The making of national movement is the 11th chapter in the NCERT book of class 8. A very informative chapter that helps the students get to know about the history of the freedom struggle and the national movement which led to the freedom of our country. So, let’s check out the notes on The Making of National Movement Class 8
The pdf of the chapter is available here.
Brief Notes on The Making of National Movement Class 8
After reading the British raj and the revolts in other chapters we understand that people understood that India was the people of India, all the people irrespective of class, color, caste, creed, language, or gender.
- The country, its resources and systems were meant for all of them. This answer came with the awareness that the British were exercising control over the resources of India and the lives of its people which was wrong.
- The idea was that the people should be sovereign – a modern consciousness and a key feature of national movement in India. In other words, they believed that the Indian people should be empowered to take decisions regarding their affairs.
- This consciousness began to be clearly stated by the political associations formed after 1850 especially those that came into being in the 1870s and 1880s.
- Most were led by English-educated professionals such as lawyers and some important ones were the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, the Indian Association, the Madras Mahajan Sabha, the Bombay Presidency Association, and of course the Indian National Congress.
- The dissatisfaction with British rule intensified in the 1870s and 1880s. The Arms Act was passed in 1878 disallowing Indians from possessing arms along with the Vernacular Press Act it allowed the government to confiscate the assets of newspapers including their printing presses if the newspapers published anything that was found “objectionable”.
- In 1883, there was a furor over the attempt by the government to introduce the Ilbert Bill. The bill provided for the trial of British or European people by Indians and sought equality between British and Indian judges in the country. But it was withdrawn due to opposition from the white people and this highlighted the racial attitudes of the British in India.
- The Indian National Congress was established when 72 delegates from all over the country met at Bombay in December 1885. The early leadership included Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Badruddin Tyabji, W.C. Bonnerji, Surendranath Banerji, Romesh Chandra Dutt, S. Subramania Iyer. Naoroji guided the younger nationalists and a retired British official, A.O. Hume also played a part in bringing Indians from the various regions together.
A Nation in the Making and Early Years of Congress
It has often been said that the Congress in the first twenty years was “moderate” in its objectives and methods during which it demanded a greater voice for Indians in the government and in administration.
- It wanted the Legislative Councils to be made more representative, given more power and introduced in provinces where none existed. It demanded that Indians be placed in high positions in the government.
- For this purpose it called for civil service examinations to be held in India as well, not just in London. The demand for “Indianization” of the administration was part of a movement against racism, since most important jobs at the time were monopolized by white officials and they were sending a major part of their large salaries home.
- It was hoped to reduce the drain of wealth to England. Other demands included the separation of the judiciary from the executive, the repeal of the Arms Act and the freedom of speech and expression.
- The early Congress also raised a number of economic issues declaring that British rule had led to poverty and famines, increase in the land revenue had impoverished peasants and zamindars and the export of grains to Europe had created food shortages.
- The Congress demanded reduction of revenue, cut in military expenditure and more funds for irrigation. It passed many resolutions on the salt tax, treatment of Indian laborers abroad and the sufferings of forest dwellers – caused by an interfering forest administration.
- The Congress did not talk only on behalf of professional groups, zamindars or industrialists. The Moderate leaders wanted to develop public awareness about the unjust nature of British rule and published newspapers, wrote articles to show how British rule was leading to the economic ruin of the country.
- They criticized British rule in their speeches and sent representatives to different parts of the country to mobilize public opinion. It was necessary to express the demands of Indians and make the government aware of the feelings of Indians.
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Freedom is our Birthright
By the 1890s there were questions about the political style of the Congress. In Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab, leaders such as Bepin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai were beginning to explore more radical objectives and methods and criticized the Moderates for their “politics of prayers” and emphasized the importance of self-reliance and constructive work.
- They argued that people must rely on their own strength not on the “good intentions” of the government and the people must fight for “swaraj”. Tilak gave us the slogan – “Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it!”
In 1905 Viceroy Curzon partitioned Bengal which was the biggest province of British India and included Bihar and parts of Orissa. The British argued for dividing Bengal for reasons of administrative convenience and it was closely tied to the interests of British officials and businessmen.
The government separated East Bengal and merged it with Assam instead of removing non Bengali parts from the province which would have made more sense but perhaps the main British motives were to curtail the influence of Bengali politicians and to split the Bengali people. The partition of Bengal infuriated people all over India.
All sections of the Congress – the Moderates and the Radicals opposed it. Large public meetings and demonstrations were organized and novel methods of mass protest developed. The struggle that unfolded came to be known as the “Swadeshi movement” it was strongest in Bengal but with echoes in deltaic Andhra for instance where it was known as the “Vandemataram Movement”.
This Swadeshi movement sought to oppose British rule and encourage the ideas of self-help, swadeshi enterprise, national education, and use of Indian languages. To fight for swaraj, the radicals advocated mass mobilization and boycott of British institutions and goods. Some people also began to suggest that “revolutionary violence” would be necessary to overthrow British rule.
A group of Muslim landlords and nawabs formed the All India Muslim League at Dacca in 1906. The League supported the partition of Bengal. It desired separate electorates for Muslims which they got in 1909. Some seats in the councils were now reserved for Muslims who would be elected by Muslim voters which tempted politicians to gather a following by distributing favors to their own religious groups.
The Congress split in 1907 came to be dominated by the Moderates with Tilak’s followers functioning from outside. The Moderates were opposed to the use of boycott as they felt that it involved the use of force. The two groups reunited in December 1915. Next year the Congress and the Muslim League signed the historic Lucknow Pact and decided to work together for representative government in the country.
The Growth of Mass Nationalism
After 1919 the struggle against British rule gradually became a mass movement involving peasants, tribals, students and women in large numbers and occasionally factory workers and certain business groups as well.
- The First World War altered the economic and political situation in India and led to a huge rise in the defense expenditure of the Government of India.
- The taxes increased, military expenditure increased and the demands for war supplies led to a sharp rise in prices which created great difficulties for the common people. On the other hand, business groups reaped fabulous profits from the war.
- Indian industries expanded during the war and began demanding greater opportunities for development. The war led the British to expand their army and a large number of soldiers from the villages were sent to serve abroad.
- Many returned after the war with an understanding of the ways in which imperialist powers were exploiting the peoples of Asia and Africa and with a desire to oppose colonial rule in India. Furthermore in 1917 there was a revolution in Russia and the news about peasants and workers’ struggles and the ideas of socialism circulated and inspired Indian nationalists.
The Advent of Mahatma Gandhi
In circumstances like these, Mahatma Gandhi emerged as a mass leader. Gandhi ji aged 46 arrived in India in 1915 from South Africa. Having led Indians in that country in non-violent marches against racist restrictions he was already a respected leader known internationally. In South African where Gandhi studied his campaigns had brought him in contact with various types of Indians. Gandhi spent his first year in India travelling throughout the country, understanding the people, their needs and the overall situation. His earliest interventions were in local movements in Champaran, Kheda and Ahmedabad where he came into contact with Rajendra Prasad and Vallabhbhai Patel. In Ahmedabad he led a successful millworkers’ strike in 1918.
The Rowlatt Satyagraha
In 1919 Gandhi ji gave a call for a satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act that the British had just passed which curbed fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression and strengthened police powers. Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and others felt that the government had no right to restrict people’s basic freedoms. Satyagraha Sabhas were set up to launch the movement. The government used brutal measures to suppress them and the Jallianwala Bagh atrocities inflicted by General Dyer in Amritsar on Baisakhi were a part of this repression. On learning about the massacre Rabindranath Tagore expressed the pain and anger of the country by renouncing his knighthood.
Khilafat Agitation and the Non-Cooperation Movement
In 1920 the British imposed a harsh treaty on the Turkish Sultan or Khalifa and people were furious about this as they had been about the Jallianwala massacre. The leaders of the Khilafat agitation, Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali, now wished to initiate a full-fledged Non-Cooperation Movement. Gandhiji supported their call and urged the Congress to campaign against ‘Punjab wrongs’, the Khilafat wrong and demand swaraj. The Non-Cooperation Movement gained momentum through 1921-22.
Thousands of students left government controlled schools and colleges, many lawyers such as Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das, C. Rajagopalachari and Asaf Ali gave up their practices, British titles were surrendered and legislators boycotted. People lit public bonfires of foreign cloth. But all this was merely the tip of the iceberg and most parts of the country were on the brink of a formidable revolt.
The Happenings of 1922 -1929
Mahatma Gandhi was against violent movements so he called off the Non-Cooperation Movement when in February 1922 a crowd of peasants set fire to a police station in Chauri Chaura. The peasants were provoked by police firing on their peaceful demonstration.
- Through sincere social work in villages in the mid-1920s, the Gandhians were able to extend their support base. This proved to be very useful in launching the Civil Disobedience movement in 1930.
- Two important developments of the mid-1920s were the formation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu organization and the Communist Party of India. The revolutionary nationalist and freedom fighter Bhagat Singh too was active in this period. He and his comrades wanted to fight colonial rule and the rich exploiting classes through a revolution of workers and peasants.
- For this purpose they founded the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1928 at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. Members of the HSRA assassinated Saunders, a police officer who had led a lathi charge that caused the death of Lala Lajpat Rai.
- Along with his fellow nationalist B.K. Dutt, he threw a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly on 8 April 1929. The aim, as their leaflet explained was not to kill but “to make the deaf hear” to remind the foreign government of its callous exploitation. Bhagat Singh was tried and executed at the age of 23.
- The decade closed with the Congress resolving to fight for Purna Swaraj (complete independence) in 1929 under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru. Consequently “Independence Day” was observed on 26 January 1930 all over the country.
The March to Dandi
In 1930 Gandhiji declared that he would lead a march to break the salt law. The Salt March related the general desire of freedom to a specific grievance shared by everybody and thus united the rich and the poor. Gandhiji and his followers marched for over 240 miles from Sabarmati to the coastal town of Dandi where they broke the government law.
- Women from diverse backgrounds participated in the national movement. Both British officials and Indian nationalists felt that women’s participation gave the national struggle an immense force. Participation in the freedom movement brought women out of their homes.
- It gave them a place in the professions, in the governance of India and it could pave the way for equality with men. Women had to fight for their right to participate in the movement. During the Salt Satyagraha, for instance, even Mahatma Gandhi was initially opposed to women’s participation. Sarojini Naidu had to persuade him to allow women to join the movement.
- The combined struggles of the Indian people bore fruit when the Government of India Act of 1935 prescribed provincial autonomy and the government announced elections to the provincial legislatures in 1937. The Congress formed governments in 7 out of 11 provinces.
- In September 1939 the Second World War broke out. Congress leaders were ready to support the British war effort but in return they wanted that India be granted independence after the war. The British refused to concede the demand leading to the Congress ministries resigning in protest.
Later Mahatma Gandhi decided to initiate a new phase of movement against the British in the middle of the Second World War. The British must quit India immediately. To the people he said, “do or die” in your effort but the fight should be non-violently. Gandhiji and other leaders were jailed at once but the movement spread. The first response of the British was severe repression and by the end of 1943 over 90,000 people were arrested and around 1,000 killed in police firing. In many areas orders were given to machine-gun crowds from airplanes. The rebellion ultimately brought the Raj to its knees.
Towards Independence and Partition
In 1940 the Muslim League had moved a resolution demanding “Independent States” for Muslims in the north-western and eastern areas of the country. The resolution did not mention partition or Pakistan. In developing this notion it may have been influenced by the history of tension between some Hindu and Muslim groups in the 1920s and 1930s.
The provincial elections of 1937 seemed to have convinced the League that Muslims were a minority and they would always have to play second fiddle in any democratic structure. When British opened negotiations between the Congress, the League and themselves for the independence of India the talks failed because the League saw itself as the sole spokesperson of India’s Muslims.
The Congress could not accept this claim since a large number of Muslims still supported it. Elections to the provinces were again held in 1946. The Congress did well in the general constituencies but the League’s success in the seats reserved for Muslims was spectacular and its demands persisted. Partition now became more or less inevitable.
After the failure of the Cabinet Mission, the Muslim League decided on mass agitation for winning its Pakistan demand. It was announced 16 August 1946 as “Direct Action Day”. By March 1947 violence spread to different parts of northern India. Torn asunder from their homelands they were reduced to being refugees in alien lands. Partition meant that India changed and many of its cities changed and Pakistan was born. The joy of our country’s independence from British rule came mixed with the pain and violence of Partition.
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The Making of the National Movement PPT
The Making of the National Movement Class 8: Questions and Answers
The national movement played a very significant role in the independence struggle of India and the people and their help in the national movement led to our country getting free of the exploitative British Raj. It led from British raj to Purna Swaraj when we won our freedom.
The people running congress roughly from 1907 – 1915 were called Moderates because they did not believe in the extreme and violent measures that were adopted by some people during the freedom struggle.
Mahatma Gandhi gave the slogan “Do or die” and it is explained in detail above about the circumstances that led to it.
Ambabai was one of the first women freedom fighters from Karnataka. She had been married at age twelve, widowed at sixteen and she picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops in Udupi. She was arrested, served a sentence, and was rearrested. Between prison terms she made speeches, taught spinning, and organized prabhat pheris. Ambabai regarded these as the happiest days of her life because they gave it a new purpose and commitment.
We hope these notes helped you understand the chapter better and we also hope it will help you get better marks in exams. You can read about popular struggles and movements as well to enhance your knowledge. For help with other chapters and subjects like English, Maths, Science and others for class 8 check out Leverage Edu.