REMEMBERING JALLIANWALA BAGH
14, Apr 2020
Why in News?
- The Prime Minister of India had paid tributes to the martyrs of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on the day of commemorating 101 years of the incident.
- Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also called Massacre of Amritsar was an incident on April 13, 1919, in which British troops fired on a large crowd of unarmed Indians in an open space known as the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in Punjab.
- By the end of WW-II, expectations were high among the Indian populace that those measures would be eased and that India would be given more political autonomy.
- The Montagu-Chelmsford Report, presented to the British Parliament in 1918, did in fact recommend limited local self-government.
- But the British government of India enacted a series of repressive emergency powers that were intended to combat subversive activities.
- Further, the then government of India passed what became known as the Rowlatt Acts in early 1919, which essentially extended the repressive wartime measures.
- The acts were met by widespread anger and discontent among Indians, notably in the Punjab region. Gandhi in early April called for a one-day general strike (Rowlatt Satyagraha) throughout the country.
- In Amritsar the news that prominent Indian leaders (Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew) had been arrested and banished from that city sparked violent protests on April 10, in which soldiers fired upon civilians and angry mobs killed several foreign nationals.
- A force of several dozen troops commanded by Brig. Gen. Reginald Edward Harry Dyer was given the task of restoring order. Among the measures taken was a ban on public Gatherings.
On the day of the Massacre:
- On the afternoon April 13, a crowd of at least 10,000 men, women, and children gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh, which was nearly completely enclosed by walls and had only one exit.
- It is not clear how many people there were protesters who were defying the ban on public meetings and how many had come to the city from the surrounding region to celebrate Baisakhi, a spring festival.
- Dyer and his soldiers arrived and sealed off the exit. Without warning, the troops opened fire on the crowd, reportedly shooting hundreds of rounds until they ran out of ammunition.
- It killed several hundred people and wounded many hundreds more. It marked a turning point in India’s modern history, in that it left a permanent scar on Indo-British relations and was the precursor to Mahatma Gandhi’s full commitment to the cause of Indian nationalism and independence from Britain.
Reaction of Indians:
- Gandhi soon began organizing his first large-scale and sustained nonviolent protest (satyagraha) campaign, the Non Cooperation Movement (1920–22).
- The then government of India ordered an investigation of the incident (the Hunter Commission), which in 1920 censured Dyer for his actions and ordered him to resign from the military.
- The Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore renounced the knighthood that he had received in 1915.
DADABHAI NAOROJI’S BIRTH ANNIVERSARY
05, Sep 2019
- September 4, 2019 was the 194th birth anniversary of Dadabhai Naoroji, the “Grand Old Man of India”, who was among the first leaders who stirred national consciousness in the country.
About Dadabhai Naoroji:
- Born in 1825 at Navsari, in present-day Gujarat
- Apart from having a distinguished political career, Naoroji was also a professor of Gujarati, mathematics, and natural philosophy, and also worked as a businessman.
- Naoroji’s lasting intellectual contribution was to expound the ‘Drain Theory’.
- He was closely involved with the Indian National Congress in its early phase, and served as the first Indian member of the British parliament.
Early work in England:
- Naoroji began rousing public opinion in England on Indian issues in 1855, after he moved from India to Liverpool for business.
- His first agitation, in 1859, concerned recruitment to the Indian Civil Service (today’s IAS).
- In 1865 and 1866, Naoroji helped found the London Indian Society and the East India Association
- The two organisations sought to bring nationalist Indians and sympathetic Britons on one platform.
- As the secretary of the East India Association, Naoroji travelled in India to gather funds and raise national awareness.
Leader of The Indian National Congress:
- In 1885, Naoroji became a vice-president of the Bombay Presidency Association, was nominated to the Bombay legislative council by Governor Lord Reay, and helped form the Indian National Congress.
- He was Congress president thrice, in 1886, 1893, and 1906.
- At the 1906 Congress session in Calcutta Dadabhai Naoroji declared that the goal of the Congress was to attain Swaraj.
- The first session of the Congress in 1885 passed a resolution calling for the formation of a standing committee in the British House of Commons for considering protests from legislative bodies in India.
- Naoroji dedicated his efforts towards this objective when he returned to England in 1886.
Election to The British Parliament:
- Naoroji first ran for the British Parliament in 1886, but did not get elected.
- His second bid in 1892 was successful, when he won the Central Finsbury seat on a Liberal Party ticket.
- In the British Parliament, Naoroji worked to bring Indian issues to the fore. In 1893, he helped form an Indian parliamentary committee to attend to Indian interests. The membership of the committee significantly grew in numbers in the coming years, becoming an important lobbying force.
- Naoroji was a vocal critic of the colonial economic policy in India. In 1895, he became a member of the royal commission on Indian expenditure.
- A moderate himself, Naoroji acted as a liaison between nationalist Indians and British parliamentarians.
- Dadabhai Naoroji was among the key proponents of the ‘Drain Theory’, disseminating it in his 1901 book ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India’.
- Naoroji argued that imperial Britain was draining away India’s wealth to itself through exploitative economic policies, including India’s rule by foreigners; the heavy financial burden of the British civil and military apparatus in India; the exploitation of the country due to free trade; non-Indians taking away the money that they earned in India; and the interest that India paid on its public debt held in Britain.
INDIA’S INTERIM GOVERNMENT, 1946
03, Sep 2019
Why in News?
- On September 2, 1946, the interim government of India led by Jawaharlal Nehru was formed. It was the only such cabinet in India’s history in which arch-rivals Congress and the Muslim League shared power at the Centre. The interim government functioned with a great degree of autonomy, and remained in power until the end of British rule, after which it was succeeded by the Dominions of India and Pakistan.
Events That Led to The Formation of Interim Government:
- Starting with the Cripps mission in 1942, a number of attempts were made by colonial authorities to form an interim government in India.
- In 1946, elections to the Constituent Assembly were held following the proposals of the British Cabinet Mission dispatched by the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.
- In this election, the Congress obtained a majority in the Assembly, and the Muslim League consolidated its support among the Muslim electorate.
- Viceroy Wavell subsequently called upon Indian representatives to join the interim government.
- A federal scheme had been visualised under the Government of India Act of 1935, but this component was never implemented due to the opposition from India’s princely states.
- As a result, the interim government functioned according to the older Government of India Act of 1919.
The Interim Cabinet:
- On September 2, 1946, the Congress party formed the government. On September 23, the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) ratified the Congress Working Committee’s decision.
- The Muslim League initially decided to sit out of the government, and three of the five ministries reserved for Muslims were occupied by Asaf Ali, Sir Shafaat Ahmad Khan, and Syed Ali Zaheer, all non-League Muslim representatives. Two posts remained vacant.
- However, after Lord Wavell agreed to allot all five reserved portfolios to the Muslim League if it agreed to cooperate, the latter finally joined.
- In October, the cabinet was reshuffled to accommodate the new Muslim League members, and Sarat Chandra Bose, Sir Shafaat Ahmad Khan and Syed Ali Zaheer from the earlier team were dropped. Baldev Singh, C.H. Bhabha, and John Matthai continued to represent minority communities.
The cabinet after October 1946 was as follows:
|Jawaharlal Nehru||External Affairs & Commonwealth Relations|
|Sardar Vallabhai Patel||Home, Information & Broadcasting|
|Dr. Rajendra Prasad||Food & Agriculture|
|Dr. John Mathai||Industries & Supplies|
|Sardar Baldev Singh||Defence|
|C.H. Bhabha||Works, Mines & Power|
|Liaquat Ali Khan||Finance|
|Abdur Rab Nishtar||Posts & Air|
|Asaf Ali||Railways & Transport|
|C. Rajagopalachari||Education & Arts|
|Ghaznafar Ali Khan||Health|
|Joginder Nath Mandal||Law|
Significant Decisions by Interim Cabinet:
- On September 26, 1946, Nehru declared the government’s plan to engage in direct diplomatic relations with all countries and goodwill missions. He also expressed support for the independence of colonised nations.
- In November 1946, India ratified the Convention on International Civil Aviation. In the same month, a committee was appointed to advise the government on nationalising the armed forces.
- In December, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was inducted into the cabinet.
- The year 1947 saw the opening of diplomatic channels between India and many countries. In April 1947, the US announced the appointment of Dr. Henry F. Grady as its ambassador to India. Embassy level diplomatic relations with the USSR and the Netherlands also started in April. In May, the first Chinese ambassador Dr. Lo Chia Luen arrived, and the Belgian Consul-General in Kolkata was appointed Belgium’s ambassador to India.
- On June 1, the Indian Commonwealth Relations Department and the External Affairs Department were merged to form the single Department of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations.
- After Partition was announced on June 3, a dedicated cabinet sub-committee was formed to deal with the situation on June 5, and consisted of Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Liaquat Ali Khan, Abdur Rab Nishtar and Baldev Singh.
BATTLE OF KANGLA TONGBI
08, Apr 2019
GS 1: Modern Indian History
Why in News?
The Platinum Jubilee of the Battle of Kangla Tongbi War was commemorated on 07 Apr 2019 by Army Ordnance Corps at Kangla Tongbi War Memorial near Imphal honouring the valiant brave hearts of Ordnance Personnel of 221 Advance Ordnance Depot who made their supreme sacrifice in the line of duty during the battle of World War-II on the night of 6/ 7 April 1944.
Battle of Kangla Tongbi:
- The Battle of Kangla Tongbi, considered one of the fiercest battles of World War II, was fought by Ordnance personnel of 221 Advance Ordnance Depot (AOD) (Allied forces) against Japanese Forces (Axis forces)
- Japanese forces had planned a three-pronged offensive to capture Imphal and the surrounding areas. In their attempt to extend their line of communication to Imphal, the 33rd Japanese Division cut in behind the 17th Indian Division at Tiddim (Mynmar) and establishing themselves firmly on the main Kohima – Manipur highway, started advancing towards Kangla Tongbi. At Kangla Tongbi, a small but determined detachment of 221 AOD put up stiff resistance against the advancing Japanese forces.
- This shook the enemy and forced the Japanese to withdraw leaving many dead.