NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 8 “The Making of the National Movement: 1870-1947” Notes (Free PDF)

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NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 8 “The Making of the National Movement 1870-1947” Notes

Welcome to the NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 8 ¨ The Making of the National Movement: 1870-1947” Notes. This chapter delves into the genesis of the National Movement from the 1870s to 1947, exploring pivotal events and ideologies that shaped India’s struggle for independence. It unravels the emergence of political associations, debates on identity, and grassroots mobilization against British rule.

Overall, the NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 8 ¨ The Making of the National Movement: 1870-1947” Notes uncovers the transformative journey of India’s National Movement from its nascent stages in the 1870s to the monumental year of 1947. Dive into the dynamics of leadership, alliances, and popular mobilisation that propelled the nation towards self-rule.

Download NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 8 ¨ The Making of the National Movement: 1870s-1947” Notes (Free PDF)
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Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

Introduction to NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 8 “The Making of the National Movement 1870 to 1947” Notes

In the pages of the chapter ¨The Making of the National Movement: 1870 to 1947¨ we will explore the dynamic tapestry of India’s struggle for independence, tracing its evolution from scattered dissent to a unified national movement. Further, we will also find out the key actors, ideologies, and milestones that defined this transformative period in India’s history.


In the previous chapters, we have looked at, The British conquest of territories, the takeover of kingdoms, the Introduction of new laws and administrative institutions, and changes in the lives of peasants and tribals. Educational changes in the nineteenth century. Debates regarding the condition of women. 

Challenges to the caste system  Social and religious reform  The revolt of 1857 and its aftermath  The decline of crafts and growth of industries.

On the basis of what you have read about these issues, do you think Indians were discontented with British rule? If so, how were different groups and classes dissatisfied?

Also Read: NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 1 Resources Notes (Free PDF)

The Emergence of Nationalism

The colonial period in India spurred introspection among its people regarding the nation’s identity and purpose, leading to the emergence of political associations advocating for sovereignty and self-governance.

Formation of Political Associations:
– Post-1850, political associations led by English-educated professionals like lawyers gained prominence.

– Notable organizations included the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, the Indian Association, the Madras Mahajan Sabha, the Bombay Presidency Association, and the Indian National Congress.

– These associations aimed to represent the interests of all Indians, irrespective of region, community, or class, fostering a modern consciousness of nationalism.  

Growing Dissatisfaction with British Rule
– Legislative measures such as the Arms Act of 1878 and the Vernacular Press Act restricted Indian freedoms and stifled dissent.

– The Ilbert Bill controversy of 1883, which aimed for judicial equality, exposed racial biases within the British administration and fueled Indian discontent.

Establishment of the Indian National Congress (INC)
– The desire for a unified platform for educated Indians intensified after the Ilbert Bill controversy.

– The INC was founded in December 1885, with 72 delegates from across the country meeting in Bombay.

-Early leadership, including figures like Dadabhai Naoroji and A.O. Hume, guided the nationalist movement towards a unified vision of Indian sovereignty and self-determination.

Also Read: NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 1 Resources Notes (Free PDF)

A Nation in the Making

Moderate Objectives of the Congress
– Demand for greater representation of Indians in government and administration.
– Advocacy for more representative Legislative Councils with increased powers.
– Call for Indianization of the civil service and holding civil service examinations in India.
– Push for Indians to be placed in high positions within the government.
– The movement against racism and British monopolization of important positions.

Economic Issues Raised by the Congress
– The assertion that British rule led to poverty and famines, exacerbated by increased land revenue.
– Criticism of export policies causing food shortages and impoverishment.
– Demands for reduction of land revenue, military expenditure, and increased funds for irrigation.
– Resolutions on issues such as the salt tax, treatment of Indian labourers abroad, and forest administration.

Methods of the Moderate Leaders
– Utilization of newspapers, articles, and speeches to raise public awareness about the unjust nature of British rule.
– Mobilization of public opinion through representatives sent to different parts of the country.
– Belief in British respect for ideals of freedom and justice, advocating for the expression of just demands to the government.

“Freedom is our birthright”

Emergence of Radical Leaders
– Leaders like Bepin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Lala Lajpat Rai criticized the Congress Moderates for their passive approach.
– Emphasis on self-reliance, constructive work, and the pursuit of swaraj (self-rule) through people’s efforts.
– Tilak’s famous slogan: “Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it!”

Bengal Partition of 1905
– Viceroy Curzon’s decision to partition Bengal, citing administrative convenience.
– Partition intended to curtail Bengali influence and divide the Bengali people.
– This sparked widespread outrage and opposition across India, leading to the Swadeshi movement.

Swadeshi Movement 
– A movement against British rule, promoting self-help, indigenous enterprise, national education, and the use of Indian languages.
– Advocated mass mobilization and boycott of British goods and institutions.
– Some individuals suggested the necessity of revolutionary violence to overthrow British rule.

Formation of All India Muslim League
– Muslim landlords and nawabs formed the All India Muslim League in 1906.
– League supported the partition of Bengal and demanded separate electorates for Muslims, granted in 1909.
– The reservation of seats for Muslims in councils led to politicians favouring their religious groups.

Congress Split and Reunification
– Congress split in 1907 over the use of boycotts, with Moderates opposing it.
– Tilak’s followers operated separately from the Congress.
– Reunification occurred in December 1915, followed by the historic Lucknow Pact with the Muslim League in 1916, aiming for representative government.

The Growth of Mass Nationalism

Mass Movement Post-1919
– After 1919, the struggle against British rule evolved into a mass movement involving various sections of society.
– Peasants, tribals, students, women, and occasionally factory workers participated in large numbers.

Support of Business Groups
– Certain business groups began actively supporting Congress in the 1920s.
The First World War significantly altered the economic and political landscape in India.

Impact of World War I
– Increased defence expenditure led to higher taxes on individuals and businesses.
– Rising prices due to war demands caused hardships for the common people but led to fabulous profits for business groups.
– Demand for industrial goods during the war boosted Indian industries, leading to demands for greater development opportunities.

Effects of British Military Expansion
– The British expanded their army during the war, pressuring villages to supply soldiers.
– Many soldiers returned from war with an understanding of imperialist exploitation, fostering opposition to colonial rule in India.

Influence of Global Events
– The 1917 Russian Revolution and the spread of socialist ideas inspired Indian nationalists.
– News of peasants’ and workers’ struggles in Russia circulated widely, influencing the anti-colonial sentiment in India.

The advent of Mahatma Gandhi

Arrival of Mahatma Gandhi
– Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in 1915 at the age of 46, after leading non-violent marches against racist restrictions in South Africa.
– His international reputation as a respected leader preceded his arrival in India.

Diverse Influences and Contacts
– Gandhi’s experiences in South Africa exposed him to various Indian communities, including Hindus, Muslims, Parsis, and Christians.
– He interacted with people from different regions and social classes, such as Gujaratis, Tamils, north Indians, merchants, lawyers, and workers.

Initial Activities in India
– Gandhi spent his first year in India travelling across the country to understand its people, their needs, and the prevailing situation.
– He engaged in local movements in Champaran, Kheda, and Ahmedabad, where he collaborated with leaders like Rajendra Prasad and Vallabhbhai Patel.
– In Ahmedabad, Gandhi successfully led a millworkers’ strike in 1918, demonstrating his organizing skills and commitment to social justice.

Focus on Movements (1919-1922)
– The period between 1919 and 1922 witnessed several significant movements organized by Mahatma Gandhi, marking his emergence as a mass leader in India.

The Rowlatt Satyagraha

Rowlatt Act Satyagraha (1919)
– In 1919, Mahatma Gandhi called for a satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act, legislation passed by the British government that curbed fundamental rights and strengthened police powers.
– Along with Mohammad Ali Jinnah and others, Gandhi criticized the Act as “devilish” and tyrannical, asserting that the government had no right to restrict people’s basic freedoms.
– Gandhi urged Indians to observe 6 April 1919 as a day of non-violent opposition to the Act, marked by “humiliation and prayer” and a hartal (strike). Satyagraha Sabhas were established to spearhead the movement.

Scope and Impact of Rowlatt Satyagraha
– The Rowlatt Satyagraha marked the first all-India struggle against British rule, although its reach was primarily limited to urban areas.
– Demonstrations and hartals were organized across the country in April 1919, prompting a brutal crackdown by the government. The infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar on 13 April, carried out by General Dyer, was a brutal manifestation of this repression.
– The massacre deeply affected the nation, leading prominent figures like Rabindranath Tagore to express their anguish by renouncing honours bestowed upon them by the British.

Unity Efforts During Satyagraha
– During the Rowlatt Satyagraha, efforts were made to ensure Hindu-Muslim unity in the fight against British rule.
– Mahatma Gandhi emphasized the unity of all communities in India, envisioning the country as a land for Hindus, Muslims, and people of other religions alike. He advocated mutual support between Hindus and Muslims in pursuing just causes.

Khilafat agitation and the Non-Cooperation Movement 

Khilafat Issue and Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-1922)
– In 1920, the British imposed a harsh treaty on the Turkish Sultan (Khalifa), enraging people similar to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
– Indian Muslims were particularly aggrieved by the treaty as they wanted the Khalifa to retain control over Muslim sacred places in the Ottoman Empire.
– Leaders of the Khilafat agitation, Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali, sought to escalate the movement into a full-fledged Non-Cooperation Movement. Gandhi supported their initiative and urged the Congress to campaign against “Punjab wrongs” (Jallianwala massacre), the Khilafat issue, and demand swaraj (self-rule).  

Momentum of the Non-Cooperation Movement
– Between 1921 and 1922, the Non-Cooperation Movement gained significant momentum.
– Thousands of students abandoned government-controlled schools and colleges, while many prominent lawyers, including Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das, C. Rajagopalachari, and Asaf Ali, relinquished their practices.
– British titles were surrendered, legislatures were boycotted, and public bonfires of foreign cloth were lit as a symbol of resistance.
– The movement also witnessed a drastic decline in the import of foreign cloth between 1920 and 1922, reflecting widespread participation.
– The agitation signalled that large parts of the country were on the verge of a formidable revolt against British rule.

People’s initiatives

Resistance Across India
– In Kheda, Gujarat, Patidar peasants organized non-violent campaigns against the high land revenue demands imposed by the British.

– Coastal Andhra and interior Tamil Nadu witnessed picketing of liquor shops as a form of protest.

– In the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, tribals and poor peasants conducted “forest satyagrahas,” sending their cattle into forests without paying grazing fees to protest against restrictions on forest resource usage.

– Peasants in forest villages proclaimed swaraj and anticipated the establishment of “Gandhi Raj” as they believed Gandhiji would reduce their taxes and abolish forest regulations.

– In Sind, Muslim traders and peasants enthusiastically supported the Khilafat call, while in Bengal, the Khilafat-Non-Cooperation alliance fostered communal unity and strengthened the national movement.

– The Akali agitation in Punjab aimed to remove corrupt mahants, supported by the British, from Sikh gurdwaras, aligning closely with the Non-Cooperation Movement.

– In Assam, tea garden labourers demanded significant wage increases, leaving British-owned plantations while chanting “Gandhi Maharaj ki Jai” to express their support for Gandhi’s wishes. Assamese Vaishnava songs of the period even substituted references to Krishna with “Gandhi Raja.”

The people’s Mahatma

– Gandhi was seen as a potential saviour by some, offering relief from poverty and suffering.

– The desire for class unity was emphasized by Gandhi, yet peasants hoped he would aid them against landlords.

– Agricultural labourers anticipated land assistance from Gandhi.

– Ordinary people credited Gandhi for their achievements, such as stopping illegal evictions in Pratapgarh.

– Even actions contradictory to Gandhian principles were undertaken in his name by tribals and peasants.

The happenings of 1922 –1929

Gandhi’s Response to Violence
– Non-Cooperation Movement halted abruptly after a violent incident at Chauri Chaura in 1922.
– Provoked by police firing, peasants set fire to a police station, resulting in the death of 22 policemen.
– Gandhiji’s followers emphasized constructive rural work post-Non-Cooperation Movement.
– Other leaders like Chitta Ranjan Das and Motilal Nehru advocated participating in council elections to influence government policies.
– Gandhians expanded their support base through sincere social work in villages, crucial for launching the Civil Disobedience movement in 1930.

Political Developments in the Mid-1920s
– Formation of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu organization, and the Communist Party of India.
– Divergent visions for India are held by these parties.
– Revolutionary nationalist Bhagat Singh was active during this period.

Congress’s Struggle for Independence
– The decade concluded with a Congress resolution for complete independence (Purna Swaraj) in 1929 under Jawaharlal Nehru’s presidency.
– Independence Day” was observed nationwide on 26 January 1930.

The March to Dandi

Salt March and the Fight for Purna Swaraj
– Gandhi’s declaration in 1930 led to a march against the salt law, which gave the state a monopoly on salt production and sale.
– Salt was considered essential and taxing it was deemed sinful by nationalists.
– The Salt March united people across class divides, focusing on a common grievance.
– Gandhi and his followers marched over 240 miles from Sabarmati to Dandi, breaking the law by producing salt from seawater.
– The participation of peasants, tribals, and women was significant.
– The government responded brutally, arresting thousands of peaceful satyagrahis.  

Consequences and Further Struggles
– Indian people’s combined struggles led to the Government of India Act of 1935, granting provincial autonomy and elections to provincial legislatures in 1937.
– Congress formed governments in 7 out of 11 provinces.
– The outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 led Congress to support the British war effort.
– Congress demanded independence for India after the war, which the British refused, leading to Congress ministries resigning in protest.

Quit India and Later

– Gandhi initiated a new phase of anti-British movement during the Second World War, demanding immediate British withdrawal from India.
– People were urged to adopt a “do or die” approach, emphasizing non-violent resistance.
– Despite Gandhi and other leaders’ imprisonment, the movement gained momentum, especially among peasants and youth.
– Nationwide attacks on communications and symbols of state authority.
– People established their governments in some areas.  

British Response and Repression
– British responded with severe repression, leading to over 90,000 arrests and around 1,000 deaths in police firing by the end of 1943.
– Aerial machine-gun attacks on crowds were ordered in some regions.  

-The rebellion ultimately weakened British rule in India, bringing the Raj to its knees.

Towards Independence and Partition

Muslim League’s Demand for Autonomous States
– In 1940, the Muslim League proposed “Independent States” for Muslims in north-western and eastern areas without specifying partition or Pakistan.
– League perceived Muslims as a separate “nation” from Hindus, influenced by historical tensions and the belief that Muslims would always be secondary in democratic structures.
– Congress’s rejection of forming a joint Congress-League government in the United Provinces in 1937 fueled the League’s discontent.
– Congress’s inability to mobilize Muslim masses allowed the League to broaden its social support.
– Failure of negotiations between Congress, League, and British for Indian independence after World War II, as League saw itself as the sole spokesperson of Muslims.
– Congress’s success in general constituencies contrasted with the League’s spectacular success in Muslim-reserved seats during the 1946 province elections.
– The British Cabinet Mission proposed a united India with loose confederation and autonomy for Muslim-majority areas, but Congress and League couldn’t agree.  

Road to Partition
– Muslim League called for mass agitation, leading to “Direct Action Day” on August 16, 1946, resulting in riots in Calcutta and the spread of violence.
– Violence escalated across northern India by March 1947, resulting in mass killings and brutalities during Partition.
– Millions became refugees, cities changed, and Pakistan was born alongside India, overshadowing the joy of independence with the pain and violence of Partition.

Also Read: NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 2 From Trade to Territory

10 Important Dates and Events of the Chapter NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 8 The Making of the National Movement 1870 to 1947” Notes

Find the important dates and events of the chapter Chapter NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 8 ¨ The Making of the National Movement: 1870s-1947”: 

1. 1857-58: Indian Rebellion of 1857 –  A significant uprising against British rule, marking one of the earliest organized resistance movements against colonialism in India.   

2. 1885: Formation of the Indian National Congress (INC) – The establishment of the INC marked the beginning of organized nationalist movements in India, advocating for Indian representation in governance.   

3. 1919: Rowlatt Act and Jallianwala Bagh Massacre – The Rowlatt Act, which curbed civil liberties, led to widespread protests, culminating in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre where British troops killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in Amritsar.   

4. 1920-22: Non-Cooperation Movement – Led by Mahatma Gandhi, the movement encouraged Indians to boycott British goods, institutions, and titles, marking a significant shift towards mass participation in the independence struggle.   

5. 1930: Salt March (Dandi March) – Gandhi’s symbolic act of defiance against the salt tax, galvanized nationwide support and drew global attention to the Indian independence movement.   

6. 1935: Government of India Act – This act introduced provincial autonomy, laying the groundwork for representative government in India and providing a framework for future constitutional reforms.   

7. 1940: Lahore Resolution – The Muslim League’s resolution demanding separate Muslim states in the northwestern and eastern regions of India, laying the foundation for the eventual partition of India.   

8. 1942: Quit India Movement – A mass civil disobedience movement led by the INC, demanding an end to British rule in India, despite significant repression by the colonial authorities.   

9. 1947: Partition of India and Independence – India gained independence from British rule on August 15, 1947, accompanied by the partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, leading to widespread communal violence and migration.   

10. 1948: Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi – The assassination of Gandhi by a Hindu extremist highlights the challenges of communalism and underscores the loss of a unifying figure in the post-independence era.

Also Read:  NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 1 Resources Notes (Free PDF)


Q.1. What is the short note on the national movement Class 8?

Ans: The national movement, studied in Class 8, aimed for Indian independence from British rule through protests and leaders’ efforts.

Q.2. What was the national movement between 1870 and 1947?

Ans: The national movement between 1870 and 1947 fought for India’s freedom from British colonial rule through various protests and movements.

Q.3. What is the summary of the Indian National Movement?

Ans: The Indian National Movement, spanning 1870 to 1947, aimed to liberate India from British rule, employing protests, leaders, and diverse strategies for eventual independence.

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