NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 9 - The Making of the National Movement

Chapter 9 - The Making of the National Movement

Question 1: What caused the partition of Bengal in 1905?

• Before partition, Bengal was the biggest province of British India which comprised Bihar and parts of Orissa.
• The British argued for dividing Bengal for reasons of administrative convenience. But the partition of Bengal was closely tied to the interests of British officials and businessmen.
• The British also wanted to curtail the influence of Bengali politicians and split the Bengali people. So, they separated East Bengal and merged it with Assam.

Question 2: What were the consequences of the partition of Bengal?

• The partition of Bengal enraged people all over the country. Both the Moderates and the Radicals in the Congress opposed this action of the British.
• Public meetings and demonstrations began to be organised. Novel methods of mass protest were also developed.
• In Bengal, the struggle came to be known as Swadeshi Movement. In other regions such as in deltaic Andhra the movement was called the Vandemataram Movement.

Question 3: What was the Khilafat agitation?

• In the year 1920, the British imposed a harsh treaty on the Turkish Sultan (Khalifa) which enraged people.
• Indian Muslims wanted that the Khalifa be allowed to retain control over Muslim sacred places in the erstwhile Ottoman Empire. The leaders of the Khilafat agitation Mohammad Ali and Shaukat Ali wished to start a full-fledged Non-Cooperation Movement.
• They got support from Mahatma Gandhi who urged the Congress to campaign against “Punjab wrongs”, “the Khilafat wrong” and demand swaraj.

Question 4: Why was the Simon Commission sent to India? Why did Indians boycott it?

• The British government in England sent a Commission headed by Lord Simon in the year 1927 to decide India’s political future.
• As the Commission had no Indian representative, it was boycotted by all political groups.
• When the Commission arrived it met with demonstrations with banners saying ‘Simon Go Back’. 

Question 5: Why did Gandhiji choose to break the salt law?

• The British introduced a law stating that the Government had control over the manufacture and sale of salt.
• It also imposed a tax on the sale of salt. Mahatma Gandhi and other national leaders argued that salt was an essential item of our food and hence it was wrong to impose a tax on salt.
• Hence, in 1930, Gandhiji declared that he would lead a march to break the salt law.

Question 6: What role did Ambabai play in the Indian freedom struggle?

• Ambabai came from Karnataka. She had been married at age twelve and was widowed at sixteen.
• Afterwards she began participating in the Indian freedom struggle. She picketed foreign cloth and liquor shops in Udipi.
• She was arrested, served a sentence and was rearrested. Between prison terms she made powerful speeches, taught spinning and organised prabhat pheris.

Question 7: Why were people dissatisfied with British rule in the 1870s and 1880s?
The people were dissatisfied with British rule in the 1870s and 1880s due to the following reasons:
• The British were exercising control over the resources of India and the lives of its people.
• In 1878, the Arms Act was passed under which Indians were not allowed to possess arms.
• Vernacular Press Act was also passed in 1878. This Act allowed the government to confiscate the assets of newspapers including their printing presses if the newspapers published anything that was found “objectionable”.
• In 1883, there was a furore over the attempt by the government to introduce the Ilbert Bill. The bill provided for the trial of British or European persons by Indians, and sought equality between British and Indian judges in the country. But when white opposition forced the government to withdraw the bill, Indians were enraged. 

Question 8: Who were the Moderates? How did they propose to struggle against British rule?

• The leaders of Congress in the first twenty years of its formation were termed as Moderates.
• They proposed to struggle against the British in a non-violent manner. They wanted to develop public awareness about the unjust nature of British rule.
• They published many articles in the newspapers and journals highlighting about the increasing poverty of the country under the British rule.
• They criticised British rule in their speeches and sent representatives to different parts of the country to mobilise public support.
• They felt that the British had respect for the ideals of freedom and justice and so would accept the just demands of Indians. Therefore, their main aim was to express these demands and make the government aware of the feelings of Indians.

Question 9: How was the politics of the Radicals within the Congress different from that of the Moderates?
The politics of the Radicals within the Congress were different from that of the Moderates in the following ways:
• Radicals criticised the Moderates for their “policy of prayers”. They argued that instead of believing on the so called good intentions of the British, people should fight for swaraj.
• They advocated mass mobilisation and boycott of British institutions and goods.
• Some individuals also suggested “revolutionary violence” to overthrow British rule.
• Moderates, on the other hand, proposed to struggle against the British in a non- violent manner. They wanted to follow the rules, the laws and the order posed by the British.

Question 10: What economic impact did the First World War have on India?
The First World War had the following economic impact on India:
• It led to a huge rise in the defence expenditure of the Government of India.
• The government, in turn, increased taxes on individual incomes and business profits.
• Increased military expenditure and the demands for war supplies led to a sharp rise in prices, which created great difficulties for the common people.
• The increased demands of industrial goods such as jute bags, cloth, rails, etc., made the business groups reap fabulous profits from the war.
• As the first world war caused a decline in imports from other countries into India that gave an opportunity for the expansion of the Indian industries. 

Question 11: Discuss the various forms that the Non-Cooperation Movement took in different parts of India. How did people understand Gandhiji?
Non-Cooperation Movement started in 1920. The various forms taken by the Non-Cooperation Movement in different parts of India are mentioned below:
• At Kheda in Gujarat, Patidar peasants organised nonviolent campaigns against the high land revenue demand of the British.
• In tea gardens of Assam, labourers demanded an increase in their pay.
• In coastal Andhra and interior Tamil Nadu, liquor shops were picketed.
• In Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, “forest satyagrahs” were staged by the tribals and poor peasants who grazed their cattle in the forests without paying the grazing fees.
• In Sind (now in Pakistan), Muslims supported the Khilafat and the non-cooperation movement.
• In Bengal too, the Khilafat-Non-Cooperation alliance gave enormous communal unity and strength to the national movement.
• In Punjab, the Akali agitation of the Sikhs demanded to remove corrupt mahants, supported by the British, from their gurdwaras.
• In many other parts of the country, thousands of students left government schools. Many lawyers like Motilal Nehru, C.R. Das, C. Rajagopalachari and Asaf Ali gave up their practices. People surrendered their titles and boycotted legislatures. People lit public bonfires of foreign cloth. 

Question 12: Discuss those developments of the 1937-47 period that led to the creation of Pakistan.
The developments of 1937-47 that led to the creation of Pakistan are mentioned below:
• Provincial elections of 1937: When the Congress formed government in seven out of eleven provinces in 1937 elections, League began to feel that the Muslims were a minority, and they would always have to play second fiddle in any democratic structure. It feared that Muslims may even go unrepresented.
• Congress rejected to form joint government: The Congress’s rejection of the League’s proposals to form a joint government in the United Provinces in 1937 also annoyed the League.
• Failed talks between Congress and League: At the end of the war in 1945, the British opened negotiations between the Congress, the League and themselves for the independence of India. The talks failed because the League saw itself as the sole spokesperson of India’s Muslims. The Congress could not accept this claim since a large number of Muslims still supported it.
• Success of league in Provincial elections of 1946: Elections were held in 1946 to the provinces. League performed extremely well in the seats which were reserved for the Muslims. It thus gave them the confidence to create a separate state of Pakistan.
• Failure of Cabinet Mission Plan in 1946: In March 1946 the British cabinet sent a three-member mission to Delhi to examine this demand and to suggest a suitable political framework for a free India. Cabinet Mission Plan suggested against the partition though it suggested some degree of autonomy for the Muslim majority areas. However, some of its proposals on independence were rejected by both congress and the League.
• Mass agitation: After the failure of the Cabinet Mission Plan, the League organised full scale movement to demand the formation of separate state for the Muslims. It declared 16 August 1946 as the ‘Direct Action Day’, in which riots broke out in many parts of the country including Calcutta which resulted in the death of thousands of people.
• Eventually, partition was finalised and Pakistan was born.

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