August 16, 2020 By RJ

Independence Day marks the end of British rule in 1947 and the establishment of a free and independent Indian nation. It also marks the anniversary of the partition of the subcontinent into two countries India and Pakistan, which occurred at midnight on August 14–15, 1947. It’s been 74 years India got Independence from the British rulers. The Indian Independence Movement was a series of activities with the ultimate aim of ending the British rule in India.


Growth of Nationalism

  • By the 1880s many of these Indians were frustrated. The British Viceroy and his Council ruled the country. These educated Indians wanted the opportunity to reach the top jobs in the civil service. They also wanted India to have its own government, in which men like them would become MPs. The Indian National Congress first set out these ideas in 1885. However, they had little impact on British attitudes. Many British settlers in India had contempt for the Indians and did not believe they were fit to run their own country.
  • The British government in London favoured some measures to involve Indians in ruling India. However, they were afraid to upset their own settlers. Also, India was so valuable to Britain that they were reluctant to lose too much control.
  • By the end of the First World War in 1918 British rule was still secure. However, protests from Indian nationalists had become more common and were sometimes violent. Indians had sent and paid for thousands of troops to fight in the Great War and they felt that this sacrifice should be recognised with more say in running the country.
  • In 1919 there was a huge demonstration at Amritsar. The commander of the British forces in the area was General Dyer. He ordered troops to fire on the peaceful protesters. Around 400 were killed and about 1000 injured. His actions caused horror and outrage in India and back in Britain. General Dyer was forced to retire
Amritsar protest
  • One of the reasons for the British reaction at Amritsar was that they were nervous about the growing nationalist movement. One of its leading figures was a remarkable man called Gandhi. He began his career protesting about the ill treatment of non-whites in South Africa. In 1915 he returned to his home – India – to convince the British to leave. He believed in non-violent protest, and his methods were extremely effective for Independence of the country.
  • During the 1920s and 1930s British attitudes towards India began to shift. This was partly a result of Gandhi’s protests and the work of other nationalist leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru. At the same time, India stopped being as important to Britain’s economy as it had been in the past. There was also the fact that Britain gave self-rule to the Irish Free State in 1921 and this made it even harder to deny self-rule to India.
  • Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Britain introduced a range of measures that gave more and more independence to India. The number of Indians who were eligible to vote was increased. Indians began to serve on the Council of the Viceroy and also got jobs as ministers in the government.

End of British Rule in India

India was perhaps the most important to Britain of the territories in the empire. It was run in a different way from most other parts of the empire, because it was different from other parts of the empire.

When the British arrived in India in the 1700s they did not find relatively lightly populated lands like they did in Australia or North America. India was highly populated. It was economically developed. There were states with governments that were just as complex as Britain. As a result, Britain could not march in and take over. British rule developed through a combination of military force and alliances with Indian rulers.

By the later 1800s British rule in India was strong. However, there were only a tiny number of British soldiers and administrators in India. Indian civil servants did the majority of the day-to-day work that allowed British rule to operate. By the later 1800s there were many thousands of middle-class Indians who worked in the administration, who spoke English and who had an English education


Step towards Independence

  • Protests continued through the 1930s and even during the Second World War. It should be remembered that India again sent and paid for thousands of troops to fight for the British empire during this war.
  • the British made an offer of Dominion status to India in 1942 in return for full co-operation during the war. However, there were too many restrictions on this offer and Indian National Congress leader Nehru turned it down.
  • Gandhi and other nationalists continued to demand independence for India throughout the war, although they were careful to avoid disrupting the war effort. When the war ended the protests increased. International opinion, especially in the USA, was increasingly hostile to British rule.
  • On June 15, 1947, the British House of Commons passed the Indian Independence Act, or Mountbatten Plan, which divided India into two dominions, India and Pakistan.
  • The Indian Independence Bill, which carves the independent nations of India and Pakistan out of the former Mogul Empire, comes into force at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947.