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EHI-01 Modern India: 1857-1964

Assignment (TMA)

Course Code: EHI-01

 Assignment Code: ASST/TMA/2018-19

Total Marks: 100

Section 1: Answer each question in about 500 words each.

  1. Discuss the various stages of colonialism in India. What was its impact on the Indian economy? 20 OR What was the state of Indian agriculture before 1947? What measures were taken to bring about improvements in agricultural production after 1947?

Solution:  Stages of colonialism in India: The three stages of colonialism are:

(1) First Stage: Monopoly Trade and Plunder:

The first stage had two basic objectives. In order to make trade more profitable indigenously manufactured goods were to be bought cheap. For this competitors were to be kept out, whether local or European. Territorial conquest kept local traders out of the lucrative trade while rival European companies were defeated in war. Thus, the characteristic of the first stage was monopoly of trade.

Secondly, the political conquest of the colony enabled plunder and seizure of surplus. For example, the drain of wealth from India to Britain during the first stage was considerable. It amounted to two to three% of the national income of Britain at that time. Colonialism was superimposed on the traditional systems of economy and polity. No basic changes were introduced in the first stage.

(2) Second Stage: Era of Free Trade:

The interest of the industrial bourgeoisie of the metropolis in the colony was in the markets available for manufactured goods. For this, it was necessary to increase exports from the colony to pay for purchase of manufactured imports. The metropolitan bourgeoisie also wanted to develop the colony as a producer of raw materials to lessen bourgeoisie also wanted to develop the colony as a producer of raw materials to lessen dependence on non-empire sources.

Increase of exports from the colony would also email it to pay for the high salaries and profits of merchants. The industrial bourgeoisie opposed plunder as a form of appropriation of surplus on the ground that it would destroy the goose that laid the golden eggs.

The colony was to be integrated with the world capitalist economy and the mother country. Capitalists were allowed to develop plantations, trade, transport, mining and industries. The system of transport and communications was developed to facilitate the movement of massive quantities of raw materials to the ports for export. -Liberal imperialism was the new political ideology. The rhetoric of the rulers was to train the people in self-government.

(3) Third Stage: Era of Finance Capital:

The third stage saw intense struggle for markets and sources of raw materials and food grains. Large scale accumulation of capital in the metropolis necessitated search for avenues for investment abroad. These interests were best served where the imperial powers had colonies. This led to more intensive control over the colony in order to protect the interest of the imperial power.

The third stage often did not take off. Colonialism had so wrecked the economies of some colonies that they could hardly absorb any capital investment. In many colonies the older forms of exploitation continued. In India, for example, the earlier two forms continued, even in the third stage.

Colonialism in India impact on Indian economy:

Western explorer Vasco – d – Gama discovered a new sea route to South India from Europe.  Portugals made a note of India and stated coming to India on business and religious expansion purposes.  Britishers amon others wanted to increase business with India. East India company of U.K. (Great Britain) stated major business ventures with India and within India. To protect their business they brought British troops to India.

East India company got involved in local politics and fights of small Indian kingdoms of the Indian subcontinent. They started political aggressions and take-overs.  East India company of U.K. was taken over by the British government due to their lack of accountability despite full liberty they enjoyed in Indian operations. Britishers started from taking over Calcutta and west bengal to South India and Tipu sultan.

Over a period of time, many powerful Independent kinddoms fell under British rule in spite of their brave struggles. One of the last to fall were the Marathas. India became a colonial subject country of the British crown with most of India under the rule of the Viceroy and the British administration nominated and controlled by the British government and the British crown. Only a very small fraction remained under portugal authority. French and Portuguese were defeated and their colonies taken over by Britishers.

However, a handful of Portuguese colonies (very small fraction of India) remained in Portuguese hand till even after the Indian Independence.  The first armed struggle for independence of India in the year 1957 which the British historians call the great mutiny of 1957 was fought by many powerful Indian kingdoms who were colonialized by the foreigners and some Indian troops who revolted against their British rulers.

British handled the year 1957’s freedom struggle with a very heavy hand and were able to subdue the freedom fighters. Political invasions of the British also proved to be an economical aggression where the Indian wealth started going over to the Britishers during the Industrial Revolution and other times. Britishers brought trains, telegraphs etc. to India for their convenience of ruling India. But Indian economy was in shambles and U.K. getting better and better in wealth and economy through the economic victimization of Indians and India.

Britishers had to leave India in 1947 in response to the Indian struggles for independence. India became independent in 1947. In 1950 India became a democratic independent republic. Since 1950 India is ruled by the democratic government of the Indians that is elected democratically by the Indian citizens.


  1. Discuss the reasons for the failure of the Revolt of 1857. 20 OR Describe the different stages of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Solution:  Here are different stages of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

The Civil Disobedience Movement led by M K Gandhi, in the year 1930 was an important milestone in the history of Indian Nationalism. There are three distinct phases that mark the development of Indian Nationalism. In the first phase, the ideology of the moderates dominated the political scenario.

This was followed by the prominence of the extremist ideologies. In the third phase of Indian Nationalism, the most significant incident was the rise of MK Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, to power as the leader of Indian National Movements. Under his spirited guidance, the National Movements of the country took shape.

The Indians learnt how apparently philosophical tenets like non-violence and passive resistance could be used to wage political battles. The programs and policies adopted in the movements spearheaded by Gandhi reflected his political ideologies of ahimsa and satyagraha. While the Non-Co-Operation Movement was built on the lines of non-violent non-cooperation, the essence of The Civil Disobedience Movement was defying of the British laws. Through his leadership to the National Movements, he not only buttressed his political stance but also played a crucial role in the unification of the country, the awakening of the masses, and bringing politics within the arena of the common man.

Factors Leading to the Civil Disobedience Movement

The prevalent political and social circumstances played a vital role in the launching of the Civil Disobedience Movement. The Simon Commission was formed by the British Government that included solely the members of the British Parliament, in November 1927, to draft and formalize a constitution for India. The chairmanship of the commission rested with Sir John Simon, who was a well-known lawyer and an English statesman. Accused of being an ‘All-White Commission’, the Simon Commission was rejected by all political and social segments of the country. In Bengal, the opposition to the Simon Commission assumed a massive scale, with a hartal being observed in all corners of the province on February 3rd, 1928. On the occasion of Simon’s arrival in the city, demonstrations were conducted in Calcutta. In the wake of the boycott of the recommendations proposed by Simon Commission, an All-Party Conference was organized in Bombay in May of 1928. Dr MA Ansari was the president of the conference. Motilal Nehru was given the responsibility to preside over the drafting committee, appointed at the conference to prepare a constitution for India.

Barring the Indian Muslims, The Nehru Report was endorsed by all segments of the Indian society. The Indian National Congress pressurized the British government to accept all the parts of the Nehru Report, in December 1928. At the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress held in December 1928, the British government was warned that if India was not granted the status of a dominion, a Civil Disobedience Movement would be initiated in the entire country. Lord Irwin, the Governor General, after a few months, declared that the final objective of the constitutional reforms was to grant the status of a dominion to India. Following this declaration, Gandhi along with other national leaders requested the Governor General to adopt a more liberal attitude in solving the constitutional crisis. A demand was made for the release of the political prisoners and for holding the suggested Round Table Conference for reflecting on the problems regarding the constitution of the country.

None of the efforts made by the Congress received any favorable response from the British government. The patience of the Indian masses were wearing out. The political intelligentsia of the country was sure that the technique of persuasion would not be effective with the British government. The Congress had no other recourse but to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement. In Bardoli, the peasants had already taken to satyagraha under the guidance of Sardar Patel in the year 1928. Their non tax agitations were partially successful. The Congress took the decision to use the non violent weapon of satyagraha on a nation wide scale against the government.


Section 2: Answer each question in about 250 words each.

  1. Write a note on the non-Brahman movements in western and southern India. 12 OR Discuss the relationship between the Indian National Congress and the Indian capitalist class.

Solution:  The relationship between the Indian National Congress and the Indian capitalist class is mention below:

The relationship was interdependent. Congress knew that capitalists can considerably fund the movement, and have deep influence over the bourgeoisie. Capitalists were aware that without the support of Congress, the British government would not listen to them. They used their alliance with Congress to push demands that suited their class and pressured the government into making certain concessions (low Rupee-Sterling ratio, tariff protection, reduction in military expenditure, etc).

They emphasized that after certain important concessions, a movement should be withdrawn. Later, a threat of relaunch could be used for bargaining.

They extended full support to the Congress during the times of struggle and condemned the government’s efforts of suppression. At times, they, in fact, pressurized government to stop brutal suppression, remove the ban from Congress and press, and release political prisoners. But they were against a prolonged all-out opposition as that would harm their business. Instead, they were more inclined towards an unrelenting constitutional struggle because of their fear of militant and pro-social elements.

They understood their long-term interests and the dangers of British economic exploitation. They understood the nature of Indian national movement and the role of Congress in the struggle. They were more inclined towards constitutional avenues because of their fear of radical elements. They extended full support to the Congress during the times of struggle and condemned the government’s efforts of suppression. After participating in a movement, they would jump in and would mediate for a conciliation between the Congress and the government. Throughout, they too kept their own interests in mind and used their relationship with the Congress to gain crucial concessions from the government.


  1. Analyse the main characteristics of the popular movements during the second half of the nineteenth century. 12 OR Write a note on the Khilafat Movement.

Solution:   Khilafat Movement (1919-1924) was a significant Islamic movement in India during the British rule. This was an attempt by the Indian Muslim community to unite together in support of the Turkish Empire ruled by the Khalifa, which was attacked by European powers. The Muslims considered the Khalifa as the custodian of Islam. They simply could not digest his dethronement. Under the leadership of prominent Muslim leaders, notable one being Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, they launched the Khilafat Movement in most parts of North India.

The Khilafat Movement, aimed against the British government, received the support of Mahatma Gandhi, who related his Non Cooperation Movement with it. The main objective behind this move was to enlist the support of the Muslim community into his movement, which addressed the issue of ‘Swaraj’ (Self-Government). By mid-1920 the Khilafat leaders assured full support to the non-violent methods of Gandhi, which facilitated the establishment of a united front of Hindus and Muslims against the British government. This combined force formed a major threat to the British rule.

The Khilafat Movement however did not last long. Owing to some violent incidents in the country which resulted in the deaths of many Indian and British people, Mahatma Gandhi called off his Non Cooperation Movement. This was a major jolt to the Khilafat Movement. The movement received its final blow in March 1924, when the original Khilafat movement in Turkey was abolished following the Islamic country’s conversion from a Sultanate empire to a Republic.


  1. Explain the reasons behind the partition of India. 12 OR Discuss the rise of national consciousness in 19th-century India.

Solution: The reasons behind the partition of India mention below:

India and Pakistan won independence in August 1947, following a nationalist struggle lasting nearly three decades. It set a vital precedent for the negotiated winding up of European empires elsewhere. Unfortunately, it was accompanied by the largest mass migration in human history of some 10 million. As many as one million civilians died in the accompanying riots and local-level fighting, particularly in the western region of Punjab which was cut in two by the border.

The agreement to divide colonial India into two separate states – one with a Muslim majority (Pakistan) and the other with a Hindu majority (India) is commonly seen as the outcome of the conflict between the nations’ elites. This explanation, however, renders the mass violence that accompanied partition difficult to explain. One explanation for the chaos in which the two nations came into being, is Britain’s hurried withdrawal with the realisation it could ill afford its over-extended empire.

If Pakistan were indeed created as a homeland for Muslims, it is hard to understand why far more were left behind in India that were incorporated into the new state of Pakistan – a state created in two halves, one in the east (formerly East Bengal, now Bangladesh) and the other 1,700 kilometres away on the western side of the subcontinent

It is possible that Mohammed Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, simply wished to use the demand for a separate state as a bargaining chip to win greater power for Muslims within a loosely federated India. Certainly, the idea of ‘Pakistan’ was not thought of until the late 1930s. One explanation for the chaotic manner in which the two independent nations came into being is the hurried nature of the British withdrawal. This was announced soon after the victory of the Labour Party in the British general election of July 1945, amid the realisation that the British state, devastated by war, could not afford to hold on to its over-extended empire.


  1. What were the Cripps Proposals? Why did the Congress reject them? 12 OR

 Discuss the early Sikh reform movements.

Solution:  Cripps proposal also outlined the composition of the constitution making-body and how it would be elected, adding that until the formation of the new constitution the British Government would remain responsible for the defence of India. The Cripps proposals were an attempt to satisfy the Congress by the promise of a Constituent Assembly and the League by the provision that any province would be at liberty to reject the Constitution and form a new constitution by agreement with the British Government.

The Cripps proposals were rejected by the Congress in its meeting 11th April, 1942. The Working Committee reiterated the demand for freedom before the people could participate in the defence of the country on a national basis. The Working Committee expressed its disapproval of the proposed Composition of the Constitution making body and the right of the rulers of the Indian States to decide the future of millions of people living in these states. This was a “negation of both democracy and self-determination. The proposals, therefore, were rejected by the Congress as Vague and incomplete.

 The Muslim League welcomed the implicit recognition of the possibility of Pakistan but rejected the proposals because it had given greatest importance and priority to the creation of one Indian Union. The League reaffirmed its conviction that the “only solution of India’s constitutional problem is the partition of India into independent Zones.”

On 4th April an unhappy Gandhi advised Cripps to take the first plane home and leave India. Cripps admitting his failure left India on 12th April, 1942. On the next day

Gandhi commented on his ill-fated mission in the following words “It is a thousand pities that the British Government should have sent a proposal for dissolving the political deadlock which on the face of it was too ridiculous to find acceptance anywhere. And it was a misfortune that the bearer should have been Sir Stafford Cripps acclaimed as a radical among radicals and a friend of India.” exposed the real imperialistic character of Churchill Government which wanted only the Balkanization of India.

The Congress could wait no further when the British rule was sure to harm India in a disastrous way. Gandhi, therefore, came to his final decision that the British rule in India must come to an end. The decision was thrashed out in the Working Committee during July 1942 and confirmed by a meeting of the All Congress Committee in Bombay on 8th August 1942. This historic decision of the Congress inaugurated a new chapter in the history of Modern India.


Section 3: Answer in about 100 words each. 6+6 7. Write short notes on any two of the following: a)

  1. b) Home Rule Leagues

Solution: The Indian Home Rule movement was a movement in British India on the lines of Irish Home Rule movement and other home rule movements. The movement lasted around two years between 1916–1918 and is believed to have set the stage for the independence movement under the leadership of Annie Besant and B.G Tilak. Indian home rule movement began in India in the background of World War I. The Government of India Act (1909) failed to satisfy the demands of the national leaders. However, the split in the Congress and the absence of leaders like Tilak, who was imprisoned in Mandalay meant that nationalistic response was tepid.

By 1915, many factors set the stage for a new phase of nationalist movement. The rise in stature of Annie Besant (who was of Irish origin and a firm supporter of Irish home rule movement), the return of Tilak from exile and the growing calls for solving the split in congress began to stir the political scene in India. The Ghadar Mutiny and its suppression led to an atmosphere of resentment against British rule.


  1. d) Santhal rebellion.

Solution:  The Santhal rebellion (sometimes referred to as the Sonthal rebellion), commonly known as Santhal Hool, was a native rebellion in present-day Jharkhand, in eastern India against both the British colonial authority and zamindari system by the Santhal people. It started on June 30, 1855 and on November 10, 1855 martial law was proclaimed which lasted until January 3, 1856 when martial law was suspended and the movement was brutally ended by troops loyal to the British. The rebellion was led by the four Murmu Brothers – Sido, Kanhu, Chand and Bhairav



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