Colonialismand Making of Modern India
Colonialismand Making of Modern India
3)Was Gandhi a political leader or an invented national icon withoutfollowing?
Gandhiwas a political leader because he influenced Indians into engaging inpeaceful demonstrations to compel the British administration toaccept their demands. Gandhi had large following, especially from thenon-Muslim Indians. During the time he spent in South Africa he roseto prominence because of he occasionally engaged in resistance whilein South Africa. He was born in 1869 and studied Law in England.After graduating as a barrister, he attempted to establish a law firmin both Ahmedabad and Bombay unsuccessfully. He sought employment ina local law firm in India, that later posted him to South Africa in1893. He resided in Natal, South Africa for fifteen years. During hisresidency in the country, he began organizing the expatriate Indiansto protest against the discriminatory laws and regulations that theBritish government had established. Although the protests werenon-violent, they were successful to a given extent thereby, heended up rising to prominence (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 137).
Gandhihad mass following. He communicated his political philosophy usinghis book “Hind Swaraj” or the Indian Freedom. He wrote that theydid not only require to acquire independence in India, but theyneeded to rethink the political struggle as they could achievepolitical Swaraj, but the country retain the “British rule remainin their absence”. His political philosophy suggested that themachineries the Englishmen had introduced were making the Indiansimpoverished. As a result, he proposed that Indians should go back toliving a peasant life without technologies the British introducedsuch as telegraphs, hospitals, railways, doctors and lawyers. He alsoobserved that the upper class Indians were supposed to shed theBritish lifestyle they had adopted within the previous fifty years,so that they could begin living religiously and consciously.
Boseand Jalal (2002, p. 136) asserts that Gandhi launched hisnon-violence and non-cooperation strategy in India for the first timebetween 1917 and 1918. He had followers because he masterminded twoagitations in his home place, Gujarat. He had followers because heinfluenced the Kheda District residents to decline paying the highrevenue the colonial state was demanding in a period of financialdistress. Second, Gandhi was influential as he solely resolved theconflict between the City’s Textile Mills and the striking Indianemployees. Third, he championed the agitation in Bihar’s ChampionDistrict where the Indian peasants were demonstrating against thecolonial government for compelling them to grow indigo (Bose &Jalal, 2002, p. 136).
Thesuccessful accomplishment of the agitations gained Gandhi politicalaccord internationally. In 1919, he called for his first countrywideagitation that to force the colonial administration to withdraw the“Rowlatt act” as it undermined Montagu–Chelmsford reforms.Gandhi ensured to cause nationwide agitation through establishmentsuch as the Home Rule Leagues, which was a political network based onIslamic Universalism (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 136). The agitationincreased Gandhi’s political prominence as it deteriorated into themost chaotic anti-imperialism in India since 1857. The Rowlatt actpermitted arrest and detention of Indians without trial, which wasagainst the Montagu–Chelmsford reforms that proposed post-warreforms (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 137).
Insummary, Gandhi was a political leader because he single-handedlyinfluenced Indians to use non-violent techniques to rebel against thecolonial state in India. In addition, he began arranging peacefulagitations in his home district with a few followers, and graduallybecame a national icon with capacity to call for nationwideresistance. His political skills are evident as he interconnects theHindus, Muslims and Sikhs in the agitation. Besides, he successfullyencourages the demonstrators to use the satyagraha (a quest for truththrough mass political activity) instead of ahimsa (non-violence)(Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 138).
4)Was Jinnah a Muslim nationalist or a nationalist Muslim?
Jinnahwas a Muslim nationalist as he advocated the formation of anautonomous nation that has Muslim majority. As a chair of the Leagueof Muslim, his main objective was ensuring that Muslims hadautonomous states from India where they could establish laws based onIslamic values. Jinnah joined was a staunch Muslim, so he readilyaccepted Wazir Hassan’s request to join to join the Islamic Leaguemovement in 1913. He was active in the coordination of activitiesbetween the League and congress. For instance, he oversaw the 1916Lucknow Pact, through which congress acknowledged the concept ofMuslim to have distinct electorates. The objective of advocatingformation of an independent Muslim electorate was to facilitate theestablishment of a joint Hindu-Muslim front for expelling the Britishcolonists (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 128).
MuhammadAli Jinnah served as as a politician, attorney, and the leader of theIslamic group. He aimed to maneuver politically through integratingreligion and politics as Gandhi was doing. In 1920s, the Congressparty postponed the non-cooperation campaign. Some members of theCongress wanted to join the British government as it had accepted toadopt the Montagu–Chelmsford councils (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p.141). However, since the members interested in joining the partycould not compromise Gandhi, Das and Nehru broke away with theirloyalists (Muslims) and created a Swaraj party. Swaraj party wantedpostponement of the boycott while Gandhi’s congress wantedpersistence with the strike against the colonial state. Thedifferences led to constant war between the rival Hindus and Muslimsfrom 1920 to 1922 (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 142). However, MuhammadAli ended the wrangles between the Congress and Swaraj throughestablishing the “federation of faiths”. He wanted to ensure thatMuslims benefited from the independence thus the reason he wasforming a coalition with Hindus. In 1930s, Jinnah was branded a“communalist” as he advocated that Indian provinces with Muslimsas the majority to be granted independent electorate (Bose &Jalal, 2002, p. 143).
Anotherevent that portrayed Jinnah a Muslim nationalist was the 1927resolution to boycott the all-white John Simon’s commission.Congress elected Motilal Nehru as the chair of the committee thatwould spearhead future constitution reforms. Gandhi, Congress’leader, invited The League of Muslim to join the commission, butJinnah (Muslim League chair) asserted contended that he could onlyjoin the organization if they could reach a rational charterconcerning safeguarding Muslim interests (Sumit, 2002, P. 180).
Accordingto Sumit (2002, P. 236), Jinnah presided over a Lahore in 1994 wherethey resolved to demand some completely independent federations forthe provinces with Muslim majorities. The Muslim wanted autonomousprovinces as they feared that Hindus might dominate over them afterthe independence.
InMarch 1940, Jinnah chaired the Muslim League that declared the Lahoresession. Lahore resolution advocated formation of two states – onestate for the minority Muslims and the other one for the Hindus(Crispin, 2007, p 116). In 1942, the British arrested Gandhi andplaced him under house arrest. Jinnah feared Hindu domination in theabsence of the Congress leader, so he focused on advocatingestablishment of another state called Pakistan state. Jinnah assertedthat Pakistan would be an all-Muslim state that would be independentof the rest of the Hindu regions (Sumit, 2002, P. 224).
Insummary, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a Muslim nationalist as hechampioned secession of Indian provinces that had Muslim majoritiesin 1947 to for the Pakistan State. Pakistan had independent electoralbody from India as it was intended to serve the interests of IndianMuslims. Besides, he acted as the first Governor-general of the newlyestablished Pakistan state as well as, oversaw establishment ofIslamic policies for ruling the Islamic state (Crispin, 2007, p 117).
5)Why did the British quit India?
In1939, a British viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, declared India abelligerent state towards Britain. Linlithgow had not consulted theIndian political leaders to determine their loyalty. The statementangered the political leaders, thereby resulting in many electedcongress leaders quitting their respective positions. As severalCongress representatives quit, Britain feared that India might becomedestabilized, which could in turn encourage the Japanese to attackit. To prevent destabilization of the country, the British sent adelegation to India to accomplish the “Cripps’ mission” (Bose &Jalal, 2002, p. 160). The objective of the delegation was to securefull cooperation of India during the World War II in return for theBritish to relinquish more power to the locals. However, the missionfailed as Cripps’ proposal did not provide a timetable forrelinquishing power, as well as the positions the British would letgo. In addition, Cripps’ proposal did not meet the expectations ofIndians as they wanted to know when the British intended to give themback the internal self-rule. The Muslim League also rejected theBritish promise that if India could support it during the World WarII, it would revise the 1935 Act and introduce reforms the Indianswanted (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 161).
However,Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi declared the August 1942 movement. Themovement was a mass movement that sought to force the Britishcolonists to move out of India. The “Quit India campaign” was thesecond largest civilian demonstration in India since 1957. BySeptember 1942, the revolutions had spread across the entire nation.Civilians damaged all forms of Japanese insignias such as postoffices, police stations, revenue offices and railway lines amongothers. The agitation led to collapse of British administration inmany provinces such as Bombay, Western Bengal Bihar and Eastern U.P(Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 164).
In1944, the Indian National Army (INA) started marching towards Delhi.Britain sent troops that quickly crushed the rebellion. Both Congressand Muslim League praised the INA courage. In late 1945 and early1946, another uprising occurred in India. The British resources wereexhausted by the World War II (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 163).Besides, it did not have ally nation where it could acquire adequatesoldiers to respond to the Indian uprising. The Tricolor Congressflag, Red communist flag and Green Muslim League were occasionallyflown on the streets (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 164). Furthermore,the 1943-1944 man-made Bengali famine that claimed over three millionlives led to increased British colonists opposition. Increaseduprising, coupled with internal problems in Britain and a poorperforming economy eventually forced the British to begin preparationfor preparing to surrender Indian independence in 1946 (Bose &Jalal, 2002, p. 165).
Anotherforce that forced British colonists to quit India was Netaji SubhasChandra Bose’s armed struggle he launched from the North-Easternfrontiers. Jose bounded a submarine from Europe to Asian from 1943.He convinced over 40,000 Indian national Army that had surrendered toSingapore to join in the struggle for independence (Bose & Jalal,2002, p. 161). In addition to the prisoners of war, Bose alsorecruited civilians, Thailand shopkeepers, Burma petty traders andMalaya laborers (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 166). On the other hand,Pathan, Sikhs and Muslim skilled soldiers were united by a Bengalicommander in the fight against the colonists. In the South East Asia,more than two million people responded to Bose’s call for a jointmilitary offensive. The army began by attacking the British IndianArmy, which was the main source of British dominance in India (Bose &Jalal, 2002, p. 162).
Insummary, the British quit India because the INA launched an armedmilitary struggle from 1943 composed of over two million volunteerfighters. On the other hand, Britain had exhausted its resourcesduring the World War II, and it was already under economic strains.
6)Was partition inevitable?
Duringthe last decade of British colonization in India, it partitioned thecolony along religious lines. The British argued that they dividedthe colony into two because the Indian Muslims had different rulesfrom the Hindus. As a result, the British cited the “two nations”theory as the reason for splitting the countries into Muslim andHindu state (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 165).
Inmy opinion, it partitioning the British India colony was notnecessary since after the election, Muslim could not form agovernment in any of the states. In fact, most of the Swaraj’spoliticians were on the backbench. This implies that the Muslims werenot adequate to demand session. However, the British gave in to theformation of a new state (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 165). In 1942,the Cripps’ mission had recommended The Muslim League to supportthem in the Second World War, and they would in turn ensure to secedethe Indian provinces that Muslim dominate in order to avoid beingoverwhelmed by the Congress movement. The division could haveresulted from the need to fulfill the Britain’s promise to theleague (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 177).
Onthe other hand, the Muslim League representatives such as MuhammadJinnah wanted an independent state so to escape Congress domination.Although Congress did not win political seats in the Muslim-dominatedstates, Islamic League could not attain adequate positions to formeven a joint government. This made it necessary for the stakeholdersto advocate the establishment of the Pakistan State that would becompliant with the Islamic administration policies (Bose & Jalal,2002, p. 168).
TheBritish could have also advocated division of Colonial India as a wayof dividing the population. The colonists could conquer independentPakistan and India more easily than when the empire is United (Bose &Jalal, 2002, p. 167).
TheMuslims had also been struggling for the colonial government torecognize it as an independent entity. The logic behind acting as anautonomous state was a strategy the Muslims were using to make thegovernment recognize them as a significant political entity. Prior tomaking important decisions, the colonists ensured to consult both theCongress and the League as they had proven major political forces.For example, the British invited both Congress (represented byGandhi) and the Islamic League (represented by Jinnah) to the 1942Cripps’ mission conference since they were the main politicalfactions (Bose & Jalal, 2002, p. 229).
Accordingto Crispin (2007, p. 212), partitioning colonial India was inevitableif the Congress and Muslim League accepted the Cripps’ deal. In theoffer, the British government had promised to implement politicalreforms the Indians desired. Besides, it promised to introducepolicies that would protect the Hindus and Congress from exploitingthe minority Muslim (Crispin, 2007, p 212). In addition, the Kashmirwar and Gandhi’s assassination could not have occurred. Inaddition, Pakistan has been in constant military leadership resultingfrom diverse political wrangles. A unified India could have ensuredto maintain political sanity in Pakistan that has been governed bymilitary officers (Crispin, 2007, p 214).
Insummary, it was inevitable to partition India as the Muslim Leaguecould acquire the desired autonomy they required even within theUnited State For instance, the Cripps’ offer promised to allowMuslim League receive equal treatment through introducing politicalreforms that would be based on Indian’s suggestion on their desiredpolitical reforms.
Bose,S. & Jalal, A. (2002). ModernSouth Asia, History, Culture and Political Economy.New York: Routledge.
Sumit,S. (2002). ModernIndia, 1885-1947.Macmillan: New Delhi,
CrispinB. (2007). Subalternsand the Raj: South Asia since 1600. London:Routledge.