National Moment

Topics: Indian National Congress, India, Indian independence movement Pages: 10 (3519 words) Published: April 25, 2013
UNIT 1 LEGACY OF NATIONAL MOVEMENT WITH REFERENCE TO DEVELOPMENT, RIGHTS AND PARTICIPATION Structure 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Foundation of the Indian National Congress 1.3 Gandhi’s Contribution 1.3.1 Gandhi’s “Substance of Swaraj”

1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.10

The Karachi Resolution of the Congress The Idea of Socialism 1.5.1 The Idea of Planning

The Nature of Gandhian Economics The Gandhian Social Philosophy The Consensus Summary Exercises

The developmental aspirations of the people of India unfolded themselves through the various stages of the freedom movement. The violent resistance of the Indian people to the British rule in 1857 and the subsequent tribal upsurges were defensive movements against foreign rule. They were almost totally political. But the peasant struggles that occurred since the late nineteenth century had a clear economic perspective. They were against the oppressive land revenue system that came along with foreign rule even though the peasants were not always aware of the colonial mechanism and they often turned their wrath on the intermediate landowners like the zamindars and mouzadars. After the consolidation of the British rule in 1858, new organisations and movements of the people came to the fore choosing ‘constitutionalist’ strategies. Landlords formed their own organisations to demand reduction of Government revenue claims. Simultaneously nationalist leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, M.G. Ranade and R.C. Dutt started critiquing the colonial economic exploitation. They argued that the main reason of poverty in India was the colonial exploitation. The end of colonial rule was necessary for the alleviation poverty in India.

In 1885 the educated elite formed the Indian National Congress as an umbrella organisation of all sections of the Indian people beginning with the demand for adequate representation of the Indians in the senior Government services and the legislative bodies created by the Indian 1

Councils Act of 1861. Indeed, initially they did not take up the cause of the workers and peasants considering them as ‘local issues.’ But individual nationalists were engaged in ‘philanthropic works’ among the workers and the peasants. The Indian National Congress was founded with a modest constitutionalist outlook and chose the strategy of petitions and persuasion rather than pressure and agitation. The earliest plea that it made to the Government was for the facilitation of the Indians’ access to the Indian civil service which indeed was an elitist demand. On the other hand, the organisation declined to take up the issue of the condition of plantation and industrial labour which appeared to it to be ‘local’ issues even though philanthropists and labour leaders were given platform. In 1893 the Congress demanded the uniform introduction of permanent settlement of land to save the landholders from harassment by the Government. As early as 1895 Dr Annie Besant, founder of the Indian Home Rule League and a leader of the Indian National Congress, drafted a Constitution of India Bill envisaging a Constitution that guaranteed to every citizen freedom of expression, inviolability of one’s house, right to property, equality before the law and in regard to admission to public offices, right to present claims, petition and complaints and the right to personal property. At a special session at Bombay in 1918 on the Montague-Chelmsford Report, the Congress demanded that the new Government of India Act contain a declaration of the rights of the Indians containing, among other things, equality before the law, protection in respect of liberty, life and property, freedom of speech and press and right of association. In 1925 a sub-committee set up by the All-Parties Conference chaired by M.K. Gandhi prepared a Commonwealth of India Bill that demanded self-government for Indians from the village upwards – the village, the taluka, the...
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