The Ancient History Of India
India was considered a ‘Golden Bird’ in pages of world history, a land with a kaleidoscope of cultures, diversity, and beauty, a land with a kaleidoscope of cultures, diversity, and beauty.
One of the oldest civilizations in the world, India is also geographically diverse with the highest mountain ranges, fragile ecosystems, rare species of flora and fauna, etc.
With 28 states, 8 Union Territories, more than 400 languages, and innumerable cultures, India is a treasure trove of wonders.
The history of this country dates back to a mysterious civilization followed by various magnificent, powerful rulers ruling the land.
Then followed a long struggle for freedom from the shackles of foreign rule. Indian history is diverse, just like the country itself. To treat yourself to some historical delight, keep reading below.
The Indus Valley Civilization
A Bronze-Age civilization situated in the northwest regions of present-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, and north-western India, the Indus Valley Civilization flourished between 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE along the banks of the Indus river.
Presently historians have produced evidence that the Swaraswati river flowed adjacent to the river Indus. Hence a lot of historians refer to the civilization as the Indus-Swaraswati Civilization. The Ghaggar-Hakra river was considered similar to the Swaraswati river.
The inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilization were way ahead of their time. The remarkably well-planned urban city of Indus Valley draws attention to civilization. It was a well-populated city.
The main cities of the Indus Valley Civilization are Harappa and Mohenjodaro, both of which are located in present-day Pakistan. Dholavira, Kalibangan, and Lothal are a few other important historical sites in the civilization.
The cities had well-developed drainage patterns, baked brick houses and buildings, an elaborate water supply system, and a lot of other facilities that made the civilization remarkably advanced.
The houses were extremely well-ventilated. The bricks used for making the houses were bigger than those used presently. The bathrooms have sloping floors with drains connected to sewers. D. R. Bhandarkar and R.D Banerjee are eminent Indian archaeologists who were instrumental in the discovery of the Indus Valley Civilization.
The cities were divided into two parts. The part on the higher ground was called the Citadel and contained public buildings like the Great Granary and the Great Bath.
The town planning of the Indus Valley Civilization was far more advanced than its contemporary counterparts in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China.
Mehrgarh is a site in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. Historians believe that Mehrgarh was the site of the emergence of the Indus Valley Civilization. Inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilization had developed various advanced techniques of metallurgy. They made tools, statues, and seals with different metals.
The site of Mohenjodaro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Harappan language is still under study. Historians believe that the language belongs to the Dravidian language family.
The seals of the Harappan Civilization are significant historical artifacts. The famous unicorn seal is famous all over the world. Indian archaeologist Dayaram Sahni discovered them.
It is interesting to note that Mohenjodaro was rebuilt nine times. The city was probably destroyed entirely by floods every hundred years and again rebuilt. The rebuilt city was exactly similar to the original one.
The Vedic Period
The Vedic Period was the period when the Vedas were composed. The Vedic Period was between 1500 and 600 BCE. It existed between the late Bronze Age and the early Iron Age. The early Vedic Age started with the arrival of the Aryans in India. Historians believe that the Aryans had arrived from Central Asia. They probably lived in the vast plains of Central Asia.
These people first arrived in Iran. From Iran, they moved to the northwest regions of India, crossing present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan. The plains of Punjab were then known as the Saptasindhu since seven rivers originated from there. The Swaraswati was a snow-fed river that had dried up.
The Aryans came in and defeated the locals here. They took over the whole Indian subcontinent. There were several tribes amongst the Aryans. Each tribe had its leader. These chieftains were known as Rajan’s or kings. The office gradually became hereditary.
There were other officials like the senani or the army head, the Raj Purohit or the highest priest, Gramani, or the head man of the village. The king was not extremely powerful and could rule only according to the wishes of his tribe. There were assemblies called the Sabha and Samiti.
The villages were known as gram. A group of villages was called vish. The complete tribe was known as Jana. The head of the family was usually the grandfather and was called the ‘grihapati’. The concept of joint family prevailed.
Women were highly respected in society. They were educated, allowed to attend meetings, and worshipped with their husbands. Some hymns of the Rig Veda are said to be composed by women.
Aryans studied the Rig Veda, the oldest book in India and arguably in the world. It is the oldest specimen of the Sanskrit language. It is divided into 1028 hymns which are distributed in ten books which are called mandalas.
The Vedic religion was a simple and pure form of worship of the various forces of nature, like the rising sun, the fire, the sky, the wind, the rain, the thunder, and lightning. They personified these forces as gods and worshipped them.
The Vedic culture had the existence of four Varnas in it. Society was divided based on what workmen did. The Brahmins performed various sacrifices, the Kshatriyas belonged to the warrior class, and the Vaishyas practiced agriculture, trade, etc.
The later Vedic Age was from 1000 BCE- 600 BCE. The other three Vedas were composed during this period. The other three Vedas are the Yajur Veda, the Soma Veda, and the Atharva Veda. Upanishads and Aranyakas are other religious Vedic works.
During this period, the Aryans occupied the Ganga Yamuna doab. The great battle of Mahabharata was believed to be fought during 950 B.C. The Kurus occupied the region of Delhi, and it was known as Kurukshetra.
By the later Vedic Age, the kings had assumed absolute powers. To showcase his powers, the king performed various sacrifices. They performed the Rajasuya sacrifice and the Ashvamedha or the Horse sacrifice. The king was called the Samrat.
The caste system prevalent during the Early Vedic period became hereditary and rigid. Women were respected and well-treated.
The Later Vedic society divided their lives into four stages. The first was brahmacharya devoted to education. The second was grihastha for marriage and children; the third was vanaprastha or partial retirement, fourth was sanyasa or complete retirement.
The two most important gods of the Early Vedic society, Indra and Agni lost their significance. Prajapati Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer, became worship’s supreme powers. The process of prayers became much more elaborate.
The sacrifices were performed in a more elaborate manner. The Aryans believed in the doctrine of Karma. They believed that the soul never died. The deeds of his earlier life govern the present life of a man.
During the Later Vedic Age, there was a huge growth of knowledge. There was growth in grammar, mathematics, medicine, and philosophy. The grammarian Panini existed during this period. The decimals were in use. Both the lunar and the solar calendar came into use.
Jainism And Buddhism
During the 6th century BC, numerous religious sects evolved in the Middle Ganga Basin. There were preachers from the Kshatriya caste. Mong the many preachers Vardhamana Mahavira and Gautam Buddha became popular as the founder of the religious sects of Buddhism and Jainism.
Both preached against the hollow customs, beliefs, and rituals prevalent in society Vardhamana Mahavira was born in Kundalagram near the city of Vaishali in Bihar. He was a Kshatriya prince but was not attached to worldly possessions. He gave himself up to twelve long years of penance.
During the thirteenth year, he attained knowledge called Kaivalya and began teaching his philosophy. This philosophy was known as Jainism. His followers are known as Jains. The Jains consider Mahavir as their last preacher or Tirthankara.
There were 23 Tirthankaras before him. Mahavir’s teachings included the concepts of equality, freedom, Moksha (attainment of freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth), and ahimsa (non-violence).
There are two sects of Jainism, the Svetambara, the white-clothed clad Jains, and the Digambaras, or the Jains without clothes. Mahavir passed away at 72 at a place called Pavapuri near Rajgir.
Siddhartha was the real name of Gautam Buddha. He lived in his ancestral palace in Kapilavastu, amongst all luxury and comfort. He was married to Yashodhara and had a son named Rahul.
One day he saw a very old man. Another day he saw a very sick man. Yet another day, he stumbled upon a corpse. These incidents depressed him immensely. He gave up on all his worldly attachments and went into the jungle to find out more about suffering. This event is known as the Great Renunciation.
For years he took austere penances on himself. One day he was sitting absorbed in meditation under a peepal tree in Bodh Gaya and attained absolute light of knowledge. He found the answer to his questions. He delivered his first sermon at Deer Park at Sarnath near Varanasi. His Philosophy is known as Buddhism.
Buddhism spread to a lot of places like China, Tibet, South-East Asia, and Central Asia. He did not use Sanskrit for preaching; instead used the common Pali language to preach to his disciples.
The Buddhist monks and nuns keep preaching his teachings till the current date. His preachings include teachings that included the concept of Ahimsa, Moksha, and karma, just like the preachings of Mahavira.
Rise Of The Magadhan Empire
In around 542 B.C. Bimbisara, the king of Magadha strengthened his empire through a number of marriage alliances with the neighboring kingdoms. He annexed several kingdoms. He annexed Anga. The port of Anga was lucrative for trade as if it were present on the Ganga.
Bimbisara thus gained control over Ganga. This was great for trading with the Northern parts of India. Magadha has vast amounts of iron ore deposits used to make warfare tools. Bimbisara ruled Magadha with a council of advisors. The geographical conditions helped Magadha to become a considerable power.
Ajatashatru succeeded his father Bimbisara. Under his reign, Magadha grew even more powerful. He adopted the policy of expansion. It took him 16 years to destroy Vaishali. Magadha was the most powerful kingdom in India then.
By the 4th century B.C. the Nandas seized the throne of Magadha and further expanded the territories towards the south to Kalinga. So great was the power of Magadha then that even Greek conquerors like Alexander did not dare to disturb the peace of Magadha. The last Nanda ruler Mahapadma Nanda was overthrown by the Mauryan king Chandragupta.
The Mauryan Empire
Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Nandas. He was a simple man with extraordinary skills. It is said that he under the mentorship of a brahmin called Chanakya defeated the Nandas.
The legend goes back that Chanakya was insulted by the Nandas, so he sought revenge from them with the help of Chandragupta Maurya of the Moirya tribe. Chanakya was an extremely sorted, simple, and determined person.
After Alexander’s death, one of his generals, called Seleucus Nicator, ruled over the territory west of Indus. Chandragupta defeated him, and thus he liberated India from the control of Greek power.
A peace treaty was signed, and Seleucus married his daughter to the Mauryan Empire. He appointed Megasthenes, the ambassador of Pataliputra.
Our information about the Mauryan empire is largely from Indika, a book written by Megasthenese.
Bindusara succeeded Chandragupta in 297B.C. he ruled over his father’s kingdom for 25 years. He expanded his kingdom to greater borders. The only kingdom which remained hostile to Mauryans was the kingdom of Kalinga.
Ashoka succeeded his father Bindusara. His reign started with the ruthless conquest of Kalinga. Thousands of people were dead and were made into prisoners. The suffering and agony of the war left a deep impression on Ashoka. He decided that he would never wage war again. He changed his goal from Digvijaya to Dharmavijaya. He devoted his life to Dhamma (Dharma). Ashoka embraced Buddhism.
Ashoka was considered the greatest warrior and ruler of all time. His edicts and inscriptions have high significance even today. He took a lot of effort to spread Dhamma.
After the death of Ashoka, the Mauryan Dynasty grew extremely weak. His successor could not deal with the vast empire and its problems. The last Mauryan king Brihadratha was overthrown by Pushyamitra Shunga of the Shunga Dynasty.
Shungas and Shakas
The Shungas defeated the last Mauryan king and set the Shunga dynasty up, but it could reign only for a period of 112 years. They tried to revive the old Vedic culture and performed sacrifices. They were tolerant of Buddhism.
They were constantly at war with the Deccan powers and the province of Kalinga. The Kanvas replaced the Shungas. However, even their reign did not last for long. The Shakas were the first Central Asian power to set up their territory in the Gandhara. Chandragupta Vikramaditya defeated the shakas.
The Age of The Great Guptas
The age of the Guptas is known as the Golden Age. Their kingdom grew highly prosperous. Chandragupta I established the Gupta dynasty. He expanded his kingdom by using marriage relations. He assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja.
Chandragupta I was succeeded by his son Samudragupta I. he was a great conqueror, a great patron of art, and an eminent poet and musician. He glorified Hinduism but was tolerant of other religions.
Chandragupta II succeeded his father Samudragupta. He was also known as Vikramaditya. He defeated a lot of kingdoms and bought them under his control.
He was also a huge patron of art and music. During his reign, Fahein visited India. Vikramaditya’s court has nine gems or the navaratnas among which Kalidasa was a famous Sanskrit dramatist who is the writer of Abhijnanashakuntalam, Raghusambhava, Meghduta, and Kumarasambhava.
Kumaragupta succeeded Vikramaditya and in turn was succeeded by Skandagupta, the last Gupta ruler. During the reign of these two, the Hunas visited India. They were a barbarous tribe from Central Asia. Skandagupta was successful in driving them away.
After the rule of the Gupta dynasty ended, Northern India again broke into smaller fragments. During this time, Prabhakara Vardhana founded a kingdom at Thaneshwar. Rajyavardhana, and after his demise Harshavardhana succeeded to the throne. Harshavardhana conquered a lot of kingdoms in Northern India. He maintained friendly relations with foreign powers. During his reign, foreign traveler Hiuen Tsang visited India. His accounts give us details of king Harshas prosperous kingdom.
King Harsha was a great patron of learning. He was a great patron of the Nalada University set up during the reign of the Guptas.
Vakatakas, Chalukyas, Pallavas and the Pandyas
The Vatakas, a common tribe, succeeded the Satavahanas. The kingdoms of Chalukyas and the Pallavas grew after the decline of Satavahanas. Badaami or Vatapi was the capital of the Chalukyas. Pulakesin II defeated king Harsha He also defeated the Pallava king Mahendraverma but was later defeated by Narashimaverma. The Pallavas fought with the Chalukyas and the Pandyas.
While all these events took place in India, the continent of Europe saw a transition from the ancient age to the medieval age. With the spread of Islam, the Medieval Age set in. the arrival of Arabian traders in India started the Medieval era in India.
The Medieval History Of India
Northern India, after the downfall of the Guptas, comprised several small kingdoms fighting amongst each other for power. Amongst the small kingdoms, the Rashtrakutas, the Palas, and the Pratiharas ruled between 750 A.D and 1000 A.D and tried to gain control over northern India, but none succeeded.
The city of Kanauj was the capital of King Harshavardhana. There was a struggle amongst the different powers to capture Kanauj as it was a strategic point to control the trade through the Ganga Basin.
The medieval period of history in India comprises the period between the 6th to 16th centuries. The Rajputs, the Delhi Sultanate, and the Mughals primarily dominated the medieval period in India.
The Rajputs were of the kshatriya clan and were divided into clans. They belonged to the sun family (Suryavamshi), moon family (Chandravamshi), and the Agni-kula.
There were four Agni-kulas that established their power in the western parts of Central India.
Prithviraj Chauhan III was the prince of the Chauhan Dynasty. He was a powerful king of North India. Chandbardai was his court poet who composed the famous poet Prithviraja-raso. Prithviraj controlled present-day Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab. His capital was located at Ajayameru, which is the present-day Ajmer. He was defeated by the Ghurids in the second battle of Tarain and was executed after that.
Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Ghori were two major invaders of the early medieval period in India.
Mahmud Ghazni was a small Turkish kingdom in Afghanistan established in the tenth century. Mahmud dreamed of turning Ghazni into a massive power in the world and decided to conquer parts of Central Asia.
He decided to invade India and rob it of its riches to accomplish his ambition. The first raid of Mahmud began in A.D. 1000. In 25 years; he made seventeen raids in India. During this period he fought battles in Central Asia and Afghanistan as well.
He destroyed the Somnath Temple located in Western India. He robbed the Indian temples of their riches. He was a destructor for the people of India but a great warrior back home. He built a beautiful mosque back in Ghazni and also a huge library.
He had patronized the famous Persian poet Firdausi who had composed the epic poem Shah Namah. He sent the Central Asian scholar Alberuni to India. The accounts of Alberuni give us information about the time when Mahmud ruled.
Muhammad Ghori, was the ruler of the Ghor kingdom in Afghanistan. He was much more ambitious compared to Mahmud of Ghazni. His plans were to rob India of its wealth and conquer Northern India to add it to his kingdom.
Punjab was already a part of the Ghazni kingdom, making it easier for Ghori to take control of India. Muhammad’s campaign against Prithviraj Chauhan III was a crucial battle in the pages of history.
In the battle, Prithviraj defeated Muhammad, and the battle is popularly known as the first battle of Tarain and took place in 1191.
In 1192 Muhammad defeated Prithviraj Chauhan. This let Muhammad easily capture Delhi. In 1206, Ghori was murdered, and his kingdom was left in the control of his general Outb-ud-din Aibak.
After the death, the slaves ruled over India, leading to the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate.
The Delhi Sultanate
The Slave Sultans (A.D. 1206-1290)
The first rulers of the Delhi Sultanate were slaves to kings or were sons of slaves who later became kings. They were known as Mamluks. The first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate was Qutb-ud-din Aibak, Muhammad Ghori’s general. He established his kingdom in India after the death of Muhammad.
The ruler of Ghazni tried to annex the territory of Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Iltutmish succeeded Qutb-ud-din Aibak and established the Delhi Sultanate. During their reign, they extended the borders of their territory. They extended their territory up to Bengal in the East and Sindh in the west.
The Sultans had taken away the territories of some of the existing Indian rulers. Some rulers were allowed to keep their territories in exchange for military support to the Sultanate.
The Sultanate faced problems from the northwest. The Mongols headed by Chengiz Khan made conquests. After the death of Iltutmish, his daughter Raziya became the Sultan to the throne of the Sultanate. She faced a lot of problems during her reign.
Balban was a strong-willed Sultan after lltutmish. He was effective in solving the problems of the Sultanate. He defended the Sultanate from the attack of the Mongols. He fought against local rulers. His nobles had grown extremely strong, threatening his position, so he firmly broke their power.
His strategic organization of the army and skills to tackle the revolt of his noblemen granted him success. He encouraged his men to do ‘sijdah’ in front of him. This was against the wishes of the orthodox Muslims as they felt that all men are equal and that ‘sijdah’ or touching the forehead to the ground as an act of salutation should be done only before God.
Khilji Dynasty (A.D. 1290-1320)
The Khiljis followed the Mamluks. The Khilji Dynasty was founded by Jalal-ud-din Firuz Khilji. He was murdered by his nephew and son-in-law Alauddin Khilji, the most ambitious ruler of the Sultanate. He took over the throne of Delhi and wished to conquer the whole world.
He raised the taxes on the wealthier people of the Ganga Yamuna Doab region. Under his reign, no noblemen could keep any revenue that was not due to them. The revenue system was closely monitored.
The prices of every commodity were watched so that nobody could make huge profits. Alauddin campaigned against the kingdoms of Gujrat and Malwa. He tried to win victory over Rajasthan by capturing the forts of Ranthambore and Chittor.
Malik Kafur was Alauddin’s general and a close and trustworthy noble. Alauddin sent his army under the command of Kafur to conquer peninsular India and rob it of its riches. Kafur plundered the south collected an enormous amount of Gold. The kingdoms defeated include the Yadavas of Devanagiri, the Hoyasalas of Devagiri, and the Kakatiyas of Warangal. Kafur also conquered Madurai. No North Indian ruler had attempted to penetrate this far in South India.
After the death of Alauddin, the situations were chaotic. Malik Kafur made himself the ruler, but due to lack of support was brutally murdered. There were three other Khilji successors from 1315 to 1320, but all three were murdered brutally. The Tughlaq dynasty was established thereafter.
Tughlaq Dynasty (A.D. 1320-1413)
In 1320 A.D Ghazi Malik assumed the title of Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq and founded the Tughlaq dynasty.
Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq was succeeded by his eldest son Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq. He was the greatest Sultan of the Tughlaq dynasty. He was not only ambitious but also a man of principles and ideals. He was a great mathematician and logician. During his rule, a North African Arab traveler visited India called Ibn Battutah. He wrote a detailed description of Muhammad’s kingdom.
However, a few steps of Muhammad led to him becoming unpopular amongst his subjects. He further raised the taxes in the Doab region under the grip of a famine. People could not pay these heavy taxes and hence rebelled against the Sultan. Hence he had to cancel his order.
Another wrong step Muhammad took was shifting the capital from Delhi to Devagiri, which he renamed Daulatabad. He thought he could control the Deccan better placed in Daulatabad. However, this move did not succeed as he could not keep an eye on the northern frontiers. He had to hence return to Dehli. He also issued tokens of copper which were supposed to be exchanged for silver coins from the treasury but later on, the tokens had to be withdrawn.
After the death of Muhammad, his cousin Firoz Shah took over the throne and ruled till 1388. He realized that the prime reason for the failure of Muhammad was that he didn’t have the support of his nobles. Firoz, therefore, improved his relations with his nobles and also the ulema’s who did orthodox Muslims have mass support.
In spite of several attempts, the Sultanate grew weak. The governors of the princely states of Bengal and Bihar had revolted against the Sultanate. Firoz took many steps for the welfare of his people.
Firoz died in 1388, thereafter when there was a civil war among his descendants. The Tughlaq Dynasty ended, and a governor took over the throne of Delhi and paved the way for the Sayyid Dynasty.
Sayyid Dynasty (A.D.- 1413-1451)
Timur, a Turkish Chief, had invaded India and robbed India of its wealth. While returning, Khizr Khan was appointed as the governor of Delhi. Khizr Khan founded the Sayyid Dynasty in 1414.
The Sayyids ruled until 1451. In 1421, Khizr Khan passed away. His son succeeded him. His son, Mubarak Khan, assumed the title of ‘Muizz-ud-Din Mubarak Shah’. He ruled until 1434 and was succeeded by his nephew Muhammad Shah till 1445. He was succeeded by Ala-ud-din Alam Sham. His rule ended in 1451 when Bahlul Lodi conquered the throne and became the Sultan.
Lodi Dynasty (A.D 1451- 1526)
Bahlul Lodi founded the Lodi Dynasty in 1451 A.D. His son Sikander Lodi succeeded him after his death. Sikander Lodi assumed the title of Sikander Shah.
He founded the city of Agra and made it his capital. He patronized trade and commerce in the kingdom. He was succeeded by the last ruler of the Sultanate, Ibrahim Lodi. Babur defeated him in the first battle of Panipat in 1526. This led to the establishment of the Mughal Empire in India.
The Bhakti, Sikh, And The Sufi Movements
The Sufi Movement
During the eleventh century, Muslims from the Persian regions who had come to India gathered many followers here. They were Sufis. Their ideologies became popular amongst the masses. They preached that one could come closer to God with only love and devotion. They taught that fast ritual and prayers were less important than love and devotion to God and fellow men.
The Sufis promoted true love for God and tolerated every other religion and sect. The orthodox Muslims, the Ulemas, were against the Sufi ideologies.
The Sufis had a lot of Hindu followers. The Sufi saints did not force their Hindu subjects to convert to Islam; instead taught them to be better Hindus. Muin-ud-din Chisti was a famous Sufi saint who lived in Ajmer and preached through devotional songs.
Qawwalis were famous at Sufi gatherings. Baba Farid lived at Ajodhan and was another popular Sufi saint.
The Bhakti Movement
During the seventeenth century, the Bhakti movement evolved in southern India and eventually spread to the rest of the region.
The alvars and the nayannars of the Tamil devotional cult have started to preach Bhakti through hymns and stories. The saints of the Bhakti movements were from non-Brahmin families.
Like the Sufi ideology, the Bhakti ideology preached love ad respect for fellow men. They taught tolerance towards other religions. It taught that the relationship between man and God was based on true love and worship, not any religious sacrifice or ritual.
Shri Chaitanya, a devotee to Lord Krishna and a religious teacher in Bengal preached through hymns dedicated to Lord Krishna. He traveled to different parts of the country to preach Bhakti.
In Maharashtra, Jnaneshvara translated Gita in Marathi. Namdeva and Tukaram are a few other popular saints of the Bhakti Movement.
Kabir was a weaver in Banaras. He turned into a Bhakti saint. His dohas or couplets are extremely famous. He tried to bridge the differences between Hindus and Muslims. His followers are known as Kabirpanthis.
The Sikh Movement
In Northern India, Nanak was another religious teacher who was an important teacher. He founded the Sikh religion. He became popular as Guru Nanak. His teachings are available in form of verses in the scripture called Adi Granth, which his fourth successor compiled in the early 17th century.
He promoted unity irrespective of caste. He started langar or a common kitchen for his followers.
Both Kabir and Guru Nanak encouraged women to join their menfolk in various activities.
Mirabai who was a princess in Rajasthan gave up all luxuries of her life to become a devotee of Lord Krishna.
The Mughal Empire
Babur’s Advent In India
In 1494 Babur, a young man of age 14 succeeded to Farghana, a small state in Trans-Oxiana. Shaibani Khan, the Uzbek Chief defeated Babur and conquered Samarkand. He forced Babur to move to Kabul. In 1504, Babur conquered Kabul.
It was then under the rule of the infant heir of Ulugh Begh. There was a long struggle for power in Kabul and Samarkand. Babur, the descendant to Timur, never ceased to think of conquest over India.
Babur ruled over Badakhshan, Qandhar, and Kabul and yet did not receive sufficient income for his army. He was also worried about the Uzbeks attacking his territory of Kabul. For him, India would be a great place of refuge.
In 1518-19 Babur seized the fort of Bhira and sent a message to Ibrahim Lodi and Daulat Khan asking for the cession of areas that originally belonged to the Turks. On 20th April 1526, the first battle of Panipat was fought between Babur and Ibrahim Lodi and marked the beginning of the Mughal Empire in India.
The first battle of Panipat was an important event in history. It was the earliest battle where gunpowder, firearms, and field artillery were used. Babur’s army was numerically inferior yet had the support of a lot of nobles in India which helped him consolidate his position here.
Babur fought the battle of Kanwa against Rana Sanga in 1527 near the village of Khanwa. It was the first battle between the Mughals and Rajputs. Babur conquered Alwar, Chanderi. The women of Chanderi performed Jauhar. It was a custom of self-immolation in the fire to keep up the dignity and pride of the Rajputs.
He was a great writer and master of the Persian and Arabic languages. His memoir, Tuzuk-i-Baburi is a popular work in literature. Masnavi is another famous work of Babur. He was a keen naturalist and described flora and fauna of India in great detail.
Humayun succeeded his father, Babur in 1530 at the age of 23. His reign was full of adverse conditions. He fought with courage and patience.
The administration of the Mughals was wearing due to the premature death of Babur. The Mughal empire included Kabul and Qandahar. There was no proper control over Badakshan as it was beyond the Hindukush Mountains.
The Afghans had not been subdued and hoped to uproot Mughals from India. They Conquered Bihar and Jaunpur but were defeated by Humayun in 1532. He besieged Chunar by Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri.
Sher Shah defeated Humayun at Chausa in 1539 and at Kanauj in 1540 and forced him to flee to Iran. In Iran, he received help from Safavid Shah. Humayun recaptured Delhi in 1555.
Humayun died in an accident in 1556, and Akbar, and his son, took over the throne.
The Age Of Akbar
Akbar was 13 years old when he was coronated as the emperor. He was the greatest Mughal ruler. He was under the guidance of Bairam Khan. The second battle of Panipat was fought between Hemu and the Mughals.
In 1556 Mughals led by Bairam Khan and Afghans led by Hemu met at Panipat. The tide of the battle was in favor of Hemu, but an arrow hit his eyes, and he fainted. He was arrested and executed.
Bairam Khan remained at the helm of affairs for the next few years. Mughals captured Gwalior. When Akbar grew up, he decided to take charge of the kingdom himself. Many kingdoms were annexed and bought under the control of the Mughals. Marriage was also used to strengthen relations between kingdoms.
Akbar was tolerant of other religions. He gave complete religious freedom to his Hindu wives. Mewar was the only state which refused to accept the Mughal dominance and remained hostile.
In 1576 the famous battle of Haldighati was fought between the Mughal forces led by Man Singh and Rana Pratap, where the Mughals were victorious. Akbar had married the princess of Jodhpur, Jodh Bai, who was the mother of Akbar’s eldest son Jahangir. Akbar’s reign saw many reforms in the Mughal Empire.
He was fond of art and patronized artists, poets, and musicians. His court had many scholars and learned nobles. They were known as the ‘navaratna’. During the last years of his reign, he was distracted by his son Jahangir’s rebellion.
The military campaigns started by Akbar continued. Like Akbar, even Jahangir realized that conquests would not win the goodwill of the people. Nur Jahan married Jahangir in 1611 after the death of Sher Afghan.
Nur Jahan’s father, Itimaduddaula was appointed at joint diwan. He proved loyalty and competency to the Mughals. Nur Jahan was an important personage in the Mughal Empire. She was a companion to Jahangir. She took important decisions in the kingdom along with Jahangir and accompanied him on expeditions of hunting and war.
Shah Jahan’s Golden Era
Shah Jahan was the most competent ruler of the Mughal era. He killed his brothers to conquer the throne. He continued Mughal campaigns in Deccan. An Afghan noble, Khan Jahan Lodi rebelled against Shah Jahan but was defeated. The Bundelas were defeated. His rule saw the building of some of the most remarkable monuments in India. He built the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
He was the greatest patron of Mughal architecture. In 1657, Shah Jahan seriously fell ill, and his throne was usurped by his son Aurangzeb. After recovery, he was put under house arrest by his son Shah Jahan in the Agra Fort till his death in 1666.
The Rule Of Aurangzeb
Aurangzeb also known as Alamgir had conquered almost the entire Indian subcontinent for over 49 years. He was an orthodox ruler of extremely simple living. He lived in the palace but without the comforts and studied Islam profoundly. He had memorized the entire Quran.
Bijapur and Golconda were annexed during the reign of Aurangzeb. There were other kingdoms that he annexed. His death leads to the struggle for power amongst his sons.
After the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire had almost no power beyond the walls of Delhi. The death of Aurangzeb led his eldest son Muhammad Azam Shah to the throne. Other Mughal rulers succeeded to the throne but failed in their attempts to keep up with the grandeur and charm of the Mughals.
The Mughal rule ended, and so did the medieval age of history in India with Bahadur Shah Zafar II. He was sent to exile to Burma after the Rebellion of 1857.
Thus the Mughal Era ended with the start of British rule in India.
The Struggle For Independence In India
Modern Indian History
The First War Of Independence
The East India Company had annexed major portions in India. After the British victory in the Battle of Plassey, Bengali poet Nabin Chandra Sen described the period as – ‘a night of eternal gloom’ The British derived maximum economic advantage from the country and its men. There began the exploitation of the Indians.
Causes of the revolt-
Political Causes– Lord Wellesley had introduced the Subsidiary Alliance. This was fueled by Lord Dalhousie’s extreme implementation of the Doctrine of Lapse. Under this, if an Indian ruler died without leaving a natural male heir, the governance of the state would be passed on to the British government.
Rani Laxmi Bai’s adopted son was denied the throne on this pretext. The states annexed under the Doctrine of Lapse were Mandavi, Kolaba, Jalaun, Surat, Satara, Jaitpur, Sambalpur, Baghat, Udaipur, Nagpur, and Jhansi.
The annexation of these states caused resentment amongst widespread people. The nobility and officials lost their jobs, and the craftsmen and peasants were exploited and subjected to high revenue demands.
Nana Sahib was the adopted son of the last Peshwa Baji Rao II. Under the Doctrine of Lapse, the British government refused to grant Nana Sahib the pension they gave to Baji Rao II. He was forced to live far away from his home at Pune in Kanpur. This action caused hostility amongst people.
Awadh was annexed on the pretext of better governance, but in reality, thousands of soldiers lost their job. Around 21000, talukdars were dispossessed of their estates. Successors of the last Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar were asked to vacate the Red Fort and could not use the imperial titles any further. The Indian aristocracy was deprived of power.
The myth that the British were invincible was broken in the Crimean War and the First Afghan War. The British suppressed the Santhal Revolt (1856) at a heavy cost.
Religious and Social Causes- The activities of the missionaries increased. They visited people and influenced people to convert to Christianity. The Indians felt that their religion was under threat.
Certain humanitarian measures taken by the government on the advice of the Indian reformers, like the abolition of sati and female infanticide, the Widow Remarriage Act of 1856, and proposals to educate girls, were not accepted by the orthodox section of Indian society.
The pandits and maulvis did not accept the spread of western education. Indians were also looked down upon. The Europeans considered themselves racially superior.
The masses did not welcome the introduction of railways and telegraph systems. They considered this a threat to the caste system as the upper and lower classes had to travel to the same place. There were rumors that the telegraph poles were to hang Indians.
Economic Causes- The East India Company plagues the Indian economy. They monopolized the sale of raw cotton. A series of famines added to people’s misery, especially the peasants.
Inhuman treatment was meted out to the indigo cultivators.
Military Causes- The General Service Enlistment Act, the faulty distribution of troops within the country, and the extreme disparity between the Indian and the British soldiers caused resentment amongst the masses.
Immediate Cause- The introduction of the Enfield Rifles was the immediate cause of the upsurge of 1857. The rifles were greased with the fat of pigs and cows. Before loading cartridges, one needed to tear off the paper on the cartridges.
To Hindus, the cow was sacred, and for Muslims, pork was taboo. Indians thought it was a deliberate attempt to hurt their religious sentiments.
Events of the Revolt
The outbreak of the revolt was at Barrackpore, where Mangal Pandey killed a British officer. Delhi was captured, and Bahadur Shah was proclaimed the king. Nana Sahib led the revolts in Kanpur. Tantia Tope fought on his behalf.
The sepoys attacked the British garrison. The British were massacred, and hence they retaliated to avenge themselves.
Nana Sahib was defeated and fled to Nepal. Tantia fled to Kalpi. In Lucknow, Begum Hazrat Mahal led the revolts. Rana Jung Bahadur of Nepal helped her to capture Lucknow.
In central India, the revolts were led by Rani of Jhansi, but she was captured and killed on 17th June 1858.
Causes of Failure of the Revolt
The revolt was not an organized one. It was unplanned and not coordinated. Indian mutineers lacked training. There was no common aim. Large sections of the society remained aloof from the revolt.
Results of the Revolt
The defeat of the Indian mutineers in the revolt of 1857 led to the transfer of power from the Company to the Crown. There was a reorganization in the army and administration. There was a rise in nationalism.
The Rise Of Nationalism
The economic conditions of India at the time, the impoverished peasantry, the ruin of the indigenous industries, heavy taxation, and racial discrimination made people want to free themselves from the shackles of colonial rule. There was agricultural stagnation.
With the spread of Western education, several Indians were exposed to the ideals of nationalism, democracy, liberty, and rationalism. It educated Indians and provided a common language for pan-India communication.
There was the growth of a new class known as the middle class. Other factors promoted the growth of nationalism in the country. Lord Lytton’s policy, the Ilbert Bill controversy, socio-religious reform movements, and the discovery of India’s past were some factors promoting nationalism.
Indians wanted to form an all-India organization. Help for this came from an unexpected direction. A.O. Hume, a retired European civil servant, made the idea concrete. He founded the Indian National Union.
Dadabhai Naroji suggested that its name be changed to Indian National Congress. Indian leaders like Dadabhai Naroji, Pheroze Shah Mehta, Babruddin Tyabji were essential individuals of the National Congress.
Some of the initial demands of the Congress were expanding the Legislative Council, holding simultaneous ICS examinations in India and England, and reducing military expenditure.
The Congress would provide nationalists with a common platform.
The moderates wanted constitutional agitation from the framework of the law. They had the patience and wanted to educate people and unite them on politics.
They got the Public Service Commission appointed in 1886 and popularized the ideals of democracy.
The British government favored the Congress, but their attitude changed when the moderates demanded the citizen’s rights. They tried to win over the Muslims and adopted the policy of divide and rule. The moderates included Dadabhai Naoroji Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Surendranath Banerjee.
Radical nationalism or extremism arose after the failure of the moderates and was an important step in the struggle for independence.
The partition of Bengal in 1905 brought this activity to the forefront. Radical nationalists, also known as aggressive nationalists or militants, refused to accept the British government. The British government had no solution to lessen the miseries of the people and the nationalists and refused to accept their demands. Hence the extremists charged the government with fiery patriotism and vigorous political action.
Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra pal Lala Lajpat Rai are some of the radical nationalists. The teachings of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee greatly influenced the radical nationalist.
Swami Vivekananda and Dayanand Saraswati’s criticism of the moderates inspired the young radicals for their policy of prayer and petition. At the same time, Vande Mataram instilled a deep sense of patriotism among the young. His Anandamath inspired them to struggle fearlessly to liberate their motherland from the clutches of the British.
Swami Vivekananda’s teachings inspired the young nationalist to be strong and courageous. He said ‘what our country wants are muscles of iron and steel.’ The failure of the moderates was a primary cause for the rise of radical nationalism.
The moderates believed that the British rule would be reformed from within. They believed in the British sense of justice and that the British government would redress their grievances if they were made aware of the Indian problems and demands. But this was not true. Their petitions and resolutions could not make any reforms.
The economic factors added to the misery of the common man. The tariff and cotton duties Act of 1894 and 1896 severely blow the Indian cottage industry. Dadabhai Naoroji’s Poverty and Un-British rule in India revealed the reasons for the poverty of the Indians, and RC Dutt’s Economic History of India made it come to light that British commercial, financial exploitation of India was the reason for Indian nationalists and that the British were trying to transform India into a supplier of raw materials as well as a market for finished British goods.
Famines ravaged India from 1896 to 1900 and claimed over 9000000 lives. The government had nothing to do about it. Sufferings were aggravated when a plague followed the famines to further the people’s misery in 1899.
The number of Indians in the Calcutta corporation was reduced in 1904. The Indian official secrets Act was passed, restricting the freedom of the press. Universities act of 1904 established government control over the universities.
Lokmanya Tilak was charged with trying to make people against the government through his writings. He was sentenced to 18 months of rigorous imprisonment. The nationalist attitude of lord Curzon the viceroy of India at that time convinced people that it was futile to accept the British to grant them any political rights to preserve the government’s policy, which made nationalist leaders turn to radical extremists.
Radical nationalism was bought to the forefront when Lord Curzon decided to partition Bengal in 1905 on the grounds of administrative convenience. He decided to partition Bengal into two parts eastern Bengal, along with Assam, with a population of 31 million, and the rest of Bengal, with a population of 50 4 million.
It was apparently visible that Curzon’s real motive was to drive a wedge between the Hindus and the Muslims, trying to load down the rising tide of nationalism in Bengal.
It enraged the nationalist and became a challenge for them. Surendranath Banerjee said the partition announcement felt like a bombshell. We felt insulted and humiliated. This caused hostility amongst all sections of the society, including the Hindus, Muslims, zamindars, lawyers, students, women, and spontaneously mass joined the National Congress.
The partition of Bengal left a Deep impact on the Indian National Congress. All sections of the Congress were united in opposing the partition. There was soon a split in the Congress as the extremist wanted mass agitation all over the country and a boycott of everything associated with this colonial government. The moderates wanted to confine the movement to Bengal with only a limited boycott of foreign goods.
Moderates were also not willing to change their method of working. They believed there was no alternative to British rule in India and that constitutional agitation was the most suitable form of protest. On the other hand, extremists wanted to adopt a more vigorous policy of mass movement.
The Calcutta session of Congress witnessed conflict between the two groups. All the nationalists respected Dadabhai Naoroji. He proclaimed in his presidential address that the goal of the Indian National Congress would be self-government or Swaraj, but the term Swaraj is not defined.
To the moderates, it meant self-government, and to the extremists, it meant complete freedom from colonial rule. Aurobindo Ghosh, one of the important extremists, said political freedom is the life breath of a nation.
The extremists revived the Hindu culture and religion and the Ganpati festival to instill national feelings. Rana Pratap and Shivaji were depicted as national heroes. Religious fervor was added to politics.
Swadeshi was another essential term in the national movement. The Swadeshi movement meant the use of goods made in India. This movement stimulated the Indian industry and revived the policy of self-reliance or Atma shakti. The idea of Swadeshi was popularised by setting on foreign fire cloth, sugar, and salt. There was a boycott of goods manufactured in England.
The boycott also included government services, courts, and government-controlled schools and colleges. Several national schools were founded under the National council of education. Radicals instilled self-confidence and reliance among the people. Their speeches and writings gave people the courage to stand up against British rule. They inspired people to sacrifice and suffer for the nation. Young people joined the struggle for Swaraj.
Radical nationalists also paved the ground for the activities of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Khudiram Bose, Madan Lal Dhingra, and others. Gandhiji, after the partition, people realized that petitioners’ petitions must be backed by force, and they must be capable of suffering. Swadeshi and Boycott movement gave a tremendous boost to the Indian industries.
Revolutionary activities rose and grew, which was extremely important in India’s struggle for independence. Revolutionaries were active between the years 1907 to 1914. The belief that force must be stopped by force favored the cult of the bomb. The atrocities committed by the British on the anti-partition agitators strengthened their resolve.
Vasudev Balwant Phadke made the earliest efforts in Bombay. He founded a revolutionary society with the aim of organized armed rebellion. All their efforts, he was an example to future revolutionaries.
The most notable incident was the assassination of two British officers, Ryand and Ayerst, in 1897 by the chapeker brothers. In April 1988, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki threw a bomb at a carriage that they believed was occupied by Kingsford, the unpopular judge of Muzaffarpur. The wife and daughter of barrister Kenedy were traveling in that carriage. Both of them died. Prafulla Chaki shot himself, and Khudiram Bose was tied and hanged.
Revolutionary activities with taking place outside India too. Mandanlal Dhingra assassinated Sir William Curzon-Wylie in London, and an attempt at the armed rebellion was failed by the police when they raided the hideout of Jatindranath and his fellow revolutionaries on the bank of Buribalam in Balasore. He put up a heroic resistance before surrendering to the police and became famous as Bagha Jatin.
Rash Behari Bose was another well-known revolutionary. He attempted to assassinate viceroy Hardinge.
The Muslim League
There was a growth of communalism in the country. Economic policies led to economic stagnation, and social and non-religious conflicts were portrayed as communal. The British divide-and-rule policy created a rift between the strong Hindus and Muslims.
The ancient and medieval period of Indian history are what taught us about the Hindu and Muslim periods, respectively. Father of Muslim communalism Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a social reformer and initially supported the Hindu Muslim unity, but after the formation of Congress became anti-Hindu due to the influence of Theodre Beck and demanded safeguards for Muslims in government job sectors.
Aligarh College became a hub for the growth of Muslim communalism. There was a Hindu Urdu controversy that widened the rift. The Muslim League was founded as a premier all-in organization for Muslims and was a focal point of Muslim separatism in the later years.
All India Muslim league was founded in Dacca on 30th December 1906. It was the loyalist communal conservative body and raised the slogan of separate electorates for the Muslims.
There was a kind of an alliance between Congress and the Muslim league. This was because of the progressive attitude of the young leaders within the Muslim League and the efforts of leaders like Lokmanya Tilak, and Annie Besant.
Also, the treatment method out to Turkey by Britain after World War I was a major reason for the discontent towards the Europeans. The Lucknow pact was signed. The terms of the pact were that India had to become a self-governing unit, the number of elected members in a provincial legislative council had to be increased, the viceroy’s executive council was to be consisting of Indians, provinces had to have greater autonomy, and no Bill could be introduced by a non-official member, defense, foreign affairs, war, and peace to be controlled by the Imperial Legislative Council, Indian council had to be abolished, Indians have to be adequately represented in all bodies formed for Indian affairs, the judiciary had to be exempted from the executive.
The Lucknow pact formed a point for unity among the Hindus and Muslims. This was a great triumph of Indian nationalism and the struggle for freedom. There were certain defects of the pact. Agreeing with the Muslims, there was a demand for separate electorates.
August declaration of 1917 promised that a greater number of Indians had to be involved in administration. The gradual development of self-governing institutions would take place, and the transfer of power eventually to people’s representatives in the province.
India was to be remaining as an integral part of the British Empire. The government of India Act, 1919 promised decentralization of authority and the bicameral legislature. The provinces had to introduce the dyarchy or the vision of subjects.
Mahatma Gandhi And The Freedom Movement
The Rowlatt act was another unjust act by the Europeans in India. It allowed the arrest and deportation of any person merely on suspicion.
Jallianwala Bagh tragedy of 13th April 1919 was a massive cause behind the national upsurge in the country and the rise of the tide of patriotic fervor. A large but peaceful crowd had gathered to attend a public meeting in the Jallianwala Bagh in Punjab. The crowd was open and fired upon, and the gates for the exit closed. This inhuman act shook up the nation. Rabindranath Tagore gave up his knighthood in protest of this incident.
The Khilafat Movement: Inhuman treatment meted out to Turkey after World War I. Turkey was dismembered, and its Sultan was deposed. Gandhiji was sympathetic towards them and saw it as an opportunity to cement Hindu-Muslim unity.
The khilafat committee met at Allahabad on 9th June 1920 the accepted Gandhiji’s suggestion of launching the non-cooperation movement.
The non-cooperation movement was launched on 1st August 1920. It has involved anti-British strategies that involved boycott of the court of law, schools, election to assemblies surrender of honors and titles. Boycott of British goods and encouragement of Swadeshi was included. Lawyers like Motilal Nehru and C.R. Das responded to the boycott of elections to legislative councils. They gave up on the practice. People courted arrest voluntarily.
National institutions were set up. The government unleased repression and banned public meetings in December 1921. Chauri chaura incident of 5th February 1922 upset Gandhiji. 22 policemen were killed in mob violence. Gandhiji suspended the non-cooperation movement. Gandhiji was arrested on the charges of sedition on 10th March 1922 and convicted of six years of imprisonment.
The non-cooperation movement used violent methods for the first time and help to achieve Hindu-Muslim unity. Indian Statutory Commission was formed under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon in November 1927. It was a 7 member commission, and all the members were European. Congress passed a resolution to Boycott the commission on its arrival. The members of the congress observed a day of hartal.
The commission submitted its report in 1930 and did not grant dominion status to India. The Labour party was to come to power in May 1929 in Britain. Viceroy Lord Irwin promised to hold a round table conference. During the Lahore session of Congress in 1929, it demanded Purna Swaraj. The Congress working committee authorized Gandhiji to launch the civil disobedience movement in February 1930.
Gandhiji formally announced his decision to launch the movement with the march to Dandi in March 1930. The march started from Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat to Dandi, a coastal land. Gandhiji started the civil disobedience movement by violating the salt laws.
He prepared salt by evaporating seawater. This marked the start of the civil disobedience movement in India. Hartals, demonstration boycott of foreign goods, non-payment of taxes, and active participation of women with some striking features of the civil disobedience movement.
Gandhiji was arrested in May 1930. Violent protest was held in Delhi, Calcutta, and Bombay. The government announced the unconditional release of Gandhiji in January 1931. Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed. The agreement included that there would be an immediate release of political prisoners, remission of all fines not yet collected, lenient treatment for Government employees who had resigned from their jobs, and return of confiscated lands.
The second round table conference was held on 7th September 1931. Gandhiji had participated in it but failed to secure assurance from the British government that they would immediately transfer the power. This led to the renewal of civil disobedience.
Congress’s working committee resumed civil disobedience on 29 December 1931. Gandhiji was arrested on 4th January 1932—the popular response to the movement capturing. The movement gradually became weak by August 1942. Ramsay MacDonald announced the communal award on 16th August 1932. This award would be awarded to each minority community as a seat in the legislature and elected based on a separate electorate.
Gandhi resorted to the fast and to death in the protest. Poona pact was signed on 21st August 1932; no separate electorates were to be reserved for the depressed class. The number of seats reserved in the provincial legislature is increased from 71 to 147, and the Central legislative to 18% of the total.
The government of India act 1935 established and all India federation of British Indian provinces and princely states was a creation of bicameral legislature. Representatives to states and Federal legislature were to be appointed by the prince.
Defense and foreign affairs would not be under the control of federal legislation. Viceroy would control all the other subjects. Provinces were to be governed based on provincial autonomy. The formation of Congress ministries in 1939 gave peasants and workers economic relief. They undertook social reforms and promoted mass political activity. During the fight in the election, Congress had won 716 seats out of 1161. Congress ideologies changed.
Leaders like Nehru Subhash Chandra Bose advocated the cause of peasants and workers. There was a rift between Gandhiji and Subhash Chandra Bose. He resigned as the President of Congress in 1939. Muslim league and the Congress became significant rivals. In national politics, they refused to form a correlation with the league. Jinnah announces the Congress as a Hindu body.
Congress ministries resigned in October 1939. The League called to observe 22 December 1939 as a day of deliverance. The league adopted the famous Pakistan resolution. The international situation then was there than World war II had outbroken. Congress refused to join the war and demanded independence.
In the Ramgarh session, Congress leaders rejected the August Offer. Gandhiji launched individual Satyagraha in 1940. Vinoba Bhave was the first satyagraha. Sir Stafford Cripps, appointed in March 1942, proposed that they would be transferring power to India after the war.
Constitution to be framed by the constituent assembly. Congress and the Muslim League rejected the proposal. There was the launch of the Quit India movement. Congress working committee met in Bombay in July 1942 and passed the famous quit India resolution.
Gandhiji was entrusted with leading the nation in 1942, and other leaders were arrested on 9th August 1942. The arrest triggered a widespread movement in India.
Fasts on February 10, 1943, resulted in another day of hartal, demonstrations, and strikes. The significance of the Quit India movement was that it was spontaneous, and the participation of students, women, peasants, and demonstrated the depth of national feeling and movement in the country. It showed that India was ready to accept nothing less than Purna Swaraj.
Poet Muhammad Iqbal 1920 demanded a separate state for Muslims. A group of students at Cambridge under Muhammad Ali demanded a Muslim homeland. At its Lahore session in March 1940, the Muslim league demanded a separate independent state.
The league adopted Pakistan’s resolution to the idea of partitioning the country. The Labour party was voted to power in July 1945. The new prime minister Clement Attlee was keen to grant independence to India. British prime minister Clement Attlee announced a special mission to India on 19 February 1946. Cabinet members comprised Lord Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps, and E. W. Alexander.
The cabinet mission in India in March 1946 announced on 16th May 1946 that India was to be a federation of provinces and princely states. The ways to control the defense of foreign affairs and communication would be in their hands.
Constituent Assembly was to draw the future constitution of India was accepted by the interim government was to be set up. The Congress and the league opposed the formation of entering government. Muslim league urged the viceroy to form the government alone. The viceroy refused to do so without Congress. The interim government was set up and invited Nehru to form the nation’s government on 14th August 1946. Jinnah resorted to direct action.
On 16th August 1946, Nehru formed an interim government. On September 2, 1946, Jinnah was asked to join, but he refused. The league joined the interim government in October 1946 and boycotted the constituent assembly’s first meeting.
Prime minister Clement Attlee announced on February 28, 1947, that the British would leave India by 30 June 1948 on 1947, and the provinces of Bengal and Punjab were to be divided. North-western frontier Punjab was to decide by referendum whether to join Pakistan or remain within India.
On August 15th, 1947, the princely states were given the option to join either India or Pakistan. Recommendations of the Mountbatten plan were implemented in the Indian independence act of 1947. The Indian independence act was recommended by Lord Mountbatten plan was implemented by the Indian independence act 1947, and India and Pakistan were set up on 15th August 1947.
Sindh, Balochistan, West Punjab, and East Bengal were given to Pakistan and the rest of the territories in India. The government was to transfer all the powers to the constituent assembly of India and Pakistan. The constituent assembly would be framed and asked on their constitutions. The crown to veto law is withdrawn act of 1935 to be withdrawn till a new constitution came into existence, and the post of secretary-general was abolished.
While on August 15, 1947, India awoke to a dual reality of independence and partition. Nehru looked upon the country’s bright future and gave his speech, tryst with destiny. With the end of the colonial rule of 200 years, it was a moment of great joy as India was finally free from the shackles of colonial rule.