Nationalism in India

NCERT Questions

Question 1.
Explain :

(a) Why growth of Nationalism in the colonies is linked to an anti-colonial movement.
(b) How the First World War helped in the growth of the National Movement in India.
(c) Why Indians were outraged by the Rowlatt Act.
(d) Why Gandhiji decided to withdraw the Non-Cooperation Movement.


(a) In colonies the people had to face poverty and miseries due to the colonial exploitation. Consequently, they shared a common hatred against the foreign rule.

People began discovering their unity in the process of their struggle with colonialism provided a shared bond that tied many different groups together.

British policies like racialism and divide and rule exposed their unfair intentions that was enough to create national feelings among Indians.

(b) The war created a new economic and political situation. It led to an increase in defence expenditure which was financed by war loans and increasing taxes; customs duties were raised and income tax introduced.

There was an increase in prices leading to extreme hardships for the common people. The forced recruitment in rural areas caused widespread anger. Acute shortage of food and influenza epidemic led to famine and misery. The Indians began to realise that British were drawing them in war only for their own interest. All this united the Indians against the British and helped in the growth of the National Movement in India.


  1. Rowlatt Act deprived the people of their civil rights.
  2. It authorised the government to imprison people without trial.

(d) Gandhiji called off Non-Cooperation Movement because :

  1. The movement was turning violent in many places.
  2. Satyagrahis were not properly trained for mass struggles.

Question 2.
What is meant by the idea of satyagraha?

The idea of satyagraha means a method of agitation and protest, based on truth and non-violence.

Question 3.
Write a newspaper report on :

(a) The Jallianwala Bagh massacre
(b) The Simon Commission


(a) The Jallianwala Bagh massacre : A public meeting was announced for the 13th April 1919, at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar. A large but peaceful crowd gathered there to protest against the proclamation issued by General Dyer.

General Dyer came there with troops, blocked the only exit of the compound and ordered his troops to open fire on the unarmed and peaceful crowd without warning. A large number of people were killed. Dyer’s object in doing so was to ‘produce a moral effect’, to create in the minds of satyagrahis a feeling of terror and awe.

(b) The Simon Commission : The reforms introduced by the Government of India Act, 1919 did not come up to the expectations of the people and there was constant demand for constitutional changes. As a consequence of it, a Commission was set up in 1927 to look into the working of the constitutional system in India and suggest changes.

The Commission came to be known as the Simon Commission after its chairman John Simon. The Commission was an all British Commission; it did not have a single Indian member. The self¬respect of the Indians was hurt. All the political parties,including the Congress and the Muslim League, decided to boycott it. When the Commission arrived in Indian it was received with black flags, mass demonstrations, hartals and slogans of ‘Go Back Simon.’

Question 4.
Compare the images of Bharat Mata in this chapter with the images of Germania in Chapter 1.

In the twentieth century, with the growth of nationalism, the identity of India came to be visually associated with the image of Bharat Mata while Germania became the allegory of the German nation in the nineteenth century.

In the famous painting by Abanindranath Tagore, Bharat Mata is portrayed as an ascetic figure; She is calm, composed, divine and spiritual. She is shown as dispensing learning, food and clothing, the mala in one hand emphasises her ascetic quality.

In one image painted by the artist Lorenz Clasen, Germania is shown guarding the Rhine holding sword in right hand, the breastplate with eagle in left hand. She seems furious by nature in this image.

Another image of Bharat Mata is a contrast to the one described before. In this image She is shown wearing a gold crown and ornaments. She is also shown with a trishul, standing beside a lion and an elephant—both symbols of power and authority.

Germania, in another painting is shown wearing a crown of oak leaves which stands for heroism, and holding a sword and olive branch in one hand and flag in the other hand.

Question 5.
List all the different social groups which joined the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921. Then choose any three and write about their hopes and struggles to show why they joined the movement.

People of various social groups participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement, each with its own specific aspiration. All of them responded to the call of Swaraj, but the term meant different things to different people. They all were inspired by Gandhiji.

In cities, the movement started with middle- class participation. Thousands of students left government-controlled schools and colleges, headmasters and teachers resigned, and lawyers gave up their legal practices.

In Awadh, peasants were led by Baba Ramchandra. They launched the movement against talukdars and landlords who demanded from them exorbitantly high rents and a variety of other cesses. The peasant movement demanded reduction of revenue, abolition of begar, and social boycott of oppressive landlords.

Tribal peasants interpreted the message of Mahatma Gandhi and the idea of swaraj in another way. They launched the movement against the forest laws of the colonial government which deprived them of the traditional right of entering the forests to graze their cattle and collect fuelwood and fruits.

In Gudem hill of Andhra Pradesh, a militant guerrilla movement spread in the early 1920s under the leadership of Alluri Sitaram Raju. As Raju asserted that India could be liberated only by the use of force, not through non-violence, the Gudem rebels attacked police stations, attempted to kill British officials and carried on guerrilla warfare for achieving swaraj.

Plantation workers in Assam also led the movement against the Inland Emigration Act of 1859. They defied the authorities, left the plantations and headed home.

Question 6.
Discuss the Salt March to make clear why it was an effective symbol of resistance against colonialism.

The Salt March was an effective symbol of resistance against colonialism because :
(a) It was for the first time when people were asked not only to refuse cooperation with the British, but also to break colonial laws.

(b) A large number of people in many parts of India violated the salt law, manufactured salt and demonstrated in front of government salt factories.

(c) As the movement spread, people boycotted foreign cloth and picketed liquor shops. Peasants refused to pay revenue and chaukidari taxes, village official resigned and in many places forest people violated forest laws—going into Reserved Forests to collect wood and graze cattle.

(d) There were violent clashes in various places due to repressive measures of the British Government. Congress leaders began to be arrested one by one. When Mahatma Gandhi himself was arrested, industrial workers in Sholapur attacked police posts, municipal buildings, law courts and railway stations — all structures that symbolised British rule.

(e) The outcome of the movement was Gandhi- Irwin Pact, which was signed on 5th March 1931. By this Pact, Gandhiji consented to participate in a Round Table Conference in London and the government agreed to release the political prisoners.

Question 7.
Imagine you are a woman participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement. Explain what the experience meant to your life.

Do yourself.

Question 8.
Why did political readers differ sharply over the question of separate electorates?

The political leaders differed sharply over the question of separate electorates due to the following reasons :

(a) The Congress leaders opposed the policy of the British Government who was trying to instigate different people for demanding separate electorate. They knew that using such a system the British wanted to divide the people to weaken the national movement and prolong their stay in India. So the Congress leaders were one and all in favour of joint electorates.

(b) Dr B. R. Ambedkar, who organised the dalits into the Depressed Classes Association, also demanded for separate electorates because he feared the dominance of upper electorates caste Hindus in the joint elections. But by the Poona Pact, which gave the Depressed Classes reserved seats in provincial and central legislative councils, he agreed to have joint electorates with the Hindus.

(c) The Muslim leaders, like Muhammad Iqbal and Muhammad Ali Jinnah demanded for separate electorates to safeguard the political interests of the Muslims. They said that in case of joint electorates, the Muslims would have little chance of winning the seats because the majority of the people were Hindus.