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, due its richness and prosperity, has been a keen interest of invaders and rulers always.

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.

Due the discontent and dissatisfied local rulers, peasantry 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 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".

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.

Simon Commission



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.

Indian Freedom Struggle Timeline



YearLocationEventProtagonist
1857BerhamporeSepoys of the 19th Infantry refuses 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 Laxmibai died Rani Lakshmi Bai
1859ShivpuriTatya Tope captured and executedTatya Tope
1876 Queen Victoria declared as the "Empress of India" 
1885BombayIndian National Congress 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 canceled 
1912DelhiNew Delhi 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 for demanding 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 publicized 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 Conference Mahatma 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 organizations 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
1944ShimlaSimla 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 : 19/07/2013