GS-1 (Mains), Modern History, Prelims Booster

(MH/2) Modern History – Quick Revision Series Part-2

Modern History

National Movement (1919-1939)

1. Why Nationalist resurge at the end of WW1

-> Post-war economic hardship (Unemployment, high expectations of political gains from govt).

-> Nationalist Disillusionment with Imperialism worldwide (As imperialist power had no intention of loosening their hold over the colonies).

-> Impact of Russian Revolution (Bolshevik party of workers overthrew the Czarist regime & founded Socialist state).

2. Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, 1919

  • Dyarchy in provinces.
  • GG to administer with an Executive Council of 8 (3 to be Indians)
  • Bicameral Central Legislature (As Lower & Upper House)


  • Dyarchy arrangement too complex & irrational to be functional.
  • Central Executive not responsible to legislature.

3. Gandhi’s Early Activism in India (CAKe-R)

Champaran Satyagraha(1917) – First Civil Disobedience.
Ahmedabad Mill Strike(1918) – First Hunger Strike.
Kheda Satyagraha(1918) – First Non-Cooperation.
Rowlatt Satyagraha(1918) – First mass-strike.

4. Khilafat Non-Cooperation Movement

-> Favourable Treaty for Turkey
-> Redressal of Punjab wrongs
-> Establishment of Swaraj

Technique used
-> Boycott;
-> Setting up of National Schools, Colleges, Panchayats & using Khadi;
-> 2nd stage to include civil disobedience by non-payment of taxes.

Nagpur Congress Session (Dec-1920) (C. Vijayaraghavachariar)
-> INC goal changed the attainment of Swaraj through peaceful & legitimate means from attainment of self-government through constitutional means.

Chauri-Chaura Incident (Feb 1922)
-> Violence by agitated mob- prompted Gandhi to withdraw movement.

5. Swarajists & No-Changers

Swarajists led by C.R. Das, Motilal Nehru & Ajmal Khan

  • Wanted an end to the boycott of legislative council so that nationalists could enter & Obstruct the working of these councils if govt did not respond to their demands (i.e. They wanted to ‘end or mend’ these councils.
  • Their only intention was to use the council as an arena of political struggle.

No-Changers led by Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, C. Rajagopalachari & MA Ansari.

  • Opposed Council entry,
  • Argued that parliamentary work lead to neglect of constructive work, loss of revolutionary zeal & to political corruption.
  • Continuation of boycott & non-cooperation,
  • Quit preparation for resumption (beginning again) of the suspended civil disobedience programme.

But both sides wanted to avoid a 1907-type split and kept in touch with Gandhiji who was in Jail.

6. Emergence of New Forces during 1920s

-> Spread of Marxism & Socialist ideas
-> Activism of Indian Youth
-> Peasants’ agitations
-> Growth of trade unionism (AITUC- Lala Lajpat Rai, first president)
-> Caste Movements (Justice Party in Madras; Self Respect movement, 1925 under “Periyar”- E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker in Madras; Radical Ezhavas under K. Ayyappan & C. Keshavan in Kerala; Yadavs in Bihar)
-> Revolutionary terrorism with a tilt towards socialism

7. Activities of HRA/HSRA (Oct 1924)

Founded by Ramprasad Bismil, J.C. Chatterjee & Sachin Sanyal with an aim to organise an armed revolution & estd a Federal Republic of United State of India (Adult franchise)

  • Kakori Robbery –1925
  • Reorganised –1928
  • Saunders’ murder –1928
  • Bomb in Central Legislative Assembly –1929
  • Bid to blow up Viceroy Irwin’s train –1929
  • Azad killed in Police encounter in Allahabad –Feb 1931
  • BS, Rajguru, Sukhdev hanged –23rd March 1931 (Can be asked in match the following or arrange in ascending or descending)

8. Revolutionaries in Bengal

  • After Das’s death (1925), Bengal Congress broke up into two factions-
    • One led by JM Sengupta (Anushilan group joined forces with him).
    • Another led by Subhash Chandra Bose (Yugantar group backed him).
  • Surya Sen’s Chittagong Revolt Group (Raid-1930)
    • Surya Sen participated in NCM.
    • Bina Das fired point blank at the Governor while receiving her degree at the convocation (1932)

9. Reasons for Growth of Communalism

  • Socio-economic backwardness: Concessions used as a tool to fuel communalism.
  • British policy of divide & rule
  • Communalism in History writing
  • Side effects of socio-religious reform movements (Wahabi movement among muslims & Shuddhi among Hindus with their militant overtones).
  • Side-effects of militant nationalism.
  • Communal reaction by majority community (Hindu Mahasabha, RSS).

10. Evolution of Two Nation Theory

1887: Frontal attack on the Congress by the viceroy Dufferin.
-> Syed Ahmed Khan & Raja Shiv Prasad of Bhinga were propped up as an anti-Congress front by the govt.

1906: Agha Khan led a Muslim delegation (Shimla Delegation) to the Viceroy Minto to demand separate electorate for Muslims at all levels.

1909: Separate electorate for Muslims.

1915: 1st session of All India Hindu Mahasabha under Maharaja of Qasim Bazar.

1916: INC accepted the ML demand of separate electorate.

1920-22: Muslims participated in the Rowlatt & Khilafat Non-Cooperation agitations but there was a COMMUNAL ELEMENT.

1920s: Arya Samajists started Shuddhi & Sangathan movements.
-> The Muslims started the Tabligh & Tanzeem movements in retaliation.

1928: Nehru Report on constitutional reform (Opposed by ML & Sikh League).
By negotiating with ML, the Congress made no. of mistakes:
-> Gave legitimacy to the politics of league.
-> Undermined roles of secular nationalist Muslims.
-> Concessions to one community prompted another community.
-> This diverted attention from launching an all-out attack on communalism.

1932: Communal award accepted all Muslim communal demands (Jinnah’s 14 points).

After 1937: After ML performed badly in the 1937 provincial elections, it decided to resort to Extreme Communalism.

24th March,1940: The “Pakistan Resolution passed in Lahore Session of ML.

During WW-2: British Indian govt gave a VIRTUAL VETO to ML on political settlements.
League made full use of this privilege & stuck to its demand of a separate Pakistan throughout the negotiations under the
-> August offer (1940),
-> Cripps proposals (March 1942),
-> Shimla Conference (June 1945),
-> Cabinet Mission Plan (May 1946).

11. Simon Commission

  • Came to explore possibility of further constitutional advance.
  • No Indian Representation > Boycotted by Indians.
  • Challenge of Lord Birkenhead to Indian politicians to produce an agreed constitution.

12. Nehru Report (Aug 1928)
As an answer to Lord Birkenhead’s Challenge, Motilal Nehru made first Indian effort to draft constitutional scheme.
Recommendations of Nehru Report

  1. Dominion Status
  2. Joint electorate with reserved seats for minorities (No separate electorates).
  3. Linguistic provinces.
  4. 19 Fundamental Rights
  5. Responsible govt at Centre & in provinces.
  6. Full protection to cultural & religious interests of Muslims.
  7. Complete dissociation of state from religion.

ML + HM + Sikh + Younger section of INC (JL Nehru & Bose) = Unhappy with Nehru report.

Delhi Proposals Proposals of Muslims which were earlier accepted by the Madras Session of Congress (Dec 1927) came to be known as DP. These were-

  • Joint electorate
  • 1/3rd representations to Muslims in CLA.
  • Representation to Muslims in Punjab & Bengal in proportion to their population.
  • Creating Sindh, Baluchistan & NWFP as New Muslim majority provinces.

However, Hindu Mahasabha vehemently opposed.

13. Jinnah’s 14 Demands

  • Federal Constitution with residual powers to Provinces.
  • Provincial Autonomy.
  • Constitutional Amendment with concurrence of states.
  • Adequate representation in all legislatures.
  • Adequate representation in services &  self-governing bodies.
  • 1/3rd representation in CLA.
  • Separated Electorate.
  • Separation of Sindh from Bombay.
  • Full religious freedom to all communities.

14. Lahore Congress Session (Dec 1929)

  1. Presided by JL Nehru
  2. Passed Purna Swaraj Resolution.
  3. CWC decided to launch a CDM.

15. First Round Table Conference (Nov 1930-Jan 1931)
-> INC did not attend.

16. Gandhi-Irwin Pact / Delhi Pact (March 1931)

  • Gandhi & other INC members released unconditionally.
  • Congress agreed to attend 2nd RTC & to withdraw CDM.

Irwin on behalf of the Govt agreed on

  1. Immediate release of all political prisoners not convinced of violence.
  2. Right to make salt in coastal areas.
  3. Right to peaceful & non-aggressive picketing.
  4. Withdrawal of emergency ordinances.

17. Karachi Congress Session (1931)

  • Presided by Sardar Patel.
  • Endorsement of Gandhi-Irwin pact.
  • Resolution on Fundamental Rights & New Economic Policy passed.

18. 2nd Round Table Conference (Dec 1931)

  1. Right wing in Britain against concessions to Indians.
  2. Session got deadlocked on question of safeguards to minorities (demand of Separate electorate by many).

Dec 1931-April 1934:  2nd Phase of CDM

19. Communal Award & Poona Pact

  • Provided separate electorates to depressed classes.
  • Nationalists felt this to be a threat to national unity.
  • Gandhi’s fast unto death (Sep 1932) led to Poona Pact which abandoned separate electorate for depressed classes in favour of increased reserved seats for them.

20. GoI Act, 1935

1. An All India Federation (Never came up).
-> The Central government carried on upto 1946 as per the provisions of GoI Act, 1919.
2. Bicameral legislature at the Centre (Governor-general had residuary powers).
3. Provincial Autonomy replaced Dyarchy.
4. Three lists for legislation – Federal, Provincial & Concurrent.
5. At Centre, Subjects to be administered divided into reserved & transferred categories.
6. Provincial legislators to be directly elected

21. INCSocial Welfare Reforms (1919 – 1939):

-> Measures for welfare of Harijans (Temple entry, use of public facilities, Scholarships, increased participation in government service and police etc).
-> Emphasis given to Education, Public health and Sanitation.
-> Khadi was promoted through subsidies and other measures.
-> Prison reforms undertaken.
-> Indigenous enterprises encouraged.
-> Efforts taken to develop planning through National Planning Committee (Chairman – Pandit Nehru) set up under INC President Bose in 1938.


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