Indian Freedom Struggle

Map of India Struggle for Independence

India Struggle for Independence Map
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*Map showing the events that took place during the Indian struggle for Independence.

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Foreign invaders had always been keen to come to India from the ancient time, be it the Aryans, the Persians, Iranians, Parsis, Mughals, Chengis Khan: the Mongolian, or the great Alexander. India always has a cultural richness and prosperity which developed a keen interest in the invaders and rulers.

After the Battle of Plassey 1757, the British won political power over India and this is when they came and ruled the country for almost 200 years. In 1848, during the tenure of Lord Dalhousie, their rule began to establish. North-west India was one of the initial targets of the British and by 1856 they had developed a firm authority. It was in the nineteenth century when the British rules gained its major heights.

Due to the discontent and dissatisfied local rulers, peasants and the soldiers who were unemployed by then broke out into a revolt, commonly known as the "revolt of 1857" or the "mutiny of 1857".

The Revolt of 1857

This mutiny began with a revolt by the soldiers at Meerut who were unemployed. The cause of their unemployment was the new cartridge introduced in the new Enfield Rifles which contained grease made of cow and pig fat which had to be removed by their mouths in order to use the weapon. This was not religiously agreeable and accepted to both the Hindu and the Muslim soldiers, hence, they refused to use the weapon and in return they were left unemployed.

Soon this revolt became widespread, mainly in Delhi and the nearby states. But this revolt proved to be a failure and the British army shot back by plundering, loots, murders etc. and left the people helpless. This revolt affected Delhi, Awadh, Rohilkhand, Bundelkhand, Allahabad, Agra, Meerut and western Bihar the most where some of the most ferocious battles were fought. But still the revolt of 1857 did not prove to be a success and failed within a year.

Post Revolt of 1857

While the British rule controlled the revolt of 1857 within a year, the East India Company came to an end and many new policies starting forming in the British government. Queen Victoria was proclaimed as the Empress of India.

Reformists like Raja Rammohan Roy, Bankim Chandra and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar were seen emerging and fighting for the rights of the Indians. Their main aim was to unite and fight against the foreign rule.

Indian National Congress (INC) came into being

The foundation of the INC was laid in 1885. Its main aim was to put forward the view of the middle class educated citizens. In 1906, the Congress session at Calcutta gave a call to the attainment of 'Swaraj' and hence the 'Swadeshi Movement' started.

In 1905, the partition of West Bengal took place and the capital of the country was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.

Simultaneously, the British government too was preparing against the Indian efforts and as a result they passed several reforms in 1909 known as the Morley-Minto reforms which instead of the development aimed at creating differences between the Hindus and the Muslims.

On one hand, the reformists and the revolutionaries were working and planning whereas on the other hand, the Jallianwala massacre took place in Punjab in 1919 where people had gathered to celebrate Baisakhi.

It was after the First World War (1914-1918) that Mahatma Gandhi came back to India and observed the condition of the country and started the non-violent agitation, "Satyagrah".

Non-Cooperation Movement

In 1920, Mahatma Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation Movement after realising that it was baseless to expect a fair treatment from the British government. This movement continued till 1922 and proved to be a great success.

Simon Commission

Immediately after the non-cooperation movement was called off, in 1927, another commission was introduced in the Indian government which had no Indian member included in the reforms and showed no intention of accepting the demand for 'Swaraj'. Under the leadership of Lala Lajpat Rai, great protests were held.

Civil Disobedience Movement

The Civil Disobedience Movement started in December 1929 and it aimed at complete ignorance and disobedience of the British government. It was during this movement that the revolutionaries: Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were arrested and hanged to death.

Quit India Movement

It was in August 1942 that Gandhiji started this movement which aimed at complete freedom from the British rule and posed as a 'do or die' situation. There were widespread actions of sabotage, violent protests etc. Finally Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose fled from the British detention and formed the Indian National Army. India got its freedom in August 1947 from the ruthless British rule after all the hard work, sacrifice and selflessness of the rulers, revolutionaries and citizens of the then country.

Indian Freedom Struggle Timeline

1857BerhamporeSepoys of the 19th Infantry refused rifle practice
1857MeerutSepoy Mutiny
1857AmbalaUnrest at Ambala
1857BarrackporeMangal Pandey attacked British officers and was later hangedMangal Pandey
1857Lucknow48th Mutiny at Lucknow
1857PeshawarNative garrison were disarmed
1857Kanpur2nd Cavalry mutinies, Satichaura Ghat Massacre, Massacre of women and children in the Bibighar
1857DelhiBattle of Badli-ki-Serai
1857JhansiRani Lakshmi Bai protested against the denial of rights of her adopted son and led successful defense of Jhansi against invading armiesRani Lakshmi Bai
1857Meerut50 Europeans killed by sepoy and crowd
1857KanpurSecond battle of Cawnpore (Kanpur): Tatya Tope defeated by company forcesTatya Tope
1857JhelumMutiny of native troops against British
1857GurdaspurBattle of Trimmu Ghat
1858CalcuttaEast India Company abolished
1858GwaliorBattle of Gwalior when Rani Lakshmi Bai with Maratha rebels captured Gwalior from Scindia rulersRani Lakshmi Bai
1858JhansiRani Laxmi Bai diedRani Lakshmi Bai
1859ShivpuriTatya Tope captured and executedTatya Tope
1876 Queen Victoria declared as the "Empress of India"
1885BombayIndian National Congress (INC) formed by AO HumeAO Hume
1898 Lord Curzon became Viceroy
1905SuratSwadeshi Movement started
1905BengalPartition of Bengal
1906DhakaAll India Muslim League foundedAga Khan III
1908 30th April: Khudiram Bose was executed
1908MandalayTilak was sentenced to six years on charges of seditionBal Gangadhar Tilak
1909 Minto-Morley Reforms or Indian Councils Act
1911DelhiDelhi durbar held. Partition of Bengal was cancelled
1912DelhiDelhi established as the new capital of India
1912DelhiDelhi Conspiracy Case to assassinate Lord Hardinge (Viceroy of India)
1914 The Ghadar Party was formed at San Francisco
1914KolkataKomargata Maru incident
1915MumbaiGopal Krishna Gokhale died
1916LucknowLucknow Pact SignedMuhammad Ali Jinnah
1916PuneTilak founded Indian Home Rule League first in Poona (Pune)Bal Gangadhar Tilak
1916MadrasAnnie Besant led Home Rule LeagueAnnie Besant
1917ChamparanMahatma Gandhi launched the Champaran campaign in BiharMahatma Gandhi
1917 Montagu Declaration made by Secretary of State, Edwin Samuel Montagu
1918ChamparanChamparan Agraria Law passed
1918KhedaKheda Satyagraha
1918 Beginning of trade union movement in India
1919AmritsarJallianwala Bagh Massacre
1919 Rowlatt Act passed by Imperial Legislative Council in London
1919 Khilafat Movement started
1920 Tilak founded the Congress Democratic Party
1920 Non-Cooperation Movement startedMahatma Gandhi
1920 All India Trade Union Congress startedNarayan Malhar Joshi
1920CalcuttaGandhiji proposed a resolution that called for British to grant dominion status to IndiaMahatma Gandhi
1921MalabarMoplah rebellion
1922Chauri ChauraChauri Chaura incident
1922AllahabadSwaraj Party formedSardar Vallabhbhai Patel
1925 Communist Party of India was formed
1925KakoriKakori ConspiracyRam Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Chandrasekhar Azad
1925BardoliBardoli SatyagrahaVallabhbhai Patel
1928BombaySimon Commission arrives in Bombay and an all-India hartal was observed
1928LahoreLala Lajpat Rai assaulted by police at Lahore and later died due to injuriesLala Lajpat Rai
1928 Nehru Report proposed new Dominion Constitution of India.Motilal Nehru
1929LahoreLahore Session of the Indian National Congress heldPt Jawaharlal Nehru
1929LahoreFreedom fighter Jatindra Nath Das fasted till death demanding for better facilities for prisonersJatindra Nath Das
1929 All Parties Muslim Conference formulates the 'Fourteen Points'Muhammad Ali Jinnah
1929DelhiCentral Legislative Assembly bomb throwing incidentBhagat Singh, Batukeshwar Dutt
1929 Lord Irwin announced that the Government would meet for a Round Table Conference with Indian representatives
1929LahoreJawaharlal Nehru hoisted the flag of India
1930 Purna Swaraj declaration was publicised by the Indian National Congress
1930Sabarmati AshramBeginning of Civil Disobedience Movement with Dandi March or the Salt MarchMahatma Gandhi
1930ChittagongChittagong Armoury RaidSurya Sen
1930LondonFirst Round Table Conference begins in London to consider the report of the Simon Commission
1931LahoreBhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru hanged till deathBhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru
1931 Gandhi Irwin Pack signed by Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin
1931 Second Round Table ConferenceMahatma Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Ghanshyam Das Birla, Muhammad Iqbal, Sir Mirza Ismail, S.K. Dutta, Sir Syed Ali Imam
1932 The Indian National Congress and its associate organisations declared illegal
1932 Gandhiji was arrested for sedition without trialMahatma Gandhi
1932 British Prime Minister, Ramsay Macdonald announced the "Communal Award" to grant separate electorates to Indian minority communities
1932 Gandhiji began his "fast unto death" to improve status of untouchable castes that lasted for six daysMahatma Gandhi
1932LondonThe Third Round Table Conference
1933 Gandhiji fasts to focus attention on the welfare of untouchables.Mahatma Gandhi
1934 Gandhiji withdraws himself from active politics and dedicates himself towards constructive programmesMahatma Gandhi
1935 The Government of India Act 1935 passed
1937 Indian Provincial Elections held under the Government of India Act 1935
1938HaripuraHaripura session of the Indian National Congress held
1938 Subhash Chandra Bose was elected as the President of the Indian National CongressSubhash Chandra Bose
1939JabalpurTripuri Session conducted
1939 Congress ministries in the provinces resigned to protest against the war policy of the British government. Subhash Chandra Bose resigned from the post of the Indian National Congress' PresidentSubhash Chandra Bose
1939 The Muslim League observes 'Deliverance Day' to celebrate the resignation of the Congress ministriesMuhammad Ali Jinnah
1940 Lahore Session held by the Muslim League for the creation of 'Independent States' for Muslims
1940 'August Offer 1940' made by Lord Linlithgow that offered Indians' the right to create their own Constitution
1940WardhaCongress Working Committee rejects the 'August Offer' and launched 'Individual Satyagraha'
1941 Subhash Chandra Bose escapes from IndiaSubhash Chandra Bose
1942 Quit India Movement or August Movement started
1942 Churchill announces the Cripps Mission
1942BombayIndian National Congress adopted 'Quit India' Resolution
1942 Gandhiji and other top Congress leaders were arrestedMahatma Gandhi
1942 'Azad Hind Fauj' establishedSubhash Chandra Bose
1943Port BlairCellular Jail declared as the headquarter of the Provisional Government of India
1943 Subhash Chandra Bose proclaims the formation of the Provisional Government of free IndiaSubhash Chandra Bose
1943KarachiKarachi session of the Muslim League adopted the slogan 'Divide and Rule'
1944MoirangColonel Shaukat Malik of the Azad Hind Fauj defeated British in the region with Japanese supportColonel Shaukat Ali
1944SimlaSimla Conference held between Viceroy Archibald Wavellin and Indian political leaders
1946DelhiCabinet Mission Plan passed
1946DelhiConstituent Assembly formed
1946 Royal Indian Navy Mutiny
1946DelhiCabinet Mission arrives in New Delhi
1946LahoreJawaharlal Nehru takes over as Congress PresidentJawahar Lal Nehru
1946 Interim Government of India formed
1946DelhiFirst session of the Constituent Assembly of India held
1947 British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee declared that the British government would grant full self government to British India
1947 Lord Mountbatten appointed as the Viceroy of India and then became the first Governor General of Independent India
1947 Mountbatten Plan was made for the partition of India into fully sovereign dominions - India and Pakistan with effect from 15th August 1947 under the Indian Independence Act 1947

Last Updated on : July 30, 2015