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Modern Indian History & Freedom Struggle


Modern Indian History & Freedom Struggle


It was the year 1498 when the first European, Vasco Da Gama of Portugal, arrived at Calicut, India. King Zamorin (Samuthiri) was the then ruler. Ironically, the First to arrive Portuguese were also the last to leave India in 1961.


Commercial Success of the Portuguese, tempted the other European States to come to India. Dutch became the second. After their arrival in India, the Dutch founded their first factory in Masulipatnam in 1605.


English traders too wanted a share of profit from Eastern Trade. On December 31, 1600, Queen Elizabeth I issued them a charter, and the East India Company was formed with it.


In 1608, Captain William Hawkins arrived at Surat and in 1609 to the Mughal court of Jahangir. He brought with him a letter from James I (King of England) seeking permission to do business in India.


Timeline of British Rule


1611: The English had started trading at Masulipatnam.


1613: A permanent factory of East India Company is established at Surat.


1615: Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador of King James I, arrives at Jahangir’s court.


1616: The Company establishes its first factory in the south in Masulipatnam.


1632: The Company gets the “Golden Farman” from the Sultan of Golconda.


1633: The Company establishes its first factory in east India in Hariharpur, Balasore (Odisha).


1662: The British King, Charles II, is given Bombay as dowry for marrying a Portuguese princess


1667: Aurangzeb gives the English a Farman for trade in Bengal.


1717: The Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar issues a Farman, called the Magna Carta of the Company.


French were the last Europeans to come to India with the purpose of trade.Though the British and the French came to India for trading purposes, they were ultimately drawn into the politics of India. Both had visions of establishing political power over the region. The Anglo-French rivalry in India reflected the traditional rivalry of England and France throughout their histories.


Anglo-French Wars:


1740-48: First Carnatic War

The First Carnatic War is remembered for the Battle of St. Thome.

1749-54: Second Carnatic War

The French defeated and killed Anwar-ud-din at the battle of Ambur (near Vellore) in 1749.

1758-63: Third Carnatic War

The decisive battle of the Third Carnatic War was won by the English on January 22, 1760, at Wandiwash in Tamil Nadu.

After understanding the chronological order of European Powers in India, let us shift our focus on the British Conquest of India and Our Freedom Struggle.


Battle of Plassey:


The Battle of Plassey (June 23, 1757) is usually regarded as the decisive event that brought about ultimate British rule over India.

Battle of Plassey was decided before the battle was even fought. Due to the conspiracy of the nawab’s officials, the strong force of Siraj-ud-daula was defeated by a handful of Clive’s forces.


The Battle of Buxar:


The combined armies of Mir Kasim, the Nawab of Awadh, and Shah Alam II were defeated by the English forces under Major Hector Munro at Buxar on October 22, 1764, in a closely contested battle.

The importance of this battle lay in the fact that not only the Nawab of Bengal but also the Mughal Emperor of India was defeated by the English.The Battle of Buxar is followed by the Treaty of Allahabad concluded by Robert Clive in August 1765.


British Conquest of Mysore:


First Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69); Treaty of Madras.

Second Anglo-Mysore War (1779-1784); Treaty of Mangalore.

Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-92); Treaty of Seringapatam.

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799); Mysore is conquered by British forces.

Anglo-Maratha Struggle for Supremacy


First Anglo-Maratha War (1775-82); Treaty of Surat (1775), Treaty of Purandhar (1776), and Treaty of Salbai (1782)

Second Anglo-Maratha War (1803-05); Treaty of Bassein, 1802

Third Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1819)

Conquest of Sindh (1843)


Lord Ellenborough was the Governor-General of India

Conquest of Punjab


Treaty of Amritsar (1809) took place between Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the British.

First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46)

Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49)

The Policy of Ring-Fence


Warren Hastings the 1st Governor-General of India followed a policy of ring-fence. It was the policy of defence of their neighbours’ frontiers for safeguarding their territories.


Subsidiary Alliance


This system was used by Lord Wellesley, to build an empire in India. Under the system, the allying Indian state’s ruler was compelled to accept the permanent stationing of a British force within his territory and to pay a subsidy for its maintenance.


Doctrine of Lapse


The doctrine stated that the adopted son could be the heir to his foster father’s private property, but not the state. Though this policy is attributed to Lord Dalhousie he was not its originator. Dalhousie annexed eight states during his eight-year tenure (1848-56) as governor-general.


Paika Rebellion


It was an armed rebellion against the British East India Company’s rule in Odisha in 1817.


It is regarded as the first war of independence.


The Revolt of 1857. The revolt began at Meerut on May 10, 1857.

The British captured Delhi on September 20, 1857. Effect of the Revolt Crown took over and Company rule was abolished with the Queen’s Proclamation.


Indian National Congress: 1885


INC was Formed by A.O. Hume.

The first session was presided over by Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee at Bombay in December 1885.

Annie Besant was the first woman President of the Indian National Congress.

Partition of Bengal

It was formally announced in July 1905 and came into force in October 1905. It was decided to annul the partition of Bengal in 1911.

The Swadeshi and Boycott Movement: 1905

Began as a reaction to the partition of Bengal, Swadeshi Movement fizzled out by 1908 due to Severe government repression, Lack of effective organisation, and a narrow social base.


Home Rule League Movement: 1916


It was pioneered by Tilak and Annie Besant on lines of a similar movement in Ireland.It shifted the emphasis to the masses permanently and influenced the Moderate-Extremist reunion at Lucknow.


Emergence of Gandhi


Gandhi returned to India in January 1915. During 1917 and 1918, Gandhi was involved in three struggles—in Champaran, Ahmedabad, and Kheda.


Champaran Satyagraha (1917)—First Civil Disobedience

Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918)—First Hunger Strike

Kheda Satyagraha (1918)—First Non-Cooperation


Rowlatt Act


Passed in March 1919. The act allowed political activists to be tried without juries or even imprisoned without trial.


Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (April 13, 1919)


Hunter Committee/Commission was formed in October 1919 to inquire about the Jallianwala Bagh Incident.


Non Co-operation Movement: 1920


The Khilafat Committee started a campaign of non-cooperation and the movement was formally launched on 31st August 1920.


Chauri-Chaura Incident of February 5, 1922, prompted Gandhi to withdraw the movement.


Simon Commission


Came in 1928 to explore the possibility of further constitutional advance.Boycotted by Indians because no Indian represented in the commission.


Lahore Congress Session (December 1929)


Congress adopted complete independence as its goal.January 26, 1930, celebrated as the first Independence Day all over the country.


Civil Disobedience Movement: 1930


The historic Dandi march began on March 12, 1930, marked the launch of the Civil Disobedience Movement


Gandhi-Irwin Pact: March 1931


Congress agreed to attend the Second Round Table Conference and to withdraw the Civil Disobedience Movement.


Communal Award and Poona Pact: 1932


Communal Award provided separate electorates to depressed classes.

Gandhi’s fast unto death (September 1932) led to the Poona Pact which abandoned separate electorates for depressed classes in favour of increased reserved seats for them.


Quit India Movement (1942)


In July 1942, the Congress Working Committee met at Wardha and resolved that it would authorise Gandhi to take charge of the non-violent mass movement. The resolution is generally referred to as the ‘Quit India’ resolution.


The Quit India Movement is also known as the August Movement was launched on August 8, 1942, due to the failure of Cripps Offer.

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