How did India get Independence? – A Brief History

india mahatma gandhiIndia attained Independence on August 15th 1947, after a great political and social struggle. The British had ruled over India for a considerable period of time. Their initial intentions were to carry out trade in India, but in due course of time they developed political and administrative ambitions.

The Evolution of the Indian Independence Movement
The British East India Company had gained much control over the internal affairs of India. The spirit of nationalism in India gained ground in the middle of the 19th century. It was strengthened by the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885. The authoritative and indifferent attitude of the British towards the Indian sentiments led to the national movement gaining momentum. National leaders, like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel and many others fought for political and administrative rights of the people. The British were ruthless in their dealings with those who fought for the rights of the Indians. The divide and rule policy of the British led to the division between the Hindus and the Muslims and the formation of the Muslim League.

Extremists views among the Indian National Congress Members
During the early 20th century, the spirit of nationalism received an impetus by growing extreme views among some of the Indian National Congress members. They did not favor the moderate stance taken by some of national leaders, and criticized the British for their overbearing and autocratic attitude towards the Indians.

The Role of Mahatma Gandhi
By 1920s the national movement had become very aggressive. Mahatma Gandhi began several movements against the British. The Non-cooperation Movement (1920-1922 A.D.). This was followed by the Civil Disobedience Movement. The movement for independence continued through the 1930s, but it gained much ground during the Second World War. The Indian National Congress cooperated with the British in war efforts. It was hoped that the British would leave India after the Second World War. But the British did not relent. Then Mahatma Gandhi began the “Quit India Movement” in 1942. The British eventually realized that they had to leave India for good.

The Rise of the Muslim League
The Muslim League sought a separate nation for them, Pakistan. The League was concerned that independent India would have Hindus at the helm of affairs. Although, it was planned that power would be divided between the Hindus and Muslims as proposed by the Cabinet Mission proposal. Yet, senior leader of the Muslim League Mohammad Ali Jinnah did not agree to it. The League favored direct action, which led to Hindu-Muslim riots. In March 1947, Lord Mountbatten had come to India and favored partition of Punjab and Bengal despite the civil war. Gandhi did not favor partition and suggested that Jinnah should become the leader of the united India. But many nationalist leaders did not favor this. Eventually, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act, which led to the formation of India and Pakistan.

India is a now a sovereign republic and is a force to reckon with in world politics. It is the largest democracy in the world. It has retained its secular identity despite communal flare-ups.

30 Comments

  1. Amar says:

    It is interesting and disturbing that you do not include “Krantikaarees” in your list of how India achieved independence. People like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who gave there lives for the country. Hindu, Muslim and Sikh alike, all gave there live (majority being Sikh). Why may I ask do you not mention there sacrifice?

  2. Venkat says:

    India didn’t independence from Quit India movement. Infact the only reason India didn’t get independence earlier than 1947 was because of Gandhi who was used a pawn by Britishers to keep control of Indians in India. India got independence only after the effect of WW2 on British Raj. It was ordered by Queen to leave countries that they have overtaken and to do so in a systematic matter. If WW2 wouldn’t have happened, India would still have been under British Raj this day.

    • sur singla says:

      i totally agree with u …. england left india wen a special act was passed in the parliament of england …. but yes it was also due to pressure of indian leaders dat they were forced to leave india …an ofcourse due to world war 2

    • Lakshmi says:

      I agree. Even after independence, we have not achieved much for the masses. We are better off, but the elites found their ways to exploit the masses under British rule as well as under the current rule.

    • abhi says:

      venkat,

      where did u read about this or u came to know about this, i would like to know more about this issue.
      thanks.

  3. BSK says:

    thats the first i heard abt the queen ordering indian independence. first, she can’t do that, she doesn’t have that power. second, why shud they leave india, their ‘jewel’, without some real problems?

  4. Venkat SM says:

    British left India, because their Economy stumbled and civil unrest due to the WW1 and WW2. The Quit India Movement, Do or Die, Gandhi’s Disobedience movement etc were just a joke for British. The Free India was under control of Congress which publicized that Gandhi’s effort had made it and made him “Father of the Nation – India”, whereas in fact it should have been Father of Pakistan.
    Untill 1947 the present India was British India colony + 600 odd Princely States. After that British colony was divided and Princely states were merged to for the current India. This is the major reason will still have problems between current political states and people.

    • sur singla says:

      it was not Gandhiji who wanted the freedom of 1947 … he was against it … he himself said that this independence is of no use as it is dividing our nation … that’s why only he was killed at the day of independence he was not even their in Delhi … he was in Kolkatta sitting in a room alone because he was against that freedom …

    • Mohanraj says:

      It is interesting that still few are saying shut up! And some one saluting Mohandas. Indian National Congress formed by British and it was like a Union in a factory by Management not by Labours.

      We studied text book history which designed by the Congress govt. Guys hunt Real history will tell you how we got freedom.

  5. saahiti says:

    its to intresting and also proud to know about our freedom movement.

  6. sanjana sharma says:

    nice well nw i m clear about this history of our india independence
    well we all are to be proud on our famous n our father of nation
    i salut mahatma gandhi

    niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    thanks to u to give us such kind of knowledge

  7. DMA says:

    This mattter is very littel so plz try to add more information

  8. Nithin.s.j says:

    I have got good understanding about this

  9. Neha says:

    I totall agree with Amar and Venkat. It is disturbing to see that the names of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Rajguru and Shaheed Sukhdev is no where mentioned when the word ‘Independent India” is mentioned. They were the sole reason for India to think and get the confidence to fight for Independence, unlike Gandhi who was happily living ruling over India and getting support from Brithish people.. those people who use to treat our ancestors.. us Indians and slaves. It is the Bhagat Singh’s thought which should strike our minds and heart and make Indians aware of the Facts! Its high time to wake up!!

  10. Maninder Pasricha says:

    The most important fact missed out here is that the conservative party in Britain lost election to Labor party which was the main reason for getting independence as Labour party supported Indias cause of freedom.Had conservative party won the election of 1945 we wouldnt hv got the freedom.

  11. Janak Raj says:

    Thanks for giving a brief but nice information regarding independence of India, but you should not ignore the contribution of Subhash Chandra Bose in the struggle for freedom.

  12. .:LOVE:. says:

    This is a very good article that helped me understand the movement better! :)
    Amar and Venkat, this article does have ‘brief history’ wriiten at the top of the page and it’s in the title, so of course its not going to include every little detail. If you don’t like the article, find a new one, stop bitichin’ about it!

  13. Suraj says:

    This is a very poor hit on the history of India. This is what they teach children back in India as well (that is what I learnt too). Thanks to Internet, you find the real story of how India actually gained its independence.

    To start with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s initial objective was not freedom for India but peaceful co-existence between the British and the rest of the India. He is what one might say an opportunist. When the riots in Bengal took place (before the creation of East Pakistan and India), Muslims had slaughtered god-knows-how many non Muslims in Bengal. Gandhi just sat, when the non-Muslims got up to hit back that is when he went to Calcutta and did his usual mambo-jambo (can’t think of a better word).

    Again, India (and most British colonies) needs to thank a tyrant called Hitler and a hero called USA for their freedom. If WW2 had not taken place there was no way British would have set any of their colonies free. The sudden decrease of man power back home forces British to set almost all their colonies free. British were not keen on letting go of India – after all it was the goose that laid the golden egg. Again, Britain had asked USA for monitory help (mind you USA was after Britain for a long time to set their colonies free including India and Britain always refused), USA laid the ultimatum to Britain that if they want USA to help Britain they would have to let go of all their colonies. Britain agreed to let go all their colonies but India. USA refused. It was this arm twisting by USA that forces Britain to ultimately let go of India.

    Once India got its freedom it was in a very poor state. Not enough food grain to go around. There was ship loaded with grain leaving the west coast of USA with wheat for India (Bombay) and Pakistan (Karachi) every 30 minutes or so. USA had at that time advised Nehru to invest in growing better crop in India to feed the masses (instead of putting all the effort into industrializing initially). Nehru saw this as USA’s intention to keep India backward and divorced the relationship with USA. It was Lal Bahadur Shastri who heeded the USAs advise and bought the green revolution to India (Jai Kisaan Jai Jawaan was his slogan). By the way if you guys do not know, read the real history of Nehru. He went to Britain to learn law, but was quite a failure. Whereas most others like Gandhi, Valabh Bhai Patel, Jinnah to name a few were achievers.

    I strongly recommend please do your research on the internet and come to your own conclusion. Education and especially history is heavily distorted back in India – it’s almost like propaganda in a way.

  14. Vijay Aathnere says:

    Thanks all of u guys,,,,, that’s possible just becoz of ur secrefices…
    Luv u… I luv my india….

  15. shilu shivani says:

    i don’t know what to say but yes it was the greatest day ever. i wish if i could see all these happening in front of my eyes.the British ruled us but we still like them . what can be done now.i just want to say

    HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY !

    • i dont like to say am an indian until india gets independence says:

      british ruled india because of hatred, selfish behaviour, plots by the people of our own indian soil…india wud have never improved in thoughts and humanity if english did not come to india….though people will blindly refuse this,it is the true fact….

      • amalraj says:

        i do agree with the facts of good deeds of British rule. The railway,industries, dams, electric projects, education, roads and all most all infrastructures what we are using till date are the trails of their rule. the unity itself was bought because of the implementations of Britishers. There was a time when the India fought against with in her, the local rulers and many territories. The British regulations maintained the peace and joined them with there tactics. In a way this led to the after year unity while fighting against the Britishers while keeping the vengeance of their old good days. To great extend the apartheid what were followed between the people here was abolished during the reign of foreigners. The system on inequality,exploitation of the weak, social anarchism, monarchies, unbalanced economical cult and so on was stabilized and attained grater color during their rule. For your information you can count the number of dams constructed before and after independence will nurture your ideas on these goods by Britishers. As a nation the treasures of India was unveiled by there influence only. So many goods that we still enjoys are the fruits of their rule(even we admit or not)

  16. ravi says:

    i really appreciate mr venkat for fact about Indian independence it is true British realized after great loss done by Germany in WW 2

  17. ravi says:

    don’t see only history of india see history of world, you will truly know how india got independence because of WW 2 and germany,. because people who really fought for independence were really dead.

  18. amlan says:

    i am very proud to be a indian. thank you god to be a indian .I IOVE MY INDIA JAI HIND

  19. Roshan jha says:

    i love my india

  20. Anonymous says:

    What about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre? I feel that played a big part in India’s independence: It gave a reason to be angry.

  21. Sahajmona says:

    I just watched the movie “Earth”, by Deepa Metha, which is the story of the memoirs of a young girl, who lived through the struggles at the time of India’s independence. At the end of the film it says that over one million Indians were killed during that time. Should I say that this should be called a civil war? Indians killing Indians… and 12 million or so had to lose their home and flee to survive…how come all lived together peacefully under British rule: Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs…?? and suddenly, they started massacring each other, in the name of what? Freedom?!
    I don’t know how any Indian can forget such shameful deeds… I for one will not be able to forget the strong images in this movie, such horror and human vileness! It breaks my heart… what good did all the ancient wisdom do India when it should have called upon that resource to help them establish independence…. Years and years of internal warfare! Doesn’t any Indian recall theses horrors and feel bad about that? I’m just wondering… I know for a fact that most Germans do feel very guilty even today, because of the horrible things they did to the Jewish people. It is a collective guilt!
    I will start reading up on all the history of India about that time frame and what preceded, in order to gain a deeper insight!

  22. rex says:

    there are many factors that forced the Britisher to left India. 1) by the end of the world war II British finance collapsed and they decided to retrace not only from India but many other colony. 2) the growing discontent among Indians people like Bhagat Singh and Subash Bose INA got large following and they grew day by day. 3) India was already in a mess due to poverty and population and difference between hindu and musllim. to rule India is to put pressure on British finance. its not just Gandhi we must read the other contemporary and their work including, Bhagat Singh,subash bose, tilak,Tagore,sir Churchill and many more. getting independence is not important but what to do with independence is more important. Read Where The Mind Is Without Fear, Bhagat Singhs last petition and churchils Our Duty in India. you will find many more in Subash Bose and Tilak’s writing. congress has misguided the people and have kept them in dark. bhagat singh and tilak were both editor of news papers and their works are midn blowing. congress still says bhagat singh is a naxalite and subash bose is a war criminal. independence is a state of mind and exploitation is exploitation whether its british or mixed of british indian or purely indian.

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