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Repressive Policies of India Paper

Words: 2783, Paragraphs: 1, Pages: 10

Paper type: Essay , Subject: India

The British had conquered India to promote their own political interest so followed many repressive policies. These policies become major barrier to India’s development. Some of these policies, especially those followed by Lord Lytton gave birth to nationalism. Lord Lytton was Viceroy from 1876-1880. The resentment against the British rule increased because of repressive measures. 1. In 1877 he organised a Grand Delhi Durbar to proclaim Queen Victoria as the Empress of India. Indians were angry because Lakhs were spent for this when South India was suffering from famine.The British Government did not take proper steps to prevent deaths by disease and starvation. The worst feature of these famines was that they were human-made. In fact, famines meant big gains to the Government and the greedy business community. Foodgrains were hoarded and sold at prices which the poor could not afford. During natural calamities, the British rulers in India remained aloof, disinterested and unconcerned. 2. In 1878 Lytton passed the Vernacular Press Act and the Indian Arms Act. The Vernacular Press Act –forbade vernacular newspapers from publishing any article that might incite the people against the British Government.This hurt the Indians as the press was considered their mouth-piece, through which they could air their grievances . This act was also known as the ‘gagging act’. This act did not apply to English newspapers . Lord Ripon repealed it in 1881. The Indian Arms Act /Licence Act 1878 made it a criminal offence for Indians to carry arms without a licence. This act was not applicable to British. 3. The maximum age limit for the I. C. S Exam was reduced from 21 to 19 years, thus making it impossible for Indians to pass the exam. 4. Lord Lytton abolished the import duties on Br.Textiles. This crippled the Indian textile industry. This policy aroused anger and lead to bitterness. People continued to criticize the British administration. 5. In 1880, Lord Ripon replaced Lord Lytton. He was sympathetic to the Indians. He stopped the Afghan War, and abolished the Arms Act and the Vernacular Press Act. To bring about judicial equality Sir C. P llbert, the law member of the viceroy’s council introduced the llbert Bill in 1883, Indians welcomed the bill but the British started a Defence Association to defend their privileges.The government ultimately withdrew the bill and enacted a more moderate measure which vested the power of trying Europeans to a Session Judge and a District Magistrate who might be an Indian. Lord Ripon became very unpopular among the British Officials in India and had to be replaced. This made the Indians realise that under the present set up, even when the Viceroy wanted to help the Indians, he could not. Thus, the only way to get justice would be to change the very set up of British authority in India. Secondly it also taught them a lesson that the British government could be pressurized by agitation and united efforts.People lost faith in the British sense of justice and fairplay. It also led to anger and bitterness. The impact of Western Education made the educated Indians realize to reform their religion and society . The result was birth of socio-religious reform movements. Prominent among these were 1) Brahmo Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy 2) Satya Shodak Samaj founded by Jyotiba Phule 3) Arya Samaj founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati 4) Ramakrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda Raja Rammohan Roy was one of the greatest social and religious reformers of the 19th century.He wanted to do away with the religious evils which were prevalent in Bengal at that time. In 1828, he founded the Brahmo Sabha, which was later renamed,Brahmo Samaj. The Brahmo Samaj believed in Monotheism or Worship of one God. It condemned idol worship and laid emphasis on prayer, meditation, charity, mortality and strengthening the bonds of unity between men of all religions and creeds. He was against the rigidity of the caste system. He started a campaign for the abolition of sati and purdah system,condemned polygamy, discouraged child marriages and advocated widow marriage.It was because of the efforts made by Rammohan Roy that, William Bentinck, the Govenor-General of India, passed a law in 1821 making the practice of Sati illegal and punishable by law. He also protested against restrictions on the freedom of press. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore, ‘Raja Rammohan Roy inaugurated the modern age in India. He was the father of Indian Renaissance and the prophet of Indian Nationalism. Jyotiba Phule was an urban –educated member of low caste. His education and personal experiences has made him critical of Hindu religion and customs.In 1854, he established a school for untouchables and started a private orphanage for the widows. He wanted to liberate the depressed classes and make them aware of their rights by educating them. He founded the Satya Shodhak Samaj in 1873 with the aim of securing social justice for the weaker sections of society. He pioneered the widow remarriage movement in Maharashtra and worked for the education of women. The socio-religious reform movements contributed to the onset of Indian Nationalism in the following ways: 1.Social and Religious movements worked for the abolition of caste system, child marriage, dowry system, purdah syste, sati, infanticide, polygamy. These movements fought for individual liberty and social equality. They promoted national feelings and prepared the ground for the National Movement in various ways. 2. Raja Rammohan preached equality and brotherhood. 3. Swami Vivekananda proclaimed the superiority of Indian Culture. 4. Swami Dayananda Saraswati raised the slogan ‘India for Indians’ and ‘Back to Vedas’ and made the Indians feel proud of their culture. 5. They condemned the caste system and untouchability.Thus the reformers promoted National Unity and National Pride. 6. They removed superstitions and blind faith which led to broadening of the outlook and infused patriotism. It created self respect and self confidence. 7. They taught the people not to ignore the importance of women, who could participate in The national movement. Rediscovering India’s Past Indians were treated by the British as uncivilized. People were considered not reformers were to rule themselves. This made the Indians lose confidence. Reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy tried to arose self-confidence and self-respect of the people.They pointed out the richness of Indian culture and the political achievements of Asoka, Chandragupta, Vikramaditya and Akbar were pointed out. These reformers were helped by European scholars like John Marshall, Alexander Cunningham, William Jones, Charles Wilkins and Max Muller. These scholars contributed to the rediscovery of India’s past in the following ways: 1. They studied Sanskrit, translated and published famous works of Sanskrit in foreign languages and focussed the attention of the Indians towards the rich heritage of their Sanskrit literature. 2.Sir William Jones founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal to encourage Oriental studies. This society translated many Indian classics into English and introduced the ancient Indian culture to the Western world. He studied Sanskrit, and published Institutes of India Law and Muhammedan Law of inheritance. He also translated the Mnusmriti and Kalidas’s Abhijnanashakuntalam. 3. Sir Charles Wilkins was the first European to translate the Bhagvad Gita into English. 4. Ma x Mueller translated Rigveda in English. He edited and published the sacred books of the East. (51 volumes) 5.James prince was the firse European scholar to decipher the edicts of Indian emperor, Ashoka. 6. James Princep and Alexander Cunningham rediscovered the greatness of the Mauryas, the imperial Guptas, the Chalukyas and the Pallavas. 7. Sir Alexander Cunningham, the first Director of the Indian Archaelogical Survey, carried out many archaeological explorations among the ruins of northern India. He excavated at Sarnath, one of the most sacred Buddhist shrines and carefully prepared drawing of the sculptures. He excavated Sanchi, the site of some of the oldest surviving buildings in India. 8.Sir John Marshall, the Director General of Archaelogy in India tried to preserve ancient buildings and monuments all over India. Excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro revealed an ancient civilization that flourished from about 2300 to 1700 BC covering Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Thus, the rediscovery of India’s past helped – a) to restore people’s confidence and self- respect; and b) to counter the western propaganda that Indians had never been able to rule themselves and that they were destined to be ruled by foreigners. C) They helped to revive the rich cultural heritage of India.Western Education and the English Language The British wanted to train clerks and peons to work for them and wanted to win the goodwill of the educated Indians;therefore, they introduced western education through the medium of English. But it produced results quite contrary to their expectations. The introduction of western education promoted Nationalism in the following ways: 1. Indians learnt about the western world. They exposed people of modern ideas like equality, liberty and fraternity. 2. The slogan, ‘Equality, Liberty and Fraternity’, of the American and French Revolutions, impressed them. . They developed a rational, secular and national outlook. It widened their horizons. 4. With the help of common language the regional feelings began to disappear. 5. This language acted as a link language between the people living in various parts of the country. In a country of divere languages and dialects we could touch the people’s heart by using English which was only understood by educated people in those days. 6. This common language gave them linguistic unity and it became easy to make a programme of India character. Development of India Press & National Literature:Many newspapers were published in the later half of 19th century such as the Amrit Bazar Patrika, the Bengali, The Tribune, the Stateman, and the Times of India, the Pioneer. 1. The Nationalist Press criticized the unjust policies of the British Government and spread national feelings. 2. It played a vital role in making the people aware of their political rights and building patriotic feelings. 3. It made possible to exchange the views and organize political movements. 4. It made the people aware of what is happening in the world. This helped them to shape their own policies and programmes.Literature in Indian languages, too, played a vital part in rousing the feelings of patriotism in India. Writers such as Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Rabindranath Tagore, Bharatendu Harishchandra, etc. Played an important role in promoting national consciousness among the Indians and prepared them for the national struggle. Bankim Chandra’s famous book Anand Math, regarded as the Bible of modern patriotism, inspired young nationalists in India. (‘Bande Mataram’, the national song of India, was taken from this book. ) Transport and CommunicationThe need for economic exploitation, administrative convenience and military defence made the British to develop modern means of transportation. Work of roads was constructed, which linked one province to another. Besides encouraging trade and commerce, the introduction of railways, telephone, telegram and the buses proved to be a blessing in disguise. This however helped the Indians in creating nationalistic feelings. 1. It helped the Indians living in various parts of the country to communicate with each other, travel and exchange ideas, and plan a joint strategy. 2.Regional feelings began to disappear and made people feel like one helping in nationalism. This created a sense of oneness and closeness. 3. It helped to build public opinion against the British on national basis. 4. Through the postal service people could share their views. 5. The transport and communication system knit the vast country and created a sense of oneness. 6. A uniform postage rate of half anna for inland letters and still cheaper rates for transmission of parcels and newspapers was introduced by Lord Dalhousie. Telegraph lines were laid connecting Kolkata with Peshawar, Mumbai and Chennai and other parts of the country.This brought abought a revolution in the sppedy transmission of messages and communications. It enabled the Indians to come in contact with one another and discuss the problems facing the country. Growth of Political associations: After 1858 many associations were started in different parts of India. These were forerunners of the Indian National Congress. 1. London Indian Society was formed in England in 1865 by Indian students under the leadership of Dadabhai Naoroji to voice Indian grievances and to oppose the misrepresentation of Indians in the English papers.Pherozeshah Mehta, Barrudin Tyabji, W. C. Bonnerjee and Manmohan Ghosh were important founder members. 2. East Indian Association founded in London in 1866 by Dadabhai Naoroji to enlighten Britishers and the Br Parliament about the true state of affairs in India. Dadabhai Naoroji believed that the British were basically just and fair but the British policy in India was unfair. The East India Co. Had branches in Mumbai, Calcutta and Madras. This association voiced the grievances of Indians and suggested remedial measures. 3.The Indian Association founded in 1876 by Surendranath Bannerjee. Its aims were; 1. To create public opinion. 2. To unite Indians for a common political cause . 3. To promote Hindu Muslim Unity. 4. To involve masses in public movements. The Indian Association protested against the repressive measures like the Arms Act, the Vernacular Press Act and the lowering of the age limit from 21 to 19 for the I. C. S Exam. It also took up the cause of the workers on the British – owned plantations. However the association failed to attain an all India character. . Indian National Conference est. In Calcutta in 1883 by Surendranath Bannerjee. It was a provincial Association, served as a model for Indian National Congress-merged with the Congress. Its aim was to work for the welfare of the Indians. 5. Formation of The Indian National Congress: Enlightened Indians like Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranth Bannerjee, Pheroze Shah Mehta & others wanted to form an all-India political organization that would draw the government’s attention to the administrative drawbacks and suggest means to rectify them.A. O Hume, a retired British civil servant helped them . He wrote a letter to the Graduates of Calcutta University urging them to form an association that would work for the moral and material uplift of the people of India. In 1884 Hume and the Indian leaders formed the Indian National Union. The First Session Representatives from different parts of India were to meet at Pune on Dec. 25, 1885 but plague broke out in Pune at that time. So the meeting of the Union was held in Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College, Mumbai from Dec. 8 to 31st 1885 under the Presidentship of Women Chandra Bannerjee. It was attended by 72 delegates, including Dadabhai Naoroji, Pheroze Shah Mehta, Badruddin Tyabji, Subramania Iyer, and Justice Ranade. On Dadabhai Naoroji’s suggestion the name of the Union was changed to Indian National Congress. Thus the foundation of the Congress was laid on Dec. 28, 1885. The second session was held in Calcutta under the presidentship of Dadabhai Naoroji. The number of delegates increased every year. Some of the delegates were received as ‘distinguished visitors to the Capital’ by Lord Dufferin.Lord Dufferin the Viceroy supported the formation of the congress because because he wanted it to act as a ‘Safety Valve’ for popular discontent (He favoured the formation of the Congress because he thought that it would safeguard the British interest in India ) Aims of the Indian National Congress: 1. To promote friendly relations between nationalists workers from different parts of the country. 2. To develop feelings of national unity among all Indians irrespective of cast, creed or religion. 3. To draw up popular demands and present them to the Government. 4. To organise public opinion in the country. SPLIT IN THE CONGRESS 1907 Presided by Rs Bihari Ghosh ) Though Dadabhai Naoroji averted a split in the Congress at the Calcutta Session 19006 the differences between the 2 groups i. e. Moderates and Assertive Nationalists continued and rose up again at the Surat Session in 1907. 1. The Swadeshi movement cast its shadow on the growing differences between the Moderates and the Assertives. The Assertives wanted to extend the Swadeshi and boycott the rest of India and make it a vehicle for a full-fledged political mass struggle leading to Swaraj. The Moderates however did not approve it for the whole of India and wanted it to be confined to Bengal only.Moreover, the Moderates did not want to extend open support to boycott which was in conflict with their policy of ‘petition and persuasion’. 2. There were differences between the two groups over the choice of Congress President. The Moderates proposed the name of Rash Bihari Ghosh and the Assertive wanted Lala Lajpat Rai. The split in the Congress was unfortunate because the Brit took advantage of the situation. They adopted the ‘Divide and Rule’ Policy appeasing the Moderates and Repressing the Assertive Nationalists. The Aggressive group was expelled from the Congress for the next 10 years.

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This paper is written by Sebastian He is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; his major is Business. All the content of this paper is his perspective on Repressive Policies of India and should be used only as a possible source of ideas.

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