Indian National Movement

The Indian National Movement can be divided into three important phases : Phase-I (1885-1905), Phase II (1906-1916), Phase-III (1917-1947).

Phase I (1885-1905)

Indian National Congress

This phase began with the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885 by AO Hume, with its first session held on 28th December, 1985 at Bombay (Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College) chaired by WC
Banerjee and attended by 72 delegates.

The first muslim President of INC was Badruddin Tyabji (Madras Session 1887), First Woman President of INC was Mrs. Annie Besant (Calcutta Session, 1917) and the First Indian Woman President of INC was Sarojini Naidu (Kanpur Session, 1925).

Mahatma Gandhi became the President of INC in 1924 at Belgaum Session. Indian National Congress split for the first time in its session at Surat.


This phase was dominated by moderates, prominent among them were Surendranath Banerjee, Ananda Mohan Bose, Pherozshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji etc.

 Their method of working includes prayers and petitions, peaceful constitutional agitation, organisation of public opinion, promotion of national unity etc.

Partition of Bengal (1905)/Swadeshi Movement (1905)

 The Partition of Bengal came into effect on 16th October,1905, on the basis of the announcement made by Lord Curzon. Bengal was divided into 2 divisions (for the administrative convenience) namely West Pakistan and East Pakistan (currently Bangladesh).

 It was at the Banaras Session of INC (1905), presided by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Swadeshi call was taken up. Lal-Bal-Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh played an important role in Swadeshi Movement.

 Different leaders (extremists) spread the movement to the different parts of India like Lala Lajpat Rai spread it in Punjab, Tilak took it to Maharashtra Chidambram Pillai took it to Madras etc.

Boycott was first suggested by Krishna Kumar Mitra, in 1905. There were burning of foreign clothes, picketing of shops selling liquor, establishment of Bengal chemist etc.

Phase II (1906-1916)

Muslim League

It was established in 1906 by Aga Khan, Nawab Salimullah of Dhaka and Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk.

 In 1939, the Muslim League observed the resignation of the Congress Ministry as Deliverance Day. In 1940, it passed Pakistan Resolution at Lahore Session and in 1943 it adopted the Slogan of ‘Divide and Quit’ at Karachi Session.

Demand For Swaraj (1906)

The INC (1906) under the leadership of Dadabhai Naoroj adopted Swaraj as the goal of Indian National Congress.

Surat Session (1907)

The 1907 Surat Session was held at the bank river Tapt (Surat). It was presided over by Rash Bihari Bose and saw the split between the extremists (represented by Lal-Bal-Pal) and the moderates (represented by Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

Both the moderates and the extremists had differences over the nature and extent of Swadeshi-Boycott
Movement, regarding the Presidentship of INC in 1907.

Gadhar Party (1913)

It was founded by Lala Hardayal, Sohan Singh Bhakhna and Tarakhnath Das, with its Headquarter at San Francisco, the name of its weekly paper was Gadhar.

Home Rule Movement (1916)

 It was started by BG Tilak (April 1916) at Poona and Annie Besant, Subramaniyam Swami at Adyar, Madras (September 1916).

It aimed at establishing self government (home rule) through conducting seminars, distributing pamphalets etc.

 Tilak gave the Slogan of : “Swaraj is my birth right and
I shall have it”.

Lucknow Session of INC (1916) and Lucknow Pact

It took place in 1916, at Lucknow and was presided over by Ambika Charan Mazumdar.

Under this pact the moderates and the extremists came together. INC and Muslim League also merged their differences and agreed to the demand of seperate electorate for Muslims.

Muhammed Ali Jinnah was given the title of “The Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity” for being the architect and mastermind of the historic Lucknow Pact.

Phase III : August Declaration (1917)

It is also known as Montague Declaration (1917), wherein the British Government decided to increase the association of Indians in every branch of administration for progressive realisation of responsible Government.

Rowlatt Act (18th March, 1919)

Under this Act, the Government was empowerd to arrest and detain any person without trail.

It suspended the law of Habeas Corpus.

Due to this Act, Rowlatt  Satyagraha was launched, which was the first countrywide agitation by Gandhiji.

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (13th April, 1919)

On this day, General O’Dyer open fired at the peaceful crowd of people gathered at Jallianwala, as they were agitated over the arrest of Dr. Satyapal and Kitchlew by the British

Sardar Udham Singh murdered Dyer in London, Rabindranath Tagore returned his knigthood and Hunter committee was appointed to look into the matter.

Khilafat Movement (1920)

This movement was jointly led by the Khilafat leaders and the Congress. It was started by Ali brothers, Muhammad Ali and Shaukat Ali.

The reason behind this movement was the treatment met with Turkey by the British followed the World War I.

The Khilafat demands included the Caliph Sultan. must retain with sufficient territory to defend Islamic faith, Jazirat-ul-arab (includes Syria, Arabia, Iraq and Palestine) must remain under muslim suzerainty.

Non-Cooperation Movement (1920)

The resolution on the Non-Cooperation Movement was passed by INC at the Calcutta Session in 1920. It centred around the triple issues of Punjab wrongs, Khilafat issue and demand for Swaraj.

It was the first mass based movement and its programme included Boycott of Schools, Colleges, Law Courts, Surrender of Titles, Pledge of not to join Military etc.

Aligarh Muslim University, Kashi Vidyapeeth, Bihar Vidyapeeth were established during this time.

Chauri-Chaura Incident (1922).

The Congress Session at Allahabad in 1921, decided to launch Civil Disobedience Movement under Gandhiji.

But before it could be launched, a mob of people clashed with the police and burnt 22 policemen alive at Chauri Chaura (UP). This incident is called Chauri-Chaura incident and it forced Gandhiji to put off the Civil Disobedience Movement.

Simon Commission (1927)

In 1927, the British under Lord Birkenhead (Secretary of State) decided to appoint a commission headed by John Simon to review the political situation in India and to recommend further constitutional reforms.

Indians protested aganist it, as it was an ‘All white’ commission and they cried the Slogan of ‘Go back Simon’Lala Lajpat Rai was killed during the brutal Lathi charge by the police during the protest.

Nehru Committee Report (1928)

After boycotting the Simon Commission all political parties constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of Motilal Nehru and Tej Bahadur Sapru.

It was the first major Indian effort to draft a constitutional framework with complete list of Central and Provincial subjects, demand for Universal Adult Franchise, Dominion Status (not independence) etc.

Lahore Session (1929)

Jawaharlal Nehru replaced his tather Motilal Nehru as the President of the ndian National Congress and declared Poorna Swaraj (Complete Independence as its goal).

26th January, 1929 was fixed as the first Independence Day with the unfurling of tri-color National Flag. This day was chosen as the Republic Day of India.

Dandi March (1930)

It was started by Gandhiji from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi (a small village in Navsari District, Gujarat) on 12th March, 1930.

There he picked up a handful of salt to break the Salt Law and launched Civil Disobedience Movement.

Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)

For the first time women participatea in large number. Its programme includes no revenue camampaign (Bardoli refusal to pay Chaukidari tax.

Different activities were carried out in different pars. India like Chitagong armoury raid by Surya Sen. Darshana Salt Satyagraha by Sarojini Naidu, Rajagopalachari Marched from Trichinopoly to Vedaranyam etc.

First Round Table Conference (1931)

It was arranged between the British and Indians at London on 12th November, 1930 to discuss the issue Simon Commission.

Congress did not participated but Hindu Mahasabha,Muslim League, Princes and liberals participated in it.

Gandhi-Irwin Pact (1931)

It is also known as Delhi Pact, signed between Gandh (INC) and Lord Irwin on 5th March, 1931. It was endorsed at Karachi Session of 1931.

Under this pact Lord Irwin agreed to the demand of releasing all the political prisoners of war except
those who were engaged in violence, right to make salt for personal consumption and Gandhi agreed to suspend CDM and participate in 2nd RTC.

2nd und Table Conference (RTC) (1931)

 Gandhiji represented INC and demanded control over defense, foreign attairs. Hindu Mahasabha demanded federal responsibility, Ambedkar demanded seperate electorates for Dalits.

British failed to concede even the basic nationalist demand for freedom.

Communal Award (i982) and Poona Pact

 On 16th August, 1932 Ramsay MC Donald announced the Communal Award which consisted of the provision regarding the sepeuati electoral representation of depressed classes, Sikhism and Muslims.

Gandhiji oppossed it and started fast unto death in Yervada jail. It resulted in the signing of Poona Pact between Gandhiji and B.R. Ambedkar.

Poona Pact provided for joint electorate with increase in reserved seats for depressed classes in the provincial Legislature.

Third Round Table Conference (1932)

It was not of much importance because most of the leaders (including Congress) did not participated in it.

The discussions resulted in the passing of the Government of Indian Act of 1935.

Demand for Pakistan

In 1930, lqbal sug8gested that the NWFP (North West Erontier Province) and Kashmir should be made a Muslim state within federation.

In 1933, term Pakistan’ was coined by Chaudhary Rehmat Ali.

Demand for P’akistan was made for the first time in 1940 at Lahore Session by Muslim League.

August Offer (8th August, 1940)

The Viceroy(Linlithgow) put forward a proposal, known as August ofter, which includes dominion status
in the unspecified future, expansion of Governor-General’s Council with representation for Indians, establish war advisory council and a post war body to enact constitution. It was rejected by INC and accepted by Muslim League.

The Cripps Mission (1942)

With a view to get cooperation from India during the World War II, the British government sent Cripps Mission (headed by Stafford Cripps ) to India.

It provided for dominion status with the right to scede, Constitution making body (partly elected partly nominated), British control over defence for war period etc.

Gandhiji termed it as ‘a post-dated cheque drawn on a crashing bank’. It was rejected by Congress.

Quit India Movement (1942)

Quit India Resolution was passed on 8th August, 1942 at Gowalia Tank Bombay. Gandhi gave the Slogan of ‘Do or Die’. Initially the movement was non-violent.

Leaders were arrested, like Gandhiji at Agha Khan Palace (Poona), Nehru at Almora jail and INC was declared illegal.

It was the leaderless movement and large number of parallel governments were established like at Balia (UP) by Chittu Pandeya (Ist parallel government), at Tamluk (Bengal) by Satish Samant, at Satara by Nana Patil and Y.B. Chavan, at Talcher (Orissa).

Indian National Army (INA)

 Indian National Army was established by Mohan Singh in 1942. Subhash Chandra Bose joined it in 1943 at Singapore. Later, Rash Bihari Bose handed over the leadership to Subhash Chandra Bose.

INA had three fighting brigades named after Gandhi, Azad, Nehru and Rani Jhansi (exclusive Women Wing).

PK Sehgal, Shah Nawaz, Gurbaksh Sing Dhillon were put on trial and Bhulabhai Desai, Sapru and Nehru rose in Defence.

Rajagopalachari Formula ((944)

In 1944, C Rajagopalachari proposed the formation of a commission for demarcating contiguous districts in the North-West and East where Muslims were in absolute majority.

In these area, a plebiscite would be held on the basis of universal adult suffrage that would decide the future of the partition of India.

V.D. Savarkar and Jinnah condemned the plan.

Wavell Plan and Shimla Conference
(June-July 1945)

Wavell plan was proposed by Lord Wavell (Viceroy of India) which suggested setting up of new Executive Council with only Indian members (Viceroy and Commander in Chiet would be non-Indians).

Shimla Conference was organised to set up the Wavell plan but no decision was reached due to conflicting stand between the Congress and the Muslim League.

Cabinet Mission Plan (1946)

Its members include Pathwick Lawrence (Secretary of State), Stafford Cripps and Alexander.

Its proposals includes the rejection of demand of full-fledged Pakistan, called for loose Union ot States, Provincial Autonomy with residual powers, centre to control detence and toreign afairs.

Both Congress and Muslim League accepted it.

Mountbatten Plan

It is also known as 3rd June Plan. Its proposals includes that India would be divided into two divisions namely India and Pakistan with seperate constitutent assembly for Pakistan.

It also gave freedom to princely states to either join India or Pakistan or remain independent, and provided for establishment of Boundary Commission under Redcliff.

Punjab and Bengal would be partitioned and a referendum would be held in NWFP and Sylhet district of Assam.

The Indian Independence Act (1947)

The bill containing the provisions of the Mountbatten Plan, was introduced in the British Parliament and passed as the Indian Independence Act, 1947.

Mahatma Gandhi’s Role in lIndian
National Movement

Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa

He developed the ideas of Satyagraha in South Africa. He founded Natal ndian Congress (1894), Indian Opinion and Phoenix farm (1904), Tolstoy Farm (later became Gandhi Ashram (1910) and awarded Kaiser-i-Hind for raising an Indian Ambulance core during Boar war.

The institutions founded by him are Sabarmati Ashram, Sevagram Ashram and Phoenix Ashram.

Subhash Chandra Bose referred to Mahatma Gandhi as“Father of nation” for the first time.

Mahatma Gandhi In India

He arrived in India on 9th January 1915 and toured India with his Mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He established Satyagraha Ashram which later became Sabarmati Ashram in 1917.

He entered into active politics with Champaran Campaign (his first Civil Disobedience Movement) and he undertook his first hunger strike during Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918).

His first Non-Cooperation struggle took place during Kheda Satyagraha. For the first time he took the command of the National Movement during Rowlatt Satyagraha.

He returned Kaiser-i-Hind gold medal as a protest against Jallianwala Bagh Masacre (1919) and became the President of All India Khilafat Conference. General Dyer, who was responsible for the massacre was shot dead by Udham Singh.

 At the Belgaum (Karnataka) Session of INC for the first and the last time Gandhiji was elected the President of INC.

 Gandhiji retired from the active politics and founded Sevagram (Vardha Ashram) (1934-1939). He again joined politics in 1939 and launched Individual Satyagraha with Vinoba Bhave as the first Satyagrahi. The two elements of Satyagraha was truth and Non-violence.

Leave a Comment