Introduction (Indian Freedom Struggle)
An article is never enough to describe the great Indian Freedom Struggle . This is regarded as the greatest struggle for freedom in the world. Many great personalities have sacrificed their lives in the Indian Freedom Struggle. Every Indian should feel blessed today that because of the hardships the Indian freedom fighters had gone through in those days, the Indians are living peacefully today. Let us start with the people who visited India before the advent of the British and how it all began.
The people from various nations were interested in coming to India in the ancient times. From the Central Europe, the Aryans came and settled down here. Followed by the parsis and the Iranians, the Persians immigrated to India. After them, the Moghuls came and had a permanent settlement here.
The Mongolian King, Chengis Khan, looted India by invading it several times. With the intention of conquering India, Alexander The Great came to India and fought with the Indian King, Porus and after that battle, he headed to his home land.
To visit the ancient Indian universities of Takshila and Nalanda and in the pursuit of knowledge, He-en Tsang came to India from China. Columbus wanted to come to India but landed on the shores of America unfortunately. Vasco da Gama came to India from Portugal to establish trade relations with India. After this, the French came and established their colonies in India. And, at last, the Britishers came to India and ruled it for about 200 years.
The Indian Mutiny of 1857
The British attained their political power in India after the Battle of Plassey (1757). It can be said that the conquest of India had begun with the Battle of Plassey but it was completed practically by the end of the tenure of Dalhousie in 1856.
It was not a smooth affair at all as the suppressing dissatisfaction of the people demonstrated itself in various localized revolts in this time.
The Mutiny of 1857 had begun with the revolt of the military soldiers at Meerut. This revolt had become very huge and gave a big challenge to the rule of the British. Everyone including the military, the masses and the Indian rulers participated in this revolt and it became extremely popular that the British felt the immediate need to crush it within a year and they succeeded at last. This famous revolt was regarded as the “First War of Indian Independence.”
Inhuman Acts of the British
- The British introduced the Zamindari system in which exorbitant charges were made from the peasants by the landlords.
- By the influx of the goods manufactured by the British, the craftsmen were destroyed.
- The system of caste and religion which laid the strong foundation for the traditional Indians was endangered by the administration of the British.
- The Indian people in administration as well as the Indian soldiers could not take senior positions as they were reserved only for the British.
Sepoy Revolt at Meerut
- There was all round disgust and discontent against the rule of the British when the sepoys at Meerut revolted against them claiming that their religious sentiments were hurt when they were given the cartridges greased with pig and cow fat. The sepoys had to bite them in order to remove the covering before utilising them in rifles.
- The Muslim as well as the Hindu soldiers refused to use those as they were hurting their religious sentiments. The soldiers who refused to use them were arrested by the British and the fellow Indian soldiers revolted against the British on May 9, 1857.
The End of the Indian Mutiny of 1857
- Delhi was captured by the rebel forces very soon and the revolt spread to almost all parts of India. In western Bihar, Meerut, Agra, Allahabad, Bundelkhand, Rohilkhand, Awadh and Delhi, most ferocious battles were fought.
- Under the commands of Bakht Khan in Delhi and Kanwar Singh in Bihar, the rebellious forces had given a stunning blow to the rulers of the British.
- Nana Sahib was officially announced as the Peshwa in Kanpur and Tatya Tope, the brave leader led his troops.
- In the heroic battles with the British, the ruler of Jhansi, Rani Lakshmibai, led her troops. To throw out the British, the Sikhs, the Muslims, the Hindus and all other India’s brave sons fought together. Within one year, the British controlled the revolt. This revolt began on May 10, 1857 and ended on June 20, 1858 in Gwalior.
The Indian Freedom Struggle After the Revolt of 1857
Over the years, there were billion things that were forgotten, overlooked or simply omitted regarding the Indian Freedom Struggle. Below here are some of the uncommon stories about the great Indian Freedom Struggle.
- Bhagat Singh was brought up in Punjab which was left with the memory of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre.
- At a tender age of 14, he went to the spot and collected the soil from Jallianwala in his lunchbox that was sanctified by the blood of the innocent people and he had kept it as a memento for life. He was later hanged by the British.
- Bhagat Singh never wished to live for his own benefit but he lived and died for the country.
Madam Bhikaji Cama
- Madam Bhikaji Cama, the daughter of a rich Parsi parents had strong nationalist feelings right from the beginning. She felt that British had fleeced India and practised imperialism.
- In 1907, she unfurled the first tricolor flag representing India at Stuttgart, Germany.
- She encouraged Veer Savarkar in writing the history of the first Indian war of Independence.
Subhash Chandra Bose
- Subhash Chandra Bose’s parents wanted to keep him away from the Indian Freedom Struggle. Instead, they wanted him to be a part of the Indian Civil Service in England.
- The intentions of Subhash Chandra Bose were completely different. His heart and soul were present in the Indian Freedom Struggle. After hearing about the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Subhash Chandra Bose came to India as he was deeply disturbed by the horrific incident.
- Bose had struck alliance with Germany and Japan. He was the founder of the Indian National Army (INA) which consisted of 40,000 soldiers from eastern regions and Singapore. His army freed the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from the British.
Bala Gangadhar Tilak
Bala Gangadhar Tilak was a great astronomer and a Sanskrit scholar. He was a fearless rebel and wanted everyone around him to be physically strong to face any difficulties. He conducted mountaineering, swimming, hiking and long tours around Nashik.
- The political prisoners had no access to pen and paper as they were treated like criminals.
- This made Savarkar restless and he had written “Kamala,” an epic, which consists of thousands of lines.
- He had written it on the mud wall that was plastered in the dark jail. All of a sudden, he was moved to another cell.
- A Hindi journalist friend of Savarkar who was moved to that cell in which Savarkar stayed before had seen these writings on the mud wall. He learnt all these by heart and sent it to the relatives of Savarkar.
Declaration of Independence to India
Lord Mountbatten, the last British Governor General of India, declared that the British India is being partitioned into India and Pakistan. India became a democratic and a sovereign nation on August 15, 1947. 15th August had become the Day of Independence for India eventually.