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+ BRIEF HISTORY OF INDIA

In the late 19th century India was an agricultural society. Jute, raw cotton and tea and coffee were exported to Britain. In return textiles and other manufactured goods were imported from there. But in the early 20th century Indian industries began to develop.

At the same time Britain was in decline. In the mid-19th century Britain was the most powerful country in the world but by the end of the century other powers such as Germany and the USA had caught up. Britain was weakened by the first world and continued to decline in the 1920s and 1930s.
Brief History Of India

But the one incident that had a big role in rallying Indian public opinion against the British was the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre in 1919. General Reginald Dyer had ordered his men to open fire on the unarmed crowd, killing around 350 people.

At this point the struggle for independence got a shot in the arm by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who went to be one of the pivotal figures of the struggle till his death in 1948. A lawyer by profession, he left South Africa and returned to India in 1915. In 1920 he launched a non-co-operation campaign against the British. This included boycotting British textiles and their schools.

 In 1930 he began a campaign to end the government’s monopoly of salt production. He led a march to the sea to collect salt. It was called the Dandi March. The British arrested Gandhi and tens of thousands of others. But in 1931, they released Gandhi and allowed people to make salt for their personal use. In 1931 the capital of India was moved from Calcutta to New Delhi.

By 1935 the British realized that Indian independence was inevitable, sooner or later. The very same year they granted a new constitution, but it came in effect two years later. But the British continued to retain control of the central government.

INDIAN INDEPENDENCE
Brief History Of India

By 1940, the British policy of divide and rule had led to the demand of a separate state made up of areas where Muslims were the majority. Around the same time, the quit India movement also gathered momentum. The British responded by imprisoning National Congress leaders and other freedom fighters.

In 1946 the Viceroy appointed an interim cabinet with Jawaharlal Nehru as prime minister. But by then the leader of Muslim League, M A Jinnah had declared a 'day of action' on 16 August 1946. The declaration led to unprecedented violence between Hindus and Muslims in Calcutta. Soon after, Viceroy Mountbatten agreed to the formation of Pakistan and Bangladesh. India became independent on 15th August 1947.
But violence broke out in areas having mixed populations of Muslims and Hindus. Almost half a million people died in the ensuing violence.

In 1950, the new constitution came into force and India became a secular state. Prime minister Nehru made the economy a 'mixed economy' of some state owned industry and some private enterprise.

The struggle for independence was a long and arduous one. Scores of lives were lost to free the country. After independence, India has consolidated its place as the largest democracy in the world with a thriving economy and a robust political domain.

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