1947: INDEPENDENCE OR TRANSFER OF POWER ? -1 (Post No.8624)

WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8624

Date uploaded in London – – – –4 SEPTEMBER 2020   

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1947: INDEPENDENCE OR TRANSFER OF POWER ? -1

By R.Nanjappa

Introduction :- This is a summary statement, in the light of Dharampal’s observations about how Gandhiji’s ideals were discarded in free India. I have put it in historical perspective: tracing briefly how the idea of Independence got transformed during the freedom struggle. Everything we now have -civil and criminal justice, administrative system, education, law and order- is as formulated by the British! The average Indian today is not aware of these facts.

And hence this article – R.Nanjappa


India attained Independence on 15 August 1947- so are we all taught. What really happened?
To know that, we should know what we really wanted, what we meant by Independence, and what finally came to be on or after that day. 

 INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS: MODERATES AND CONCESSIONS

A.O Hume, Dadabhai Naoroji, William Wedderburn



Popular mind associates Indian National Congress with the freedom movement. But the Congress did not start as an outfit to demand freedom for the country. [Nor did the Congress, even under Gandhiji, demand complete freedom, till December,1929.] It was started by some Englishmen and   English educated Indians  to voice their grievances and extract concessions..  They belonged to professions such as lawyers, teachers and government service- ie those that depended on government for a living, and those that served the colonial power. They were in fact the instruments of colonial control. They believed that the British rule was a boon, and they believed in the sense of its justice and fair play. They met, prayed and petitioned the government. The British govt treated them with due contempt. Thus the Congress then did not demand freedom, but a greater share in the spoils, seeking minor constitutional and administrative concessions.

However, gradually they focused on economic issues and development. Some members like Dadabhai Naoroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale did have a vision of self-government (within the empire) achieved by following existing law. [That is, they wanted to administer colonial rules instead of the colonists themselves.] Dadabhai Naoroji even wrote a book , “Poverty and Un-British Rule in India” (1902) exposing how Britain was draining the wealth of India. They came to be called ‘Moderates’. They did really raise the idea of modern nationalism, though it was confined to the English educated middle classes. In its time, it did serve the cause of nationalism in its own limited way.This phase of the Congress effectively ended in 1905. 



RISE OF TRUE NATIONALISTS

LAL-BAL-PAL

The main problem with the moderate group was that it had no idea of Independence. It relied on British benevolence, rather than national strength, and failed to gauge the true nature and intentions of imperialism and its ruthlessness, behind the facade of law and justice. Its method was too slow even for the younger elements of the day. The younger elements also resented the efforts at complete Westernisation of India. 

The partition of Bengal in 1905 provided the spark and immediate platform for these young elements to assert themselves. Thus was the true Nationalist group, called Extremists by some, was born. They demanded nothing less than “Swaraj”, complete Independence. Lala Lajpat Rai. Bepin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak were the three top leaders, affectionately called Lal-Pal-Bal.

 But the real brain behind the theory of true Nationalism was Sri Aurobindo. His writings on the theme, collected under the head Bande Mataram , provide even today the best statement of nationalism in all its aspects. His advocacy was so strong, his language so clear and effective, the British had to sit up and  take serious notice. He did not write like other Indians, but wrote even  better than most Englishmen. These Nationalists asserted themselves in the Surat congress in 1907, where a split in the organization occurred.. These leaders were so successful in rousing the nation that the British govt took strong repressive measures.. Tilak was imprisoned at Mandalay for 6 years from 1908. Viceroy Lord Minto (correctly) identified Sri Aurobindo as  the most dangerous person, and the authorities were determined to get rid of him somehow. Their efforts to charge him for sedition failed. He was implicated in a false case and put in solitary confinement in Alipore jail from May, 1908. He was released a year later by the court as no evidence had been found against him. He had a mystical experience in jail and abandoned active politics in 1910.

But before leaving active politics, Sri Aurobindo had done substantial work- which no one else had- before or after.

While Tilak had talked of Swaraj as birthright, it was Sri Aurobindo who gave it substance as complete Independence from Britain ( full 25 years before Gandhiji adopted it), adoption of Swadeshi and boycott of foreign goods, promotion of national education, settlement of disputes outside British courts, and the improvement of the condition of the downtrodden. The method he advocated was Passive Resistance.


Sri Aurobindo in 1909
[It may be noted that Gandhiji adopted these ideas later., but without acknowledgement to Sri Aurobindo ].

These formed the basic framework of the agitation against Bengal Partition in 1905 and completely electrified the people, especially the youth.The Bengal partition was annulled!

 Sri Aurobindo also taught us that the country was not a mere geographical entity but a Sacred Power, and that India was rising to fulfill its mission in the world. Thus with Sri Aurobindo , Swaraj was not a mere political slogan. “Vande Mataram” became the anthem of the Nationalists.

However with the arrest of the leaders, and the annulling of the Partition, the national spirit did receive a set back. The First World War complicated matters. Tilak’s health broke down during imprisonment, and he mellowed down on release. He founded the Home Rule movement with   Annie Besant, which only demanded self rule under the British empire. But this failed to sufficiently enthuse the nation.

     *      to be continued

tags – independence or transfer-1

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