Post NCM course of action and debate about the strategy

Mains Marks Booster     2nd August 2023        
output themes

Swarajists and No Changers:

Parameters

Swarajists

No-Changers

Founders

CR Das, Motilal Nehru and Ajmal Khan

Rajendra Prasad and Vallabh Bhai Patel

Objective

Use legislative councils to expose the government weakness.

Concentrate on constructive work.

Method

By protesting within council rather than boycotting. Giving hate speeches which expose the British exploitation. Obstructing house proceedings

Prepare everyone for the next phase of civil disobedience movement.

Ideological position

They worked within Congress under Gandhiji presidency but with a caveat that they work from council.

They continued to work within Congress under Gandhiji presidency

Achievements

Outvoted the Government several times on several issues. Defeat of the Public Safety Bill in 1928.

Ashrams sprang up. Popularised charkha and khadi. National schools and colleges were set up. Ensured Hindu-Muslim unity.


Similarities

    • Both Groups were determined to end Colonial Government in India and demanded Independence from British Rule.
Both of the Groups were aware of a Bitter Division of Congress as Surat Split of 1907 and were determined to work as Different Wings of Congress under Gandhi Ji.

The Emergence of New Forces – Socialistic Ideas, Youth &Trade Unionism

The 1920s and 1930s marked a significant period in Indian history. Indians participated actively in the national movement. And India saw the emergence of new forces including youth and trade unionism.

Influence of Marxism and Socialism:

  • Young nationalists were influenced by the Soviet Revolution.
  • Criticized Gandhian ideas and sought radical solutions to India's problems.
  • The Communist Party of India was founded in 1920 in Tashkent.
  • Many communists were imprisoned in 1924 (Kanpur Bolshevik Conspiracy Case).
  • Government crackdown on communists in 1929 (Meerut Conspiracy Case).
  • The Activism of Indian Youth: Formation of student leagues and conferences. Jawaharlal Nehru's significant role in engaging students.
  • Peasant Agitations: Demanded revision of tenancy laws, lower rents, protection from eviction, and debt relief. Major uprisings in United Provinces, Andhra, Rajasthan, Bombay, and Madras. Vallabhbhai Patel led Bardoli Satyagraha in Gujarat (1928).
  • Growth of Trade Unions: All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was founded in 1920. Major strikes in Kharagpur, Tata Iron and Steel Works, and Bombay Textile Mills. May Day was first observed in India in Madras in 1923.
  • Caste Movements: Expressions of societal contradictions through caste associations. Notable movements: Justice Party, Self-respect Movement, Mahars under Ambedkar.
  • Revolutionary Activities: Groups dissatisfied with nonviolence sought armed struggle. Hindustan Republican Association in Punjab-UP-Bihar. Surya Sen led revolutionary groups in Bengal.

North Indian revolutionaries realized that armed conflict necessitated propaganda, recruitment, and arms, and the upsurge in youth activism played a significant role in facilitating the spread of socialist ideas.

Revolutionaries Activities:

The revolutionary activities were a defining aspect of the country's quest for freedom from British colonial rule, driven by a desire for liberty and armed resistance, forming a distinct nationalist force.

Ideology of Revolutionaries: Strike terror in the hearts of rulers, Freedom through revolution, Heroic actions, supreme sacrifice, assassinate unpopular British officials, Expel British with force

Reasons:

  • Economic exploitation of Indians by the British Government and the Partition of Bengal amplified the spirit of nationalism among the countrymen.
  • Fallout of the Swadeshi and Boycott Movement was the immediate reason.
  • Leadership’s failure to tap the revolutionary energies of the youth.
  • Government repression left no peaceful avenues open for the protest.
  • Inspired by the individual heroic action along the lines of Irish nationalists or Russian nihilists.

Impacts:

  • Secret societies of the revolutionaries came up all over the country. E.g., The Anushilan Samiti created revolutionary centers all over India. 
  • It had an impact on the Congress’ strategy to involve the youths in the short-term program of rural reconstruction.
  • Their sacrifices aroused the emotions of the Indians which helped the building up of the national consciousness.
  • It could not mobilize the masses. They believed in individual heroism. 

Though the revolutionary movement failed it made a valuable contribution to the growth of nationalism in India. Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Rajguru, etc. became a household name of the Indian people and aroused patriotism among the masses.


Revolutionary Movement 

Ghadar Movement (1913)

The Ghadar Movement was an early 20th-century, international political movement founded by expatriate Indians such as Lala Hardayal, Sohan Singh Bakhna, and other leaders to overthrow British rule in India and establish an independent and democratic nation.


Interesting Fact: 

Ghadar Party, initially called the Pacific Coast Hindustan Association, was founded on July 15, 1913, in the United States by Lala Har Dayal and others.


Ghadar Party:

  • Ghadar Party aimed to assassinate officials, publish anti-imperialist literature, work with Indian troops abroad, acquire arms, and incite revolts in British colonies.
  • With the onset of World War I in 1914, Ghadar Party members went to Punjab to incite an armed revolution.
  • They smuggled weapons and stirred mutiny among Indian soldiers in the British Army.
  • The uprising, known as the Ghadar Mutiny, was suppressed by the British, executing 42 mutineers in the Lahore Conspiracy Case trial.
  • The party fought against colonialism from 1914 to 1917, with support from Germany and the Ottoman Empire.
  • It also published a weekly newspaper called The Ghadar, rallying for rebellion against British rule.
  • The Komagata Maru Incident in 1914, involving Canadian anti-Indian immigration laws, motivated thousands of Indians in the United States to support Ghadar Party.

Causes of Failure

  • Many Ghadar leaders were arrested upon arriving in India. The British government, as well as native Punjabi populations, did not support the Ghadar movement.
  • Sikhs, who were significant in the British Army and benefited from it, did not align with Ghadar leaders. Ghadar leaders were surprised by the loyalty of their countrymen to the British and realized the importance of gaining support from native Punjabis.

The Ghadar Party’s success lay in its ideological stance, promoting militant nationalism while being secular. It failed politically and militarily due to a lack of organized leadership, underestimation of preparation needed, and the potential unsuitability of Lala Har Dayal as an organizer.


Simon Commission:

Objectives:

  • The British government established the Simon Commission to review the Government of India Act of 1919 and suggest further reforms.
  • It aimed to foster communal divisions to destabilize India's social unity.
  • The commission intended to delay the transfer of governance powers to Indians.
  • It aimed to encourage regional movements to weaken national movements.

Impact:

  • Mobilized a new generation of young people into political action.
  • Radical forces demanded total independence and extensive socio-economic reforms.
  • Political parties unified in response to Lord Birkenhead's challenge to create a mutually agreed constitution.
  • The Commission's report led to the promise of dominion status for India and the Government of India Act 1935, which influenced the current Indian Constitution.
  • The first provincial elections were held in 1937, resulting in Congress-led governments in most provinces.
  • The Commission's arrival invigorated the Indian independence movement.



Group

Key Response

Congress

Resolution to boycott the commission at every stage and form during the Madras session in December 1927; Declaration of complete independence as Congress's goal

Other Groups

Hindu Mahasabha liberals, Jinnah-led Muslim League faction supported Congress's boycott call; Muslim League held two sessions, one opposing and one supporting the commission; Punjab Unionists, Justice Party chose not to boycott

Public

Nationwide hartal on the commission's arrival in Bombay on February 3, 1928; Black flag protests, hartals, 'Simon Go Back' chants; Lala Lajpat Rai led a protest in Lahore, was injured by lathi-charge, later died; Dr. B.R Ambedkar submitted a report on the education of oppressed classes


Criticism:

  • The entirely British composition of the Commission was seen as a slight to Indian nationalism, leading to a boycott by the Indian National Congress.
  • The British government justified the Commission's composition by stating that it had to report to the British Parliament.
  • This argument was contested due to the existence of Indian members in the British Parliament.
  • The British government claimed that the lack of unanimous Indian opinion on constitutional development made it impossible to appoint an Indian member to the Commission

Nehru Report (1928):

  • The Motilal Nehru Report of 1928 was prepared under the leadership of Pt. Motilal Nehru, in response to a request from Lord Birkenhead, India's Secretary of State, for Indian leaders to draft a constitution for the nation. 
  • The report was thoroughly discussed by Congress and advocated for the conferment of Dominion Status upon India. 
  • Its main objective was to secure dominion status for India within the British Commonwealth.

Key Features:   

  • Dominion status: Dominion status for India within the British Commonwealth, with a parliamentary system of government.
  • Fundamental Rights: The report advocated for the protection of fundamental rights, including freedom of speech, religion, and equality before the law.
  • Provincial Autonomy: It proposed a federal structure with substantial autonomy for the provinces, allowing them to govern their internal affairs.
  • Representation and Franchise: The report recommended universal adult suffrage, without any discrimination based on gender, religion, or property ownership.
  • Minority Safeguards: It included provisions for protecting the rights of religious and linguistic minorities, and preserving their cultural and educational interests.

Muslim League’s Response:

  • The Muslim League, led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, largely rejected the Nehru Report.
  • In 1929, Jinnah put forth his Fourteen Points as core demands for the Muslim community's engagement in an independent united India.
  • One major concern was the Nehru Report's dismissal of separate electorates and weightage for Muslims, which was previously granted in the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the Muslim League.
  • Contrary to the Nehru Report, the Muslim League demanded that residuary powers be delegated to the provinces. The Muslim League criticized the Committee for adopting a policy they believed jeopardized the political future of Muslims.
  • Jinnah’s Fourteen Points emerged as a pivotal document for the Muslim League’s stance

Indian Response: 

  • The Nehru Report was widely accepted by Indian political parties and marked a significant step in presenting a united Indian demand for self-rule and constitutional reforms.
  • While the Simon Commission failed to satisfy Indian aspirations for self-governance and was met with strong protests, the Nehru Report emerged as a crucial document representing the Indian demand for a comprehensive and inclusive constitutional framework. 
Samadhaan