Vasco da Gama discovered India in 1498. He first landed in Calicut and that was the beginning of the European era in Indian history.
In the 15th century, a lot of travelers from western countries like Italy, France, England, Netherlands, Denmark, etc. visited India for different-different reasons. Some as traders, some as adventurers, and some to establish their kingdom here.
History from the start of the 17th century to the mid of the 19th century is known as modern Indian history.
In this blog post, you will find very detailed information about the modern history of India. All the major incidents and happenings are covered in this article.
So, let’s dive right in without further ado…
Modern Indian History (Brief Introduction)
Mughal empire in India had started to fall after the mid-15th century and till the end of the 16th century, it had been completely ended.
This fade of the Mughal empire and the rise of the British era at the beginning of the 17th century is considered to be the start of modern India.
Once the British established themselves well by the beginning of the 18 century, real exploitation of the natural resources and forced native labor started rising significantly in the country.
Shashi Tharoor in his speech at Oxford Union Society said that at the beginning of the 18th century, India’s share of the world economy was 23% and by British left India, it was down below 4%.
The rising cruelty of the British towards Indians started rising the anticolonial struggle to be free from British humiliation.
This entire modern history of India can be divided into 2 parts for better understanding:
- Expansion and consolidation of British in India
- Indian freedom movement against British
We’ll look at both of these eras in detail below.
Expansion and Consolidation of British in India
With their cunning strategies and policies like divide and rule, the British had slowly started to gain control over India.
In the name of free trade, the British East India Company started to strengthen its foot in Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha. Because, after that, it would be easier for them to expand their reach.
Following are the important incidents that occurred during their expansion:
1. Battle of Plassey (1757)
On 20th June 1756, the Nawab of Bengal kingdom, Siraj ud Daulah attacked Fort William and took over because the East India Company had started to capture it.
On 2nd January 1757, Robert Clive and Admiral Watson were sent with their troops to take control over Calcutta. Clive played a dirty game and finalized a deal with Mir Jafar (uncle of Siraj ud Daulah) against Siraj. Clive said that if he helps them defeat Siraj then they will help him become the next Nawab.
On 23rd June 1757, troops led by Robert Clive and Admiral Watson attacked Nawab’s palace. And, in a few hours, only Siraj lost the battle because his own people betrayed him.
Later, he was assassinated by the British in the capital Murshidabad. And, Mir Jafar was appointed as the new Nawab by the company.
2. Battle of Wandiwash (1760)
British didn’t want other companies to stay in India.
By land and by sea, the French had taken over the Madras in 1740 which the British didn’t like. So, after 8 years in 1748, Rear Admiral Boscawen, with a large army was sent to take control over the Madras region. And, after a war, Madras was restored to the British.
To end over a century of conflict of supremacy in India, the English also defeated the French in the battle of Wandiwash in 1760.
3. Third Battle of Panipat (1761)
On 14th January 1761, between the Maratha Empire and the invading forces of Afghanistan’s Ahmad Shah Abdali, the third battle of Panipat was fought. Ahmad Shah Abdali was supported by the two Indian allies Najib-ud-Daulah and Shuja-ud-Daula.
The battle is considered to be one of the largest battles of the 18th century. It is estimated to be the involvement of 125000 troops in the battle which has lasted for several days.
According to many historians, 60000 to 70000 people had been killed in the battle, and thousands were imprisoned. It is said that the day after the battle, 40000 Maratha prisoners were slaughtered cold-blooded.
After the war, the advancement of the Marathas towards the north had stopped completely for almost 10 years. In 1771, Marathas sent a large army to the north to avenge their defeat from Rohillas, but their success didn’t last long.
4. Battle of Buxar (1764)
The battle of Buxar was fought on 21st October 1764 between British forces led by Hector Munro the current Nawab of Bengal Mir Qasim.
Mughal emperor Shah Alam II and Nawab of Awadh Shuja-ud-Daula also supported Mir Qasim in the fight against English.
The battle was fought on the land of Buxar which was under the territory of Bihar. 10000 British men had defeated the 40000 men of the combined army of Mir Qasim, Mughals, and Awadh. Lack of coordination among the three was the main reason for their defeat.
5. First Anglo-Mysore War (1767-1769)
The first war of Mysore was a result of the conflict between the East India Company and the Sultanate of Mysore. This was fought from 1767 to 1769.
Despite being 70000 men at the Mysore side and only 7000 at the British side, Mysore had undergone a heavy loss.
At last, Hyder Ali had to agree with the British terms. He asked them to assist him against Maratha’s penetration in Mysorean territory but the British didn’t help him.
Later in 1779, Marathas formed an alliance with Hyder Ali and Nizam to be united against the company which was the beginning of the second war of Mysore.
6. First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-1782)
Among the three Anglo-Maratha wars, this was the first war which was fought between the British and Maratha empire. The war was the result of the Bombay government’s alliance with the wannabe Maratha Peshwa Raghoba.
Company’s Warren Hastings became successful in breaking the coalition between the Marathas, Hyder Ali, and the Nizam.
Soon, this broke into a war between the company and the Marathas. The English were defeated badly in the war. Marathas were again at the top but the death of the Madhaji Scindia ended all hopes.
7. Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-1784)
The second Anglo-Mysore was also the result of the conflict between the Mysore kingdom and the British East India Company. This was fought from 1780 to 1784.
Sir Eyre Coote defeated Hyder Ali thrice in succession in the battles of Porto Novo, Pollilur, and Sholinghur.
In this Anglo-Mysore war, Hyder Ali was defeated by the British. He died due to cancer on 7th December 1782 at Chittoor. After his death, his son Tipu Sultan continued the battle and defeated Colonel Braithwaite and General Matthews in 1782.
8. Pitt’s India Act (1784)
Pitt’s India Act or the East India Company Act (EIC Act 1784) was a British Parliament Act to address the shortcomings of the Regulating Act of 1773. The act was named after the prime minister of Great Britain William Pitt the Younger.
According to Wikipedia, the Long Title for Pitt’s India Act 1784 was,
An Act for the Better Regulation and Management of the Affairs of the East India Company and of the British Possessions in India, and for establishing a Court of Judicature for the more speedy and effectual Trial of Persons accused of Offences committed in the East Indies.
Later, it was repealed by the Government of India (Amendment) Act 1916.
9. Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-1792)
The 3rd Anglo-Mysore war was also the result of conflicts in Southern India between the Mysore Kingdom and the company. This was fought between Tipu Sultan and the British.
Tipu wanted to drive the English away from India, but in this war, the Marathas and the Nizam joined against Tipu Sultan and supported the British. He had to surrender half of his kingdom and send two of his sons as hostages to Madras.
10. Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799)
This was the last out of the 4 Anglo-Mysore wars.
Tipu Sultan was killed in this last battle and Britain had taken indirect control over the Mysore. Wodeyar Dynasty, with a British commissioner to advise him on all issues, was restored to the Mysore throne.
Tipu’s young heir, Fateh Ali, was barred from Mysore and the kingdom became a princely state in a subsidiary alliance with British India.
11. Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-1805)
The 2nd Anglo-Maratha war was the second conflict between the Maratha Empire and the British EIC. This was fought from 1803 to 1805.
In September 1803, Lord Gerard Lake defeated Scindia at Delhi, and in October, Pettah of Asirgarh Fort was captured by the British. Later, in November, Lake also defeated another Scindia force at Laswari.
Arthur Wellesley had also defeated Scindia forces at Assaye and Argaon (now Adgaon) in September and November (1803) respectively.
This way the Maratha army was almost wiped out.
12. Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816)
The Anglo-Nepalese war also known as the Anglo-Gurkha war was fought between the Gorkha Kingdom (now known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal) and the company from 1814 to 1816.
The war had started as a border dispute and led by the British EIC against the Kingdom of Gorkha. British also had native states’ support from the Garhwal Kingdom, Patiala State, and the Kingdom of Sikkim.
The ended up with the Treaty of Sugauli under which some land, controlled by Nepalese, was ceded to the British East India Company.
13. Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818)
This was the final conflict between the company and the Maratha Empire. It was fought from 1817 to 1818. Sometimes, the 3rd Anglo-Maratha war is also known as the Pindari War.
Mudhoji II Bhonsle of Nagpur and Malharrao Holkar III of Indore supported the forces of Peshwa Baji Rao II to stand against the company. Due to some circumstances, Daulatrao Shinde of Gwalior (fourth major Maratha leader) had to remain neutral even though he lost control over Rajasthan.
Maratha Empire was broken up and the Maratha independence was lost. The British empire was growing up quickly. In the battle of Khadki and Koregaon, Peshwa was defeated but his forces fought several minor battles to regain control.
Later, Peshwa was caught by the British and sent at a small remote location at Bithur, near Kanpur. Most of his territories became part of the Bombay Presidency.
14. First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826)
The 1st Anglo-Burmese war was fought between the Burmese Empire and the British and was fought from 5th March 1824 to 24th February 1826.
The war had started over the control of Northeastern India and the British won the battle. Now, they had total control over Assam, Manipur, Cachar, and Jaintia. They even had captured Arakan Province and Tenasserim.
After the war, Burmese were forced to pay 1 million pounds sterling as an indemnity and also forced to sign a commercial treaty.
15. Prohibition of Sati (1829)
This incident Prohibition of Sati is also known as the Bengal Sati Regulation or Regulation XVII. The Governor-General Lord William Bentinck of the East India Company abolished the Sati or Suttee practice. He made the Sati practice illegal across India.
For your information, Sati (or Suttee, as English called it) was an ancient Hindu practice in which the widow used to burn herself alive along with the dead husband.
In 1829, this custom was made illegal and highly punishable.
16. Slavery Abolition Act (1833)
In 1833, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the act “Slavery Abolition Act 1833” abolishing slavery throughout the British empire.
According to Wikipedia, the Long Title of the Act read,
An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies; for promoting the Industry of the manumitted Slaves; and for compensating the Persons hitherto entitled to the Services of such Slaves.
But, this Slavery Abolishment Act had specifically excluded “the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company, or to the Island of Ceylon, or to the Island of Saint Helena”. It was later abolished in India in 1843.
17. First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842)
The 1st Anglo-Afghan war, also known as the Disaster in Afghanistan, was fought between the Emirates of Afghanistan and the British East India Company from 1839 to 1842.
British along with the Sikh forces were badly annihilated against the Emirates of Afghanistan. After that, the British sent a huge army (Army of Retribution) to Afghanistan to take revenge. They demolished many parts of the capital and returned by the end of 1842 with the recovered prisoners.
Afghans have won the battle, the British had to leave Afghanistan. Here, in India, Dost Mohammad (Barakzai) was reinstalled to the throne and resumed his rule.
18. Gwalior Campaign (1843)
The Gwalior Campaign or the Gwalior War was fought between the Maratha forces in Gwalior and the company in 1843.
After the death of the Maharaja, the British had forcefully appointed a Child as the new Maharaja of Gwalior after the war in 1818. When the British campaign failed in Afghanistan during 1839-1842, Marathas saw it as the opportunity to regain its empire and removed the young child from the throne of Maharaja.
Lord Ellenborough had understood their plan and set up an army of exercise near Agra. The plan of negotiations had failed and the war had started. Two wars happened on the same day – one at Maharajpore and one at Punniar.
British defeated Maratha forces in both the wars and appointed a British governor at the Gwalior Fort. The Eglish forces who fought the battle were awarded a medal called Gwalior Star.
19. First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846)
The 1st Anglo-Sikh war was fought between the Sikh Empire and the East India Company from 1845 to 1846.
The resulted in two very diverse results – partial subjugation of the Sikh Kingdom and the cession of Jammu and Kashmir as a separate princely state.
Betrayed by the Sikh army head Raja Lal Singh and Tej Singh, Sikh Kingdom had to surrender the region between the Beas River and the Sutlej River. They also paid an indemnity of 15 million rupees.
The Sikh army was totally weakened by the war.
20. Lord Dalhousie became Governor-General (1848)
Lord Dalhousie (original name, James Andrew Broun Ramsay) was appointed as the Governor-General of British India on 12th January 1848.
Dalhousie was born in 1812 in Scotland Castle and was elected in the British Parliament at the age of 25. After becoming the Governor-General of India, from 1848 to 1856, he ruled India for 8 straight years.
He worked on the modernization and unity of India. Later, Dalhousie retired on 29th February 1856 and died in 1860.
21. Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849)
It was a military conflict between the Sikhs and the British that resulted in the 2nd Anglo-Sikh War. The war was fought from 1848 to 1849. After the war, the Sikh Empire was completely ruined and the annexation of Punjab happened.
The main reason why Punjab got defeated was the lack of food for armies and poor administration. Also, the British had brought a pretty large force to fight against the Sikhs, and that was another reason for their defeat.
22. Introduction of Railways (1853)
The very first railway system was introduced in India on 16th April 1853 between Mumbai to Thane carrying 400 passengers. The paperwork for railways by the East India Company had started in 1845.
Anglo-Indians found an ample amount of employment in the railways and also in the telegraph system. It is said that Lord Dalhousie has a very important role in bringing railways to India.
23. Indian Rebellion – the First War of Indian Independence (1857)
The year 1857 is considered the Revolutionary Upheaval of Indian independence history. It was a major uprising in India against the British in 1857-1858, but couldn’t be successful.
1857 Rebellion has many names like Sepoy Mutiny, Indian Mutiny, Great Rebellion, Revolt of 1857, Indian Insurrection, and it is also considered as the First War of Independence.
There were many reasons for this rebellion like the General Service Enlistment Act of 25 July 1856 which prevented the Bengal army from overseas services, issues of promotion of Indian Sepoy soldiers in the army, rumors of the presence of beef and pork present in the pre-greased paper cartridges of the new Enfield P-53 rifle, rumors of British controlling Indian Hindu’s and Muslim’s minds to convert them to Christianity, etc.
It’s said that in Oudh alone, an estimated number of 150,000 (with 100,000 of them being civilians) Indians killed during the war. Indian soldiers also committed some cruel acts against Anglo-Indians.
The Indians who fueled the rebellion of 1857 were Bahadur Shah Zafar, Bakht Khan, Nana Sahib, Tatya Tope, Rani Lakshmibai, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Birjis Qadr, and various Zamindars and Chieftains, etc.
In order to seek revenge from the Indian soldiers, the British went on another level. Indian civilians had to go through very cruel tortures like,
- Searing with a hot iron
- Sequencing the testicles
- Red chilies in the eyes
- Hindus and Muslims were forced to eat Beef or Pork
- Rebellions were tied on the cannons and cannons were fired
- Red chilies in the private parts of men and women
- Prevention of sleep
- Nipping off the flesh with pinners
- Sexual violence against Indian women
- Random civilians shot dead and butchered
Later, on 8th July 1858, the rebellion ended with the signing of a peace treaty.
24. Vernacular Press Act (1878)
The Vernacular Press Act was set up to provide freedom to the Indian press but also to prevent any criticism towards British policies.
First, Lord Lytton (Viceroy of India) had proposed this act and it got passed on 14th March 1878 by the Viceroy’s Council.
The act was brought mainly to control the seditious writing in ‘publications in Oriental languages‘ because the English-language publications were excluded from this act.
25. Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880)
The 2nd Anglo-Afghan war was fought between the Emirate of Afghanistan and the British from 1878 to 1880. Then, the Emirate of Afghanistan was ruled by the son of Emir Dost Mohammad Khan, Sher Ali Khan (of the Barakzai dynasty).
This was the second time when the British had invaded Afghanistan.
After the war ended in 1880, Abdur Rahman had to confirm the Treaty of Gandamak and now, the British had control over Afghanistan’s foreign policies too.
Indian freedom movement against British
By being aware of their birthrights, Indians had started their freedom movement against the British by the end of the 18th century. The independence movement started from the end of the 18th century lasted till India officially got free from the British on 15th August 1947.
Driven by big leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, the independence movement was at the peak from the start of the 19th century.
[Recommended Read: All the Important Dates of the History Chapter Nationalism in India]
1. Foundation of the Indian National Congress (1885)
Indian National Congress, which is also known as the Congress or Congress Party or INC, is the oldest political party of India. The party was founded on 28th December 1885.
After 1920, when Mahatma Gandhi took the leadership of the Indian National Congress, it became the main leader of the Indian Independence Movement.
The very first meeting of the party was conducted at Bombay on the retired Civil Service officer Allan Octavian Hume’s initiatives on the Viceroy Lord Dufferin’s approval. 72 delegates, representing each province of India had attended the meeting.
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee was appointed as the very first president of the Indian National Congress.
2. Partition of Bengal (1905)
Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, on 16th October 1905, partitioned the largely Muslim eastern areas from the largely Hindu western areas. It was announced on 19th July 1905 and was acted upon on 16th October.
[Click on the Image to See the Bigger Version]
Curzon’s main motive was to divide Bengalis not the Hindus from Muslims but he pointed out that he thought of the new province as Muslim.
As a result of the partition, Bihar and Orissa got formed on Lord Curzon’s instructions.
3. Foundation of the All-India Muslim League (1906)
All-India Muslim League or the Muslim League was a political party in British India that was established on 30th December 1906 at Dacca, British India (now Dhaka, Bangladesh).
They wanted a separate Muslim-majority Nation-state which led to the partition of British India by the British Empire in 1947.
With Syed Ahmad Khan as a central figure, the league or party arose out of a literary movement begun at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
After the independence, All-India Muslim League also became Indian Union Muslim League in India and Pakistan Muslim League in Pakistan.
4. Defence of India Act (1915)
Defense of India Act is sometimes also referred to as the Defence of India Regulations Act. It was an emergency criminal law enacted by the Governor-General of India applied in 1915.
According to Wikipedia, the Long Title for Defence of India Act 1915 was,
An Act to provide for special measures to secure the public safety and the defence of British India and for the more speedy trial of certain offences.
The act was similar to that of the British Defence of the Realm Acts which granted the British government the powers like preventive detention, internment without trial, restriction of writing & speech, and restriction of movements.
5. Indian Home Rule Movement (1916)
On the basis of the Irish Home Rule Movement and some other home rule movements, the Indian Home Rule Movement was a movement in British India that lasted for 2 years from 1916 to 1918.
This movement was going on under the leadership of Annie Besant all over India. Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s job was to educate the English-speaking upper-class Indians.
Later, the movement changed its name from Indian Home Rule Movement to Swarajya Sabha and the Mahatma Gandhi wrote its very first called Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule) which was composed in 1909.
The leaders involved in the Home Rule Movement were Joseph Baptista, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, G. S. Khaparde, Sir S. Subramania Iyer, Satendra Nath Bose, and Annie Besant (leader of the Theosophical Society).
6. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919)
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also known as the Amritsar Massacre, took place on 13th April 1919. Over 400 people unarmed civilians were killed and over 1000 were injured. Among the people who lost their lives, there were 41 children too and one with only 6 months of age.
It happened on the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer who ordered the British Indian armed forces to fire their guns on unarmed civilians.
Jallianwala Bagh is a large public garden with high walls all around and only 5 entrance gates. On Sunday, 13th April 1919, it was the festival of Baisakhi and people have gathered to celebrate the festival and peacefully protest the arrest of 2 national leaders Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew.
Dyer entered the garden and started firing with his troops blocking all the entrance gates. He didn’t even bother to warn people once.
On the next day, General Dyer stated in a report, “I hear that between 200 and 300 of the crowd were killed. My party fired 1,650 rounds.”
A Punjab’s Social Service Society approximated 379 people to be dead and 1100 to be wounded. But, the Indian National Congress approximated 1000 people to be dead and more than 1500 to be injured.
7. Khilafat Movement (1919-1924)
Khilafat Movement, also known as the Indian Muslim Movement, was a movement led by Shaukat Ali, Mohammad Ali Jauhar, and Abul Kalam Azad to restore the caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate as an effective political authority.
While seemingly pan-Islamic, the movement was primarily a means of achieving pan-Indian Muslim political mobilization.
According to a source, “ the movement belonged less in its supposed pan-Islamism, than in its impact upon the Indian nationalist movement.”
8. Non-cooperation Movement (1920-1922)
In the Indian Independence Movement, the Non-cooperation Movement was a very important yet short phase movement that lasted from 1920 to February 1922.
The movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi after the Rowlatt Act and the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919). Gandhiji’s focus was to resist British rule in India through Ahimsa or Non-violence.
The movement was started on 1st August 1920 by Gandhiji, which encouraged people not to buy British goods and adopt the use of local handicrafts. Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership got a huge amount of people to join the movement.
On 5th February 1922, at Chauri Chaura, British police opened fire on a large group of Non-cooperation movement protesters. After that, the situation went out of control and 22 policemen were killed by the protesters along. In the clash, 3 civilians were also killed.
After knowing the incident, Gandhiji immediately called off the National Non-cooperation Movement on 12th February 1922.
Mahatma Gandhi had got arrested on the 10th February 1922 and jailed for publishing seditious materials for 6 years on 18th February 1922. The movement has come to a complete end.
9. Chauri Chaura Incident (1922)
A small clash between a group of protestors of the Non-cooperation movement and the policemen at Chauri Chaura, Gorakhpur (now, at Uttar Pradesh) led to huge violence on 5th February 1922.
After 3 civilians and 22 policemen were killed in the clash, Gandhiji got arrested on 10th February 1922 and he single-handedly halted the National Non-operation movement on 12th February 1922 and jailed for 6 years on 18th February 1922.
But the leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Bhagat Singh did not want this movement to be stopped and they were highly disappointed by the decision of Gandhi.
10. Simon Commission Comes to India (1928)
Simon Commission was a group of 7 British members of Parliament under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon in 1928. It was also called the Indian Statutory Commission.
The commission had come to India to study the constitutional reform in British India which was strongly opposed by almost all the leaders and parties. It was opposed by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Muslim League, and the Indian National Congress.
The main reason for the opposition of the Simon Commission was that it contained no Indian members but only British members. People saw it as an insult to their self-respect and a violation of their right to self-determination.
Lala Lajpat Rai was leading the protest in Lahore and suffered a heavy beating by the police due to which he died on 17th November 1928.
11. Salt Satyagraha or Dandi March (1930)
Salt Satyagraha is also known as the Dandi March, Salt March, or the Dandi Satyagraha. It was a 24-day march led by Mahatma Gandhi and a part of an act of nonviolent civil disobedience movement in British India.
Dandi Satyagraha lasted from 12th March 1930 to 6th April 1930 and was a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly.
With 80 trusted followers, Mahatma Gandhi started this march and walked 240 miles from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi (then, Navsari) in 24 days. After reaching Dandi on 6th April at 6.30 pm, Gandhiji broke the salt laws which sparked large-scale acts of civil disobedience against the British Raj salt laws.
12. First Round Table Conference (1930-1931)
The Round Table Conferences were officially started by Majesty George V on 12th November 1930. The very 1st Round Table Conference was held at Royal Gallery House of Lords in London and Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald was the chairman.
The event was held from November 1930 to January 1931.
A total of 74 delegates from British India had attended the conference and discussed various issues like federal structure, provincial constitution, province of Sindh and NWFP, defense services and minorities, etc.
However, the Indian National Congress and many other business leaders were away from the conference because most of the leaders were in Jail. Gandhiji had also refused to attend the conference.
13. Second Round Table Conference (1931)
Before the conference, a settlement between Gandhi and Lord Irwin had taken place on 5th March 1931 and was named the Gandhi-Irwin Pact.
Unlike the previous one, Gandhiji went to London to attend the Second Round Table Conference as a sole representative of the Indian National Congress. The 2nd Round Table Conference lasted from 7th September 1931 to 7th November 1931.
In the conference, Mahatma Gandhi was accompanied by Sarojini Naidu, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Ghanshyam Das Birla, Muhammad Iqbal, Sir Mirza Ismail, S.K. Dutta, and Sir Syed Ali Imam.
14. Third Round Table Conference (1932)
Most of the Indian main political leaders did not attend the 3rd Round Table Conference which lasted from November 1932 to December 1932.
The event was attended by 46 delegates. Labour Party of Britain, as well as the Indian National Congress, had refused to attend the conference for some reasons.
A few of the representatives from India were: Akbar Hydari, Mirza Ismail, V. T. Krishnamachari, Wajahat Hussain, Sir Sukhdeo Prasad, J. A. Surve, Raja Oudh Narain Bisarya, Manubhai Mehta, Nawab Liaqat Hayat Khan, Fateh Naseeb Khan, L. F. Rushbrook Williams, etc.
15. Satyagraha Called Off (1934)
Since the Salt Satyagraha failed to gain Muslims’ support and also did not make enough progress, Gandhiji with other Congress leaders decided to end the Satyagraha in 1934.
Now, Mahatma Gandhi was putting his efforts to end Untouchability in the Harijan movement.
Jawaharlal Nehru had said that even if the Salt Satyagraha has failed but it has helped Indian people change their attitude towards self-rule.
16. Indian Provincial Elections (1937)
It was mandatory as per the Government of India Act 1935, so the very first Provincial Elections were held during 1936-1937.
The elections were held at the 11 provinces which were:
- Central Provinces
- United Provinces
- Bombay Presidency
The final results for the elections came out in February 1937. And, the Indian National Congress had won in the 8 among 11 of the provinces.
17. Resignation of Congress Ministries (1939)
Viceroy Lord Linlithgow had declared India to be belligerent in the Second World War without discussing it with the Indian people in 1939. He had declared India at war with Germany on 3rd September 1939.
Congress wanted to form a central Indian national government to tackle this situation but the Muslim League supported the British rather than supporting the Congress. Lord Linlithgow didn’t come up with any satisfactory response and refused the demands of Congress.
To protest against the Viceroy Linlithgow, Congress ministries resigned on 22nd October 1939, and the Viceroy along with the Muhammad Ali Jinnah were happy with the resignations.
18. Quit India Movement (1942)
Mahatma Gandhi had launched the Quit India Movement on 8th August 1942 (during the 2nd world war) at the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. He demanded the British Rule to be completely ended in India.
The Quit India Movement is also known as the August Movement. After Gandhiji called to Do or Die in the speech at the session of the All-India Congress Committee, within hours of the speech, most of the leaders of the Indian National Congress were imprisoned without trial.
American President Franklin D. Roosevelt came in the support of India and asked British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to accept some of the Indian demands. But, Churchill denied and the Quit India Mission was badly crushed.
However, the British said that they might think about independence only after the war, currently nothing could happen.
19. Gandhi-Jinnah Talks (1944)
In May 1944, Gandhiji was released from Jail by the new Viceroy Lord Wavell on medical grounds. The British departure from India was seeming to be inevitable, Gandhi asked Jinnah to support Congress said that the partition will be decided after independence.
Lastly, both the leaders met in September 1944 at Jinnah’s home in Bombay and discussed the future of India. But, the talks broke down due to the following reasons:
- Gandhi wanted Jinnah to support Congress to move the British out and later the partition will be considered but Jinnah wanted to secure the partition before the British left.
- Gandhi wanted the central government should have control over foreign policies and defense like key areas but Jinnah wanted these powers in the hands of the provinces.
- Gandhi said that he speaks for all Indians but Jinnah reminded him that he’s just a spokesperson of Congress.
- Gandhi was against the “two-nation theory” but that was the official policy of the Muslim league.
Lastly, without any further arguments, the talks ended with no results.
20. Formation of Interim Government of India (1946)
Interim Government of India or the Provisional Government was formed from the newly elected Constituent Assembly of India on 2nd September 1946. It had tasks to assist British India to gain independence.
The Interim Government remained in place till India’s independence and partition (creation of Pakistan) on 15th August 1947.
Indian National Congress, as well as the Muslim League, had agreed to participate in elections for a constituent assembly.
In the elections, the Congress won a majority of seats (about 69%) including almost every seat in areas with a majority Hindu electorate and the Muslim League won the seats allocated to the Muslim electorate.
The cabinet was reconstituted on 15th October 1946 when the Muslim League agreed to participate in the Interim government. Below is a table which contains a list of all the key persons of the cabinet.
|Viceroy and Governor-General of India|
President of the Executive Council
(15 October 1946 – 20 February 1947)
|Viscount Mountbatten of Burma|
(21 February 1947 -)
|Commander-in-Chief||Sir Claude Auchinleck||British Raj|
|Vice President of the Executive Council|
External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations
|Jawaharlal Nehru||Indian National Congress|
|Agriculture and Food||Rajendra Prasad||Indian National Congress|
|Commerce||Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar||All-India Muslim League|
|Defense||Baldev Singh||Indian National Congress|
|Finance||Liaquat Ali Khan||All-India Muslim League|
|Education||C. Rajagopalachari||Indian National Congress|
|Health||Ghazanfar Ali Khan||All-India Muslim League|
Information and Broadcasting
|Vallabhbhai Patel||Indian National Congress|
|Labour||Jagjivan Ram||Indian National Congress|
|Law||Jogendra Nath Mandal||All-India Muslim League|
|Railways and Communications|
Post and Air
|Abdur Rab Nishtar||All-India Muslim League|
|Works, Mines, and Power||C.H. Bhabha||Indian National Congress|
British India remained under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom till August 1947 and the interim government proceeded to diplomatic relations with other countries.
21. Indian Independence Act (1947)
The Indian Independence Act 1947 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which partitioned British India into two independent dominions of India and Pakistan.
On 18th July 1947, the act received royal approval and on 15th August 1947, India and Pakistan became two different nations with Pakistan having the west and east areas.
According to Wikipedia, the Long Title of the Act was,
An Act to make provision for the setting up in India of two independent Dominion states, to substitute other provisions for certain provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, which apply outside those Dominions, and to provide for other matters consequential on or connected with the setting up of those Dominions.
With a lot of violence, a lot of Sikh and Hindus from Pakistan areas flee to India and a lot of Muslims from India flee to Pakistan leaving behind all their possessions and properties.
On 15th August 1947, India became completely independent. However, Lord Mountbatten of Burma (the last Viceroy) was asked to continue as the Governor-General of India by the Indian leaders.
Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Prime Minister of India and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel became the Home Minister of the country.
And, on the Pakistan side, Liaquat Ali Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan and Muhammad Ali Jinnah became the Governor-General of the country.
[Recommended Read: All the Important Dates of the History Chapter Nationalism in Europe]
Finally, after a lot of bloodshed and sacrifice, India became completely independent on 15th August 1947. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian flag “Tricolour” above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi.
And, after that each year on 15 August, the current Prime Minister raises the flag and the whole event is broadcasted by the Doordarshan which is the national broadcaster of India. Usually, the event begins with the shehnai music of Ustad Bismillah Khan.
I have tried to cover almost all the major events in the History of Modern India. If you think I’ve missed something important or if you have any related queries, let me know by dropping a quick comment right now.
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