- Introduction (Origin)
- Body: New Objectives to freedom vision
- Afterthoughts / Pitfalls
So far I’ve solved the first twelve questions of the UPSC Mains, now time for the Thirteenth:
Q13: Highlight the importance of the new objectives that got added to the vision of Indian independence since twenties of the last century. (15 marks, 250 words, asked in UPSC Mains GS1-2017)
पिछली शताब्दी के तीसरे दशक से भारतीय स्वतंत्रता की स्वप्न-द्रष्टि के साथ सम्बन्ध हो गये नए उदेश्यों के महत्व को उजागर कीजिए|
^ yes, in the original question paper, the English question reads “twenties” and Hindi question reads “teesre shatak” .
- We can’t just enumerate the objectives that got added (e.g. more concern for farmers, workers and SC/ST) but have to highlight their ‘importance’. So, in the real exam stress, its difficult to fillup 250 words because it’ll require a lot brainstorming. Therefore we should pad the answer by writing a longer introduction.
- What exactly was vision of Indian independence? We can gauge it through speeches and articles by national leaders, and resolutions and memorandums by various organizations. But to save time and effort, I’m focusing only on
- Constitutional Vision of Indian independence from Nehru Report (1928).
- Economic Vision of Indian independence from Congress’s Karachi resolution (1931).
- Then I’ll try to fit various groups / objectives (women, minorities, workers and peasants) into that vision & to show how they were added in 1920s and why they were important?
The history of the Indian National Movement can be divided in three important phases:
- 1885-1905: The phase of moderate nationalism when the Congress continued to be loyal to the British crown.
- 1906-1916: Rise of Swadeshi Movement, militant nationalism and the Home Rule Movement.
- 1917-1947: The Gandhian era.
In the initial part of third phase, following developments took place that necessitated changes in the vision of India’s indepdence:
- 1919: Montague Chelmsford reforms & Jallianwala Bagh massacre frustrated Nationalist leaders. They realized the British had no intention of allowing Indians to participate in the government in a real & meaningful manner. Complete freedom can’t be attained merely by prayers and petitions of the elite lawyers. Masses must participate.
- 1922: Gandhi withdrew non-cooperation movement (NCM) after the Chauri-Chaura incident. [When mentioning for the first time, use full form of NCM]
In this atmosphere, following objectives were added to the vision of Indian indepdence:
Body: New Objectives to freedom vision
Free India to Uplift oppressed classes
- After the withdrawal of NCM, Gandhi instructed Congress to get down to constructive work, including the upliftment of scheduled castes and tribes.
- Parallelly, Dr. Ambedkar formed Bahiskrit Hitkarini Sabha (1924), EVR Periyar began self-respect movement (1925). Many other caste based organizations became active in other parts of the country.
- Consequently, the vision of free India and its constitution had to become more inclusive and sensitive to the needs and demands of the oppressed classes.
Free India for welfare of women and Minorities’
- Both women and Muslims had enthusiastically participated in Khilafat-NCM agitations. Even the moderate Punjabi leaders were outraged by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
- Muslim league and Jinnah were trying to establish themselves as the sole-guardians of Muslim interest.
- In such atmosphere, any alienations of women and minorities would harm the freedom struggle and vision of free India. In this backdrop, Nehru Report (1928) recommended Free India’s Constitution will provide voting rights and equal fundamental rights to both men and women. State will have no religion but Muslims will be given political reservation at union and states where they’re in minority.
- While partition of India could not be prevented but the Constitutional and legal protection given to women and minorities ensured their participation in national development.
Mind it- Question is not “enumerate the new objectives” but “highlighting importance of those new objectives”, so by hook or crook we’ve to link the significance of new objectives to something positive.
Free India for rural development & socialist welfare for all
- Indian youth had responded eagerly to the Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement, but sudden withdrawal was a blow to their aspirations. So, they started to feel attracted towards revolutionary movement – particularly in Punjab and Bengal.
- Revolutionary groups such as HSRA, Gadar party were deeply influenced by Socialist-Marxist ideology and had started gaining traction among students, workers in urban areas both in India and abroad.
- To expand its supporter base, Congress had to shift focus towards rural areas, and had to become vocal support of the socialistic welfare ideology & rural development, to ensure people remain attracted towards non-violence form of agitation.
- This vibe can be seen in the resolutions of the Congress sessions, and in the directive principles of state policy in our Constitution.
Free India to care for its Peasants, will require Zamindari Abolition and Land reforms
- 1920s also saw emergence of powerful peasant movements. Farmers showed their strength and success through the Kisan Sabha and Eka movements in U.P., the Mappila rebellion in Malabar and the Bardoli Satyagraha in Gujarat.
- The peasants not only wanted an end to British rule, but also wanted an end to the illegal levies / rents and arbitrary ejections by Indian landlords.
- Thus national movement had to become accommodative to farmers-demands as well.
- In this regard, Congress’s Karachi session (1931) promised that Free India will have substantial reduction in land revenue revenue, exemption for uneconomic holdings, debt relief for farmers and control of usury. This thread continued even after independence and resulted into Zamindari-abolition, land reforms and ceiling on land ownership.
Free India to care for its Workers
- First phase of National movement was largely indifferent to the question of labour-welfare. Workers strikes / hartals were mostly sporadic, spontaneous and unorganized & based on immediate economic grievances, and had hardly any wider political implications.
- However, During Khilafat-NCM phase, the working class also got involved in the mainstream of nationalist politics. This led to emergence of a clear Left Bloc / Marxism in the national movement.
- Communist influence spread to workers in the railways, jute mills, municipalities, paper mills etc. There was hardly a single public utility service or industry which had not been affected by this wave.
- Nationalist leaders had to appreciate and acknowledge their significance. This can be seen in Congress’s Karachi session (1931) which promised that Free India will have better conditions for workers including a living wage, limited hours of work and protection of women workers; Workers will have right to organize and form unions. Key industries, mines and railways shall be controlled by the state.
- While in the later phase of freedom struggle, the Communists’ hold over the working class declined, but upon Gandhi’s call, workers enthusiastically participated in Civil Disobedience Movement and Quit India movement all over the country.
- Thus, addition of labour welfare in Independent India’s vision ensured the full participation of mill workers in the freedom struggle.
For educational purpose, I’ve elaborate above part, else it could be compressed within 2-3 lines.
Conclusion [Highlight => means Discuss => Summary]
In the second phase of nationalist movement, the idea of Swaraj (self-rule) was full of vague and lofty ideas without clear visions for various groups. With the aforementioned developments in the 1920s, the vision for Indian indepdence became more clearer and accommodative to the needs and aspirations of the masses. It encouraged the masses to fight for India’s freedom with greater vigor and it ensured that free India cared for the masses with greater compassion.
Afterthoughts / Pitfalls
- Since we had to highlight “importance of new objectives added in vision for Free India” so in conclusion I highlighted how it benefited both parties: Mases: vigor, India: compassion. If by God’s divine intervention had we secured freedom within first or second phase of the national movement (1885-1916) then free India’s governance priorities would have focused on elite classes only.
- In the conclusion, I could have elaborated “aspiration of masses” including the oppressive classes, women, minorities, workers, peasants… but then it’ll unnecessarily lengthen the answer, and examiner will know that candidate is deliberately trying to pad the answer by repeating the same terms again and again.
- The answer in its present form is ~900 words but in real exam you can’t recall everything so automatically it’ll fit into 250 words.
- Avoid excessive coverage of the background events- NCM, Khilafat, Swarajists, khadi,charkha, revolution etc. You’re asked to write about ‘objectives’ not the ‘methods’.
- I’ve used Spectrum’s History book and lifted some parts from Bipan Chandra’s book. Although I’m not completely satisfied with the structure myself. This answer could have been refined further via Plassey to Partition and Sumit Sarkar, but Mains is not about writing the best answer but writing a less bad answer than others! Besides excessive knowledge is a curse- If you know too much, then it’ll difficult to fit so many points and nuances within 250 words.
Visit Mrunal.org/Mains for more on the Art of Answer-Writing.