their empire in the thirteenth century, a new culture made its entry in India. Then the old and the new met and exchanges took place between them. In the process a complex situation arose.

 

The ethnic and economic basis of society underwent the least change. The village continued to function as the self-sufficient unit of group life. Industry and trade were carried on without any basic modification of organisation or methods. Stratification of Hindu and Muslim society into two classes, of the privileged ruling land owning aristocracy and the unprivileged asses, not participating in governmental functions, persisted. The political system underwent no change. The ties which held the government and the people together were scant and fragile, for the functions of the state were extremely limited-maintenance of an army for purposes of defence and prevention of lawlessness, and collection of revenues for the upkeep of the army, Legislation was beyond its scope, and so was much of judicial ministration. There were no law-making organs, and civil and personal uses were largely determined by non-official agencies.

 

So far as religion was concerned, although the lower classes remained steeped in their superstition, and the intellectuals were little affected, there much of give and take. New sects and creeds arose among the Hindus under the influence of Islam; and Muslim groups of broad-minded sufis and scholars adopted Hindu philosophical doctrines and methods of inner discipline the creative fields of literature and art, there was a great deal of assimilation of the Hindu and Muslim styles. But there was least mutual adaptation the sphere of law.

 

Cultural rapprochement there certainly was; however, it failed to generate national consciousness, for the hard moulds into which groups and communities ere enveloped, did not permit them to be fused together.

 

Contents

 

 

FOREWORD

 

 

PREFACE

 

 

Introduction

 

1.

The decline and fall of the Mughal empire

35

2.

Social organisation in the eighteenth century

55

3.

Indian political systems

100

4.

Economic conditions in the eighteenth century

135

5.

Cultural life - education, arts and literature

155

6.

The British conquest of India

178

7.

The development of British administration upto 1793

214

8.

The development of British administration from 1793 to 1857

245

9.

Social and economic consequences of British rule: Disintegration of rural economy

267

10.

Social and economic consequences of British rule: Decline of trade and industry

284

 

Volume II

 

Preface

 

The second volume of the History of the Freedom Movement in India deals with India's reaction of the British impact during the nineteenth century. This impact was primarily political, its agents were imbued with the spirit of modernism, in contrast with the medieval attitudes prevalent in India. They treated politics in the architectonic sense as a factor which pervades and directs all activities of society. Thus, the British impact on Indian life was both wide in sweep and deeply penetrating. It has both positive and negative effects.

 

The confrontation with the West forced India to make a critical examination of its traditions-values and ideas, customs and institutions-and to repudiate or remould such among them as appeared unreasonable or unwholesome. This was the destructive aspect of the impact. On the other hand, the challenge called forth a response from the unfathomable depths of the Indian consciousness which amounted to a reassertion of the uniqueness of the basic principles of Indian life-principles which for thousands of years had inspired the conduct of me individual and society, which constituted the ethos of Indian culture. its individuality and continuity through the ages.

 

In order to rediscover and resuscitate this ethos and build a new India, political independence was a pre-condition. Such was the regenerative role of foreign domination.

 

The movements of social and religious reform, of intellectual assimilation and literary expression, of economic and political change, were all manifestations of the transformation which was taking place as a result of the ideological and practical thrust of modernism. During the first half of the nineteenth century, when the dawn of modernism was just breaking on the horizon old India was profoundly disturbed by the prospect, for it looked upon the onset of the Western imperialism as a menace to its age-long culture-its economy, polity and religion. In order to avoid this fatality, the old order reacted violently but ineffectually. The earlier uprisings were isolated and incoordinated, and they culminated in the tragic Revolt of 1857.

 

Meanwhile, a new India was taking shape. On the basis of the individuality and continuity of Indian culture, the structure of national unity was being built. Cultural integration, accompanied by political particularism, had been characteristic of Indian history so far. The effort now was to strengthen cultural harmony and to effect a permanent and organic political integration.

 

The second half of the nineteenth century was the formative period for the evolution of Indian nationalism. In the the beginning, the movement was weak and unsure of itself. It affected the middle class strata of society, it poke in many voices, it failed to discriminate between political and religious interests and objectives. It tended to cling to the coat-tails of the British empire. In its naivete and inexperience, it accepted, at their face value, diplomatic assurances and liberal promises of political reform and failed to realise that imperial interests were incompatible with national aspirations. Thus, the organ of national will which had thus been forged was, in its early stages, confused in its aims and mimetic in its methods for achieving those aims.

 

Meanwhile, socio-economic developments were on their way to prepare the ground for the final stage in the struggle for independence. The misery of the masses was on the, increase the middle class were growing in strength and influence. They were becoming more and more conscious of the ills from which India suffered and were slowly realising the futility of the methods so far followed in removing them. They found the most convincing evidence of the hopeless condition of the masses in the series of grievous famines which inflicted untold suffering upon them during the nineteenth century.

 

On the other hand, the movement of religious and social reform and of renaissance in literature and art were manifestations of the rising spirit of nationalism, of the dawning of a new day which promised the end of the night of dependence and misery.

 

Unfortunately, the rulers of India appeared to be oblivious as much to the distress of the people as they were unwilling to recognise the existence of Indian nationalism. In the words of Sir John Strachey, "there is not, and never was an India, or even any country of India." Inevitably, this indifference of the rulers became the main cause of conflict between the people of India and its alien Government. Up to the end of the nineteenth century, the conflict manifested it elf largely in the form of dissent and protest by means of speeches and writings and occasionally through agitation, excited meetings, revolution and petitions. The game of politics was played in accordance with what were known as 'constitutional rules'. The object was to appeal to the good sense of the powers that be and cause them as little annoyance as possible.

 

The last quarter of that century was the time of undisputed hegemony of Britain in international affairs and of a great resurgence of imperialism. Of the two sections of the empire, while the white one was graduating for dominion- status which implied equality with the mother country, the other section, inhabited by coloured races and peoples of different cultures, was being developed as the necessary infra-structure for the support of the grandeur and glory of Britain.

 

Under Curzon's regime, imperial pretentions reached their zenith in India, evoking the inevitable reaction and ushering in the era of militant nationalism.

 

With the turn ·of the century, the story of the movement for freedom enters upon a new stage from where it was carried into the twentieth century and to its fulfilment. This will be the subject of the third volume.

 

In writing this history, the emphasis has not been so much 'on the discovery of new facts as upon the interpretation of the known ones. Interpretation is in its very nature a somewhat subjective enterprise. Interpretation must undoubtedly be based upon facts which constitute the raw materials of historical narration, but the selection and arrangement of facts and their evaluation depends upon the choice, judgement and interest of the historian. And no two historians ever agree in their choice of facts or in their approach to the problems of history. As pointed out by E.H. Carr, "the belief in a hard core of historical facts existing objectively and independently of the interpretation of the historian is a preposterous fallacy." There is much force in the warning of Charles A. Beard that "history as it actually was, as distinguished, of course, from particular facts of history, is not known or knowable, no matter how zealously is pursued me ideal of the effort for objective truth."

 

I am well aware that there is no finality in the writing of history and like Sir Georse C e Chief Editor of the New Cambridge Modem History, I expect my work to be superseded again and again. I, however, hope that I have presented in these volumes a valid and consistent view of the exciting events which form a fascinatingly instructive chapter in the history of human evolution.

 

In my task, I have received valuable aid and assistance from friends and colleagues. I am greatly indebted to Dr. K.K. Datta, Prof. Muhammad Habib, Dr. Nihar Ranjan Ray, Dr. Bisheshwar Prasad and Prof. K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, who have read the manuscript and made useful suggestions for: its improvement. I wish to acknowledge gratefully the help they have rendered ungrudgingly.

 

My colleagues Dr. V.G. Dighe, Dr. R.K. Parmu and Dr. B.M. Bhatia have given to the task the best of their energy and talent. In the composition of the chapters on economic conditions, Dr. Bhatia has made a valuable contribution. No less valuable was the contribution of Dr. Dighe and Dr. Parmu who not only supplied as great deal of material for the rest of the volume, but also verified the references, scrutinised the facts, and revised the script. Dr. Dighe also prepared the index: To them ample thanks are due.

 

Nor would it be right to omit the name of Shri YM. Mulay, Librarian, National Library, Calcutta, Shri K.D. Bhargava and Shri S. Roy, Director and Deputy Director respectively, of the National Archives of India, New Delhi, and their officers from the list of those of whom the author is beholden for their co-operation.

My Personal Secretary, Shri B.R. Ajmani, is responsible for the extremely laborious and highly exacting task of preparing the type script.

 

To all of them are due my thanks. But none of them i responsible for the contents of the history. For what it says and how it says it, I alone am answerable.

 

Contents

 

 

PREFACE

 

1.

Resistance and Insurrections

1

2.

The Revolt of 1857

28

3.

The Indian Middle Class

86

4.

The New Education

135

5.

The Press and Public Opinion

168

6.

Social Reform

183

7.

Economic Background of Indian Nationalism

221

8.

Trend of Muslim Political Thought (1857-1905)

277

9.

Religious and Social Reform movements

310

10.

Education and the Indian Press

341

11.

Imperialism and its Record

372

12.

The Political Movement

418

13.

Literary Renaissance

463

 

Volume III

 

Preface

 

The first two volumes of the History of the Freedom Movement in India were concerned with the preparation of the ground for the emergence of the concept of nationalism and freedom. The marked geographical unity of India provided the necessary condition for the development of the consciousness of the community of the peoples living within the geographical boundaries of the country. Although there were religious diversities and cultural divergencies among them, their similarities were so striking that Babur was constrained to admit the common ways of living of the inhabitants.

 

During the period covered in the third volume, the consciousness of unity developed into the political awareness of a common destiny. The British rulers were alarmed at this development. Their imperial interests demanded refusal of the recognition of India's claim to Nationhood. Till almost the end of the imperialist pretensions and as a consequence of the Second World War, the recession of imperialist claims of the European states and the replacement of the influence of the competing European nations by the two super powers, the USA and the USSR., the leading statesmen of Britain continued to deny the possibility of self-determination to the countries under their yoke.

 

The problem of identity and of difference among the inhabitants of India and the other people arose in the last moiety of the 18th century, after the British had conquered Bengal and established the administration which made a distinction between the white rulers and their brown subjects. The rulers assumed superior authority, monopolised higher posts and excluded the subjects from the exercise of policy-making rights and all positions of influence.

 

The conquered bemoaned their inferiority in status and began devising plans to recover equality with the conquerors. Among the conquered, two schools of thought arose. One advocated the use of force to get rid of the foreign rulers: among them were several groups-revivalists, revolutionaries, terrorists and others. The other school believed in methods of peaceful agitation, of exercising political pressure, of organised opposition.

These schools occupied the stage till the end of the First World War and the inauguration of Gandhiji 's movement of Non-violent Non-cooperation. The movement grew in intensity and acquired unprecedented popularity. It became a powerful instrument of enforcing people's will. The British were convinced that as a result of the losses suffered during the Second World War, they were no longer capable of maintaining their empire over the unwilling subjects.

 

The Third Volume deals with the spread of nationalist ideas and growth of the urge for self-determination. These ideas were propagated through new interpretations of philosophies and religions, both Hindu and Muslim. The object of the interpreters was to rouse the passion for freedom, but the appeal was made through the texts of the ancient sacred literatures.

 

Though both Hindu and Muslim exegesists had similar aims, they wrote in language familiar to one group, but incomprehensible to the other. This lack of understanding was profitable to the rulers and they exerted their influence to widen the differences. As wielders of power and apprehensive of losing their empire, they were loath to believe that Indians possessed the requisite unity and capacity to sustain a united and well-administered India.

 

In writing the Third Volume I received much help from my research officers, especially Dr. R.K. Parmu and Dr. V. G. Dighe. The manuscript was typed by Shri B.R. Ajmani. The officials of the National Archives of India placed the resources of the Archives freely at my disposal, for which I am grateful.

 

Contents

 

PREFACE

 

l.

The State of England and the Eclipse of Imperialism

 

2.

Economic Stagnation: Agriculture

34

3.

Economic Stagnation: Industry and Trade

61

4.

The Philosophical Background

106

5.

Muslim Thought and Politics

181

6.

Curzon and the Partition of Bengal

238

7.

The Anti-Partition Agitation

264

8.

Morley-Minto Reforms

296

9.

The Muslim Problem

314

10.

Search for a New Policy

359

11.

The Non-cooperation and Khilafat Movements

394

 

INDEX

429

 

Volume IV

 

Preface

 

The freedom movement in India is a unique phenomenon. There is hardly any other country, so vast in area, inhabited by such a variety of races, following such different religions, speaking so many languages, professing such diversity of customs, which has developed -in the course of a hundred years the consciousness of national unity, constituting the basis of freedom.

 

Not till the middle of the nineteenth century did the concept of political unity arise among the Indians. However, it has to be remembered that unifying forces had been at work throughout the long history previous to the appearance of the British in India. In the ancient times the cultural outlook of the higher classes was identical, which affected also the attitude of the masses and brought about similarity in their way of thinking and feeling.

 

The Muslim conquest introduced a heterogeneous element in Indian life - an unassimilable religion and a foreign language. The Muslim conquerors were, however, not religious fanatics and they soon adapted themselves to Indian conditions. Their policy of using Persian language as the medium for state purposes was modified, for they patronised Indian languages and evolved Urdu as the language of literary expression and common use.

 

Thus, India had two cultural traditions based on two different religions.

One was cultivated by the Hindus who were in a majority and the other by the Muslims. But the two cultures were influencing each other and coming together.

 

The geographical environment of the two cultures and the physical conditions in which they flourished were identical for both. The isolation of the country from the other lands promoted a similarity of outlook. The Muslims learnt to use Indian languages and to practise modes of life which were common.

 

Till the middle of the 19th century the vast multitude of the Indian people was steeped in medievalism. Politics of the modern conception were only known to a microscopic minority of the western-educated class. Hence the revolutionary movements of the first half of the 19th century were feudal in character. They contemplated no change in the system of government or social order.

 

After 1858 politicisation of the Indian mind began in a milieu which was dominated by religious slogans and guided by sectarian beliefs and customs.

 

The policy of the British rulers was to accentuate the biases of their subjects so as to widen their .differences. In fact, they acted on the principle that consolidation of the Indian people into a single nation was against the imperial interest, and therefore, it was their policy to encourage the growth of diverse group consciousnesses which could be played against one another.

 

The disparities between various groups were emphasized and their complaints, just and unjust, used to create suspicion and distrust among the communities.

 

In the Revolt of 1857-58 the Muslims were regarded as the enemies of the British Raj. But within a short time they were absolved of the accusation and then the Hindus began to be suspect.

 

After 1858 Muslims of the upper classes realised that their anti-British stance was a mistake and that the only proper course was to adopt western, ways and remain loyal to the British connection. The lower classes of Muslims under the guidance of their Ulama, however, continued their hostility towards the rulers; but the lower classes did not command the influence which the upper class did. So the upper class continued to gain the favours of the Government.

 

So far as the Hindus were concerned, their growing sense of solidarity was considered dangerous to British supremacy. Differences between Brahmins and non-Brahmins, upper castes and Depressed Classes, were exploited, as also the rivalry between Hindus and Muslims.

 

In the circumstances the struggle for self-government was an endeavour to bridge the gulf which divided the communities and castes, for it was realised that only a united India could claim the right of self-determination. The history of India since the middle of the nineteenth century is the story of the attempts at political unification of communities, Hindu and Muslim and of castes, higher and lower. The favourable factors were the development of a dynamic economic system which modified the old static class groupism and gave rise to rationalisation of social conditions. A part of the economy of India was brought into the circle of modern conditions, which necessitated the growth of nationalism economic and political.

 

Other factors were the establishment of a modern system of government and of education.

 

The unfavourable factors were the persistence of medieval notions of religion, social order and customs. They were encouraged by the selfish interests of the British Government. The conflict between the favourable and unfavourable factors continued throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

 

The unfavourable factors are deep-rooted and ancient; the favourable factors are modern and of recent origin. The spirit of nationalism is of recent growth. Ram Mohan Roy was the first Indian to apply it to social and political institutions. In politics it made its appearance on the national scale in 1885. But with the turn of the century it made rapid strides and from 1919 it flooded the land.

 

The movement of resurgence began in earnest after the Partition of Bengal in 1905. Its first fruit was the Morley-Minto Scheme of reforms of 1909. The reforms were a clever device to defeat the movement. They were based on the recognition of the separate identity of the Muslim community and laid the foundations of communal division in Indian political affairs. Ten years later, i.e., in 1919, the principle of separation was repeated in the Montagu- Chelmsford Reforms. The two Acts confirmed the vicious theory of two nations which was the basis of British convictions. This was further elaborated in MacDonald's Award after the Second Round Table Conference. A number of new claimants for special treatment were added to the two groups, such as the Depressed Classes, Sikhs and the Indian feudatory states.

 

The question of self-determination was left to the hazards of reconciliation of the antagonistic parties. However, the Second World War intervened. It marked the definite decline of the British Empire. Two dominant states, the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., rose as super powers and Great Britain lost its supremacy. It was obliged to withdraw from its imperial commitment and devote its energies to build up its hattered internal economy.

 

But before abandoning India it took the final step of recognising the separatist claim of the Muslim League and of partitioning the country into two states, India and Pakistan. Having suffered defeat in its efforts to maintain the integrity of the British Empire, Britain successfully imposed its theory of the diversity of the Indian people.

 

History of the Freedom Movement in India records the conflict of British conception of Indian lack of unity and India's claim of unity, and the right of self-determination.

 

In the writing of this history I have received valuable help from my colleague, Dr. V G. Dighe, who was associated with me throughout the period of compiling the history. Dr. Dighe did much research for the project with tireless energy. He worked hard poring over hundreds of files of the National Archives, Government and other publications, old newspapers and journals, Parliamentary Debates, etc., collecting useful material for the history. In the later stages again he finalised the press copy, read the proofs and prepared the index. Dr. R. K. Parmu was equally helpful, but he had to leave at the stage when the third volume was being composed. I am thankful to Shri V. C. Joshi of the Nehru Memorial Museum Library for lending me books. It is owing to the courtesy of Dr. Shri Nandan Prasad that I was able to utilize the extensive material in the National Archives of India. To Dr. Bisheshwar Prasad I owe special thanks for his cooperation in reading the volume, making suggestions and scrutinising the final proofs.

 

B. R. Ajmani, my Personal Assistant and Stenotypist, besides typing the whole book, rendered ungrudging service in various ways.

 

To all of my helpers and assistants I am grateful.

 

Contents

 

 

PREFACE

 

1.

Interlude of Growing Differences

1

2.

Irwin and the Indian Problem

55

3.

The Round Table Conference

126

4.

The New Constitution in Operation

182

5.

Provincial' Autonomy under New Constitution

222

6.

India and the War

251

7.

Pakistan Resolution

290

8.

Cripps Mission

307

9.

Spontaneous Revolution

332

10.

Gandhi-Jinnah Talks

388

11.

The Cabinet Mission and After

417

12.

Partition and Independence

458

 

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