Thursday, 28 February 2013

Partition of Bengal

Why was Bengal partitioned in 1905? [7]
Why was the partition of Bengal reversed in 1911? [7]
Bengal was partitioned in 1905 because of geographical factors. Do you agree? Explain your answer. [14]
How did Hindus oppose the partition of Bengal between 1905 and 1911? [7]
The reasons for partitioning Bengal in 1905 were more important than those that caused its reversal in 1911. Do you agree. Explain your answer. [14]

For answers, follow this link:

The following presentations are available:
  1. Khilafat Movement
  2. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
  3. Religious Leaders
  4. National and Regional Languages
  5. Early Problems of Pakistan

Friday, 25 January 2013

‘The War of Independence of 1857 achieved nothing’. Give reasons why you might agree and disagree with this statement. [14] (Past Paper, October 2002: Q1/c)

The war of independence 1857 was a failure. The uprising was successfully crushed by the British troops in all parts of India within a few months. Countless Indians lost their lives. Muslims were victims of worst atrocities after the war ended because the British blamed them responsible for the revolt. They were hanged in large number; their properties were confiscated and many were driven out of jobs. The war brought utter destruction to the still existing powerless Mughal King and the symbolic Mughal Empire.

Although the uprising failed in driving the British out of India, but it won’t be just to say that it achieved nothing. It brought about significant changes in policy and administration of the British government in India. The exploitative role of East India Company came to an end. The subcontinent went under direct control of the British Crown. Constitutional reforms were introduced involving Indians in the affairs of the state on limited scale. The governor-general was to be called Viceroy and a Secretary of State for Indian affairs was nominated with a council of 15 members. These changes were made to address concerns of Indian people. The hated “doctrine of lapse” was abolished which was aimed at grabbing Indian territories.

The war became a historic event promoting nationalism and patriotism in Indians. It created a strong urge in the Indians to break the shackles of slavery. At the same time Indian leaders came to know that the British are too powerful to be overthrown through armed struggle. Therefore, they changed their strategy and started political struggle forming Indian National Congress in 1885 followed by All India Muslim League in 1906. Their urge for freedom culminated in independence of the subcontinent 90 years after the 1857 war.

[Conclusion] Instead of saying “nothing” I would like to say that the war achieved “little” in terms of immediate returns. 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Why were three Round Table Conferences held between 1930 and 1932? [7] (Past Paper, November 2001: Q4/b)

[Failure of Simon Commission] Simon Commission arrived in India in 1927 for discussing further constitutional reforms with Indian political leaders. The commission was openly rejected as there was no Indian member in it and obviously it could not address the Indian concerns. The Indians thought it as part of delaying tactics towards self-rule. When Simon published his report in 1930, he suggested that a Round Table Conference should be organized in London to discuss the constitutional reforms with Indian political leaders.

[Failure of Nehru Committee] Nehru Committee was set up by the All-Parties Conference in 1928 to formulate constitutional proposals that would be acceptable to all political stakeholders. But the committee completely ignored the Muslim views. The two big parties could not develop consensus on constitutional reforms that could jointly be forwarded to the British for implementation in India. For the two parties to resolve their differences and reach a compromise, the British arranged a series of three Round Table Conferences in London. 

[Threat of violence] Mr. Gandhi launched another non-cooperation movement in 1930 which created the danger of widespread violence and disorder. This situation was disturbing for the British. They wanted to pacify the Indians by introducing new reforms in India. In order to make some progress in the direction of constitutional reforms, the British invited Indian political leaders and the princes in London to negotiate their issues in a Round Table Conference.

The first conference failed due to Congress boycott and therefore a second one was scheduled. Since consensus could not be developed on constitutional reforms in the second conference also, therefore third one was organized which also ended in fiasco. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

How successful was Indian resistance to British attempts to take control of lands in the subcontinent? Explain your answer. [14] (Past paper, June 2002: Q1/c.

Battle of Plassy, 1757
Siraj-ud-Daula defeated and killed, Mir Jafar, Bengal went under British control --->Failure

Battle of Buxar, 1764
Joint forces of Mir Qasim, Shah Alam II and the Nawab of Oudh defeated ---->Failure

First Anglo-Maysore War, 1766
Haider Ali defended his territories ----> Success

Second Anglo-Maysore War (1779-84)
Crushing defeats to Britishh troops by Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan in a number of encounters. Indian territories expanded. ----> Prestigious success

Third Anglo-Maysore War, 1789
Tipu Sultan lost half of his territories, humiliating treaty ---->Failure

Fourth Anglo-Maysore War, 1798-99
Tipu killed by joint forces of British and the Nizam of Hyderabad ---->Failure

Anglo-Marathan Wars
The first Marathan war lasted for about 7 years (1775-82); defeats to British in some encounters, Marathas defeated in the third Anglo-Marathan war decisively in 1818 annexing their territories with the British Empire.  ---->Resisted the early invasions but failed in the third war.

Anglo-Sikh Wars
Sikhs fought 2 wars against the British EIC in Punjab in 1840s and lost both. ---->Failure

War of Independence 1857
Uprising in several cities, suppressed within a few months ----->Failure

[Conclusion] Indian resistance to defend their lands was not successful due to their disunity and lack of modern military equipment.