NCERT Class 10 History Chapter 2 - Nationalism in India

Chapter 2 Nationalism in India

Question and Answer
Question 1: Define Nationalism.
Nationalism refers to the people’s desire to break free from foreign rule.

Question 2: What were the problems faced by the Indians during World War I?

• First World War led to a huge increase in defence expenditure and the government increased taxes.
• Custom duties were raised and income tax was introduced.
• During 1920’s crops failed in many parts of the country resulting in acute shortages of food.
• This was the reason behind increase in prices which led to extreme hardships for the common people.
• Villages were called upon to supply soldiers, and the forced recruitment in rural areas caused widespread anger.

Question 3: What is satyagraha? Explain the idea of satyagraha.

• Mahatma Gandhi while he was in South Africa successfully fought the racist regime with a novel method of mass agitation, which he called satyagraha.
• The idea of satyagraha emphasized the power of truth and the need to search for truth. It suggested that if the cause was true, if the struggle was against injustice, then physical force was not necessary to fight the oppressor.
• By this struggle truth was bound to ultimately triumph.

Question 4: What were the three experiments made by Gandhiji with satyagraha?

• In 1916 Mahatma Gandhi travelled to Champaran in Bihar to inspire the peasants to struggle against the oppressive plantation system.
• Then in 1917, he organized a satyagraha to support the peasants of the Kheda district in Gujarat. These peasants were affected by crop failure and were unable to pay the revenue and were demanding that revenue collection be relaxed.
• In 1918, Mahatma Gandhi went to Ahmedabad to organize satyagraha movement amongst cotton mill workers.

Question 5: What were the provisions of the Rowlatt Act?

• The Rowlatt Act 1919 was passed by the Imperial Legislative Council.
• It gave government enormous powers to repress political activities and allowed detention of political prisoners without trial for two years.
• The government also confiscated the properties of these political prisoners.

Question 6: How did the Indians react to the Rowlatt Act?

• Mahatma Gandhi wanted non-violent civil disobedience against the unjust laws.
He started a hartal on 6th April.
• Rallies were organized in various cities, workers went on strike in railway workshops and shops closed down.

Question 7: How did the police react to the protests by Indians?

• British administration decided to clamp down on nationalists. Local leaders were picked up from Amritsar and Mahatma Gandhi was not allowed to enter Delhi.
• On 10 April, the police in Amritsar fired upon a peaceful procession, provoking widespread attacks on banks, post offices and railway stations.
• Martial law was imposed and General Dyer took command.

Question 8: Write a brief note on Jallianwalla Bagh incident.
On 13th April, 1919, Jallianwalla Bagh incident took place. On that day a large crowd gathered in the enclosed Jallianwalla Bagh.
• Some came to protest against the government’s new repressive measures. Others had come to attend the annual Baisakhi fair.
• Many villagers were unaware of the martial law that was imposed. Dyer entered the area, blocked the exit points and opened fire on the crowd killing hundreds.

Question 9: Write a brief note on the Khilafat movement.
The First World War had ended with the defeat Ottoman Turkey.
• A harsh treaty, the Treaty of Sevres, was imposed on the Ottoman emperor.
• According to this treaty Turkey was made a republic and Khalifate was abolished.
• Khalifa was considered as the spiritual leader of Islamic world and to defend his powers a Khilafat committee was formed in Bombay in 1919 by two brothers Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali.

Question 10: What were the objectives of the Non-cooperation movement? / Why did Gandhiji decide to launch a non-cooperation movement?

• In his book Hind Swaraj Gandhiji had declared that British rule was established in India with the cooperation of Indians and had survived only because of this cooperation.
• If Indians refused to cooperate, British rule would collapse within a year.
•The two main objectives of the non-cooperation movement were:
→ To undo the injustice done to Punjab and Turkey
→ To attain Swaraj

Question 11: Gandhiji proposed that the Non Cooperation Khilafat movement should unfold in stages. Explain. / Explain the main proposals put forth by Gandhiji about non-cooperation movement.

• Gandhiji proposed that the non-cooperation movement should begin with the surrender of titles that the government awarded.
• People should boycott civil services, army, police, courts and legislative councils, schools and foreign goods.
• In case the government used repression, a full civil disobedience campaign would be launched.

Question 12: How did the people in the towns take part in the non-cooperation movement? / How did the movement unfold in towns.

• Thousands of students left the government controlled schools and colleges, headmasters and teachers resigned.
• Lawyers gave up their legal practices.
• The council elections were boycotted in most of the provinces.
• In many places merchants and traders refused to trade in foreign goods or finance foreign trade.
• People in the towns boycotted foreign goods and liquor shops were picketed.
• Foreign cloth was burnt in huge bonfires and the use of khadi was promoted among people.

Question 13: What was the affect of the non-cooperation movement on the economic front?

• The affects of the non-cooperation movement on the economic front was dramatic.
• Foreign goods were boycotted and liquor shops were picketed.  Foreign cloth burnt in huge bonfires.
• The import of the foreign cloth halved between 1921 and 1922, its value dropped from Rs. 102 crore to Rs. 57 crore.

Question 14: Why did the non-cooperation movement slow down in the cities?

• Khadi cloth was often more expensive than mass-produced mill cloth and poor people could not afford it.
• Similarly, the boycott of foreign institutions posed a problem.
• For the movement to be successful, alternative Indian institutions had to be set up so that they could be used in place of the British ones.
• These were slow to come so the students and teachers began to go back to the government schools.
• Lawyers also joined back work in the government courts.

Question 15: What were the affects of the non-cooperation movement in the rural areas? / How did the countryside take part in the non-cooperation movement? / What were the problems faced by the peasants in Awadh? How did they take part in the non-cooperation movement? Who led the movement?

• In Awadh, peasants were led by Baba Ramchandra, a sanyasi, who had earlier been to Fiji as an indentured labourer.
• The movement was against the talukdar and landlords who demanded from peasants high rents and a variety of other cesses.
• Peasants had to do begar and work at landlord’s farms without any payment. As tenants they had no security of tenure, being evicted so that they could acquire no right over the leased land.
• The peasants demanded reduction of revenue, abolition of begar and social boycott of oppressive landlords.
• In many places nai and dhobi bandhs were organized by panchayats to deprive landlords of the services of even barbers and washermen.
• The peasant movement however developed in the form that Congress leadership was unhappy with. As the movement spread in 1921, the houses of talukdars and merchants were attacked, bazaars were looted and grain hoards were taken over.

Question 16: Explain briefly about the Gudem Rebellion? / How did the tribal peasants of Andhra Pradesh take part in the non-cooperation movement?

• The colonial government had closed large forest areas, preventing people from entering the forest to graze their cattle, or to collect fuelwood and fruits.
• This enraged the hill people. Not only were their livelihoods affected but they felt that their traditional rights were being denied.
• The government began forcing them to contribute  begar for road building, the hill people revolted.
• This revolt was led by Alluri Sitaram Raju, who was inspired by the non-cooperation movement and persuaded people to wear khadi and give up drinking.
• But at the same time asserted that India could be liberated only by the use of force, not non-violence. The Gudem rebels attacked police stations, attempted to kill British officials and carried on guerilla warfare for achieving swaraj.

Question 17: Who was Alluri Sitaram Raju? How did he lead the tribal peasants?

• Alluri Sitaram Raju was the person who led the Gudem rebellion. He claimed that he had a variety of special powers: he could make correct astrological predictions and heal people and he could survive bullet shots.
• The peasants claimed that he was the incarnation of god.
• Raju talked of the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi and said he was inspired by the non-cooperation movement and persuaded people to wear khadi and give up drinking.
• But at the same time asserted that India could be liberated only by the use of force, not non-violence. The Gudem rebels attacked police stations, attempted to kill British officials and carried on guerilla warfare for achieving swaraj.

Question 18: Workers too had their own understanding of Mahatma Gandhi and the notion of swaraj. Explain.

• For plantation workers in Assam, freedom meant the right to move freely in and out of the confined space in which they were enclosed, and it meant retaining a link with the village from which they had come.
• Under the Inland Emigration Act of 1859, plantation workers were not permitted to leave the tea gardens without permission, and in fact they were rarely given such permission.
• When they heard of the non-cooperation movement, thousands of workers defied their authorities and headed to their homes.
• They believed that Gandhi Raj was coming and everyone would be given lands in their own villages.
• They were stranded on the way due to a strike. They were caught by the police and brutally beaten up.

Question 19: Why did Gandhiji call off the non-cooperation movement?

• In February 1922, Mahatma Gandhi decided to withdraw the non-cooperation movement.
• He felt that the movement was turning violent in many places. Example, the Chauri Chaura incident.
• The satyagrahis needed to be properly trained before they would be ready for mass struggles.
• Within the Congress some leaders by now were tired of mass struggles and wanted to participate in the provincial elections.

Question 20: Who formed the Swaraj Party? Why was it formed?

• C.R Das and Motilal Nehru formed the Swaraj Party within the Congress to argue for a return to council politics.
• They felt that it was important to oppose British policies within the councils, argue for reform and also demonstrate that these councils were not truly democratic.

Question 21: Two factors shaped the Indian politics in the early 1920’s. Explain.

• The first was the effect of the worldwide economic depression. Agricultural prices began to fall from 1926 and collapsed after 1930.
• As the demand for agricultural goods fell, the exports declined, peasants found it difficult to sell their harvests and pay their revenue.
• The second reason was the failure of the Simon Commission.

Question 22: Why was the Simon commission constituted? Why was it boycotted?

• The new Tory government in Britain constituted a Satutory Commission under Sir John Simon.
• The commission was to look into the functioning of the constitutional system in India and suggest changes.
• The problem was that the commission did not have a single Indian member. They were all British. This was the reason why the people boycotted it.

Question 23: How did the people protest against the Simon commission?

• When the Simon commission arrived in India in 1928, it was greeted with the slogan ‘Go back Simon’.
• All the parties, including the Congress and the Muslim league, participated in the demonstrations.
• In an effort to win over them the viceroy, Lord Irwin announced in October 1929, a vague offer of dominion status which did not satisfy the Congress leaders.

Question 24: Why did the Congress decide to fight for Purna Swaraj?

• The radicals within the Congress led by Jawahar lal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose, became more assertive.
• The liberals and the moderates who were proposing a constitutional system within the framework of British dominion lost influence.
• In December 1929, under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Lahore Congress formalized the demand of ‘Purna Swaraj’ or full independence for India.
• It was declared that 26 January 1930, would be declared as the Independence Day when people took pledge to struggle for complete independence.

Question 25: Write briefly about the Gandhi Irwin pact?

• Mahatma Gandhi was arrested in 1930, angry crowds demonstrated in the streets of Peshawar, facing armoured cars and police firing.
• Many were killed in this protest.
• Peaceful satyagrahis were attacked, women and children were beaten and about 1,00,000 people were arrested.
• Mahatma Gandhi once again decided to call off the Civil Disobedience movement and entered into a pact with Irwin on 5 March 1931.
• By this pact Gandhiji consented to participate in a round table conference in London and the government agreed to release the political prisoners.

Question 26: Why did different social groups join the Civil disobedience movement?

→ Rich peasant communities:
• Rich peasants communities like Patidars of Gujarat and Jats of Uttar Pradesh were active in the movement.
• Being producers of commercial crops, they were very hard hit by the trade depression of falling prices.
• As their cash income disappeared, they found it impossible to pay the government’s revenue demand.
• The refusal of the government to reduce the revenue demand led to widespread resentment.
• These rich peasants became enthusiastic supporters of the Civil disobedience movement. For them the fight for swaraj was a struggle against high revenues.

→ Poorer peasantry:
• Poorer peasantry were not just interested in the lowering of the revenue demand. Many of them were small tenants cultivating land they had rented from landlords.
• As the Depression continued and cash incomes dwindled, small tenants found it difficult to pay their rent. They wanted the unpaid rent to the landlord to be remitted.
• Congress was unwilling to support no rent campaign in most places, as it thought that that might upset the rich peasants and landlords.

→ Merchants and Industrialists:
• During the first world war, Indian merchants and industrialists had made huge profits and become more powerful.
• Keen on expanding their business, they now reacted against colonial policies and restricted business activities.
• They wanted protection against imports of foreign goods and a rupee sterling foreign exchange ratio that would discourage imports.
• Prominent industrialists attacked the colonial control over the Indian economy, and supported the civi disobedience movement when it was first launched.
• They gave financial assistance and refused to buy or sell imported goods.
• Most businessmen came to see swaraj as a time when colonial restrictions on business would no longer exist and trade and industry would flourish without any constraints.

→ Industrial working class:
• As the industrialists came closer to the congress, workers stayed aloof.
• Some workers did participate in activities like boycott of foreign campaigns, strikes, protest rallies against low wages and poor working conditions.
• But the Congress was reluctant to include worker’s demands as it felt that this would alienate industrialists and divide the anti-imperial forces.

→ Women:
• Another important feature of the Civil disobedience movement was the large scale participation of the women.
• Thousand of the women came out of their homes. These women in the urban areas belonged to the high caste families and in rural areas, they were from the rich peasants’ households.
• They participated in protest marches, manufactured salt and picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops. Many went to jail.

Question 27: Why was the participation of the Dalit community limited?

• Not all social groups were moved by the abstract concept of swaraj. One such community was the Dalit or the nation’s untouchables.
• For long the Congress ignored the Dalits for fear of offending the high caste Hindus.
• Many Dalit leaders were keen on a different political solution to the problem of the community.
• They began demanding reserved seats in educational institutions and a separate electorate that would choose dalit members for the legislative council.
• They believed that political empowerment would resolve their social disabilities.
• Dalit participation in the Civil disobedience movement was therefore limited.

Question 28: Why was the participation of the Muslims organizations lukewarm?

• After the decline of the non-cooperation Khilafat movement a large section of the Muslims felt alienated from the Congress.
• From the mid 1920’s Congress came to be visibly more associated with Hindu religious communities like Hindu Mahasabha.
• This worsened the relation between the Hindus and the Muslims. Each community then organized religious processions that led to communal clashes and riots between them.
• Muslim league was willing to give up the demand for a separate electorate if Muslims were assured reserved seats at the Central assembly and representation in proportion to the population in the Muslim dominated provinces.
• This demand of the Muslims was opposed my M.R. Jayakar of the Hindu Mahasabha.
• Therefore, the participation of the Muslims was thin in the Civil disobedience movement.

Question 29: How did people belonging to different communities, regions or language groups develop a sense of collective belonging?

• The sense of collective belonging came partly through the experience of united struggles.
• But there were also a variety of cultural processes through which nationalism captured people’s imagination.
• History and fiction, folklore and songs, popular prints and symbols, all played a part in the making of nationalism.

→ Image of Bharat Mata:
• The image of Bharat Mata was created by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.
• Moved by the Swadeshi movement, Abanindranath Tagore painted his famous image of Bharat Mata.
• In this painting Bharat Mata is portrayed as an ascetic figure, she is calm, composed, divine and spiritual.
• In another image, Bharat Mata is shown with a trishul, standing beside a lion and an elephant - both symbols of power and authority.
• In subsequent years, the image of Bharat Mata acquired many different forms and was painted by different artists. Devotion to this mother figure came to be seen as evidence of one’s nationalism.

→ Revival of Indian folklore:
• In the late 19th century India, nationalists began recording folk tales sung by bards and they toured villages to gather folk songs and legends.
• They believed that these tales gave a true picture of traditional culture that had been corrupted and damaged by outside forces.
• They felt it was essential to preserve this folk tradition in order to discover one’s own national identity and restore a sense of pride in one’s past.
• Rabindranath Tagore collected ballads, nursery rhymes and myths and led the movement for folk revival.
• Natesha Sastri collected Tamil folk tales and published them in the book The Folklore of Southern India.

→ Indian flag/icons and symbols:
• During the Swadeshi movement in Bengal, a tricolor flag – red, green and yellow was designed.
• It had eight lotuses representing eight provinces of British India, and a crescent moon, representing Hindus and Muslims.

→ Swaraj Flag:
• The Swaraj flag was designed by Gandhiji. It was a tricolor flag – red, green and white and had a spinning wheel in the centre, representing the Gandhian ideal of self-help.
• Carrying the flag, during the marches, became a symbol of defiance.

→ Reinterpretation of History:
• The British saw Indian as backward and primitive, incapable of governing themselves.
• In response, Indians began looking into the past to discover India’s great achievements in the fields of art, architecture, science, mathematics, religion, culture, law etc. and wrote about them, to instill a sense of pride in the nation.
• They urged the Indians to take part in the freedom struggle and bring change in the miserable living conditions of the Indians under the British rule.

Question 30: What was the problem in glorifying the past?
Glorious past was related to the Hindus. Images were drawn from Hindu iconography. Other communities felt left out.

Question 31: Why is the growth of nationalism in the colonies linked to an anti-colonial movement?

• In India, people began discovering their unity in the process of their struggle with colonialism.
• The sense of being oppressed under colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups together.
• Different social groups felt the effects of colonialism differently, their experiences were varied and their notions of freedom were different, but the Congress under Mahatma Gandhi tried to unite these groups through movements.

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