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A Cogent Analysis Of Freedom Movement

Updated: September 18, 2015 4:30 am

The awakening of the average Indian and his conscious strivings to have his voice heard resumed not long after the Mutiny of 1857. It was suppressed by the Raj with iron hands. The native response grew hard and more organized–ranging from Pheroze Mehta’s constitutional pleas to Tilak’s bold demand for swaraj and from Gandhi’s idealistic non-violence to Bose’s armed patriotism. Unlike 1857, this struggle was not a short-lived intense, violent upheaval that could be savagely put off. India was patient, determined for a long-haul struggle. This captivating work brings a large part of this fascinating period back to life. It records in a single canvas, complex strands of events beginning with the 1877 grand Durbar at Delhi to the eve of Indian Provincial Elections in 1936. It chronicles the sacrifice of the revolutionaries, political challenge by the Swarajya Party, mass movements led by Gandhi, identity politics of Jinnah, British strategy of divide and rule to frustrate the Indian aspirations and finally Congress’s submission into participating in the 1936 elections.

The book has shortlisted the milestone events during the period 1877 to 1947, presented them to the reader in the newspaper style of those times, together with insightful analysis. The political analysts and political observers referred to in the book represent the author’s analysis and interpretations based on his extensive study of history.

The intervening period of seven decades witnessed various strands of struggle by the Indians against the Raj in quest of swaraj. The impatient revolutionaries wanted to expel the colonial rulers then and there and resorted to violent means. The constitutionalists explored the parliamentary route to secure the right of self-government from the Raj consensually. Then there were two huge non-violent mass movements led by Gandhi, the like of which the world had never experienced, before or after. But the British Raj frustrated every such challenge, sometimes with an iron hand, some other times with feigned magnanimity and diplomatic finesse but above all by driving deep wedges amongst their Indian adversaries on the basis of religion and castes. They cultivated the Muslim fears about losing their due share of political rights to Hindus in a democratic polity with commendable success.

The book, divided into four chapters, tracks the events that occurred till the end of 1936, together with their analysis. The author has done extensive research of available materials in multiple domains including inter alia documents, books, newspapers, magazine, and attempted to piece them together in a time sequence by furnishing the relevant dates, wherever available.

By Ashok Kumar


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