Monday, January 25, 2010

Where it all began…..?

Where it all began…..?
We all know,
still it is worth recapturing…!

A brief compilation of the historical transition of India
from a British colony to a sovereign, secular Indian Republic.

Sepoy Mutiny - often described as "The First War of Indian Independence"

The East India Company had established the British rule over almost all parts of India by the middle of the 19th century. The Revolt of 1857, which was called a Sepoy Mutiny was unsuccessful but a valiant effort that disturbed the British authority.

On May 10, 1857, soldiers at Meerut refused to use the new Enfield rifle cartridges soldiers and along with groups of civilians broke jails, murdered European men, burnt their houses and marched to Delhi. The marching soldiers was just like a 'signal’ to the soldiers in Delhi, who too turned revolted, seized the city and proclaimed the 80-year old Bahadurshah Zafar, as Emperor of India.

Within a short span of time the Revolt spread to the different parts of the country. Even in the absence of a definite vision of the future Rani Lakshmi Bai at Jhansi, Begum Hazrat Mahal at Lucknow , Khan Bahadur at Bareilly, NanaSaheb, the adopted son of Baji Rao II (the last Peshwa) at Kanpur - led the forces to regain their lost sovereignty.

Government of India Act 1858

Bringing India under direct government of the Crown, Queen Victoria issued the 'Magna Carta of Indian Liberty', the Government of India Act on November 1,1858, which strengthened the British rule in India and the need of a freedom struggle intensified in every Indian soul.

Indian National Congress 1885

As a result of the growth in the political awareness in the country, Allan Octavian Hume, a retired civil servant in British India and other Indian patriots launched the Indian National Congress in December 1885 to bring together hands from the different parts of the country and to organize and train them to present the public opinion before the Government. The first President of the Congress was W.C. Banerjee.

'Divide and Rule' : Partition of Bengal October 16, 1905 and Swadeshi Movement

Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, partitioned the old province of Bengal through a Royal Proclamation that justified the tearing down of the most progressive region of the country at that time as an encouragement to the growth of undernourished eastern region of the Bengal.

The Banaras session of the Indian National Congress presided over by Gopalakrishna Gokhale took up the issue and decided to move ahead with the Swadeshi and Boycott of foreign goods movement. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai and Aurobindo Ghosh were in the fore front of the full-fledged political mass struggle.

In 1915, Gandhiji returned from South Africa to India. Gopal Krishna Gokhale introduced Gandhiji to Indian politics and issues and he spoke at the gatherings of the Indian National Congress.

Lucknow Pact and the Home Rule Movement, 1915 – 1916

Indian National Congress and the Muslim League held talks at Lucknow and jointly signed up the famous Lucknow Pact, an important step to attain Hindu-Muslim unity which weakened the British attitude.

Dr. Annie Besant, started the Home Rule Movement in September 1916 that spread rapidly all over India.

The Rowlatt Act, 1919

In March 1919, British passed the Rowlatt Act which authorised the government to arrest and imprison any person without trial. With Gandhiji, the humiliated indians went through a remarkable political awakening and powerful agitation against the Act.

Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre, 1919

The mass agitation was suppressed the in every way by the British. Gandhiji called for a harthal, the major demonstrations were fired or lathi-charged.

India witnessed one of the worst political crimes on 13th April, 1919 when General Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on an unarmed large crowd gathered in Jalianwala Bagh, Amritsar (Punjab) in an enclosed place without exit and without any warning.

Khilafath Movement, 1919 – 1920

A prominent Muslim journalist, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jouhar and his brother Maulana Shaukat Ali with other Muslim leaders such as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari and Dr. Hakim Ajmal Khan formed the All India Khilafath Committee.

In 1920, Khilafath leaders and the Indian National Congress agreed to work and fight together for the causes of Khilafath and Swaraj. Major nation wide mass campaign’s like Non-cooperation movement , peaceful civil disobedience etc increased the pressure on the British. Strong personal relationships between Gandhiji and Khilafat leaders such as Dr. Ansari, Maulana Azad and Hakim Ajmal Khan ensured Hindu-Muslim unity during the struggle.

Chauri Chaura Incident, 1922

On February 12, 1922, In Chauri Chaura, a town near Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh , an occupied police chowki was set to fire by a group of villagers that killed 22 policemen as the police opened fire on them. This compelled Gandhiji to call off the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Gandhiji, the Ali brothers and otherleaders were arrested and sentenced to six years imprisonment. Then, many Hindu and Muslim religious and political leaders came up with religious fundamentalism and the Congress-Khilafat alliance began cracking soon.

The Ali brothers criticised Gandhiji's decision to suspend all non-cooperation movements due to his commitment to non-violence and began distancing themselves from Gandhi and the Congress. The Khilafat struggle also weakened as Muslims were divided between working for the Congress, and for the Muslim League. The Ali brothers joined the Muslim League while other leaders such as Dr. Ansari, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad remained as supporters of Gandhiji and the Congress. This became a major step in the growth of the League's popularity and subsequent movement to establish a separate Muslim state.

Simon Commission, 1927

British Government appointed a commission of seven members of the British Parliament headed by Sir John Simon to study about the working of the government in the country and to recommend further reforms to be executed from 1929. They arrived in February 1928, was greeted with black flags and hostile demonstrations everywhere they went. Lala Lajpat Rai was seriously injured in one such demonstration at Lahore and died soon suffering from the wounds then received.

Indian National Congress session, Lahore, 31st December 1929

All those present at the Indian National Congress session, Lahore under the presidency of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru took a pledge at the midnight of 31st December 1929 that January 26, 1930 would be observed as the Purna Swaraj (complete Independence) Day. Hundreds from all over the country united to realize the dream of complete independence from the British, observed the day with honour and pride thus strenghtening the Civil Disobedience Movement.

'Salt Satyagraha' 1930

Gandhiji started his famous march from Sabarmati Ashram on March 20,1930, to the small village Dandi with 79 followers. They reached Dandi on April 6, he broke the Salt Law by picking up salt from the seashore.

This Civil Disobedience Movement inspired even the Indian soldiers in the Army and Garhwal soldiers refused to fire on the people at Peshawar.

Gandhi-Irwin Pact, 1931

In 1931, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and M.R. Jayakar talked to Gandhiji in his Poona prison quarters and met Viceroy Lord Irwin. As Lord Irwin agreed to release most political prisoners, Gandhiji and other leaders were released from jail. Talks finally led to the signing of a pact between Gandhiji and Viceroy Lord Irwin, the Congress agreed to discontinue the Civil Disobedience Movement and to participate in the next Round Table Conference.

The Government of India Act,1935

As per the Simon Commission report, the new Government of India Act came into effect which was unanimously rejected by the Congress as it neglected nearly all Indian demands. The Congress demanded Constituent Assembly election to frame a constitution for an independent India.

Indian National Army,1939-1945.

The Indian National Army (INA) is also called 'Azad Hind Fauz' was formed under the initiative of leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose, Ras Behari bose, Pritam Singh etc. Indians residing in south east Asia were much inspired at the victory of Japan against British and capture of Singapore, Burma (Myanmar) and Rangoon (Yangoon). The famous revolutionary Rash Behari Bose arranged a meeting of the leading Indians residing in Tokyo in March 1942 and an Association of 'Free Indians' and a National Indian Army under the command of Indian officers were decided to be formed and that Subhas Chandra Bose would be invited to Southeast Asia. Pritam Singh another leader and Major Fujihara, a Japanese officer, requested Captain Mohan Singh to form an Indian Army, Major Fujihara, a Japanese officer, handed over about 40,000 captured Indian soldiers, who had surrendered to him, to Captain Mohan Singh. With Rash Behari Bose as its president, the formation of the INA was formally declared. Subhash Bose was in Germany then. Indians in Germany gave him the title of 'Netaji' and the slogan of 'Jai-Hind' was initiated here during this time. He used to broadcast his aims and objectives over Radio Berlin which aroused tremendous enthusiasm in India. He arrived in Japan in a German submarine. Japan extended all sorts of help to India in its fight for independence. In July 1943 Rash Behari Bose resigned and Netaji formally took the leadership of INA and declared war on Britain for an Azad Hind. The spirit of nationalism aroused by the INA greatly influenced the India's independence struggle.

Quit India Movement, 1942

On August 8, 1942, Congress Meeting ay Bombay passed a resolution known as 'Quit India' resolution which asked the British to quit India. Gandhiji gave a call for 'Do or die' to every Indian. On August 9 Gandhiji was arrested but the other leaders continued the revolutionary struggle.

Cabinet Mission Plan, Interim Government and
Formation of IndianConstituent Assembly, 1946

The freedom struggle entered its final phase during 1945-46.

A British Cabinet Mission represented by Lord Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander met the representatives of different political parties talked about the establishment of a Constituent Assembly to frame the Constitution as well as an interim government. The Muslim League was striving to get the rights for a separate Muslim state and the Congress too partially accepted the plan so a satisfactory solution could not be found.

On September 2, 1946, an inter¬im government was formed. Congress members led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru joined it but the Muslim League withdrew its earlier acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan.

The Constituent Assembly met on December 9, 1946, and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as its President. The Muslim League did not join the Assembly. The Assembly appointed different committees to study the various aspects of the proposed constitution.

Upon India's independence on August 15, 1947, the new Congress-led government invited B.R.Ambedkar to serve as the nation's first law minister, which he accepted. On August 29, Ambedkar was appointed Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, charged by the Assembly to write free India's new Constitution. The recommendations were discussed, debated and revised and the Indian Constitution was finalized and officially adopted three years later on November 26, 1949.

The Indian Independence Act, 1947

On June 3, 1947 Lord Mountbatten announced that The Bill containing the provisions of the Mountbatten Plan was passed by the British Parliament as The Indian Independence Act.

The Act paved way for the partition of India and handing over of political powers to the new governments of India and Pakistan.

India was partitioned on August 15, 1947 into India and Pakistan, two independent nations. Lord Mountbatten was appointed the Governor-General of free1ndia and M.A. Jinnah the first Governor-General of Pakistan.

Constitution into force

on January 26, 1950 the Constitution of India finally came into force giving the citizens of India the power to govern themselves by choosing their own government.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad, took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in the Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag.

History says :

Dr. Rajendra Prasad, took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in the Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he hoisted the National Flag.

Ever since the historic day, January 26 is celebrated with great pride and happiness all around the country.

On this Republic Day,
let’s read what our great history has in its store.
Let's also feel proud about it.

Jai Hind.

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