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15th August History

The impact of English education in India led to the growth of nationalism, resulting in freedom of thought and liberalism. It also made the educated people blindly follow Western Culture. But a strong reaction against the sweeping current of Western influence manifested itself in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. It was mainly due to the growing knowledge of the glory and greatness of ancient India. The revelation of India's past was one of the strongest foundations on which Indian nationalism was built.

The spirit of Indian nationalism was intensified by the growing discontent and disaffection with British rule due to the racial arrogance of the rulers. In this regard, Sir Thomas Munro wrote in 1817, "Foreign conquerors have treated the natives with violence, but none has treated them with so much scorn as we; none have stigmatized the whole people as unworthy of trust, as incapable of honesty, and as fit to be employed only where we cannot do without them. It seems not only ungenerous, but impolite to debase the character of a people fallen under our dominion."

The social exclusiveness of the Englishmen, their arrogance and insolent treatment of Indians, particularly the immunity which they practically enjoyed for their criminal acts, including even the murder of Indians, were sources of grave discontent.

To the English-educated Indians who formed the main pillars of support for British rule, virtual exclusion from the higher branches of administration on purely racial grounds was the rudest shock.

The favoritism that afforded Englishmen superiority over Indians in all walks of life, the rulers' self-centered economic policy, and the restrictions imposed on Indians by the Arms Act were responsible for much discontent and disaffection among Indians.

The major mass movement for India's freedom from this alien rule was the so-called Sepoy Mutiny in 1857. The main cause of this mutiny was discontent and anger throughout the army. The uneasiness, misery and pain brought upon all from high offices, both in the civil administration and in the army; the economic exploitation both of landlords and tenants; destruction of old and renowned royal dynasties such as those of Peshwa, Bhonsle, Avadh, Jhansi, Punjab and Satara; the economic exploitation of the country, destruction of Indian industries and forced increase in land revenues... these are some of the main causes that led to discomfort and anger among the Indian population.

Other major events that resulted in India's Independence are as follows:
The Partition of Bengal in 1905 by the British Government, based on religions and languages.

The British Government's efforts to enlist the support of the Muslims against the Hindus.

The spread of the spirit of Hindu-Muslim unity--Allah-O-Akbar and Vande Mataram.

The Swadeshi Movement--an economic boycott of foreign goods in support of domestic products.

Repressive measures by the British Government
Swami Vivekananda's clarion call to the nation--"Man-making is my mission of life. You try to translate this mission of mine into action and reality. Your duty should be service to the motherland. India should be freed politically first... for the next fifty years this alone shall be our keynote--this, our great Mother India. Let all other vain gods disappear for that time from our minds." These powerful utterances had a deep impact on the minds of the people.

Other important moments and movements in the history of India's Independence:

The impact of different organizations such as Brahmo Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Arya Samaj by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Prarthana Samaj (Bombay), Swarajya Party, and the Theosophical Society started by Annie Besant.

Formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885.

Mahatma Gandhi's arrival from South Africa and the rise of the Indian National Congress as an expression of the revolt of the Indian people against alien rule.

Nationalism of extremists--Sri Aurobindo, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpa Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal.

World Wars I and II, which weakened the power of the British rulers.

Mahatma's Swadeshi Movement starting from Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act.

The Jalianwala Bagh massacre on 13 April 1919, where over 400 innocent and unarmed people were killed, and the imposition of martial law in Punjab.

The pronouncement of complete independence at the Lahore Session of the Indian National Congress in 1929, which caused the awakening of a new spirit in the nation.

Mahatma's successful civil disobedience movement all over the country against the Salt Laws. His Salt March at Dandi, Gujarat, in December 1930 spread to various parts of the country.

The "Quit India" movement in 1942 and its nationwide impact.