National Movement of India 1905-1940 (Detailed Knowledge)

National Movement of India 1905-1930


  • Part 1: National Movement of India 1905-1920
  • Part 2: National Movement of India 1920-1930
  • Part 3: National Movement of India 1931-1940


Part 1: National Movement of India 1905-1920


The Indian National Congress


  • Formed in 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume (A.O. Hume), an Englishman and a retired civil servant.
  • First session in Bombay under Womesh Chunder Banerjee in 1885 (72 delegates attended it).
  • In the first two decades (1885 1905), quite moderate in its approach and confided in British justice and generosity.
  • But the repressive measures of the British gave rise to extremists within Congress like Bipin Chandra Pal, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai (Lal, Bal, Pal).


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Partition of Bengal




  • By Lord Curzon on Oct 16, 1905, through a royal Proclamation, reducing the old province of Bengal in size by creating East Bengal and Assam out of rest of Bengal.
  • The objective was to set up a communal gulf between Hindus and Muslims.
  • A mighty upsurge swept the country against the partition. The national movement found real expression in the movement against the partition of Bengal in 1905.
  • The objective was to set up a communal gulf between Hindus and Muslims.
  • A mighty upsurge swept the country against the partition. The national movement found real expression in the movement against the partition of Bengal in 1905.


Swadeshi Movement (1905)


  • Lal, Bal, Pal, and Aurobindo Ghosh played an important role.
  • INC took the Swadeshi call first at the Banaras Session, 1905 presided over by G. K. Gokhale.
  • Bonfires of foreign goods were conducted at various places.


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Formation of Muslim League (1906)


  • Setup in 1906 under the leadership of Aga Khan, Nawab Salimullah of Dhaka and Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk.
  • It was a loyalist, communal and conservative political organization that supported the partition of Bengal, opposed the Swadeshi movement, demanded special safeguards to its community and a separate electorate for Muslims.


Demand for Swaraj


  • In Dec 1906 at Calcutta, the INC under Dadabhai Naoroji adopted ‘Swaraj’ (Self-govt) as the goal of Indian people. Surat Session of Indian National Congress (1907).
  • The INC split into two groups The extremists and The moderates, at the Surat session in 1907. Extremists were led by Bal, Pal, Lal while the moderates by G. K. Gokhale.


Indian Councils Act or Minto Morley Reforms (1909)


  • Besides other constitutional measures, it envisaged a separate electorate for Muslims.
  • Aimed at dividing the nationalist ranks and at rallying the Moderates and the Muslims to the Government’s side.


Ghadar Party (1913)


  • Formed by Lala Hardayal, Taraknath Das and Sohan Singh Bhakna.
  • Headquarters was at San Francisco.


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Home Rule Movement (1916)



  • Started by B.G. Tilak (April, 1916) at Poona and Annie Besant and S. Subramania Iyer at Adyar, near Madras (Sept 1916).
  • Objective of the movement: Self-government for India in the British Empire.
  • Tilak linked up the question of Swaraj with the demand for the formation of Linguistic States and education in vernacular language. He gave the slogan: Swaraj is my birthright and I will have it.


Lucknow Pact (1916)


  • Happened following a war between Britain and Turkey leading to anti-British feelings among Muslims.
  • Both INC and Muslim League concluded this (Congress accepted the separate electorates and both jointly demanded for a representative government and dominion status for the country).


August Declaration (1917)


  • After the Lucknow Pact, a British policy was announced which aimed at increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration for the progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British empire. This came to be called the August Declaration.


Rowlatt Act (March 18, 1919)


  • This gave unbridled powers to the govt. To arrest and imprison suspects without trial for two years maximum. This law enabled the Government to suspend the right of Habeas Corpus, which had been the foundation of civil liberties in Britain.
  • Caused a wave of anger in all sections. It was the first country-wide agitation by Gandhiji and marked the foundation of the Non-Cooperation Movement.


Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (April 13, 1919)



  • People were agitated over the arrest of Dr. Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal on April 10, 1919.
  • General Michael Francis O’Dwyer, fires at people who assembled in the Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar.
  • As a result, hundreds of men, women, and children were killed and thousands injured.
  • Rabindranath Tagore returned his Knighthood in protest. Sir Shankaran Nair resigned from Viceroy’s Executive Council after this.
  • Hunter Commission was appointed to enquire into it.
  • On March 13, 1940, Francis O’Dwyer was shot dead at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society (now Royal Society for Asian Affairs) in Caxton Hall in Westminster, London, by an Indian activist, Udham Singh, in retaliation for the massacre in Amritsar.


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Khilafat Movement (1920)


  • Muslims were agitated by the treatment done with Turkey by the British in the treaty that followed the First World War.
  • Two brothers, Mohd. Ali and Shaukat Ali started this movement.

Non-Cooperation Movement (1920)


  • It was the first mass-based political movement under Gandhi Ji.
  • Congress passed the resolution in its Calcutta session in Sept 1920.

Part 2: National Movement of India 1920 to 1930


Chauri Chaura Incident (1922)



  • A mob of people at Chauri Chaura (near Gorakhpur) clashed with police and burnt 22 policemen on February 5, 1922.
  • This compelled Gandhiji to withdraw the Non-Cooperation movement on Feb. 12, 1922.

Simon Commission (1927)


  • Constituted under John Simon, to review the political situation in India and to introduce further reforms and extension of parliamentary democracy.
  • Indian leaders opposed the commission, as there were no Indians in it.
  • The Government used brutal repression and police attacks to break the popular opposition. At Lahore, Lala Lajpat Rai was severely beaten in a lathi-charge. He succumbed to his injuries on Oct. 30, 1928.

Lahore Session (1929)


  • On Dec. 19, 1929, under the President-ship of J. L. Nehru, the INC, at its Lahore Session, declared Poorna Swaraj (Complete independence) as its ultimate goal.
  • On Dec. 31, 1929, the newly adopted tri-color flag was unfurled and an. 26, 1930 was fixed as the First Independence Day, was to be celebrated every year.


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Revolutionary Activities


  • The first political murder of a European was committed in 1897 at Poona by the Chapekar brothers, Damodar and Balkishan. Their target was Mr. Rand, President of the Plague Commission, but Lt. Ayerst was accidentally shot.
  • In 1907, Madam Bhikaiji Cama, a Parsi revolutionary unfurled the flag of India at Stuttgart Congress (of Second international).
  • In 1908, Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki threw a bomb on the carriage of Kingsford, the unpopular judge of Muzaffarpur. Khudiram, Kanhaiyalal Dutt and Satyendranath Bose were hanged (Alipur Case).
  • In 1909, M L Dhingra shot dead Col. William Curzon Wyllie, the political advisor of India Office in London.
  • In 1912, Rasbihari Bose and Sachindra Nath Sanyal threw a bomb and Lord Hardinge at Delhi (Delhi Conspiracy Case).
  • In Oct 1924, a meeting of revolutionaries from all parts of India was called at Kanpur. They set up the Hindustan Socialist Republic Association/Army (HSRA).
  • They carried out a dacoity on the Kakori bound train on the Saharanpur-Lucknow railway line on Aug. 9, 1925.
  • Bhagat Singh, with his colleagues, shot dead Saunders (Asst. S. P. Of Lahore, who ordered lathi charge on Lala Lajpat Rai) on Dec. 17, 1928.
  • Then Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb in the Central Assembly on Apr 8, 1929. Thus, he, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged on March. 23, 1931 at Lahore Jail (Lahore Conspiracy Case) and their bodies cremated at Hussainiwala near Ferozepur.
  • In 1929 only Jatin Das died in Lahore jail after 63 days fast to protest against horrible conditions in jail.
  • Surya Sen, a revolutionary of Bengal, formed the Indian Republic Army in Bengal. In 1930, he masterminded the raid on Chittagong armoury. He was hanged in 1933.
  • In 1931, Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself at Alfred Park in Allahabad.

Dandi March (1930)



  • Also called the Salt Satyagraha.
  • Along with 78 followers, Gandhiji started his march from Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 1930, for the small village Dandhi to break the salt law.
  • He reached the seashore on Apr. 6, 1930.
  • He picked a handful of salt and inaugurated the Civil Disobedience Movement.


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First Round Table Conference (1930)


  • It was the first conference arranged between the British and Indians as equals. It was held on Nov. 12, 1930, in London to discuss Simon’s commission.
  • Boycotted by INC, Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha, Liberals, and some others were there.

Part 3: National Movement of India 1931 to 1940


Gandhi Irwin Pact (1931)


  • Moderate Statesman, Sapru, Jaikar, and Srinivas Shastri initiated efforts to break the ice between Gandhiji and the government.
  • The two (government represented by Irwin and INC by Gandhiji) signed a pact on March 5, 1931.
  • In this, the INC called off the civil disobedience movement and agreed to join the second round table conference.
  • The government on its part released the political prisoners and conceded the right to make salt for consumption for villages along the coast.


Second Round Table Conference (1931)


  • Gandhi Ji represented the INC and went to London to meet British P. M. Ramsay Macdonald.
  • However, the session was soon deadlocked on the minorities issue and this time separate electorates were demanded not only by Muslims but also by Depressed Classes, Indian Christians and Anglo Indians.


The Communal Award (Aug 16, 1932)


  • Announced by Ramsay McDonald. It showed divide and rule policy of the British.
  • Envisaged representation of Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo Indians, women, and even Backward classes.
  • Gandhi Ji, who was in Yeravada jail at that time, started a fast unto death against it.


Poona Pact (September 25, 1932)


  • After the announcement of the communal award and subsequent fast of Gandhiji, mass meeting took place almost everywhere.
  • Political leaders like Madan Mohan Malviya, B. R. Ambedkar, and M. C. Rajah became active.
  • Eventually, the Poona pact was reached and Gandhiji broke his fact on the sixth day (Sept 25, 1932).
  • In this, the idea of separate electorate for the depressed classes was abandoned, but seats reserved to them in the provincial legislature were increased.


Third Round Table Conference (1932)


  • Proved fruitless as most of the national leaders were in prison. The discussions led to the passing of the Government of India Act, 1935.


Demand for Pakistan


  • In 1930, Iqbal suggested that the Frontier Province, Baluchistan, Sindh and Kashmir be made the Muslim State within the federation.
  • Chaudhary Rehmat Ali gave the term Pakistan in 1923. Mohd.
  • Ali Jinnah of Bombay gave it practicality.
  • Muslim League first passed the proposal of separate Pakistan in its Lahore session in 1940.




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