The Making of the National Movement

What is the National Movement?

The National Movement of the 19th century is the sole reason why India exists as an independent nation today. The nationalism in India rose due to the influence of the French Renaissance and the subsequent French Revolution. The traditional Indian identity has its roots deep into the ancient era. Hence two hundred years of colonial rule led to the rise of several Political, Socio-Cultural, and Economic unrests throughout the various princely states. Igniting the fire in the masses led to the eventual creation of the Indian National Congress. Hence it became the cause of the rise of nationalism in India. 


Causes of Indian National Movement

Indians led a life of oppression under British rule. They wanted to get rid of the torture of the imperialists. Moreover, some of the reforms unknowingly became responsible for uniting the vision of the colony’s people.

  1. The British brought about the Political Unification of India. The country was supposed to have a common administrative framework, one judicial system, and one set of laws. All the rules would be similar anywhere and everywhere in the country.

  2. The development of the transport system connected people throughout the country. New roads connecting all the regions, the introduction to the railways, the telegraph, and the faster postal system immensely united the people irrespective of their caste, class, or religion. 

  3. Western Education was the biggest boon of the British Raj. Although it was introduced in India to make faithful servants of the imperialists, out the people, it leads to the revolution of minds. Great leaders like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dadabhai Naoroji, Swami Vivekananda, and others were born. They revolutionised the millions of youth of the country towards the path of logic and liberty. 

  4. The birth of the Indian Press and Newspapers was a weapon to inject the seeds of patriotism, nationalism, and freedom into the minds of the people. Now, the message of nationalism was spread, without the knowledge of the Britishers.

  5. The rise of the Vernacular languages, the great works of literature by the authors like Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, in the regional tongue, described to the people the everyday torture they were facing. These eminent people lit the lamp of nationalism among all.

  6. The Indian Scholars brought forward the rich history of our culture and the great emperors who have ruled us.

The continuous exploitation of the Indian economy, the draining of the inherent wealth to support the Industrial Revolution of England, paralysis of the Indian trading by taking away all the raw materials from the country infuriated the masses, who eventually united against the British rule.


The Major Events Which Describe What is the National Movement of India

Several Events are present in the timeline of the National Movement. From those, we also analyse the various problems that are faced during the National Movement. The emergence of the Indian National Congress in 1885, the Partition of Bengal, Surat Split, Formation of Muslim League, and The National Movement during the First World War happened in the first half. Gandhi and other Revolutionaries and the movements which directly led to the achievement of Independence occurred in the second half. 


Gandhi and the Breaking of the Salt Law

The British government had passed a law that stated that the Government would have control over the manufacturing and sale of the salt. Along with this, a tax was also imposed on the sale of the salt. Mahatma Gandhi and other prominent freedom leaders deeply felt that this law was not fair, considering that salt is a common commodity in every food that is prepared. Therefore, the leaders, in order to put forth their point, opposed the law passed by the British Government. Gandhi, in 1930, declared a march to break this salt law. This march also symbolised the desire of freedom felt by everyone, from the poor to the rich. Gandhi, along with his followers would march a total of over 240 miles starting from Sabarmati to the coastal town of Dandi. Tribals, peasants and women would take part in large numbers to oppose the British law. On   reaching Dandi, they would oppose the law by gathering the salt from the seashore, and boiling the sea water in order to obtain salt. 


The Formation of Pakistan

Congress was victorious in the elections of the provincial legislatures , and formed their governments in 7 provinces. 


The Quit India movement was initiated, although the Britishers did their best to suppress it. Eventually the Britishers had to accept the demands of the Indians for complete freedom from their rule. 


In 1940, the Muslim League would demand independent states for the muslims living in the north-western and east-western areas of India.  This was because there was a collective fear among the muslims that they would be suppressed by the Hindus, as the Hindus were the majority in the country.  This resulted in a social divide between the two groups, as congress failed to control and mobilise the muslim massess. 


In the elections of the 1946, the divide between the congress and the muslim league increased. While the congress did well in the General constituencies, the muslim league would succedd in areas with majority muslim population. The msulim league demanded and persisted on its demand for a new nation. 


In March of 1946, the British cabinet would sit to examine the best suited method to free India. It suggested that India should remain united , although some autonomy should be handed to Muslim areas, but the Congress and the Muslim league failed to come at a mutual understanding. This led to a mass agitation by the Muslim league, demanding a separate nation “Pakistan”. Numerous riots would take place, killing many in the process. Millions were forced to flee. As a result of all this, the partition was inevitable,and thus the nation of Pakistan was born. 


Questions and Answers

Here is an example of the making of national movement Class 8 questions and answers.

1. Name an Indian Word that Came to the Forefront of Nationalism. What is its Meaning?

Ans: One of the many words that symbolised the national identity is “Sarvajanik.”It means “of or for all the people” and is made from the two individual words “Sarva” meaning “all” and “Janik” meaning people.


2. Write Down the Slogan Raised by Lokmanya Tilak.

Ans: Tilak had declared that “Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it!” 


3. Why were the People Dissatisfied with the British Rule in the Latter Part of the 19th Century?

Ans: People were going against British rule because the British had passed the Arms Act which was against the religious sentiments of the people, they were exploiting the resources of the country. The government would confiscate any medium of free speech like newspapers and the press. The act of 1883 which allowed Indians to conduct the trial of the Europeans, was forced to be withdrawn by the white-skinned. All together, Indians were extremely dissatisfied with the imperial government.

4. What are the different forms that the non-cooperation movement took in different parts of the Indian subcontinent?

Ans: The non-cooperation movement gained its impetus during 1921 and 1922. It was noticed that thousands of students gave up their education in the schools and colleges controlled by the then government. Lawyers gave up their practises and many surrendered their British titles and legislatures. As an act of protest, people were seen burning the foreign clothes. Therefore, one can say that the Non-Cooperation movement was only a start of the fire that would go on to engulf the British rule in the revolts that would follow. People from all walks of life slowly and steadily joined the Swaraj movement, where some would stick to the philosophy of practising non-violence as advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, while others would take the route of protesting in their own way. Example of this can be seen when the Patidat peasants, belonging from the state of Gujarat, organised the non-violent campaigns to oppose the high land revenue that the British rule demanded. While on the other hand, in states like Andhra Pradesh and tamil Nadu, people would go on to attack the liquor shops. In the state of Punjab , the Akali agitation among the Sikhs demanded the withdrawal of the corrupt mahants from the Gurudwaras who supported the Britishers. In Assam, on the other hand, the tea garden asked for a raise in their wages. They would even go on to leave the British-owned plantations.

Gandhi was seen as a saviour in these uprisings. He was deemed capable of the ability to free the nation from the chains of the British Raj.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the difference between moderates and extremists?

The Indian National Congress underwent a split at the Surat Session of the Congress. It came to be known as the Surat Split. It was crucial in the history of the Indian National Movement. This division happened due to the differences in ideology, methodology, social bases, and most importantly the aims and goals of the two groups of political thinkers. The moderates aimed to bring about social and administrative reforms in the already existing British Government. Their aim was not absolute freedom from British rule.


The extremists believed in attaining Swaraj or complete Independence. While moderates had faith in the Europeans, the Extremists were radical and aggressive and believed in self-reliance as the weapon against domination. These were the main differences between the two.

2. What is the true meaning of the term swaraj?

The term Swaraj means “self-rule” used to indicate “home rule”. The people of India were distressed by the atrocities which the British Raj was inflicting upon the country. The incident which infuriated the Indian mass was the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre at Amritsar. A peaceful protest against the British Raj was going on, when General Dyer, of the British Indian troop, disrupted the peace and killed thousands of innocent men, women, and children present at the Bagh. The place was closed from three sides and did not let people escape. The news spread throughout India and led to more protests from the leaders and masses. Hence, the word Swaraj or self-rule coined by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati came to the forefront. Mahatma Gandhi used it to signify that India aimed for complete Independence from British rule.

3. What economic impact did the First World War have on India?

The first world had a very prominent effect on the economic and political situation of India. There was a sudden upsurge in the demands of the defence expenditure of the Government of India. Taxes were imposed on businesses and individuals by the Government. There was a sudden rise in the prices of the common commodities that put the common man in a lot of distress. But on a positive note, The high demand of the industrial goods put a stop to the goods imported into India from Europe, which in turn gave the Indian industrialists an opportunity to rise and expand their production.

4. Who did the Indian National congress speak for?

The Indian National Congress spoke for all the people. Irrespective of their class, caste, colour language or gender, it stated that the resources and systems in Indian did not just belong to one class or community, but instead it belonged to everyone. It sought to erase the inequalities, discriminations and other such evils that had for a long time continued to grow on the land of India, thereby promoting equal rights and access to anyone and everyone.

5. What was the difference between the policies of the radicals within the Congress and the Moderates?

To fight for the Swaraj, the radicals suggested mass mobilisation and the boycott of the British institutions and goods. Some would also go on to say that revolutionary violence was essential in order to overrule the Bristishers. On the other hand, the moderators would strictly adhere to the rules, laws and order imposed by the Britishers. They would also follow the practice of prayers that was completely opposed by the radicals.