UPSC History Indian National Movement Short Notes - The Freedom Struggle

Short Notes - The Freedom Struggle

Category : UPSC


The Freedom Struggle


  • The Indian National Congress was founded on 28 December 1885 by Allan Octavian Hume.
  • The first meeting was scheduled to be held in Pune but due to a plague outbreak there, the meeting was later shifted to Bombay.
  • Womesh Chandra (W.C.) Bonnerjee was the first President of the INC.
  • The first session of the INC was held from 28-31 December 1885, and was attended by 72 delegates.
  • The decision to effect the Partition of Bengal was announced in July 1905 by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon.
  • The partition took place in 16 October 1905 and separated the largely Muslim eastern areas from the largely Hindu western areas.
  • Bengal was reunited in 1911.
  • Surat Split is mainly known for separation of Congress partymen into moderates and extremists at the Surat session of Congress in 26 December 1907.
  • The extremists were led by Lokmanya Tilak, Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal, and the Moderates were led by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Pheroze Shah Mehta and Surendranath Banerjee.
  • The divided Congress re-united in the crucial Lucknow session of Congress in 1916.
  • The Indian Councils Act 1909, commonly known as the Morley-Minto Reforms, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that brought about a limited increase in the involvement of Indians in the governance of British India.
  • The act was formulated by John Morley, secretary of state for India (1905-10).
  • Lord Minto was the Viceroy of India [1905-10).
  • The Act amended the Indian Councils Acts of 1861 and 1892.
  • The Swadeshi movement started with the partition of Bengal by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, 1905.
  • It was the most successful of the pre-Gandhian movements. Its chief architects were Aurobindo Ghosh, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, V 0. Chidambaram Pillai, Babu Genu.
  • The All-India Muslim League was founded on 30 December 1906.
  • The founding president of Ghadar Party was Sohan Singh Bhakna and Lala Hardayal was the co-founder of this party.
  • The members of this party were the immigrant Sikhs of US and Canada.
  • In 1914, after the Komagata Maru tragedy, Lala Hardayal fled to Europe following an arrest by the United States government for spreading anarchist literature.
  • In 1916, two Home Rule Movements were launched in the country: one under the leadership of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the other under Annie Besant.
  • The objectives of the Home Rule League were: Establishment of self-government for India in British Empire,
  • Lucknow Pact, [December 1916), agreement made by the Indian National Congress headed by Maratha leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the All-India Muslim League led by Muhammad Ah Jinnah.
  • The pact dealt both with the structure of the government of India and with the relation of the Hindu and Muslim communities.
  • August Declaration (1917) After the Lucknow Pact, the British policy was announced which aimed at "increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration for progressive realisation of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British empire". This came to be called the August Declaration.
  • The Montague-Chelmsford reforms or the Act of 1919 was based on this declaration.
  • The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, 1919 popularly known as the Rowlatt Act.
  • The Rowlatt Act was passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in Delhi on March 21,1919.
  • This act effectively authorized the government to imprison any person suspected of terrorism living in the Raj for up to two years without a trial, and gave the imperial authorities power to deal with all revolutionary activities.
  • Two leaders of the Congress, Dr. Satya Pal and Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew, were arrested and taken to an unknown place.
  • On April 13, 1919 people from neighbouring villages gathered for Baisakhi Day celebrations in Amritsar, which led to the infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919. On the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, the army fired on the crowd for ten minutes.
  • On 13 March 1940, at Caxton Hall in London, Udham Singh killed Michael O'Dwyer
  • Khilafat movement force that arose in India in the early 20th century as a result of Muslim fears for the integrity of Islam.
  • These fears were aroused by Italian (1911) and   Balkan   (1912-13) attacks on Turkey—whose sultan, as Caliph, was the religious head of the worldwide Muslim community—and by Turkish defeats in World War.
  • A campaign in defence of the caliph was launched, led in India by the brothers Shaukat and Muhammad Alt and by Abul Kalam Azad.
  • The non-co-operation movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • After the Jallianwala Bagh incident, Gandhi started the Non-Cooperation Movement.
  • Protestors would refuse to buy British goods, adopt the use of local handicrafts, picket liquor shops.
  • On February 5, 1922, in the Chauri Chaura the police chowki was set on fire by the mob, killing 22 of the police occupants.
  • The non-cooperation movement was withdrawn because of the Chauri Chaura incident.
  • Swaraj Party, Indian political party established in late 1922-early 1923 by members of the Indian National Congress (Congress Party), notably, Motilal Nehru, one of the most prominent lawyers in northern India (and the father of political leader Jawaharlal Nehru), and Chittaranjan Das, a nationalist politician from Bengal.
  • Simon Commission was appointed in November 1927 to report on the Working of the Indian Constitution established by the Government of India Act of 1919.
  • The Commission consisted of seven members; Sir John Simon, and Clement Attlee were Joint chairman.
  • On February 3, 1928, the Simon Commission was confronted  by throngs of protesters,
  • The Lahore protest was led by Indian nationalist Lala Lajpat Rai, was severely beaten by local police. He died on November 17, 1928.
  • The Nehru Report in August 1928 was a memorandum outlining a proposed new dominion status constitution for India.
  • It was prepared by a committee of the All Parties Conference chaired by Motilal Nehru with his son Jawaharlal acting as secretary.
  • The Dandi March, also known as the Salt Satyagraha, began on 12 March 1930 and was an important part of the Indian independence movement.
  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi [commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi) led the Dandi March from his base, Sabarmati Ashram to the coastal village of Dandi.
  • Gandhi broke the salt laws at 6:30 am on 6 April 1930.
  • The three Round Table Conferences of 1930-32 were a series of conferences organized by the British Government to discuss constitutional reforms in India.


First Round Table Conference

(November 1930 - January 1931).

Second Round Table Conference

(September - December 1931)

Third Round Table Conference

(November - December 1932)

  • The Round Table Conference was opened officially by Lord Irwin on November 12, 1930 at London and chaired by the British Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald.
  • The second session opened on September 7, 1931.
  • Mahatma Gandhi attended the second session.
  • In the third Conference only forty six delegates attended since most of the main political figures of India were not present.
  • The Gandhi-Irwin Pact was a political agreement signed by Mahatma Gandhi and the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin on 5 March 1931,
  • It was signed before the Second Round Table Conference in London.
  • The British Government agreed to withdraw all ordinances and end prosecutions and release all political prisoners.
  • The Communal Award was made by the British Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald on 16 August 1932.
  • According to it, separate representation was to be provided for the Forward Caste, Lower Caste, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Indian Christins, Anglo-Indians, Europeans and Dalits.
  • The Poona Pact refers to an agreement between Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi signed on 24 September 1932 at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune [now in Maharashtra), India.
  • The concept of separate electorates for the Untouchables was raised by Dr. Ambedkar.
  • The British government agreed with Ambedkar's contention, and British Prime Minister Ramsay. MacDonald's Communal Award to the depressed classes was to be incorporated into the Constitution in the governance of British India.
  • Gandhi strongly   opposed   the Communal Award on the grounds that it would disintegrate Hindu society.
  • He began an indefinite hunger strike at Yerwada Central jail. A compromise was reached on September 24, 1932 between Gandhiji and Ambedkar.
  • In March 1940, Congress passed a resolution offering the British Government support in war, if a provisional National Government is set up at Centre.
  • The Congress did not approve the August Offer.
  • The name "Pakistan" had been proposed by Choudhary Rahmat Alt in his Pakistan Declaration. In 1940 at the Lahore Session of the Muslim League, the demand for a separate state of Pakistan was made.
  • It was based on the two-nation theory.
  • Abul Kalam Azad opposed the demand for a separate state and fought against communal tendencies and for the freedom of the Indian people.
  • The Cripps Mission was an attempt in late March 1942 by the British government to secure full Indian cooperation and support for their efforts in World War II.
  • The Mission was headed by Sir Stafford Cripps.
  • Cripps promised to give dominion status after the war as well as elections to be held after the war.
  • Both the major parties, the Congress and the League rejected his proposals and the Mission proved a failure.
  • Quit India Movement was a civil disobedience movement launched in India on 8 August 1942 by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
  • Gandhiji gave the slogan "Do or Die".
  • One of the greatest achievements of the Quit India Movement was that it kept the Congress Party united all through these challenging times.
  • The movement was crushed by the British Government.
  • The Indian National Army was an armed force formed by Indian nationalists in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II.
  • The aim of the army was to secure Indian independence with Japanese assistance.
  • Initially INA was formed in 1942. It was revived under the leadership of Subhas Chandra Bose in 1943.
  • Gandhi Brigade, Azad Brigade and Nehru Brigade are three brigades of INA.
  • The Rani of Jhansi Regiment was under Lakshmi Sahgal, comprised female volunteers from Malaya and Burma.
  • Cabinet Mission was composed of three Cabinet Ministers of England: Sir Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps, and Alexander.
  • The Mission arrived on March 24, 1946.
  • The objective of this Mission was to devise a machinery to draw up the Constitution of Independent India.
  • Muslim League rejected the idea of the Interim Government.
  • On July 27, the Muslim League Council met at Bombay where Jinnah reiterated the demand for Pakistan.
  • On July 29, it rejected the plan and called the Muslims to resort to "Direct Action" to achieve the land of their dream "Pakistan".


 Summary of Freedom Movement



  • August 16, 1946 was fixed as "Direct Action Day".
  • The Interim Government of India formed on 2 September 1946 from the newly elected Constituent Assembly of India.

It existed till 15 August 1947.







Sepoy Mutiny


First War of Independence due to dissatisfaction of the Indian soldiers


Indian National Congress                  



Initiated by A. 0. Hume; first president, W. C Bannerjee


Swadeshi Movement


Boycott of foreign goods


Home Rule Movement


Led by Dr (Mrs) Annie Besant


Lucknow Pact


Hindu-Muslim unity which weakened the British


Khilafat Movement   


Mohd Alt and Shaukat Ah led the movement for restoration of Khilafat, alienating Muslims from the British


Chauri-Chaura incident                   



Mob clashed with police, killing 22 policemen. Gandhiji called off the civil disobedience movement.


Non-cooperation Movement             

   1920-           1922

With Gandhiji's support of the Khilafat movement, Hindus and Muslims launched the non-cooperation movement


Swaraj party        


Ghandhiji's decision to call off the civil disobedience movement, led to the formation of the Swaraj party Initiated by Motilal Nehru.



Dandi March         


Gandhiji launched the movement to break the salt law


Civil Disobedience   


Non-violent non-cooperation movement led by Gandhiji



Quit India Movement


Led by Gandhiji; asking the British to leave India


Direct        Action Campaign                 


Launched by Muslim league, resulted in heavy riots.


Interim Government

External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations        -           Jawaharlal Nehru

Defence                         -           Baldev Singh

Home (including Information and Broadcasting)      - Vallahbhai Patel

Finance                         -           Liaquat Ali Khan

Posts and Air                  -           Abdur Rab Nishtar

Food and Agriculture       -           Rajendra Parsad

Labour                          -           Jagjivan Ram

Transport and Railways   -           M. Asaf Ali

Industries and Supplies    -           John Matthai

Education and Arts         -           C. Rajgopalacharia

Works, Mines and Power  -           C.H. Babha

Commerce                     -           I.I. Chundrigar

Law                              -           Jogindar Nath Mandal

Health                           -           Ghazanfar Ali Khan


Interim Government

External Affairs and                    :        Jawaharlal

Commonwealth                       :    Nehru


Defence                            :       BaldevSingh

Home (including                       :    Vallahbhai Patel

Information and


Finance                                 :   Liaqua tAli Khan

Posts and Air                             :  Abdur Rab


Food and Agriculture                 :  Rajendra Parsad

Labour                              :  Jagjivan Ram

Transport and                    :  M. Asaf Ali


Industries and                    :  John Matthai


Education and Arts                  : C. Rajgopalacharia

Works, Mines and                    :      C.H. Babha


Commerce                         :   I.I. Chundrigar

Law                                    :  Jogindar Nath


Health                                :   Ghazanfar Ali




  • An idea for a Constituent Assembly of India was proposed in 1934 by M. N. Roy.
  • The Constituent Assembly, consisting of indirectly elected representatives, was established to draft a Constitution for India (including the now-separate countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh).
  • The Assembly met for the first time in New Delhi on 9 December 1946.
  • Sachchidananda Sinha was the first president [temporary chairman) of the Constituent Assembly.
  • Rajendra Prasad was the first and permanent president of the Constituent Assembly.



Important Dates

9 December 1946    :   The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

11 December 1946 :    Rajendra Prasad and H. C. Mukherjee were elected as as- sembly President and Vice-President.

22 July 1947           : National flag adopted.

24 January 1950     : "Jana Gana Mana" adopted as the national anthem, Rajendra Prasad elected the first president of India.


 Principal Committees and Chairs


  • Committee on the Rules of Procedure: Rajendra Prasad
  • Drafting Committee: B.R. Ambedkar
  • Steering Committee:   Rajendra Prasad
  • Finance and Staff Committee: Rajendra Prasad
  • Credential Committee:   Alladi Krishnaswami Aiyyar
  • House Committee: B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
  • Ad Hoc Committee on National Flag:

Rajendra Prasad

  • States Committee: Jawaharlal Nehru
  • Union Powers    Committee:  Jawaharlal Nehru

Union Constitution Committee: Jawaharlal Nehru                


  • The Assembly completed the task of drafting a Constitution in two years, eleven months and eighteen days.
  • The Indian Independence Act 1947 was also called 3 June Plan or Mountbatten Plan.
  • The Mountbatten Plan declared that power would be handed over by 15 August 1947 on the basis of dominion status to India and Pakistan.
  • 15 August 1947 was declared as the appointed date for the partition of India and Pakistan.
  • The Act received the royal assent on 18 July 1947, and Pakistan came into being on August 14, and India on August 15, as two new countries.
  • The boundaries between the two dominion states were to be determined by a Boundary Commission which was headed by Sir Cyril Radcliff.
  • The authority of the British Crown over the princely states ceased and they were free to join either India or Pakistan or remain independent.
  • Pakistan-was to comprise the West Punjab, East Bengal, Territories of the Sind, North West frontier provinces, Syllhat divisions of Assam, Bhawalpur, khairpur, Baluchistan and 8 other princely states of Baluchistan.
  • The Constituent Assemblies of both the states were free to make constitutions of their respective countries.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru became the Prime Minister of India and Sardar VaIlabh bhai Patel became the Home Minister.
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah became the Governor-General of Pakistan, and Liaquat Ali Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan.


Newspapers and Journals


Newspaper/Journal Name                                                                      Founder

Bengal Gazette (1780) (India's First News- paper)                        James Augustus Hickey.

Kesari                                                                                           B.G.Tilak

Amrita Bazar Patrika                                                                    Sisir Kumar Ghosh and Motilal Ghosh

Vande Mataram                                                                           Aurobindo Ghosh

Kavivachan Sudha                                                                       Bhartendu Harishchandra

Rast Goftar[first newspaper in Gujarati)                                         Dadabhai Naoroji

Statesman                                                                                    Robert Knight

Hindu                                                                                            Vir Raghavacharya and G.S. Aiyar

Yugantar                                                                                      Bhupendranath Data and Barinder

                                                                                        Kumar Ghosh

Bombay Chronicle                                                                        Firoze Shah Mehta

Hindustan                                                                                     M.M. Malviya

Mooknayak                                                                                   B.R. Ambedkar

Comrade                                                                                      Mohamrnad Alt

Tahzib-ul-Akhlaq                                                               Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

Al-Hilal                                                                                          Abul Kalam Azad

Al-Balagh                                                                                     Abul Kalam Azad

Independent                                                                                  Motilal Nehru

Punjabi                                                                                          Lala Lajpat Rai

New India(Daily)                                                              Annie Besant

Pratap                                                                                          Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi

Samvad Kaumudi (Bengali)                                                          Ram Mohan Roy

Mirat-ul-Akbhar                                                                            Ram Mohan Roy (first Persian News-paper)

Young India                                                                                 M.K Ghandhi

Harijan                                                                                         M.K Ghandhi

Hindustan Times                                                              K.M. Pannikar


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