After the Battle of Plassey 1757, the British won political power over India and this is when the Britishers came and ruled India 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.
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 the soldiers by their mouths in order to use the weapon. This was not religiously agreeable to both the Hindu and the Muslim soldiers and so they refused to use the weapon and in return they were left unemployed.
Soon this revolt became widespread, mainly in Delhi and the states around Delhi. But this revolt proved to be a failure and the British army shot back by plundering, loots, murders etc and left the people their 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 an 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
Surendranth Banerjee laid the foundation of the INC in 1876. 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 was too 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 revolutionaries were working and planning whereas on the other hand, the Jallianwala massacre took place in Punjab where the 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 non-violent agitation, "Satyagrah".
The Non-Cooperation Movement
In 1920 Mahatma Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation Movement after realizing 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.
Immediately after the non-cooperation movement was called off, another commission was introduced in the Indian government which had no Indian member included in the reforms and showed no intension 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.
Last Updated on : 5/10/2012