India: Gandhi and the Road to Independence

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A History 12 lesson on Gandhi and the major steps to Indian independence.

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  • Hartal = boycott of British goods
    Satyagraha = civil disobedience
  • Martin Luther King Jr and the US civil rights movement being another.
    “…precious jewel…” former P.M. Stanley Baldwin
  • SATYAGRAHA = “LOVE and HOLDING FIRM” or “soul force” – Gandhi’s strategy of civil disobedience (vs. passive resistance – weak) developed to oppose racial discrimination in South Africa.
    HARTAL = Hindu method of protest – all shops/businesses are closed as a sign of mourning
  • WW1 = problem for Muslims – fought in Mid East against Ottoman Turks, but the Caliph of Turkey is the leader of Islam. Also, the Brits wouldn’t partition Bengal into Muslim/Hindu areas. In 1916, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of Muslim League, urged his followers to rejoin the Indian Congress so Brits would have to face a united Indian oppsn.
    India is for the Indians. Be the time near or distant, the Indian people are bound to attain
    their full stature as a self-governing nation. No force in the world can rob them of their destiny.
    Montagu-Chelmsford 1919: fearful after loss of ally after Tsar falls in Russia, promised reforms and recognized the principle of self-govt. and started handing over power in areas managed by provinces in Cda (ex. health/educ) to INDIAN ministers. It was suggested that a review of the new arrangement after 10 years would then allow for the next stage of responsible govt. This reform created DYARCHY.
    Rowlatt Acts 1919: anyone suspected of agitating against the Raj could be arrested and tried w/o legal council, jury or appeal
  • SATYAGRAHA = “soul force” – Gandhi’s strategy of civil disobedience developed to oppose racial discrimination in South Africa.
    HARTAL = Hindu method of protest – all shops/businesses are closed as a sign of mourning – was supposed to be peaceful, but riots broke out in 1919 protests.
  • In Punjab there was economic tension + religious tension – this province has Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. British officials feared communist agitators were responsible for organizing the HARTAL and feared a general uprising – Protesters entered the European quarter of Amritsar after public building burned and some Europeans killed. Gen Dyer banned all public mtgs but this order was disobeyed so he took 90 soldiers in to break up a mtg – he found a very large crowd and, fearing for his soldiers, ordered them to open fire without warning to the crowd. Dyer thought he had prevented a revolt, but…
  • In Punjab there was economic tension + religious tension – this province has Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. British officials feared communist agitators were responsible for organizing the HARTAL and feared a general uprising – Protesters entered the European quarter of Amritsar after public building burned and some Europeans killed. Gen Dyer banned all public mtgs but this order was disobeyed so he took 90 soldiers in to break up a mtg – he found a very large crowd and, fearing for his soldiers, ordered them to open fire without warning to the crowd. Dyer thought he had prevented a revolt, but…
  • In Punjab there was economic tension + religious tension – this province has Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. British officials feared communist agitators were responsible for organizing the HARTAL and feared a general uprising – Protesters entered the European quarter of Amritsar after public building burned and some Europeans killed. Gen Dyer banned all public mtgs but this order was disobeyed so he took 90 soldiers in to break up a mtg – he found a very large crowd and, fearing for his soldiers, ordered them to open fire without warning to the crowd. Dyer thought he had prevented a revolt, but…
  • Remember satyagraha is supposed to be peaceful civil disobedience. Gandhi brought an end to his call after he saw the violence it unleashed. He was arrested and sentenced to six years, but released after two for ill-health – the Raj feared what would happen if Gandhi died in custody.
  • Flag: Non-Cooperation Movement, 1931 – make Indians self-reliant - the spinning wheel was replaced by Dharmachakra, represented with 24 spokes. It is so called because it appears on a number of edicts of Ashoka, most prominent among which is the Lion Capital of Sarnath which has been adopted as the National Emblem of the Republic of India.
    Boycott of British-manufactured cloth = homespun movement
  • Flag: Non-Cooperation Movement, 1931 – make Indians self-reliant - the spinning wheel was replaced by Dharmachakra, represented with 24 spokes. It is so called because it appears on a number of edicts of Ashoka, most prominent among which is the Lion Capital of Sarnath which has been adopted as the National Emblem of the Republic of India.
    Boycott of British-manufactured cloth = homespun movement
  • Jinnah and Gandhi
  • Some of the Indian soldiers captured in places like North Africa, chose to serve in the Axis armies. They did not want to serve Britain’s imperialism
  • A large number of the Indian soldiers captured at the fall of Singapore chose to fight on the side of the Japanese.
  • The Quit India Act or the August Movement (August Kranti) was a civil disobedience movement launched in India in August 1942 in response to Mohandas Gandhi's call for 'Satyagraha' . The All-India Congress Committee proclaimed a mass protest demanding what Gandhi called "an orderly British withdrawal" from India. The call for determined, but passive resistance appears in his call to Do or Die, issued on 8 August at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Mumbai on year 1942.
  • What “tips the balance?”
  • Hartal = boycott of British goods
    Satyagraha = civil disobedience
    Mantagu-Chelmsford – calls for a Diarchy and step-by-step process to responsible govt
  • India: Gandhi and the Road to Independence

    1. 1. INDIA IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY: from imperial gem to independence and partition
    2. 2. References:  Text: pp 238 - 241  Handbook: pp 61 - 62  Handout (old text - Howarth): pp 71 - 72, 202 - 204, (295 - 298: 1947-1990) Amritsar, 1919 Muslim League Indian National Congress Salt March, 1930 Home Spun Hartal Partition, 1947 Civil Disobedience Satyagraha Gov of India Act, 1935
    3. 3. Initial Organizers (so what?)  India was the “most truly bright and precious jewel” in the Empire’s crown.  For the essayist, one of two examples of a pacifistic revolution in the 20th century (in contrast to violent revolutions).  Example of a charismatic leader who gained attention on the world stage and brought political pressure to bear.  Shows the contrast between British and French post-war policies towards their colonies.
    4. 4. Mohandas “Mahatma”Gandhi  Born in India  Educated in England  Practiced law in South Africa Ambulance worker during the Boer War, 1898 Civil disobedience in opposition to Brit indentured labour laws = success
    5. 5. 400 Years of Colonial Rule  British East India Co. (Eliz. I) 1600  Indian War of Indep. (Indian Mutiny) 1857-58 - the Raj comes out on top  British xenophobia from 1850s on.
    6. 6. Indian National Congress (the Congress Party)  Formed by middle class Indians in 1885  Nationalist  Hindu-dominated, but  Large Muslim minority  Used non-violent resistance (satyagraha)  Disobey laws  Don’t pay taxes  Strikes  Fasts hartal  Gatherings/demonstrations/marches
    7. 7. 1919…  Large numbers of Indians sent overseas w/o consultation.  1919 Indians call for Home Rule (inside of the British Empire - ie. British system not seen as all bad).  1919 Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms = dyarchy (p 61, Handbook) BUT 3 EVENTS CLOUDED INDIAN GOODWILL:  Rowlatt Acts 1919 Indians rights suspended = no Habeas Corpus (right to go before a judge with a charge).  Emergence of Gandhi who sees constitutional challenge useless.  And Amritsar Massacre – more on that in a minute So…
    8. 8. 1919… Congress Party calls for “Hartal” = non-violent boycott of all Raj-sponsored institutions (including the army) and goods/services (especially clothing). However…rioting showed Indians not ready, so hartal ends. But…
    9. 9. 1919…  2 Congress Party leaders are arrested and taken to unknown place.  Protest in Amritsar, Punjab. machine gun
    10. 10. 1919…  2 Congress Party leaders are arrested and taken to unknown place.  Protest in Amritsar, Punjab. machine gun
    11. 11. 1919…  2 Congress Party leaders are arrested and taken to unknown place.  Protest in Amritsar, Punjab. machine gun
    12. 12. Reaction in India and Britain is swift:  Churchill condemns General Dyer in the Commons.  A few years of periodic revolts/violence in India follows in spite of Gandhi’s call for Muslims and Hindus to unite in satyagraha.  Call for Hindu-Muslim unity + Gandhi calls for all to reject the caste system that divides - ex. He called the Untouchables Harijans: “Children of God.”  Some very bloody events…..
    13. 13. Reaction, cont.  Gandhi said Indians must not fight back, even if beaten by police.  1922 15 Indian policemen hacked up after rough arrests - tensions boil over.  Gandhi 21 day fast unto death nationalists stop to save Gandhi!  Gandhi still jailed for sedition even though he single-handedly stopped anarchistic revolt.
    14. 14. Flag of Indian independence: 1920s Non-Cooperation Movement Still within the Empire?
    15. 15. Homespun, or khadi
    16. 16. Homespun, or khadi
    17. 17. The Salt March 1930
    18. 18. On Feb 15 the Congress Working Committee authorized civil disobedience “as and when they desire and to the extent they see fit.”
    19. 19. 12 March - 6 April: Every day there were speeches as he made his way to the ocean: “Every day people tell me, ‘Today you will certainly be arrested.’ However, the tiger does not appear!”
    20. 20. “In all humility but in perfect truth I claim that if we attain our end through non-violent means India will have delivered a message to the world.
    21. 21. ARRESTS: the march was not obstructed but… • 6 April: Gandhi’s ceremonial harvest on beach at Dandi. • 13 April: Nehru + delegates arrested. • 5 May: Gandhi arrested at Salt Works. • 26 January, 1931: Gandhi released. 4 March, 1931 Gandhi-Irwin Pact signed based on round-table discussions in London.
    22. 22. Illegal Salt Sales: 60,000 imprisoned in the first month. Some protesters shot but also some Indian Army soldiers refused to shoot when ordered. (like the Tsar’s Cossaks?
    23. 23. • First taste of democratic selfgovernment. • Full control of the 11 provinces to the Indians. • Central government still shared power with the British. Tension between the Congress and the Muslim League.
    24. 24. (Free Indian Legion) Nationalism during WW2:
    25. 25. Subhash Chandra Bose’s violent methods vs. Gandhi’s pacifism FREE INDIA Flag of th e Indian Na tional A rm y
    26. 26. Bose’s Provisional Govt of Free India • Established in Singapore in 1943. • Anti-racist and anti-imperial (hmmm, how does that fit within the Japanese Asia for the Asians? • Why would Britain (and India) attempt to censor news of the resulting 1946 mutiny trials? • The Indian Navy (and then other units) started to oppose these trials ∴ The British decide the Indian military cannot be trusted - it’s time to get out whether they like it or not.
    27. 27. And how about the Congress? • Refused to support Brit war effort (not even with promise of Dominion status) “a post-dated cheque from a crashing bank.” Gandhi • Why wouldn’t Gandhi trust a govt led by Churchill? “I have not become His Majesty’s first minister in order to preside over the dissolution of the British Empire” Churchill = Quit India slogan. • Clement Attlee sees India as a political liability: £ + casualties = not re-elected.
    28. 28. Post WW2 Gandhi wanted to keep India together.  Aug 1946: riots speed up transfer of power and Viceroy Mountbatten initiates conferences - time is short: the bloodshed must be curbed.  Ali Jinnah will get his “Land of the Pure.”  The Sihks and Hindus will share India.  Individual provinces will vote to discover their nation of choice.
    29. 29. ALI JINNAH
    30. 30. GANDHI NEHRU
    31. 31. Aug 14, 1947: Pakistan is independent Aug 15: 1947: India is independent
    32. 32. 1971: Pakistan was split
    33. 33. Name Changes Occurred Ba ng lad es Sri Lan ka h My an ma r
    34. 34. Partition brought Violence and Turmoil:  Some states were ruled by princes, not the British - some were large!  Slaughters took place where ethnic groups were “out of their territory.”  1.5 million refugees.
    35. 35. RRefugees
    36. 36. Gandhi’s worst fears were realized - he went to Calcutta to try to stop reprisals by Hindus against Muslims. He was killed by an extremist Hindu: thank goodness it wasn’t a Muslim! “Gandhi has been killed by his own people for whose redemption he lived….Father forgive us.” Hindustan Standard, Feb 1, 1947
    37. 37. Gandhi Killed Jan 30, 1948
    38. 38. Considerations: • • • • • • • • Peaceful civil disobedience vs. violent revolution Role of nationalism Charismatic leadership World opinion - domestic political pressure Imperial nations unburdening themselves Vacuum created by decolonization Ethnic cleansing Partition end
    39. 39. Use these key words to write a concise 75-word summary: Muslim League Indian National Congress Amritsar, 1919 Home Rule Montagu-Chelmsford Civil Disobedience Satyagraha Hartal Home Spun Salt March, 1930 Gov of India Act, 1935 Partition, 1947

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