The journey of Independence of India

On the day of celebration of Independence of our country it becomes meaningful to remember the journey of independence. The journey is connected to the colonial rule of Britishers in India. When Britishers came in India then most part of India especially the northern India was under Mughals who originally came from the present Uzbekistan. The East India Company first came to India in 1608.
The two battles namely the battle of Plassey (1757) and battle of Buxar (1764) were decisive in setting British rule in India. The battle of Buxar took place between the British East India Comapany and three contemporary powers including Awadh nawab- Siraj-ud-daulha, Bengal nawab- Mir Qasim and the Mughal ruler- Shah Alam- II. With the defeat of Shah Alam-II, the battle lead to the first instance of the Mughal Empire getting under the reign of British East India Company.
The landmark event in the journey of freedom struggle of India is the revolt of 1857 which is popularly known as the first war of Independence. In this revolt a soldier namely Mangal Pandey shot at sergeant-Major’s adjutant Lieutenant Henry Baugh, though he missed the target. This is referred to as the first gun fired on an Englishman. Mangal Pandey was hanged on 8th April 1857.
Unfortunately, this revolt was not successful. The significant fallout of the revolt was the Government of India Act 1858 which ended the company’s rule and transferred the rule to the British crown. There were many incidents of revolts from time to time. There are innumerable freedom fighters who contributed to the independence of India. This is beyond the scope of this write-up to mention all. However, an effort has been made to mention a few.
In Maharashtra, Bal Ganga Dhar Tilak who is popularly known as Lokmanya Balganga Dhar Tilak used to publish two newspapers -Maratha ; and Kesri. Due to the criticism of Britishers in his newspaper Kesri, he was imprisoned for six years. He was the first ever person who was jailed for journalism.
In April 1908, Khudiram Bose and Prafull chaki threw bomb at the supposed carriage of the district magistrate, Kingsford of Muzafarpur. Khudiram Bose was given death sentence at the age of eighteen. The Indian revolutionaries had taken the freedom struggle of India at International level too. For instance, In London, India Home Rule Society was founded by Sham Krishan Verma in 1905. The members of this society were Lala Har Dayal, Madanlal Dhingra, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Madam Bikaji Kama.
In Canada, Swadesh Home Servant was founded by G.D. Kumar. In 1910, United India House was established in Seattle, America by Tareknath Das and G.D. Kumar. In 1913, Gadar party was established in San Francisco, America by Lala Hardayal.
Madam Bika ji Kama is known as mother of Indian Revolution. She is the one who in 1907 unfurled the first version of Indian flag in the International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart, Germany. In 1924, the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was established in Kanpur by Shachinder Sanyal and Yogendra Chandar Banerjee. This association looted the Government treasury under the Kakori conspiracy in 1925 and the revolutionaries namely Ramprasad Bismil, Roshan, Rajender lahiri and Ashfaqulla khan received death sentence.
In 1926, Bhagat Singh founded Naujawan Bharat Sabha. In 1928, Hindustan Socialist Republican Association was established in Ferozshah Kotla at Delhi by Chander Shaikhar Azad. This association was behind Lahore conspiracy of December 1928 and Central Legislative Bomb Scandal of April 1929.
Among these revolutionary incidents, Indian National Congress (INC) was established on 28th December 1885 by a retired British officer namely Allen Octavian Hume. In 1907, INC was divided into two parts – moderate and extremists. Moderate group included those who believed in the policy of request. And the extremist group included those who believed in the philosophy of revolution. The popular names of the extremist group include Lal, Bal and Pal representing the trio of Lala Laj Patrai, Bal Ganga Dhar Tilak and Bipin Chander Pal. Prior to this in 1906, Muslim league was already established under the leadership of Agha Khan.
On 9th January 1915, Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi came to India from South Africa. Prior to Gandhi’s arrival in India, the First World War had already started in 1914. Gandhi supported the Britishers in the First World War and helped recruiting Indians into the British army. Gandhi supported Britishers because he believed that the Britishers would free India after the first world war.
A significant part of the journey of the Independence of the India is associated with Rowlect Act which was passed on 18th March 1919 in the British Parliament. According to this Act, Indians could be put to jail without trial and without any facility of lawyer. This act was called as the Black law. On 13th April 1919, to oppose this Act, an assembly was organised at Jalianwala Bagh in Amritsar in which thousands of people assembled. Police commander Rognield Edward Hary Dyer ordered his 150 soldiers to shoot at the assembly of people including children at Jalianwalal Bagh. In this incident thousands of people died.
After this, in 1920, Gandhi started Non-Cooperation movement, his first national movement in India. In the journey of freedom struggle of India another significant incident is the coming of Simon Commission in India in the year 1927. In this commission there was participation of no Indian. The absence of any Indian in the commission was opposed. Simon Commission submitted its report to the British Government, the Royal Britain desired for the participation of the Indians. So for the purpose, the British organised three Round Table Conferences. Gandhi initiated his second national movement namely Civil Disobedience movement which started with the Dandi March on 12th March 1930. British government on the basis of the Simon Commission and the three Round Table Conferences passed Government of India Act, 1935.
In March 1942, Cripps Mission came in India with the purpose to get support of Indians in the Second World War. The mission gave provision for getting separated from Britain post war. However, the mission was not successful in getting support of Indians. In July 1942, Gandhi made proposal for the Quit India Movement. On 9th August 1942, Britishers launched Operation Zero Hour and arrested many leaders.
The journey of Independence is incomplete without the mention of Azad Hind Fouj of Subash Chander Bose popularly known as Neta ji He was the man behind seeking international help for the cause of India’s freedom. In June 1942 he established Azad Hind Fauj. On 18th August 1945, Subhash Chander Bose was declared dead due to plane crash. After his death, Azad Hind Fauj surrendered. In 1946, three member Cabinet mission came to India in order to discuss the transfer of power from the British Government to the Indian political leadership. The Muslim League Council proclaimed 16th August 1946 as ‘Direct Action Day’ in order to accentuate their demand for a separate Muslim homeland after the British left the Indian subcontinent. On 20th February 1947 British Prime Minister Clement Attlee made announcement regarding full self-Government to British India not later than June 1948 at the latest. He assigned Viceroy Mountbatten the task to accomplish the transfer of India to the Indians and achieve the establishment of an Indian constitutional regime. In June 1947, partition of India was planned under Mountbatten plan. And the unfortunate partition of India took place in August 1947 that created two dominions namely Pakistan and India which later became Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of India respectively.
(The author is Assistant Professor at Department of Tourism and Travel Management, Central University of Jammu)