Nationalism in India – Imp Q and A



Q.1. Write a newspaper report on the Simon Commission.


Discuss the importance of the Simon Commission.

Ans. In 1927, the British Government appointed a seven-member commission under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon. It was to report about the extent to which the Act of 1919 had worked out successfully. It was to examine the functioning of the constitutional system in India. This Commission was boycotted by the Indians as it had not a single Indian member. It was welcomed with black flags and slogans of “Simon go back” when it landed in India. At Lahore, a procession taken out under the leadership of Lala Lajpat Rai was lathi-charged and he was fatally wounded in 1928.

The Simon Commission led to Jawaharlal Nehru demanding “Poorna Swaraj” at the Lahore Session of the Congress. The Nehru Report was also a reaction to this Commission and it gave Gandhiji an opportunity to start his Civil Disobedience Movement in India.

Q.2. Write a newspaper report on Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Ans. April 13, 1919 will be a date never forgotten by Indians — those who were present and those who will come later. Generations will talk about the infamous, brutal massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. Hundreds of villagers had come to Amritsar to celebrate Baisakhi and attend a fair. They were totally unaware of the martial law, which General Dyer had imposed on the city because of the ‘hartal’ observed on April 6 against the Rowlatt Act. On 10 April the police had fired upon a peaceful procession, which had provoked widespread attacks on banks, post offices and railway stations.

General Dyer entered the area where a peaceful meeting was going on in Jallianwalla Bagh. He blocked all the exit points and ordered his troops to fire upon the unarmed people. His object was to create terror and awe in the minds of the satyagrahis and produce a “moral effect”. Hundreds of innocent people were killed, some were drowned as they jumped into a well to escape bullets.

The mass murder was not enough; the government used brutal repression to crush people who rose in anger after this massacre. The satyagrahis were forced to rub their noses in the dirt, crawl on the streets and “Salaam” all “Sahibs”. People were mercilessly flogged and in some villages bombs were also used (Gujranwala in Punjab).

It was the most shameful act in the history of British rule in India.

Q.3. Why growth of nationalism in the colonies is linked to the anti-colonial movement? Ans. In India, as in other colonial countries like Vietnam, the growth of nationalism is totally linked

with anti-colonial movement. In their fight against colonialism, people began to discover their unity. They found out they had a common oppressor and had common complaints, so it created a bond among different groups. They realised they were fighting for the same causes — against poverty, discrimination, high taxes, begar, crop failures, forced recruitment to the army during the First World War etc. These shared hardships created a feeling of unity, and aroused nationalism against the common colonial ruler. Though the aims of each group were not similar, now they had a common demand “Swaraj”.

Q.4. How did the First World War help in the growth of National Movement in India?


What was the impact of the first world war on the economic conditions in India.

Ans. (i) It created new economic and political problems. The war had led to huge expenditure which was financed by heavy loans and increase in taxes. Customs duties were raised and income tax was introduced.

(ii)  The  prices  had  doubled  between  1913-18  and  the  common  people  underwent  great hardships.

(iii)  Crops had failed between 1918-19 and 1920-21 leading to famine and disease. There were epidemics killing between 12-13 million people (Census, 1921).

(iv)  People’s hope that the end of war would bring an end to their goals were belied, and this led to their support to the national movement.

(v)  The Muslims were antagonised by the British ill-treatment of the Khalifa, after the First World War.

(vi)  Indian villagers were also incensed by the British Government’s forced recruitment of men in the army.

(vii)  The Congress and other parties were angry with the British for not consulting them before making India a party on their side against Germany.

(viii)  Taking advantage of the First World War, many revolutionary parties cropped up and they incited the people to join the anti-colonial movement in India (i.e. the National Movement).

Q.5. Discuss the Salt March to make clear why it was an effective symbol of resistance against colonialism.


Why did Mahatma Gandhi perceive ‘Salt’ as a powerful symbol to unite the nation?


Describe the main events leading to Salt March and Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930.

Ans. Mahatma Gandhi found in salt a powerful symbol that could unite the nation. On 31 January, 1930, he sent a letter to the Viceroy Lord Irwin, making eleven demands. Some of these demands were of general interest, some were specific demands of different classes from industrialists to peasants. The idea was to make the demands all-embracing and wide-ranging, so that all classes within Indian society could identify with them and work together in a united campaign. He made the “Salt tax” his target and called it the most repressive Act of the British government. This tax hit both the poor and the rich as salt was used in every household. The British had the monopoly in producing salt and they misused their power.

Gandhi started his famous “Salt March” on March 12, 1930 from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi, a small coastal village in Gujarat. He started with 78 followers and thousands joined him on his 240-miles route.

It took him 24 days of 10 miles walking per day. On April 16, 1930 he broke the Salt Law by boiling sea water and extracting salt. Newspapers carried day-to-day reports of his march and the speeches he made on the way. It is reported that about 300 Gujarat village officials resigned their posts and joined Gandhiji.

His Salt March led to violation of Salt Law all over the country. It also led to boycott of foreign goods and picketing of liquor shops. Students and women played a significant role in this movement. Peasants refused to pay taxes, forest people broke forest laws and grazed their cattle, collected wood in prohibited forest areas. There was an uprising against the government everywhere in India and the British had to use brutal force to suppress it.

Q.6. Why did political leaders differ sharply over the question of separate electorates?

Ans. By separate electorates we mean a system in which people of one religion vote for a candidate of their own religion. The British used this system to divide the people of India and thus to weaken the National Movement. This would make their position strong in India and make them rule for a long time. They succeeded in driving a wedge between the Hindus and Muslims which finally led to the partition of the country in 1947.

The different political leaders did not agree with this policy and held different opinions.

(i)  Congress : It opposed tooth and nail the British policy of separate electorates. It understood the mischief created by the divide and rule policy. It was in favour of joint electorates.

(ii) Muslim leaders like Muhammad Iqbal and M.A. Jinnah wanted separate electorates to safeguard the political interests of the Muslims. They were afraid, as a minority religious group, that they would never be able to win elections in a joint electorate and the Hindus would always dominate them.

(iii) The leaders of the Depressed Classes under Dr B.R. Ambedkar also wanted a separate electorate, because they were also afraid of Hindu dominance in a joint electorate. After Gandhi’s fast unto death, the Poona Pact was signed between him and Dr. Ambedkar. Gandhiji saw it as a blow to national unity and feared that the Dalits would never become one with the Hindu society, under separate electorate. Dr Ambedkar agreed to a joint electorate provided the Depressed Classes had reserved seats in the Provincial and Central Legislative Councils.

Q.7. Imagine you are a woman participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Explain what the experience meant in your life.


What was the role of women in the Civil Disobedience Movement? [Textual Question]


Ans. Women entered the National Movement in large numbers for the first time by participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement. During Gandhiji’s ‘Salt March’, thousands of women came out of their homes to listen to him. They participated in protest marches, manufactured salt, picketed  foreign  goods  and  liquor  shops. They  came  in  the  urban  areas  from  high  caste families. In the rural area they were from the rich peasant households. They took part in the movement as their sacred duty. They stood by their men and suffered physical blows also. They included old women, women with babies in their arms, and young girls. It did not win them any new status. Even Gandhiji thought women’s place was at home, as good mothers and good wives. The Congress did not give them any position in the organisation — but the women made their presence felt. Women who had never stepped out of their homes, women in purdah could be seen marching side by side with their men.

Short Answer Questions

Q.1. What is meant by the idea of Satyagraha?


Gandhiji said ‘Satyagraha’ was active resistance. How?


Explain the idea of Satyagraha.

Ans. Gandhiji  said  ‘Satyagraha’ was  not  passive  resistance  but  it  called  for  intensive  activity.

Physical force was not used against the oppressor, nor vengeance was sought. Only through the power of truth and non-violence, an appeal was made to the conscience of the oppressor. Persuasion,  not  force,  would  make  the  oppressor  realise  the  truth.  This  ‘dharma’ of non-violence and truth united people against the oppressor and made them realise the truth.

Q.2. Why were Indians outraged by the Rowlatt Act?

Ans. The Rowlatt Act was passed hurriedly by the Imperial Legislative Council in 1919. It was opposed by all its Indian members. The government assumed enormous powers through this Act as they could detain political prisoners without trial for two years. Gandhiji decided to launch a ‘Hartal’ on 6 April against the Rowlatt Act.

Q.3. Give one example to prove that Non-Cooperation Movement was more successful on the economic front.

Ans. One example is boycott of foreign goods. The import of foreign textile cloth became half of what it was, between 1921–1922. It fell from 102 crores to 57 crores.

Q.4. Which party did not support the boycott of council elections during the movement and why.

Ans. The Justice Party of Madras decided not to boycott Council elections. The Justice Party members were non-Brahmins and so far had not been able to win elections, as the Brahman candidates always won. They thought it was a golden opportunity for them to enter the Councils.

Q.5. Why did Gandhiji call off the Non-Cooperation Movement?

Ans. The Chauri Chaura incident near Gorakhpur made him to do so. A peaceful procession turned violent and burnt a police chowki at Chauri Chaura and 22 policemen were burnt alive. Gandhiji, an apostle of non-violence, was shocked and immediately called off the movement.

Q.6. What  was  the  cause  of  disagreement  between  the  Congress-led  Non-Cooperation Movement and the peasants’ and workers’ movements?

Ans. The Congress under Gandhiji believed in achieving ‘Swaraj’ by peaceful means and total non-violence. The peasants and workers, though believers in Gandhi’s Swaraj, khadi and boycott, did not believe in non-violence. They turned violent to gain their aims, which went against the Congress creed.

Q.7. What was the Inland Emigration Act of 1859?

Ans. The British government had passed this Act to prevent the plantation workers to leave the plantations and go back to their villages in Assam. They were forced to remain at the  plantations  and  not  leave  them  without  permission.  The  permission  to  leave  was seldom granted.

Q.8. Explain the two important factors that shaped Indian politics towards 1920’s.


Mention two factors which influenced Indian politics in the late 1920s.    

Ans.  (i)  The first was the worldwide economic depression which brought the agricultural prices crashing down in India. Farmers could not sell their produces and the whole country-side was in turmoil.

(ii) The British constituted a statutes commission in 1927 under Sir John Simon. The aim was to diffuse nationalism aroused by the Non-Cooperation Movement. The Commission was to look into the functioning of the constitutional system in India. It was an all-white commission, with not a single Indian member in it. It set the political world in India on fire and led to Gandhiji starting the Civil Disobedience Movement.


Q.9. Explain the difference in the objectives of the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Civil Disobedience Movement.


How  was  the  civil  disobedience  movement  different  from  the  Non-Cooperation Movement.

Ans. Non-Coorporation Movement (1920-22) wanted to bring the Government to a standstill by refusing to cooperate with it; Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-34) wanted to paralyse the government by performing illegal acts like violating the laws.

Q.10. Why did Gandhiji choose ‘Salt’ as the symbol of his Civil Disobedience Movement?

Ans. Salt is consumed by both the poor and the rich, and is one of the most essential items of food everywhere in the world. The British government had the monopoly on the production of salt in India. By imposing a ‘salt tax’ the government hit both the rich and the poor, specially the poor. Gandhiji thought it was the most repressive Act of the British government and chose to defy it by breaking the “Salt Law”.

Q.11. How did the British Government react to the “Salt March” of Gandhiji?

Ans. A frightened and shaken British government responded with a policy of brutal repression.

About 100,000 people were arrested. Gandhiji was arrested on 4th May, 1930.

The government also tried to diffuse the situation by releasing Gandhiji and making him sign the Gandhi-Irwin Pact (the then Viceroy of India) on 5th March, 1931. But the failure of the Second Round Table Conference in 1931 led the Government to begin its repressive measures in  1932  again.  Congress  was  declared  illegal  and  Nehru  and Abdul  Ghaffar  Khan  were arrested. All boycotts, meetings and demonstrations were banned by the British.

Q.12. Why did the industrialists and industrial workers lose interest in the Civil Disobedience Movement?


Why did the initial enthusiasm of the merchants and industrialists fade away during the later stage of the civil disobedience movement?

Ans.   The industrialists were perturbed by the increasing influence of socialism among the younger members of the Congress. They were also worried by the long-drawn militant activities and were worried about the harm done by it to their business interests.

Q.13. How and when nationalism captures the hearts and minds of the people ?

Ans. When people begin to believe strongly that they are part of the same nation. Also, when they discover common bonds that unite them, when they share the same struggles and have a common folklore, history and culture, then nationalism grips their hearts and minds.

Q.14. Give one example to prove that Non-Cooperation Movement was more successful on the economic front.

Ans. One example is boycott of foreign goods. The import of foreign textile cloth became half of what it was, between 1921–1922. It fell from 102 crores to 57 crores.

Q.15. Which party did not support the boycott of council elections during the movement and why?

Ans. The Justice Party of Madras decided not to boycott Council elections. The Justice Party members were non-Brahmans and so far had not been able to win elections, as the Brahman candidates always won. They thought it was a golden opportunity for them to enter the Councils.


Q.1. Analyse the circumstances which led Gandhiji to choose abolition of the salt tax as the most important demand of the Civil Disobedience Movement.                                                       [2009]

Ans. Mahatma Gandhi found in salt a powerful symbol that could unite the nation.

(i)    Salt was consumed by all classes of people, by the rich and poor alike. It was one of the most essential items of food.

(ii)    The tax on salt and the government monopoly over its production, revealed the most oppressive face of British rule.

(iii)  Abolition of salt tax could affect the British economically as salt tax and monopoly over its production provided a large revenue to the government.

Q.2. Describe any three features of Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930.             [2009] OR

Evaluate  any  three  features  of  the  peasant  movement  during  Civil  Disobedience Movement in India.                                                                                         [2011] OR

Explain  the  contribution  of  the  various  social  groups  in  the  Civil  Disobedience Movement.

Ans. The three features of the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930 were :

(i)    The first feature was that the Civil Disobedience Movement was different from the Non- Cooperation Movement of 1921-22. People were asked by Gandhiji not only to refuse cooperation but to break colonial laws. Thousands in the country broke the salt law, manufactured salt and demonstrated in front of government salt factories. Peasants refused to pay revenue taxes, village officials resigned and many forest people violated forest laws.

(ii)    The second feature was that different social groups joined the movement for different reasons. The peasant communities in the countryside thought it was a fight against high revenues charged by the government. The poorer peasantry joined it in the hope that their unpaid rent would be remitted. The business class joined it as they wanted protection against import of goods and to expand their own industries.

(iii)  Another important feature was the large-scale participation of women in the movement.

Thousands of women participated in the protest marches, manufactured salt, and picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops. Many went to jail. Women, moved by Gandhiji’s call, began to see service to the nation as the sacred duty of women.

Q.3. Study the given passage and answer the questions that follow :                        [2009]

The Independence Day Pledge, 26 January, 1930.

‘We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them, the people have a further right to alter it or to abolish it. The British Government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. We believe, therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or ‘complete Independence.’

(19.1) Why was it the inalienable right of the Indian people to have freedom ?

(19.2) How did British government exploit the Indian masses ? Explain.

Ans. (i)    It was the right of the Indian people to enjoy the fruits of their own labour and toil. They had the right to all necessities of life and full opportunities of growth. Every Indian had the right to be free, free of domination of the British, free of exploitation, to live in their own country as free citizens as other people did in other countries.

(ii)  The British government had exploited the Indian masses by denying them the right to freedom and liberty. They had exploited their economy for their own benefit and left them poor. They had tried to impose their own culture on them through their customs, religion, and language. Politically they had turned them into slaves ruled by a foreign country. In short, they had taken away all their rights, deprived them of freedom and exploited them in every way—economically, politically, culturally and spiritually.

Q.4. “Some icons and symbols were used for unifying the people and inspiring within them the feeling of nationalism.” Give two evidences in support of the statement. [2009, 2011 ]

Ans: (i)  The identity of the nation is most often symbolised in a figure or image. With the growth of nationalism, the identity of India came to be usually associated with the image of Bharat Mata. The image was first created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in the 1870s, when he wrote ‘Vande Mataram’ as a hymn to the motherland, which was widely sung during the Swadeshi movement (1905–07) in Bengal. Abanindranath Tagore painted his famous image of Bharat Mata. In a lot of popular prints, nationalist leaders were shown offering their heads to Bharat Mata. The idea of sacrifice for the mother was powerful within popular imagination.

Q.5. Describe briefly the ‘Salt March’ undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi.                 (2009)

Ans. Mahatma Gandhi chose ‘Salt’ as powerful symbol that could unite the nation. After warning, the Viceroy in his letter of 31 January, 1930, that the tax on salt was the most oppressive Actof British rule, he launched a Civil Disobedience campaign in March 1930. He srarted his famous ‘Salt March’ accompanied by 78 trusted volunteers. The distance to be covered was 240 miles from Gandhiji’s Ashram in Sabarmati to the Gujarat’s coastal town of Dandi. The volunteers walked about 10 miles a day for 24 days. On 6 April, he reached Dandi and ceremoniously violated the law and manufactured salt by boiling sea water. Thousands came to hear Mahatma Gandhi, wherever he stopped on his way, he urged them to defy the British peacefully for Swaraj. His Civil Disobedience Movement, unlike the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1920-22, asked people not only to refuse cooperation with the British, but also to break colonial laws.

Q.6. Describe briefly any three economic effects of Non-Cooperaton Movement.    [2009]

Ans. The effects of Non-Cooperation on economic front were : (i) foregin goods were boycotted, (ii) liquor shops were picketed and (iii) import of foreign cloth was halved as it was burnt inhuge bonfires. Production of Indian textile mills and handlooms went up.

Q.7. Study the given passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.                [2009]

“Satyagraha is not physical force. A Satyagrahi does not inflict pain on the adversary; he does not seek his destruction … In the use of Satyagraha, there is no ill-will whatever. Satyagraha is pure soul-force. Truth is the very substance of the soul. That is why this force is called Satyagraha. The soul is informed with knowledge. In it, burns the flame of love … Non- violence is the supreme dharma …It is certain that India cannot rival Britain or Europe in force of arms. The British worship the war-god and they can all of them become, as they are becoming, bearers of arms. The hundreds of millions in India can never carry arms. They have made the religion of non-violence their own …”

(23.1) What is the main difference between physical force and soul force ?

(23.2) Why can’t Indians carry arms? Explain.

Ans. (i)   Physical force inflicts pain on the enemy or adversary, it seeks to destroy the enemy. Soul force is based on love and non-violence. It does not seek to destroy. Truth is the substance on which it is based, not hate.

(ii)  Indians believe in non-violence and they cannot match Britain or Europe in force of arms. They do not worship the war-god or carry arms.

Q.8. Mention any three efforts made by Gandhiji to get Harijans their rights.       [2009]

Ans. Gandhiji believed that Swaraj would not come for a hundred years if untouchability was not eliminated. He called the untouchables Harijans, as the children of God, (i) He organised satyagraha to secure their entry into temples, access to public wells, tanks, roads, and schools. (ii) He himself cleaned the toilets to dignify the work of the sweepers. (iii) He persuaded upper castes to change their heart and give up the ‘sin of untouchability.’

Q.9. “They behaved as brave men, calm and unruffled in the face of danger. I do not know how they felt but I know what my feelings were. For a moment my blood was up, non-violence was almost forgotten – but for a moment only. The thought of the great leader, who by God’s goodness has been sent to lead us to victory, came to me, and I saw the kisans seated and standing near me, less excited, more peaceful than I was – and the moment of weakness passed. I spoke to them in all humility on non-violence – I needed the lesson more than they – and they heeded me and peacefully dispersed.”                                                                    [2008]

(1.1)  What is the source of the above passage?

(1.2)  What were Nehru’s feelings and how did he change them?

Ans. (1.1)  Sarvapalli Gopal’s Jawaharlal Nehru : A Biography, Vol. I.

(1.2)  Nehru was extremely angry at the brutal behaviour of the police. He had forgotten non- violence totally at that moment and he was very agitated and disturbed.

The thought of Mahatma Gandhi, who was an apostle of non-violence and the leader whom he respected, steadied Nehru. He became calm. Another thing that changed him was the behaviour of the kisans, standing near him peacefully in spite of all the provocation. This changed his feelings to humility and all feelings of violence disappeared.

Q.10. Explain the new economic and political situations created during the First World War in India.                                                                                                                         [2008]

Ans. India was forced to become a partner in the War, which was between England and Germany.

There was forced recruitment in rural areas which caused a widespread anger among the people. They turned against the government. They joined the national movement.

In the economic field, the war led to huge expenditure on defence, so the British increased the taxes, customs duties and introduced the income-tax. Prices of all articles increased which caused great hardships to the common people. The prices doubled between 1913-1918. In

1918-19, 1920-21 crops failed in many parts of India, leading to an extreme shortage of food. Famine was accompanied with influenza epidemic. It is estimated (according to the Census of

1921) that nearly 12 to 13 million people perished due to famine and disease.

Q.11. Mention three main proposals with reference to Non-Cooperation Movement, as suggested by Mahatma Gandhi.                                                                                      [2008]


What led to the spread of Non-Cooperation movement to the countryside? Explain any three factors.

Ans. Gandhiji proposed that :

(i)   The  movement  should  unfold  in  stages.  It  should  begin  with  the  surrender  of  titles awarded by the government.

(ii)   Then a boycott of civil services, army, police, courts and legislative councils, schools and foreign goods.

(iii) Then, in case the government used repression, a full disobedience campaign would be launched.

Q.12. Why  did  Gandhiji  decide  to  launch  a  nationwide  satyagraha  against  the  proposed Rowlatt Act 1919? Explain any three reasons.                                                    [2010]

Ans.  (i)   This Act had been passed through the Imperial Legislative Council despite the opposition of Indian members.

(ii)  It gave the government enormous powers to repress political activities, and allowed imprisonment of leaders without trial for two years.

(iii) Mahatma Gandhi was emboldened with the success in Champaran Satyagraha, Kheda Satyagraha and Ahmedabad Mills Satyagraha. He wanted non-violent civil disobedience against such unjust laws.

Q.13. Study the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:                    [2010]

On 6 January 1921, the police in United Provinces fired at peasants near Rae Bareli. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to go to the place of firing, but was stopped by the police. Agitated and angry, Nehru addressed the peasants who gathered around him. This is how he later described the meeting : ‘They behaved as brave men, calm and unruffled in the face of danger. I do not know how they felt but I know what my feelings were. For a moment my blood was up, non-violence was almost forgotten – but for a moment only. The thought of the great leader, who by God’s goodness has been sent to lead us to victory, came to me, and I saw the kisans seated and standing near me, less excited, more peaceful than I was – and the moment of weakness passed, I spoke to them in all humility on non-violence – I needed the lesson more than they – and they heeded me and peacefully dispersed.’

(16.1)   How did the peasants who gathered around Nehru near Rae Bareli behave when he addressed them?

(16.2)   Explain what did Nehru mean when he said, “I needed the lesson more than they.”

Ans. (16.1)   The peasants behaved as cool, calm and brave men. They were not excited or angry. They heard Nehru’s speech peacefully.

(16.2)   Nehru needed the lesson of ‘non-violence’ more than the peasants. Nehru was angry, excited and overcome by violence for a moment. But the peasants were calm and peaceful. They were not angry or violent.

Q.14. Describe the three satyagraha movements organesed by Gandhiji between 1916-18. [2011 (T-2)]


How did Mahatma Gandhi successfully organise satyagrah movements in various places just after arriving in India ? Explain by giving three examples.                    [2011 (T-2)]

Ans. Gandhiji successfully organise satyagrah movements in various places just after arriving in India. The movement started in 1916 from Champaran Bihar, where Gandhiji inspire the peasants to struggle against the oppressive plantation system.

The second satyagraha movement took place in the very next year of Champaran movement. In 1917, at khedo district of Gujarat the second satyagraha completed successfully. Here the peasants were not able to pay the revenue, because of crop failure and a plague epidemic and demanding that revenue collection be relaxed.

The third movement was held in 1918. Gandhiji went to Ahmedabad to organise a satyagraha movement amongst cotton mill workers.

Q.15. Explain the features of the boycott and Swadeshi Movement.                  [2011 (T-2)]

Ans. The word “Swadeshi” is a Sanskrit word. The literal meaning of the word Swadeshi is : of one’s own country.

Swadeshi movement a part of the Indian Independence movement was a successful strategy to remove the British Empire from power and improve economic condition in India through following principles of Swadeshi or Self-Sufficiency. Strategies of the Swadeshi movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic made products and production technique.

A boycott is a form of consumer activism involving the act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying or dealing with a person, organisation or country as an expression of protest usually for political reason. During the National Movement it began with the Surrender of titles that the government has awarded and a boycott of civil services, army, police, court and Legislative Council, schools and foreign goods.

Q.16. Why  did  Gandhiji  decide  to  launch  a  nationwide  satyagraha  against  the  proposed Rowlatt Act 1919? Explain the reasons.


What was Rowlatt Act ? How did the Indians show their disapproval towards this Act. [2011 (T-2)]


Ans. During Indian struggle for Independence British government passed a law named after Sidney Rowlatt who was a government official, whose work was to find out who were behind Indian independence support and stop the changes responsible for the Independence were mainly. Three officers in this commission and all were Britishers. Indian freedom fighters called it “Black Law”. This Act gave the government enormous powers to repress political activities and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two years.

The opposition against this law started with a hartal by Gandhi. Rallies were organised in many cities, workers stopped working, went on strike. Shops and workshops were closed. By this way the reaction of the people came out against this Act.

Q.17. Explain  the  immediate  effects  of  the  Lahore  session  of  Indian  National  Congress  of December 1929.                                                                                              [2011 (T-2)]

Ans. The  Lahore  Session  of  Indian  National  Congress  of  December  1929  was  held  under  the presidency of Pt. J.L. Nehru. The session formalised the demand of ‘Purna   Swaraj’ or full independence for India. It was decided that the day of 26 January, 1930 would be celebrated as the Day of Independence. But the decision of Lahore Session was unable to attract good attention. By taking the idea from this Purna Swaraj agenda Gandhiji planned ‘Dandi March’ (to break salt the law) as the initial step for Civil Disobidience.

Q18. “Method of reinterpretation of history was followed to encourage feeling of nationalism.” Give any three arguments to support this statement.                                        [2011 (T-2)]

Ans. Method of reinterpretation of history was followed to encourage feeling of nationalism was very good. This is a human nature that we love the things on which we feel proud same as we love our nation but when our nation has someting special. At that time to awaken the feeling of nationalism many things practised but the main part was History writing. The Indian started writing glorious events like the stories full fo bravery, courage nad nation love. They started developing writing concern with beautiful art and architecture, great spiratural bases of India. Some personalities were presented as national heres like – Shivaji, Maharana Pratap and others. So it developed a nationalist style of history writing which revived the people’s pride in their past achievements.

Q.19. What was the limitation of the Civil Disobedience Movement ?               [2011 (T-2)]

Ans. The limitation of the Civil Disobedience was that some different groups were not moved together with this concept.

(i)   The ‘untouchables’ or Dalits were not moved by the abstract concept of swaraj. From around the 1930s they had began to call themselves Dalits or oppressed. Many Dalit leaders were keen on a different political solution to the problems of the community. They began organising themselves, damanding reserved seats in educational institution and a separate electorate. They believed only political empowerment would resolve the problem of  their  social  disabilities.  Dalit  participation  in  Civil  Disobedience  Movement  was limited particularly in Maharashtra.

(ii)   Some of the Muslim political organisations in India were also lukewarm in their response to the Civil Disobedience Movement. A large section of Muslims felt alienated from the congress. From the mid-1920s, the congress had come to be associated with Hindu religious nationalist groups like the Hindu Maha–Sabha. Hindu Muslim riots became frequent. Every riot deepended the distance between the two communities. During the Civil Disobedience Movement, there was an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust between the two communities.




Q.1. What what the main issue behind the Khilafat Movement? Why did Gandhiji support this.


Why did Gandhiji decide to join the Khilafat Movement? Describe his association with the movement and its importance.

Ans. Gandhiji wanted to make his ‘Satyagraha’ movement more broad-based. He realised that this could be possible only if Hindus and Muslims came closer and joined it. He found the Khilafat issue as one that could bring about this unity. The First World War had given a death blow to the Ottoman Empire of Turkey. The British had promised a generous treatment to the Khalifa, but they did not keep up the promise. The Khalifa was considered the spiritual head of the Muslims and a protector of their holy places. By 1920, the British had totally dismembered the Turkish Empire.

To defend the Khalifa’s powers, a Khilafat Committee was organised in Bombay under the Ali brothers — Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali — in March 1919. Gandhiji was invited by the Ali brothers to join them. At the Calcutta session of the Congress in 1920, Gandhiji convinced other leaders to support the Khilafat Movement and start a Non-Cooperation Movement for Swaraj. Along with the Ali brothers he toured India and gathered support for the movement. Inspired by them, about 30,000 people courted arrest. All Congress Committees adopted the Khilafat resolutions in 1921, and supported its four-point programme. The Khilafat Movement ended when Turkey came under Kamal Pasha and he brought in a lot of reforms.The importance of Khilafat Movement is that it brought Hindus and Muslims under one cause. The Muslims also became a part of the National Movement and made it more broad-based.


Q.2. Why did Gandhi choose “Non-Cooperation” as a method of fighting the colonial rule? Explain his method.

Ans. His idea was very simple. The British were ruling India because the people had allowed them to do and cooperated with them. They had survived because the Indians did not throw them out. If the Indians refused to cooperate with the British, their rule would collapse and India would win active “Swaraj.”

He wanted the movement to unfold in stages and take various steps one by one. First was the surrender of all titles granted by the government, second, to boycott all services under the government — civil, police and the army. Next was to boycott the courts and the Legislative Councils. If the government used repressive measures, then a full civil disobedience campaign was to be launched. This programme was launched in 1920 and lasted for two years.

Q.3. Explain the term “Swaraj” and its changed meaning in this period.

Ans. “Swaraj” means freedom or self-rule. Before Gandhiji came, the Indian National Movement asked for “self-rule” within the British Government, as in the dominions like Australia and Canada. Before Gandhiji, British rule was considered good for India. In 1920, “Swaraj” meant “Self-Government” within the empire if possible and outside if necessary. Earlier the attainment of Swaraj was through “constitutional means”; now it was substituted by “all peaceful and legitimate methods.” A resolution for ‘poorna swaraj’ or complete independence was passed at Lahore session of Congress in December 1929.

Q.4. Why did different social groups join the Non-Cooperation Movement?


Describe the extent of peoples’ participations in the the Non-Cooperation movement in the towns. What were its economic efflects?                                                        [2011(T-2)]

Ans.  (i)   The middle class joined the movement because the boycott of foreign goods would make the sale of their textiles and handlooms go up.

(ii)   The peasants took part in the movement because they hoped they would be saved from the oppressive landlords, high taxes taken by the colonial government.

(iii)  Plantation workers took part in the agitation hoping they would get the right to move freely in and outside the plantations and get land in their own villages.

Q.5. Why were the hill people of Andhra aggrieved by the colonial rule?


Analyse any four features of Gudem rebellion of Andhra Pradesh.           [2011]

Ans. The  hill  people  of Andhra  (Gudem  Hills)  were  angry  with  the  British  rule,  because  the government had deprived them of the use of forest lands. They were prohibited to graze their cattle on forest lands, denied the right to cut trees for fuel and eat the fruits of the forest. This affected their livelihoods as well as denied them their traditional rights. They were also forced to do begar for building roads by the government. This enraged them so much that they organised a militant guerrilla movement in the 1920s.

Q.6. What  is  the  importance  of  Non-Cooperation  Movement  in  India’s  struggle  for independence?

Ans. It was the first attempt at an all-India mass struggle against the British.

(i) It clearly demonstrated that thousands of poor Indians were capable of courage, sacrifice and ability to face repression and suffering.

(ii) The movement was no longer limited to a few urban educated persons. Thousands of people walked side by side, fought oppression for months, the movement became wider in its scope, people realised the strength of their unity.

(iii) It turned the Congress into a nationalist organisation and became a national movement.

Q.7. How did the different social groups that participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement look at it? What was their attitude towards its aim?

Ans. All the groups that participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement did not have the same ideals, or same views of “Swaraj”.

(i)  In the countryside : The active members were the rich peasant communities, the Patidars of Gujarat and the Jats of Uttar Pradesh.

Reason : They were producers of commercial crops which were hit by the trade depression and falling prices. As cash income disappeared they were unable to pay the government’s revenue demands. The government refused to reduce its demands. So they joined the Civil Disobedience Movement, hoping to get the revenue demands reduced. For them “Swaraj” meant fighting against high revenues.

(ii)  The poor peasants joined the movement because they were unable to pay the rent for the land they cultivated for the landlords. They did not own the land, they were small tenants who cultivated lands taken on rent from the landlords. As the Depression continued, the small tenants could not pay the rent, so they joined the movement hoping that their unpaid rent would be remitted.

(iii)  The rich merchants and industrialists joined the movement to protest against colonial policies that restricted business activities. They wanted protection against import of foreign goods and a rupee-sterling foreign exchange ratio to discourage imports.

(iv) The industrial workers joined the Civil Disobedience Movement dropping to get their demands passed — like laws against low wages and poor working conditions.

All four classes were disappointed by the movement.

(a) The rich peasants lost interest because the movement was called off in 1931 without the revenue rates being revised and reduced. Many of them did not join the movement when it was resumed in 1932.

(b) The poor peasants were disappointed because the Congress was unwilling to support their “no rent” campaign.

(c) The industrialists were unhappy with the spread of militant activities and increasing influence of socialism in the Congress. They could not achieve their goal of colonial restrictions on business taken away, so they lost interest.

(d) The industrial working class  did not get full Congress support as the Congress did not want to alienate the industrialists and divide the anti-colonial struggle. It could not include the workers’ demand in its programme.

Q.9. Explain the shared beliefs and common bonds that give rise to a sense of common belonging.


How did the people belonging to different communities, regions or languages develop a sense of collective belonging during the Indian freedom struggle?

Ans. Common bonds that give rise to common belonging are :

(i)  Experiences  of  common  struggles  (against  colonialism,  against  oppression,  against poverty caused by a colonial rule).

(ii)  Through symbols: like certain figures and wages becoming the identity of a nation.

Examples: Statue of Liberty USA, the Storming of Bastille — French Revolution. India’s symbol was ‘Bharat Mata’.

(iii) Through folklore, songs, legends and stories. Nationalists collected songs, for example; Rabindranath Tagore and Natesa Sastri of Madras. Sastri wrote a four-volume book on folk stories of Southern India.

(iv) Through reinterpretation of history. The British had portrayed Indians as backward, primitive and incapable of governing themselves. By rediscovering the past, India’s greatness — its cultural progress in mathematics, literature, religion and culture, imbibed a sense of pride among the Indians.

(v)  Last but not the least, Gandhiji used this sense of collective belonging by channelising it in the National Movement. He tried to forge a sense of unity among the different social groups in India.

Q.10. Do you agree with Iqbal’s idea of communalism in the extract given below? Can you define communalism in a different way?

“In 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal, as President of the Muslim League, reiterated the importance of separate electorate for the Muslims as an important safeguard for their minority political interests. His statement is supposed to have provided the intellectual justification for the Pakistan demand that came up in subsequent years. This is what he said:

‘I have no hesitation in declaring that if the principle that the Indian Muslim is entitled to full and free development on the lines of his own culture and tradition in his own Indian home- land is recognised as the basis of a permanent communal settlement, he will be ready to stake his all for the freedom of India. The principle that each group is entitled to free development on its own lines, is not inspired by any feeling of narrow communalism … A community which is inspired by feelings of ill-will towards other communities is low and ignoble. I entertain the highest respect for the customs, laws, religions and social institutions of other communities. Nay, it is my duty according to the teachings of the Quran, even to defend their places of worship, if need be. Yet I love the communal group which is the source of life and behaviour and which has formed me what I am by giving me its religion, its literature, its thought, its culture and thereby its whole past as a living operative factor in my present consciousness …

‘Communalism in its higher aspect, then, is indispensable to the formation of a harmonious whole in a country like India.

The units of Indian society are not territorial as in European countries … The principle of European democracy cannot be applied to India without recognising the fact of communal groups. The Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim India within India is, therefore, perfectly justified…

‘The  Hindu  thinks  that  separate  electorates  are  contrary  to  the  spirit  of  true  nationalism, because he understands the word “nation” to mean a kind of universal amalgamation in which no communal entity ought to retain its private individuality. Such a state of things, however, does not exist. India is a land of racial and religious variety. Add to this the general economic inferiority of the Muslims, their enormous debt, especially in the Punjab, and their insufficient majorities in some of the provinces, as at present constituted, and you will begin to see clearly the meaning of our anxiety to retain separate electorates.”

Ans. Communalism is based on the idea that religion is the principal basis of social community. All the followers of one religion belong to one community and their basic interests are the same. People of different religions cannot belong to the same social group.

This is what Iqbal is saying that Muslims are different from Hindus, they cannot have same fundamental interests. They cannot be bound together as one nation. One will dominate the other, if it happens to be in majority (in this case Hindus); in the end there would be two nations. Iqbal is trying to propagate the “Two Nation Theory”.

I do not agree with it as people of one religion do not have the same interests and ambitions. We have seen this in the case of Ireland, where in spite of being a Christian country, there was deep religious division between the Catholics and the Protestants.

Religion should never be seen as the basis of a nation. No religion should try to dominate others. Communalism is a divisive force which destroys the unity and peace of a nation. We have seen how Yugoslavia has been divided into six small nations because of religious differences.




Q.1. Explain the circumstances in which Non-Cooperation Movement gradually slowed down in cities.                                                                                                                               [2008]


Why did the Non-Cooperation Movement gradually slow down in the cities? Give three reasons.

Ans. The Non-Cooperation Movement gradually slowed down in cities because : Khadi cloth was more expensive than the mass produced mill cloth and the poor people could not afford to buy it. Similarly, the British institutions could not be boycotted for long. Indian institutions as alternatives to the British ones were not yet set up and were slow to come up. So students and teachers began going back slowly to government schools and lawyers rejoined work in government courts.

Q.2. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow :                    [2008]

“We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them, the people have a further right to alter it or to abolish it. The British Government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. We believe, therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or Complete Independence.”

(2.1)   When was this pledge to be taken?

(2.2)   Explain the rights of the Indian people which they should have got.

Ans.    (2.1)  This pledge was taken on Independence Day, 26 January; 1930. (2.2)  The Rights which the Indians should have got are :

(i)  Right to freedom, which the British rule denied them, their rights to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

(ii)  They were denied to have the basic necessities of life and this obstructed their development.

(iii)  The  British  rule  oppressed  the  Indians  and  ruined  them  in  every  sphere  — economic, political, cultural and spiritual.

(iv)  The British exploited Indian economy for their own benefit, politically they did not give the Indians the right to rule themselves. They imposed western culture at the cost of Indian culture and crushed their spirituality.

Q.3. “Ideas of nationalism also developed through a movement to revive Indian folklore.” Support the statement with four examples.                                                         [2011 (T-2)]

Ans. During late nineteenth century in India, nationalists started the collection of folk lores. They travelled village to village to collect and record folk songs and legends sung by bards. They believed that these tales gave a real picture of true Indian culture, which was being distorted by the Britishers. They said this is our culture and identity and it restore a sense of pride in one’s past.

In  Bengal,  Rabindranath Tagore  started  collecting  ballads,  nursery  rhymes  and  myths.  In Madras Natesa Shastri published a massive four volume collection of Tamil folk tales “Folklore of Southern India”.